Monday, June 29, 2015

A week in the life...

Hello everybody!!:) I hope that you all had a really great week this week! For me things were really good! Just another week in the life of a missionary!:) This week was a pretty mellow one as far as Cambodia goes! Haha but I guess I will kind of just give you a rundown of all of our days this week! I don't think I have ever done that, so now you can kind of have an idea of what I do each day!! Ok, so on Monday we went to the market in the morning and got some food for the week! Then after that we went and emailed our families and friends and that was great as usual! :) Then after that we decided not to play any sports, which was the first time that we have not played any sports on p-day since I came to this area!! It was super nice though because we had lots of time to just go and kind of chill! And by lots of time, I mean like an hour haha because we had to go run a couple errands like fix our bikes and then go to one other store that sells some American-ish food haha :) Then at 5 in the evening we started proselyting again and we were able to meet with 3 people that evening and so that was really good!:)

On Tuesday we had district meeting and I am the district leader so I was the one who taught! There are only 4 people in my district so it's kind of weird teaching such a small group, but it is what it is!:) Haha then Tuesday we went out and met a lot of less active members which was good, but also slightly depressing because they just tell you they’re never coming back and you’re just like, "Ok... well, we love you!!...Meet again next week yeah!?" Haha missionaries are such a pain in the butt!! However... we are a pain in the butt because WE LOVE YOU!!!:):) So deal with it!:) Then Wednesday was a pretty fun day as well! We proselyted in Kampong Cham until like 3 and then we headed over to my other area for the evening to teach English! I don't know if I have told you guys this yet or not, but there are like 35 people coming to that class now days so that's pretty cool!! It’s gone from 4 all the way to 35!! Not too shabby!!:) So English class was super fun! My companion absolutely loved it because he is new and still loves every single chance that he has to be able to speak English! Now it's just frustrating for me because I can't put a complete sentence in together in English without that sentence first popping up in my head in Khmer and then having to retranslate it back into English! Haha it's embarrassing, but I don't care! Ha I don't need to know English right now! I can relearn it when I get home:)

Then on Thursday we had weekly planning which takes 3 hours so we don't even end up leaving our house until 2 in the afternoon! But the craziest part of Thursday was that we had 9 lessons that day!! And we had a bike repair that took us an hour to fix so we taught 9 lessons in just 5 hours!! We were riding our bikes like mad men and it was also raining, but the rain was kind of nice because it was rinsing off all of our sweat from how hard we were biking!! Haha our butts are still quite sore from Thursday!! But it was so worth it!:) All the lessons were super awesome and we were able to help a lot of people that day, as well as find a new investigator! We stopped at this shop to grab a drink and the guy recognized us and started talking to us and then he told us that he wanted to learn about Jesus again because he used to go to the church in Siem Reap, but then stopped because he moved to Kampong Cham. We gave him a Book of Mormon and taught him the first lesson and then he agreed to have us come back for a second visit so that was super sick!! :)

On Friday we went over to my other area and that was a super good day as well! We met with some people in the late afternoon, but then around like 1 my comp’s bike was falling apart so we called the Assistants and got permission to get him a new bike! The only problem was that the closest place that sold bikes was about a 45-minute bike ride from where we were! But considering we had no other options, we started on the trek! Haha my poor comp! By the time we got there his face was looking like he was going to die at any given moment! Later he told me that he had blacked out during the better part of our bike ride and could not remember how we got to where we were! Haha missions in Cambodia are so sick!!:) He is ok now so don't worry everybody:) He is a champ! Then on Saturday we just had a full day of meeting members and investigators over in my other area! We tried to go to all of the members’ houses to at least just remind them of coming to church! On Saturday night we went back to Kampong Cham and slept there for the night because we had church in the morning there!

So when we woke up on Sunday we went to church and it was good except that the electricity was out so it was pretty toasty! Then after church in Kampong Cham we caught a van and headed over to my other area to go to church over there as well! This week we got super lucky because our president from Kampong Cham rented a car for the day to take us and some other members down to worship in my other area! That meant we did not have to spend any money this Sunday so that was pretty sick! Then we went to church in my other area and the electricity was still out and it was a lot more painful because it was 2 in the afternoon so it was soooo hot! But it was still good:) I was asked to teach second hour because the person who was supposed to did not show up, so we had a lesson on fasting because that's a super hard one for people to obey over here for some reason! But I can't really speak because I also struggled big time with that one before the mission, so it was a good lesson for myself as well!! Ha:) At the end of the lesson I committed them all to fast this upcoming week and they all accepted so we will see how that goes! And that was pretty much my Sunday and now today is Monday and I am emailing all of you! :) So that was pretty much my week! Over all it was a super good week! :) But nothing crazy really happened to us! Maybe next week I will have a crazy story for you all!:)

For this week that's pretty much all I’ve got for you all! I hope you know how much I love you all! I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a distance away from my family and friends for a short time! It really makes you realize just how much they mean to you! I love my mission and I love being able to go out every day and communicate with these wonderful people! I am so so so happy that I made the decision to come out on a mission! I know that this decision has forever changed the course of my life and I could not be happier about the path that it is leading me down! I can't see everything that my Heavenly Father has in store for me, but if what He has in store for me is anything like the blessings that I have received out here on a mission I am in for one very very blessed life!!:) I don't have any idea what I did to deserve such an amazing place like Cambodia to give two years in the service of my Savior! I used to think that coming out on a mission meant that I would be giving up two years of my life and it would be a great sacrifice on my part, but I have come to realize that it really is no big sacrifice at all!! It's just another opportunity to receive incredible amounts of blessings from Heavenly Father and learn and grow mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically (physically as in I have a rice belly now:))!! I know I say it over and over again, but I'll say it till I finish... I love my mission!!:) I love you all and hope that you all have a great week!!:) Much love headed your way from the Kingdom!!:)

Elder Steadman
អែលឌេីរ ស្តេតមិន

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Old friends, new comp

Hello everyone! :) Well this was another insanely fast week for us over here in Cambodia! :) So in the middle of this week I had the opportunity to go down to the city (Phnom Penh)! We went down on Thursday because my comp was having some bad toothaches, so Sister Moon scheduled him to go to a dentist to have his teeth looked at. Then I figured that since I was going to be there already, I might as well get my teeth cleaned considering it has been a year and a half since they have been cleaned... yeah, I know, it’s disgusting... I’m living in Cambodia... get over it! haha Anyway, so we went to the doctor and when I got called back the doctor was checking my teeth and then he was like, “Hey, I think that you need an x-ray of your teeth.” So I was like ok whatever and we got one and then it turned out that one of my fillings had fallen out apparently, so he told me that I had to get it refilled, but the good news was that I had no new cavities! That's pretty impressive if I do say so myself! haha So he filled it again and surprisingly it was no pain whatsoever! That's literally the first time that I have ever been to the dentist in my entire life and not had any pain! Ironically, it was here in Cambodia!! Haha The funniest part of it all was that my comp did not have anything wrong with his mouth! They just did a cleaning on him and that was it! haha Anyway, after that we had some time to go to the market and I was able to get a new camera so that will be super nice! It’s also waterproof, so hopefully I will be able to take some really cool pictures! :)

Chillin' at the dentist's office

After we got done with the market we went to the mission home and they told us that we had like 5 hours to go out and proselyte and we could go wherever we wanted to go, so as soon as I heard that we peaced out to go visit my old area, Stung Meanchey! I was able to see lots of the members over there, which was so awesome! It was fun to see how happy they were to see me! It made me super excited to be able to come back with my mom and dad and visit all of them! :) I also got to go and visit some investigators that I had when I was serving there and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that one of my very favorite investigator families got baptized! :) When they told me, they could not wipe the smiles from off of their faces and neither could I!! It was cool to see them progress from two people who had no idea about Jesus and really had no desire to learn about Jesus, to becoming two strong members in the Church! I was overcome with joy as I was talking with them! And they told me that they had never forgotten about me and always asked the other Elders in their area how I was doing and where I was serving! The best part of the visit was when they told me that they are saving up their money so that in 2 or 3 years they will be able to go to the temple and get sealed as a family for time and all eternity! When they told me that I almost broke down in tears! I was so overwhelmed by the Spirit and could feel so strongly that their Heavenly Father loved them sooo very much and I also felt that my Heavenly Father was proud of me for going out and finding these two wonderful spirits and bringing them to the knowledge of the gospel! :) Man, nothing on this earth is better and more rewarding than being in the service of my Lord! :) I took a picture with them and promised them that I would send them a copy so that they could have a picture of all of us and they were very excited about that! I also wrote them a letter encouraging them to keep on moving forward and to always stay strong in the gospel! They truly are an amazing couple! So that was a super amazing experience!

New member family in Stung Meanchey!

The Bong Narit family from his 1st area :)

Transfers were on Friday and I got to pick up my new companion! His name is Elder Medley! He is super cool! He actually came out on a mission a year ago, but then had to go home to clear things up and that's exactly what he did and now he is back out here 100% worthy and ready to serve The Lord! I have an insane amount of respect for him! He has given up so much in his life to come out here for two years! Not only that, but I also respect him for doing everything that he needed to do in order to get his life back in order and have the Spirit always to be with him! He is such a stud! He is from Gilbert, Arizona and pretty much has the exact same personality as me! Just a super laidback kind of guy with a good sense of humor, so he is super fun to be around! Obviously the language is kicking his butt, but it kicks everyone’s butt when they first get here so I am telling him not to stress about it too much and know that eventually it will come! We are still leading out both of our areas so that's pretty interesting! haha Lots of bus riding! I did the math and counting this next transfer I will have done about 48 hours of just driving back and forth from one area to another in 3 short months! haha That's a lot of driving! But we are pushing through it! Please pray that the members will stay strong as well! Usually there are more Elders here so it’s easier to meet with all of the members, but now we don't have as many so we have to carefully choose who we are going to meet with so everyone please pray that all the other members who we don't have time to visit will still stay strong and come to church! :) But yeah, everything is super good right now! I love my trainee and I love my areas! Life does not get much better than it is right now! I am looking forward to working with Elder Medley and finding more investigators to teach as well! That's pretty much all that I have for you all this week, but know that I love you all so much and you are all in my prayers! I hope that you have an amazing week and try not to miss me too much! ;) I’ll be home eventually!!! 

All my love!
Elder Steadman:)

Elder Lauritzen is still in Kampong Cham as well!

They found this spider on the floor in their apartment... yes, the
same floor he was sleeping on to stay cool just last week!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Cold chills and transfers

Hello everybody!!:) Well another week down in the books!!:) Not going to lie to you all though, this week went by a little slower than it usually does! Not because it was a hard week, but actually because I was not able to go out and proselyte as much as I wanted to! I got super sick this week ha :( On Monday I came down with a bad cold, but I battled it out all the way until Thursday and then on Thursday I could not muster up the energy to walk outside so I rested for a little while and my comp made me some eggs and toast, but the bad thing was that the eggs he made were rotten... He obviously didn't know that, but I sure did when I came down with a serious case of food poisoning!! Haha ha 103-degree fever!!! I think that's like a new record for me!! Also, I experienced having the cold chills for the fist time here in Cambodia!! That was super weird because it was super hot and I was freezing cold! I think it was the first time that I was not sweating in my armpits outside since I walked off the plane here!! Hahaha My comp tried talking me into going back home for the rest of Friday, but I refused until the evening time when we were done meeting with everyone and by that time I was sick in a very serious way!! I ended up having to stay in bed on Saturday and the only time I got up was to go and try to use the restroom, which felt like about 110 times!! Haha Also, our electricity went out that day too!! Which was fine for when I had the chills, but when my fever finally broke and the chills stopped, boy was it hot!!! Haha not a whole lot of sleeping went on for me that night!! :) I did most of my sleeping on the ground that night because our ground is tile so it's s lot colder than my bed so that helped me be able to stay a little bit colder during that very toasty night!! :) haha But the amazing thing is now it's Monday and I feel as though it was all just a dream!!:) I am back in perfect health! I'm sorry if I scared you momma bear!:) Just know your boy is back healthier than ever now!!:) I am sure the quick recovery had to do with the prayers that you all send out my way as well, so thank you all so much for keeping that one kid in Cambodia in your prayers!!:) So obviously this week we were not able to meet with as many people as we would have liked to, but I am glad it was just one week of being super sick rather than being stretched out over a long period of time!:)

As for exciting news, this week we had transfer calls!!:) So to be honest, I was really hoping that I would be able to be companions with Elder Quirante just because I love the kid to death and we would do insane work together, but God had other plans in mind for me! I am going to be training again!!:) Haha Third times the charm I guess, right!?:) It looks like I will have to wait to be companions with Quirante until after the mission when he is living with me!:) ha But anyway, I don't know my new comp’s name yet because I have to go and pick him up at the mission home on Thursday or Friday when he arrives from the MTC… I'm not sure which one! But I will be staying in both of my areas still! That hasn't changed and it looks like it won't be changing for a while either!! Haha That's ok because I like being able to come to Kampong Cham to see the Elders over here and to get to be with them more often! :) Overall, I am really pumped about the transfer call! :) I will be excited to know what kind of kid my future comp is! It's weird not being able to know anything about him! Usually you get someone who has already been in the mission and so you can ask people who they are and get to know them a little bit before you actually meet them, but with this training thing you don't know who they are until you shake their hand for the first time! :) haha So it should be pretty fun! I am excited that I get to stay in my area and continue to be able to help the members grow in both of my areas! I love how the Lord is stretching me in the work right now! I know that He is helping me become a better missionary and also helping me become the man I someday want to be (a.k.a just like my dad at home:)) That's pretty much all of the news that I have for you all this week, but I am sure that next week I will have lots of exciting pictures and news to tell you all about my new companion!!:) I love you all so much! I appreciate your prayers! I truly can feel them every day! I love my mission so much and love that I get to go out and share a special message with a special group of people every day of my life!! Missions do not get any better than here in Cambodia!!:) I love you all and am sending lots of prayers your way!!

With love,
Elder Steadman

Thursday, June 11, 2015

An exciting announcement & eventful week

Hello everybody!!:) Well, this week seriously flew by so very fast it was crazy!! This week was a little bit stressful, but everything went according to plan so that was a huge blessing!!:) So as you all know, last Sunday was the Sunday that we had all of our baptisms!! Yay!:) Originally we had planned to have 2 of the baptisms on Saturday and then the other 4 we were going to have on Sunday, but then that changed kind of last minute because we found out that President Moon decided to come this week instead of next for Mission Leadership Conference!! So we had that on Saturday from 10 in the morning until 3!! It was super good and I learned a lot of things that I can start doing better to improve my work and become a more effective missionary! We had some news though that was extremely exciting!! When president stood up at the very beginning he told us some news that he had not told any of the other missionaries yet! He told us that we had to keep it a secret until Monday so he could email the rest of the mission and tell everyone else, but he felt like it would be ok to tell us! Are you guys ready!? :) Jeffery R. Holland is coming to Cambodia!!!:):) When he told us that I was soooooo pumped!! We get to have an apostle come and visit Cambodia!! I am serious when I say that I could not be more excited for that!!:) He is going to be coming on Aug 22nd… in just a couple months!:) So that's the biggest and coolest news that I have for you all this week!!:) 

After the conference we just went out and reminded people to come to the baptism on Sunday so we could have a good support system for our new members! And then on Sunday everything went pretty smoothly! The only thing that was kind of rocky was that one of our investigators (Pu Mao) told us that he was not going to be able to get baptized at 11 because he was busy taking someone to the doctor at that time, so we ended up changing his time to later that afternoon so he would still be able to get baptized this week!:) It was so awesome and I felt super honored because they all asked if I would be willing to baptize them! Of course I accepted! It was so cool to see all of the people that I have been teaching these last couple months take this amazing step in their lives and agree to follow the example of Jesus Christ by receiving baptism by someone who holds the restored priesthood of God!! We took lots of pictures so I will be sending you all of those so you can be able to see all of my amazing investigators!:) 

Overall this week was super awesome! The only stressful thing of this week was just going back and forth from both of my areas trying to get all of the interviews done! And of course I had to catch a bad cold on Thursday, which tried to take me down for the count on Friday, which was like my day with all of the interviews in both areas… but I toughed through it and now I am back in good health! I will never understand how I can possibly catch a cold in Cambodia!! Catching a cold is seriously the only type of “cold” that I could possibly find here, considering it is always so dang hot!!!:) haha Anyway, I feel super blessed this week because I have been able to see so much progression in my investigators and I have been able to see them make one of the most important covenants that they will ever make in their lives! I know that when they were baptized they entered onto the one and only pathway that can help us return back to our Heavenly Father! There is not another pathway that can bring us eternal happiness!! I am so grateful that Heavenly Father trusted me in teaching them and helping them in their eternal progression! As you are able to see, these wonderful people grow into amazing members of God's church… it only makes me want to go out and find more and more people so that they too can have a greater understanding of God's love for them! I know God loves all of us individually! I know that he knows each and every one of our names personally! He cares about YOU! He wants you to know that He loves you, just as you love your kids or your mother or your father!! He wants us to return back to Him and He has given us this gospel to plant our feet deep in the roots of it so that when Satan comes and tried to uproot us, he will do so unsuccessfully because we will have rooted ourselves deep into the gospel soil!! I am so grateful for the knowledge that my Heavenly Father has given to me! I don't where I would be without this gospel! But I know one thing… that I would not be nearly as happy as I am today if I had not been given a knowledge that the fullness of the gospel has again been restored onto the earth by modern day prophets!!

I love how Heavenly Father has given us all the option to choose whether or not we want to follow! He loves our agency more than anything and will not force us to do anything that we do not want to do! I have definitely had to learn that lesson on my mission! Before my mission I did not understand the importance of agency and allowing people to make their own decisions! Because Heavenly Father loves us so much, He also gave us another book of scripture so that we can know of a surety that this is the true church of God again restored onto the earth! I know with all of my heart that if ANY person reads the Book of Mormon with a real desire to know if it's true or not, they will receive an answer from God that the Book of Mormon is true! I know that because I have taken Heavenly Father up on that promise and asked him multiple times before and during my mission if that book is true and each time I have received a small spiritual confirmation that it is true and it does come from God! I invite everyone, even people who are already members, to read the Book of Mormon and each day you read it get on your knees and ask if what you are reading is true and as a representative of Jesus Christ, I promise that you will receive an answer in your own special way! I love you all so very much and am so grateful for all the support that you all have given me throughout my whole mission! The only way I can truly show my love for all of you at this time in my life when I am so far away from you all is to invite you to have amazing spiritual experiences for yourself because I know that those experiences will bless your life more than I ever could! I love my mission and I love the chance that I have to be able to teach the wonderful people here in Cambodia!:) I know that what I am doing out here is of God! I love you all and hope you have an amazing week!

All my love!
Elder Steadman
អែលឌេីរ ស្តេតមិន

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Lots of love... and a little crush

What's up party people!!:) It's just me again with my weekly update for my 9 religious followers!! haha :) This week was just another great week here in the Kingdom!!:) This week involved a whole lot of preparation for this upcoming week because we have 6 people scheduled for baptism! We have 2 people getting baptized on Saturday that live in Kampong Cham (Pu Mao and Bong Hain) and then we have 4 people that will be getting baptized on Sunday that are from my other area in Brae Choe (Ming Touch and her 2 kids, and then Borey). So this week we have an insane amount of interviews and we also have to be able to do the interviews in two different areas and according to the times that they can meet so it's gonna be kind of crazy, but that's ok! Crazy just makes things go fast!:) So if you would not mind I would love if everyone could put those people in your prayers that everything will go well and that everyone will be able to meet at the times that we have planned so that they will be able to receive baptism this week!! All of my investigators are just so awesome! We were supposed to have 2 more people getting baptized this week as well, but they just have not been able to meet with us the last couple weeks so we are going to wait a couple more weeks until we can finish teaching them and then they will be able to get baptized as well!! Both of our areas that we are in right now are doing super good! The only hard thing that we are running into right now is that we just have no time to be able to go and find more people to teach! We are so busy trying to meet all of our investigators and our recent converts that we just don't have any time to actually go out and proselyte and try to find more people to teach. It's kind of sad because I really enjoy that part of missionary work, so hopefully in like 3 weeks after the transfer ends they will re-split the area so that I will have more time to be able to find more investigators!:) But yeah, as for me and my week that is pretty much it! We kind of had a boring week this week! I'm sorry!!

Oh, one kind of cute thing that happened to me was that when I went to church in Kampong Cham there was this little 4-year-old little girl that was sitting right in front of me in the chapel and she kept on looking back at me and she would just have on the cutest little smile... so finally after about 5 minutes of that I waved my hand over and told her to come and sit in the empty seat right next to me. To my surprise, she actually came over and sat down by me! Usually some of the kids that age are a little too nervous to sit down by us Americans or they will just be too hyper and won't sit still for more than like 2 minutes before they are off running around! But this girl was just different from all the other little kids! She came and sat down by me and literally the whole time sat right next to me! And the cutest part of it all was she would sit down for like 5 or so minutes and then all of the sudden she would stand up and give me a kiss on the cheek and give me the cutest smile you have ever seen and then sit down!! I seriously have never felt so loved by a little girl in my whole life!! After she had kissed me on the cheek 4 times she started trying to go for the lips so I had to explain to her that she had to wait to kiss on the lips until she was married! Then she just looked at me all serious and asked me, "Did you wait?!" Hahaha that one caught me off guard!! That is one smart 4-year-old!! I didn't know exactly how to answer her question, so I just told her that she was cuter than me so she had to wait until she was married! She seemed somewhat satisfied about that answer because she stopped going for my lips and just stuck with the cheek!!:) Anyway, I took a picture with her so that you all could see how cute she is as well!! The members that saw her giving me kisses were poking some fun at me, but they thought it was very cute as well! So… I think I might have a 4-year-old that's in love with me!! :) haha and I think I might have a little crush myself!! Haha just kidding!!:) But if I could take her home to America with me I totally would!!:)  

Anyway, that's pretty much it for me this week! I love my mission and I love that I am able to be out here at this time in my life! I feel like with each day that I am out here, I get a little bit better of an understanding of the plan that God has for me in my life! I love my mission SO much and would not trade the wonderful experiences that I am having out here for anything in the world!! I love being around the people of Cambodia every day! I love speaking Khmer!! Like I seriously love speaking Khmer so much! I love talking with the people and being able to understand where they come from!! There is not a better place in the world to come and give two years of service to my Lord and Savior!!:) I love you all so very much and hope that you all have a very wonderful weekend!!:)

All my love!:)

Elder Steadman
អែ៊លឌេីរ ស្តេតមិន

His buddy Carson is in the Liahona!