Hello everybody!!:) I hope you all had a very great week!:) For those of you who do not know, this week is a very important week in the Steadman home because this week they are all celebrating the birthday of the best mother in the whole world!!:) Unfortunately, I am not going to be able to make it to this year’s party so I need all of YOUR help!! Please all of you take 2 minutes out of your busy schedules and give my amazing momma bear a phone call and tell her how much she is loved!! Or better yet, if you live close enough you can just run over to my house and give her a quick hug and a kiss and let her know that you’re giving it in place of me!:) I could not ask for a better mom in the whole world!! Happy birthday momma bear!! I love you so much!!:)
So my week was pretty good! I had one experience that I have not yet come across on my mission until this week, but I will tell you about that in a second! Before I tell you that, I will tell you some other things that happened this week!! So this week we were able to meet with a lot of our recent converts in both of our areas which was super good because last week we were not able to have a ton of lessons with President coming, as well as with having zone meeting! So this week we worked our butts off trying to meet with everyone! The only hard thing with that is that people can only really meet in the evenings so we are pretty free until like 3, but then from like 3-8 we have like 10 lessons planned! Haha and some of our lessons are quite a few miles away from each other so it's a lot of bike riding and a very sore គូទ (butt) haha, but it's worth it because I love all of my recent converts so much!!:) So that was one thing that was super good about this week!
Another cool thing that happened was that I got to give a talk! I did not find out I was giving it until Saturday evening when my branch president called me and asked me if I would speak! Haha of course I said yes though! He gave me the topic of speaking of pioneers and what they did! I thought that was kind of a cool calling considering that we celebrate all of that stuff over in America around this time of the year!! I didn't really know what exactly I wanted to share with all of the members about pioneers, but as I was preparing and praying to receive guidance I ended up preparing what I thought was a pretty good talk! Ha when Sunday came around I stood up and I gave a small little history lesson for the first like 5 minutes about what the pioneers did in America and how crucial they were in the progression and growth of this church! Then after that I related to them that they are the pioneers of Cambodia!! The church has only been in Cambodia for 20 years and so they are currently leading the way for future generations to be able to look back at the amazing examples that they were in order to help the church grow here in Cambodia!! I think the talk had everyone pumped up because all eyes were on me as I was talking, which might sound normal for a congregation in America, but here in Cambodia that is like unheard of!! Haha it was super cool! I felt like I was like a football coach or something, trying to pump up my players right before the big game!! At the end I committed them all to continue to be good examples and to ALWAYS share the gospel with others! Not just through their words, but also through their actions!! I think it's safe to say that actions speak louder than words so the importance of always being a good example is so huge because people are always looking at what we are doing! Especially here in Cambodia!! It's odd if you’re Christian and it's even more odd of you’re a Christian from America in a white shirt and a tie that rides on a bike all day! Haha people are ALWAYS watching! So we constantly have to remember whose name we have on our chest and always honor that name in every way!! I encouraged all of the members that they also wear the name of Jesus Christ! Before they were baptized they all promised that they would take upon them His name and always remember Him! That's our duty! Just because you don't have a black badge saying His name on it doesn't mean that you are not a representative of Him...ALL members are representatives!!
Anyway, the talk went super good I felt like! Then we went to go to church in our other area and when we got there our leader in that area I guess had forgotten to ask people to speak so when he stood up he told everyone that my companion and I would be speaking! Until he said it over the microphone I had no clue! I just laughed and smiled and nodded my head!! Haha I was fine with it to be honest! I had already prepared a talk!! :) I just felt super bad for my new comp! He was so nervous when they announced that he would be speaking as well!! Haha so I went first and spoke for 25 minutes or so, trying to give him enough time to scramble together a talk! Ha then he took the last 7 minutes or so! :) He did a super good job! He taught lesson 3 about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and totally nailed it!! He is a stud!! Anyway, Sunday was a super good day! Got to talk twice and pump up the members in both of my areas so that was fun!!:)
Ok, so now for the one thing that I was going to tell you that I told you earlier has never happened to me on my mission! So there is this member, her name is Ming Vee! She had been active until about 2 months ago, and then she stopped coming to church! My companion and I have been working with her to try to get her back coming to church! She actually came when president came to visit all of the members in Kampong Cham, so that was super cool, and then that Sunday she also came for an hour to take the sacrament and then she left! Long story short, she and the Branch President don't really get along for some reason! But anyway, on Tuesday we went over to her house and when we first got there everything seemed fine, but then as we sat down she just started stacking all of her church books right in front of me and telling me that she was no longer going to be a member and that she wanted me to take all of the books (Book of Mormon, Liahona, Ensign, Duty to God, personal notes and a whole bunch of other stuff… it was a stack probably 2 feet off the ground) and she wanted me to take all of them and she said if I didn't take them she would throw them out on the street! I tried talking to her and tried to calm her down a little bit and I was able to calm her down just a little, but she was still very adamant about me taking all of the books! I didn't know what to do so I was praying my heart out to try to receive some guidance and I just had the feeling that the best thing to do would be to take all of the books like she had asked me to, so I did, but I was so sad and down I could barley pedal my bike forward. After about a couple hundred yards away from her house, I could not pedal one more foot! I decided to give President Christensen a call and ask him if he thought I did the right thing or not! When I talked to him he said that it was the right thing to do, especially if she was saying she was just going to throw it all away! But he also said that she needed to be put at the top of my list for people to help and teach, and that I should love her as Jesus would and try to help her to come back into the fold! We met with her quite a few times this week and to be honest all of the lessons felt like they were not really going anywhere, but then on Friday she asked us to come over to her house to bless her son that was sick, so we felt like that was a super good sign because she still believes in the power of God that we have been given to use to bless and heal!! Anyway, the reason that I tell you that story is so that you all can keep her in your prayers. I think at one moment in all of our lives we have questioned whether or not the church is true! We may not have told anyone or even stopped going to church, but we have all had that thought cross our minds! I know for me it's been more than once that my faith has lacked and I did not know if everything that I believed in was true or if I really was some crazy brainwashed person like so many people will tell you that you are! But as you search through the words of God in the Book of Mormon and Bible and pray with all sincerity of heart and ask if all of this is true or not, God ALWAYS answers us! In our own special way and in His own special way He will answer our prayers!! It's part of our job to learn the way that our Heavenly Father communicates with us!
I know with all of my heart that this really is the Church of Jesus Christ and that there is no other church on the earth with the fullness of the gospel!! Right now in my mission it's my goal to be able to help Ming Vee realize that again! I would ask all of you as well to please keep her in your prayers, that she will soften her heart and regain her testimony in the truth of this gospel!! Because without this gospel we cannot find a replacement for the happiness that we will receive while living according to the gospel principles that God has set forth for us in His restored church on the earth!! Please keep her in your prayers this week!! For me, that's all that I have for you this week!! Overall it was a super great week with a little bit of heart wrenching, but that's pretty normal in this work!:) I love you all so very much and hope that you have a great week!! Don't forget to wish my sweet mom a happy birthday tomorrow!! Much loving coming your way from the Kingdom!!:)
Elder Steadman :)