Thursday, August 27, 2015

"Is this real life!?!?!? :)"

Hello everybody!!:) Well I hope you all had a very great week, but there is one thing that I can promise you right now and that's that your week was not nearly as great as mine! It's hard to even think of where I want to start!! I guess I will start with the more sad part of this week, which was saying goodbye to all the members from Brae Choe and Kampong Cham! It was fun to be able to take pictures with them and say goodbye to as many of them as I could before I headed out to my new area!! They were all super sad to see me go and I was also kind of sad as well because I really have fallen in love with them!! I look forward to being able to see all of them next year when I come back with my Mom and Dad!!:) Ok, so there is the sad part of this letter! Now on to the happy stuff!!:)

So as most of you already know, we had the amazing opportunity to be able have Elder Holland come and visit us here in Cambodia! He lives in the same state as me, but I never had the chance to meet him until we met up in Cambodia!! Haha kind of ironic!! :) So all of the missionaries got to be able to come down to the city to meet him! For those of us that were in the provinces, they had us take buses down on Saturday and then we had a little bit of time in the evening that night to go and visit some of our old areas and see some of our old members and recent converts as well!! So you know where I went baby! Straight to Stung Meanchey!!:) I got to see so many of the members there and it was so fun!! They all remembered me over there, which also made me super happy as well! They told me to go serve in Kampong Thom and then 2 months before I leave to come and end my mission in Stung Meanchey! I told them that I was super down for that and I would do the best I could to try and make it happen!!:)

Then on Sunday we had to go to this place called Diamond Island! It's super pretty and that's where all of the members were invited to come and listen to Elder Holland speak!! So we had to get there at like 8:30 and that was even more fun because I saw even MORE members that I knew!! I tried to take as many pictures as I could, but I could not take as many pictures as the people that I met! Seriously, I cannot even explain to you how cool it was to see all of the members all in one place and to see their faces light up when we made contact!! I LOVE MY MISSION!!!:) Lots of the young men that I saw were getting ready to head out on missions and so that just made me super excited and happy for them as well!! The Spirit was SO strong in the room and then it only grew stronger as soon as Elder Holland walked into the room!! He stood up and gave a perfect talk! It was a great amount of encouragement and hope for the members here in Cambodia! He also talked about how we can break the barriers of religion and teach about Jesus Christ in a way that will hopefully create an interest inside of the hearts of all of those who listen to us! He especially emphasized the importance of celestial marriage and how amazing it is that we believe in life after this and truly a happily ever after!! It was so amazing and then when the meeting ended we took a million pictures and then we had to hustle over to the stake center to eat, and then after we ate with all of the missionaries we got to meet with President Holland again, but this time it was just the Elders and Sisters!! It was so awesome! Before we went into the room he wanted to shake each and every one of our hands, so I got to shake his hand! It was an experience I don't think that I will ever forget! I felt that he was a truly inspired man of God when I looked into his eyes!! Then we went into the Chapel and he gave another amazing talk! He talked about the importance of teaching the fundamentals of spiritual learning to our investigators! Just because we have been learning about Jesus our whole life does not mean that our investigators have! We have to teach them the most basic fundamentals, just like we had to learn, in order for them to properly grow in the gospel!! So once again it was a very amazing and inspiring talk from Elder Holland! He did not singe our eyebrows too badly so I was kind of surprised by that, but also a little grateful!!:) He also talked about the importance of converting yourself out here on your mission and changing yourself into the amazing person that your Heavenly Father wants and needs you to be before you return home from your mission! I hope that when I come home people can see a noticeable change in me! Anyway, so Sunday was amazing and then that night we had more time to go and visit members so I went and visited some more and took some pics that I will be throwing on to Dropbox!!:)

Monday was super cool too! If you guys did not know already, my companion is Elder Quirante now!!:) Haha it still just seems to good to be true!! We got to our area on Monday afternoon and we cleaned up our room and organized all of our stuff. When we got here, the Elders who used to live in our room told us that they broke the air conditioner right before they left, so it was nice and toasty for us when we got there and then we ended up having to call the landlord and get a new machine! It was kind of hectic for the first couple hours and we were sweating our guts out, but neither of us really seemed to mind! Every once and a while we would just catch each other's eye and then laugh because it's just so cool that we are actually companions! We set some really good goals for what we want to accomplish this transfer with each other and I think that we are going to be doing an insane amount of work! We just have to go and find some members to help us know who to meet now! Apparently there is a member here that literally goes out and proselytes with the Elders like every day, so we are going to be giving him a call!!:) Then Monday evening we bought some sparkling cider and celebrated our first night back together since the MTC!! Haha it was so awesome! Don't worry… we took pictures!!

Well, for this week that's pretty much all that I’ve got for you!! By next week I should know a few more investigators and members that I can tell you more about! For now just pray that we will be able to quickly become familiar with our area so that we can start doing some mad work! I love you all and you are all in my prayers!!

Much love headed your way from the Kingdom!!:)
Elder Steadman

Ming Vee :)
Ming Chen (his Cambodian mama)

Sunday, August 16, 2015


THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY WHOLE MISSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! THIS IS INSANE!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't know how I am going to explain this all to you guys and express actually just how happy I am through this email!! But let me just tell you all now that this is seriously the best week of my entire mission!! I bet you guys are all wondering what the big news is, aren't you!?:) Well, I am going to make you guys suffer a little bit longer and tell you about the rest of my week before I tell you about the best day of my entire life!!!!!!:):):):):):) 

Ok, so this week on Tuesday we got to go to a member’s house to do service! It was actually really cool because on Monday we went with some of the young men and young women in our branch and we went to go find some less active members’ houses that I am not yet familiar with! So we went to one of their houses and she was just talking about how hard things are for her right now and how she is working in her rice fields, but she just can't get ahead of any of her work and she is feeling super stressed and overwhelmed. So in that moment I was just like, “Well, how about tomorrow we come and help you!!” At first she said no and that everything was fine, but then when she realized that the question I asked wasn't really a question, but more of a statement, she finally gave in to letting us help her!:) So the next day we got up early and we went to her house, which is like a 40-minute bike ride away, and when we got there we put our bikes underneath her house and then walked out to her rice fields! It was a really long walk and because it was super muddy we had to take our shoes and socks off to go out there and some parts of the pathway were super sharp and thorny!! Haha the Cambodians have really tough feet man! She didn't say a word the whole time and I'm right behind her screamin’ and yelpin’ every other step because something is getting stuck in my foot! Haha well little did I know this was just the start of the problems that I would be dealing with for the rest of the week!! So we get there and essentially what we are doing is just planting rice weeds back into a muddy rice field!! Haha it was super fun at first’s mud!! Haha we immediately flipped into our five-year-old selves again when we stepped into the mud with our bare feet and started giggling about how weird it felt! Haha she was looking at us like we were kind of crazy, but also thinking it was quite hilarious that we were such rookies!!:)

Anyway, so we helped her for about 3 hours and about an hour and a half into it I start to feel like I am getting some sun, but I don't have a long shirt or anything to wear, plus it's burning hot so that would almost be considered suicide to wear a long sleeve shirt, so I just keep on going. By the end of our 3 hours I am starting to feel really burnt so we hurry and finish and then we bike home as fast as we can, but it's like a 40-minute bike ride so you can only go so fast! By the time we got home...well, let's just say the sun won this battle!! Blisters on my arms and legs!! To put it short I did not get a lot of sleep the next two nights! The day after, I was in tons of pain and could not even get a shirt on without just wanting to scream out in pain! So in my time of need I called out to one of my favorite members out here in Kampong Cham… her name is Ming Chen! She is the kind of lady that is always on top of everything and can find anything and everything! So I told her about my situation (which is actually really hard to do in Khmer because sunburns literally don't exist here! They don't even have a word for it!), and she eventually understood the gist of what I was saying and said that she would look into it! An hour later she told me to come over to her house and that she had medicine to help me! But she told me it was natural medicine! At this point she could have told me it was cow poop that she found and that she heard could help and I still would have been there in a heartbeat!! Haha I was willing to try anything!! Anyway, I got to her house and she had found aloe leaves!!! She had peeled them already and put them in the freezer and when I got there, I laid down on her floor and she just put them all over my arms and legs... if I have ever in my life come close to feeling the peacefulness that we will feel when we go to heaven...that was definitely it!!! It was SO amazing and I am forever in her debt!! So my sunburns got better from that point on and I was able to go out and proselyte because of her! She is the best! I love the members here in Cambodia!! They seriously will give an arm and a leg for you here!! It's amazing!

Ok, and then after that we also got to go to our other area later in the week and proselyte there as well! When we got there, a member named Bong Chea said he was moving his house and we asked him if he needed help and he politely accepted, so we told him that we would come over the next morning and help him move all of his heavy stuff over to his new house! Luckily his new house was not too far away from his old house so it was not too hard of a project at all! We got all of it done in a little over 2 hours!! And this time I wore the correct amount of clothing so that I would not add anymore pain on top of the pain that I already had!!:) haha

Now we come to Sunday! The best day of my life:) Church in the morning was super good! We had a good amount of people show up and also had a couple of potential investigators show up to church as well, which was awesome! And then we went to church over in our other area as well and that was also very good! We had most of the members show up except for just a few families! Then we drove back to Kampong Cham and came home around 6 to study because we’re not able to study like at all that day because of all the times we go to church during the day! Ha so we came home to study and then I made some crepes (which were delicious by the way! I am a master crepe maker now!:) Watch out ladies!;) ) Then my comp and I were sitting in our room when the APs called us! I answered the phone and one of them asked if I was Elder Steadman and I said yes and then he was like, “Hey, are you busy right now?” I was like, “No, what's up?” and then he was like, “Hang on one second!” Then I didn't hear anything for a couple of seconds and I was kind of nervous because it's always nerve racking when the APs call and then out of nowhere he says, “Ok sorry… I had to put you on speaker.” Then I hear the other AP say hi to me and then they say, “Ok, so you are the first people that we are calling right now, but we just have to let you know that because we have 8 missionaries ending their missions halfway through this transfer, President has decided that he wants to do a mini-transfer in between the regular transfers to rearrange some people so that we don't have to shut down any areas. Then he says, “I am calling you and Elder Quirante on speaker phone at the same time to let you guys know that you will be companions with each other!!:):)” Whaaaatttttt!?!?!? You guys have no idea how badly I wanted to write that out in capital letters, but I was afraid you would just read ahead!!! Hahaha Quirante and I are going to be companions in one week!!!!!! President Holland comes on a Sunday and then that next Monday I will be taking a bus down to my new area which is Kampong Thom... with Quirante!!:):) This is also a new area for Quirante so we are both going to be completely new to that area! In the mission they call that a whitewash!!!! I cannot even tell you how excited I am people!!! I'm not kiddin’ you when I say it was far and away the best day of my mission when I found out I was going to be companions with Elder Quirante again!!! Thousands of prayers were answered on that day and we are going to show President and all of Cambodia just how good of a decision it was to put us two together!!!!!

I LOVE MY LIFE!!!!!!!! I seriously don't know how to put it into words how excited and happy I am right now! I wish you all could see the permanent smile that I have had on my face since I received this amazing news!!! It just won't leave!!:):) I can't wait to do insane amounts of missionary work in Kampong Thom!! Ok and you’re not even going to believe the last part of it!! The house there is a house with 4 missionaries and guess who else is there!? Haha Elder Lauritzen!!! Hahaha Why am I so blessed?!!!!!!!! I have literally been with him since he started his mission and he is almost at a year now!!! You guys, I have never been so happy in my entire life!! I cannot wait to just go be companions with one of my best friends and do absolute insane amounts of work with each other!! This really is the greatest day of my mission!!!:) I am also so grateful that my Heavenly Father trusts both of us enough to be friends, but to also be very diligent in carrying out His work among the people in Kampong Thom!!! It seriously does not get any better than this people!! You better watch out because Elder Steadman and Elder Quirante are headed your way and ain't nobody gonna be able to stop the two of us!!:) I. LOVE. MY. LIFE. I don't ever want this feeling to leave!! It will be hard to say goodbye to some of the members here because there are a few members that I love so so so so much from my areas, but I know that I will be able to see them again when I come back with my parents next year!!:)

Well folks, that's all the news I’ve got for you this weekend! Just to let you all know I will be emailing on Tuesday next week, not on Monday, because President Holland comes and they are changing our P-day to Tuesday just for next week… so the next time you all hear from me I will be in a new area with Elder Quirante!! I love my life!!:):) I love you all as well!! I hope that you all have a great week!! Don't even try to have as good a week as I am going to have because I promise you, that's just not going to be possible!! Much love headed your way!!!:):):)

Elder Steadman:)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Members & Missionaries

There were a few technical difficulties this week with Austin's letter. When he went to send it, the whole thing got erased accidentally. He found some time later to send a quick update:

Hello family!! How is everybody doing this week!? We had a very good week, but unfortunately I don't have a ton of time to write about it all! I promise that I will have lots of time to write you a big letter next week! So I think that the coolest thing we did this week was taking the members to go and visit less active members!! In church 2 weeks ago we had the lowest number that we have ever had since I have been in this area, so I was super bummed about it and I was just trying to think about what I could do to better involve the members in our missionary work. I came up with the idea of having all of the members meet at the church on Monday and then we would break up into groups and go visit inactive members! So we planned it for Monday at 5 and when Monday rolled around we ended up having 12 members show up to the activity, which was actually pretty good! I was pretty excited!:) We broke up into two groups and then went and visited 4 different families each, so a total of 8 families! They all welcomed us into their houses and were very kind! My companion and I went on a split with the members so that one of us could go with one group and the other person with the other group! Anyway, it was super successful and lots of the people that we met ended up telling us that they would try really hard to make it to church the next week, so that was super cool! And then when Sunday rolled around we had 3 members that we went and visited show up to church!!:) We decided that we are going to make it a weekly activity and invite all of the members to come if they have free time and go and visit less active members!:) Oh, and this week at church we had 15 more people show up to church, so that was super cool as well! Including Ming Vee!! :) She came to the activity to go and visit the less active members too and she encouraged all of the less active members we visited to come back to church! She is so awesome now! There is like a completely different countenance about her and she definitely has the Spirit with her now!:) Well, I think for this week that's pretty much all that I have to share with you all, but I promise that I will give you a better run down next week! Don't be mad at me!! Haha I love you all and I love the chance to be out here changing lives through the power of the Spirit that is given to each and every one of God's servants! Please pray that my area can continue to grow and that the members will get behind us on the efforts in helping the branch grow! I love you all soooo much!!!:)

With love,
Elder Steadman:)

Time for a little clean up around the apartment...

The "after" pics :)

They bought a new trap that works great... this time they caught 6!

See... cleaning CAN be fun ;)

Zone meeting

A sample of his Khmer handwriting... impressive!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The power of the Holy Ghost

Hello my friends!:) Well, another week down in the books!! This week seemed to just fly by for me for some reason! I am having a hard time remembering what I told you guys already last week and what I haven't told you yet! Ha so if I repeat myself don't be mad at me! This week we had really good success meeting with people, so that was really cool!! Also, this week was transfer week so it was kind of a sad week as well because we had to say goodbye to a cool elder! His name is Elder Lauritzen and I have been serving in the same house as him for the last 7 months of my mission and he was just one of those guys where I am pretty sure that we were best friends before this life, so it was really hard having to say goodbye to him!! He is a good missionary and I know he will be doing some mad work in his new area! Hopefully I will be able to be in the same house as him again or maybe even be his companion! :) So yeah, that was a sad goodbye, but I will be able to see him again in like 3 weeks because President Holland comes in 3 weeks!!!! So crazy!! I'm so pumped to be able to meet a General Authority!!

So, another cool story that I have to tell you all this week… you all remember Ming Vee, right!? She was the less active member who gave me all of her scriptures and magazines and told me that she did not want to be a member anymore! Anyway, so we went to her house on Tuesday and we asked if we could come inside and teach her a lesson and I could tell that she had kind of had an off day and so I asked her if everything was ok. She kind of talked about how she is just really struggling right now and that she feels super confused and lost. Then she continued to tell us that sometimes she gets the feeling to come back to church or to pray to God, but then right after she gets that feeling she just feels super lazy and that it's not important to do all of those things. When she said all of that I asked her, “Out of those two feelings, which one do you feel like is coming from God and which one is coming from Satan?” I shared a scripture in 2 Nephi about how the devil will never tell man to pray but will tell them not to pray so that it will move them further away from their Heavenly Father! Then after that I just started going off on a very long motivational speech! It's really hard to try to think back and recollect what I said to her because I felt like the Spirit had completely taken over and I was opening up my mouth and words of encouragement were just pouring out! It was one of the most spiritual experiences that I have had out here on the mission and far and away the best lesson that I have ever had my entire mission! I felt the love that God has for Ming Vee and I poured my heart out to her and I also lectured her a little bit as well and told her that she just needs to start from the beginning again… start fresh and put her faith in God and God only!! Not in the members or the Branch President or the Elders or anyone of this world! I told her that if we put our faith in people, one day we eventually will fall because they will do something to make us sad or mad and then the faith that we had will be gone because we were not building on a firm foundation! I told her that God loves her so much and needs her back in His fold to be able to use her to go and do His work in bringing the gospel message to every person in Cambodia! As I looked at the clock when I got done talking I realized I had been talking to her for 45 minutes straight! It was so weird because it really only seemed like maybe 10 minutes! She was crying a lot and then she told me that she was trying to listen to what I said, but that sometimes she felt like there was something not letting her listen to the things that I was saying to her! I asked her if she would like us to give her a blessing, but she said she wanted to pray herself and use her own faith and ask whatever it was that was keeping her from being able to listen to us to leave from her! We got on our knees and prayed and she gave one of the most beautiful prayers I have ever heard! It was so sincere! She was just having a conversation with her Heavenly Father about her struggles and begging for His help and as she continued to pray, the Holy Ghost filled the whole room and I knew that any evil spirits that might have once been in that house were no longer there! There was just no room for anything but the Spirit!! She finished praying and I looked her in the eyes and I told her to remember the feeling that she was feeling right then, to hold on to that feeling and remember what it feels like so that she can know when a feeling comes into her mind and heart that does not feel like that feeling that it's not coming from God, but from Satan instead! The Spirit was at its absolute peak so I left it at that and we left her house! Biking home I felt that I truly had helped someone learn to understand the feeling of the Holy Ghost! It was such an amazing experience and my writing it down and telling it to all of you really can do it no justice at all, but I want to share this experience that is special to my heart so that you all can hear my testimony that the Spirit of God is real!! The Spirit will soften hearts and will comfort those who are lost! I am just some 21-year-old punk, but because I had the Holy Ghost with me I was able to reach out and touch the heart of a lost sheep!

I love my mission! I love being an instrument in the Lord’s hands!! The week went on very successfully and we were able to meet with lots of other members and investigators as well, which was super awesome! The other highlight of this week was when we went to church on Sunday, I was sitting on the stage because I was helping pass sacrament and then about 5 minutes to the hour, I saw Ming Vee walk into the chapel and sit down! I can't put it into words how happy I was! I immediately said a prayer to my Heavenly Father and thanked him for helping me know what to say to help her come back! She attended all three hours and was given a big hug by a lot of the members, which was super cool to see as well!! After Sacrament she came up to me (you should know that she has a very funny personality… she likes to joke around a lot) and she said, "Hey! Don't think you have won Elder!" Haha I just smiled and told her that I was so happy that she decided to come to church today and then I said, "Today we’re all winners Ming:)" She agreed and we had a good laugh! Guys, I don't know how many other ways I can say it and I only know how to say it in one other language, but I have to say it again! I LOVE MY MISSION!!! There is not a better place in the entire world to come and serve two years of your life to help people come to a knowledge that so many of us have received already!! I love being able to help these wonderful and humble people come to a realization that they are a part of something more special and more sacred and more rewarding then they have ever even dreamed of! I am so grateful that I have this opportunity to come and serve here in Cambodia! I love my mission and I love this gospel! I invite all of you to pour out your heart in thanks to your Heavenly Father for what you have been given! I promise that as you do this you will begin to come to a better realization of just how blessed each and every one of you are! I love you all and hope you have a great week!

All my love,
Elder Steadman:)
អែលឌេីរ ស្តេតមិន