Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Mug shots and missionary work

Hello everybody!!:) I don't know why, but for some reason this week just flew by!! Now we are in October!! That's crazy people!! Where has this year gone!? All right, so this was a really great week for us because we were able to be in our area for the whole week and there was no sickness or injuries involved either!!:) How amazing!!:) So I will give you a little rundown of everything that we did this last week! On Monday we had a good p-day and we went out to the market and got all of the food that we needed for the week and it was the end of the month so we did not buy a ton of stuff! Basically just enough to get by! Then at the end of our p-day we played some football! We only have 4 elders here, but it was still lots of fun being able to throw the football around and exercise a little bit!:) 

Then on Tuesday we had to go to the police station here in Kampong Thom because they wanted to see our passports and visas to make sure that we were not illegal immigrants...haha I'm sure that's a huge problem for Cambodia right now… Americans trying to sneak into their country...haha that seems kind of backwards to me! Well, to amuse the police we decided to go to the police station so they would not go on a wild manhunt for the dangerous foreigners dressed up in conspicuous clothing (white shirt and a tie with conservative slacks). When we got there they checked out all of our stuff and, after giving us the stink eye, told us that everything seemed to be in order! Phew!!:) But then they proceeded to tell us that we were going to have to go get our pictures taken so that they could put the pictures in a book...not really sure what the book was all about...looked kinda like a scrapbook to me! They told us that it was not up for debate and it would have to be done if we wanted to live in Kampong Thom! It would have been way easier to take this guy more seriously if he had not been wearing flip-flops haha, not to mention that his name translated into English was “Fresh Women”...yaaaaaa enough said there! Haha so we complied with his demands, but we also decided that we were going to have a little fun with this opportunity as well!! So this is going to be kind of hard to explain to all of you guys, but I will do my best! So you know the picture that everyone has to take in order to get a passport? The one with a blue or white backdrop where you are not allowed to smile and it always turns out horrendous!? Yeah, well, Cambodians love that picture SOOOO much!! Pretty sure that every Cambodian has gone and taken that picture at least once! Most of the time when you are leaving an area and they want to give you a picture so that you will be able to remember them, they will give you that passport picture!! It's a classic over here! So anyway, we decided that we would go and take our own passport pictures and try to make our faces look as Khmer-looking AND as cheesy as possible! It's just going to be too hard to explain it any further to you all so I am going to attach the pictures that Elder Quirante and I took at the photo shop place! Needless to say they turned out PERFECT!! So perfect that we actually decided to frame our pictures and hang them up in our room!!:) Yes, we are weird… I know!:) haha Anyway, so that was a blast and now every time the police look in their little scrapbook they will see the two most goofy looking Americans they have ever seen!!:) So that was one of the more fun parts of my week!

Then on Wednesday we had a super good day and actually found a new investigator and he is super awesome! He has learned with a different church before, but he is interested in our church and wants to learn more about it so that's pretty cool! And then we had dinner at a member’s house! Her name is Sophal! She is the lady that makes ties for all of the missionaries here in Cambodia! She is the reason why I have spent a good part of my life savings on ties!! Haha they are just too pretty not to buy!! We got to go to her house and saw some of the ties that she is planning on making... I'm so excited!! Haha and since we are in her area, we get first pick over everyone!! That's what I am talking about baby!!:)

Thursday was an interesting day as well because we got a call from this member who was Cambodian, but then moved to Thailand for work, and now was coming back to Cambodia. He looked us up and it turns out that he was not a member when he originally left Cambodia, but then when he was in Thailand working the missionaries found him and he became a member over there! He decided that he wanted to go on a mission so he turned in his papers and he now has a call to go to England for two years and he leaves in November! We were talking to him and he was telling us how he really wants his family to learn, so we asked him where he lived, but we did not recognize the area. He just told us it was a ways a way and so we should take a tuk-tuk (a motorcycle with a little carriage attached onto it for people to sit in). We decided that we should at least go and give it a shot and see how far away it really was! Well folks, it's far!! Haha it took like an hour and a half to get to his house, and that was riding at motorcycle speed!! Haha when we finally got there we got to meet his family and that was super awesome! None of them had ever learned about Jesus before so we got to share a little bit about what we believe and talked a lot about prayer and being able to communicate with our Heavenly Father. Then we gave them a whole bunch of books and pamphlets and magazines and a couple of Book of Mormon's as well and it was super awesome! Unfortunately, we cannot teach them because it's way far out of our proselyting area, but we invited them to come to church any time they are able to make the long drive out and we also encouraged them to read what we left for them and start to pray. We promised them that sometime in the near future, God would provide a way for them to be able to continue learning! We didn't know in what way yet, but we felt confident that God would provide a way for them in the near future! So that was a pretty fun thing that happened to us this week as well! I'll send a few pics of our drive out there and a pic of his family as well!!:)

Then Friday and Saturday were super good days just full of missionary work! We had lots of lessons and it was kind of cool because when we planned, everything seemed to just fall right into place as we were out proselyting! Which, to be honest, usually is not the case at all! But this week everything just seemed to be going our way! Everyone was home when we came to visit them and everyone made time to meet with us when we got to their houses! So awesome!!:) Since Quirante and I have been in this area, we have been able to help 12 less active members come back to church! I know that's not at all because of us, but I know that God is working through us and allowing us to touch the hearts of those members and let the Spirit touch their hearts so that they can start to regain that desire to come back to church and continue to walk the path that our Heavenly Father has planned out for us! I just love being a missionary in Kampomg Thom right now! I would not want to be anywhere else in the whole world!!:)

Then this Sunday we had a baptism!!:) Soklae got baptized! It was so awesome! He was super nervous at first! He came up to me in church and told me that he was so nervous that his eyes were getting cross-eyed (the kid already has terribly crossed eyes! haha) I reminded him that his eyes were already cross eyed and then he was like, "I know, but now they are super cross eyed! See look!" Then he opened his eyes super big and I just started laughing! He started busting up laughing too and told me he was just messing around with me! Man I love that kid so much! He is the first investigator that I have had my whole mission where it has just been easy for us from start to finish! He had problems just like every one of my other investigators have had too, but the difference was he had a strong determination to do whatever he needed to do to be worthy so he would be able to receive baptism! Honestly, he is a huge inspiration to me! People might say that I taught Soklae, but I feel like Soklae was the one teaching me instead! He has an amazing heart and strong testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel! It's truly been inspiring to watch him grow and be able to be with him throughout the process of his conversion! He wants to go be an Elder in exactly one year from now because that's the soonest that they will let you after you have been baptized! I know when he does serve a mission he will be an amazing tool in the Lord’s hands in helping the work spread! So the baptism was a huge success to say the least and I have got lots of pictures for you so don't worry about that! I even got one where you can see just how cross-eyed he is!! It's funny reading with him because he struggles seeing it clearly and he always curses his eye that won't look straight forward!! Haha he is the best man!

Anyway, that was pretty much it for my week! Overall it was a super good week and it felt awesome to finally be able to spend a whole week in our area without having to worry about anything besides helping our members and investigators! I love this area! I love this church and I especially love my mission! Quirante and I will be riding our bikes and just talk about how lucky we are to be serving in a place like Cambodia! I would not want to serve a mission anywhere else in the whole world!! I truly believe that I am the luckiest guy ever to be able to serve here in Cambodia!! I love every single good and hard thing that comes with this mission as well!! It just feels like things are moving all too quickly! Next thing you know I am going to be too far away from the amazing country that I now call home! But until then I am going to make the most of every minute!! Don't miss me folks because I don't have enough time left to be sitting around missing all of you!:) No offense!!;) I will see you all in a bit!!:)

Much love from the Kingdom!!:)
Elder Steadman:)

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