Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Love and thanks from the Kingdom

Hello everybody! Can you believe that we are already to Thanksgiving week!? That's so crazy to me! I am super excited for Thanksgiving this year though because we are going to Kampong Cham and we have an assigned senior couple that is in charge of making all of the elders and sisters in that area a Thanksgiving feast!! How cool is that!? Our senior couple is super cool too! They are the couple who work in the mission office and they said that they are super excited to be able to come and spoil us! So I am super pumped for that and I will try to take lots of pictures and eat my weight in food as well!! :) 

Ha this week was super good though! It was not too crazy of a week! Pretty much just normal missionary work, but I'll give you the rundown anyways!:) On Monday we went out to a place called Phnom Sontuk! It's a mountain (more of a small hill really) that's famous in our area and the members wanted us to go out there with them because one of our members was leaving to start her mission later that week! So we went out with them and it was pretty fun! We took some good pics and a couple videos I will make sure to send to you! Then on Tuesday we went out to our far away area, but when we got there we found out that one of the members out there was at work and had passed out while she was working and was in the hospital! So we said some quick hellos to everybody in that area and then booked it all the way back to the city to go to the hospital to see her! When we got there she was doing a little bit better already! They had put in an IV and that was helping gain some of her energy back! Anyway, we just stayed and chatted with her for a little bit and then we headed out and told her to keep us updated if she needed anything! We learned a couple days later that she was released from the hospital and was back at her home doing much better! Apparently the place that she worked at was hardly feeding her any food (she said she got a piece of meat the size of the top of her thumb and a plate of rice) and they were making her work insane hours as well, so she decided to quit the job and just find something else once she starts feeling better! One more thing that was pretty funny that happened this week was Quirante and I were at this member’s house and the member was telling us how she has this coconut tree, but she can't reach any of the coconuts! So Quirante volunteered to climb up this tree and get some coconuts! Well let me just tell you right now, climbing one of those things is not as easy as the little Cambodians make it look!! Haha especially when you are as big as Elder Quirante! That's like 210 pounds of pure muscle you’re trying to lift up that tree! So he started climbing up and I think once he got like halfway up he realized how hard of a task this really was, but he was still determined! Well, after 4 or 5 minutes of struggling and tearing the poor sole of his right foot to shreds, he finally came down!! The funnies part was when he showed the member the gash on his foot, she ran and got him medicine (straight alcohol) and poured it all over his foot! Hahaha I haven't laughed like that in a long time! I think the member thought I was a terrible person for laughing at his pain, but I just could not help myself! Haha so later that night when we got home, he was super sore so he proposed we make an ice bath and we take turns sitting in it! Well I have never been in an ice bath before and I was kinda scared, but he told me that I would sleep like a baby after if I decided to do it and well.... I am a sucker for sleeping like a baby! Haha so we went to this shack that sells ice and bought 180 pounds of ice!! Hahaha it only cost a little over 3 bucks! Haha gotta love Cambodia!!:) Anyway, we filled our tub with ice and if you did not know this already, ice baths suck! Haha like seriously that was maybe the most painful thing ever!! We made a video while I was in it and well... I think the video sums up pretty well how I feel about ice baths! Haha let's just say there was a lot of screaming involved!!:) Haha so that was a funny experience that I'll probably never do again, but it will be fun to look back and laugh on that's for sure! :) Then this Sunday we had a lot of people show up to church, which was super awesome!:) After church we invited all of the Priesthood men to meet at the church and break up into groups and go and visit less active families! We had a good amount of people show up and even had some young women ask to go as well so it was super awesome!:) We got to visit a total of like 20 different houses so it was super effective!:)

For this week that's pretty much all I’ve got for ya, but before I go I just want to share my “ponderize” scripture with you all really quickly! It's in Doctrine and Covenants section 58 verse 4 and it reads, “For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand." I know that this scripture is so true! God never promised us that this life would be easy! We are supposed to face hardships and we are supposed to have trials come up in our lives, but just like this scripture says, it is after those tribulations that our Heavenly Father will pour out His blessing upon us! I know that this scripture is true because I have seen it in my life! Before my mission I did not have a whole lot of direction in what I wanted to do with my life and what I thought I wanted in life was not working for me at all. I felt like God had somewhat forgotten about me, but then I realized that God had a plan for me and I tried to push through those difficult times. I can now look back and see the reasons I had to go through those trials and also see the tremendous amount of blessings that my Heavenly Father has given to me for enduring through them! I know there are many more to come, but I can look forward with hope and faith knowing that Heavenly Father will fulfill His promise as stated in the scripture above! I invite all of you who are feeling overwhelmed with the trials that life brings you to just take a second and not worry about all of the things that overwhelm you, but instead ponder all of the things that you have already conquered. Ponder the blessings that you have received from your Heavenly Father, big and small! Ponder the length you have already traveled! I echo the words of the prophets when I say that I promise you all are doing a whole lot better than you think! Don't be so hard on yourself! God is proud of you and He sees every single one of your efforts and He is proud of all of the battles that you win! And He is there to pick you back up and brush you off on the battles that you have lost! There are so many people in your corner, so don't give up! Keep pushing! The time is not yet, but it's soon at hand, and I promise once that day comes we will be so happy that we kept on pushing and kept on trying all the way to the end! I love you all so much and hope that you have a great week and a very happy Thanksgiving! Much love and thanks headed your way from the Kingdom!

Elder Steadman:)

Homemade gym equipment... very creative :)

Monday, November 16, 2015

"It's not a sacrifice, it's a reward..."

Hello everyone!:) This week was another great week here in the Kingdom of Cambodia!! I guess I will get right down to it and just walk you through what we did throughout this week!:) So this last Monday was a pretty chill p-day! We went to the market and got all of our food for this week! I bought a kilo of pork and threw all of it in the crockpot and then had pork sandwiches for the rest of this week! It was sooo good!:) That just might have to become a tradition!:) Haha then after we went to the market we just came home and chilled because that same night I pinched a nerve super bad in my neck so I just laid down and used Elder Quirante's hot pad, which actually helped a ton and got me feeling good enough to go out and do regular missionary work on Tuesday! We went out to our far away area that day and we were able to meet all of our investigators and members out there which was super awesome! That day we also had a member tell us that they knew of another person who wanted to learn, but she lived even further away! Haha we decided we would go see her on Friday and teach her a little bit about prayer and our church!

On Wednesday we went out to look for a whole bunch of less active members, but we didn’t know exactly where they lived! It’s kind of hard because when we are trying to find these people, the only information that we have is a piece of paper with a map (drawn by a former missionary), and sometimes the village that they live in as well! And the worst part is, I am terrible at looking at maps! Well anyway, funny story coming up! Haha so we were trying to find this one house and on the map it showed (or made it seem like) the house was pretty far out, so we hopped on our bikes and started heading in the direction that the map was leading us. The one big landmark that the map had on it was a place they apparently called the Old Stadium! Well, we had never heard of it so we figured we would just ride down this road until we came across this Old Stadium! Haha because on the map it showed it right up against the main road! So we started on our way and we were biking down this road for what seemed like forever! It was fun though because it was a place we had never been before so it was nice to see some new scenery!!:) Well, once we had been riding our bikes for 45 minutes or so, we kind of forgot what we were looking for and were just having a good conversation with each other on our bikes when all of a sudden we see this stadium! Haha we both started to laugh because I think we both thought we would never actually find this Old Stadium place! Well, old it was! We went in and it was pretty cool! Not a single person was in the stadium though! Just Quirante and I! We took a couple random pictures and ran around on the field for a second… like any mature missionary would do:) Haha then we headed out to go look for the houses! We took a right (just like the map told us to), but when we took this right it was not looking anything like what the map was showing it should look like! Well, we weren't too worried, considering the map hadn’t really told us how far away the old stadium was either, and so we just kept on going down this road all the way until it basically went off into a dead end! But at this dead end there was this house, so we figured we could stop at this house and ask them if they knew where the person that we were looking for lived! We saw a man chilling on a hammock outside the house so we walked up to him and I said hello and right after I said hello, one of the craziest things happened! All of a sudden I just see people flooding out of this house! Like seriously, people are literally just coming out of this little house like clowns come out of those small cars! It was insane! Haha I was just laughing as it went from me and this man, to me and this man and 20 of his apparent relatives all interested in what the white guy is doing in their front yard! Haha they were all talking at the same time and then they found out we spoke Khmer and they all started freaking out at the same time :) Haha once things calmed down I took out the piece of paper and asked all 20 of them if they had seen the person in the photograph before. Well, all 290 of them didn't know who he was, so we were just talking with them and then they asked us where we had just barely come from and we told them that we had just been over checking out the Old Stadium. Right when I said that, the guy (and like 7 other people at the same time) said, "That's not the Old Stadium! That's the New Stadium! The Old Stadium is way the opposite direction from here!" Quirante and I just started dying laughing! We could not believe it! Not only did we not find the old stadium, but we managed to find their new stadium instead! Hahaha and believe me, if that's their new stadium, I am terrified to see what their old stadium looks like! Haha we thanked all of them for helping us and then got back on our bikes and made the long journey back home! Haha needless to say, the Elder that drew the map definitely did not find a job in architecture and layout when he got home from his mission! Haha we chalked the day up as a good story to tell and also a new fun place to go to on p-day and throw the football around!:)

On Thursday we mostly just stayed pretty close to the house and taught all of the people close to our house and we actually found a new investigator, so that was pretty cool! He is a brother of a member who is in Phnom Penh learning! He can only meet with us on Saturdays and Sundays, but he seems like a really nice kid!:) Then on Friday we went back out to our far away area and we went even further to go and meet our potential new investigator! It was like another 15-minute bike ride, but the view was soooo beautiful! The path that we rode on to get to the village was right up against a ledge and then there was a beautiful river that snaked along and we just followed the river all the way up to the village! It was so pretty!:) When we got to the village, I think that it was the first time that some of the people in the village had ever seen white people because I'm not lying or exaggerating in any way when I say that there were screams, gasps, and multiple jaws drop when we came riding through on our bikes!! Haha they couldn't even say hello because they were so shocked that they were actually seeing a white person! Ha well we got to the person’s house and she is super awesome! She is like 18 years old and has a strong desire to learn about God! Her mother also sat in on the lesson and her mother’s sisters (2 of them) also sat in on the lesson! Then right as we were ending the lesson another lady came in who turned out to be another sister of the mom, and as soon as she walked in she locked her eyes on me and I'm serious when I say I don't think she ever stopped looking at me! Haha she asked me how old I was and I told her I was 21 (she was 37) and then she proceeded to tell me that she was not yet married and wanted a husband that believed in Jesus! Haha as I got up to leave I told her I knew of the perfect place to find that guy and gave her directions to our church and the time we worshiped! I guess she was not really interested in other members of our church as much as she was interested in me haha, so her next question was a little more straightforward because apparently I didn't get the hidden message of her last question! She asked me if I would be her boyfriend haha, so I told her that I am a missionary and that all I do is teach about Jesus Christ and I'm not really in the market of looking for a wife right now! She told me that was no problem and that she would wait till I ended my mission and then she would marry me! Well I had to tell a small lie… I told her that I actually already have a girlfriend! She asked where she was and I told her she was in America and her face lit up and she said, "So you don't have a girlfriend in Cambodia yet!?" Haha I laughed and told her that's not how it works and that I was not going to be able to marry her! She was bummed at first, but I think she got over it! Except for when we were leaving she yelled out she would never forget me...yikes!! Haha it was pretty funny though:)

On Saturday we stayed pretty close to the house and went and visited some of our less active members and we also went and had a lesson with a person that I contacted the night before! As we were riding home from that far away area, we realized we had not had enough contacts that day so we tried to find a few more people to talk to and so we were passing this small market and I saw this lady just kind of chilling so I stopped my bike and started talking to her. At first she was not interested at all, but then I started talking about eternal families and just bearing my testimony about how families can be together forever and then I asked her if we could come back another day to share more with her and she immediately accepted! So that next day we went to see her and we taught her about prayer and she was super interested and invited us back for another lesson next week so that's pretty cool!!:) Then Sunday was just a regular good Sunday! We went to church and we had 3 investigators show up, which was pretty good! We were hoping for a little bit more, but there's always next week:) But yeah, for this week that's pretty much all that happened!

Oh, before I go I will share my “ponderize” scripture with you all! It's in Ephesians 5 verse 8 and it reads, "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light." I really love this verse! Some of you may not know, but I kind of used to be a punk! Haha at one point in my life I was in darkness and Satan had me convinced that there was no way out. But there was a way out! Through the help of my parents and friends I found the light again! The light that can only be found through our Savior’s atonement. I am so grateful to be a 'child of light' and walk in His path! I love this gospel so much and I love the hope and happiness that it brings to me every day of my life! I don't know what I would do without the knowledge of this gospel! To those of you who are thinking about going on missions or for those of you who have children that are deciding whether or not to go on a mission, I am begging you from the depths of my soul to go!!! You WILL change lives and you will help create eternal families! You will see the effect that this gospel has on families right in front of your very own eyes and because of your service you will have an everlasting effect on generations to come! Serving a mission is far and away the very best decision that I have ever made in my life! I would not change that decision for all the money and riches of this world! It would NEVER be able to buy the happiness that I have felt sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with the people of Cambodia! Please go! If your trying to decide, let me decide for you… Go! The Lord will bless you and your family while you are away! It's not a sacrifice, it's a reward that you will never be able to repay! I am forever indebted to Him for giving me the chance to come here and learn from these people and to share this wonderful message! I love my mission and I love being a missionary! I encourage all youth that are preparing to serve missions to make the decision right now to serve! Don't put that decision off till later on in life because it will just complicate things and Satan will try to make it seem like it's not an important thing to do in your life. Well, he is wrong! It's the most important thing that you can do at this point in your life! It's a commandment given to us from God! It's not something that we can simply say yes or no to (for young men at least). We need to say yes and we need to start preparing now! Learn from my mistakes! I was as old as some of you are now just a couple years ago, but I did not make it a priority to serve a mission! Looking back, I know I could have made my life 100 times less complicated had I stayed on the path and worthily prepared myself to serve a mission! Luckily I made it back, but I walked a fine line that I would hate to see any other young man of this church walk! Just choose the right! It makes you so much happier in the long run and I promise you if you do, you will be an amazing missionary! You can always spot out the missionaries that have always just been pure and good! They have a certain light about them and when they speak, they speak with power and they know that what they are saying is true because they have lived it their whole lives!! I love you all so much and I hope that you can all find ways to prepare yourselves to become missionaries! Old and young! We need member missionaries just as badly as we need full time missionaries! I love this work and I know that it is of God! I know that this is His Church once again established on the earth! I hope that you all have a great week!

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

P.S. from Mindy: Austin won't brag... but I will! He told Joel and I that as of this week, he has officially read the entire Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price ALL IN KHMER!!!!! He's currently working on the New Testament in Khmer and hopes to have completed that before the end of his mission!

Monday, November 9, 2015


Hello everybody!!:) This week just flew by!! Man, I feel like I have said that sentence a million times now! I can't even imagine how sick you all must be of all my super repetitive beginning sentences at the start of these emails! Haha so if anybody has any ideas on what I can say at the beginning of these emails that does not sound cliché I will be happy to take any advice!! It's been over a year and a half and I'm just running out of interesting ways to start out my letters! I'm sorry people! Hang in there… only a couple more months and you will be free of these retched emails!:) Ok, now to my week! It was a super solid week as far as progression and finding new investigators!!:) So one cool thing that happened this week was we got to go down to Kampong Cham (my old area) for training! Before we went I printed out a whole bunch of pictures of members from my old area and I wrote a little note on the back of all of them so that I could give them to the Elders in that area and they could pass them out to all of the people there! It took me forever to write all the notes, but I finally got them all done and when we got up to Kampong Cham, guess what!? I forgot all of them!! Haha I was so bummed! Oh well… I guess I'll just have to wait till transfers to send them all out!! Anyway, we went for zone training and it was super good! Our zone leaders are pretty cool so it was a good time! Then we all went out to eat together and then after that we peaced out to go back to our area!! It was a long day because it's a 3 hour drive there and back and we did it all in one day so we did a lot of sitting that day, but it was good overall!!:)

Another cool thing that happened this week was that there was a young woman in our branch who received her mission call!! She called us on Tuesday to let us know that she would be opening it up at the church that evening! Of course we could not miss that for the world so we went to watch her open it up! It was super intense because she opened it and then just started laughing/crying for seriously like 5 minutes and would not tell us where she was going! Finally she just screamed out, “CAMBODIA PHNOM PENH!!!” Haha we all cheered super loud for her! She was so happy because I don't think she wanted to leave Cambodia at all! Haha I don't blame her either! This place is awesome:):) So we were super excited for her! The craziest part is that she starts her mission in 20 days!!!! Yeah, you heard me right! Twenty days! Ha so that means next transfer I am going to be seeing her in the mission home and she will be a missionary! She was freaking out! Ha she said she thought she was going to be able to party it up till the end of the year and then go, but I guess God had other plans in mind for her! She will be an amazing missionary and I am super excited I get to have a couple transfers with her!

Ok, the other exciting thing that happened this week was that we had another baptism! His name is Sok Chiet and he is so awesome! He such a humble kid and has such a strong testimony already! He is also just one of those genuinely nice people that you come across every once and a while! This week we were teaching him at his house and his house is in our furthest away area and by the time we got done teaching him it had gotten dark. As we were leaving his house he begged us to let him follow us behind our bikes with his moto and light the way for us all the way to our house! Our house is like a 45-minute bike ride away at least and he was completely serious about it too! We politely declined, but man he is just so nice! :) Anyway, the baptism went super good and he bore a great testimony afterwards as well! He also invited two of his buddies to the baptism and I contacted both of them before the baptism and they both told me that they would love to learn with us as well! How sweet is that!? He is getting baptized and inviting all of his buddies to learn too!! What a stud! I will keep you updated on how things work out with that! Then after church we had interviews with President on Sunday evening as well! He is so awesome! The interview was great! He is one of the coolest guys I have ever met! You can truly see that he really does care about you and genuinely wants the very best for you! I love him to death! And his wife is equally amazing!! They compliment each other perfectly and both just love to make each other laugh! I really do love them both so very much!

So as far as this week goes, I think that that's pretty much all that I have for you! But before I go I just want to share my “ponderize” scripture for this last week! It's in Alma chapter 26 verse 12 and it reads, "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever." I love this scripture because I have seen the truthfulness of it throughout my mission! I have come to see that as I have humbled myself before God and given Him the credit for the amazing miracles that I have seen and had the opportunity to be a part of, he has always continued to bless me with those miracles! I know that the people that I have baptized or the people that I have been able to help on my mission are not from me just being good at communicating with people or anything like that, but instead I know that it is by the power of God that I have been able to see all of the miracles that I have seen out here on my mission! As the scripture states, I cannot boast of myself, but I can only boast in my God because through Him and through His power I am able to do all things that He would have me do! I love my Heavenly Father so much and am so thankful that He trusted a punk kid like me to come and teach His beloved people here in Cambodia! I am sure without a doubt that these people have a very special place in His heart, and for me to have the opportunity to be able to come and interact and live with these wonderful people for two years is a blessing I will never be able to come close to repaying my Heavenly Father for!! I LOVE MY MISSION! I LOVE CAMBODIA! And I love every single sweaty, hot, rainy, sticky, smelly, dirty, nasty, humid, funny, sad, hard and priceless experience that comes along with this mission! I would not trade these experiences for the world! I love you all and hope you have a great week! Talk to you all next week... which I'm sure in the beginning of my home letter, I will say something about how fast it's gone!;) Maybe pray this week will go slow for me so I'll have something different to write about!;) Or maybe I'll just wait two weeks to write you all and then it will actually feel like a long time since we have talked!:) Mom, I'm just kidding! Put the telephone down…there is no need to call my mission president! You will be hearing from me again next Monday!;) Love you all so much!!:)

Elder Steadman:)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Ponder the path of thy feet

Hello everybody!:) Well, the weeks just keep flying by! I feel like they are meshing together so much that I don't remember what I have and have not told you! Ha so if I say anything I have already said I'm sorry!:) This week was a good week though! We had no interruptions this week! It was a full week of missionary work so that was super nice for us, and for our investigators as well! Speaking of investigators, we found a young man that is super interested! He is friends with one of the members here and the member invited him to church last week (what an awesome member right!?) and we talked with him and he agreed to meet with us! So we met with him twice this week and he is so awesome! His mom wants to learn as well, but she is working far away right now. She gets home next week I guess, so we should be able to meet with her then, so that's pretty awesome news for this week!:) Also, this week our President here in Kampong Thom asked us to come over to his house so we could help him with some service! So we went over there on Friday morning and helped get his land ready so he could plant some vegetables! It turned out to be super easy! He thought that it would take us an hour or two, but we finished in like 45 minutes! Maybe even less! Ha he was super surprised when he went into his backyard and then came back 30 minutes later to see that the project was all but done! Ha he was very appreciative and after that we headed back to our house to plan out our day! Later that night was also Elder Lauritzen’s one-year mark! It's so crazy that I have literally been with the guy since the very first day that he got in the country all the way up to his one-year mark!! Where does the time go!? Anyway, we went to the only American restaurant in our area and we stuffed ourselves with American food and it was sooooo good:) Oh, and they also had homemade ice cream at the place we went to and oh my goodness people, it was unbelievable!!!

Oh, and another cool thing that happened this week was that two of our investigators were baptized!!:):) Ming Khee and Bong Dara were both baptized this week and it was super awesome! I have some pictures that I will be sending you all of the baptism!!:) Bong Dara's dad got to baptize him and it was so amazing! It was his dad's first time ever doing it and when he went to actually baptize him, he sent his son (and most of himself) straight to the bottom of that font!! Haha there was like a huge tidal wave of water when they both immersed!! Haha needless to say Bong Dara definitely was completely washed of all his sins!!!:) haha So yeah, that's pretty much all that happened to us to this week! It was a good week but we just didn't have a whole ton of exciting things happen that I can tell you all about! Sorry about that:) But trust me when I say it was a very successful week!!:)

Last but not least, I just want to share my “ponderize” scripture with you all really fast! It's in Proverbs chapter 4 verses 25-27 and it reads, "Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil." I really like this scripture because it has always reminded me of my baptismal covenants! When I think of pondering the path of thy feet I think of always pondering before making me a decision! I have to remember that I don't just wear my name, I also wear Christ's name and as his representative I need to always make decisions that would make Him proud and that will keep me on the straight and narrow path! We, as followers of Christ, have all agreed to take upon His name and as we keep His commandments I know that He will be proud to have us be His representatives! I love my Savior and I love His gospel! I know that it's true with all of my heart! I love having the opportunity to be able to share it right now with the people of Cambodia! I love you all and hope that you have an amazing week and also hope you all had an amazing Halloween!!:) Oh, and my Dad's birthday is on this upcoming Saturday and so I need all of you to wish him a very happy birthday!:) I don't know if you guys know this or not, but he is the best dad in the whole entire world so send some love his way!:) I love you Dadio!!:) Anyway, I love you all!

Elder Steadman:)