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!
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!