Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!!!

Hello everybody!! Well, I hope that everyone had a very merry Christmas!!!:) I really can't complain at all because I got to Skype with my family and see some of my buddies this Christmas!!:) It really does not get much better that that for me!!:) It was so good to see everyone's faces!! It's been too long! The only bummer of that day was I had food poisoning and had a total of 23 bathroom visits in less than a day!! Haha look at me just constantly trying to break my records that I don't ever want to break! I felt bad for my family because I was not 100% there, but just know that I am all healed up now and feeling better than ever!!:)

This week was super fun, but we were not really able to visit with a whole lot of our investigators because we were constantly caroling and making treats and sending them out to people and also just visiting everyone! Lots of visiting, but not a whole lot of lessons! But that's ok because I think that this week we still were able to help people and show our love for them through our visits!!:) Christmas day was super fun because Elder Quirante was able to come down to the city! The area that he is in does not have any computers that can Skype, so he got special permission from President to be able to come down to the city and have Christmas with my Zone!! :) He slept over at my house on Christmas Eve and then on Christmas Day we all woke up and worked out on top of our house and then got ready for the day. Then we went to this huge mall that is in the city and they had a bowling alley inside the actual mall! It was insane! So we went bowling and... of course, I won;) Not that that's important or anything, but I had bragging rights for the rest of the day! Haha then I bought some athletic shoes for when I go home and then in the late afternoon we went over to the mission home because President and Sister Christensen were in charge of catering Christmas dinner for our Zone! All of my Zone and Quirante and his comp met at the mission home and we got to watch a video of compiled pics of 2015 and it was so awesome! I was surprised to see that the very last pic of the whole slideshow was of me doing that karate kick with the sunset in the background!! Haha I was so pumped!!:) Then we ate all together and the food was super good except for the fact that I am pretty sure that it gave me food poisoning, but oh well! You win some, you lose some, right!? Then the next day I got to Skype my family and like I said, that was just amazing! On Sunday we went to church and had 4 investigators show up as well, so that was super awesome to see!!:) Then that evening we went and visited some of the investigators that weren't able to make it to church and that was pretty much it for our Sunday!

This week I feel like a whole bunch of stuff happened, but then when I write it out I feel like not a whole lot happened. I guess you'll have to trust me when I say that it was a very busy and yet very fun week for us here!!:) It will also be kind of nice to be able to get back into a more regular schedule with the Christmas season coming to an end, but it sure has been a blast while it lasted! I love being a missionary around the Christmas season! I think that I am really going to miss it next year at this time!! I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have of a loving Savior coming to this earth to take upon him my sins and everyone's sins so that we can repent and return and live with Him again! It's the greatest gift that anyone could ever receive and it's the reason that I am out here on a mission… to share about this amazing gift with a people that in my opinion deserve it more that anyone! I love the people here in Cambodia and want all of them to receive knowledge of a Heavenly Father who loves them with a love unimaginable to the human mind! I want them all to have the very best because they deserve it! I am so lucky to have been able to come and serve among these amazing people! I could not have asked for a better place to serve! I thought I would be repaying my Heavenly Father in a small way by coming on a mission, but once again he has just poured out his blessings upon me while being out here on my mission and I am forever indebted to Him for this opportunity and experience of a lifetime! I will never be able to deny the things and experiences that I have had out here! I know with all of my heart that this church is true and it truly is the Church of Jesus Christ and that He truly does stand at the head of it. I know we are led by modern-day prophets and that they receive inspiration from on high to lead and guide His church. I love this gospel! It's a perfect gospel and I am so grateful for the knowledge of it! I love you all so much and hope you have a very happy New Year! Do something exciting and light a couple fireworks off for me!!:)

Much love headed your way!!
Elder Steadman

Homemade gym equipment :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Spreading love and the Christmas spirit

Hello everybody!! Well, another amazing week down in the books!! :) I don't really know where to start this week because there were a lot of really fun things that happened, but I guess I will start off with last p-day! So Monday we went shopping and I found some really cool Nike shoes and got a pair of them for my birthday! Then after that, we went to a place called the Pizza Company for lunch! It's really expensive, but it was soooo worth the price because it was delicious!!:) After we went there we went to a driving range and for the first time in almost 2 years I got to hit a bucket of balls!!:) It was an absolute blast!!!!:) It was so relaxing and I had the time of my life! Then Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty regular days! We just went out and taught lots of our investigators and members, which is always awesome!! We had a couple investigators move out of our area this week which was really sad, but hopefully they will continue to learn with the elders in their new area!!:)

Thursday was my birthday and my companion surprised me with a gift! He bought me shoes!! At the Nike shop I was trying to decide between these two pairs and when I finally decided, he secretly bought me the other pair that I really liked! He is so awesome! I was super surprised because I did not see him leave my sight for one second! But then he told me he had written on a sticky note and given it to one of the workers asking him to put the pair of shoes in his bag and he said he would pay them for it when I was not looking! What a stud! Then I got another surprise when a member from one of my old areas sent me a birthday cake! Haha she lives super far away so she had it sent by car and then asked one of her friends that lives pretty close to me to bring it to my house! So that was another cool surprise! To top things off, that night I got to dress up like Santa Claus and go Christmas caroling!! It was so fun! I had a big bag of treats and we went to visit some of the less active members of the ward and as we drove from house to house we sang the Khmer version of Jingle Bells, and then when we got to each house we sang Joy to the World and then Silent Night! It was super awesome and I cannot think of a better way to have spent my last birthday here in Cambodia then to have dressed up like Santa Claus and spread love and the Christmas spirit to the wonderful members here!!:)

Then on Saturday we had our Stake Christmas party! It was so much fun! It was just s full day of dancing and singing and performances of every kind, and then at the end they had some good things to eat! President Christensen came to the party as well!! When everyone was done eating they all started to dance… but it's not the same dancing as in America! It's a little more traditional ha :) You basically just move your hands around a lot and that means you can dance like a Cambodian! Anyway, I went up to President and told him he had to come and dance with me! He told me that he had already danced, but I did not accept no for an answer!! Haha so President, Sister Christensen and I all headed to the dance floor to do some Khmer traditional dancing! Haha once the other missionaries saw that President and I were dancing, they all joined in around us as well!! Haha we danced all together for a couple of minutes and then headed out to enjoy watching the members dance around! It was overall a super fun Christmas party!:) Then on Sunday we had church and we had 3 investigators show up this week, which was super awesome, and the best part was they all stayed for all 3 hours!!:) After church we all went caroling again, but this time Elder Riches dressed up as Santa Claus!!:) He is way too ripped to be Santa though haha!! We went to this cute old lady's house and she just started to cry and give all of us hugs as we were singing to her! It was seriously the cutest thing ever and the Spirit was super strong!! It was a great way to end a great Sunday, and a great week for that matter!!

I am not gonna lie, I am super excited to be able to Skype my friends and family this week! I can't believe the time is already here to see my family's cute faces again! And all my friends’ ugly faces!!:) Just kidding guys! Anyway, that's pretty much all that I have for you all this week! I love this work so much and I LOVE the people of Cambodia with all of my heart! I would not have picked anywhere else in the world to come and serve than right here! It truly is the best mission in the whole world! Please pray that the hearts of the people here will continue to be opened and that they will accept the wonderful message that we have to share with them! I love you all so much!!

Elder Steadman

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Stocking up, "seeds", and reunions

Hello everybody!! It's already that time of the week again! Crazy!! Well, this week as usual we are going to be crazy busy so I don't have a ton of time to give you a big long run down, but I will do my best to tell you a little bit about what went down! Last Monday was INSANE!! The house I moved into was missing a ton of house appliances (stuff like a microwave and toaster and pans and tupperware and a slow cooker), so my companion and I made a huge list of everything that we had to get on p-day and it was a full page front and back of different items to buy and errands we had to do, and guess what!? We did it! But almost at the cost of our lives!! We were running around Phnom Penh ALL day and by the end I was seriously so exhausted!! One of the most exhausting days of my whole mission! But it was super worth it because now we have all of the stuff that we really need in the house! Apparently, the senior missionary couple had been begging the Elders before me to go out and buy some of that stuff, but no one wanted to do it so I guess I was the man that was up to the challenge! Mainly because I can't survive without all that stuff haha!!

Anyway, Monday was crazy and then Tuesday was good because we got to meet a lot of less actives and invite them to come to church! All of the members are super awesome here and super welcoming even if they don't want to come to church! I love it so much! On Wednesday we had our English class! It was really fun! There are not a whole lot of people that come to the class, but the people that do come always have a blast!!:) Oh, and then on Friday we had a pretty cool experience! Earlier in the week we were contacting and we met this really cool couple and she was already a member of a different church, but when we asked them if we could come back and teach them a lesson about what we believe, she invited us back to her house! So on Friday we went back over to their house and we taught them the first lesson, and we had some really good member help with us as well, and the lesson went super good! She was a little bit skeptical about Joseph Smith, but she loved the fact that she did not need to just take our word for it that what we were telling her was true, but that she could pray to Heavenly Father and He would be the one to tell her if it was true or not! Then we asked if we could come back again another day and they accepted! They also told us that they have been contacted by the missionaries lots of times before, but have always politely declined; but this time when we contacted them they felt like they should learn with us! I was very flattered and at the same time I was also very grateful for the dedicated Elders that served before me! They were the ones that planted the seeds! It makes me feel better knowing that when I go contact and no one wants to learn, I can have peace in my heart knowing that I am just laying the foundation for missionaries in later years to come!! Then on Friday evening we went to go teach a recent convert of ours, and her neighbor joined in on the lesson! After the lesson we asked her if she would like to learn with us as well and she accepted and so we went over the next day and taught her the first lesson, and to add to that she came to church as well!! Super awesome!:) Then Sunday evening was an absolute blast!!! We had a Christmas devotional that was held at the South Stake Center and all of the wards and branches in Phnom Penh were invited so it was an absolute blast for me because I was able to see all of my old friends from all of my different areas!! It was seriously sooooo awesome! I had on a perma-smile for the entire 2 hours just catching up with all of my long lost friends!! It made me miss all of my old areas so much! The one thing that's kinda hard about missions is it is just 2 years of having to say hard goodbyes! But then every once in a while you get to have those amazing reunions and it makes everything worth it! Anyway, that was super awesome and I had a blast!

For this week, that's pretty much all I’ve got for you all! I am sorry I don't have a ponderize scripture this week yet! I have been so busy trying to get to know my new area, and there’s been the craziness of the holiday season as well, but I will try to get one to you all next week! I know this church is true! I love this gospel with all of my heart! It's brought me to people that I know I must have known before this life and has helped me create friendships with people half way across the world that will last a lifetime! What other kind of gospel can give you that kind of happiness!? I know that it's true and I am so blessed to be able to share this great message with the people of Cambodia, especially during this special time of the year! I hope you will all take a minute to prayerfully thing about who you might share the gospel with this Christmas season! It could be a loved one or a friend or a neighbor or a stranger! What's important is that we open our mouths and share this wonderful gift that we have been given! Without it, I don't know where I would be in my life right now, and I am sure some of you think the same thing! So now let's go and help others feel the same way we do!! I love you all and hope you have an amazing week and a very festive Christmas season!! Much love and prayers headed your way!!:)

Elder Steadman:)

Monday, December 7, 2015

"Short letter... but the church is still true!"

Well, I am in a new area folks!!! I guess first of all I will just tell you a little bit about saying goodbyes in my last area! Because I was coming back down to the city (Phnom Penh) to be a Zone Leader, I had to leave my old area and head for the city on Tuesday when usually you don’t have to leave till Thursday! It was kind of hard because we had to pack our p-day with me just saying goodbye to everyone as fast as I could, but luckily I was able to see pretty much all of the members that I wanted to see before I headed out! I’m not gonna lie, it kind of scares me at just how "ok" I am with saying goodbye to members now! In my first area I remember it was the hardest thing ever, and now I feel like I am starting to become numb to the sadness of saying goodbye to members! I don’t think that that is a good thing!!! Anyway, it was sad, but I’m ok:) Then I went down to the city and we had a meeting for all of the Zone Leaders! They told us that we were going to have to have Zone Training the very next Saturday (so in like 4 days) and I was pretty nervous especially because I don’t know anything about my Zone and I was going to have to teach all by myself! But when Saturday came around it actually went really well! The time just flew by and everything kind of just fell right into place! :) So that was super cool! Then the rest of this week has just been busy with me meeting new people and I don’t really know anything about them so I don’t have anything exciting to tell you all yet, but I am sure in the next couple of weeks I will have a lot more exciting updates for you all! :) I am so sorry, but I have not had time to be able to come up with a “ponderize” scripture this week. I promise next week I will have one for you all! Overall, I really love my area and I love my new comp! He is seriously just like me and we get along soooo well!! I would love it so much if I could finish out my mission with him as my comp! Anyway, I am sorry this week my letter is kind of short, but the church is still true! :) I love you all so much and I hope you all keep enjoying this Christmas Season and are remembering the true reason we celebrate this special time of year! :)

Much love headed your way!
Elder Steadman:)

p.s. I made up for a lack of writing by sending lots of pictures this week:):)

From Mindy: Here are a few highlights from our emails back and forth to each other this week:
  • The new area is called Chbar Ampov… not Chambeau :) It is a district in central Phnom Pehn. It’s “city living” according to Austin. 
  • Comments about his new comp: “He loves to lift! He is ripped! He is a total stud! Loves to do missionary work! Super good at the language and wants help to be even better so I am doing my best with that! It’s just over all really good!” He is apparently from Mesa, Arizona. I asked Austin how he is already so good with the crazy language when he’s only been there a few months and he said, “Because he is super smart!!!” and also because he is working really hard every day to try to master it. 
  • I asked if he wants to have us invite some of his high school buddies over to Skype on Christmas now that they are all home from their missions. He said, “Invite everyone! tys, cars, wit (if shes home), landon, frost, hayden (have tys text him), zac and his wife…seriously just tell them to bring everyone over! And make them treats and have a party so I can watch!” (Noted… buddies, you are all invited to Skype at our house on Christmas night :) 
  • Elder Quirante stayed in Kampong Thom to train a new elder… a Cambodian elder… and guess what?! He’s a kid that Austin baptized a little over one year ago in Siem Reap!!! Austin said, “Pretty cool how things came full circle for me on my mission! :)”

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Time for one last change! :)

Hello Family! :) So as you all already know, this week was transfer calls! I am leaving my area. I am kinda sad about it, but I am also excited for the adventures that lie ahead for me in my new area! So this week is kind of crazy because I have to leave to Phnom Penh on Tuesday because I have to go to a meeting! I am the Zone Leader for the entire East Zone! That's about 20ish missionaries! Usually there are two zone leaders per zone, but when President called me he told me that I would be Zone Leading all by myself!! Haha kinda crazy!! My new companion is Elder Riches or Rich?... I already forgot haha and from what I have heard from other Elders, he is super awesome! He is just coming out of being trained, but they said he is a super smart kid and is really good with the language already! Also, he is very muscular apparently and loves to work out and rumor has it he has already made a ton of weights at the house he is at so that's pretty awesome and lucky for me! :) The area is called Chambeau...not really sure how to spell it in English yet haha, but it’s a very small branch apparently! Only like 20 or so people come to church every week so it sounds like it will be like my area before this one! But my favorite family in Cambodia was in that small branch in Brae Choe so you never know what this area could have in store for me! :) Anyway, this is going to be a really short email today :( I’m really sorry! I have to spend my p-day going to everybody’s houses to say goodbye to them! I really want to say goodbye to some of the members that I love here and I have to do that before I head out on Tuesday morning! I love you all so much though!! I will be sure to have lots of updates for you all on next week’s email home!

For this week, I will give you a super fast update! Thanksgiving was amazing! We went to my old area (Kampong Cham) and the food was delicious! I had turkey for the first time in a year and 9 months! :) The Zone Leaders came up with us on our way home and one of them proselyted with us on Friday and that was a blast! He used to serve in this area so he got to say hi to a lot of people that he already knew! Sunday was super good! We had 106 people at church, which was a new high for us! That was pretty cool because it was my last week in this area as well! I am sad to be leaving this area because I love the members so much, but I also know that the Lord has amazing things planned out for me in my next area! Plus, we are going to be Skyping each other in like 25 days!! What!?!? How does time go this fast!? I will probably be inviting my buddies over again if that's cool with you all!? Oh and just so you know, as far as my area geographically, it’s just outside of Phnom Penh like 30 minutes so I will be able to have a p-day in Phnom Penh and get me teeth whitened when it gets closer to that time! :) Quirante is going to be training in our area and Lauritzen will be headed to Phnom Penh so I will still see them every once and a while! It’s weird to think that I am headed to my very last area of my mission!? How crazy is that? I never thought I would actually have a death area, but I guess it really does happen at some point! :) Anyway, I love you all so very much and I feel so lucky that I am a part of the best family in the entire world! :) I hope you all have an amazing week! :) I love you all SOOO MUCH!!! :) Less than 3 months baby:) Don't miss me too much… I’ll be home before you know it! :)

Much love,