Thursday, January 28, 2016

The gift you don't have to be a "VIP" to receive

Hello everybody!!:) I hope that you all had another great week!:) The numbers on the calendar just seem to be flying by! This week was a great week for my companion and I here in our area!! This week we had a lot of success in finding new people to teach! We found 3 new investigators and they are all super awesome!! We did a ton of contacting and our hard work most definitely paid off! I will give you a little run down of the week! So on Monday we went down to the city and hung out with all of the missionaries and we had lunch there and stuff and then we headed back to our area in the evening to finish out our day visiting a couple of members and investigators, so that was super good! On Tuesday we had district meeting, and then after that we went to our furthest away area and we spent the day over there! There is this one investigator there who just started learning with us and he accepted the invitation to be baptized! It was pretty cool because he told us that his wife had been trying to talk to him about getting baptized for like 5 years, but he had absolutely no interest! He said it wasn't until he started learning with us that he started to have a desire to be baptized! I know that really it has nothing to do with us, but it was the Holy Ghost that was working through us! That right there is the reason we always have to be worthy, so that others around us can always feel that presence and know that what we are telling them is true and that it is from God! So if you guys would keep him in your prayers… his name is Bong Narin!

On Wednesday we had English class and it was actually a pretty good turnout this week, which was kind of surprising! My comp and I stood outside the church with fliers for like and hour and a half and passed them out to people as they drove by hoping that some of them would come that night! Well, we passed out like 150 flyers and had 2 people show up that same day! That may seem like terrible odds to you all, but we were pretty excited about it! Thursday was a pretty regular day, but then in the evening we met a potential investigator and got to teach her for the first time! Her name is Ming Mom and she is so nice and so awesome! She was so engaged in the lesson the whole time and she asked lots of really good and inspiring questions as well! We taught her about prayer and she thought that that was the coolest thing ever! That we could talk to Heavenly Father whenever we wanted! I think sometimes we all take for granted just how amazing the gift of prayer is! Heavenly Father, who is the great creator, has given us a way to talk to him whenever we want! And not only that, but He also is always listening and promises us that in His time all of our prayers will be answered! Just like any loving parent! Prayer is pretty amazing guys:)

Then on Friday we went to our far away area again and met with anther potential investigator whose name is Om Sunlee and he is super awesome as well! I met him at the Stake Christmas party last year and got his number, but he has been super busy up until just this week. He was super excited to meet us and was very interested in our church! He has some relatives that live far away who are already members of our church so he knows a lot and already has a small testimony about Jesus Christ! Saturday was a weird day actually! Literally everyone was not at home! Like I'm not kidding… everyone that we went to go see that day was not at home! No one would answer their phones! It was super weird! It was my first day like that on my mission! But hey, I guess that's quite the blessing right!? Then on Sunday we went to church and it was super great and we had another great attendance week at church, which was super awesome! I think it really helps when church is in the morning! For some reason everyone wants to come to church in the morning! But hey, I'm not complaining!:) So yeah, for me that was pretty much it for my week!

In my personal study I have been reading a book called the Infinite Atonement! I am only 100 pages in or so, but it has really opened up my eyes to the extremities and the necessity and the absolute pure love that Jesus Christ has for each one of us! As I continue to read this book I continue to learn more and more about the significance of the atonement, but at the same time I feel like I am starting to realize more and more how little I know about the atonement! It's very interesting and I don't really know how to explain it, but the one thing that I always feel when I read this book is the overwhelming amount of love that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for us! It makes me shudder to think of where I would be at in my life without the atonement or without the knowledge of the atonement! The knowledge that you can be forgiven, the knowledge that no matter what you have been through in your life there is one person that knows exactly how you are feeling and knows just how to comfort you if you will but just let him in! Open up to him! I have not lived a very long time yet, but one thing I have always been able to count in is a God with arms wide open… anytime I am willing to embrace Him, He is always there for me. That's a blessing I will never be able to repay Him for! It's a blessing that He wants all of us to receive! Jesus did not just suffer for the sins of everyone in this church, He did not just suffer for the sins of everyone that believed on His name, He did not suffer for just the ones that lived in that era when He so mercifully gave up his life, but rather He atoned for everyone’s sins that ever lived on the face of this earth and that ever will live on this earth! This is not an exclusive gift that only people in the "VIP" section can receive! It is part of God’s plan to spread this message over the face of this whole earth! This is a message that everyone needs to hear! If there was no atonement, this whole life would be of no worth! As the scriptures share with us, if there was no atonement made for the sins of all man, then there would be no resurrection and man would become like unto Satan. How does that life sound to you? Does that sound like a life that you would want to live? I am so grateful for Christ, that he could see the big picture and come down and do the impossible! Only one being had the power from on high to complete the most noble of all callings, and that was our Savior Jesus Christ! I would invite you all this week to ponder and study about the Atonement of Jesus Christ! I promise that if you all do this, not only will you have a burning desire to share this wonderful message with others, but God will also put people in your path to share your testimony with about the wonderful message of the Atonement! This is a message God wants all of His children to hear and receive and we are his mouthpieces here on the earth! Please share it with the people around you! I promise the Spirit will testify that what you are saying is true! I know this because I have had the opportunity to do it for the last 2 years of my life! The Spirit has never let down His end of the promise! Strive to live worthy of the Holy Ghost so that He can be with you as you testify of truth! And if you’re not worthy then use the most wonderful gift that God has ever given to man and get worthy! The atonement is not just meant to be preached about! It's meant to be used!! Trust me! I have felt the healing power that comes from using the atonement many, many times in my life! I love you all so much! I want you all to know that I know this Church is true! Jesus Christ is at the head of it and we are lead by a modern day prophet! I know that he has been called of God for this specific time. I know that this is the only church with the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ! I know that the Book of Mormon is true! It's a book that is given to us from God as another testimony that this truly is Jesus Christ's church again restored onto the earth! I love my mission and I am so grateful I have been able serve here in Cambodia! I am certain there is not a better place in the world to give two years of service to my Savior! I have a burning love for the people here and will never be able to forget the amazing experiences and relationships that I have built out here! I love Cambodia so much!! Can't even explain it to you guys! It's just amazing!!! I love you guys! Hope you have a great week!!:)

Elder Steadman:)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Time is flying!

Hello my awesome family!!:) I hope all of you had a great week! This week was fun for me because there was a little bit of change! Change always just makes the time fly for some reason! But before I get to all that, I will fill you in on what happened in the week before the big change!:) So on Monday my comp and I spent most of the day going to this place called the Killing Fields. It was basically a concentration camp back during the war! It was interesting because the last time that I went to that place I was still in my training and I was going out there with a whole bunch of missionaries that were super old in the mission, but this week I was the old missionary! I don't feel like I am an old missionary, but all the younger missionaries constantly remind me of how old I am in the mission! Haha but it was way fun! You get a headset when you go so you can listen about the history of what happened there and when I went the first time almost 2 years ago I tried to listen in Khmer, but couldn't understand anything and had to go switch! This time I chose Khmer again and laughed thinking about myself 2 years ago trying to understand that same voice that was now so easy for me to understand!! Haha missions are crazy! Anyway, it was a cool experience, but also a very sad place where lots of terrible things happened. The Cambodian people have been through an incredibly hard past! As I was walking through the place, there was this really old man that was working there and I saw that he was missing his arm. When he sat down to rest I went over to talk to him and asked him about how he felt about all of this, because he was alive when all of this was actually happening. He told me he was about 13 or 14 during that time and he also told me the story of when he lost his arm. It was a grenade that was planted on the curb of a busy rode and he and his brother tried to ride the curb and the grenade exploded. He said his brother blocked almost everything but because he had his hand wrapped around his brother’s waist it was completely blown off. Unfortunately, his brother died in the accident as well. It was a very sad story and then he went on to tell me all of the different hardships that he had to go through during that time! It really made me gain a great love and concern for him! I told him in our religion we believe that we can be with families together forever and gave him a pamphlet to read. He politely accepted and after a few more minutes of casual conversation we headed our separate ways! I will remember that experience forever though!

On Tuesday and Wednesday we spent most of our time just visiting the members that Elder Riches wanted to say goodbye to! Then on Thursday I got my new companion! His name is Elder Bo! He is soooo awesome! I love him so much! We have only been together for less than a week, but he is so much fun! And I just love being able to speak Khmer all of the time!! He knows English pretty decently as well so we have fun speaking in both languages!:) This week while I was with him we already have found 3 new investigators, which is super awesome! He is quite old in the area too so he is a really great teacher and I am learning so much from him!! Sunday was super good as well because we had 75 people show up to church, which is more than I have ever had here!! So overall this week was a super great week and I hope that all of you guys have a great week this next week as well! Sorry this letter is not super long this week! Hopefully I will have something crazy to tell you all about next week! Love you all so very much!

Elder Steadman

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Duck embryos, exciting announcements, & the LAST transfer!!

Hello everybody!! Well, I hope that you all had a great week over in the good old USA!:) Over here in Cambodia it was a pretty regular week in the life of a missionary!!:) I'll just give you a quick rundown of everything that happened to us this week! Monday night we went to a family home evening and it was super fun! There is this return missionary in our ward and he invited us over to his house for dinner on Monday night, so we went over with the Sisters as well and ate! He had bought this food called ពងទាកូន…which translates into baby duck eggs. It's kind of hard to explain what exactly this is, but long story short, it's a duck embryo, meaning that it's only partially developed and then they boil the egg so that it dies and then they eat it! Haha so we ate those and they’re actually really good:) I know none of you will believe me when I say that, but I'm really not lying! Ha so family home evening was a success! Then on Tuesday I had to go to Mission Leadership Conference, which is just for all of the zone leaders and sister training leaders, and that was super good! It was from like 8 in the morning till 12 so it was pretty long, but we talked about a lot of great stuff and some things that we can do to help this mission grow even more!! Another cool thing that President announced was that there is going to be a worldwide missionary training video that will be broadcast to all of the missionaries throughout the entire world! So that's pretty tight! I think that the actual broadcast date is on the 20th, but we won't be watching it till the 26th! So when we watch it I will let you know how that went!:)

On Wednesday we got to go out and meet a lot of our investigators and members and that's always just the best!:) We had one member compliment us, saying that she just thinks it's so crazy how we can always be smiling despite the heat and biking and everything else! So that made us smile even bigger!:) ha Then later that evening we had English class and it was kind of sad because we did not have a ton of people show up, but it was also kind of cool because we had 4 non-members show up and usually our students are all our members so we were super excited to see some new faces and also invited all of them to tell their friends to come to our class next week as well! Then Thursday was a pretty regular day of missionary work! We went to this guy’s house named Pu Somnang and he is a midget and he is also really sick and can't walk by himself, but he loves to walk so we usually go to his house two times a week to help carry him around so he can practice walking! Basically we just hold him underneath his armpits to support him and then we go walking! It's a workout on my lower back because he is so short, but he is always so appreciative that it's definitely worth the sore back:) On Friday I had to teach Zone Training! So basically I just take everything that I learned in the Mission Leadership Conference meeting and teach it to the rest of my zone and also add things that I think our zone needs particular help on! It went really well! I am a solo zone leader and the meeting is 3 hours long so it's a lot of talking for me, but everyone helped participate and gave their input so it made things a lot more fun and exciting! Oh, we found out one amazing thing this week! I was in the middle of teaching at the Zone Training thing when the AP's called me! I knew that they knew that I was in the middle of teaching everyone so I figured that it must be important so I stepped out of the room to answer their call really fast and it turns out it was important! They told me that they had an exciting announcement for me to announce to the rest of my zone! They told me that starting March 1st, Vietnam will be considered their own mission!! When they told me, I just got the chills! I was so pumped! I went right back into the room to tell everyone and when I told them, they all started screaming and celebrating! It's a huge step for Vietnam to be their own mission and to have their own mission president! I think it's going to do amazing things for that country! :) So that was probably the most exciting news that I received this week! 

Saturday was just a regular day with visiting members and investigators, but then Sunday was Transfer calls!! Can you believe that it's already been a transfer!? SO CRAZY PEOPLE!! Where does the time go!? Anyway, so transfer calls came in! This transfer I was really hoping that Elder Riches and I could go one more together just because we really get along, but the problem is that he has already been in this area for a really long time! So I was nervous what this transfer call had in store for me! When the call came in, they told me that the ride for my companion and I had come to an end! I was sad, but then they told me that my new companion is Elder Bo! He is a Khmer elder and from what everyone has said about him, he is one of the coolest elders in the mission! I was super excited because I told myself that if I was not able to be with Elder Riches again, I wanted to be companions with a Khmer elder to finish out my mission! So I got what I wanted, plus he is an awesome Elder so I cannot wait! We will start being companions this upcoming Thursday! I feel like this is the best way that I could start the last transfer of my mission! I am excited for all of the fun times ahead these next 6 weeks! I love you all so much and am so thankful for all of the prayers that you send my way each day! They really are felt! I can't wait to talk to you all next week and tell you how everything is! Much love headed your way from the Kingdom!!

Elder Steadman:)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

New Year's... Cambodian style

Hello everybody!!:) It's 2016!!! Can you believe it!? It just does not seem real to me!! I hope that everyone had a great New Year’s, but did not party too hard!!:) For me this week was super good! On Tuesday I got to go on an exchange with one of the district leaders in my Zone! His name is Elder Allred and he is super cool! He is in the same group as Elder Lauritzen actually! So I got to go out to his area for a day and see how things are going for him! It was actually super interesting because I have been on an exchange with him before, but it was when he was just 2 weeks into the country! Now he is where I was at (as far as time in the mission) when I went on the exchange with him way back then! So crazy! It was cool to see how much he has grown in the language! It really is so crazy how fast we are able to learn this crazy language! It truly is God's work!! Then on Wednesday we just had a regular day and had English class as well, but there were not a whole lot of people that showed up this week. For the people that did show up, I tried to make it a fun time and invited them to invite their friends next week! Thursday was pretty good except for the fact that I came down with a stomach bug so we stayed in for the afternoon, but we had people that we had to see in the evening so we went out and visited with them and that was super good!:) Then we stayed up and watched the clock hit 2016! We heard fireworks so we went up to our roof and watched the fireworks go off that they were shooting over in Phnom Penh! It was pretty cool because they were super big and colorful! I sat and pondered about the last year of my life and just felt extremely grateful that I have had the amazing opportunity to come here and serve a mission and meet the wonderful people here in Cambodia! On Friday our ward had a New Year’s party so we went to that and they had some small games for the little kids to play and there was music and dancing and it was a blast!!:) There weren't a ton of members that showed up, but we had about 40 so it was a pretty decent turnout!:) Then on Saturday, all of the Priesthood brothers got together at 2:00 to clean the church! We cleaned it up and down spotless and then at the end the Branch President from the other area made dog meat for everyone!! I'm sorry for all you dog lovers, but it was delicious!!!:) By far the best that I have had on my mission so far!! If it makes you guys feel any better, the life for a dog here in Cambodia is nothing like America and I think some dogs would rather become a delicious meal then to stay living in Cambodia! It's a rough life for dogs here... no pun intended. ;) On Sunday we meet in the mornings now and we had 68 people at church this week, which was super awesome!! It seemed like everyone showed up to church and they showed up on time! I got to church like 15 minutes early and there were like 20 people already at church and I was like, “Am I on punkd??” Haha no one shows up on time to church here, but for some reason this morning everyone and their dog (get it? Because we ate dog yesterday....:)) showed up on time!! But hey, I'm not complaining! I was happy to see everyone there! But yeah, that's pretty much all of the news that I have for you all this week! Overall it was a really great week!

Oh, and we also had a breakthrough with one of our investigators! He was supposed to get baptized a couple of weeks ago, but he started drinking again and for the last week and a half he has not wanted to meet us and he even yelled at us with his friends to stop coming to see him. However, when we drove past his house the other day he called out to us and so we went over to talk to him and he just broke down and told us everything that was going on in his life and how he had no hope at all for his future because he messed up and he felt like he was not going to be able to get baptized anymore or be able to follow God. Well, it was amazing watching his face light up as we told him that he can follow God and that he can repent and still get baptized, and as we were telling him all this I could see a spark light in his eyes and he knew that what we were telling him was true! As we ended the lesson, we sang a hymn together and then he said the closing prayer and it was the most beautiful and most heartfelt prayer that I have ever heard anyone give since I have been out here on my mission! I was overcome with the Spirit and my eyes began to fill up with this water stuff... I think they call it tears? Ha but I recomposed myself and as he ended I thanked him for the wonderful prayer and then we planned to meet each other again so he could start on the repentance process and get back onto the path that he so desperately wants to be on! It was an amazing spiritual lesson that I don't think I will ever forget!! It's amazing to watch the Light of Christ light up in people as you share gospel truths! I know without a shadow of a doubt that his truly is God’s work! I know that He knows each one of us by name and cares and loves us more than we could ever even begin to imagine! I have done wrong so many times in my life that it would be impossible to even try to begin to count all of them, but thanks to a loving Heavenly Father, I know the way to be relieved of those faults and be forgiven of those sins! I know the Atonement of Jesus Christ is real and that through it we can be healed from our spiritual wounds and forgiven for our wrongdoings! There is only one way to have the heavy burden of sin and heartache lifted from off of your shoulders, and that is through our Lord and Savior! I know that He lives and I know that He cares about each and every one of us! He died for our sins and He rose again so that we too can rise again and live with our Heavenly Father in His Kingdom! I love you all so much and am so grateful for the love and support that you have given me throughout my whole mission! I hope that you all will take the time to make some goals for what you want to come out of the year 2016 and what you are going to do this year to show your Heavenly Father that you love him too!! Have a great week!

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