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

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