Monday, June 2, 2014

I was just looking for an English class!

Hello Krom Kruasa and Mitpheak! 
  So today I don't have a bunch of time cuz I'm going to Phnom Sompouv (a really cool hill mountain thing with a temple and some caves). Boy this week has been something else. We contacted a drunk lady last Sunday who said she really wanted to learn about Jesus, so we came back on Monday and taught her whole family! It was super cool! But then we came back three days later and found out her husband (whom we taught 3 days ago) had run away with another woman. Super depressing.... On the other hand she is still super ready to learn. We also got to teach the lady we contacted last week who asked us if we had a job. She really loved our message and said we could come back another time! Then we also have these two progressing investigators named Sameth and Navy. They are doing so great! Both their testimonies have grown like wildfire!! I'm superbly impressed with them every time I visit them. They were progressing super well towards their June 7th baptismal date until 3 nights ago. I have yet to teach anyone that doesn't have one big obstacle to overcome. For Sameth I thought it would be giving up alcohol. Turns out that was easy! But now we found out that Navi and Sameth are not legally married. So now we got to get them married before they can be baptized. Unfortunately its really hard to get a marriage license in Cambodia if you're over 50. But they really wanna be baptized so we're going to figure it out! They said they'd be willing to get married to be baptized so they are currently praying and discussing what to do. I'll keep you all updated on that story! 
  We have a lot of great investigators that are progressing towards baptismal dates this month and Elder Plothow and I are with each other for another transfer to see them all through!!! We're really pumped about that. 
  Before our English class this Wednesday we were going home to pick up some stuff for the class when a girl rode by on a bike. I stuck an English flyer out and she stopped and grabbed it. She looked at me in shock when I said: "English class, 5 o'clock today" She then replied: "I was just looking for an English class!" She road away super excited. I felt really happy haha. Another funny thing that happened this week, Elder Plothow was calling out to our investigator from the guys door way when he pops his head out of the dark and Elder Plothow jumps nearly 2 feet in the air. He gets startled really easy hahah. 
  This week we got a referral from a member. It was her husband who she had been praying to join the church for several years now. We went over the minute she called and treated this referral like a very sacred opportunity. It was incredible. She bore her testimony after she offered an incredible heartfelt prayer and the spirit skyrocketed. We taught him about our loving heavenly father and prayer. He said we could come teach him every day if we had time. We're ecstatic. I'll keep you updated! Until next time you can enjoy this picture of me in front of a Wat that looks like the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland. 
  With Love, Elder Lyle R. Brewer

Dear Fam, This is what President Moon sent us today. 

Dear Elders and Sisters,

This last week has been an historic one in our mission-- first the creation of the first two stakes in Cambodia last weekend, then a major announcement in Vietnam on Friday, and culminating Saturday with the 20 year anniversary celebration for members.  Yesterday the first bishops in Cambodia were sustained and set apart-- not all-- that process will take several weeks for the new stakes to become fully organized, but the first ones were completed.  We are grateful for the ongoing effort and work of the new stake presidencies in the North and South Stakes as they become fully organized.

I wanted to share a few details about the announcement in Vietnam.  For many years we have been working with our local leaders in Vietnam and the government officials there to seek official recognition for the Church in Vietnam and the ability to operate on a more nationwide basis.  This is an ongoing process, and we are not quite large enough yet in terms of numbers of members for them to grant us full recognition as a religion and Church, but Friday in a special ceremony at our branch building in Hanoi, the Vietnamese government officials announced that they have granted our Interim Representative Committee-- a group of our local leaders-- official standing and recognition to represent the Church in Vietnam and to manage the affairs of the Church throughout Vietnam.  This is an important step and milestone in the history of the Church in Vietnam.  It means that we have official and legal standing, through this interim committee, and that they are recognized by the government officials.  We believe this step will help us move towards full official national recognition for the church and our religion.  The government officials wanted it to be a big ceremony and lots of press, so they invited TV news, newspapers, etc.  About two dozen government officials joined with many of our members in Hanoi for the special ceremony, which was reported on news stations and newspapers throughout Vietnam.  If you write home about this, be careful to say that an Interim Representative Committee for the Church-- made up of local leaders-- has been officially recognized by the government of Vietnam.  Don't say the Church or our religion has been granted official recognition-- that would not be accurate.  So what does this mean?  For one, it means we have a recongized and official channel for ongoing coordination and interaction with Vietnamese government officials.  This will ease the process for seeking and gaining approval for additional places of worship, for presence in additional places, and the ongoing work of applying for full national recognition for our Church.  Two, the government officials have invited us to have more members in more locations, and will help as we seek to do that and establish the Church more broadly in Vietnam.  It also means we have an official entity (the Interim Representative Committee) with legal standing in Vietnam, which can have a bank account, sign documents, rent buildings, etc.  We will continue obey, honor, and sustain the law, and follow all of the laws regarding religious activities.  Our branch builders in Vietnam will continue to work much as they do now, but we hope over time to have more branch builders in more places.

I am very grateful personally for the miracles that the Lord has made possible in our mission these last two weeks.  Truly these are days never to be forgotten.  In addition to all of the above we also had 4 of the 5 former mission presidents and their wives here for the creation of the two stakes and a major returned missionary reunion was held this past Monday for all our local returned missionaries.  That was a wonderful opportunity for them and many returned missionaries came and participated.  I am grateful for all of you who helped in many ways with the celebration activity Saturday-- particularly Elder Khem, Elder Horn, Elder Pom, and former Elder Heng for their work in producing the video about the history and development of the Church in Cambodia that was shown.  We hope to make this video available to each of you and possibly for open houses that could be done in provinces later this year celebrating the 20 year anniversary of the Church in Cambodia this year.

Of all the miracles we have witnessed, the most important miracle is the miracle of conversion that happens one individual at a time, one step at a time.  The reason there are more than 12,400 members in Cambodia today is because one person at a time was converted to the truthfulness of the gospel.  Each one was taught by missionaries, sought to gain their own understanding of the truth, and chose to be baptized.  That miracle of conversion is what you are involved in day in and day out.  You are key and vital and important to the ongoing miracle of conversion that is happening in Cambodia.  Have faith that the work of the Lord will continue roll forward here in this land in miraculous ways, as it has done now for 20 years.  Like a stone cut out of the mountain without hands that rolls forth to fill the whole earth.  Be happy and at peace that this is the work of the Lord and you are an important part of that work, no matter your current assignment or location.

There has only been one other time in the history of the Church that the first two stakes in a country have been created on the same day.   The only other time that has happened was in Ghana, in Africa. That happened just a little over 20 years ago today.  At that time the church in Ghana was about the same size that it is today in Cambodia.  What does the Church look like now in Ghana-- 20 years after those first two stakes were created?  I don't know what the church will look like in Cambodia in 20 more years, but it is interesting to see what has happened in the 20 years since those first two stakes were created in Ghana.  Today there are almost 60,000 members in Ghana, 168 wards and branches, 4 missions, 1 temple, and an MTC.  What a wonderful thing to think about the future of the Church here in Cambodia.  You are part of a great work-- a miraculous work. One member at a time.  One step at a time.  One miracle at a time.  What a wonderful thing to be a part of that miracle in people's lives as they come to know the truth of the gospel and receive the blessings of joy and eternal life that it can bring as they accept and live the truth.

With love,

President David C. Moon

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