Monday, July 27, 2015

And He saw that it was all very good

Dear Family of mine,

It has been quite a week. Honestly its been no different from every other week in my mission. I still get blown away by the spirit every week. I still come across something that is new. And I still have a blast teaching people about Jesus Christ. 

This last Monday I got very lost in "The Russian Market" looking for a place that does CTR rings in Khmer. I finally found it after having asked nearly 50 ring salespeople and having all of them upset because I was looking for a specific place owned by a member that already had the design and it wasn't them. But I ordered one and I'm very excited. We also played soccer in the morning and my companion was very fatigued because he went much harder than he had the energy for and just isn't used to running around like that. 

The next day we had district meeting outside because they were doing construction on the church all week long. It was very loud and disruptive during all the lessons I taught at the church this week. But now they are done. Yay! We found out that one of our long-term investigators is moving to his province and not likely coming back any time soon. Sad days because his wife is a member. That day we also went to the far side of our area to meet Sombor at 3:30 and teach him about following the prophet and keeping the 10 commandments. He is doing very well despite him not making it to church this last week. Then following that we had to ride to the complete other side of our area to meet a return appointment named Chhuean at 4:30. There were two bolts of lightening on the road that day and their names were Elder Brewer and Saunders. We made it to the appointment on time (by some miracle) and his daughter starts bawling her eyes out as soon as she sees us. And no it wasn't because of my vampire teeth. Young children are often terrified of white people, having never encountered one before the big tall Americans walk into their house. Yes she had a royal conniption. However, her father was very kind to her and wiped her tears before taking her over to the neighbor's house so he could meet with us in quite. It was the most tender treatment I have seen any Cambodian Father give to their child. Ever. This man is also a very wealthy doctor who works at a hospital and who, in his spare time, opens a small practice at his house to benefit his community for cheaper during the night hours. We shared the message of the restoration and committed him to do as it says in the introduction of the Book of Mormon, that is to read, ponder, and pray in faith to know of it's truth. He said he would and so we will meet with him again at a later time. We then furiously returned to the same place where Sombor lives to teach our recent converts, Sarit and Srey Touc. They have the most wonderful faith. They are currently completely jobless with no income at all and yet they trust in the Lord and his promises and they are seeking work that they can do without defiling the Sabbath. They are an inspiration to me. We started helping him with his English so he can use it to get a good paying job. After we met with them we went over to Srey Niang's house and with the help of our recent convert Dueon, taught a lesson we did no expect to teach. What we planned was not what she needed and the spirit told us to teach something else. We found out that her husband went to korea to work and then got a new wife and they are now divorced. She is very downtrodden indeed but has been feeling hopeful when she goes to church and meets with us. She told us she felt hopeless before and still isn't sure about all we are teaching or if its even enough to keep living. We assured her that what we are teaching is true, that the savior did indeed suffer for her personal sorrows and sins, and that if she had nothing more than the desire to believe, to let that desire work in her until she could receive a testimony from God. She told us she did have the desire to believe and would continue to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and seek comfort in it's council. That was a spiritually and physically exhausting day to say the least.

Wednesday was not as jam packed but still very fulfilling. In our English class we have been seeing a lot of success with our spiritual thought at the end and have been blessed to reap the fruits with some new investigators from English class this week. They are students that we have known for a while and what I have decided is that English class students make some of the best investigators. Here is why: 1. They always come on time to the appointments you set up because they are used to doing so for class. 2. They know the missionaries well and have received a few gospel foundation lessons at the end of each class they have attended. 3. They know the church building and recognize a feeling of peace and comfort emanating from it every week that they come to class (this helps us to point out the spirit to them and helps them to easily recognize it). 4. They complete reading assignments quickly and keep commitments because they are used to doing so for English class. 5. They are comfortable with us as teachers and are not afraid to ask questions or open up and tell how they feel. All in all a very good lot of investigators came out of English class this week. Here's the story of the two I teach:
Sina and Kakada were coming to English class for about a month when we taught the message of the restoration to the class for the spiritual thought at the end. They both stayed after to ask questions about English and the message we shared. They were present when another student (Banya) asked how she could feel God's peace as she prayed. I taught them how to pray by example and they all joined in. At the end of my prayer Banya had tears streaming down her face and Sina did not want to leave. She stayed after everyone left while I was packing up my stuff and asked more questions and told me how she felt so much peace while she was at the church and wanted to come more often. I invited her to the baptism we were having the coming Saturday and both her and her older sister Kakada joined. Sina also came to church during the second hour the following day. The next Wednesday at English class (the 15th of July), Sina came up to me at the end of class and as she tried to formulate words she had only tears. I allowed her to compose herself before she told me she wanted to meet and learn about the gospel more. I gave her a Book of Mormon right there and invited her to read a certain passage at the beginning of Jacob chapter 3. She read the whole chapter right there as I cleaned up the class and then tried to hand the book back to me. I told her it was a gift and set a return appointment for the following afternoon. Thursday at 1 pm my companion and I arrived to find her already waiting for us. We taught restoration in full and she remembered about the first vision taught a week ago in English class. When the lesson finished I set another return appointment and invited her to come to church. I then asked how her sister Kakada was. I had noticed she wasn't at English class last night. Sina told me she didn't come because she took some medicine. I asked what she was sick with and Sina told me that Kakada wasn't sick, she was trying to kill herself. Immediately concerned I asked how she was. Sina told me that she was feeling better today and so I asked for Kakada's phone number and asked Sina to invite her to church on Sunday. That night I called Kakada and asked if she would like to meet the following day and she said she would like to meet. We showed up and she was already waiting for us. We sat down and as we awaited our member help she told us how terrible she was feeling and how she was dating a guy who broke her heart and was just a terrible person to her and how angry she felt and how she wanted to die and now she just wanted to hurt him but she felt awful. We listened for a while and then our member help, a High Councilmen in our ward, showed up and we began to calm her troubled heart and give her hope again through the gospel of Jesus Christ. We taught the plan of salvation and gave her perspective again and she listened very intently and throughout the lesson she began to smile bigger and bigger. When we finished we invited her to say the closing prayer. She said a beautiful prayer that went something like "Dear Heavenly Father, I am so happy today to meet the Elders and listen to them. I felt so awful at home and so very unhappy. But I feel so much happier now. Thank you Heavenly Father. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." We were all smiling quite a bit when she closed her prayer. I felt God's peace and I know she did too. I felt the spirit testifying that what I did was right and that my service was accepted by God. I truly love being in the Lord's service, being an instrument in His hands to bless the lives of His children here. And truly I am blessed to be in His service. 

Saturday night Seng was baptized. It was a little hectic at first because no one was there and there was no one from the bishopric there. But eventually a member of the bishopric showed up and so did all the youth from a youth activity. So it was quite the turn out and they were all very supportive. The baptism was great. I baptized Seng and then he bore an amazing testimony. 

The rest of the week was also amazing but I'm going to limit it to telling you about Sunday. Church was awesome as usual. I got to confirm Phana, the other guy that was baptized by the elders that we share the ward with and then Seng was confirmed by Ly, a recent convert who was just ordained an Elder. We had Srey Niang and her friend Ra there as well as Thol's wife and Vin's little brother. Thol and Vin are recent converts of about a year now. Ponlok, who is getting baptized next Sunday, brought his little brother to church as well and wants us to teach him too. That night we went and taught Thol and his wife and cousins-in-law and had a wonderful lesson. Also we had 7 new investigators this week. We really have so many people learning with us we cannot meet them all regularly. Its very fun. I know that the plan of salvation is God's plan for us and that we can all return to live with our Heavenly Father again! I love you all and I'll see you soon!

Elder Lyle R. Brewer

Baptism of Seng

Playing with Pringles

Saunders studying words on the wall

The district meeting outside

Yeah I may have gotten very distracted

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