Transfer calls were last night... and I'm staying in Siem Reap! And so is my companion. The chances are, next transfer he will get sent out and I'll stay for one more. That means I'll likely be here for another 3 months. I'm really pumped about that because Siem Reap is the place to be. I know that a lot of missionaries say that about their areas, but this is different. I feel like I'm in the best area in the entire world.
First of all, my companion and I have been very obedient and hard working, good boys. We try to always be doing something related to missionary work and carefully avoid coming close to bending any rules. I’m not writing this to brag or anything, just to show how obedience has brought us miracles!
Anyway, things just hadn't been going our way, and some progress was falling through. We believed that if we kept doing our part, the Lord would provide a way for us to do His work.
So last Thursday, we went to a female investigator’s house. She is a jungle lady, she doesn't have a phone, and half of the times we go there she's off somewhere in the forest. She's a very sweet lady. If I was ever stranded on a desert island and had to survive and could only choose one person to help me, I would choose her. She's 60 years old and really super tough. She shows up to church with a broom sticking off the back of her bike and refuses to take a mask off her face because of the “city fumes.” She's so, very sweet. So, there's a rule in the mission, if you are teaching a woman, you need to have either 1 other priesthood holder there, or 2 other women. It was a bummer when we went to teach her because we couldn’t configure a way to keep this rule. So we had to tell her we were sorry but we had to leave until it was appropriate to teach her. Obedience to this rule has complicated things for us many times because it’s very difficult to arrange that many people here.
So, we left the jungle and got to the main road and I realized my tire was flat. It was so flat that I couldn't ride it the few miles back to the city to get it fixed. This meant I had to sit on the back of my companion’s bike and ride back to the city. Which also looked really silly. This problem would add about an hour to our commute. Then, literally as we were starting to get moving, somebody shouted “ELDERS!” We turned, and it was the Branch President’s son. He’s a great guy who has been inactive for 4 years. He said he wanted to start meeting with us everyday, start going to church and wants his non-member wife to learn too! AND…. he gave us a tow back into town behind his motor scooter.
SO, we were so excited to go meet him the next day. It turns out, his house is literally right across the street from Angkor Wat!!! In fact, it’s the closest house to the temples. So needless to say we were pretty pumped. When we got there he said that he talked to his village about Christianity and that everyone had become somewhat interested and that we should contact around there. So we did,!!! Now we have several return appointments in the closest village to Angkor Wat, to learn about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Very, very cool.
There are several amazing parts of this story:
1. We were obedient to the rule, and if we had left the house at that exact time we would have never seen the branch president’s son.
2. An LDS member owns the closest house to Angkor, which is just plain cool.
3. We got to be towed back in to town and didn't need to waste the whole day.
4. Our dinner hour is right after we meet with him. So, we get to eat at this awesome place that overlooks Angkor Wat.
5. We get to go to Angkor Wat for free when we teach!
6. This man is bringing a friend to church who previously wasn’t interested. (Bonus!)
7. I may be going out on a limb to officially say, No LDS missionaries have ever actually taught across the street from Angkor Wat.
Obedience brings blessings. And, the Lord looks out for his missionaries.
We've actually had several experiences like that, but it would take me hours to ever explain them all. So know for sure, miracles happen everyday in the mission.
A few interesting Cambodian observations and highlights:
1. We were going through this banana tree forest and all the sudden a HUGE “turkey” that was making really weird noises staring me in the face. It was so big and so weird.
2. There was a small heard of goats outside of our house the other day. We were outside contacting someone and they were eating the grass right by our feet. They are a dog/horse combination. Very awkward.
3. We went outside on another day and there were 20 Buddhist monks in our driveway singing to the landlord’s family. Not something you see every day.
4. Found another HUGE spider in our study room.
5. I officially saw a "Tokaa" which is a REALLY big green lizard with red spots. Super creepy
6. I bought a new bike. I traded Old Blue, for the Red Bullet.
7. Elder Hem, the native is going to teach me how to shoot a coconut out of a tree with a slingshot.
8. When we walk to our investigators houses, there are so many fruit trees on the way that we just pick whatever fruit we want and keep walking. YUM.
9. I crashed Old Blue and got super muddy. See pics.
10. I love the mission.
The mission is going great. I love the people and I love the gospel. I never want to leave this place.