Elder Smith

Elder Smith
Write to him at: Elder Samuel Smith Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission House 2B, Street 222, Off Norodom Blvd PO Box 165 Phnom Penh Cambodia email address: shsmith@myldsmail.net

Monday, September 28, 2015

Missions are tough, like wow...but God sends us what we need...week 12

The blessed companionship

BOOM. Time is just so weird here. I feel like I was here like 2 days ago. It totally makes sense when people say "days seem like weeks, and weeks seem like days." 

So I'm going to start off by sharing a super cool experience. We hitch hiked to our little town in Prae Choo the other day. One of the recent converts here sells sugar cane juice all day. She has 3 kids and her husband left her. One of her sons was having troubles with his wife so the wife came and stayed with her. In the middle of the night her son's wife came and stole all of her coolers and sugar juice crusher--literally everything she had in order to make money. Man it was sad. We met with her again the day after. We came and sat in her hammocks and she told us that she thinks she needs to be less active now because her life was just too hard. Elder Brewer explained if we're on a ship and a storm comes, we don't jump off the ship and hope to be safe on our own. We CLING to the ship, we don't let go. We should do eveything we can in order to stay on the ship. I think that really helped her realize that she can rely on the Lord. Also, props to Elder Brewer, it was awesome seeing him testify like that. We prayed for a while actually and when the prayer was over she was crying. It was so cool to see how happy God can make people. It's amazing:)

We were riding our bikes in this forested area the other day and then all of the sudden there were a bunch of cows in the road. We stopped and then this smaller teenage cow looked at us and then booked it the other way. We got on our bikes and just kept going on. Then this cow just mauled this kid. HARD. It was insane. I literally thought this kid was like dead. We quickly ran over to the kid, and before we knew it the kid just stood up and ran away crying. He went into his house and that was it. Ha it was crazy. It's all good cause the next day we saw him running around totally fine. 

Yesterday i was riding my new bike ( i got a new one because my other one broke, its way cool) and we were on this road with some mopeds on it. We had to turn left and so i checked and i didnt see anything so i turned left and i heard this whoosh right next to me.  This stupid moped was going like 90 mph and cut me off-- my front tire hit his back tire (it made the coolest sound ever) and i managed to stay on my bike-- but one more inch, we would have hit each other going way fast. Ha. I wasnt tired at all that day cause of the adrenaline rush. Way scary though. 

I think I hit my low and high so far in my mission. I'm just going to say it Wednesday just stunk. Like when we taught, every single person was just laughing at me. Its tough when your bearing your testimony and investigators are just laughing at you. I try my best to see it from their perspective but man! Ha cut me some slack haha oh well. BUT 2 days ago we had a way good day. We ended the day with teaching a less active who lately has been going to church a ton. Its awesome. Pretty much i was in charge of the whole little lesson. I shared my scripture and I just started talking. It was awesome. I was actually doing pretty good, definitly not perfect by any means, but I think God knew I was having a rough week and he gave me one really good lesson. After that I started to see a little light at the end of the tunnel. It just made me so happy knowing that all the work im doing is actully helping and making a little difference. 

Well missions are tough. Like wow. I'm kind of taken back sometimes at how much is in front of me, but luckily I'm doing it for Him and not for myself or anyone else. I love this Gospel and I love how much hope it gives to people. 

peace out grom gruasaa (family)

p.s we found bats in our house and we might move houses cuz our house in nasty. way stoked

 After a long day in the field...

 Teaching this sweet girl...she is getting baptized in 2 weeks!

 Teaching English!

Eating with the Prae Chao members

Found this interesting thing

Monday, September 21, 2015

The people are awesome, my trainer is awesome, and being a missionary is awesome! Week #11

So it’s been a little over a week. Wow. Probably the fastest 7 days of my life. No joke. It's been full of funny, discouraging, beautiful, and spiritual moments. Lets just say I think I’ve felt every human emotion this past week! HA

Since I dont ever really know whats going on I rarely have any spiritual times, but on Wednesday I finally got one. We were teaching this recent convert over at the church and we had a couple of members helping us. After the lesson was over we were getting ready to leave-- then this member named Ming Vi came and talked to us. (by the way she’s like the coolest 42 year old lady I've ever met-- just loves life even though she’s super poor and a widow). She hopped on her bike and said "Hey! Come with me I want you to come and teach my friend." We were down so we pulled up to her friends house. We talked for a little and then taught the first lesson. I bore my testimony about how our message can help her and how much happiness it has brought me. We invited her to get baptized and she said yes!!! AHHHH I was so stoked! Once she accepted I just got so happy cause I knew how happy God can make her. It was so awesome!!!! 

Since we have two areas we travel a lot. The other day we were on this van with about half the country of Cambodia stuffed in it. We stopped because the driver wanted something from the store. So his helper dude got out and put a rock behind the wheel cause there’s like no brakes or something. The driver reversed and totally ran over the dudes hand. He flipped out and his hand was totally broken.  It was really sad but It was still funny ha idk. He hopped in the van just holding his hand and the driver dropped him off at his house. It was dang funny/sad. A van full of people with no brakes… Then on the way back I sat by this girl and she started to throw up right by me. The smell was just so amazing my body couldnt handle i. So, true to Smith form, I started to dry heave. I just couldnt take it. 

I was teaching this one member in Prae Choo and after we finished she looked right at my face and told me I needed to go to the hospital. Of course I didnt understand so I looked at my companion and asked what she said. Apparently she told me my skin was broken and that I needed to go fix it cause I had so many zits. What the heck? I have a normal human amount. I actually think I look pretty descent, but to her my face is worthy of going to the hospital and seeing a medical physician. Its all good she wanted to help me. I’ve learned a lot about giving someone the benefit of the doubt here. They're just so straight up. Its hilarious. 

We had church yesterday and we went to church with the Prae Choo members. There’s so few of them that its not considered a branch yet. About 14 people showed up to church. The speakers didn’t show up so Elder Brewer and I were next in line. I cannot express how scared I was. I had to give a talk in straight Khmer, no preparation, and this was the first time the members saw me so I needed to look good and confident so they could trust me. Well I started talking about how service was important and it looked like not one person was looking at me, ha but whatever I did it, I didnt do it well, but I did it. Ha. 

I love learning this language but sometimes its just really discouraging. I mean I've worked all day every day, day in and day out, hours on hours to speak this language for the past two and half months and sometimes I'll just start to talk and they'll just laugh or give me this pathetic face. I mean its funny and all the first times but after a while it kinda gets on yah. I think I knew how hard a mission would be physically but I never thought of it being so mentally hard. You just always have to keep a positive attitude or else the days are just hard. Im learning how to find happiness in small, simple ways. Its ALL good though. Im learning a ton and by the end of the mission Im going to have mastered the part of my brain of producing sad emotions. Im not going to be sad ever. Just a big ball of sunshine. haha I love it here. The people are awesome, my trainer is awesome, and being a missionary is awesome :)

P.S. If you have any avocados go and and make a smoothie with them. It’s way good.

 A ride on a Tuk Tuk with Elder Brewer (a cart hooked to the back of a mo ped)

 Crazy wires here
 Our sick area
 A view from an investigators backyard
Just a random sign

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Well I made it to Cambodia and got sent to Kampong Cham! (It translates to standing jungle) Week 10

Well I really have no idea how I can put these past couple days into words, like at all, ha but im going to try. 
First day in the filed was so SICK. I had a ton of fun, but I also realized that i have no  idea what anybody is saying. LIKE AT ALL. They talk 100000 times an hour and use so much slang. They will just drop letters in words just cause they feel like it so nothing makes sense, and the slang they uses just changes words so im kinda like starting from ground zero agian HA. I LOVE IT, ITS AWESOME.
SO i got off the plane and grabbed our bags. It was hotter than anything I've felt before. no joke. We met the missionaries and the president.  Every single missionary i've met is so awesome. Literally everyone is just so cool.  3 other missionaries and I got on a "tuk tuk"-- its like a trailer tied to a moped, and went to go meet our trainers and go contacting. My trainer is Elder Brewer. He's probably a 100/10 on the celestial being scale. He is AMAZING at Khmer. He's from South Cali and has like 3 months left so after hes done with me he leaves. LIterally we've had a ton of fun already. I'm so stoked.  We work great together.
So then after Elder Brewer and I went contacting we went to the mission home and got an interview. My mission president is so awesome. So is his wife. They're just like REAL people. I love it. He assigned me to Kampong Cham and Prae Choo. It translates to standing jungle. We go to one area for 4 days and the other one for 3. We hitch hike on or buses or cars to get to our areas. Its so sick. I have  two areas! Pres. Christensen said he's giving me one of the realest Cambodian areas. I'm living in like straight jungle/province stuff. It's so pretty though...like Natioal Geographic material. One of our houses we live in with 4 other elders, and our other house we live by ourself.
The culture in my areas is so awesome. Everyone is just so CHILL. Everyone is so poor so like no one cares about material things. Whenever we go to teach someone, everyone is just sitting in hammocks and chilling. All the members just sit and hang out at the church for hours. Everyone is so tight. They eat after church together usually too. Its just so diffrent than America. Its awesome. 
One of my fist lessons we taught we grabbed our 1000 year old bikes and went on the dirt road into this thick jungle. We taught this Om (its what you call old people). We rode for like 20 minutes then we came to this little house. There were a bunch of naked kids walking around playing in the road and swinging on the hammock. This dude had absolutley no teeth. Like straight gums. He started to talk and I swear he wasnt speaking any language. I just smiled like an idiot and looked helplessly at my comp. We went and sat on this bamboo table (everyone has them) and started talking about the commandments. Soon enough like 15 poeple came and started listening. They were just looking at us and wondering what the heck these two white dudes were doing here. But, after we finished teaching there was a man that wanted to learn more so we're meeting with him later. Awesome.
We taught another lesson to this woman and her family who sells sugar can juice on the side of the road. I told her "When we follow the commandments we poop and can live with shoes" my comp started laughing and so did the family. As always i just smiled and looked like an idiot. 
We had stake conference yesterday and Presidnet Christensen came to the group of branches. My comp was translating so i sat on the stand with all the really important people. I looked out and saw a naked babies running around, some lady breastfeeding her baby, people talking on their phones and people just talking. Then it started to POUR RAIN on the roof-- I couldn't  hear anything and some guy was trying to talk to me. I literally just started laughing cause the situation was just kind of funny.   Our stake conference and theirs was just so differnt. I LOVE IT. I laugh like 10000 times a day cause I never know whats going on.
Well I love being able to teach. It's the best. Everyone here is just so nice and funny. This place is going to be sick! I love you all.  I love this work and I love this gospel.  Missionary work is where it is at.

Kampoeng Jam -One of my areas.  National Geographic, right?

 My desk
My awesome Picachu and Snoopy "bed" 

 My meth lab toilet

 We catch mice in our place

 Me getting a ride on my comps bike cause my 10,000 year old bike stinks and broke already

3. 5 seconds after the picure of me getting on the back of my comps bike my foot got caught in the spokes and it demolished my shoe and foot. It didnt even hurt cause I'm tough. 

Elder Brewer making me some morning pancakes

Here is a letter from his mission president, President Christensen when they arrived:

Dear Parent,
We just want you to know that your missionary has arrived safe and sound! We love this picture taken right after they got off the plane and although they are jet-lagged they bring a wonderful spirit and we are excited to get to know them and begin serving together. We have had a wonderful day today, they’ve been to the market and done some contacting, eaten khmer food, and had a short interview with us. They have now gone home with their companions to begin working hard tomorrow.  We are looking forward to bringing them back to the mission home next week when they can stay awake and we will spend day together in training.
Cambodia is a wonderful country and we feel the blessings of our Father in Heaven being poured out to these people as the church continues to grow here.  In the next few months as your missionary’s language skills increase and he or she begins to personally know the people in their areas we are confident that their excitement and love for missionary work will only grow.  We already love your missionary, we were overwhelmed with their expressions of faith and excitement today and we promise you that we will love and treat each of them as one of our own.  Thank you so much for trusting our Father in Heaven enough to send your child to this part of the world and know of our confidence that God watches over his missionaries and blesses them every day.
May God bless you and your family as you continue this wonderful adventure,

President and Sister Christensen

Our quick little letter when Sam arrived...

Hey Guys!!

I just made it to Cambodia! I only have a couple seconds. Everything is swell. My area is way out in the country side. I'm super stoked. My P-day is on Monday so I'll write you then. Love you guys


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

20 hours left! Week #9


When I look back at my experiences here in the MTC I laugh, I get happy, and I cry (because of my terrible first lesson in Khmer). Its kinda hard to put into words what I have learned here. I've learned a ton. Like a lot more than I thought I could. 

I think the biggest things that I have noticed in myself are 1. My love for the scriptures has grown exponentially 2. the humor here is so dry that I think everything is funny, sometimes I get kinda mad at myself because of how hard I'm laughing and 3. That love motivates people do great things.

I can literally read the Book of Mormon for like 2 straight hours and it doesn't even phase me. These past months I can really say that i have "feasted" upon the words of Christ. The things that the Book of Mormon teaches us are so amazing. It tells us that all we have to do is have faith in Christ, follow his commandments, and serve and love people. It's so simple. I love it. Those are the best ways to come closer to Him. 

I was thinking about random people in my life yesterday. Good people and not so good people. Grumpy people and happy people. Nice people and mean people. Every single one of them needs the same thing. No matter who it is, every single person needs to feel loved in some sort of way. You could have the meanest old man in the world, and if you keep on talking to him and show him you are interested in him he would open up. It's human nature. I am super excited to share the message that we have. It gives love. It turns grumpy people into happy people, mean people into nice people and not so good people to GOOD people. I love it. It's such an amazing message. So many people need what we have been blessed to have. Share it. Live what you know. If you have become grumpy just look up the "Because of Him" video on lds.org, I promise it will put a smile on your beautiful face. No doubt. 

I love all of you guys. Also a special shout out to Grandma Hilbig. Thanks so much for that package and card. It meant so much. You're amazing and I want you to know that I pray for you every single day. I love you. Grandma Smith thank you for your treats!! I loved them! Also thank you so much Clark and Maren. That package was awesome! Thank you for the talk and the letter. The talk was truly inspiring! Also the Steeds! Thanks for the letter and mints. Those were greatly needed, Jen and Todd and the Hilbig Fam. Thanks for the package. You guys are so thoughtful. And the DeMordaunts! Thanks a ton for what you guys sent me! Those cupcakes were superb. Much love to all you guys.