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, October 19, 2015

Man, something crazy just happens every week here! Week #15

Tonight I'm eating frogs

Man something crazy just happens every week here. Whenever I look at the past I just try to think of what could happen in the next week and I'm surprised every time.

So Monday and Tuesday were huge holidays in Cambodia so we were told to just stay in our houses and do a big deep clean. 
Cleaning the nastiness off the nastiness

So we finally got our house in a liveable condition. It feels way good. Wednesday and Thursday went normal-- we were able to teach a bunch of lessons. THEN Friday rolled up.

A recent convert named Om Vi moved way way out in the wilderness and she called us and wanted us to bless her new house and do some service. We started to bike there and realized how far she was. We did the math and its like 25 miles ha. So we biked for what seemed like forever to this ladies house. We changed into our service clothes and she gave us these sickels ( the things you use to cut wheat with) She wanted us to cut this weird type of grass. So we were cutting grass and Elder Brewer and I started talking. I wasnt looking at my hand (I dont know why) and swiped to cut the grass while looking at Elder Brewer and just nailed my hand. I honestly didnt feel anything, i just noticerd i hit something hard. I looked down and my hand was just red. Way bloody. My hand was pumping out blood like none other. My left pointer finger had a pretty deep gash on it. I was like "uh Elder Brewer" He saw my hand and like flipped out ha and grabbed his cambodian handkerchief (called a gramaa) and tied my finger to get some pressure on it. I was bleeding way bad and om vi was like hurry put his on. I looked at the bottle and it said anti fungal for athletes foot. Ha I just laughed and was like no thank you, thats not goin to help. We called Sister Christensen and she told us to try to get to Phom Penh as fast as possible. BUT the problem was we were way way way out in the kites. So I just sat by the road holding my hand hoping we would find a car. We saw three taxis but they had way too many people. I said one of those desperate prayers in my heart and I kid you not within 5 seconds this super nice cambodian man picked us up. He was going to phom penh too. Wasnt even a taxi dude. He just said just pay me however much money you want (that never ever happens here, we always get ripped off) it was just a little miracle. We taught him how to pray and everything turned out to be ok. We got to the doctor and I got some stitches. So its all good. I'll have a sweet scar now ha. 

After I washed my hand and the bleeding slowed down

Getting stitches for the first time in my life with no numbing medicine ha I felt everything

We had a lesson two days ago with a very interesting man. He kinda believes in his own religion. He's way into Buddhism though. So we thought the Plan of Salvation would be a great start. He told us he had 2 kids die and their ghost came and told them they were his neighbors or something. He says he knows his kids already reincarnated and they're living. So we asked him how they appeared to him if they are already living and he said their third spirit came. He told us we all have three spirits so we tried to bring up other points about how this could bless him and why God loves him, haha but then he would just say oh im to uneducated to think like that or he would just ignore us. I kinda felt like i was in the bible belt but just buddhist/ghost version. 

I actually learned a lot this week. I've had a lot of time to think which is kinda rare. I was thinking about what its going to be like when we finish our lives and we stand face to face with God and get judged on our life. Because Jesus Christ died for all of us if we just use his atoning sacrifice we will be clean and spotless. I truly believe we wont be judged on the good things against the bad things we did in our life, but we will be judged on the people we helped and the person we became on Earth. If we lived a life full of service and following God imagine the happiness you and God would have. I literally can't think of anything better. We can all start somewhere. Doesn't matter where, but God will take you where and as you are. As long as we are trying to do better, it will all work out.
I'm starting to see why hard things are in our life. With learning this language I've just poured out my heart to God. I think I say close to like 30 prayers a day. And when something doesn't happen or does happen that i don't want it makes me confused. I was reading in Ether the other day and  it says "you receive no witness until after the trial of your faith."  God works with us according to our faith. I've been studying faith a ton, becuase i feel like I need to have more faith in myself and in God.  Faith in all things, good and bad. I see some messed up stuff everyday. Like we tried to talk to this deaf mute man who was crippled. He had 3 cows and could barely communicate with anyone. Like why? Why does that need to happen? He will never be able to understand the gospel he cant here or speak. He just watches his cows. I thought about it a lot, it just seems to have no purpose, but Isaiah says, "My thoughts are higher than your thoughts, and my ways higher than your ways." We usually don't understand, but He is the Author of everything.  There will always be a happy ending we just have to have the faith and finish this life by keeping the commandments and enduring. 

Well we got transfered last night ha. We were in KC and PraeChoo but know we're just goin to be in Praechoo. It's hardcore Cambodia. Like there are no stores. Just little houses. Not one store! We have no shower and just that nast hole. Its going to be tough, but I know I can do it. Just me and my comp and all the little villages. So we dont get to move in the super nice house they just found haha. Oh well. I can see a little improvement in the language... they just speak super super fast and just sometimes won't say parts of the word. Its just tough to understand. I can read pretty well though. I'm getting a lot better. Its super cool to read a whole verse and only mess up on like a couple sounds. 

I love and miss you guys so much.  Thanks for all the prayers. 


Monday, October 12, 2015

Ants in my pants... Week #14

Bamboo Forest

In front of our investigator's house

 Riding through the "wats"

I'm going to start this email with two stories and then move on to more important matters. 

Story 1: So three days ago we finished studying and left our nasty house to go teach a referral we received. We were running a little late so we were mobbing on our bikes to get the the house on time. We were on the right side of the road (which is the legal side) and turned pretty hard to the the left on the bend in the road. Well this dude was going way way way too fast on a modo. He saw us and immediately put on his brakes (because he was coming straight for me) and then his back tire lost control.  I saw the super fast moped coming straight toward me and my first impression was to jump off my bike and get away. So as we were going pretty fast i just bailed-- but i didn't get my left leg out in time and i got hit pretty hard ha. He nailed my bike and my knee and i did a front flip thing from the impact. I face planted on the ground and just layed there for a second and realized nothing really hurt. My pants ripped and my knee is cut up and bruised but other than that i'm allll good. ha it was insane.  Miracle.  He came up to us and apologized for like a minute and then he was on his way. No big deal i guess.  

Numba 2: The other day i finished working out and grabbed my towel and hopped in the shower. After i finished I dried myself off and as i was opening the door my legs started stinging. I looked down at my body and i kid you no not i was ENGULFED in ants. Like 200 of them just crawling all over my body. After I realized what just happened I screamed like the little girl i am, and turned the shower on. At this point they were biting ALL over. Yes all over. I was jumping up and down and just slapping my body. I probably looked and sounded insane, but I feel like it was ok. After 10 minutes i had like a million bites and had a new profound HATRED towards the ant family. I hate ants. Apparently I left my towel in the wrong place and a happy ant family made a home out of my towel and I just wiped them all across me.

I've learned this week that its really easy to say to have faith and endure during trials from an outside perspective, but when you can't understand anything, you feel sick, you're exhausted, cant say much, or read much, and you miss you momma a lot, it kinda eats at ya, not going to lie, but I know that it will only be for a while. I honestly believe that if i hadn't been called to a place like this i wouldn't have relied on God so much. I've really been compelled to be humble. I'm developing a relationship with my Father in Heaven that I'm cherishing more and more every day.

We got to watch conference this weekend. Man it was good. I learned a ton.  I really like what Kim B. Clark said. He told us, BELIEVE first then you receive knowledge. Being in the church we have the amazing opportunity to see and hear from amazing people who have experienced amazing things. It gets intimidating sometimes. In high school I heard every one say "I KNOW the church is true." And at that point in my life I didn't. But to me EVERYONE else did. Alma teaches only believing is a great place to start. If we believe and exercise just a little faith by simply reading and praying we will develop knowledge. If you haven't received a BIG experience don't sweat it. Just keep choosing to believe. Believe Jesus Christ is your Savior and that your Heavenly Father has an amazing plan tailored to you personally. Just believe first and then you will receive a witness and receive knowledge. Its how God works. We have to choose to just believe and then God guides us to eventually knowing. 

The last thing I want to share is what President Uchdorf said in the Priesthood session. He told us that the world rejects what it can't understand. I thought about it and its true. The Plan of Salvation is so amazing and offers so many things that the world has trouble grasping it. The fact that someone suffered so much for me and for you so we could be happy is hard to take. It humbles us and helps us realize the importance that Christ has in this life. The Gospel of Jesus Christ isn't too good to be true, its way too true to be just "good". Its PERFECT. And nothing is perfect without Jesus. I love you all. (I hope that made sense) 


(ps-we found this in our toilet)

Purple Goop Week #13

 Postcard material
 Just a little stick sword fighting

This week my companion and I witnessed a miracle. Like a big one. Coolest thing ever. So last week I talked about that woman who got all of her stuff stolen by her daughter in law. So she had no money and borrowed about $150 bucks to buy a new machine and some coconuts to start making money again. Last week we met with her and after we gave her our lesson Elder Brewer said the closing prayer. He asked God if Ming Thoet could have a miracle in her life. We left and then came back a couple days ago. We rode our bikes to her little hammock place and she told us something that just blew my mind. She said the day after we prayed with her she was walking and just found a bag of money on the ground with like 200,000 rial (60 bucks)!!!! Which is an insane amount of money. Especially in Prae Choo. She already payed a lot of the money back before she found the bag so now she is almost done paying back all the money! Man, that experience just totally reminded me that God truly knows us. He cares about everyone-- even sugar cane juice ladies in the little town of Prae Choo. She shared the coolest testimony yesterday. SO SICK.

So right now we have about 6 investigators with baptismal dates, but the other day we were visiting some of them and we found two of them totally drunk or in the process of becoming drunk. I was so mad cause we pulled up to Om june's house and he was sleeping, or I thought he was. He was just so drunk he couldn't even sit up. He saw us and then got up and started to yell all around to the other little huts to come learn with us. Ha it was way funny cause he made no sense but also way sad cuz he hadn't drank anything for like 2 weeks and he was supposed to get baptized soon. So we have to wait a while for him now. Alcohol is just so dumb. It literally ruins so many lives here. Lots of dads just get super depressed because of how hard their life is and just give up and drink. 

I think it was on Wednesday, we started to wait on the rode to hop on a car to get to our other area. We were walking down on the rode and this lady with her toddler girl came up to us with some pretty desperate faces and was asking for money. I opened up my wallet and gave her 10,000 rial which isn't even 3 bucks and handed it to her. Apparenly that is a ton of money to give a beggar here, but i didn't know that. She looked at the bill and just started to cry. Like a lot. She got on her knees and was just saying thank you thank you ad crying. She got up picked up her child and was on her way smiling still tearing up. That experience was just one of those moments in your life where you just reevaluate everything. If 3 dollars can make someone that happy, I need to change some stuff. I just, idk me feeling bad about myself not understanding anything didn't really seem that important anymore. Every day I'm just realizing how truly blessed we are. Sometimes we just have no idea, and I'm finally realizing it.    

Funny story, the other day we were in a lesson and Elder Brewer pulled out his scriptures and when he was passing them across the bamboo table this purple goop fell from the banana leaves that were covering us and landed on his scriptures. We looked up and this semi big lizard was just staring at us. It totally pooped on his scriptures and left a nasty stain! HA the little kids were dying. Oh and another thing happened that was just weird. We were teaching like this 60 year old woman (idk thats just how old she looks) and in the middle of the lesson this little kid came up on her lap and she just started breast feeding right in front of us with not a care in the world. It was just one of those moments where you're like whoah is this actually happening??  And then that turned into when you  can't stop smiling or laughing, and it wasn't even funny but like I couldn't stop smiling and laughing. I just did my best to bite my tongue and just stare at her face. We shared for a little longer and then left. Way funny. 

We had zone conference last week and let me tell ya President and Sister Christensen are some of the coolest people ever. They are just so passionate about making this mission amazing. I love it. President Christensen talked about being an accidental disciple and a deliberate disciple. He pretty much told us that most of us were accidental disciples and how we all needed to transition to become a deliberate disciple. He said its your choice to CHOOSE if you are going to be someone who follows Jesus Christ because you have to or because you truly want to because he is your Savior and your older brother. I'm definitely butchering it, but man he killed it. It was so awesome.

The mission is going good, I still barely understand anything but I'm trying my best. The Church is true and I love how happy it can make sad people. It truly gives people hope and a divine purpose here on Earth. Love you all

 The kids here are awesome
 Ancient ruins
 Rainy season
We got really lost and had to pull our bikes through a lot of mud.