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, January 11, 2016

Transfer week! I'm headed to Siem Riep and way excited Week #27

Kampong Cham Zone

Our mission is splitting! Vietnam is leaving us. Its just going to be the Cambos now. It’s super cool. Also I got a call last night and I am leaving Prae Choo. They're sending me to Siem Riep. Its the place where all the way dope temples are. I’m super stoked. My new comp is cambodian. So Im not going to be speaking any English for the next couple months. Im way stoked. Im so sad to leave this place. It almost has like a little "home" feeling to it. My comp right now is the best. Siem Riep is going to be awesome though. Apparently the branch I am in has a ton of just awesome people. I’m way excited to meet all of them.]

So last week Sophal got baptized and the DAY after she went out to sell watermelons, and BOOM she sold 440 flipping watermelons. She was so happy she sold so many. She was just on fire. So cool to see how God will help people who will just show a little faith. I love it. She's doing way good. 

Something funny about Prae Choo is that no one is educated. They think every person from America is Black. When we tell them we're from America they don’t believe us. It’s hilarious. Also the only two people they have ever heard from America is Obama and the beloved WWE WRESTLING CHAMPION of the world.. John Cena. They love that dude here. Ha its aweseome.

Life is going swell. The language is getting better. I say the dumbest things all the time. But the people here are way encouraging which makes it fun. I love all you dudes! Thanks for the early birthday wishes!

Love elder smith

We found this way cool/sketchy roller derby place. We had to try it
Played football and soccer behind a Cambodian High School

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Sophal was baptized! Week #25

Hey doodes!

Well this week was dang good. Sophal got baptized! It was so awesome. Our area doesnt have a font to baptize people so we grabbed a van on the road and went to the "city" of Kampong Cham. It was so cool. When we were taking pictures there was this little eight year old girl who was ready to be baptized. Ha no one knew, but her Mom wanted her to get baptized, so I had the sacred privledge to baptize sophal and this little daughter of God. It was awesome. After someone gets baptized the new convert stands in the front of the church, and everyone stands in a line to congratulate them. Its such a good way for them to feel loved. Sophal was crying pretty hard towards the end. After everything was done, i realized this is why I am here! That moment right there is the reason I am doing this. Seeing PURE joy is what makes it all worth it. Not happiness that lasts for a day or two, but lasting happiness. SO DOPE.

So the other day I was talking to one of our members whos 16. He's like the coolest dude ever. And a total lady killer too. His name is Money. Anyways we saw him eating some dog the other day and hes going to hook us up this week. I'm way stoked. Its goin to be good.

So a couple days ago we didnt really have a ton of stuff planned so we decided to go contacting in an area that we've never gone too. So we just grabbed our bikes and  biked way deep into these villages. It was awesome. I just love seeing these people's faces when they see us. Eiether straight fear, or complete shock. Good stuff. Anyways we got pretty deep into this area and we started talking to this lady. Turns out shes a christian and used to drive like an hour every week to go to church. Shes way cool. She's going to be a sweet new investigator.

Well my new years was way LAME not going to lie. Ha but i here chinese new year in cambodia is way bumpin so i just got a wait a little longer.

Sophal, Elders Neuberger and Smith

Teaching our recent convert, Puu Mao, how to do sit-ups. He said he wanted to get in shape.

When we get to eat rice again :)

Spider as big as my face! The first counselor is done being inactive-way awesome Week #24


Well what a week. It was so awesome to talk to you guys. Ha fastest 40 minutes of my life. But luckily mothers day is in like 4 months. It'll come fast:) Christmas in Cambodia was definitely a day that didnt feel like Christmas at all ha. Just an average day in Prae Choo. People working and kids going to school. It was kinda surreal just cuz i've always had a white christams. It was awesome though. My comp and I made these little gift baskets and went around giving them to members. It was a ton of fun. Ha but still no one really gets what Christmas is here. We then hitch hiked on this van and stayed the night at the elders house in Prae Choo. There new house is way dope bytheway. Its huge. 

Well this week we've been teaching this man named  Piset. We started teaching him and then we invited his family, so right now I'm teaching my first real familiy. Its so awesome. Piset has come to church for both hours every week we've taught him. Perfect investigator.Fun stuff. This week Sophal is getting baptized! We're so stoked. She's loving the new glasses bytheway:) She used to go to like one of those hardcore baptist churches in phnom penh and so she was talking to us agian, and thinks all the members here just arent that converted because they dont shout alleluia all the time. Its all good. Imma show her whats up with my testimony next week, the fire is coming:)

Om june is still drinking a ton. Its way sad. He just cant stop or wont. And since hes so old if he drinks it literally takes him 4 DAYS to get back to normal. Hopefully he'll come around:) 

So the other week Elder Neuberger and I were setting up chairs for church and I moved this chair, and a spider as big as my face just shot out and started walking around. I lost it. I saw black and just threw the chair and that was it. I was a little ashamed in the way I acted. But man you should have seen it. AND then we tried to kill it, and I missed. (they are way fast bytheway) And it crawled in the hole in the pulpit in the church. About 5 minutes later i had to go give a talk.  i just kept staring at the hole, ha i dont even remeber what i talked about. That spider was like a foot wide. 

Oh and yesterday our first counselor came to church. He said hes done being incactive. Way awesome. All the members were way happy. Hes like the life of the party here in prae choo. So its going to be fun.

All in all, awesome week. I got to skype the fam, celebrate christmas, and eat some cambodia pumpkin pie. Hope oall of you guys have an amazing week:)

Elder Smith

Our landlord stomping fish to make ប្រហុក, that fermented fish paste that the khmaes just love

A bucket of fish heads right outside our house

What every dog in Cambodia looks like

Christmas Dinner-we're not that great of cooks

Merry Christmas from Puu Dee and Ming Sophoas and their daughter Hanaa!

Kampong Cham Zone 2016

This Elder ate it on the way to our Christmas dinner

From his companions blog--It's fun to read and hear different details! 

"I do like being cut off from the materialism of American Christmas for sure. In Prey Cho I saw zero Santa hats, zero reindeer, zero Christmas trees, zero toy stores. Instead of Christmas bells jingling across a parking lot were the Pali funeral chants of monks floating across rice fields. Instead of reindeer hooves heard prancing on the roof were the scampering claws of fat old rats as they ran to and fro across the metal roof of the rice mill we live inside. Instead of Santa coming down the street with a bag of toys in hand was a smiling lookpuu biking past us on a country road, swinging a freshly killed mongoose by the tail. Going around on Christmas with everybody just going about their normal day makes me feel like Alma, where I want to be able to cry with the voice of a trump and shake them and say "Don't you know what we are celebrating today?! The birth of our Savior! Yours and mine! And guess what else? WE'RE SIBLINGS! We have the same Heavenly Father who wants us both to return to heaven, and because of our Savior we can! Isn't that wonderful? Don't you want to learn about this?! Don't you want to follow all this?!" 

But, like Alma, having the voice of an angel isn't my lot in life. I'm just a twenty-year-old kid out here in the middle of Cambodia. Day after day as missionaries we go around, inviting people to just try out the most wonderful thing they could ever possibly conceive, and most of the time, they don't take it. You love them and you walk up and talk to them, and every time you get the most wonderful image in your head of what they can become through the Atonement, of the blessings God has in store for them if they will just take one small step forward, just try it out, and then most of them turn down the offer. That's one of the great not-so-secret secrets to missionary work though I think. You've got to make yourself vulnerable. It would be so easy to be cynical and just think, "This person isn't going to want to learn. I'll talk to them but I already know they'll reject me' or "Wow that was a good lesson, but the probability of this guy pushing through to baptism and being an active member the rest of his life is next to zero". Throwing cynical walls around your loving hopes for people certainly would protect you from hurt. It would make missionary work less painful. But that's not what it’s about. As missionaries we love everyone we see because of the sweet gift of charity that God has blessed us with, and we have to use that gift to the max. That means no walls getting thrown up. To see them through heaven's eyes is the opposite of cynicism. It means knowing and expecting that everyone you talk to has the ability to gain eternal life. That everyone you talk to could one day become a branch president or Relief Society president. That everyone you talk to can keep the commitments you lovingly extend. That your investigator really will do what he says and cut off alcohol. It means believing your investigator really will come to church when they say they will. True love I think requires a firm belief in the strengthening and changing power of Christ's Atonement and a firm belief and trust in others' use of agency. Of course if they don't follow through, if they don't go to church, if they tell you they're too lazy to learn, it’s going to hurt you more this way, because you generally believed and saw what they could become. You knew what God would have them be. But I think seeing people and believing in their potential to be changed through Christ's Atonement is so much closer to how Heavenly Father sees them. Heavenly Father is no skeptic. He is no cynic. If I have learned anything on my mission, it's that He loves all of His children perfectly. He sets all of us up to succeed. No one came to fail. Everyone can believe. Everyone can repent. Everyone can change and become who God would have them be. And if they choose not to, it hurts, but at least you know you did your part with as much love and faith as you could muster.

One of the people we are teaching has changed right before our eyes. His name is Piset. When I first came a few weeks ago he was a guy who had been contacted just a couple days before but hadn't learned yet. The first time we went over he really didn't seem that into it, said he was about to leave and didn't really have any time. But then we went over again and he was more inviting. We taught him the first, second, and third lesson, and with each lesson and each commitment kept he has become more and more inviting. Now at the end of every lesson he says ' Teacher! (that’s what most non-members call us, not elder). Please, come as often as you can! And if you come back in the evening you can teach my wife too!" So now she is learning. He has come to church for two weeks in a row now. He's awesome!"

No sign of Christmas here, but God is in the details of our lives! There's a python to prove it. Week #23

Hey guys! Well this week is Christmas. I've never had a Christmas without snow or lights so its been weird. Its funny, lots of people here havent even heard of Christmas…but thats not going to stop Elder Neuberger and I. Christmas this year is going to be bumpin. Prae Choom, Cambodia isnt going to know what him em ha. 

This week we had 3 different investigators come to church. Thats the most i've gotten so far on the mission, I was way happy to say the least. Sophal came, this new investigator name Peeset, and a super old lady named nat. Peeset and Nat both agreed to be baptized. Super cool. This past Sunday President Christensen, his wife, and some of their family who came to visit came to our church. Elder Neuberger translated for them, but then it was his turn to give a talk. So... I had to translate... I literally thought I was going to die. Ha I definitly dont know khmer, but I had to try. It actually didnt go as bad as I thought. Funny stuff.

Well this week I've been studying a lot about just believing. Some less actives and members come up to the elders and just say, man i wish i could believe like you guys. So as I've been studying about believing i learned some cool stuff. All in all, we CHOOSE what we believe. Belief is just a choice. Its not that special. You either say "Yip I believe, or nope it cant be real" Presdident Uchtdorf said "There is no magic to belief., But wanting to believe is the necessary first step! God is no respecter of persons. He's your Father." Way simple. I've never met God, or had an amazing spiritual experience, but I believe. I choose to. Its not something that some people have and others dont. Its a choice. But its hard sometimes. Things happen and bad things get thrown into our lives. Thats when belief turns into faith. Elder Anderson said "faith is not by chance, but my choice." When something negative is in our life, we need to do something. We got apply the faith and what you believe in. Then the faith becomes stonger, becuase you already have relied on God and gotten through the trial. Sorry im getting all preachy, but i just felt like writing this. Its good stuff. Just start with the desire to believe if you dont know where you stand. Then choose to believe. Honestly, ha its just a better way to live. Believing there is an all powerful God who loves you and wants you to be happy in this life is a good feeling. The sermon has ended.

Well to end the emial i wanna share one miracle that happend to one of our members. So right now everyone is harvesting their rice and planting. The lady we live with has some big rice fields. She sells the type of rice that all the rich people eat. Its super good and sweet. She went to her fields and started to throw the rice seeds in her fields. Her neighbors started making fun of her, becuase they said they saw 30 rats in her field the day before and the rats were gonig to eat all of her seeds. So she dropped her basket and prayed in faith that the rats wouldn eat her field. Then she just threw all of her seeds. All of it. Thats a ton of faith. Then the next day she came back, All she saw in her field was a huge python as thick as her leg in her field. The snake ate and scared all of the rats away. So sick! God is in the details of our life.

Well i hope all you guys have an awesome Christmas. Cant wait to talk to the fam this week! 

Love Elder Smith
These little dudes love wearing our helmets :)

Afternoon nap, no crib needed

ps-just a little bit from his companions blog-Elder Neuberger

"This last week has been way cool. . . as in temperature. In the mornings and evenings it’s been a brisk 70 degrees. I shiver on our bike rides home at night, because the breeze just picks up over the rice fields and douses me in cold. No enveloping dust/slum pollution to serve as a blanket for me this year.  Elder Smith loves the temperature though. He makes fun of me for being cold. Ohhh just wait till next year... Then he'll feel my pain.

As bad as I think it is, the Khmaes seriously pretend like the polar ice caps have shifted to cover Cambodia. They get all wrapped up in blankets and scarves and beanies and what not, hahaha.  Ahhh . . . it’s so funny. The other day we go over to our investigator’s house, who will be baptized in 2 weeks, and her son comes out of the house and he goes "Wheewee! It’s cold! I was riding my moto back from Prey Totung this morning and the wind made my face go so numb you could slap me right in the face and I would never know", haha."