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

Sunday, January 10, 2016

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!"

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