Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sam sent us the following email & photos on Sunday, April 19, 2015:

From: Samuel Christensen <samuel.christensen@myldsmail.net>
Subject: O Home Beloved
Date: April 20, 2015 12:29:14 AM MDT

O home beloved, wherever I wander, on foreign land or distant sea, as time rolls by, my heart grows fonder and yearns more lovingly for thee!

That's just a little ode that I wrote this past week. I could go on, but I won't.

Just kidding! Well this week was better than the last, so we're seeing progression. My companion likes me now, which is a great relief and makes life easier.

This past week was Khmae New Year and there was not a ton of work to be done there. People are busy and don't want to meet you or are gone. I went on an exchange to Pursat, which is one of the new areas that they opened a few months ago. Since it was the holiday, there wasn't a lot of work to be done, but it was fun to be there. I'd love to serve there one day. It's got an exciting vibe to it with those guys just holding church in their apartment every week. We came back the next day and our Battambang zone got to meet together and watch Ephraim's Rescue. Movie nights never happen here, so that was a big thing.

One thing that Elder Monson--the Elder in Pursat--pointed out to me is that everyone there is wearing the same red polo-branded hat. I hadn't noticed it before, but it's true and it's so funny. Then I realized the trend is catching on in Battambang too. I don't know why, but probably 10% of the population are rocking the same red Polo hat, and they don't seem to be conscious of it at all.

Also on the exchange I ate baby duck eggs for the first time. That's baby ducks that are still in embryo stage I think. So you crack them open and eat them out of the egg. I'd been avoiding them for a reason, but what the heck they were there and I didn't want to be that guy. They taste fine. Just don't look at what you're eating or you'll see the feet or the soft little skull. yeah....

I told Jennie this in an email, but the reason I get upset out here sometimes is because I don't want to go home and feel like I wasted my mission or I didn't do the things I should have. So when we're not doing anything I feel bad.

We really did have a miracle yesterday with a new family that we met. We met a lady several weeks ago who said she'd gone to our old church about 10 years ago before we changed locations. We invited her to church and she ended up coming with her husband. She's crippled and after that meeting 2 weeks ago her husband came up and asked me if they could take the wheelchair. I was like ├╝mmm, what?" No. So I thought they'd only come to try and get a free wheelchair out of us, but we met with them yesterday before church and they brought their whole family of 5. They listened to the whole lesson, digested it, asked some questions, and agreed to be baptized at the end of May. It's too early to tell for sure, but they seem really good and I hope it'll all work out for them. Their eyes lit up when Elder Kim said "Joseph Smith" for the first time because they recognized the name. It was really cool. So that, honestly, is an answered prayer and I'm grateful for all of you guys in helping us get them. The circumstances in finding them for the very first time were very happen-stancial. Is that a word?

One lady speaking yesterday in sacrament meeting got up to the pulpit and said "they gave me a topic, but I didn't look at it." She turned around to the presidency: "what am I speaking on?" These people aren't trying to be funny, that's just how things shake out here. She's got guts.

Our Branch President diagnosed our drop in sacrament attendance as the members struggling with the new "self reliance" book that the church is pushing here. He says they try to fill it out and then get frustrated and then are embarrassed to come to church. He suggested maybe we could learn it and then go teach it to members who are having trouble with it. Sure, why not. I don't think that's the problem anyways, but I asked him which members or families specifically had looked at it and felt frustrated and hadn't come to church as a result of it, hoping to have an idea of which families, specifically, we need to teach. He responded "All of them." So that was helpful.

I'm hoping that things will continue to progress. It's funny, of almost all of the best investigators we have, they're almost all crippled in some way. We're going to need more wheelchairs. I also think those people are a lot more humble and open to accepting the gospel.

The 10 kilos of rice last week was just right, so we bought 10 more this week. Heaven forbid we run out of rice.

I love you and miss you all. Best!

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