Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sam sent the following email & photos on Sunday, May 24, 2015:

From: Samuel Christensen <samuel.christensen@myldsmail.net>
Subject: Another Day, Another W
Date: May 25, 2015 12:42:38 AM MDT

Hey guys,

Wow, I was really missing keeping up with major league baseball. That stuff is good times. [Peter had sent Sam an email with some current baseball stats and information.]

We met a less active girl who speaks english really well last week and she served a mission like 8 years ago or something. She told us that "good people leave the church, and bad people stay in it." It's sad. We decided she was one of the most prideful people we'd ever met. She was very nice, but some of the things she said.. She's gotten caught up in anti-literature I think.

One thing we tried to do this week is "spread seeds" because we just felt that the area was a little cold and not very open to us, so to spread a seed we either smile or wave or say hello to someone and if we can see that they are visibly uplifted with a return smile or say hello back, then we count it as a seed. It has to be a positive experience for them and we hope that their countenance will be lifted. So that's nice because it's not really anything extra, it just forces you to focus on looking happy and seeing all people and being nice at all times, mostly when you're riding your bike. Hopefully by putting all that positive energy into the area, one day someone will come and find one of the seeds that we planted in someone. We were going for a weekly total of 600 but came out with 490, but we're going to do better this week.

We do have a few new people to teach, and that's really nice. Missionary work is pretty dang boring when there's no progressing investigators. And one of our current investigators is really good. He found out for himself about prayer and repentance and told us about it. He's a really cool kid.

We were visiting an active member family last week and sharing a lesson and in the middle of the lesson a yellow liquid started dripping from the wooden slat of their ceiling and falling onto the bags that they were sewing for their job. Their neighbors live upstairs. They casually called up to them and said something was dripping through, and got a response that it was just scrambled duck eggs. That's a relief. They moved the bags and carried on listening to the lesson. So the next time you think you don't love your neighbor because of something they do, just think about these guys and be glad you don't have duck egg embryo dripping into your house. They took it completely in stride.

My piano playing skills are coming back up because I've had a little bit of time to practice like a few weeks ago for like an hour or so. I sight read all the hymns in sacrament yesterday and i could play them all right. I don't know what they are beforehand. But honestly, if I messed up, they wouldn't know the difference, so there's not that much pressure. They didn't ask me to play the hymns. No one did, they just expect that someone will and no one else will, so there you go.

A nice lady at sacrament gave a talk yesterday and closed it by bearing her testimony about coming to church all 3 hours. "You should come to church all 3 hours, because it's cooler than your house. That's why I come to church, because my house is really hot, but the church is cold."  Amen. The congregation nodded in silent approval.

Another woman named her son Komsot, or, "Tragic" because he was sick a lot as a child. Isn't that like cursing that kid for life?

Elder Myers and I are doing well. I don't do as much talking as I did before when I was a senior companion, but I am getting to learn a lot of new, good words. My language isn't that good. Like I can talk to people and they can understand me, but as they're quick to point out lots of times, I'm not so clear. But that's ok.

I got to do a baptism interview for one of the district leaders in our zone this week. The lady I interviewed was really amazing and it was amazing to hear, from her with basically no prompting, how much better her life has gotten and how much peace she feels in her family and how her husband has changed so much, since they've entered and learned and applied in the church. It's hard for me to testify about stuff like that in my life, because (obviously) I've been born in the church and had positive influences around me for so long, so to hear her say stuff like that and really share how much better her life is because she has the church makes you step back at appreciate all that we have in our lives, and hopefully gives you greater desire to help other people find the missing link in their lives. I know if people haven't yet become acquainted with the gospel or haven't fully tried, then there is something out there that they should try-wholeheartedly- and see if it brings any change or not. 

That's all I've got, guys. I am promising to myself that I will not be the "devotional" missionary, and now it's happened two weeks in a row. Crap. What's happening to me?

Sam celebrated his 1-Year anniversary last week with cookies and milk. :)

Sam wrote:  "This was on a random building. Go Cougars"
Sam wrote, "This river marks the entrance to our area. Isn't it beautiful? It smells great."

Friday, May 22, 2015

Sam sent us the following email on Sunday, May 17, 2015:

From: Samuel Christensen <samuel.christensen@myldsmail.net>
Subject: On the Downhill
Date: May 18, 2015 12:52:53 AM MDT

Hey guys, 

I don't know if you remembered, but this last Thursday was my one year mark. [Yeah, we remembered...!]  I only have one year left. For as much as I get annoyed being on a mission and get tired of people and situations and stuff, I was really sad to think that I only have one year left to be a missionary. It makes me sad to think about, and honestly, I don't know what real life will be like when I go back because now this is my life. Like grinding until you get a bright spot of getting a new investigator and visiting less actives and fixing broken bikes and sweating and stuff. Going back seems so strange to me. I'm glad I generally don't have to worry about all the problems that people have to worry about in the real world. I like to be an "Elder" where that's my name so that everybody, even random people that I don't know, can call to me and feel kinship.

So yeah, I got some cookies and milk for the one year anniversary. I took pictures but I forgot the connector stuff to send pictures, so I'll have to send some next week instead.

We only have like 2 investigators. They're both really good people and good investigators, but they're hard to meet, so we pretty much didn't get to meet any investigators this week. It's hard to go from not having investigators in Battambang, to finally getting some, to leaving and coming here and not having any once again. But we've really been praying and hoping and we got 2 referrals yesterday of people who are hopefully good, and a little bit more hope of some people that attend our english class that came to church yesterday. So I hope that will get better. 

There's one guy here named Pu Pan, and he's been a member for a long time, but over the past 2 years he had a stroke or something and lost movement in the left side of his body. And his family didn't help him or anything, so he's been left to veg on a bed in their house and nobody goes to talk to him or do anything to help him. His muscles are all gone and he can't do anything. But on the left side of his pathetic little cot bed thing he's got the book of mormon and the bible. We've been going there pretty much everyday to do physical therapy on him the best we think we know how. It's just us bending his knee and ankle and hip. His family hasn't helped him out at all. As we do the physical therapy we've read aloud out of the book of mormon, and he's found peace in that. It's a pretty humbling experience to do physical therapy on him because he's not very clean (he's got a urine bucket right next to his bed that he just holds a little cup thing to and dumps out whatever he's got into the bucket, and I don't know where he goes number 2, but I think it's right where he is), and his legs have gotten so thin from not being used and there's no muscle. But we hope that by doing this one day he can at least sit up and if we're really lucky he can walk again. We took a few other people there yesterday and he started weeping kind of hysterically just because no one ever comes to see him.

The area is very hard to learn. It's like a dang maze. My companion still gets lost every now and again and he's been here for 3 months. But I still have a lot of faith in this area and really think that there's people who need to learn about the church

I had to speak in church yesterday. The ward here is really strong. Like lots of solid people. Probably because the church has been here longer than any other ward in the country.

I think the hardest thing to do in life is live in the moment. We're always thinking about the good old times, or what we're going to do in the future, but boy, it's hard to live in the present and appreciate all that's around us. I'm terrible at it. But I'm trying to soak all of it in and enjoy where I'm at right now because I know that one day this'll be "the good old days."

I hate "devotional"-type emails, but I feel like it's important, so y'all remember that and try to enjoy every day that you've got, for tomorrow we die. Or some scripture like that. Carpe diem!!!

K I hope you all have a good week and are doing good stuff to get ready for a fun summer! Peace and love

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

We got to Skype with Sam on Mother's Day--Sunday, May 10, 2015.  It was one year ago--on Mother's Day, 2014--that Sam gave his missionary farewell in church, so he is now officially half-way through his mission!  He just got transferred last Friday from Battambang down to Phnom Penh. He grew very close to many of the people he knew in Battambang and he will really miss them.  Sam and his new companion in Phnom Penh are zone leaders, and they are hoping they can do some good in their new area. :)  

After our Skyping session, Sam emailed us the following photos he took in Battambang before leaving:

Sam grew very fond of these two older men.  They lived through the Khmer Rouge era and have seen a lot of sorrow in their lives.  But they are happy and kind.

We think this beautiful church is located in Phnom Penh where Sam is currently serving.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Sam sent us the following email, video clip, & photos on Sunday, May 3, 2015.  Our questions are in italics:

From: Samuel Christensen <samuel.christensen@myldsmail.net>
Subject: The King is Coming!
Date: May 3, 2015 11:16:45 PM MDT

Hey guys,

Um, first of all Pacquiao and Mayweather happened and I missed it? That's a nightmare! This fight is legendary! I actually heard about it a few months ago but wasn't sure if it was actually happening. I can't believe it did. I'll have to watch it when I get back. That poor Pacquiao. I was hoping that little Filipino underdog could pull out a victory. 

The king of Cambodia is coming to Battambang for the annual national "Royal Ploughing Day" holiday. They've done it in Phnom Penh for the past forever and this is the first time here. They've been preparing the field for the king and tending to the ceremonial rice field and putting up pictures of the king all over the place. He'll get here on Thursday, which is perfect because I'll just get to catch him before I leave to go back to the city on FRIDAY for transfers. I'm transferring back down to Phnom Penh into South Zone in Toul Tom Pong ward. I get to have an American companion and be zone leaders with him. I'm super excited to be in a good situation and get to do good stuff. My father, Elder Yorgason, is going to come out for one transfer and take my spot in my branch with my companion and he'll finish his mission out here. I was pretty dang close to punching my companion in the face last night.. closest I've ever been to hitting a human, but that can wait for later. 

You guys ever try My Boy? It's all the rage here and I finally got it and it's great. I toast bread, put My Boy on top and then put cinnamon on top of that and it's delicious. You should try it.

I did get the Easter package when we went down to the city last week. I have been plowing through that thing (pun intended). 

I never liked mangoes in America, but we're entering mango season here, and these ripe mangoes are soo delicious. It kind of reminds me of peach season in that I feel like I really need to make the most of it. They're really good and they're everywhere.

There's a lot of people that I'll really miss in Battambang. I made a list of "people I like in Battambang" and I had like 45 different families/people. Then I starred the really good ones. We'll have to come back and visit here for sure.

Do the people in Cambodia plant little vegetable gardens for their home use?  I know they plant lots of rice, but I was wondering if they do small-scale home gardens as well.  Most people don't plant vegetable gardens. Generally if they have a garden they only plant one big one with one thing so that they can sell it at the store.

In that photo you sent last week of some men sitting in a circle, eating, was there a bat on one of the serving dishes? I'm pretty sure that was a fish those guys were eating. It was just a classic photo because they were all toasting and drinking their beer and they offered us to drink and we're like naww, we don't drink that. Why? Because we want good health. I had a word of wisdom pamphlet in my backpack so I gave it to the guy and he read it aloud to all the people. Irony.

That's crazy about that Baltimore stuff. Like we've gone back to the Sixties. Crap.

Ok, that's all I've got. Thanks for all your emails and everything. You guys are great! Have a good sports-watching time. It's baseball season and the NBA playoffs: a good time to be alive. 

Peace and Love

There's a truck hauling the front of another truck it its bed. The cars here make it feel like the island of misfit toys. Everything's just kind of thrown together randomly.

This is an investigator that we've been working with for a while. 
She is very smart and asks good questions.

 That's a haircut place which I never actually got to try out.

This is one of the best members ever. Seriously, he's great.

This is our RC Huam, who's in the blue shirt, and his whole family who came in for the picture.

That lady said she carves that whole thing in two days.