Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sam sent the following email, photos, and video clips on Sunday, July 19, 2015. Yes, I know I'm a whole week late posting this.  I was at Girls Camp last week and am still recovering...

From: Samuel Christensen <>
Subject: The power has gone out 1, 2 times in the writing of this letter
Date: July 20, 2015 1:46:16 AM MDT

What's up family! Sounds like you're all having a good summer. As am I.

First of all, do you think you could find a picture of my baptism and send it to me? It would be cool to show people.

I was in what Elder Myers dubbed the "splash zone" earlier this morning at the phsaa. That means I was standing a little too close to the lady's booth who was chopping pig heads and I got a little bit of pig blood splattered on my shirt so I had to go home and change.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! You are the greatest mother I've ever had. But I really do love you.

Also I got a hair cut this morning from a street-corner guy. He did ok. I don't know yet, I haven't really gotten to look at it yet. There's nicer places than that. I mainly got it there for pictures/experience...

I loved listening to the sacrament talks yesterday when several of the speakers got up and said that they hadn't received topics to speak on, so the were just going to do________, and most of them just read from something else. But one guy after he read off of some pamphlet or something for most of his talk, he closed it out with reciting the 10 commandments randomly. Those are important too so I'm glad he decided to remind everyone of them, lest we forget.

There's plenty I could say about this week, but instead of going over the whole week, I'll just give you a rundown of how yesterday went because it was one of my craziest days as a missionary. 
7:25- We get to the church late and find that neither our investigator, nor our member present had showed up for the appointment that we had set with them both.
8:00- We've made some calls trying to get some stuff set up for the day, and then venture into the primary room to see how it looks, and it's a mess. They've been repainting the church for the past few weeks, so this room was super dirty and crowded with tons of chairs, all of which are dusty from the paint. So myers and I started opening windows to air out the rooms, moved 3 pianos, lots of chairs, tables, etc. This is important because we're going to use the primary room for our 11 o'clock baptism.
8:25- We decide that washing the dusty chairs is going to be our best option. At that point our member help arrived and asked if the investigator came. No.
8:45- We've been washing the chairs with the outside hose. I'm spraying and Myers and the member, Sarika, are setting and stacking. Myers mentions that the font is a little dirty. I go look and then Sarika went and looked and we decided it was best to get new water. There was like oily stuff in it and paint particles and also the floor was disgusting. We wanted it to be nice for this big moment in our investigators lives.
8:50- Ask the guard to drain the water. Also some little 6 year old girl found us and followed us around everywhere.
9:00- We're running around doing stuff and the other ward comes down after sac meeting and wants their chairs, so we lift them all back in.
9:05- The water, if draining at all, is draining way too slow. We ask the guard again.
9:10- Call our ward mission leader to make sure he's preparing the program. He's in Kampong Cham! We audible and ask Sarika if he'll do it which he happily obliges.
9:25 We've been looking at the water level, which is barely draining, if at all, and try to open the drain ourselves. Lots of lever pulling/pushing, running around and worrying with the provided knowledge that it takes 3 hours to fill the font all the way up. We decided that we were going to have to drain it ourselves.
9:30- Myers and I went upstairs and found some giant buckets (dumped the brooms and the dead cockroach out), changed into our baptismal white pants, lose the shoes, enter the water and start bailing water from the font.
----We would both go into the font for our respective bucket, try and lift the bucket out, then help Sarika slide it across the way into the mens bathroom and lift it to dump the water out into the toilet.
9:45- Several observers mosey by and ask if we're having a baptism today.
----We did it until about 10:05 or so. Between us we probably lifted 30-40 buckets out. The buckets were probably at least 20 gallon buckets. Maybe bigger. All 3 of us were soaked in sweat and water. We were so grateful for all the help and willingness that Sarika offered. Truly Christlike.
----I scrub the font and we get it generally clean enough and start the refill
10:10- Myers and I feed the outside hose through the window into the baptismal font to help.
10:50- The font is completely filled and we've had a little bit of time to rest.
11:20- The baptism starts.
Sam wrote, "Bailing Crew"
(Left to Right:  Sarika, Sam, Elder Myers)


We went and got pictures and had the baptism. It was a great baptism. It ended up being for the two original people. She had told us that she would like to be baptized this week, so we arranged it for her. It was probably the best baptism I've been to. Very reverent. Just really, really good. And the two girls who were baptized will be really good members for a very long time.

Skip to later:
2:00- We were eating food at a member's house because of the baptism, and it starts pouring.
2:35- We leave to go to the church. It's still pouring. They try to make me wear a raincoat but I refuse because wearing raincoats makes me feel like I'm wearing dresses. Also I don't care about getting wet as long as my stuff doesn't get wet.
2:40- Arrive at the church and there's some Cambodian group there waiting inside the church, probably like 20 people and none are members. They say they're in a band called Messy Classy and they've come to film a music video. Ok, sure.
2:53- We go upstairs into the sacrament room and there's nobody in there. Ope, yep, actually there's one old Om sleeping on the pews.
2:55- Myers and I start preparing the sacrament after we go down and borrow cups from another ward because no one from our ward is there.
3:00- Our church is supposed to start now. There's 5 people in the sacrament room: 1 investigator, the Om from before, 1 less active and his wife, and someone else.
3:08- We finish getting the water ready and ask the old branch president, who is now one of maybe 8 people in attendance (still none of our, if we should go home and get bread from our house. He says probably yes.
3:12- We're back at our house getting the bread.
3:13- We head back to the church with the bread.
3:18- We place the bread on the trays. While doing this, they announce the opening song. I go and turn on the piano and play the opening hymn.
3:24- We confirm both people who were baptized.
3:41- The bishop makes it into the meeting.
8:20- It's still raining and hasn't stopped all day.

The rest of it was basically just normal, but it was a crazy, wet day for a little bit there. We lost 35 people at church from last week because of the rain, and I think because they had a Pioneer day celebration the day before. Whenever they have parties, people think it's not necessary to go to church the next day.

It's crazy here but it's great. I just keep thinking that I wouldn't rather be doing anything else than what I'm doing here. I'm on another high. Thinking about going home doesn't make me feel very good. Our zone is right on track or ahead of what we set for our monthly goals, so we're really excited about that. I hit my year mark in the country last week on the 17th and that was pretty cool to think about where I was and what I was doing a year ago. Time goes fast here. You age (in understanding of things) really quickly out here. It almost all feels like a dream.

I hope you guys are happy, healthy, and have a good week!


The Favorite Son

Video Link:

Sam wrote, "Pioneer Day.  Please note the decorations of A) Post-it notes to add color, B) the pictures of bamboo, presumably to represent the many trials our forefathers endured"

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