Saturday, December 19, 2015

Sam sent the following email & photos on Friday, December 18, 2015:

December 18, 2015 at 9:10 PM
Subject:  Back to BB

Hey Guys,

Wow, is it really the 19th of December? It is not beginning to look like Christmas at all. But hey, we had a good week here in Cambodia. Starting on Monday this last week Elieson and I headed out around the provinces to do some exchanges. We got into Battambang late Monday night and all of Tuesday I got to go out with Elder Zierenberg and his trainee in legendary Branch 2 Rothanak! It was one of the coolest days of my mission. I left Battambang over 7 months ago, and in mission terms that's a while (lot of turnover in missionaries). So when we'd pull up to a house of someone I knew well they'd double take and then realize that it was me. So fun! I really love that area and so many of the people up there. Since I was there for a while and Zierenberg basically had to whitewash in, I got to show him some houses of less active members that I knew. It's crazy because I've been out of there for a while, but when you get back in the area it's like you don't skip a beat. This is the first area that I've left that I've gotten to go back and proselyte in. Zierenberg and Schiefer are beasts out there and I'm happy and confident to have them holding down that sweet area. 

Then we drove around to the east and stopped off for another exchange in Kampong Cham on Thursday. That was also cool. It was my first time to go through KT and KC and they're really pretty khets. Doing exchanges is like pinch-hitting in baseball--you're kind of coming in cold off the bench and thrown right into the action. Sometimes you're successful, other times not. The guys in KC have a huge island in their area that you get to by going over a huge bamboo bridge. Way cool out there. 

Here's a link I just found about a lady from Battambang that I got the chance to teach back about 8 months ago. She's got great faith! 

Hey thank you guys for all the Christmas stuff! I got the packages and my random snacking has really picked up. The frisbee I'm stoked for. Thanks!

Left to right:  Elder Schiefer, Sam, Elder Zierenberg (Sam's companion back in the MTC)

Bamboo bridge to an island

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Sam sent us the following email & photos on Friday, December 11, 2015:

Hey guys,

For a lot of this week it was pretty boring and depressing and I felt like I couldn't do a lot of the stuff I wanted to. I tried to keep up on it by handing out the little Christmas pass-along cards that we have, so I passed out a bunch of those out the passenger-side window at stoplights and stuff. You forget how much of a rush you get when you contact people when you don't get to do it as often. It's good. But Friday was a good day because we had 51 trainers/trainees come into the mission home to have a day of training/fun/whatever else. And that was a good day that felt like it was fulfilling. For a lot of the day it felt like trying to herd cats though.

There's downsides and perks to being in here. Last week we got to go to North Stake conference to translate and I got to see Someun and his 3 younger brothers that he's now brought to the church. Love that guy. Translating from Khmae to English was really tricky for me. I do get to drive now, so that'll be nice for you guys when you come over. You won't need to get a driver, just a car. It's actually not super crazy to drive like I thought it would be because I've been riding on these roads for a year and a half so I kind of know how traffic flows. But before on a bike, you're making cuts in front of cars that are good cuts, and now in the car, you're like hey that guy just cut me off. More perspective.

It's really happy to see all of the really good missionaries that we have. I love sending them out and knowing they're going to go do what they do best and what they're trained to do. We're confident in the missionaries that are in our mission right now. I really like a ton of people here. Just good people. Speaking of good people, Elder Elieson, my companion is a stud. We've known each other since day one and he's such a good dude. Fun to be with him.

I'm going to look and see what I can do to get out [proselyting] with two transfers left, or with at the least, one transfer left. I'm trying hard to keep a good journal still. We might be hitting up the khets next week, so that'd be sick to go around there, but we'll see.

Peace and love!!

Elder Elieson & Sam

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Sam sent the following email on Friday, Dec. 4, 2015.  With his transfer into the mission office, his day for emailing us has changed to Friday (Sam's Saturday).

December 4, 2015 at 6:01 PM
Subject:  Perspective

Hey Guys, 

Probably won't write very much because we're a little crunched for time. I left from Chbar Ampov on Monday and the rest has gone pretty fast. Lots of meetings and stuff, but I'm really new so I don't have any good input or understand situations or anything like that. I'm pretty useless right now in those kinds of things. To choose one word to describe the last week, is perspective. Gives me a whole new perspective on missionary work. Because I thought I knew missionary work pretty well at this point. But to come in here puts you on the whole different side of things. It's funny because now you realize you can't do what you're wanting to do, which is proselyte and work in an area like normal. So you have to do all that you can to help those who can proselyte to be most effective. So it's a little bit of a shift. That means getting pummeled by requests, questions, favors, problems, phone calls, etc. for a lot of the time. Especially when I don't know the answer to any of them. Glad to have Elder Neuberger (who just left office now after 4.5 transfers in here) and Elder Elieson in here because they know what they're doing. 

Hope everything's going well for you guys! I'll talk to you later!!!