Monday, June 27, 2016

Episode 39: The One Where I Hit Half-Way

Hello everyone! Today's email will be very short, but I still love you all!

At some point this past week, I hit my half way mark kind of! It's a little confusing because my mission is a weird length or something, but I have 9 months left out here in the WA-TAC!

Also, Ming Kong got baptized yesterday, and it was a really awesome baptism with lots of ward support. Hooray!


Sister Lemon

Monday, June 20, 2016

Episode 38: The One Where I Eat Weird and Delicious Things

Hello everybody!

Fruit is in season here, and I've been eating strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cherries from Cambodian people's gardens (they all have fruit gardens). It is the freshest, most delicious fruit I have ever eaten!

Also, I have eaten Cambodian food for a second dinner every day this week! I guess that's what happens when you teach Cambodians at 7:00 p.m.! Everything I have had is super delicious, I could it eat it forever. Sometimes I don't know what I'm eating (such as I ate something that looked like re-fried beans but tasted like the spiciest scrambled eggs you can imagine), but I figure maybe it's better that way. I also ate soup with a half of a fish in it. Guess which half I got! Sister Pen's soup had this nice fish tail in it, and mine had an eyeball looking right at me! don't worry, you don't eat the head. You just have to look at it while you eat the rest of the soup. Good thing I'm not squeamish. 

This week we also had zone conference, and this time it was at an outdoor camp called Zion's Camp. We did a lot of team building and trust exercises, and then talked about how we could apply what we had learned from the activities into our missionary work. It was really cool!

We got to be outside and wear jeans. What more could you want?

Also, one of the activities was you had to fall backward off this log and people would catch you. If you know anything about my paralyzing fear of falling, you can imagine how much I was not thrilled about that. But I did it!

We took Ming Kong to see a baptism on Saturday. The person being baptized had been in some kind of accident, and he is partially paralyzed and can't speak. It was really cool though, because you could see his testimony in his eyes and in his smile. Ming Kong got a little nervous when the missionary performing the baptism almost dropped the guy, but we told her she can pick someone "big big" to baptize her, and she felt a lot better. I was really excited because she is so ready to be baptized, and I can't wait to see her as happy as the guy on Saturday was. She gave up tea this week, so she should get baptized this upcoming weekend.

I read a great talk this week by Elder Henry B. Eyring. He told a story about his father, who had debilitating bone cancer, but he was still determined to be faithful to the end of his life. He was one day volunteering weeding in a church owned vegetable farm that grows food tor humanitarian uses. He was in so much pain that he couldn't even kneel. He weeded laying on his stomach and scooting along the ground for several hours. After the day was done, someone told him the weeds he had pulled had already been sprayed and would have died in a few days. The weeds that needed pulled were in a different part or the farm. When he laughingly told this story to a young Elder Eyring, Elder Eyring asked how he could find so much pain for nothing amusing. Wasn't he frustrated that he had wasted his whole day, or mad that no one hat told him earlier? His father looked at him and said "I didn't come for the weeds. I came for the Savior." I like to keep that in mind when I'm knocking doors that no one opens, or talking to people who just want to tell me I'm wrong, or pretty much any frustrating situation. I didn't come on a mission for the weeds. I came for the Savior.

I love you all. Keep your chins up!


Sister Lemon

Monday, June 13, 2016

Episode 37: The One Where I Learned to Make Cambodian Food

Hello everybody! So much has happened this week, that I honestly don't know where to start or what to include, so forgive me if my thoughts are kind of scattered. It feels like I've lived a whole month's worth of events since last Monday!

On Saturday (see, I told you I was going to be scattered), we were supposed to have so much going on that we weren't sure we would actually make it to all of our appointments. And then, of course, 70% of them fell through, and so we were trying to decide what to do to find new people to teach. Well, apparently the answer is cook with the Cambodians, but we didn't know that at the time.

Here is what happened. We went to Bong Roth's house (Souhan and Sakura's house) to teach their aunt, Ming Kong. We taught her while everyone else was at the grocery store, and they got back as we were about to leave. Bong Roth asked if we could stay for a bit and help them cook, and we said sure. So I learned (kinda) how to make Kuthio (I probably spelled that way wrong), which is kind of like a Cambodian pho with a beef base in stead of chicken, and way more delicious. The reason it was a finding activity is because one of Bong Roth's friends showed up, and now we are teaching her, and they also gave us the phone number of another lady who is interested. Basically i have decided that the best way to find more Cambodians is to hang out with the Cambodians we already know, because it is a lot easier than hunting them down in the midst of everyone else. Plus, I get to eat tasty food!

Ming Kong is actually doing really well right now. She came to church and stayed for all 3 hours, even though Bong Roth had to go home to take care of her baby. Ming Kong told us that as soon as she walked into the chapel, she could feel something different. She wants to get baptized and follow Jesus Christ so much, and you can tell that she is really committed to it, too.  

After church we went to Bong Roth's to talk to Ming Kong about how she felt and to answer any questions she might have. We were visiting a little bit with their whole family, and Tami (Bong Roth's 2 year old daughter, who is kinda spoiled) was doing a little potty dance. Ming Kong and Sister Pen were asking her (in Cambodian) if she needed to go to the bathroom and if she needed any help. Apparently, Tami was not amused, because after ignoring them for a couple minutes, she gave Ming Kong the stink eye and shouted "no pee, Kong!" It was particularly funny because Ming Kong thought it was so funny, and her laugh is really contagious.

Also, on Monday we helped a lady move in to a house in our area all the way from Kent. Her name is Marry Anne, or "Granny Standing Bear" (she does not appear to be native American, but I don't know the story yet if it is a knock name). The Kent missionaries called us and asked us to be there when she got to her new place, which is good because she was by herself and it was 95 degrees out, and I think she would have died if she had tried to unload all her stuff without any help. We have gone over every day since to try to talk to her again, but she is never home! I think her room mate (who is pretty old and uses an electric scooter) is getting tired of us being there all the time, but we are really anxious to teach her, because she has already been to church twice, and has had some lessons from the missionaries in Kent.

Other than that, we have just been keeping really busy with lots of good things. I have been studying a lot, particularly about making love our motivation behind everything we do. I have been particularly pondering on Proverbs 10:12, which says "Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins." I haven't uncovered all the meanings of that verse yet, but I have noticed recently that the more you love someone, the less you notice their mistakes, and the more you focus on their strengths rather than their faults. It is really cool! I'm not very good at it yet, but I'm working on it, and it makes a world of difference.

Well, that's all for today! Except for this selfie Sister Pen took while I was driving. Excuse my face, I was caught off guard.


Sister Lemon

Monday, June 6, 2016

Episode 36: The One with the Old Lady and a Kitchen Fire

Hello everybody! I hope this finds you all doing well.

As I am sure you know by now, missionary work is never boring. For example, this week we went to visit a really old Cambodian lady who has stopped coming to church because at the age of 95, her health is not the best. We always go to her back door because if faces the street (I know, weird). Well, when we got to the door, it was open, which is unusual, so we just walked in. There in the kitchen was some guy I've never seen trying to put out a fire that basically took over the stove top. His method was essentially beating the fire to death with a wet rag, and it was more effective than you might think. Once he got the fire put out, the smoke alarm started going off (I think he roasted the rag, among other things), and so we had to help open all the doors and windows and fan the smoke out of the house. Never a dull moment!

This week we taught two Cambodian kids named Kameron and Beverly, and they are amazing! We shared the first vision with them, and asked them what they thought would happen after Joseph Smith prayed. Beverly said "I think God and Jesus told Joseph Smith to be the new prophet", and Kameron said "and they probably wanted him to tell everybody about how they could have the truth again". Basically we said "yeah, that's what happened", and then gave them the Book of Mormon. They both started reading it right then and there! I'm so excited for these two!

Also, it was about 95 here yesterday, so knocking doors was basically hotter than sirrache sauce (which I've started eating a lot because Asians love it). We were knocking in a mobile home park for retired people, and just when I thought I was going to pass out from heat, a really nice lady let us in and gave us some ice water. And she actually had air conditioning, which is pretty rare here. It turns out she got baptized many years ago, but then she got offended by something someone at church said to her, and she hasn't come back since. She was really kind, but it is always sad to me when people lose their faith because of someone else's imperfections.

This week has been a little hard for me as well. There have just been a lot of people who seem so ready for the gospel, but they make promises to do things like go to church that they never intend to keep. At first I was getting really bogged down about it, feeling really tired, and on some level I just wanted to give up. But, I have decided that I am not a quitter, so I started studying to try to find a better solution. I found so many great things in the Book of Mormon and in the words of living apostles, but I want to share on thing in particular with you. 

How great is it to know that God is always supporting us! He never leaves us alone in our times of trial. And because of the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we never go through trials or struggles alone. He knows us perfectly, he knows exactly what we are going through because He has gone through it for us, and He knows specifically how best to help you through it. Isn't that amazing!

Well, that's all I have for today! 


Sister Lemon