I am currently sitting in an internet shop in Cambodia in my pday clothes getting ready to go "hike" a "mountain". I'm not so sure they're qualified to be called mountains. But we shall see.
Boy, do I have so much to say and how lucky are we that President Christensen doesn't give us a one hour limit? Literally #blest
The plane ride here was great! Not many troubles. We were able to call family and such and had a few minutes left over on our call card so called our Lookruus and Neakruu and were sooo happy to talk to them. Hopefully we didn't annoy them haha. A couple of Elders and Sisters from our group lost some luggage but hopefully that got taken care of. As soon as we got to the mission home, we met our trainers and were ripped from each other. So no chance to really say goodbye, which was probably for the better. But we get to see each other one last time on Thursday for training. I am excited because I miss our MTC district like no other.
Ok so let's talk about what you're all really wondering about. CAMBODIA. My first area ever is....KAMPONGCHAM! IIt's in the coutry side about three hours from Phnom Penh. It reminds me a lot of Vietnam except dirtier so I don't think I am that culture shocked. The food is heaven and my body really likes it, so the possibility of losing weight is nonexistent because I eat more than I am able to bike off. I freaking love Khmer food. In case anyone is wondering, haven't had poop problems YET and I have not eaten any insects yet either. Anyway, no one here believes I'm Vietnamese. Everyone's initial guess is Chinese or Korean. And then when I tell them my name is Sister Nguyen, they all tell me about the place where you can go get money called "Wing" and then I have to tell them I don't have money. After that, they're too lazy to remember my name or read my plaque so they just call me Sister Vietnam. Also everyone always tells me I look like someone they know that lives a few houses down. I guess all of Cambodia looks like me. My trainer is Sister Nhaem! She's a native but speaks a LOT of English. I'm in a companionship with her and Sister Semones who has been out for three months! They're both super nice and have been super helpful in this transition. We had zone training the other day and were able to talk a little bit about how to help our members. So Sister Nhaem, Semones and I are actually serving in Branch 1 and 2 of Kampongcham. There are a bunch of inactive members here and everyone leaves after the first hour of church. The area is a little weak but we are excited to get to work and help these people. Our apartment is apparently the nicest in the mission. Yes we have AC #blest but we are sandwiched between two or three watts and they are super SUPER loud. I went to my first real Cambodian sacrament meeting yesterday. It is true, reverence does not exist in this country. Everyone talks during the whole thing and the kids are running around playing and talking to people on the pulpit and chasing after the sacrament trays. BTW THE SACAMENT BREAD IS THE BEST THING EVER. It's like sweet coconut bread and I died when I ate it. Yesterday was fast and testimony meeting so I got to hear a lot of the testimonies of the members. Although this place is completely insane, I have to say that the Holy Spirit that is here is the same that I have felt everywhere. These people have amazing faith that I admire so much. For example, one of the members in Branch 2 doesn't have use of her legs but still comes to church every week. And church is not close. The members here have been so kind to me and are always encouraging me to keep trying. I love these people so much already. But the language barrier makes it so so hard. I never understood what it felt like to have a "broken heart and contrite spirit" until now. I feel completely helpless and useless. BUT I am fully dependent on my trainer and the Lord. I only want to help the people. I only want to get to know them. But not knowing the language makes it so hard. I trust that God is going to help me through this like He has with every other trial I have had. I am optimistic and cannot wait until I can truly serve the Khmers. I was reading in the Book of Mormon and was just pondering and asking myself how the heck I am going to be of any aid. And then I flipped to 2 Nephi 32:3, saying that if we feast upon the words of Christ, the words of Christ will tell us all that we should do. So I have restarted the Book of Mormon and trust that it will help me to know how to help these people see the importance of the gospel.
A lot of this week was about overcoming fears and just remembering why I am here. Sister Nhaem told me to not be afraid of contacting even if I don't speak the language because this is the reason I am here...to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Who am I to decide who gets to hear about it and who doesn't? And the worst they could say is no. SO BUCK UP, SISTER NGUYEN. Anyway, I love you all so much and am grateful for your thoughts, kind words, and prayers. I would not be here without your powerful testimonies and incredible example to help me along the way. Until next week!
Picture 1 Our family. Sister Nhaem is my mom, there's "not so little baby me", and Dad Sister Semones