Monday, June 16, 2014

"Bee" The Message

Hey everyone,

This week was a ton of fun. On Tuesday night, Elder Quentin L. Cook spoke to us.  I really like and appreciate how every apostle that speaks to us strengthens our confidence as missionaries.  Elder Cook spoke about how we are ready, how we are capable, and how we are chosen.  He dispelled our fears, and told us that WE are the message before we even teach our lessons.  We need to attract people with our good attitude and smiles.  He told us to "attract Bee's with Honey, and not with vinegar".  Just the stuff my district needed to hear after a long week of mental strain, as we continue to study the Khmae language. 

Elder Christensen and I taught quite a few lessons this week including a 45-minute one on Saturday.  Two weeks ago I would have never thought that I could teach someone in the Khmae language for forty-five minutes.  Yet somehow we pulled it off.  The spirit played a huge role in that lesson.  We taught a Returned missionary named Blake.  We focused on receiving revelations through the Book of Mormon, and then spoke a little bit about Father's day.  Elder Christensen got a little emotional as we were comparing Heavenly Father and our earthly fathers, the Spirit was pretty strong.

I consider my first week as district leader pretty successful.  I got do interviews with all the senior companions and its great to hear how everyone is progressing in their conversion.  Our district is by far the closest district and we have a lot of great missionaries who are gonna change lives in Cambodia.  We are on the second half of our stay at the MTC, and leave for Cambodia in about a month.  On Wednesday we got chosen to host again for the new missionaries.  I hosted 3 going to west campus (Spanish speaking) and one who will stay here at main campus. 

This week was probably by far the most fun out of any week so far.  Since the British elders left for Hong Kong today, we had a lot of zone-fun before they left.  Elder Christensen and I were honored to receive a ton of pass-downs from the older guys that were leaving.  We got pretty close with these guys and they chose us to receive the MTC "wealth".  "Pass downs" are basically items not normal to the MTC dorms, including: Toasters, nerf guns, seat cushions, memory-foam bed cushions, super random items, and other cool stuff you can't get here.  For instance, Elder Medley's kites will be a pass down to the next elders that come into the MTC.  We did a ton of stuff this week I'll never forget, spiritually and just plain fun.

We were pretty sad that the British elders were leaving today, I really liked those guys.  One of them actually stayed because he had knee surgery, so we didn't completely lose them.  The new Cantonese-speaking elders and sisters replacing those that left will be arriving on Wednesday.  We're excited to have them. 

As of this evening, our teachers will only write in the Cambodian script on the white board.  So no Romanized, no English translation... Just straight Khmer characters.  It’s going to be a stretch as we slowly get better and better at reading.  Our teachers do this because they love us and they want us to be as well prepared as possible by the end of our stay here.  I really enjoy speaking the language.  It’s refreshing, and half the time I don't even recognize I'm speaking a foreign language.  It’s getting pretty natural and the words come pretty easy for me.

There are a few missionaries FROM Thailand and Cambodia here.  We talk to them all the time in their native languages.  I've picked up a bit of Thai so I mess around with this little Thai elder, the guy's gotta be like 85 lbs.  He’s hilarious.  His name is Elder Lualai.  Every time I see him we start reeling off in Thai / Khmae to each other.  Stuff like "ahh lueng!' and "aboppaboe" and "Yuk dai maikte!".  I think I speak more Thai than the new Thai elders in our zone that have been here for a week.   

This is the week when all the new Mission Presidents come to get trained.  We've been told that all 12 apostles will be on campus throughout the week.  Maybe we will see themJ

Our zone will be passing the sacrament to the new mission presidents, general authorities, and other representatives from Salt Lake this Sunday. I'm kind of excited for that.

I'm learning so much here, I feel the Spirit all throughout the day, multiple times.  This is a good place, but I can't wait for Cambodia.  The elders I meet everyday are amazing and I learn so much from them.  Most nights of the week, different elders we are close to, tell their "story". How they came to be missionaries, and what they faced to get here.  I've been so humbled by these stories.  I have some truly remarkable people in my zone and district.  I know from them that the Lord saves his finest soldiers for the toughest battles.  Some of these guys have had trials and challenges placed in their lives that I doubt I could have handled.  It’s the overcoming of these trials that really impresses me.  I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for everyone, and that he prepares some of his greatest servants in the furnace of affliction.  These elders are chosen servants for sure. 

Thanks everyone for the Dear Elders and letters.  I'm working hard and feeling little bits of success and blessings along the way. Quentin L. Cook blessed us in the conclusion of his talk; he told us that as a result of our efforts, everyone we knew, family, friends, and loved ones would be blessed heavily.  I want that for my family, friends, and everyone that I love.  So I'm going to keep working hard and trust Elder Cook and the Lord.

I love you all,

Elder Jake Zierenberg

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