So this week was fun. Since I'm new to the area(s) ...(we have 2)..I spent the majority of the week meeting people. We had some good lessons that I'll never forget.
So in the Takhmao area we've got a pretty good setup. The area is about 15 minutes bike ride from our house. Usually we like to have our lessons at the CHURCH BUILDING...it's so great to have that. It's built by the church, so it feels like home. The building is very clean and convenient for our purposes.
Our second area, Baku is very far away...ridiculously far away. It's out in the middle of nowhere surrounded by miles and miles of rice fields. It takes about an hour and fifteen minutes of fast biking to get there. We don't have a church, but we've got a small tin-roofed shack with plastic chairs and a white board that we meet in. On Sunday we packed about 20 members into that room and had a sacrament meeting. Halfway through it started raining hard and ...a tin roof + hard rain = can't hear a thing. So they just sat down and stopped giving talks and we had a closing hymn and prayer. It was a 25 minute sacrament meeting. I was in disbelief about how short it was. After the rain died down they had a little gospel doctrine/discussion class. I may not be perfect at the language, but I can listen and understand a lot.
I kept having to interrupt the lesson and correct the false doctrine that was being taught. The lesson was supposed o be on the plan of salvation, but they ended up talking about outer darkness for about 45 minutes. Elder Keo and I went up at the end and taught a brief, concise overview of the plan of salvation to clear up any confusion that may have arisen throughout the lesson.
The hardest part about the new area is all the biking. It seems like we spend more time biking than we do teaching or meeting with people. The worst part is that my bike in this area isn't too great. The tires are always low on air, the back wheel wobbles hard, pedaling is really choppy and I have no rear breaks. What's more, I have no bell to warn the crazy drivers around me not to hit me. I kinda need that bell more than you might realize.
So that's some of the tough stuff for the week. Whats cool is that everyday my Companion makes us a big lunch. He cooks so good! Elder Keo was a chef at one of the most famous restaurants in Phnom Penh before his mission. He cooks up a big lunch and we eat it on the floor in our bedroom. We sit cross-legged facing each other with our food in-between us. Also, I think I have officially mastered the use of chopsticks.
After church in Baku we biked as fast as we could to get home, eat, and then go to church in Takhmao. We made it home in just under an hour, ate a super quick lunch,and headed straight to church (round 2 for the day). Church was cool. I'm the designated translator for the senior couple in our branch. So basically I sit behind the Hollenzer's and translate the talks and announcements into English. Then after the meeting I follow them around as they visit with members and translate their questions / the member's responses. Translating definitely keeps me awake during church.
After church we had two baptisms. Bong Jeep and Bong Same got baptized! They're two young men who have been learning for a while and I have enjoyed teaching them a few times since arriving. They even invited a friend to their baptisms, He wants to learn as well so we got a referral from them already.
So it was a killer week. I also had an overnight exchange in Kien Svaay. I was with Elder Satterthwaite (recently retired AP). We had a ton of success and I learned a lot from him. He's a hard worker, and I thought we had some really good unity in our teaching. Those are lessons I will never forget. We ended up getting like 7 lessons that day and some 18 contacts or so. I really enjoyed the exchange.
On the spiritual side of things I've been studying my scriptures pretty hard. My goal is to read and study the whole Book of Mormon through in a transfer, and so far i'm on track. Its been really good and I can feel strength coming to my proselyting because of it. I would encourage everyone to put effort into studying it. Not reading, but really "studying" the words of the prophets. You will be blessed.
Love, Elder Z
Elder Keo and I travelling through the city at night
The baptism of Jeep and Same...(Yes people like to hold hands in pictures haha)