Sunday, November 30, 2014

They Marveled At Us

Hey everyone,

This week was pretty long.  What's good is that all the hard work pays off.  In our area(s) we were able to find many less actives homes and contacted pretty effectively as well.  We gained a few new investigators and even had one at church.  Balancing both Baku and Takhmao areas has required a lot of planning and good effort daily.  We are striving to work at the pace the Lord has set and we are seeing success.

On Monday we had a great game of soccer in the city.  I'm getting better, scoring goals etc..

That night we hit the streets of Stung Churoh, the ''Deep Lake", a neighborhood in our Takhmao area.  Many people in this area are fishermen, fishing in the lake daily.  Later we contacted and got a few potentials.  At one point we were biking across a bridge and saw a family working at a large dirt pile.  They were moving the dirt and placing it to make a path to their house.  Their house is on stilts, resting above the river.

Elder Horn and I quickly jumped off our bikes and began assisting them.  They marveled at us.  The neighbors peeked out their windows and doors to watch.  I could hear them saying things about "the giant french person in the white shirt and tie".  It was great though because afterwards the family comitted to come to english class* and church.  We had many other similar experiences.

*When they went to english class, I wasn't there (I was in Baku) and the father of the family (who speaks some english) kept going around asking the other missionaries where the "very big man" was *hands stretched up above his head to show size*.

Thanksgiving was fun.  We headed to the senior couple's house as a zone and had a feast.  It was my first time having mashed potatoes since the MTC in July.  It was fun to discuss the gratitude we all had for various blessings in our lives.  This week I took much thought and study of the sacrifices of the early saints, which made the church as we know it, a possibility. I had many unforgettable spiritual experiences this past week as my thoughts were turned to the early saints.

As always, my bike was a pain this week.  The chain fell off more times than I can count and severely slowed down travels to and from Baku.  It was a little frustrating, and quite a few times Elder Horn and I switched bikes at my insistence so I could tow him (Horn on my useless bike) and I pedal us both to Baku (me on his bike). 

As for news for this week, President has asked us to move in with the Elders closer to the Takhmao church.  Their house is much larger with some 7 bedrooms and only one companionship currently using it.  I like our current house despite the small size.  It have a nice bathroom and shower (rare in Cambodia), and a nice convenient bedroom for Elder Horn and I.  

Thats all I've got for this week.  I spent most of my days finding the homes of lost members.  Its pretty difficult and time consuming because no one has an address here.  We are forced to rely on the map drawing skills of previous missionaries.  A lot of dogs barking at us, people pretending they don't know us (but they do, we have their picture on the CBR), and a ton of sweating.  Its worth it though because we now know our areas better  and know new people to meet with.  

Shout out to my brother Gabe! Today (Dec. 1st) is his 9th Birthday!

Love, Elder Jake Zierenberg

Sunday, November 23, 2014

New Companion - Elder Horn

This week was eventful,

On P-day Elder Keo and I headed into the city for our last P-day together.  After a bit of emailing, we headed to the mission home to check for mail. Elder Keo, a few other elders, and I then headed to "P'saa T'mey" (the "new market"). It's a famous market in Cambodia and it is massive.  I walked in and I was instantly surrounded by merchandise.  Everything and anything you could ever think of (minus a few american food items maybe).  It was super cool and If I ever need anything, I know where to get it.

Tuesday we had district meeting and we went out to lunch with the senior couple afterward.  At 1:00 pm we met up with President Moon at the TK chapel.  He and sister Moon wanted to meet the non-member family of a sister missionary.  They lived in Baku.  The family lived just a bit farther than Baku, lucky for us, President was driving.  We met with the mother and father of the sister, delivered her letters to them, and talked with them for a bit.  We invited them to learn and shared our testimonies.  President Moon spoke khmae directly to them and I translated for Sister Moon as she shared her thoughts, experiences, and testimony.  It was good to meet with them and we hope to have them at church in the near future.  

Tuesday night/Wednesday I went on an exchange with Elder Le Nguyen (from my original MTC group).  We had a good time.  I found some rat traps in his backyard and set them. When we came home that night we had caught two!  One of them was the size of a small cat.  I think Cambodian rats are bigger than american ones.  

Wednesday Night we had English class and it was special activity/show-case night.  Many students got up and shared their English speaking talents.  Most of them sang songs.  One girl sang a song called "Give me a chance""? I think by "Clean bandit". I had never heard it so I assume it new? Haha  

Thursday was Elder Keo's last day in Takhmao/Baku, so we visited many members and he said his goodbye's.  

Friday was transfers.  Elder Keo and I headed into the city by Tuktuk.  We talked about how short our transfer together had been and discussed the new one that was beginning.  We ate lunch together in the city and said our farewells.  I've been with Elder Horn ever since.  

Elder Horn is 24 years old, from Stungmeanjey, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  He's a great missionary and a very coveted companion in this mission.  I'm excited to spend the next 2-3 transfers with him.  We teach well together and he is very knowledgeable in language questions.  I feel that through our combined efforts we will see miracles happen in TK/Baku area.

-អែលឌើរ Z

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Happy 6 months!

Hey Everybody,
So this week was pretty chill. This week we had church General Authorities in town, some great lessons, and some record breaking numbers in Phnom Penh East district. 
This week we had a few area authorities come to Phnom Penh and they took the time to speak to the missionaries.  It was great to learn from them and receive updates on the progress that our mission, the Cambodia/Vietnam mission, is making.  They told us that we are one of the fastest progressing missions in the world.  Some 1/3 of all investigators get baptized, and our missionaries know the language we teach in. We have gone from zero to 2 stakes during my mission, and East district (my current proselyting area) is about to become the 3rd stake.  At district conference on Sunday we had nearly 400 people in attendance.  15 new Melchizedek Priesthood holders were announced in our district as well. 

The newly opened area, Prey Veng, had it first sacrament meeting this past sunday.  Elder Krump and Elder Long have been proselyting there for the past 2 and a half weeks.  They had 22 people in their rented house for sacrament meeting.  The work here is great and I'm very excited to be part of it. 
Other news is that transfer calls was last night.  I'm staying in TK/Baku, and Elder Keo will be going to an area in the city.  Elder Horn is coming from the provinces to be my companion.  He's super good and I knew him while I was in my training.  He's khmae, knows a ton of english, and works pretty hard.  I'm excited to work with him and see miracles here in TK/Baku.  I'll miss elder Keo, we ended up getting pretty close in the short transfer, especially at the end. 
This week we also attended a wedding at our church building.  Two returned missionaries got married by President Moon.  It was great and they'll be headed to be sealed in the temple soon. 
We had some good lessons this week and a few things stood out to me.  One is that many people we teach are concerned with the eternal destiny of their nonmember families.  They feel that God's path will lead them to happiness, but their families wont be in heaven with them (because they are nonbelievers).  Some even think that if the choose not to follow God's plan, they wont go to heaven, but they will be with their families elsewhere.  I took the opportunity to clarify and testify that God's plan is all about families.  It is God that wants us to be happy with our families forever, and Satan who desires separation and sadness.  Through God's plan we can receive those blessings.  That is a big thing that really struck out to me this week. We teach about #1 Jesus Christ #2 Families #3 Loving one another.  Those are the three big things that summarize our message.  Its a good message and it changes lives everyday.
It was a good week here.  Shout-out to my sister Belle, her 14th Birthday is on Friday. (:
Love you guys, Elder Z

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Good Work Done This Week


**Sorry I don''t have much time to write today...It took forever to get into my myldsmail acc...I don't know why...

Okay so this week was pretty long, but it was good.

To start off, P-day, Elder Keo and I biked into the city.  We found a place to email, printed some pictures, went to a sketchy khmae buffet, and made a stop at the mission home to visit with friends.  Before heading home, we got fresh hair-cuts.

Tuesday we had District meeting, and handed out English class flyers.  Tuesday night all 6 of us elders had "Pontia Gohn" or Embryonic Duck egg.  The Khmae elders had bought like 25 of these eggs.  I just cracked the egg open like a boiled egg and out comes a 75% developed baby duck.  Beak, feet, feathers, and all. Tasty.  You just eat the curled up ball thing with rice.  I haven't gotten sick yet so I should be fine right?

Wednesday was great, all the missionaries in Phnom Penh and near vicinity were invited to go to a special fireside with THE Church Historian speaking.   The Church Historian, his counselors, and Hong Chi Wong...(I think that's his name)....The guy who spoke Cantonese in conference.

They shared about the importance of record keeping.  The whole meeting really inspired me to write in my journal more detailed and to keep the commandment to keep a record.  Afterwards they met, spoke to, and individually shook hands with each missionary.

Elder Keo and I got a lot of good work done this week.  We committed our investigator Bong Tuen to be baptized on November 16th.  We hope that his family will follow suit.  The work is great here, good things are happening.  

On Sunday I gave a talk in sacrament meeting.  I don''t think it was perfect, but I spoke for a solid 5 minutes of so.  The topic was conference and I didn't have much time to prepare so I just brought my conference notes up to the stand and shared some thoughts about what had been said.  All my notes were written in English so I just went into translating mode and I thought I did pretty good.Elder Keo wasn't able to speak because he has a cold.  I had one too, but I think american are more immune than Khmae's.  We get colds every year, for them its not very often.  He had it pretty bad, he almost didn't want to leave the house to email today. 

I've been studying my language like crazy. Reading everyday, looking up words, speaking with Keo.  Its super great and I enjoy my language study time.  

Well that''s about what I did this week.  

Enjoy the Photos: