Sunday, January 11, 2015

Independence Day

Dear family and friends,

The first week of the new transfer was exciting.  Our week included new investigators, baptismal dates, and impressive church attendance's.  

On Tuesday we met with Bong Pia.  He's a returned missionary (having served in Cambodia in 2005-7), he works in agriculture, and he's inactive.  I have met with Pia quite a few times since I've been in this area.  Every lesson seems to follow the same pattern; We show up, we share a message, his rowdy cousins (6-8 years old) mess with our bikes and throw things, we close the lesson and encourage him to attend church, Pia gives us Mango's or Coconut's despite our resistance, and we leave. With every appointment we prayerfully prepare specific messages that can help him have desire to get active again.  So far we are his good friends, and he supports everything we share, he just hasn't yet made the effort to attend church.  Perhaps with a bit more encouragement and faith-building messages, he will return to activity.  

Wednesday was "Prampell Makara", (January 7th).  Its basically the Cambodia Independence day from the Khmer Rouge.  Everybody got work off and seemed pretty happy, Elder Horn told me it isn't really that great though because it signifies 30 years of corruption under Hunsein's dictatorship.  

That night we had a Family Home Evening in Baku.  We grouped a few families together and shared testimonies and thoughts with each other.  After wards we had dinner all together. The group leader's wife prepared food, and we provided soda.  Dinner was pig intestines on rice, just the way I like it(: To be honest I didn't even gag, its all just "food" now.  

Wednesday night Elder Horn and I stayed in a guest house near Baku.  It was pretty weird, but it maximizes our time and energy, and that's what matters.  The guest house allowed us to proselyte two full days in Baku and we had good results.  We gained several new investigators, and identified even more potentials.  

On Friday we had Zone Training in the city.  Our Zone leader's notified us of the mission-wide results for 2014.  Our mission had a total of 666 baptisms this past year.  We had a few laughs over the number, and felt proud of the good work we had accomplished.  We were then instructed on how to work smart, and how to accomplish the goals we set for 2015.  I enjoyed seeing the other missionaries, and the training we received was top-notch.  

Saturday morning we returned to Baku and continued in our strengthening and finding efforts. At one point we visited the chicken farm of a Baku member.  He proudly showed us his collection of Chickens.  He owned hundreds, all crammed into one big room, pecking around on the floor.  I took some good pictures.

Sunday was good in both sacrament meetings, and we had many opportunities to serve.  Due to lack of active, priesthood-holders, Elder horn and I are regularly involved in the preparation, blessing, and passing of the sacrament.  Church meetings in Cambodia are always full of unexpected events and I have grown used to it. In Baku sacrament meeting a woman was about to go up and speak, but she hadn't prepared anything. She handed me her scriptures/topic assignment slip, and requested that I find her a scripture that she could share.  I had just enough time to find a scripture, high-light it, and hand her scriptures back to her as she walked up to the stand.  I was impressed with her delivery and I appreciated the "shout-out" she gave me from the stand. 

It was a good week.

Love, Elder Z

Elder Horn wouldn't let me catch it, he said it was poisonous and if I got bit... we were an hour's bike ride away from civilization.  

Baku country-side 

Guest House with green walls   

Chickens (they're smaller than the ones in america)

A baku member's Rice grinder tool.

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