Monday, June 30, 2014

Jun 23, 2014 Great Blessings Can Be Ours

 All Elders and Sisters that head to third world countries risk a few things. Our living standards are really, really nice by Cambodian standards, but there's always some things you have to get used to. One problem that we have a lot of around here is stomach problems. There are a good number of Elders and Sisters that get here and then spend an unusually long time in the bathroom for months and months. Bugs are common and whenever we are the slightest bit sick our mission president and his wife tell us to stay inside and not try to push through it.

 Anyway, we had a zone conference a couple of weeks ago with all the missionaries in the north zone and in the Vietnamese speaking central zone. The conference ran from 9 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon so lunch was provided by the mission! Whoo! What did the mission order for 30+ hungry missionaries? Mexican food. Now, I wasn't too sure about Cambodians making Mexican food but this place was really good, or maybe I just haven't had Mexican food in a long time... In any case the food was gone way too fast. That night about 75% of everyone got sick! The first time I got up, Elder Quirante was already in the bathroom and one of the Vietnamese speaking Elders in our house was in the other bathroom. It was a pretty rough night for our zone. I thought it was really ironic that here in Cambodia we were floored by relatively safe Mexican food catered from a nice restaurant.

Met a very interesting man on Tuesday. A set of Elders in another area talked to an older man who was really interested in learning more about the gospel. His house was in our area so we got the phone number and gave him a call. We set an appointment with him and were really excited about things as we got to the church. We exchanged some pleasantries and started to get to know each other. It didn't take too long to realize that this guy was a little strange. He prefaced his meeting with us by saying, "I've been feeling like I needed to learn about a new religion for a while now and when you guys called me I asked the spirit in my head if I should go meet you and he said I should so I'm here!"

 He then proceeded to explain that this spirit directs all of his actions every day and it's the way he makes a living. People bring in their sick children, the people who can't walk, those having marital problems and he takes some water and sprinkles it, burns some incense, throws some feathers and stuff around (all according to direction from the spirit in his head) and BOOM! Everyone is magically cured! He credits the spirit in his head and the shrines to all sorts of different gods (including Christ) that he prays to. I think we would call him a witch doctor or something like that in America. Pretty weird. He had all sorts of wild stories, like the time where he was looking at the sun and it hurt, but then it didn't hurt so he kept looking. And he looked and looked and and his soul left his body through his head and floated up to the sky where he met with Heavenly Father who told him that all religions were correct.

 When he told that story he stood up and demonstrated how he held open his eyes with his fingers and looked into the sky. Or the time when he went to Malaysia because he had a feeling that he needed to. Upon arriving he saw a Malaysian monk walking down the road, and they made eye contact and it was almost as if they knew each other. They ran to each other and suddenly he could speak perfect Malaysian! "I don't know how it happens. I just follow the instructions of the Spirit in my head and he leads me around". We told him that if he wanted to follow Christ he had to stop praying to different gods and doing magic. He wasn't real into that...

We had a really fun lesson the other day when a recent member got a little off topic and started asking questions about our purpose on Earth. "How can I, as an uneducated poor person get all these amazing things that you guys say I can?" We were happy to explain. The fact is, as spiritual children of an all powerful Heavenly Father. As children of our Heavenly Father we are limited only by our own actions. If we follow the plan that has been prepared for us since before the creation of the Earth, Heavenly Father will shape us according to his will.

The important thing is that we do what we need to in order to receive all the great blessings that can be ours. President Uchdorf shared a parable relating to this:
I know that only as we follow God's commandments, will we live to our full potential.
Elder Vore

North and Central Zone Conference Picture

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