Friday, October 31, 2008

Oct 29th, 2008

Dear Everyone,
Here’s what’s happened this week in Cambodia: ( you can send this out to the ward newsletter if you like) Well, this last Monday we went to visit two investigators who live about an hour away or so. Elder Stagg, the senior missionary, usually takes us because he has a car and the bike ride takes forever. This appointment is at a member’s home, however they aren’t active because the father got in an accident and they lost their motto (their ride to church). So when Elder Horton and I get there and the father called us over and started to talk to us, but once he started talking to us, Elder Stagg, who knows no cambodian, called me over to help translate. So I went over to help with that. The father of the house is offended because of the way the Church runs its welfare system in Cambodia, so he complained to Elder Horton about that for the next hour or so, while I had to take care of the lesson. The lesson started out great, it was me and Elder Stagg, and about 10 other people, most of which were members. Then out of no where a guy from the road sees us teaching this lesson, instantly knows we are Christians because we’re white, we are wearing nice clothes and we are talking to these very poor people. So he comes over, or should I say stumbles over? He was quite possibly the most drunk guy I’ve ever met. He was wearing cross country short shorts and a long-sleeved flannel button up shirt, with an Indiana Jones Fedora-type hat. And by the time he got to the table we were gathered around, I could tell he was angry. This guy came right between Elder Stagg and I and started yelling and shouting the most crazy Cambodian phrases I think can possibly be uttered. I still don’t know the language that great, but man, when you take a young missionary like me, and throw at me a drunk cambodian guy who can’t tell left from right, and ask me to understand what he’s saying... yeah it’s a lot of trouble, especially since he looks like he wants to kill someone. I listened as hard as I could I really did, he got more and more angry the more he realized I couldn’t understand him. But eventually I understood what he was talking about. He had his older sister just pass away, who happened to be Christian, and he wanted to know why I was spreading the message of a loving God when God didn’t care about his sister. Eventually one of the bigger guys of the group grabbed him and took him away. But it was one of the scariest experiences I’ve had here. Even though I didn’t get the chance to answer him directly, I took the opportunity to explain why supposedly bad things happen to us in this life, a lesson on the Atonement. It was easily one of the best lessons I’ve taught. I felt the words come so much easier than usual on that occasion. I felt the spirit and the Lord help me during that hour.
Another interesting experience I had here was with a family we have been teaching. Elder Horton and I biked to this guy’s home after Church. His name is Veet. We were hoping his wife would be there, but she was busy washing clothes. And just for some background information: this guy sells ice cream for a living. He has a bike and a cooler that he has tied to the back of it, using elastics and a small rack. He is terribly terribly terribly poor. Well anyways, we got there and he took us in as usual. We then started our lesson and then about halfway through our lesson that he had been in a bike accident four days earlier and that his bike was no longer usable. He had sold half of his bike ( I mean he literally cut his bike in half and sold it to a recycling organization) and has sold all of his chickens in order to feed his wife and child. He then pointed to a small pile of chopped wood and pointed out that he had been chopping wood the past few days in order to just get by until we came. He said he was so happy to see us, and knew that if anyone in the world would help him, we would. It was one of the most heart wrenching moments of my life. This man had no where else to turn, his family had only a few days of rice left before they would have nothing else. I had such a hard time following our mission rules which are to absolutely never give any money away. We explained the rules and why we have them, but it was so hard to see his sad expression when he realized that he had sold his bike in expectation of us being able to help out. I mean all I had to do was to pull out 20 bucks and all of his issues would be over, he could get a new bike and go out and sell everyday and he would make it. But it was not so, we have both been praying for this man, sometimes life is tough. We both testified that if he did his best, and trusted in the Lord that he would be ok. I haven’t met him since, I’ll let you know how that goes.
But I do have some happier stories too. Tuen is very close to baptism and so is Maly, who has now finished the Book of Mormon, read all of the pamphlets and has started it again. She has done all of that in just a few weeks. She’s also getting baptized in the next few weeks, most likely the 8th of Novemeber. (End of General Letter)
To Mom:
Hey one thing I think you might find this interesting. The most popular brand name over here isn’t Nike, Reebok, American Eagle, Dolce,etc. It’s Playboy, except no one here knows that it’s a pornography company. Everyone here wears it like it’s the coolest fashion in the world. Pornography isn’t as big of a problem here as in America, but Satan sure is preparing the way for it to come out widespread.
Well anyways, that’s all I’ve got for this week. I’m so happy though to be serving among these people. Thank you so much for all you do and for your support. I love you and I love the Lord. Have a wonderful birthday!
Elder Ormsby

Oct 22nd, 2008

Dear Everyone,
Just for your information here's what's going on in the mission:
One of my investigators (Tuen) when he prays, names himself in the prayer and introduces himself. It's really funny. Something that I've learned that it is so important to get married in the temple and to do it right. I have an investigator who is ready for baptism, but because she didn't get married, she is struggling and has to postpone her baptism until the government recognizes her marriage. She is suffering over it too, she's been waiting like 2 months and can't get baptized because she didn't do it right. I have another way awesome investigator named Maly. She, after committing her to read the Book of Mormon, read the whole thing and prayed about it in 3 days. She said that in answer to her prayer that she had a dream and it was of Joseph Smith in the Grove and she could see the light descending on him and then it would end. She said she had that same dream three times that night. She says that it was an absolute answer to her prayer, I think so too.
One other thing that I've really really noticed her is the absolute necessity for hometeachers. I think that so many of the members in the church stay active because of active hometeachers. It's really incredible how many people are inactive here because they don't have people visiting them. They feel unloved, unappreciated, unnoticed, etc. And we are having to take the bulk of the less-active work here because there are no hometeachers to do the job. Right now my companion and I are working with the Branch President to start up hometeaching now. Many here, if visited will come to church the next week.
Oh well now I'm just trailing off. Well I'd like to tell you that I'm loving it over here and that my testimony of this gospel is growing as I learn to serve my Heavenly Father with all my heart. I'm trying to be better each day and trying to give my all. I get the feeling that I'm forgetting something important this week. Oh well, I hope you have a wonderful week!
Love, Elder Ormsby

Sept 24th, 2008

Well hello again,
This has been another miraculous week in Cambodge (cambodia). First, I have a funny story to tell. The other week we were teaching one of our better investigators, Tuen, the lesson on the restoration and the Holy Ghost. We encouraged him to read and to pray about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. We then brought up the idea, well what if Joseph Smith wasn't a prophet? Tuen had a startled look on his face, "but he is a prophet." We responded that we knew he was, but what if he lied. "But he didn't lie, the Book of Mormon is true." He didn't quite understand, we had to calm him down and explain to him that even though it was true, he needed to gain a witness for himself. He still had some difficulties recuperating afterwards. :) I was afraid I was only going to have difficulties to write about this week. We had a lot of investigators ditch us and not be able to meet us. We had to ride a couple of 25 mile bike rides out here, which also wasn't terribly fun, especially when the investigator doesn't show up to those appointments, but we had a miracle a few days ago. The Branch President asked us to do him a personal favor and to visit a family who was preparing for the temple. We agreed, and after a few days of putting it off, we decided to go visit them. We found out they had two amazing refferals for us. They're names are Maly and Sipaeng. They are the most interested investigators I think I've ever seen. Maly is about 25 years old and runs a hair palor, if you can call it that. But she is the guardian of 14 year old Sipaeng. The reason being is that Sipaeng's very wealthy parents were murdered. It was one of the saddest stories I think I've ever heard. She lost all of her wealth and her 4 brothers and sisters are now living with all different relatives. I however, was able to bear my testimony, that no matter what happens, through this gospel, we can have our families again. And all our losses will be made up, if we will but faithfully follow Jesus Christ. They have now been to church twice and have prayed, and they are progressing very quickly. I'm teaching them again tonight so I'll let you know how that goes.
The other day, we were talking to some of the branch missionaries parents (all the branch missionaries here are under 27 years old), and the mother told us, that during the Khmer Rouge her mother, father, and 3 brothers and sister were all executed because they were half-Indian. She explained that she watched as the military officers hit each of them hard on the back of the neck and then buried them. We were able to testify to her that even though these horrible things had happened, that she could have her family again, once again emphasizing the atonement. She opened up a little bit more to the gospel after that discussion, but she's still not quite ready. These experiences are awful, but how lucky and blessed we are for an All-knowing, and All-Loving Father in Heaven, Who sent His Only Begotten Son to ransom us all, and to bring us peace and comfort in this life. I can testify that no matter what the problem, pain, heartache, or trial may be, that Our Savior, Our Redeemer, Our Advocate, and Most Personal Friend can understand and can give relief. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Ormsby

Sept 17th, 2008

Hello everyone,
I'm sorry I haven't exactly written one of these for a while, but let's see how this one goes. First off, I'm doing great right now. I'm in good health, the work is pressing onward, and I'm doing my best to help in that work. I'm with Elder Horton, from Mesa, Arizona, he's a pretty cool guy, we are getting a lot done together. We have a slightly different schedule here. We get up at 5:30 AM and are inside by 8:30 at the latest. we are currently teaching a lot of people. Most of our work is teaching new investigators. Most aren't terribly interested, but we are having success with those who are feeling the sprirt of the restoration and the gospel.
Now to some more detailed things. Currently we are working with a man named Tuen, he's a way nice guy and he's very bright. He reads his scriptures like crazy. He has a baptismal date for October 4th, which is actually October 3rd where you guys are. :) At the moment my companion and I are working as translators in Operation Smile. It's so fun. I love it, people are coming from as far as 7 hours away to receive medical treatment and get cleft pallets and lips fixed by plastic surgeons and oral surgeons. I have to do a lot of translating for them and since there is only the two of us to go around, we are in constant demand in all parts of the hospital. I've seen some pretty awesome and bloody surgeries, it's all awesome. They are helping so many people that have such horrible deformities. I love it though.
It's been raining here almost non stop for like 5 days and it shows no time for stopping either. Well anyways, I love you all. This church is true, and the Book of Mormon will change your life if you let it! Have a wonderful week!
-Elder Ormsby

Sept 9th, 2008

Dear Everyone,
I decided to just talk about some of our investigators. Right now we are teaching a guy named Tuen, Sophiap and two girls named Mann and Muat. I’ll talk about Tuen first. Tuen is like 36 years old or so and he’s a very interesting guy. We found him, or shall I say, he found us after a disappointing visit with a different, dropped, investigator. I was with Elder Douglas at the time and we were riding our bikes down a small path by his house when he called us over and asked us to teach him about God. He was a very strange guy and both Elder Douglas and I thought it would go no where, because the first thing the guy started asking was how many missionaries there were in our church and how many hours a day we go teaching and how much do we get paid. I don’t think he believed us when we told him we didn’t get paid, because he started asking if he could become a missionary too. So Elder Douglas and I taught him a few more times and he’d ask the same type of questions, so we figured he wasn’t really interested. So, when Elder Horton became my companion we didn’t visit him too often. However we started teaching him to pray. And then when we came back the next time he said that he prayed and that he felt something and then he described how he felt the spirit. He then asked us if our church had some holy book or scripture. Naturally, we gave him a book of mormon. The next time we came back he said he had read 2 hours every night for the past 5 days. (Our area is too big to visit everyday). He has now progressed to the point where he is going to get baptized on October 4th. He’s really great now. Sophiap, is very much like a standard Cambodian guy. He is very very kind, but learns very very very slow. He started taking the lessons because he was coming to our English class everyday and he has some member friends. It’s very interesting because some concepts of God being our Father and Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden are so totally foreign to him that we have to take an hour or so to explain and teach pretty simple concepts. God creating the earth took a while as well, most people can accept that as pretty straight forward. However, we have been having him pray and he follows all of the commitments… at first I don’t think he even understood why we were asking him to do all these things like reading a Book and praying to someone you can’t see and then sitting silently and paying attention to how he feels, but he received a witness as well, that this is true. He also committed to baptism, on October 10th. Mann and Muat are two sewing girls, well actually they are about 26 and 28 years old, but they are living at home, unmarried, not too uncommon for Cambodians. They sew all day everyday, and if they don’t sew, they are out in the family’s rice fields. However, they have been taught by like 4 sets of missionaries over like 8 months or so. And now their parents have finally agreed to let them be baptized and go to church. It took a lot of courage for Mann and Muat to ask their parents. In their culture, parents and grandparents hold places of terribly high honor, it is very very very improper to do or ask contrary to the will of the elderly. It was very frightening for them even to ask permission. But they are getting baptized this Sunday. So that’s way exciting! I may have the opportunity to baptize them, which would be way cool! Have a wonderful week and have a great time.
Love, Elder Ormsby

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Aug 20th, 2008

Hello Everyone,
Ok, well for this week we have had some great successes. The Lord has truly been with us. Monday we had appointments from 11:00 to 1:00, and it takes about an hour bike ride there and back, however my bike decided to take a break, literally. So we stopped by a bike fixer person (they are all over Cambodia) and he fixed by bike for the next hour. So we missed our first appointment, which was a major bummer. But that’s not the point. The point is after we got back from our huge long ride and such, we had some miracles come our way. We had 5 appointments planned after that and all but one fell through, however we found, or rather they found us, 9 new investigators, including three families. It was amazing it was like we would pass a house on our way to an appointment and some guy would run out and invite us in and ask us questions about Christianity. We were sharing a family proclamation with a family and sharing about how we knew God was real, even though we had never seen him. She then asked if we knew of anyone who had seen God. Which anyone who knows anything about missionary work knows that there is almost no better a question for us to introduce to her the restoration and the Joseph Smith story? By the end of the day, we had 4 houses on the same road, in a row, invite us back to learn more. It was incredible. And what’s even better is that we have a baptism this Sunday, so all in all things are going awesome up here!
Well anyways, that’s all I’ve really got for this email. So, I hope to hear from you soon, and have a fantastic week!
Love, Elder Ormsby

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Aug 13th, 2008

Hello Hello Hello,
Well here's another week to share with you. The weather here has been quite strange, we almost drowned yesterday because of how much it was raining, but anyways. . . I have the scariest/funniest experience of my mission to tell you about. Okay, in Battambang, we have a fairly large river running directly through the middle of the city. And this river floods every year, so much so infact that the roads that run parallel to it, have begun falling into the river, very slowly. The road I ride everyday, small pieces of the edge have been falling because the dirt beneath is eroding away, but anyways. Because of this if you would like to kill yourself (sarcasm, just in case you were wondering), you could very easily drive off like a 12 foot drop on your bike or car onto the banks of the river. Well anyways, my new companion Elder Horton. . . he's a little. . . Magoo (for those of you who know who Mr. Magoo is), and what I mean by that is . . . we were riding back from an appointment at it was about 7:00 at night and it was pretty dark. We were riding on this river road. And people, in order to help those who don't know that there is a ten foot drop off from the pavement on this road, have nicely placed car tires every 10 feet or so, all along the road. Elder Horton thought it would be a good idea to try and go on the otherside of one of these warning tires. Needless to say by the time he decided to do this, (seeing as I how i was right next to him, which by the way is the perfect position to see this whole ordeal take place) he hit the ledge with his front tire, and then did a "wheelie" I guess you could call it, except he went too far back and he fell backwards down this ten foot drop! I was absolutely scared out of my mind. I thought he honestly was dead, or a broken back or something. But he turned out alright, he had a few cuts and scrapes, but his backback took the brute hit when he landed directly on a tree trunk (by the way at the bottom of these are all the trees that have fallen over from the earth beneath them eroding away. So that was my awesome story for today. Isnapped some great pictures, for which people were so mad at me for doing, but Elder Horton requested them, so everyone eventually calmed down.
Well as far as the work is going out here, Elder Horton and I are looking to whip this area into shape. We have some awesome investigators and we have recently found some really great news ones that we are excited about. We have one sister who's just about ready for baptism and a young couple who are also both preparing for baptism. I love teaching them. We recently went over saturday morning to help them build their new house. It's made entirely of bamboo and scraps of other various types of wood. It took forever just to put up half a wall, it was really funny, three dumb americans trying to build a house in cambodia, everyone had a fun time letting us know that we knew nothing about construction. hehe.
Well anyways, have a fabulous time whereever you are and take luck.
-Elder Ormsby