Post

Oct 09
Week 106 - Pursat: "General Conference"
សួស្តី!
 
General Conference​ was outstanding! I got a lot of out of it - a lot of things that I will need to apply over the next several months. I especially loved the emphasis on service and the Book of Mormon. I particularly liked what Elder Jose L. Alonso of the Seventy said. 
 
"Love without service is like faith without works; it’s dead indeed."
 
I know that for most, General Conference was viewed last week, but I sincerely hope that everyone will ponder and apply the principles taught. I am so grateful for living prophets and apostles who lead the Church under the direction of Jesus Christ. It is such a blessing to have these men reveal the word of the Lord to us in these tough times. 
 
We had some good lessons with our investigators this week. I would like to share about our lesson with Manaet. We had previously taught Manaet about the Plan of Salvation and we taught him through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He had trouble believing in it though because as he said, it was "too unbelievable." We invited him to read the Book of Mormon and ask Heavenly Father if Christ really performed the Atonement or not. We told him when we met again, we would talk more about it. Well we met with him on Wednesday and we followed up with him. We asked if he had read the Book of Mormon and prayed and asked Heavenly Father if Christ really did perform the Atonement. He said he had and when we asked about what happened next he said, "I know it's true." We asked him how he knew it was true. "When I prayed, I got a very good feeling in my heart. And I heard a voice tell me it's true. It sounded like someone whispered in my ear, but there was no one around me." 
 
I testify that God does answer our prayers. The promises in the scriptures are true - "Ask and ye shall receive." We can all find answers to our questions like Manaet did. If we follow God's pattern of study and praying in faith, then He will reveal the truths of the gospel to us. We proceeded to teach Manaet about baptism, and he was hesitant to accept the invitation. So we invited him to follow the same pattern he had already applied and ask God if he should be baptized. He said he would and I am confident he will receive an answer.
 
Have a great week, everyone! I love you all!
 
អ៊ែលឌើរ​​ មែនឌែនហល
Elder Mendenhall
​​
 
Short on time, so no photos. Sorry.

Oct 02
Week 105 - Pursat: "I Can Endure"
សួស្តី!
 
He did it! Veasna got baptized! It's been a lot of work getting this kid ready so that made it even more special. We had the baptismal service on Saturday after our English class and lots of people came to support him. He's made a lot of good friends with the youth in our group so it was really cool to see them all support him and take pictures with him and stuff. 
 
Veasna is a little bit odd so we often find ourselves scratching our heads at some of things he says and does, but on Saturday while I was helping him get his baptismal clothes he said something profound that got me thinking. He said, "Elder, a lot of people hate me and talk bad about me because I believe in Jesus Christ, but I can endure." Sadly, in Cambodia if you choose to believe in Jesus Christ and associate yourself with a Christian church, you get made fun of, talked bad about, and sometimes downright persecuted. The members and investigators here sometimes put a lot on the line to follow their newfound faith, but they are such an example. Like Veasna, they know that despite all of these challenges, Christ will carry them through it all. And He does! It's so clear that those who choose to have faith and those who choose to sacrifice for the Gospel are happier and better off than they ever could be without the Gospel. To those without the perspective that the Gospel brings, it may seem like their life is worse because of all the challenges it presents, but in terms of the things that matter most, they have all that they need. 
 
The rest of the week was filled with lots of good work as well. I got to do an exchange with my friend, Elder Mitchell from England, when he came down to do Veasna's baptismal interview. We're continuing to work with our other investigators to help them get ready for baptism in the next few weeks. We're hoping that before the transfer ends, two or three more of our investigators will be baptized! 
 
Have a great week, everyone! I love you all! 
 
អ៊ែលឌើរ​​ មែនឌែនហល
Elder Mendenhall

 

Our zone.​

 

Sep 25
Week 104 - Pursat: "Pchum Ben And Jesus"
សួស្តី!
 
Great week! Lots of Pchum Ben festivities and good missionary work too! For the three days of Pchum Ben, the entire country pretty much shuts down so we don't go out proselyting for a couple of days. President and Sister Christensen kept us busy though! 
 
On Wednesday we had to deep clean our house so that took up the whole morning and then in the afternoon we rode a bus to Battambang for movie night with the elders and sisters there. We watched Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration, The John Tanner story and The Phone Call (it's one of those old church movies from like the 1800s)! 
 
On Thursday, we got together and did a read-a-thon. For Khmae New Year, we spent the day reading the four Gospels in the New Testament, but this time around we took President Russell M. Nelson's challenge and began reading every reference to Jesus Christ in the scriptures. We are supposed to use all of the scriptures listed in the Topical Guide that are under the heading Jesus Christ (and all of the other subheadings listed as well). It was a really great experience being able to devote the entire day to learning about the Savior. Throughout the day, I felt the Holy Ghost over and over again confirming the reality of Christ's divine mission. Of course, I wasn't able to complete the challenge in just one day, but I'm looking forward to continuing the exercise in the coming months. I hope that it will help me develop a closer relationship with my Savior and help me understand His doctrine a little better as well.
 
Although we didn't have as much proselyting time as usual, the work is still moving forward! Five of our investigators came to church yesterday and the big news is that our investigator, Veasna, will be getting baptized this week! It's really exciting! We've been working with him for a long time now and I've definitely seen a change in him since we started. It's going to be awesome! 
 
BUT I just received the biggest news of all! Shout out to BYU for selling caffeinated drinks on campus now! It's a game changer. 
 
I love you all! 
 
អ៊ែលឌើរ​​ មែនឌែនហល
Elder Mendenhall

 

The good stuff: Some pictures from our Phnom Sompov expedition a few weeks ago.

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 

 

 

 

Sep 18
Week 103 - Pursat: "Dying Testimony"
សួស្តី!
 
This week was much more productive. We had zone conference this week on Thursday, but that was the only unusual thing in our schedule. We were able to get back to our usual proselyting efforts which is what every missionary wants the most. 
 
We had some good lessons this week, but we had to push back the baptisms that were supposed to happen this week AGAIN. We're hoping that next week our investigator, Veasna, will get baptized so we still feel pretty good. It's been a little bit frustrating waiting for so long to help these people get baptized, but they just need more time to get ready. It will all be worth it in the end though and I think our investigators realize it too and that's why they're still sticking in there. 
 
Zone Conference was really good. We talked about how we can better emphasize repentance throughout the whole teaching process and we also discussed how we can teach more like the Savior. There was a lot of good stuff shared so I'm hoping that I can apply it over the next several weeks. 
 
At the end of the Zone Conference I had the opportunity to bear my testimony. In our mission, all elders and sisters that are finishing their missions that transfer get the chance to bear their testimony in their last zone conference - our "dying testimony" you could call it. It felt extremely weird to be in that situation instead of watching others do it, but it was a good chance to reflect on all that I've learned so far. I'm sure there's plenty more to come though in the next few weeks! 
 
I love you all! 
 
អ៊ែលឌើរ​​ មែនឌែនហល
Elder Mendenhall

 

No photos this week.​

Sep 11
Week 102 - Pursat: "Around Cambodia in 5 Days"
សួស្តី!
 
Busy busy week! To be honest we didn't get very much proselyting in until the weekend because we were traveling so much, but things turned out well! 
 
On Monday, we went to Battambang like usual so we could attend our district meeting on Tuesday morning. On Tuesday after district meeting, we all got on a bus to go to Phnom Penh for transfers (Elder McDonald and I aren't transferring, but we had to attend a leadership meeting). On Wednesday morning we had our meeting and in the afternoon we got on the bus again to go back to Pursat. We were able to proselyte a little bit on Thursday, but we also had to weekly plan so much of our day was spent doing that. On Friday we had a special district meeting because President Christensen wanted us to discuss some things as a district before zone conference next week so we had to go to Battambang again. And then FINALLY on Saturday and Sunday, we were back to normal. 
 
Luckily we were still able to meet with our investigators in the little time that we had and ironically, we had our best showing at church yet! 6 of our investigators came to church! We usually have some combination of 3 or 4 that come, but yesterday we got 6. It was really exciting. We've been trying for weeks now to get all of them to come and it finally paid off. Everyone is still getting ready for baptism. If we can get two of our investigators to church next week, then they will be able to be baptized the week after on the 23rd! Fingers crossed! 
 
Other than that, there's not much going on. We're just trying to work our hardest and get things moving forward. We have a big activity coming up this week for Pchum Ben. It's one of the biggest holidays in Cambodia where everyone honors and remembers their ancestors. We'll be talking a lot about the temple this week! 
 
Have a great week, everyone! I love you all! 
 
អ៊ែលឌើរ​​ មែនឌែនហល
Elder Mendenhall

 


 

We went to Phnom Sampov again last week! Third time's the charm, right? Here's Elder McDonald and me. More to come next week!


 

Sep 04
Week 101 - Pursat: "Slow and Steady"
សួស្តី!
 
Progress is slow, but steady in Pursat. We have 6 investigators with a baptismal date right now and all of them are progressing and are really good investigators who have a desire to be baptized. Things just keep coming up that are causing them to miss church or miss learning with us for a while which is forcing us to push back their baptismal dates - getting sick, going out of town, forgetting it's Sunday (it happens more often than you would think). It has been a little bit frustrating, to be honest, but I am pleased with their progress and I'm grateful that we have such great investigators. 
 
I got to go on another exchange in Battambang this week - this time with Elder Lasswell. We had a really good time. We taught some good lessons, including one with a couple of new investigators. It was a good exchange for sure. 
 
In other news, transfer calls were last night and I am staying in Pursat for one more transfer with Elder McDonald! That's exactly what I was hoping for so I'm very excited! It should be a good transfer. I'm very much looking forward to it! 
 
I love you all!
 
អ៊ែលឌើរ​​ មែនឌែនហល
Elder Mendenhall


Flooding got pretty bad in front of our house a couple of weeks ago. There were even people trying their luck and throwing out fishing nets into the street!

 

​All the missionaries in Battambang and Pursat love The Office so we had our own Dundies Awards last P-Day! We made t-shirts and got awards and everything. It was a big deal. Everyone got three awards. I was given the "Most Likely to Marry a Disney Princess" Award, the "Hob Lob" Award (everyone gives me a hard time because I worked at Hobby Lobby), and the "You Gotta Friend In Me" Award.


  I accidentally attached a picture of a man we saw in the copy shop this week. Please enjoy his hat.


Aug 28
Week 100 - Pursat
សួស្តី!
 
Another great week! We had some good lessons and I also got to go on an exchange in Battambang! 
 
We made a lot more progress with many of our investigators this week. Many of them have strong desires to be baptized and they are making the changes necessary in order to make that sacred covenant. We also had a good lesson with our new investigator, Manaet. He came to English class for the first time last week and has now come to church for the last two weeks. We taught him about baptism and he accepted the invitation to be baptized at the end of next month! I'm hoping and praying that everything will work out and all of these investigators will be able to be baptized soon! 
 
On Friday, I had the chance to go on an exchange with Elder Tveten in Battambang. Elder Tveten is a younger missionary in his 5th transfer, but I have always been impressed with him. His capacity for studying is incredible. Any free second he has, he is trying to memorize a scripture verse or learn new vocabulary. He is also very humble. During the whole exchange, he was constantly asking me questions about missionary work and what I've seen that leads to success. And I, of course, learned plenty from him. He has a lot of very good ideas and he likes to ask a lot of very thought-provoking questions. We had some very good lessons throughout the day as well. 
 
We had a weird experience on Wednesday when we went to go copy our English class lesson. We got to the copy shop and there we met a older white man - a very strange sight in Pursat. He asked us why we were in Cambodia and we proudly replied, "We're missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!" 30 minutes later we had heard this man rant about a variety of topics including how Christianity is a bunch of lies and that it can't help the Cambodian people. I want to testify that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a bunch of lies. The ministry of Jesus Christ is not just a fascinating story that we tell to make ourselves feel better about our lives. It is real and it is true. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer to all of life's most difficult challenges and it CAN help the Cambodian people and it can help anyone who sincerely desires to find the truth and come unto Christ. I've seen it and I've felt it in my own life. And this man's rant did not make me any less proud to declare that I am a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know that this is the Lord's work and it a wonderful privilege to be a part of it.
 
I love you all!
 
អ៊ែលឌើរ​​ មែនឌែនហល
Elder Mendenhall
 
 
​No photos this week.

Aug 21
Week 99 - Pursat: "I Got Arrested"
សួស្តី!
 
Yep, you read that right. I got arrested this week. On Thursday morning we heard a knock on our front door, and lo and behold, four police officers in uniform were waiting to come in. They came in and were actually very respectful to us. They said they didn't have any problems with us being here, but they noticed that we had just come to Pursat recently and they wanted to update their records. They asked us for our passports and visas, but unfortunately we didn't have them because we keep them in the mission office in Phnom Penh. After a long discussion of how they only wanted to protect us and work together with us, they told us that we needed to be arrested and taken to the police station because we didn't have our passports and visas. We didn't get handcuffed or anything, but they did use the word "arrest" and they did take us to the police station so I guess technically we were detained. 
 
I was still pretty nervous when we got to the police station, but the police chief let us call the mission office and Sister Scott promptly sent us copies of our passports and visas which the police were satisfied with. While we waited though, we actually became very good friends with all of the officers there. They asked where I was from and when I told them Texas, the police chief said, "I hear there are a lot of guns there. Have you shot a gun before?" I told them yes and then he invited Elder McDonald and me to go shoot guns with them sometime. We were also asked to translate for them and they asked me to call them before I go back to America so they can throw a party for me (which you know I'm going to do). So overall it was a really fun time. Based on my experience I would definitely get arrested again. 10/10 would recommend. 
 
So it was a pretty interesting week, but lots of good things happened too! A while ago I talked about Srey Neat's mom. We've been continuing to teach her, but we haven't been able to get her to come to church. But over the past few weeks we've had some really good, Spirit-filled lessons with her and she's made a ton of progress. And yesterday, she came to church! 
 
We have 5 or 6 investigators who are progressing towards baptism right now so it looks like September might be a big month! Fingers crossed! We also met a couple of new people at our English class this week who seem like they have a lot of potential. I hope that we will be able to begin teaching them soon! 
 
I think one of the biggest things I've learned out here in Pursat is that God really does know all of His children and He loves them. Even in the tiny, middle-of-nowhere province of Pursat, Cambodia He is guiding us to find people and He is telling us what we need to say and what we need to do in order to help them come unto Christ. It's truly incredible. More than ever, I am aware of the reality of God's love and concern for each and every one of His children. He knows you and He loves you. 
 
I love you all!
 
អ៊ែលឌើរ​​ មែនឌែនហល
Elder Mendenhall
 
 
 
PursatWeek99-1.JPG I guess this is my mugshot. They said we needed to take a picture so we can always remember this wonderful occasion. They printed it out for us on the spot.

Aug 14
Week 98 -Pursat: "Infiltrating A Buddhist Monastery"
សួស្តី!
 
Great week! Things started off really well with zone conference on Tuesday. President and Sister Christensen taught a lot about ordinances, specifically baptism and the sacrament. It was an excellent conference and during the rest of the week, I focused most of my studies on the sacrament as well. Two talks have given me a much better understanding of how baptism and the sacrament are interrelated: ​"Always Have His Spirit" by Elder Oaks and "Always Retain a Remission of Your Sins" by Elder Bednar. They both have made me much more aware of the vital necessity for the sacrament and my attitude as I partake of the sacrament each week. 
 
The work is going well also! Lyna and Ryta came to church again and I'm pleased with the progress that they're making! We also have a couple of other investigators that are progressing now too. Some of our investigators have been really busy over the past couple of weeks though so we're hoping that this week we'll be able to find some consistency, but we're making plans to have a few baptisms at the beginning of September! We also found a new investigator family this week! Elder McDonald and I contacted them at their house last week and they said we could come back and teach them about Jesus Christ. I don't think they thought we were serious about coming back though because they seemed very surprised when we showed up at their house again. We had a good lesson about Heavenly Father and prayer though. They were fairly interested and when we go back we're planning on teaching about the Plan of Salvation so we're hoping that will really spark their interest. 
 
An interesting experience we had this week was when we went to go visit one of the Buddhist wats (basically a Buddhist temple/pagoda/monastery) close to our house. An investigator suggested that we go to this wat and get the free books they offer to people that teach about Buddhism so that we can understand the Khmae people better and be able to connect with them more when we teach. Knowing full well that we would not be able to understand anything in these books (they're filled with really ancient and deep Khmae/Buddhist words), we figured it would be a good adventure. So before we went home for the night we decided to make a stop at the wat. It was already dark and as we walked in, we were soon surrounded by a bunch of growling dogs and a crowd of Buddhist monks. I think the darkness added to the effect, but I will admit I was pretty scared for a little bit. Things quickly lightened up once we actually started talking to the monks. though. They led us through their wat with the crowd of monks still following us (they were pretty intrigued at the sight of two white guys in their wat speaking Khmae) and they gave us their books which I can confirm that we definitely do not understand. But like I said it was a fun adventure - being led by Buddhist monks through their monastery in the night. 
 
That's all for now! Have a great week, everyone!
 
I love you all! 
 
អ៊ែលឌើរ​​ មែនឌែនហល
Elder Mendenhall

Sorry, no photos this week.​​

Aug 07
Week 97 - Pursat: "We Baptized A Jew!"
សួស្តី!
 
Jew got baptized this week! I'm so happy for her. She's been waiting for such a long time to get baptized and it finally happened! I don't know if I've ever seen someone so excited to get baptized. We had the baptismal service on Saturday night after our English class so a lot of our English class students stayed and a lot of the members came to support her as well. She asked me to baptize her and as I stood in the water with her, I really just felt an overwhelming sense of how much Heavenly Father loved her and how happy He was that she was deciding to do this. 
 
The rest of the work is going pretty well also. It was a little difficult this week because the high school students are taking finals so some of our investigators have been busy and also a lot of our potential investigators' phones have stopped working so we can't get in touch with them, but we're just hoping that it will all work out. The good news is that Lyna and Ryta, the two girls that I mentioned a few weeks ago, have come to church for three weeks in a row now and they've accepted a baptismal date for next month! We also had a few really good lessons with some investigators that have been struggling lately so I'm hoping that we can get the ball rolling with them. 
 
Overall, things are just peachy right now. I love working with Elder McDonald and I really love the members in Pursat. It's a lot of fun! 
 
That's all for this week! Hopefully there's more exciting news to come!
 
I love you all! 
 
អ៊ែលឌើរ​​ មែនឌែនហល
Elder Mendenhall
 
P.S. For those wondering what happened in Kampong Thom that required pulling out the American missionaries, the government leaders there said that the visas that we have are not sufficient for some reason so they booted all the Americans out. None of the other provinces have this issue though and they (KT officials) have been giving us problems forever. Remember Lt. Fresh Girl? It was the same deal.
 

 


 

PursatWeek97-3.JPG

1 - 10Next