Sunday, July 24, 2016

Mountains to Climb

Vipeak on his big day.  So happy for him

Hello🇺🇸, Konnichiwa🇯🇵, Talofa🇼🇸, and susulai 🇰🇭(Cambodian
language) family and friends!

  It has literally been a week of miracles here in Nara. And I've
never been so physically, spiritually and emotionally drained in my
life. I've had some of the most spiritual experiences of my mission
this past week so I'm excited to share the miracles, and what I have
learned today.
  On Thursday we were meeting with a member at the church, and having
dinner when we got a text message from Vipeak with some concerns about
receiving baptism. He told us he "I cannot get baptized this Sunday
morning because my family (In Cambodia) don't want me to" This came as
a major surprise to us, so the next day, we cancelled some appointments
and decided we were going to ride our bikes up to his apartment and
skype in our member from Cambodia who translates for us. He lives
about 1 hour and 30 minutes, up a mountain by bike. This whole past
week I have been waiting for my bike to come from my last area, so I
have been using a members old bike that only has one gear. (Picture
attached below) But nonetheless, we started our journey on on of the
hardest bike rides that I have ever done, up the mountain.
  While riding up the mountain and not even being able to peddle
anymore because it was so steep, I was amazed at Vipeak and how he has
been doing this ride every week to come to church and sometimes, more
than one time a week so that he can meet with us. My heart was full of
gratitude and amazement for his act of faith in coming to church and
doing what the Lord has asked of him.
  When we got to his apartment, we sat down in his room and Skyped in
Vhuty shimai, the member that lives in Cambodia who has done all the
translating for us. We had a really spiritual time with Vipeak, and
everyone was able to testify strongly. Vhuty shimai even brought a
friend to her house so that she could help Vipeak as well. We learned
during the lesson a little bit more about the concerns that his family
has. One of them was that they were worried about the commandments and
didn't think that Vipeak could keep all of them and they were worried
that if Vipeak didn't keep the commandments that God would punish him
or wouldn't bless him. So we resolved some of those concerns by
explaining that God doesn't expect us to be perfect, he just expects
us to try our very best. At the end of the lesson, Vipeak said he
would pray about it and he would let us know his decision the next
day. (Boy, talk about not being able to sleep that night haha)
  The next day, we received a text message from Vipeak saying that he
prayed and that he wanted to get baptized, even through the concerns
of his family. He knew that getting baptized would bring the most
blessings to his family. So, Ladies and Gentleman, on Sunday morning
Vipeak was baptized, and in sacrament meeting was confirmed a member of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. When he bore his
testimony, he was literally glowing. I was amazed because he bore his
testimony in Khmer (the Cambodian language), but the spirit did the
testifying. I was able to hear his testimony because Vhuty shimai was
skyping in and she translated it to me. But when the bishop stood up
after Vipeak, without knowing anything that Vipeak said, the bishop
talked exactly about what Vipeak talked about in his testimony. That
taught me that language really has no barrier. The spirit is true, and
it testifies unto our hearts.
  I'm grateful for Vipeak and all that he has taught me the last
couple weeks. I am excited to see what he can become from here,
because he is already an amazing person. I'm so blessed to be able to
learn from such a humble man, and to be able to work everyday, to help
other people and learn from each of them. I know that all the children
of the earth, no matter where they come from, are Gods children. We
are all family, and we all have the same goal in this life. I know
that the spirit is real, and that it will testify to us. I know that
prayer will answer the questions we have. God hears our prayers and
will always answer them. He will not leave us on our own. I know that
baptism is the gateway to returning to our Heavenly Father. I am so
grateful and humbled to be apart of such a great work on this earth. I
have so much respect for each missionary out here, giving it their
all, working until they can't stand anymore, to show Gods children the
way back to him. Satan worked hard on Vipeak this week, but Vipeak was
stronger, and I'm so proud of him for that. Vipeak is a pioneer for
his family and friends.

  I'm grateful for all of you and all your love and support. Have a
safe week and have a great Pioneer Day!

Much love from Nara, Japan

Ebanzu Choro

Oh ya, we bought a couch.

Dinner with Nagura Kyodai

My (not so) trusty steed on the bike ride up
the mountain to visit Vipeak on Friday.

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