Things are going great over here in Good Ol' Cambodia. My birthday was totally awesome. It was really funny though because i woke up and ironed my shirt, showered, worked out, made oatmeal, and its almost 7 o'clock, time to start studies. And I pull out my planner to look at people to think about while i study, I notice i didn't write the date. So i look up the date and just like Sweet, Its my Birthday! So i opened McKenzie present she sent for my birthday and then put it on (tie). Super cool tie by the way. So then just doing the day, about 6 pm now. I get a phone call from the AP's. They ask is this elder rucker?...yes.....your yo-yo is here (everyone knew mom was sending a yo-yo)........SWEEEET, thanks so much for calling... So then after that i called Elder Pearson who is in 9th branch which has the mission home in it. I call him and ask him if there is anyway he can drop by the mission home and pick up my birthday package that would be awesome, he said he was busy but he'd try. That night, he comes home, and brings my package.... YAAAA!!! so awesome. So yes mom i dont think it could have been better timing. It arrived, and was delivered, on my birthday. I told Elder Pearson how happy you'd be to hear he brought the package to me. And it was an awesome package mom, i hung up the birthday decorations instantly, and started playing with the yo-yo instantly. It was one of those few moments where you had super high expectation for what you were getting, and yet they were still surpassed. It looks soooo cool, and is so fun.
So as for whats going on in the branch. Our area doubled. We took a bunch from 11th branch. We got a new branch president who lives in the area we gained. There is a whole bunch of people there who were inactive and what not because before it took them so long to get to church. it took the branch president 30 minutes by car. and now he says he could almost walk. So lets just say our normal attendance which was 60's grew. In cambodia its normal to get around 60's. We have 135 members at church. And there was a ton of priesthood too, it was awesome. So i'm having a great time with the branch. Everyone is so excited, especially the branch president. He just radiates enthusiasm. He is super smart too, he knows like perfect english and runs the service center here. He's awesome. All the members in the branch were so excited on Sunday. The president said there are even more going to come next week. We are like borderline overflowing :-p. 3rd hour was good i was invited to teach, so yeah taught some Melchizedek priesthood holders for 3rd hour, got asked to teach after we had sang the opening song too. They were just, teach about being a father and what not i don't know, teach what you want to. So i taught them about all the things cambodia lacks, like spending time with your family, telling your wife you love her, being a good example, do what you want your kids to do, use your priesthood and give them blessings of peace and comfort and what not. Was a fun Sunday. The best part is one day Elder Chan and I are leaving the church and a 14 year old gear named bopha started riding after us yelling "can i help you!?". The youth always help, they are always hanging out at the church and stuff and always say, yeah i can help whenever just ask me. It's so much fun to have their help which is awesome, and to hang out with them.
Investigators. We lost Kang with the changes. Really sad too because this is not the time for change. 2 days after his baptism last week he started drinking again and has been every night. now he has to sober up for 2 or 3 weeks, get reinterviewed, then he can get the Holy Ghost. And now he has to deal with having a new branch and missionaries. I don't know if totally understood the importance of this all because even after telling him staight up you sinned, you can't get the holy ghost, he still asked us at church after we had
given the holy ghost to some other kids, am i getting the holy ghost too? I feel so sad for him. His wife, a recent convert, is so sad and having to go through so much, their family is super sick right now, and yet they still have such great faith its amazing.
As for investigators now we really don't have anything. And its kinda sad too because sometimes you start to question if you are being a good missionary, doing what you are supposed to, etc. We've already been ditched on like 5 return appointments with contacts, visiting tons of members and committing them to share the gospel, just not working out. Keep on truckin' though. Working super hard though, this was possibly the fastest week in my entire mission. So fast that my own birthday snuck up on me.
Another week down in 'ol Cambodia. This week was pretty good. Elder Pearson got super sick with a fever, he was all the way up to 39.7 Degrees. He has been wick since like Friday or Thursday and just went to the hospital this morning. The rule is if you are sick for 10 days you go home. That is probably my biggest fear, getting super sick and having to go home, that would be the worst ever.
This week for proselyting was pretty good. So much has happened i don't even know where to begin. We now have our first investigator with a baptismal date. April 29th, and its Molyvon. She's like 20 or something, but she's super smart and she's already asking super good questions. Usually its takes them a year to figure out, "wait, how is Mary the Mother and God the Father?". I still dont really know how to answer that one to them :-p. We found another 9 new investigators this week. Now we have like 8 progressing investigators, 1 baptismal date, and like 7 new/other. They just dont stop coming. Its so much more different than Kian Svay its crazy. Now what we are working on is taking what we have, and turning it into investigators who are on the path to baptismal dates. Getting them praying regularly and correctly, getting them reading everyday, and all the things they need to be doing to be converted. So i'm sure this next week we are going to drop a lot as we start sending our investigators through the furnace.
Probably the most exciting thing we did this week though was we went to a wedding. Yep thats right, a wedding, in the church!! which is super rare, people never marry in the church, they always do the normal khmer thing. It was everyones first time going to a wedding in the church. But then it made sense because it was a phillipino guy from Canada who came to marry a khmer girl who is a member. The guy didn't know khmer, and she doesn't know english, i dont know how it worked but it did. Well anyways since we needed both languages i got to help marry them, the branch president in khmer and me in English, haha it was so awesome. I have officially married 2 people. It was super fun just because its something you don't normally do. So thats what all the pictures are from.
One picture is me next to an old lady, her name is Lookyiay (grandma) Rate. She is so awesome, suprisingly, she's a recent convert. About 7 or 8 months old in the church. She lives all by herself. Her entire family, husband, 6 kids, grandkids, died during Pol Pot, she's the only one left. She sells food Monday through Saturday outside of a school. Barely makes enough, barely lives. We just started helping her push her cart to her house which is about 1 minute for us, and 1 hour for her. She goes a couple steps, stops a rests, a little more, sits down again, on and on til she is home. She has so much faith, she comes to church every sunday and pays tithing. We started helping her and me and Elder Chan started saving money to buy anything she has leftover when we show up, which is super stale overcooked corn (they love it here though but the corn is nasty) and some white bread, condensed milk, and milo (which is like ovaltine powder but different name). So if any of you out there think your life is hard, or its hard to endure, fly to Cambodia and meet this lady.
So that's about it for me, just working my heart out here and trying to stay healthy.
I love you all and i know this church is true. I know this is the work of the Lord.
Love, Elder Rucker