Saturday, July 21, 2012

Update from Elder Rucker

This week was an extremely fast week. The week as a whole was super great. The ending, however, was absolutely terrible. Was expecting, and by expecting i mean i had literally called Saturday night and asked people if they were coming to church, 10 investigators to come to church. Only 2 came. So disappointing. And the reasons why most of them didn't come was because they have a new job where they work on Sunday, or the place where they learn English or something doesn't let them go to any other churches anymore.

Before that the week was really great. Like 6 new investigators and 4 of them stuck. All guys too which is cool, easier to relate to and teach. A lot of miracles throughout the week as well. We went to 1 investigator, who fixes bikes and motos. He was busy and asked us if we could wait and we told him of course we could. There getting his moto fixed is a guy we met, for only a split second, the previous week while CBR hunting. We talked to him and you could just tell he was sad and that he missed the Elders and the church. The whole time i thought he was an inactive. A little time goes and we find out he wasn't, he just couldn't give up drinking so he never got baptized. We tried to find where he lived or get his number but he didn't have one. So all we could do is give him our phone number. Total miracle we happen to run into him again though because otherwise he would have never known how to get in contact with the church again. I hope he calls us. And right after that a new kid comes to get his bike fixed, and we contact him, he now is an investigator too. He knows nothing about Jesus. The miracle of opening your mouth. Then we were able to teach our investigator where we had an amazing lesson in which he recommitted to getting baptized, and was really excited about it. 

Another man i want to talk about is Kang. He is the guy i baptized when i first showed up into this area, he drank, so he couldn't get the holy ghost, and then he got moved to 5th branch and had tons of problems with abuse, alcohol, and starvation. Well now he is  back in our area, after a total MIRACLE, in finding him. Still don't know how we found him. He was in the total opposite spot where they said he went. Anyways, we have been meeting him and he told us, Elders, Ever since you started meeting me again all i cant stop thinking. I just think all the time. And the only thing that helps is when i pray and read the book of mormon. I haven't drank since you guys have come. Its almost been 2 weeks now. He is now scheduled to recieve the holy ghost on July 8th. Yes a long time, but not taking any chances with him. Now he gets along with his wife, they have enough food, they are always happy and laughing and smiling, there is no hatred or bad feelings, the spirit is strong when you go into their home.

So thats it for me. I know this church is true and this is the work of Lord. This gospel makes family happy, and eternal. Just look at kang's family.

Love, Elder Rucker

This week was a good week. Although it was also a very frustrating week. We got ditched over 15 times. On Friday we were ditched for 5/6 of our lessons. Which makes days super hard and weeks really long. I feel like in America if you weren't able to make an appointment with someone you would at least call, and if you were ditching, you would still call and tell them some lie or something. But no, here, they don't call. We plan to meet at 10. We call at 1015, hey where are you?...... Oh your at the church already?..... yeah we had an appointment for 10....... sorry Elders can't come, tommorow?....
So then we reschedule an appointment. 1 investigator did that 4 days in a row..... K so now my ranting is over back to my week. Thanks for listening.

The miracle of the week is Chanthou. He is 25 years old, a guy who started learning because his mom wanted him too. He has a huge scar across his face. Just to put it simply if i was in high school, and i brought Chanthou over to hang out, and mom saw him, she would probably think i've joined a gang and have started robbing gas stations and selling drugs. Thats how tough he looks. But anyways, He now loves us. He came to church for all 3 hours yesterday. It was especially funny because for 2nd hour i kept whispering the answers to him, and when they all heard these amazing answers coming from this guy they were in awe. It was funny to see him come though. He came in on a little bike, carrying his little mom on the back of the bike. I love this guy so much i hope he keeps with it and gets baptized. He is scheduled for the 8th of May.

Unfortunately Kang, the man waiting for the holy ghost who can't stop drinking, went from sober for 2 weeks and scheduled to recieve the holy ghost on may 8th, to a drunk again. I don't know what his deal is. I'm pretty sure if you are an alcoholic, you shouldn't be going to restaurants late night with your friends, because i'm preeetty sure there is going to be some drinking to be had.

So thats about me for this week. Hopefully the tone of this email doesn't imply i'm down on myself, because my spirits are fine and i'm doing just great. Just trying to show my investigators are having a hard time, i hope i don't get transferred because i love this area, and i appreciate you guys for all the support.

I know that this church is true, the Book of Mormon is the word of god, and will bring a man closer to god, than any other book. The bible included. I know this is true, I know Jesus is my Savior, and died so we can live.
I love you all so very much
Elder Rucker

Saw some really good miracles this week. 6 investigators at church. Rotonak Rotona Maly Chany will all be getting baptized this Sunday. The next Sunday are the other 2 that came. Da and Doc. Yesterday i was able to baptize someone too. Only she wasn't my investigator. Technically she was but we gave her to the sisters so they would have something to do. When the girls are overly flirty or awkward, we pass them on to the sisters. She was the awkward one. Anyways, she got baptized. Her name is Srey Noy.

Another picture is me and Doc. He is such an amazing investigator. A little backround about him. He is 22 years old. He sells moto parts and fixes them off the side of the road so he is poor. He used to go to another church. Well recently his bestfriend stole his moto, which is bad for him, but i think it made him cut all ties with his last church so now he is willing to come to ours. He is super funny though he has changed so much, you can see his faith and testimony grow, but he doesn't even know it. He worked from 10-5pm fixing motos, and 7-6am as a guard, and then came to church from 9-12 to the last 2 hours and the baptism, such an awesome investigator. We were able to get him to meet a ton of members. I really feel like he had a good day at church, that was the only thing holding him back from progressing, now he is going to make it.

Things are going great. The baptisms are coming, and so are the investigators. Can't believe i hit my year mark already, it was so fast. I'm really glad that it's done with. To be honest i didn't realize until i looked at my planner and saw it was the 22nd. Glad it's done so i don't have to worry about it anymore.

One of the greatest miracles this week though was not a single event. It was a confirmation of the Lord's promises. Elder Jongsma and I were able to get a ton of contacts, because we needed new investigators, more than the standard. And we were also able to pick up 3 very good investigators as well. All of which in fact, didn't come from contacting. It goes to show that even though contacting usually doesn't lead to baptisms or a lot of investigators, the Lord will bless you. If you are obedient to his laws he will always bless you, abudantly in fact.

I love you guys, thanks for everything
Elder Rucker

So the week as a whole is pretty good. We have been praying for more families. And God answers in mysterious ways. We ran into another set of Elders in our area. They instantly say "what are you doing in our area" in an angered tone. I calmly reply that this is our area, where I proceed to take them on a tour of our area. Anyways they were sure they were right (they didn't have a map of their area) i was sure I was right (i did) so they decided to figure it our on Monday at the mission home. I checked the map that night, yep i was right. So i'm pretty excited to get 3 families from them that were actually in our area. In all seriousness though i feel bad for them because we are now rocking over 10 investigators in our area, and with these 3 new families we are going to be super busy, almost overly busy. Now the trick is to see if we can get them progressing. 
The next big date for us is July 28th. We should be able to get about 3-4 baptisms that day. Comes down to whether or not people start coming to church. The real stars of the week are Channy and Phanny. Channy is a girl that just got baptized who is awesome. She understands so much and has such great faith. The thing that i'm doing is giving everyone a picture of a temple, that has a little box for every chapter of the book of mormon, so when you finish a chapter you color a box and it fills up the temple when you are done. Channy put a yellow outline of the cross in the middle of the temple so she knows those boxes are yellow, so when she finishes she will have a beautiful temple with a cross for Jesus in the center. Her friend Phanny is just as awesome. She just started learning and she is already going to the weekly practice for the pioneer event on the 28th. So funny.

I love you all so very much. A very funny story is this little 8 year old girl, srey leak. Everytime i see her just has a new injury, whether she fell of a bike, got into a fight, got hit by a car, or ran into a pole. Yet, despite all her difficulties, she always has a smile glued to her face. Despite all her scars and pains she keeps going on. We too get a lot of scars and pains in this life. Most of which bring fear and doubt into our lives. This is the beauty of the Atonement. The healing power of Christ Atonement can keep us going forward. He sank below it all to raise us all up. As i was biking to an appointment, it was pouring rain, it was late, and i was tired. But I had the hugest smile on my face, why, because a less active family just told me they would be willing to do a family home evening with us tonight. I know that despite all our doubts, pains, or weaknesses, this gospel heals it all. It gives us power to face our trials, with a smile.

Love always, Elder Rucker

So this week was another great and normal week with Elder Jongsma and I. We were able to pick up a couple new investigators. Everything is doing great here, we are doing a lot of work, teaching a lot of lessons. The only problem is nobody will get themselves to church. Its so frustrating. You can only do so much. One of the main problems here is the lack of Sunday off. In a christian culture we sometimes take it for granted that most jobs do not work on Sunday, and some other don't work either Saturday or Sunday. In Cambodia, thats not the case. There really is no weekend, in fact they don't really have a word for it. Everything goes Monday through Sunday. Very few things take Sunday off. Public school takes Sunday off, but some high schools and higher educations don't. So the problem is, when they are so poor, they have to work, if they don't work they don't eat, and if they need to take sundays off, it usually includes making some sacrifices. That is something which is very hard to do. When they do make they sacrifices though, and start to live the law of the sabbath, you almost see a huge weight being lifted off their shoulders and they just feel happier.

As I've been on my mission here i've been able to meet and teach quite a number of people. I've also been able to teach investigators of 3 distinct nationalities: Nigerian, Indian (Sri Lanka), and Cambodian. The most interesting thing about that is to see the 3 distinct spiritual gifts they all hold as well. For the Cambodians, their thing is dreams and visions. They really believe in their dreams, and i'm going to be honest at first i was kind of skeptical, i didn't believe in dreams at all. For example, contacting a person and she says "where have you been, i've been waiting" ... my response "what are youtalking about, do you know us" .... "yes, i saw you in my dream last night, i knew you would come" . Other share experience of dreams reactiving them, dreams showing them what to do, i hear them day after day after day, and now, i'm jealous of them, because all my dreams are just weird. For the Nigerians, they are extremely sensitive to the promptings to the spirit. They can understand the spirit so well. They are sensitive to its promptings and quick to act on them as well. For the Indians, they have the gift of faith. When they believe in something, they do it. They do not doubt at all. 4 indian friends living together here in cambodia, all they speak is Tamil, some English, and no Khmer. They are refugees from a civil war, a genocide, like what happened in Rowanda. If you are on the wrong family line, you die. So as you can imagine, no papers, no language, finding a job here is pretty difficult. Well anyways, one of them found a job, and the guy said okay you can work here, but you have to work sundays for the first month, after the first month you can have sundays off. Almost anywone would accept the job. Starving, on the verge of getting kicked out of his house and back to Sri Lanka to die, he said "no, i'm a Mormon, i cannot work on sunday"... when i asked him about it he said "if i have my god, my faith, and my family, i do not need anything else" ... 
People are amazing, its amazing to serve them, to work with them, and see God's children from all over the world unite for one cause, Jesus Christ. I know that this church is true, I know that there are many spiritual gifts out there, and we are born with different gifts, but, we can attain and receive all the gifts our Father has to offer. I know this is the work of the Lord, and He is preparing people for me.

Love, Elder Rucker

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