Sunday, March 19, 2017

Collecting, Culling, and Cleaning

16 March 2017

This is our last week in Cambodia.   We have been busily getting the apartment ready for Elder and Sister Scott.   Of course, you could dust mop here 3 times a day and get a mop full of dirt every time.   Being domestic is not my favorite thing to do..... I am the least domestic person on the earth.   On the other hand, Brian is a great little cleaner!   He has been very handy to have around!   As the children were growing up I would assign them a job to do.   Trying to evaluate how thorough and at what standard the job at hand had to be completed, they would ask, "is this a "dad" job or a "mom" job?"   If I said it had to be a "dad" job I would hear moans and groans but if  it was announced as a "mom" job they would frantically scurry around to just get the job done knowing that they would have lots of time to do whatever they wanted.   I have often told the missionaries.... "I hate cleaning. But I know that the Spirit will not dwell in filthiness.  I know what the Spirit feels like in a clean environment."   So here we are collecting, culling, and cleaning.
It is not just at home either.   I have been putting together instruction sheets to help Sister Scott with all the multitude of jobs that she will have to do. I am trying to clean up my projects and jobs on the computer.    On top of that I have inherited the Temple Patron Trips for the Districts.    Last year I think the Mission, using the Temple Patron Assistance Fund,  did one trip with 25 saints, although, there was also a Viet group that went but they orchestrated that on their own.

We just completed one trip in January (Manila Temple) and I now have 3 more Hong Kong Temple trips being planned.   I discovered some appealing attributes that the Hong Kong Temple provides.   The Hong Kong Patron House has a full functioning kitchen where the Saints can cook for themselves.  The temple trips are very involved and have an order in how things are done.  Poor Sister Scott will have to finish these things up for me.

By June we will have sent 67 Saints to the Temple.   My goal was to have 60 Cambodians endowed per year until the Thailand Temple is completed.  The Thailand Temple was announced in April 2015 but this temple has not even been started yet.  We don't even have an architect's drawing of it. They are presumably 5 years away from any kind of completion (that's my guess).  Within that 5 years, Cambodia is not standing still.   Cambodia will have 400 or more endowed members ready and waiting for the doors of the new Thailand Temple to open.    This year we have already exceeded our goal.  I can see that I was short sighted when it came to the Saints of Cambodia and the temple.  The Saints are ready to go to the temple.  On top of all of that, when these saints go they take a hand full of names of their ancestors to temple.   This is not unfamiliar to them..... the Buhdist have been taking, remembering, and worshiping their ancestors for centuries to their temples.  So all these Saints are doing their own kind of collecting, culling, and cleaning.

We are doing several of our "last time" things.   We have now gone to Church in Cambodia for the last time.   It was a sweet experience.   It was a Central District Conference.   The District itself was dissolved and now the 3 Viet Branches are now 2 branches.  New boundaries were drawn and new Branch Presidencies were called.  It might seem that this is a step backward.   But on the contrary,  this is going to be a great thing for the Vietnamese Saints.  There is strength in numbers.   Eventually they will be part of the East District.   With the Vietnamese numbers added to the East District it will become much closer to becoming a Stake.  We now have the Russey Keo Branch (Vietnamese) and the Kbal Thanl Branch (Vietnamese).
We had many good-byes today.  This is Sister Hanh.   I could not possibly look into her sweet, sweet eyes and let her cry alone!  She is a Vietnamese Family History angel.  We also had to say good-bye to this little family.   I love them and will miss them so much.  These children speak the best English of all.  They also speak Khmer and Mandrin!   Very educated children.   They are the hope of the Church in Cambodia.  James was looking real spiffy in his new suit. 
We will have many more good-byes on Monday at the Mission Office with the missionaries.   Last week I had one of the Elders ask, "Sister Leavitt, do think it will be Okay if I get a hug on Monday before you go?".  I get "drippy" every time I think about that little request. 

I have gotten rid of shoes, clothes, toiletries, food, books, bags, and any thing else not useful in my life.   I have been able to cull out the things I used to think were important but now it doesn't even seem to be worthy of suitcase space!  The things I have collected instead are a tiny bit more tolerance in my life, maybe a sprinkling of patience, an unmeasurable amount of faith, and an eternity of new friends.  I see the Church, as a whole, a little differently.   When the brethren talk about the Worldwide Church I see a better picture of that, not just my little Alberta corner!    But I gotta say, I LOVE my little Alberta corner!   So what I come home with is..... 

I feel privileged to have been able to raise our children in the heart of Alberta where the gospel of Jesus Christ was always present.  Maybe not in huge groups all the time, but it was always present.  A place where true doctrines where taught and lived.  A place where they had good friends, outstanding leaders, and family close by to direct them toward the ways of the Savior.

I am grateful for many callings that have built faith and understanding of the gospel. I am grateful for those early Primary leaders that had patience with me in my early teaching days. (I really wasn't a very good teacher because I didn't know what I was doing and certainly didn't understand what I was teaching. I am grateful for Brian who was so patient with my lack of gospel knowledge.  He had to explain many simple things to me over and over..... as well as Norma and Ray and probably Tami too were good resources of gospel information for me!)   I am grateful to have been surrounded by LDS books that have educated me in doctrine.  I am grateful to be have been taught to read at a young age. I am grateful that the scriptures have been my textbooks and my focus of learning. 

So thank you Cambodia for helping me collect, cull, and clean.... which helped me remember many of the things that I am most grateful for!  I really was privileged to have been fed by a "silver" gospel spoon.


  1. We will miss our glimpses of the good work going on there that we have enjoyed from here. God speed, and much love, Leavitts. Until we meet again. ~Hassells

  2. Well said, Sarah. Ahhh..the bittersweet of leaving the people and places you have come to know and love! Thank you for your example of dedication to the Saviour and His church. Thank you for all the love you shared with the people in your path in Cambodia. Thank you for being you. I love you.