After gathering things together and tying up loose ends, we met together with President Lewis and the other couples one last time. The other couples we have been working with are Dr Mike and Sister Linda Warner. A retired Physician from Queen Creek, Arizona. They have been teaching resuscitation and sanitation to the Health Centers and Hospitals in the Phnom Penh and southern Provinces. They have helped to bring necessary equipment to those areas as well.
Dr Steven and Vickie Lewis, who are retired health care providers, working in many assignments in the US, her experience running nursing staffs and his specialty in cardio pulmonary, they started their mission in Mongolia, and were transferred to Cambodia, to focus on the Kampong Cham Province in training and upgrading health care facilities their.
Dr Jim and Sister Annette Taylor from Brigham City. His practice in Family medicine was useful in the training of police as first responders, and training the folks in health centers around Kampong Cham. The doctors efforts have been the focus of a new initiative championed by the area presidency in Hong Kong. The health care system in Cambodia is decades behind the world. The work of the doctors is helping to raise the standard of care their. The provinces are recognizing the value of the Church in their communities.
Elder Doug and Suzie Johnson from Boise, Idaho, they recently served in a District presidency, and also had served in the office helping with pathways, institute, office needs etc… they concluded their mission as we transferred out..
Elder Robert and Sister Karen Anderson from Brigham City, sare Family History missionaries. They have traveled many many miles to reach the consultants in the branches and wards of the various districts and stakes. They have been responsible to help families get to the temple in Manila.
Elder Randall and Sister Karen Jepson from Gilbert Arizona. They worked as Public Relations missionaries. They interacted with government, church and NGO officials, and helped shine a light on the wonderful things that the missionaries were doing to aid the people of the country. They published articles that have been posted online about the work in Cambodia.
Elder and Sister Cross from Southern California, who arrived just a few weeks before we all had to leave. She brought nursing skills and his office experience helped to keep President Lewis organized through all of the downsizing. As President Lewis’ wife LaCinda was flown out, the Cross’ are the only other couple still on site with the mission president. They have been a miracle for the mission.
We were all given a few short days notice that our service there was being cut short, and as a precaution, we would be sent to the states to self isolate and then wait for further assignments. We departed Phnom Penh at noon, changed planes in Taiwan, San Francisco, and on to Salt Lake, arriving at midnight the same day. 2 weeks in a hotel room and readjusting to mountain standard time. 3 weeks later, the Elders and Sisters would be sent home. The Cambodian missionaries are still there, isolating and being trained further in the administration of the Church.
As couples we keep in touch now twice a month. The couples have returned to their homes, serving in various ways. The doctors continue to manage their projects, and support their initiatives from afar. All of us hope to return to pick up where we have left off. We join the mission president almost weekly in district meetings using Zoom. He is an amazing man. He manages all of this now with only the help of the Cross’. We admire him and pray for his health and inspiration for him.
As for Sister Stone and me, we had hoped to go to work in the temple, or to serve in some outward way. As all of us are now in isolation, we are working in the Layton Utah Mission, soon to receive an assignment in one of the 70 plus stakes. The missionary work right now is done by phone, or skype, or facebook etc… We are happy to do whatever is needed. We feel fortunate to have an assignment. Many couples have been released because of the great influx of missionaries coming home.
Leaders have called for a day of fasting and prayer this Sunday. Fasting for those who suffer, for those who are giving care and aid. For those who are in positions of governance. May all of us unite our faith and our prayers, regardless of our religion, or beliefs, for the common good of all worldwide.
We love our mission. We miss our mission very much. It has definitely taken an unexpected turn. We pray for our friends in Cambodia, and for the healthcare providers around the world, who work in desperate conditions. We believe that the best hope of this world is the love of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is He whom we represent. We love Jesus. We invite all to get to know him better than you do now.
We love you!!
Elder & Sister Stone