Monday, November 25, 2013

"It's all good in the hood"

It always takes me about 5 minutes to start these emails because I never know where to begin! This week was a little slow in terms of teaching and big events and stuff but i still have a bunch of things to tell you. 
First of all, I'm just going to go into a little rant about how much I love my companion (which is what I know EVERYONE was worried about for me going into a she going to hate all of her companions?) NO. I absolutely adore Sister Homer. It's funny how much we have in common. We have such similar opinions on things and perspectives. There are aspects of our personalities that are different, but those are the things about her that are making me a better missionary. She's a SUPER hard worker and I totally need someone like that to kick me in the butt. In the sweetest way possible. But the other day I told her how lazy i am and she was like, "Really? I haven't seen that at all! I never would have known you're lazy" that's ridiculous. The mission is changing me guys. Apparently im not lazy anymore. to be honest, I don't really have the choice to be. Anyway, she's also super smiley and really nice, and I think we all know I could use an extra dose of that every now and again. But we laugh so much. We get along so well and because of that we just crack each other up all the time. We were doing language study the other day and Sister Homer is reading in her dictionary. Now, we love this dictionary because it was probably made in Cmabodia by a cambodian and therefore has cambodian definitions that are......less than normal. So she just starts laughing and shows me this verb that i can''t even remember, but here is what the definition was: "To throw out one's buttock to someone to convey a mild insult." WHAT?! First of all, in what culture is that a thing? I guess in Cambodia. Second of all, we spent about 20 minutes discussing the fact that it was a singular BUTTOCK. I don't even understand. Anyway, it's little things like that with Sister Homer that make a rough day easier. I am so lucky to have her as my trainer. 

The only thing that's hard about being a new missionary is that I'm still learning the area and the people. Everyone looks the same to me here and I swear to you, Cambodia has like 10 names in total. Everyone has the same name. Plus in cambodia you call people either "sister" or "brother" or "├╝ncle" or "grandma" based on their age. So for example the word for sister is "srei". so youve got one girl named Miah and another named Mei so their names are "Srei Miah"and "Srei Mei" and theyre both the same age and look exactly the same and........that drives me nuts. I can't keep anyone straight. The language is hard but i knew it would be. I'm honestly not stressed about the language because I know it will come. I'm working hard during language study and picking things up here and there, so I'm not too frustrated by that. I'm learning by immersion. It's exactly what you would expect. The language is the least of my worries. 

On that note, I spoke yesterday in church! It was absolutely terrifying, but afterwards everyone told me that "Sistaa nyiay cbaah!" which means that I speak very clearly. A lot of people have a problem with cambodians telling them that they can't understand what they're saying, or because we have an american accent and look american they'll just say "I don't speak English" even when you're speaking Khmer to them! Super yap. But I haven't had that problem and everyone here tells me I speak really well, so I'm happy about that. 
So I had a moment of brilliance the other day, wanna hear it???? Okay so Sister Homer and I are teaching in Vial Ksaac and she says something referring to the name of our church, which is obviously on our nametags. So she goes to point to my nametag and that's when we both realized i totally forgot to put on my nametag that morning!!! That has NEVER happened to me before. Your nametag is basically your most important and most prized possession. I was in shock. But without missing a beat, Sister Homer reaches into her purse and pulls out a spare nametag she keeps in her bag. When she first handed it to me, I was a little confused because I was like, this says "Sister Homer" not "Sister Davis". But that's when I had my moment of brilliance, ready? IT DOESN'T MATTER. It doesn't matter in the slightest that my name wasn't right because who the heck cares what my name is? The reason we wear our nametag is not because it has our name on it. We wear it because the second we put it on, we become official representatives of Jesus Christ. After our own names, the biggest word on the nametag is "Jesus Christ". THAT is why we wear the nametag. So it doesn't matter that for a whole day, my nametag said "Sister Homer". What matters is that it says Jesus Christ, and it tells people that I'm here for him, not for myself. (To be honest, this was Sister Homer's MTC nametag, which has the church's name in Khmer but our name is in English. So in reality, nobody would have been able to read her name anyway and tell that it was wrong. BUT THAT'S NOT THE POINT. The point is I had an epiphany so just roll with it.)
Here's another story that tells you why nametags are so important. A couple days after that happened, Sister Homer and I are riding our bikes through the city of Kampong Cham and this random guy starts calling out "Miss! MISS!" from behind us. At first we both tried to ignore him because people here yell things at the two white girls all the time, but he straight up just rode his bike in between us and goes "You are missionaries, yes?" (In english, might I add. heavy cambodian accent, but he totally knows english.) he must have seen our nametags and recognized that we are missionaries. We were dumbfounded. We pulled over at a gas station to talk to this guy who's basically dying to learn more. He goes OFF about how he's studied tons of other denominations, like 7th day adventists and jehovah's witnesses and he just wants to learn more. he knew a little about mormons, so we gave him our number and have been waiting for him to call us. Anyway, things like that do NOT happen in cambodia. pretty much no one has even heard of Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ. So it was super crazy that this guy knew so much about Christianity and wanted to learn so badly. Anyway, that was a really cool thing that I honestly thought i would never encounter in a country like cambodia. 

I'm honestly doing just fine. It's really hard to be away from home but I know that I'm in the right place and doing the right stuff, and it's changing me and my perspective so much. Sister Homer also had a hard time at first and she's totally willing to let me go off on a rant about how I want to go home and then she'll just wait for me to finish and be like, "No, you're not going home. I will tackle you to the ground. It gets better, just wait." And after I've calmed down I'm like, yeah. Being here is kind of awesome and I know it's only going to get better. Obviously its hard, but seriously, I'm cool.  I love Cambodia. I love the members here. I love riding my bike down Vial Ksaac even though my butt is more sore than you can imagine. I don't love the smells yet, but I don't think that's ever going to change. I love my companion and the other missionaries here. I just love what I'm doing. So stop freaking out and being worried about me! It's all good in the hood.

I feel like this email wasn't as interesting. Obviously interesting things happen to me, but I think I'm getting used to it so I forget about the things that are normal to me and probably not normal to you. But you also keep sending me emails saying you're worried about me, so I'm mostly using this email opportunity to set your minds at ease. I'm fine. So next week we can get back to the interesting stuff okay? Okay.
I love you all super a lot. (can you tell im losing my grasp of english?)
LOOOOVE, Sister Davis

These kids literally just followed me around everywhere. I don't know them at all but they see the American Sisters and just go crazy. 

This is me drinking from a gigantic coconut. there's guy on the side of the road across from our house who sells them. He just hacks them open with his machete and sticks a straw in there. 50 cents. that thing got me through two lunches. 

This is the road I live on. I took this picture this morning when we were walking to the phsaa at 6am. 
This is the school that's on our road. It's literally derelict. It looks like it's rotting from the inside out, even though you probably can't tell from the picture

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Teaching, Tan-lines and Traffic

Am I alive? I think I'm alive. Literally checking my pulse as we speak. I have officially made it alive in Kampong Cham province for 12 days. But I can tell you it definitely doesn't feel like 12 days. My body clock is telling me that my mission is pretty much over already.
Here's the other reason I'm happy to be alive. I'm in an internet cafe right now obviously, but I had A TON of emails to read through so I've already been here for a while, and I had to pee soooooo badly. And so, THOU SHALT MARK NOVEMBER 17 OF THE YEAR TWO THOUSAND AND THIRTEEN AS THE FIRST TIME SISTER CHLOE DAVIS HAS UTILIZED A SQUATTY POTTY. Because that's all they have here in Cambodia, are squatty potties. Let me tell you a little something about squatty potties: they're exactly what they sound like. Right as I reluctantly stand up to go use it, I look back at Sister Homer and with such real, genuine empathy in her eyes she whispers, "good luck!" This girl is my savior. I am sufficiently scarred for the rest of the day so that's all I'm going to say about that.
Okay what happened this week. What DIDN'T happen this week? I'm actually starting to get used to this place. SO SO SLOWLY, but surely. It's becoming normal for me to walk outside and ride down Bung Snaay with it's tin houses or go to the branch mission leader's house and smell.....things. It's actually semi-normal. It's still crazy, and I still never forget how insane this life is that I'm living, but it's not impossible. A couple days ago Sister Homer said something to me that described Cambodia perfectly: "What you see, what you smell, what you hear, what you feel, what you taste.....Cambodia is perfectly designed to just severely disturb every single one of your senses." There is no better way to put it. Cambodia disturbs all of your senses, and it will probably take me approximately 10,000 years to stop being disturbed. But hey, I'm on my way. PS I've got a few awesome pictures for you today that will give you a little glimpse into the things I see and do every day. Actually, I've got a ton. Get stoked.
Okay so let me start off with the title of the email. One thing I have to mention is the fact that I'm getting tanlines already. Everywhere. Name a tanline, I've got it. Skirt tan line, shoe tan line, shirt tanline, watch tanline. Also the traffic. I've been thinking about what would happen if any of you saw me riding my bike around here. I know for certain you'd have a heart attack. I literally am close to getting run over every single day. There are NO road rules here. Absolutely none. Trucks, motos, cars all just weaving in and around each other and there are the missionaries on their bikes in the middle of the mess. I should be dead by now. BUT HEY: God loves His missionaries. So I'm still alive......? Yep still alive.
Teaching is slightly awesome and slightly terrifying and slightly impossible and slightly one of the best parts of being on a mission. First of all, I LOVE teaching the kids here. Didn't see that one coming, didya? Teaching kids is my favorite thing to do. Mostly because my language can be much simpler, which is easy for me too, plus they're all so flippin adorable. I taught this one girl named Ganyaa and seriously everytime we see her Sister Homer and I are just like, "where can i get one of her?! She's so freaking cute!!!" And the kids are also SO smart too, which is great to see when most of them have parents that don't even know how to read and write. We also have this one group of kids that are all cousins or something. We call it "The 5-kid Special" and we just take a bible story picture and just tell them a story basically. They live in an area called Vial Ksaac, which I have a couple pictures of. It's my favorite place to teach. Also, in Vial ksaac, i swear to you I found the Cambodian version of Nanny. I'm not even joking. She was telling us a story and I had NO CLUE what she was talking about, but she was cracking me up with her tone of voice and facial expressions. She is so the Asian Nana.
Teaching can also be terribly frustrating. Like with this one investigator we have named Ming Mau. Oh Ming Mau, what am I going to do with you. This is actually the same lady whose grandson was sick and we brought her the first aid kit. But there's a problem with that. I love helping people here and doing service (which I'll talk some more about), but SO MANY Cambodians have this idea in their head that our church and specifically the missionaries are here to just give them things. We are a service church. We are always the first on call to help when someone or some place needs it. But we, especially the missionaries, are not here to give you money. We're here to give you something better than that. We're here to teach you about the greatest message you will ever know about. And it SUCKS that they don't even realize it. When we were teaching Ming Mau the other night, she was definitely intoxicated, but we don't know to what extent. So she had been drinking and she wasn't listening to anything we were saying (she also thinks that we're gods apparently. because I guess that's how Buddhists sometime view their monks, so we had to explain that we're not gods, we're just teachers. awkward). And anyway, she kept saying things like, "will you give me medicine? Will you give me money? Will you pay for my rent?" And we had to explain to her, WE DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY. We're not getting paid to be here. We're doing this for free because it's that important to us! Why do you think I left America to come to Cambodia! I must have something SUUUUUPER important to say! I wish I could just shake people by the shoulders and tell them that. So it's hard when people don't appreciate the reasons we've come here and learned their language and gave up a portion of our lives for because they think we'll just feed them and give them money. Super yap (annoying).
Can I just tell you the funniest thing that Ming said though? We asked her if she had been praying every day like we asked her to, and her response is this: "When I pray, I pray, and when i don't pray, I don't pray."
.......................................thank you. that doesn't answer my question in the slightest. Obviously it wasn't funny at the time, but Sister Homer and I were cracking up thinking back on it this morning. Cool Ming, cool.
Anyway, I got to do service last week with the rest of our district. We helped a member plant peanuts. No I'm not kidding. they were way out in the middle of nowhere and they had fields behind their house. LET ME TELL YOU: Cambodians are eerily particular about the way you are supposed to put peanuts in the ground. C'mon. I got corrected on my arrangement of peanut seeds more times than I can count. But it was so fun. I think doing service like that has to be one of my favorite parts of being a missionary. 
I just love helping the people here. Most of them have such hard conditions to deal with. Whether it's their house, the fact that their legs don't work, the fact that they can't even afford to send their kids to school (which absolutely BREAKS my heart that these amazing kids don't have the opportunity to go to school). I just wish i could change all of their lives. But for right now, I have to be content laying the foundation brick by brick. I can't change Cambodia in one 18 month stint. So I'm doing my part as a missionary and hope that for just one person, that can make the difference some time down the road in their future. 
I just don't even know what else I have to say. I honestly could write for hours about the things that happen to my every single second of the day, but I definitely don't have that kind of time, and my emails are already crazy long. Plus I've got a bunch of pictures for you and a picture is worth a thousand words; when you're in Cambodia, it's worth a TRILLION WORDS.
I love you all to the moon and back. I think about you every single day!!! Thank you so much for all of the love and support - from everyone!!!
Love, Sister Davis

This is a house in Bung Snaay that I teach at. Her name is Phalli. I was actually trying to get a picture of the whole road, but I didn't want to be the insensitive American taking pictures so I snapped this one from my bag. So sorry I couldn't get the rest of the road. but you probably get the idea.
This is Vial Ksaac. It's beautiful there. probably the prettiest part of Kampong Cham. 
                                                            More of Vial Ksaac.
                                                            YAY FOR SERVICE! 

Also, you can go ahead and make this my profile picture on facebook. I don't think I'll ever get a better picture to represent the fact that I'm a missionary in Asia. The nametag, the peace sign, the Cambodian head scarf (not a fashion statement - simply to absorb the sweat, I promise), the fact that I'm planting peanut seeds. It's all there. 
This is the house of the family we did service for. We ate lunch with them afterwards. guys, Cambodian food is actually super awesome. But DONT EAT THE CHICKEN. the chicken of cambodians is not the same chicken of americans. its just...........not chicken. heed my warning!!! I think I'll take a picture of the meat area of the phsaa for you next week.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Chloe is in the Kampong Cham Province!


Greetings from Cambodia!!!!
I don't even know where to begin. Seriously. Staring at the computer screen right now. Dumbfounded. Sitting in an internet cafe. It's a bajillion degrees outside. How do I even start................................................................................
OKAY. I'M IN A PROVINCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you believe that?! In our whole group of 22 missionaries that came in this week, only 3 of us were sent outside of Phnom Penh (approximately 80% of the country's missionaries are in Phnom Penh). I'M IN KAMPONG CHAM. For the record, this email is probably going to have a lot of caps, even though that probably conveys a lot more energy than I actually have, which is none. We're the only sister missionaries in the province, so we oversee two branches as opposed to one. And that means we're twice as busy. Who is this "WE" I speak of???? My companion is amazing!!! her name is Sister Homer and she's just the most adorable, sweetest, most patient and loving person in the world. I couldn't have asked for a better trainer. I literally have no idea what I'm doing, and she's a great leader. I wish I could explain in words how insane this work is. I don't know my way around, I have no idea what anyone is saying because they talk so fast and are just mushing all their words together, I don't know anyone's name. It's just..............insane. No idea what's going on. I'm exhausted 24/7, and there's literally no way to escape the heat. The people here make fun of how much I sweat.
Oh, that's another thing. the culture here is brutal honesty. Not to be mean, it's just that the things they say here aren't rude the way they would be in America. People have called me tall, white, pretty, that I have a nice nose, and FAT. All. the. time. I got called fat 3 times yesterday. 4 times if you count the one lady who said "toat toat" ("fat fat"). Which is true. But they also call my companion fat and she's a stick. One of these people also mentioned the fact that I have a lot of zits on my face. But to be fair, they also call freckles zits. Yep. They don't like freckles. But they love white people (or "barraang barraaang" = french person. Everyone white is just french to them). They automatically call you pretty if you have white skin. Strangest thing. They all want to be pale. I don't get it.
Okay let me talk a little about the country itself: You guys. Don't even know. I can't even describe it. There is a city in Kampong Cham which honestly is like Phnom Penh and isn't that bad. But outisde of the city, where I live is like......crap. Crappy crappy crappy. The first member I visited was our branch mission leader, and his house (like most of the house here) is three wooden walls on stilts, and the floor is dried bamboo. That makes is sound so much nicer than it is. Like this is built by hand, has no rooms or doors. It's just a shack on a dirt road filled with potholes and stray dogs and chickens and poop. Sister Homer said that the first time she met this guy, he was cutting up a dog right in front of her. Not okay. Yesterday, after church number 1 (I have two branches = two churches to go to = 6 hours of church on sunday), we went to the house of an investigator because her grandson was sick. We road down a couple dirt roads, basically into the jungle, and found her little shack. We were squatting (I'm working on my asian squat) on this cement/dirt floor and showing her how to use a basic first aid kit. Meanwhile, There are chickens running around and her little kid is covered in dirt lying on a mat. This is like the stuff they put in National Geographic. No joke. Peace Corps ain't got nothing on me.
AND OH MY LORD THE SMELL. THE SMELL YOU GUYS, THE SMELL. Smell-sssss. So many smells. awful, terrible, atrocious smells. smells that will haunt my nightmares for the rest of my life. I wish I had gotten some pictures of the phsaa (market) we went to this morning. Remember that time I threw up in Chinatown just because it smelled bad? Chinatown smells like roses compared to when we ride past the phsaa at noon, when the sun is hottest and the produce and meat and fish have been sitting on the side of the road in 90 degree heat for hours. And there's tons of it. So much garbage and gross things just all over the place, and these people obviously don't have's ghastly. I've been so overwhelmed the past few days that I haven't been able to take many pictures at all of the area where I live, so hopefully I'll get some for you by next week. The front road of my house is just a dirt road that's like....crap. Sorry for the heavy use of the word crap, but I don't even know how to describe this place. The back of my house faces a large field, which I'll get to later. Anyway, when we were in the branch president's house, they were doing something highly unfortunate underneath that hut (again, these huts are on stilts, I think for flooding purposes). I don't know what, but the resulting odor was unlike anything I could ever hope to describe. Plus chickens running around everywhere. Did I mention that there are chickens everywhere?? I wake up at 5am every day not from my alarm but from the rooster that lives right next to us. There are lizards everywhere in our house too. But I'm cool with it. They eat the bugs. Surprisingly, bugs haven't been a big issue. I mean there are little beetles and spiders everywhere, but I haven't encountered a tarantula, scorpion or other unwelcomed creature. AND I HAVE YET TO SEE A COCKROACH. Score one for Kampong Cham.
Well, it turns out I never learned how to bike properly. Seriously, you guys, it's embarrassing.  The other day, my shoe fell off in the middle of an intersection and I had to run across the road barefoot with my shoes in my hands. And then approximately ten minutes later, we were headed to the church and I literally just rode my bike into the gate, head on. I was so tired and saw it coming, and I just let it happen because I don't have the capability on a bike I thought I did.
Okay, so the back of my house. Faces a field. Right. Far off in the distance you can see some wats (like angkor wat, only not as big and nice. Wats are just the temples that monks use). Anyway, yesterday morning, at like 6 am, I hear the strangest noise I've heard in my life. It sounded like it was coming from a speaker. And Sister Homer goes, "In case you were wondering, that noise is the monks chanting." What the......? These monks are chanting, they sound like apes, I don't even know, but the thing that gets me is they're projecting it from a speaker that I can hear across a huge field. I just don't even......All of the 'dot dot dots' by the way is an indication of my lack of ability to explain my current situation. Another thing about my house, underneath my desk, on the first day, I found a real life, rusty, no joke, a sickle and a hatchet. No idea. I still haven't asked about it.
This email is already super long, but I can promise you that Cambodia isn't going to get old anytime soon. I will have a ton of things like that to tell you every week, I swear. Let me just say that this is already the hardest thing I've ever done or will ever do. Cambodia is the coolest mission ever, but I have to be honest, it's gotta be one of the hardest. This is one of the poorest, most forgotten countries in the world. And to be honest, sometimes I feel forgotten along with it. I look at the conditions I'm living in and the things I'm required to do with almost no resources, and the fact that I literally don't get a break until bedtime. And then it starts all over. And I think, "Nobody gets how hard this is." It kills me sometimes, when I'm struggling so much and it's so incredibly hard and I think, "God has forgotten me." And I want to go home. It's only been 4 freaking days! Sometimes I lose my perspective and want to go home. In the moment, it seems like it's worth it. BUT I KNOW IT'S NOT. It's only 16 more months of my entire life, and the days may seem long but it will be over before I know it. And I should stop complaining, stop whining, stop thinking about myself and what I want, and start thinking about why I'm here. It's to help other people, like a woman who lives in a hut in the jungle and has never seen a first aid kit before. I should consider myself lucky, SO SO LUCKY that I get the opportunity to be here and learn and grow and help others. And that's hard to remember sometimes. When you feel like you're going to pass out, and it's 7pm and you're supposed to be home, and you feel like you can't give anymore and then a  little girl at church asks you to ride your bike another 30 minutes home with her because she's's hard to forget about yourself in moments like that and just go to work. Ugh, I'm trying. But sometimes I don't know if I'm going to make it. 
Longest email ever right? Okay well I'm going to sign off now. Sorry I don't have any scriptures for you or anything, I have been so swamped, I have literally no time for myself anymore. Hopefully my email next week will be better and I'll have some real news for you. I love you all so so much, you don't even understand. I started crying when i was reading through all my emails because I miss home so much and I love you a ton. Keep me in your prayers, and know that I'm doing the same for all of you.
Love, Sistaa Daivee

The river along the city part of Kampong Cham.
You know......cows. they're everywhere too. Almost as much as chickens.
The house on the left is what we usually encounter, but there's no water in our area. this was on the way into Kampong Cham. And everyone here rides a moto. The house on the right.....well, I haven't seen anything like that since we've been in our area. they're mostly all shacks.
My delightful companion Sister Homer. She's the best! One of the biggest blessings I have had on my mission so far.
Sorry i don't have more pictures of me doing stuff. I look like poop. always. 24/7.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Quick Update

Hi there!!!!

They said to only take a couple minutes, so this isn't a regular big email. Just letting you know that we've arrived in Cambodia safe and sound. We flew in about 11 pm last night (Cambodian time), went straight to the mission home,and then went right to bed at about midnight. We're going through orientation and everything right now, so that's why I don't have much time, but I will email you again on Monday (that's our p-day).  President Moon is great. I'm doing well. Love you guys so much!!

-Sistaa Daivee

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Chloe's Travel Update

On Tuesday evening, American airlines delayed Chloe's flight to LAX by 3 hours...which meant they all would miss the connection from LAX to Hong Kong. Though they could get to HK a day later, the next Dragon Air flight from HK to Cambodia would have been a week from now. Chloe contacted the Church travel office  (remember Chloe is in charge of the 15 missionaries that are travelling - kind of incredible for her.)  Chloe said on the phone that about 10 of the missionaries have not been on a plane before and it was like "herding cats through the airport."

So they retrieved the bags that they had checked for American.  Then they thought they would be flying to Seattle to get a flight to Singapore (completely different schedule then originally planned for them).  They finally decided to go back to the MTC for about 7-8 hours for the next attempt to leave, but she wasn’t sure whether they would be flying to LA or SF or SEA.

By the afternoon on Wednesday, Chloe called from LAX. She had a 5 hour layover and leaves on Asiana to Seoul. Then in Seoul, they have one hour to switch terminals to board the Asiana flight to Cambodia.

The silver lining—we got to talk to her quite a bit.  She sounds great and very mature.  Her responses were very detailed and energetic, which is highly unusual for Chloe in conversations with her family. However, she mentioned that her teachers have witnessed her stubborn streak. Overall, she sounded very happy and was taking the flying changes/obstacles as part of God's plan.  Chloe noted that she was very nervous, but given the circumstances that is understandable.

Over the last 48 hours of travel updates, it became clear that we are all on this adventure with her.


Monday, November 4, 2013



We got permission to email our families before we leave for the airport, so I'm gonna send you some pictures and stuff. I'm leaving the MTC tomorrow at noon and will call you from the airport. I'm allowed to call from any airport I go to so I'll call you around 4 my time at Salt Lake. Be flexible though because there are only like 5 payphones there and about 20 people who need to use them. I'll do my best. Today, I'm just doing laundry and packing and buying things I'll need before I head out. It's a super busy day. It's going to be sad to say goodbye to people, like Sis Walker who's going to Washington speaking Cambodian. But I AM SO EXCITED TO LEAVE. Peace out America.

You haven't missed much since it's only been a few days since my last P-day, but you did miss Halloween so I'll give you the scoop on that. Here's a Halloween story for y'all: Obviously, we don't get to wear costumes or celebrate Halloween at the MTC, but the girls in my zone decided to do super subtle "costumes" because we try to squeeze out as much fun as possible at the MTC. So the obvious way to go is Disney princesses. We all wore regular church/missionary clothes that had a character theme to them. I got to be Anastasia. Which basically means I get to dress like a borderline hobo. Surprisingly, everybody agreed my outfit was the best because you could actually tell I was supposed to be Anastasia. So I'm sending you all of my Halloween pictures and some pictures from our last Sunday as a zone.



When it comes to elder flint, it’s probably better if you just don’t ask.

Last week in the MTC!!!



It's my last P-day in the MTC!!! Can you believe I only have 6 days left here????? I can't wait to get out there. I recently heard a quote: "Cambodia is the worst country in the world because it will break your heart and make you fall in love with it at the same time." There's gonna be major culture shock but I think I need that. I'm just so excited to see Cambodia, meet President Moon and his wife, and find out which province will be my first area. Personally, I'd love to go to Siem Reap. That's where Angor Wat is and it's out in the country with all the temples and stuff. It's beautiful there, plus Lookruu told me that Siem Reap has the best missionary housing of all the provinces. However, I know it's more likely that I'll be sent to Battambong or the capital, Phnom Penh. That's where most of the missionaries are in the country.


Anyway, I'm definitely excited but I'm super nervous. I definitely don't know the language well enough. In the last couple lessons I've had with investigators, I've had a hard time understanding them, which I haven't had a problem with since the first couple weeks here. I think God is trying to humble me before I go out there. On the plus side, Lookruu Oleson told me that he would consider me proficient in Khmer. How cool is that?! I've only been here for 8 weeks and I'm already proficient in a language that I previously had ZERO knowledge of. The gift of tongues is so real!!! (see Corinthians chapter 14 for more on that awesome power missionaries get.)


The reading and writing is still not quite there yet though. It takes a group effort from our class to read through one verse in the scriptures and even then it still takes us about 15 minutes to translate. I wish I could explain to you guys how difficult this language is in terms of the script. We have had to come up with some of the craziest ways to remember the characters. They all look the same except for they have different accents so we'll be like "Oh that letter is "phoo" (pronounced "poe") because it looks like the guy Jin Po from Mulan.....(?)......and then this character "coo" (pronounced "joe") has the cool Elvis hair." I swear it makes sense when it's explained to you haha. No joke. We have conversations like that. It's so hard you guys. It seriously blows my mind. BUT IT'S SO COOL.....and so so beautiful. Totally useless, but awesome nonetheless. The other day Lookruu Thomas was giving us a lesson on strong vs weak subconsonants and he used this voting analogy where the subconsonants are waiting in line to go into the voting booth. So Sis Peterson and I just bust out laughing because it's so ridiculous and he just whips around and goes "THEY'RE IN LINE, OKAY, CHILL!!" It was such a funny lesson. I'm gonna miss my Lookruus more than anything. I wish I could shrink them and just keep em in my pocket. Heaven knows I'll need them. And no, I still don't understand subconsonants. Oh well.


Other than that, our lessons have been going well. We have this one guy whose name is Lookpuu (not Lookruu) Thon. He's illiterate, an alcoholic, a Buddhist and doesn't have a great relationship with his family (a pretty good description of most people in Cambodia). But he wants to know more about the church to build a better relationship with his family. Anyway, he really can't read from the scriptures or understand a majority of the concepts we try to explain to him (like Christ dying on the cross for us......try explaining that to a guy with pretty much no education or idea of Christianity). SO the other day we decided to do this thing where we just told him a Bible story about Jesus with pictures and stuff. Our teacher basically told us "You have to treat most people like they're a child because if a kid couldn't understand what you're saying then they won't." SO that's what we did. And it was the BEST lesson we've given since we've been here. He got a small idea of the type of person Christ was and what his ministry on Earth was like. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW LONG WE'VE BEEN TRYING TO TEACH HIM THAT DO YOU DO YOU. It was so hard to teach this guy, But SOOO rewarding when I could finally see it click for him.


I can't wait to help people like that in Cambodia. I just watched a video that had a quote from President Monson: "There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire and souls to save. Are we doing all we should?" I'm so ready for that.


Even though I fell really unprepared in some ways and feel like I haven't learned as much as I could have since being here, I can tell how far I've come. If you guys could see me now and see the improvement in my attitude I guarantee you would be shocked. I've changed more than you know. And that's only 2 months in!! I'm gonna be such a freak when I com home in 2015!!! Joking. I'll try really hard to be normal. ANYWAY, my point is, I'm excited to start my mission for real and become the person God needs me to be. McKenna just sent me an email and reminded me that how I change on my mission will be the foundation for every single decision and every single action I make for THE REST OF MY LIFE. That's how important missions are. They change your life in the best ways possible. Here's another quote that I love: "Every single day of your mission, you will think about home. And when you get home, you will think about your mission every day for the rest of your life." Every person I've talked to has confirmed how true that is. Even when things are super hard, it is so worth the ETERNITY of blessings I will receive from struggling for the next 16 months.


So this P-day is super bittersweet. I think about all of the friends I've made here and honestly consider some of them to be some of my closest friends now. And I so don't want to be separated from them. Sister Litchfield and Sister Walker especially. Sis Litchfield is going to Cambodia but she's speaking Vietnamese so I probably won't ever see her. And Sis Walker is seriously my best friend here! And she's going to Washington Cambodian speaking so i won't see her until we finish our missions. But I'm so excited to be with her at BYU when I come back. I'm going to miss our crazy kickball games, Elder Flint dressing up like a cat and meowing at people's doors, and our district's long-suffering banana issues (that's a great story that I'll maybe tell you one day). Can't believe I'm already packing my stuff and getting ready to leave.


Okay well that's all for this week. Here are some scriptures for y'all: Romans 8:35, 37-39; Matthew 6:30-34; Alma 32:16-17; Doctrine and Covenants 82: 23-34. Also read Doctrine and Covenants 84:77. I LOOOOOOOOVE that scripture. Me + Jesus = friends. How sweet is that.


Okkkkaaaayyyyyyy I LOVE YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH. Thanks for all the letters and support. You guys are da bomb dot com. I miss you so much! Wish me luck in the great beyond!!


Love, Sistaa Daivee


We got our official Cambodian nametags!!!!!!! So that last character you see is a "saa" and it makes an 's' sound. But in Cambodian, when the saa is at the end of a word, it goes silent and makes almost an 'h' sound instead. Go figure. And then they pronounce the "i" vowel as "eee". So that's the linguistic explanation of why Cambodians pronounce my name as "DAY-VEE"

Here are my travel plans!!!!! I CANNOT BELIEVE WE'RE FLYING AMERICAN AIRLINES. I almost threw a fit. And I figured you guys would agree with me. Both Elder Flint and I were like "what is this american airlines crap?! It's delta or nothing!!" Our Lookruu told us that Cathay is really nice but Dragonair planes are SUPER rickety. Couldn't tell if he was joking or not. I'll let you know if I make it all the way there. As you can see, this is like a 28 hour trip. hooray.

Companion nap time on a couch we stole and hid in our classroom. We call that pink blanket the “snot rag” because it has seen all three of us through severe snotty sicknesses.