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.