Monday, March 31, 2014

Sweaty as a bird

Only my family will understand that subject line. But to explain a little further.....

I HAVE NEVER SWEATED THIS MUCH IN MY LIFE. I think I told you guys a few weeks ago "hey its pretty hot." I had no idea what I was talking about. The REAL hot season is starting and I honestly don't know if I'm gonna make it through without losing my mind. The hot season starts a bit towards the end of february and then it really heats up in March. By the time I wake up in the morning to go for a run at 5:30 am, it's already about 85 degrees. By 1 pm, the hottest part of the day, it's well over 100 (based on what sister moon tells me). Add that onto the humidity and the fact that I'm in the city which is super hot and that I have to ride my bike amid the exhaust from trucks and cars and the BILLIONS of motos..............I'm dying. No, I'm dead. And here's the kicker: this isn't even the hottest part of the hot season. April is apparently the hottest month of the year. So I've still got khai buan to go. I don't know how else I can describe this. I AM SO HOT. Thank the heavens above we have an air conditioner. It's just a little one in our bedroom, so the rest of the house is horrific, but that makes all the difference at night and I have literally thanked God in my prayers for it. Sister Kohler and I thought it broke the other night and I almost cried. I know there are houses in places like Takmau that don't have AC. Those poor unfortunate souls.

Anywho, I've got some more food news for you guys: First of all, what was on the menu for me this past week you ask? Well, I'll tell you: intestines and chicken hearts. Elder Schleede and Elder Sorensen (did I tell you guys I'm in the same area as Elder Sorensen again? He was with me in KC, and now we're serving together in Tuolkork) insisted it was a mushroom even though I told them I was pretty sure it looked like an intestine. But I figured hey even if it is an intestine, you get to tell people you ate an intestine. And I did. But I will tell you this: It had stuff inside it. Like.......stuff. I won't go into detail but just know: there was "stuff." As for the chicken heart, I enjoyed that much better. They're actually really small. Like just an inch or two in diameter. But they look just like a mini version of a human heart. Pretty cool. I also found duck flavored ramen so I'm pretty excited to try that out (you guys know my long-time obsession with ramen. It's in full throttle now that I'm in Asia). 
But here's the BEST BEST BEST news about food for the week: Sister Kohler and I were biking to the branch president's house for a meeting and he lives in a really far awar area of Tuolkork. It's an area we very rarely go to. On our journey we found......a bakery cafe. A real one. A good one. Its like Starbucks only a million times better. They have all manner of cakes and croissants and scones and cookies and fresh baked breads AND BAGELS YOU GUYS THEY HAVE BAGELS. (Can we just take this moment to applaud me for spelling croissants correctly on my first try. My grasp of English may be waning but apparently my French is right on track.....?) Sister Kohler and I walked in and we started laughing we were so amazed by what we were seeing in front of us. We literally stopped and took pictures inside this place and I will tell you if we hadn't  I would have assumed it was all a dream. What's weird is that this bakery is honestly in the middle of what seems like a desolate wasteland. Like flat land and no building around it. Totally random. "Joma Cafe and Bakery: Middle-of-Nowhere, Tuokork, Phnom Penh, Cambodia"

Don't you worry I've got pictures of the outside, the inside and everything in between. Even the menus. They have sandwiches and salads and smoothies. They even have a ham egg and cheese on a bagel. I can't tell you how excited I am about this place. We're going bakc there today actually even though its 30 minutes out of the way. It's that good.

So I have a couple animal concerns from this week. First of all a bat flew into our church building and was tormenting us after English class. The elders were purposely scaring it to fly in the direction of me and Sister Kohler and Sister Homer and Sister Melton and we were freaking the heck out. Sister Homer hid in a closet until I told her it was safe to come out. The screams were heard for miles (though nothing like Sister Homer's screams when Satan the lizard attacked us in KC so many months ago). Second, I saw a cockroach during one of my lessons and almost had a panic attack. It was alive and well and just creeping about 5 feet away from me the whole time. I didn't even close my eyes during the prayer because I had to keep an eye on it. I don't trust cockroaches for one single solitary second. Third, Sister Kohler and I saw a Tukgae. I actually have no idea how to spell that. It's just a really really large lizard but for some reason Khmers are terrified of them because apparently they latch onto you and don't let go. Ask me more about that when we skype on Mother;s day because I can actually make the tukgae call/sound.

 AND FOURTH: you guys, I can't even describe the toll this last one has taken on my psyche the last week. I just.....can't.....even............okay here it goes: I and Sister Kohler are like 90% sure that my bed has termites. MY BED. My bed is my sanctuary. You all know that. They have attacked my bed. It's only a matter of time before I get eaten alive in the middle of the night. A couple nights ago I had one of those moments where I could feel things crawling on my skin even though you kow nothing is really there and I actually got up to get a flashlight and check to make sure I didn't have things crawling all over me. I'm telling you, it's psychologically damaging. Needless to say my companion thinks I'm crazy.

Okay maybe I'll actually spend a little time on things that actually matter: So I taught Luna Lovegood a couple times this past week. Real name: Sveta, my Russian investigator. We teach her in English, which I haven't done since I was in KC with Moiseng. And Sveta is actually super fluent in English. So I have to be on my A-game, which we all know is questionable right now. I have finally gotten a glimpse of what it's like to teach in Europe or America and it is exhausting! She has a background with christianity and has actually studied religion a lot so she has crazy smart questions. Luckily none of them have stumped me yet, but sometimes you don't realize how hard it is to explain a concept to someone until they ask you a direct question about it. For example, we were talking about the Fall of Adam and Eve for a solid half hour. Also, with Svets she sort of......I don't really know how to explain it. In the words of Sister Kohler, "Her ideas are like the sky." They seem totally up in the clouds and have no end. If you ask her a question like "Do you believe in God?" Her answer will be something like "Well, what is God really? God is a different thing to every person." And she will just go OFF. During our last lesson I asked her "Do you believe that God is omniscient, and that He knows everything?" And she literally said "Well, it's difficult for me to describe what 'everything' is." What? Evrything is...EVERYTHING. Geez louise. But I absolutely LOVE teaching her. I love that she challenges us. It reminds me of what our family was probably like when we were learning, asking questions just to be stubborn in a sense.

Other than that, nothing super interesting going on the world of teaching lessons. SIster Kohler and I had probably the funniest lesson with Om Sokha that I've ever had. I wish I could describe her, but I've already tried and failed. I was laughing that entire lesson. It slays me to see a 70 year old woman with a sense of humor like her. She told Sister Kohler that she looked like Mary, Christ's mom and then she told me that I look like in John the Baptist's mom who's like a thousand years old. And then she just started cracking up. She is probably one of my favorite people to teach out of everyone I've taught in my whole mission.
That's all for this week I think! A couple things I read this week that I liked: Ether 12:33-34 and John 8:32. I also read in Moroni 8:16 and the end of it says "fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth away all fear." I LOVED that.

I love you all so very much! I miss you a ton and hope you have a great week!

Love, Sister Davis

PS I know General Conference is coming up but Cambodia doesn't get it until a few weeks later, because we have to wait for it to be translated in Khmer for all the Khmer missionaries and then we watch it all together. SO NO SPOILER ALERTS. You can tell me which talks you like but don't tell me anything about them! General Conference is the best thing in the world as a missionary, I'm so stoked.

This is Bong Combei and her adorable son. She;s a recent convert, and such an awesome member, ALWAYS gives us referrals for her friends that want to learn. And she also bought me the headband I'm wearing in this picture. Shes the best.

Another Sunday lunch at Ming Srei's. She fed us goose. This is elder Sorensen and elder schleede trying to point out the head of the goose.
Some other awesome members. The Lookpuu on the floor is Lookpuu Broh, you;ve seen him before. His daughter is the one in the polka dot skirt. Chendaa is the girl in blue and red in the middle. She's Combei's little sister and seriously one of my favorite people. SO SWEET. And she wants to learn english, so we help each other tuo vin tuo mook.

Carrot, cake, chocolate cake, cheesecake, chocolate creme pies, lemon bars, brownies and QUICHE. I bought the quiche. It had real ham in it. whats up. AND THEY GAVE ME A NUMBER! Do you see that?!
Cool government building thats on the way to the main city. and yes thats a new dress, thanks for noticing. 6 dollars. Which is a little pricey for Cambodia but I said what the heck and bought it anyway. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

This week: Ants launch their attack on my sanity.

Cumriabsua's all around!!!!

The first full week after the new transfer was full of ups and downs. Let me just start with church yesterday, where a couple awesome things happened. First of all, Om Sokha came to church (she's the old less-active member who we work with a lot and she came back to church! I love that woman to death). And on that note, she sat in the row behind me, so at one point I was looking over my shoulder trying to see out the door and she saw me looking in her direction and I KID YOU NOT this 70-something year old woman gave me the head nod. Like the quick, "sup" head nod with the eyebrow raise. And I did it back. And then I died of laughter right in the middle of church. I wish you guys could meet her, she is so awesome. 
SECOND cool thing to happen - I am actually teaching Luna Lovegood now so thats cool. Seriously. She's this Russian girl named Sveta (why is a Russian living in Cambodia you ask? I still havent figured that one out.) She's just a wisp of a thing and she has translucently white skin with hair thats long and wavy/frizzy that is so blond it just about glows, and she wears long, purple and pink and blue peasant like flowery dresses and skirt and she just sort of floats in and out of places. She's really quiet but seems nice. She speaks english with a heavy Russian accent and we're teaching her for the first time today! SO yeah. I'm teaching Luna Lovegood. Tell your friends. 
I have another investigator named Ming Sophea and she's been super awesome the whole time and loves learning with us, but her work wouldn't let her come to church on Sundays. But this past week she told us that starting next week she should be able to come to church! I was SOOO happy when she said that I was literally speechless. I had no words other than "khnom sabay cet khlang meenteen" --> "I have a very happy heart." Ming Sophea's house is just like a cement box, probably 5 feet by 5 feet, and only maybe 4 feet tall. She sleeps with her son, cooks and lives in this tiny little shelter that's in the basement of an actual house. It kills me, but it also makes me love her more. She's awesome. So that's what's going on with some of my investigators right now. 
But back to Om Sokha for a bit, because I wanna say something about less-active members that I realized. I know I say that I really like working with less-active members. So true. Maybe it's just the ones in Tuolkork, but I love working with them and teaching them. They are some of my favorite people to go visit. But anyway I realized something when Om Sokha came to church.  Obviously, its way exciting when an investigator progresses well and gets baptized. Hooray, super happy, exciting, all that jazz. But I realized that I am EQUALLY as sabay when a less-active comes back to church. If not, more excited. When I saw Om Sokha come up the stairs and walk towards me in the church building I almost dropped everything I was holding so that I could wave my arms and jump up and down and be like, "OM!!! OM!!!!!!" I had the biggest smile, I was almost laughing and I was just sooo happy to see her. When a less-active member becomes active in the church again, missionaries call it a "rescue." And especially in Cambodia that's a huge thing. (I think I mentioned once before that the church here has over 10,000 members but less than 3,000 are active and that statistic makes me want to vomit.) One of our mission goals for the year of 2014 is to have 800 rescues. It's hard work, but I think it was President Hinckley that said a while ago that a rescue is just as good as a new convert baptism. Just as good! Just as important! And when that happens, I am just as happy! So anyway, a cool realization. 

Another realization I had this week. I know that in my emails I frequently call myself a fool. That's because it's true. HOWEVER, it baffles me to think about the person I was before my mission by comparison: what....a....FOOL. Sister Kohler and I were talking about efficiency and using your time well, especially on a mission. When we're only here for such a short time, its important that we work work work every single second and not waste any time. And my first thought after we finished that conversation was this: "Hey Chloe, remember that time when you were in your dorm room and McKenna was gone for the night and you spent 9 STRAIGHT HOURS watching the first seven episodes The Walking Dead?" (shoutout to Mommy and Daddy for paying for my college education). I was the QUEEN of wasting time before my mission! Wasting time was my favorite activity! And now I'm just on-the-go all the time and I can't imagine going home and acting the way I used to. Every single night, I go to bed totally, completely exhausted because you just never stop moving. You get time to eat lunch in the middle of the day, and then you just go and go and go for 7 hours and then you go home and study some more. I'm always tired and I LOVE it! Because I know that it means I gave my all and did something worthwhile. Now, I would hate going to bed without having done something significant during the day. There were days before my mission where I would wake up, watch TV, put on pants just to go and buy myself some food, and then come home and watch TV some more. And then i went to bed. What the freak man! I spent 20 years being (in Daddy's words) a little sod when I could have been actually doing stuff. Here's another great anecdote from those days I spent in Helaman Halls: One evening,I was sitting at my desk with no one to play with because McKenna was at her musical practice, and I actually spent probably a solid 2+ hours cutting the split ends of my hair. That's all. (Notice how most of these things happen when McKenna is gone.......?) I was such a fool you guys. I still am, but now I'm a fool that studies and cleans dishes and stuff. You probably won't recognize me by the time I come home.

Also, when I come home, I fear I will probably have the worst manners EVER. In history. Surprise, surprise, Cambodians don't value politeness and manners in the same way we do. The way they eat, the things they talk about, it's just not there. One example from this week that Sister Kohler and I were laughing about for a long time: There's this one woman in our ward, she's the one who had an FHE at her house a couple weeks ago that I sent pictures of. I think I described her as the "classic Cambodian mom." Her name is Ming Phaa. I took Sister Kohler to her house to meet her this past week and we sat down next to her and she randomly starts pushing my arm, like trying to push me away and she goes, "I just farted, go stand over there." So we did. Then we came back and sat down again. But here;s the kicker: It happened AGAIN. A second time, she was like "I farted again, get up and stand over there." And that's just totally normal here. I don't exactly go into detail about those kinds of things, but I will say that my eating has become probably quite horrific. SO watch out for that.
Speaking of eating, I found a "Thai Market" not even two minutes from our house and it's literally a grocery store. So guess what Sister Kohler and I have been eating this week? MILK. AND BREAD (like a real portuguese loaf) AND CHOCOLATE. I swear you guys, I ate rice like maybe only two or three times this week. WHo needs rice when you've got bread?!?! But its okay, remember because SIster Kohler has me running every morning now. And when you run, you can eat whatever you want. Thats the rule. Right mommy? I also bought (drumrolllllll) CHEESE. I actually haven't eaten cheese AT ALL in about 5 months. When I took the first bite, I'm not even joking my tongue started to tingle. It was so weird, but I was like dang, dairy products are awesome.
But here's the best part. You guys will NEVER in a million years guess what I found at this store: 

HOB NOBS. I FOUND HOB NOBS. Yes, the British chocolate cookie that was always present during tea time at Grandad's house. (Daddy, confirm or deny: McVitie's is the brand right? I want to make sure I didn't get some stupid knock-off Hob Nobs). It has a little union jack flag on the wrapper so I'm pretty sure its legit. That's really all the assurance I need. 

Also, one other thing I want to tell you guys. BEcause SIster Kohler finishes her mission after this transfer, she's going crazy on the souvenirs. She wants to go to the bug phsaas pretty much every week and i'm LOVING IT. So last week, I went CRAZY. When you see the numbers in my bank account and how different it is from when I was in KC, thats because I've got access to all the awesome phsaas in Cambodia and the things I have bought for you guys are just.....awesome. You're gonna love it. I'm seriously just going to be throwing things at you when I come home. Bags, shirts, scarves, wallets, skirts, pants (all of which have elephants on them, don't you worry). I have no self control. I just tell myself that I have to spend a lot of money because I just love my family so much. That's a reasonable excuse right? 

Okay so I'm pretty much done for this week. Sorry if I repeat myself a lot in my emails? SOmetimes I feel like there's only so much to talk about and then I'm like...oh yeah. You're in Cambodia. You can find something to talk about. Sister Kohler is awesome. Super chill, but also a super obedient, super hard worker and I'm LOVING IT. We're doing well. This is a tough area but I really love the members and I'm still loving being in the city. I miss you all a TON! And I love you all so very much!

Sister Davis

PS Here's a quote that Alex Lysenko sent me last week that I super duper loved and I want to sen it to you guys too. CS Lewis rocks my socks. Always has. Sister Homer and I decided we wanted to take a CS Lewis class together when we go home. He's the best:

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right, and stopping the leaks in the roof, and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably, and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of– throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” - CS Lewis

I joked to sister homer that she should buy a parenting book (i dont know if this is the case in other missions, but in our mission we use a lot of weird lingo e.g. Your trainer is called your "mom" or dad if youre an elder) and she actually went and bought one before english class. She cracks me up.
Sister Kohler had to get a root canal redone and I got to sit cit 2 ft away from her the whole time while they were drilling into her mouth and ripping her tooth out. You know how much I love the dentist. 
Also at this dentist, they make you take off your shoesd before you walk in (thats just a normal custom in asia) but they also give you white crocs to wear around the dentists office. I thought it was the funniest thing in the world. PS this dentists office is the cleanest place ive been to since being in cambodia. I was just wanna go hang out there its SO NICE AND CLEAN.
This is really yummy baeng houy that Ming Srei made for us. 

Sorry I didnt take lots of good pics this week. these are kinda boring I know.

Monday, March 17, 2014


St. Patrick's Day is quite big here in Cambodia.

................just kidding. last week my companion didnt even know what Ireland was, so I decided it was probably better to just not even bother explaining things like Leprachauns and shamrocks. When she said that i resorted to the only simple explanation of St Patrick's Day I could come up with that would help a Khmer: Ït's just"
On our way to the email place though, Sister Kohler and I were talking about how its so weird that all of these people don't even know that it's St Patricks Day, and like two seconds later, a random American guy on a moto rode past us and said "Happy St Patrick's Day!" because we were both wearing green and were both....white. He knows whats up. It made my day.

Oh, I'm sorry did I forget to mention something? I HAVE A NEW COMPANION!!!! Her name is SIster Kohler! And she's super awesome! She's like, the chillest person I've ever met. Super go-with-the-flow. And she's almost done too. This is her last transfer, so I'll be in Tuolkork for next transfer too to lead the area for the second time in a row (since I'm leading it right now). I hate leading areas but hey, someones gotta do it. Anywho, Sister Kohler: she's from Midway, UT and she grew up on a dairy farm! And here's the kicker: she's a runner. Dang that girl LOVES to run. And she's scheduled to run a marathon a month after she gets home fromher mission, so she's especially serious now. SO gues what I did this morning? I RAN. for like probably less than 10 minutes haha. Let me tell you, before her, my exercise routine was do jumping jacks until you dont feel like it anymore and then pretend youre doing sit-ups but actually just fall asleep on the floor (oh really quick in case you didnt know, missionaries are required to do 30 minutes of exercise every morning. FOr me thats 5:30 -6 am. Hooray.) SO anyway, I'm probably going to be actually going outside and running this transfer. Not sure how I feel about that. I sweat enough as it is, I dont need to sweat any more. 

SPeaking of running and sweating and stuff, can someone fill me in on the Olympics? I guess they already ended but you know how much i LOVE the olympics and no one breathed a word to me about my speed-skaters. Thats right. Tell me about the speed-skating (short track obviously). Did my main guy JR Celski win anything? Im not kidding let me know. 

So another part of transfers: Sister Homer is still in my zone as the sister training leader, but her new comp is SIster Melton who is probably one of my favorite people in theis whole mission. she is HILARIOUS. So youlll probably hear a lot of stories about her. 
Back to leading the area though: it's the pits. It sucks that Im the one introducing people sinec I'm a FOOL when it comes to this language. And when I was taking Sister Kohler to meet some of the members the other day, Ming Vibool (a long time and actually really good member) said something of the Khmer-variety that seriously put my knickers in a twist. She literally said, Öh its so much better when there are Khmer missionaries." 

..............ARE YOU JOKING?! Thank you for essentially telling me that I'm wasting my time here and that you would rather have a Khmer missionary. I get that I don't speak the language that well, but Sister Kohler does and we're trying to help your branch, your area, your people. MAN that comment drove me nuts for the rest of the night. Gotta love that Khmer blunt-ness. I hate leading the area.

Especially when my area is kind of sucking right now. We dont have a lot of investigators, and we have ended up dropping or losing a lot of our investigators too. Dont get me wrong, i love working with the less active members and recent converts but it can get pretty frustrating when all of your investigators end up being buttheads. (Hello to all of my friends serving in Europe: I get it now). BUT as far as I can tell, Cambodia is a country where the number of baptism you get can range from 0 to....A LOT. I was telling sister kohler about my frustrations of not having investigators in this area, and when she was talking to me about similar problems shes had on her mission, it was discovered that I had as many baptisms in my TRAINING as she has had in her whole mission. So i was like.................woah. stop complaining. Not that I'm saying "Öhhh ive had sooo many baptisms" no. not at all. I happened to go to Kampong Cham at a time when it was on fire. Some missionaries go to just really difficult areas. I know missionaries here who havent had any baptisms, and then there were people I know who served here before that had well over 50. It's just crazy, up in the air. So im trying to be patient. 

In other news, yesterday during language study I decided I wanted to learn how to spell people's names, so since everyone in our family has a name in the Bible, i was reading in my Khmer Bible to find out how they are spelled. They're all pretty accurate except for one. Can you guess who?
Bad news Phoebe: If ever a Khmer reads that verse in Romans that has your name in it, they will pronounce it as Pee-Bay. Hate to break it to ya. 

Other funny language things: Elder Scott (who just went home this past friday) was teaching me some fun Khmer words and phrases the other day. One thing, if you didnt know, is that Khmer is one of those languages that uses different words for different types of people based on a level of respect. So the word for ëat" is different for a kid than it would be for an older person. Likewise, words we use for kings and Gods are different than normal people words. So anyway, I learned the word for "butt" that is used specifically for kings: preahkuntiin. Cool. Also, apprently when someone is mad about something that another person did, they will say a Khmer phrase that translates to "fart in a bag and throw it in your face." Cooler. 

Okey doke, well thats all for this week. Not too much going on besides transfers. To end, I'll just tell you guys to read Doctrine and Covenants, Section 6. It's a good one. and also D&C 104:82. What an awesome scripture!!!!!

Okay I love you guys to the moon and back. Thanks for all the support! Keep the emails and letters coming! I miss you and love you so much!

Love, Sister Davis

Sister Mok's last district meeting! Shes the one smack in the middle. I LOVE that girl. Seriously the sweetest.

Elder Duffy, Sis Thain, me and Elder McGavin. We were all in the MTC together and now we're in the same zone! super fun!

Then another MTC reunion at the mission home on the day of transfers. We had the BEST MTC group ever.

I saw SIster Kong the day of transfers too! She just finished her mission. I missed her SOO much this last transfer.

Happy St PAtrick's Day!!!!!!! From me and Sister Kohler......and my crocs. Dont worry, they never see the light of day. 

                                           Sister Kohler and I with the Young Women of our ward. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

"What a FOOL I was before. 3rd world countries will do that to ya"

Is this the cutest kid in the world you ask? Quite possibly. He bows to me every time I give him candy so he's got my vote. 

Cumriabsua!!! (throwback to my emails from the MTC! Remember that time I was in the MTC and I was just "playing missionary" like it was a fun game?)

Yeah....that has been on my mind a lot this week. When I was in the MTC I got the advice "try not to take anything too seriously while you're in the MTC" because life out in the field is way more stressful and you will laugh at yourself for taking anything seriously while you're still in Provo. Too true. The MTC was all fun and games, and this week I've been thinking a lot about my new perspective on "the real world" and what a FOOL I was before. 3rd world countries will do that to ya.
***I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to anyone (basically every person I've ever come in contact with) that was subject to my insufferable FOOLishness before my mission. Though I'm sure I have many more foolish moments to go in life. Hooray! 

That was a really random rant that will probably make everyone reading this email go "what the heck is she talking about." It's been a weird week for me. ANYWHO, speaking of foolish moments, I have my first few major language mess-ups that I'm sure you guys will appreciate. I shall conduct a list:

1) The word for people is "monuh". The word for mosquito is "muh". Do not accidentally say "I hate monuh." 

2) One of the members that Sister Vorn and I visit a lot was pointing out that I have nice teeth. What I thought she was asking me was if I had ever fixed them (and in my ignorant American mind, of course I assumed she was talking about braces......NO, Chloe, Cambodians do NOT know about braces) so I was like "YEAH! everyone in america does it!" Then I thought a little harder about the Cambodian's concept of dental care, and decided to ask Sis Vorn to make sure I understood. Turns out this member was trying to ask me if my teeth were FAKE. And I had wholeheartedly told her that yes, indeed, I do have fake teeth.

3) This one I'm not even going to try to spell in romanized, because I would just butcher it. What you need to know is that I ate a really yummy soup this week, and later asked someone who said they like to cook if they knew how to make it. Unfortunately for me, the name of the soup that I was struggling to remember sounds extremely similar to the word for "gay." So I ended up asking a 60 year old woman if she knew how to make gay.

So here's the cool/sad/interesting part of the email: this woman that I was talking to about cooking was an Om ("Om" is the word for older aunt, and its just what you call an older person) who goes to our english class every week. Shes so awesome. Anyway, I was talking to her a little bit  and we got onto the topic of her family and where her family is from and the result was this: I heard my very first account of a Cambodian who lived through the Khmer Rouge (since being in the country; if you remember my TRC lady in the MTC told us about her story). Granted, I have certainly been in contact with people who have since I've been here, but it's not like you go around asking people about what was the most traumatic time of their lives. Still, it's something I have been curious about because I know some people are more open about sharing those stories than others and I also know what a significant event that was for this country. This Om told me that every person in her family was killed by the Khmer Rouge soldiers. Every single one except for one sister. Her parents, her siblings, her husband AND her children. She showed me a huge scar on her arm that came from the soldiers who would cut her with what I'm assuming were large knives. She told me about how the soldiers treated people and how awful that time was for her (a type of awful that I know most of us can scarcely comprehend). And yet this woman was just a nice, normal, quiet Om. She talked about how she has been to the temple and how she feels so good about going to the temple since her whole family is gone. My heart just broke for her. It's in those kinds of moments where I truly appreciate everything I have and also the opportunity I have to get to know these people and help them in any way that I can. Sometimes it's just listening. Sometimes I wonder "What the FREAK is wrong with this place? Why can't it function like any other country?" And then I remember what these people have been through and how they literally had to start from the bottom after Pol Pot (if you don't know much about him or the Khmer Rouge, research it. Not many people know because Cambodia is so small, but it was basically a Holocaust for the whole country). And then once I remember that my thoughts change to "what the FREAK is wrong with ME? Sister Davis, you better give these people everything you've got." And then I'm the perfect missionary!!!! Lolololololololol jokes I'm still a fool no matter what.

On a similar note, we had our zone conference this week and one of the Asia Area Mission leaders was there, Elder Funk. At the end of the meeting he got up to talk about how Heavenly Father knows each of us individually and our needs, and he said something that made me SUPER uncomfortable with myself and my life basically. He goes, "For you Cambodian missionaries who worry if your family is going to have food to eat tonight, know that God is taking care of them and that He is aware of your needs. For you American missionaries who wonder what you're going to do after you finish your missions, God is taking care of you as well."  DOES ANYONE ELSE SEE THE HORRIBLY STARK CONTRAST THERE? "For you bratty American missionaries, stop worrying about yourself you losers and think about the fact that your companions' family might not have food tonight!" Well, at least thats how I felt. That same night, SIster Vorn and I were praying together after we finished our daily planning and she prayed to thank God for giving us a house to live in and that we have food every day. And I'm not going to lie, I cried after that. Not in front of her, and not like sobbing, but I cried thinking about how there are some people, people i probably know, who wont have food tonight because they literally cant even afford less than a dollar's worth of rice and how I'm going to go home and get in my nice car and pick out which iPhone I want. We're all aware of the poverty in the world - I'm sure no one reading this is oblivious to these types of circumstances, so I'm not trying to preach this to anyone. I knew about it before too, but living in it makes a difference in the way you see it, I can't explain it. really LIVING in it makes you ache inside when you think about it and how you cant do much about it. It bites. So that's kind of a depressing thought for today, but thats whats been on my mind this week. 

In other news, my companion cooked a pig foot for me this week. I don't even question things like that anymore. I just eat what they put in front of me. Pig foot, fish head, whatever.

Oh also, also before I forget, we should be getting transfer calls tonight!!! WOO HOOO!!! I might have a new companion next week so keep your eyes peeled for that. 

And also also, I found Beats headphones for $30. Cambodia rocks my socks. 

Quick thoughts for you guys: Read Matthew chapter 25, about the parable fo the virgins and the talents and the sheep & the goats. I dont know why, because the Bible is cool, just read it. And also here's a quote I found this week that I really liked:
"What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say." - Ralph Waldo Emerson. I've always been a fan of the äctions speak louder than words" philosophy. Dont just say you love someone, SHOW them you love them. Dont just say you believe something, SHOW others that you really believe it! 

Mian tae ponnung! I love you guys SOOOOO much you literally have no freakin idea! I miss you every day! Keep me in your prayers and I'll do the same for you! I LOVE YOU!

Love, Sister Davis

We had an FHE at a members house. This is Lookpuu Broh. He's SO AWESOME. I love this family. Aaaaaaaannnddd......Elder Scott.

Despite what this picture might make you believe, I'm actually NOT pregnant. Though the city has not been kind to me in terms of getting fat. PS this is the night I had the really yummy soup.
THAIN IS BACK!!!!! Sister Thain (my MTC comp is you dont remember) went home briefly ast transfer for some family issues, but she just got back last week and I have never been more stoked, because we're in the same zone!!!!! I am over the moon that she's back. I was still in KC when she left, but I could still feel that something in Cambodia was missing without her. I couldnt do this without Sister Thain!

This is me with Lookpuu Broh's wife at the FHE. SHe is SOOOO funny. Classic cambodian mom.

Monday, March 3, 2014

I'M A 6 MONTH-ER!!!!

This little guys name is William! The elders named him, no surprise there. He's the dog of a blind guy in our ward. Not many people actually treat their dogs like real dogs here, so I've taken a fondness for little Willy. No, he is not dinner.

That's right, people. Starting tomorrow, I have officially hit my 6-month mark. As in we can start counting down from a year. I give you permission to throw parties in my honor. 

Okay so this week I made another baby cry. Just by sitting. And being very white. Caucasian Mormon Missionary Strikes Fear into the Hearts of Cambodian Infants.
Also, I got Frozen on DVD. And yes it was 60 cents.
ALSO ALSO guess what I heard??? I heard "Gasolina" in Khmer. I can't decide if that's better or if "Teach Me How to Dougie" is better. It's a real toss-up. I feel like I can die knowing that I've heard and seen everything the world has to offer now.
Sister Kacher and I taught Sister Vorn the phrase "You're killin me Smalls!" so that has brought me great enjoyment for the last week. Just for the record, Sis Vorn's favorite phrase to use is "What the freak, man." You have to understand that anything and everything is funny when you say it incorrectly with a Khmer accent.

Some other fun stuff that happened last week all occurred at the phsaa. Number one: I encountered my first MAJOR rip-off. When white people or foreigners of any kind go to the phsaa to buy stuff, they ALWAYS get ripped off. A word to the wise: unless you have lived in Cambodia, don't even bother buying stuff without someone who has. You will end up paying 20 bucks for something worth less than 2 dollars. Anyway, last week I asked a woman how much her apples were (keep in mind that one kilo should be no more than 8000 rial) and she tried to sell me a single apple, not a kilo a SINGLE apple, for 4000 rial. I lolled hardcore at that one for the rest of the day. 
Also at the same phsaa I was trying to buy a skirt (PS I'm already going to town on souvenirs for you guys, its awesome) and literally all I said was "meen" which means "really?" and this lady freaked out and was going "CEH KHMER CEH KHMER" ("she speaks khmer she speaks khmer!!") and she was laughing and thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread. It was so funny. Made me feel pretty good about myself. She also told me I speak "sloat". The word "sloat" means chill basically, but when I asked Sis Vorn what she meant by me speaking "sloat" Sis Vorn said it means that I speak so soft and sweet and so kind. In reality I just speak really quietly because I'm too embarrassed to speak at all, but hey I'll take the compliment.

Okay so for the things with real substance. 
I read a really cool article in a church magazine. A general authority wrote it about a trip he took to some country, I think in Asia, I can't remember where. And he described one little village that they traveled to. And I quote, "We walked along an abandoned railroad track that was lined on both sides with cardboard box homes no larger than 6 feet by 6 feet." 
Remember what I've told you about that large part of my area that we just call "the tracks"? So, obviously I kept reading because I was like K, obviously your illustrating my life right now. He just talked about the poverty in the area and then cited a quote from President Benson that I loved. Like it hit me so hard when I read all of this: 
"The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of the people and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human behavior."

HOW AWESOME IS THAT?! I loved that quote because it's something I truly believe in, and I also feel like it's something I have the ability to accomplish here. Even though I feel bad about this, I have to admit that sometimes I look around and think "Why am I teaching about Jesus when clearly what these people need is clean water and an education?"  But this quote helped me realize that by teaching them about Christ's gospel, I will probably help them to accomplish that themselves. It's like killing two birds with one stone. Humanitarian work is great and awesome, but right now I get to do both and that's the best. We have this one recent convert, her name is Bong Combei, and she always talks about how much she has changed since joining the church. She says that before she was a member of the church she was rude, and harsh and one of those people who's always honking and yelling at people when she's driving (that's the actual example she used). ANd she says that now, she's so much happier and nicer. And it's totally true, I never would have guessed that she was a mean person before. She's basically one of the sweetest people I've ever met. And now her husband and two  sons are members and they're so great. They're the nicest people in the world. And SOOOO much happier. That's what the church does for people! I'm so happy to be a part of that, even when the rewards aren't always so immediate or apparent. 

Another quick thought: read Psalms 55:16-17, 22

Cool, cool. That's all I've got for this week. Sorry not much else going on. Our investigators are dropping like flies, but we did contact a really promising family so I'll let you guys know if that picks up at all. Other than that, the work is going great. I love the branch that I'm working in! And I (mostly) love being in the city too! Mian tae ponnung.

I love you all to the moon and back! MIss you tons!

Love, Sister Davis

Do you remember me talking about Ming Srei? She's the one whose husband is a government official so their house is SIIIICK, Anyway, she invited us over for lunch yesterday and she made freaking SPAGHETTI!!  It could be the fact that I haven't had spaghetti in 6 months (maybe longer) or it could be the fact that she made it from scratch using fresh garden tomatoes, but this was the best dang spaghetti I've ever eaten. Elder Schleede (left) ate FOUR MASSIVE bowls of it. I was truly baffled. I thought if I poked him he would explode. (He's from Rochester by the way). Elder Scott is on the right. What a charmer. He's actually going home in a couple weeks.

Anyway, favorite quote of the week: I asked Elder Schleede what the Khmer word is for spaghetti (I actually knew that one. The word for noodle is "mii". They call spaghetti "mii Italy" haha). But anyway, his response was "If they're rich enough to have spaghetti, they just call it spaghetti." Score 1 for Elder Schleede.

PS You see how the elders are sitting cross legged? Well that's how I sit because the girl sit is too hard for me and hurts my legs (I'll show you when I come home) and Ming Srei foindly commented "You sit like a man." 

PPS Sister Vorn just saw that I'm sending you this picture and said "What the freak, man." 
I rest my case.