Monday, April 14, 2014

RIP Tukgae

Okay so remember last week when I emailed you about the tukgae? It's the really big obnoxious lizard that makes a weird noise and that people are deathly afraid of. Well, like I said, there is one tukgae that just hangs out in our neighborhood. I hear it every night. I kid you not, maybe two days after I sent you that email, Sister Kohler and I walked down the stairs outside of our apartment and what did we find? The HEAD of a tukgae. It literally looks like someone just chopped its head off with a knife. It was the whole neck and the head just at the bottom of our steps, being attacked by ants. It was super nasty. But don't worry I got a picture of it for you guys. Obviously the picture doesn't give you a great idea how big it is, but if you ask for my humble opinion, I would tell you its approximately the size of a basilisk. (Laugh now, but just wait until you see the picture. It's weird how accurate that description is).

So this week we had zone training. That's when the zone leaders (for the North District Zone that is Elder Schleede and Sorensen) go have a meeting with President Moon and he gives them some direction for the missionaries and then we have a big long meeting conducted by the zone leaders where they relay that info from President Moon. And let me tell was a DOOZY. There were a ton of crazy things that were brought up in the meeting, but the one I wanna talk about is the 212 degree program that President Moon introduced. (there;s a metaphor behind the title of the program but I don't really have the time to explain it. Its a good one though). One of the points of the program that I found really interesting was this outline for missionary expectations: 20 lessons per week, 10 contacts per day, 2 baptism per companionship per month. I was pretty surprised to see that last one. 2 baptisms per companionship PER month is a lot. Especially in the area where I am right now. At first I kind of blanched at that and thought that it would encourage missionaries to baptize people who weren't ready, which is obviously not good. But then I was reminded of a quote I heard a while ago when I was in Kampong Cham: "You catch them, He will clean them." It was in reference to Christ's invitation to "Be ye therefore fishers of men."  It's my job to find and teach to the best of my abilities, and then God will do the rest. But Tuolkork is definitely a rough area to be in. Even Sister Kohler said that she's never been in an area this hard in her entire mission. And I'm not gonna lie, it's been a rough transition to go from Kampong Cham to here. I've got a lot less investigators and there are times when we don't have many people to teach, which brings me to my next point: CONTACTING.

If you dont know, contacting is that classic missionary thing that everyone pictures when they think about missionaries: going up to a rando on the street and being like "hey, do you know Jesus?" Though hopefully a little more creative than that. Anyway, we go contacting when we have nothing else to do, like no one else to teach. And let me just throw this out there: before I came to Tuolkork, I had not once, not EVER gone contacting. That's right people, I'm barely a missionary. I had NEVER gone contacting before I came to the city. I always had someone to teach, whether an investigator or a recent convert or a less-active. But now in this new program, we're expected to get 10 contacts a day, which is TERRIFYING to most of the missionaries here. People were sitting in zone training being like, "how are we gonna do that?" We're a suuuuuper low contacting mission and President Moon was like, ok that needs to change. So Sister Kohler and I have been doing that and guess what? It's not that hard! My personal preference is to buy something and then contact the seller. Its wayyy less awkward that way and they kind of have to be nice to you since you're giving them money. Plus in Cambodia people just sell whatever they want on the side of the street so you dont even have to go into a store. You just stop your bike. On the downside, I'm gonna go broke. Anyway, it's definitely getting me out of my shell and pushing me out of my comfort zone, but it's making me feel more accomplished as a missionary.
It just occurred to me right this very second that there's actually a huge aspect of my mission that I don't think I've ever told you guys: Cambodia is a non-tracting mission. Tracting is when you go door to door to contact people. It's kind of a symbol of missionary work, but the Cambodian government doesn't allow us to do that. Which probably works out just fine anyway, because a lot of people don't really have doors............? I can't tell you how many times I've been in a situation where they've like closed the curtain (or a door if they have one) to their house and my companion and I just don't know what to do. Most people leave it open so when we come to a "closed house" we're like.....what do we do now? Do we knock? I don't think knocking on doors is a thing here. If that does happen usually you just stand outside and yell "Ming ay!" or "Bong ay!" or whatever their name is, ming, bong or om or whatever.

But anyway, back to the zone meeting. When we were talking about contacting Elder Duffy, who was in my MTC group and is hilarious just pipes up and goes, "Bikes are free game yo! Let me tell you: they are a captive audience! The most they can do is turn....and then you can just follow them!" We were all cracking up at that because its kind of true. *disclaimer: missionaries do not chase people down the street against their will*
On that topic, I got McKenna's weekly email from Mrs. Thomas and was laughing about her comments about biking. I remember very vividly being that missionary who can't ride a bike, running into stationary objects and overall just making a fool of myself. My bike squeaks too McKenna. But I can say that I have drastically improved my biking skills. Last Monday I was with Sister Litchfield and we were talking about riding with no hands. I've been working on this for while but haven't quite mastered it. so i was like, "I can only do it for about 10 seconds and then I just start to veer off into the middle of the street (hello phnom penh traffic). I think my bike is faulty." Of course my thought process being that maybe, like a car, I need to have my tires realigned. And sister Litchfield's response?  Laughing at my very serious comment she goes, "Shut up Sister Davis, your bike isn't faulty, YOU are faulty!" Gotta love that brutal honesty from Sister Litchfield. I miss hanging out with that girl a ton.
Overall it wasn't a super eventful week. But here are some good quotes that I liked/laughed at:
SIster Kohler: "When I burp it tastes like peanut butter." (she eats a whole jar a week, so this was no surprise).
And now for the serious ones:

Elder Johnson (senior couple missionary talking about his mission): "They say 'if you give the Lord a piece of bread He'll give you a whole loaf.' In my case, I've given the Lord a crumb and He's given me a whole bakery."

Elder Schleede at zone training meeting: "You shouldn't be looking for ways to justify breaking the rules. You should be looking for ways to fulfill the rules. Conform your situation to follow the rules. That is the spirit of Christ-like obedience."

This week I really liked 1 Nephi 18:16, and 2 Nephi 11:5. I also super liked Romans 10:14-15. Huzzah for missionaries!

Okey doke, I think I'll sign off for now. Love you guys a ton!
Love, Sister Davis

PS I SAW A ROLLS ROYCE THIS WEEK. IN CAMBODIA. I almost fell off my bike I got so excited. We were with the elders and Elder Schleede was like, "Sister you know cars?" And I was like heck yeah I do! But seriously....a rolls royce. what the freak, man.

                                                     Its most definitely of the basilisk variety. 
Remember that Joma bakey and cafe i told you about? Well....I got a ham egg and cheese on a bagel. well, a "bagel". It was still the closest thing ive had to a sandwich in months.
All the american sisters went to the south district center to watch the general women's conference broadcast on saturday. 
This is my new favorite word in Khmer. It means "chatter" or "jibber jabber" something along those lines. And its cracks me up. THAT IS A WORD.

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