Monday, April 14, 2014

Suesdai Chnam Thmei!

Suesdai Chnam Thmei = Happy New Year!
Today officially commences the three-day celebration for Khmer New Year!!!!!!!!!!!!
And guess what?!?!?!
Khmer New Year is THE WHIPS. And I dont use that term lightly.
The Cambodian New Year is hands down the BIGGEST holiday of the year here, and people literally put their whole lives on hold to celebrate. Everyone stops working, stops doing anything and basically they just hole themselves up at home with their families for three days straight. And heres the kicker: they dont just "stay at home." They go all the way back to their homeland, or their home province which is 99.999% of the time NOT Phnom Penh. We call this "going srok"("srok"means country, but they use it to refer to the provinces as well). 
"Sister Davis what happened to all your investigators?"
"They all went srok." --> Means WE HAVE NOBODY TO MEET WITH. Literally. Khmer New Year is the most unproductive three days in a Cambodian missionary's 2/1.5 years of service. Phnom Penh has to be one of the busiest most crowded, most trafficky cities in the world and it is currently a ghost town. All the shops are shut down, locked up, closed. No one on the streets. We had to search high and low to find this super sketchy internet cafe that im currently in because all the other ones were closed.
President Moon even told us that this wednesday, the last day of Khmer New Year, we should just spend the whole day deep-cleaning our apartments. And tomorrow we have an all-day meeting for the missionaries. It's completely useless to go out proselyting. Have I sufficiently explained what a big deal Khmer New Year is?
Needless to say, this past weekend when Cambodia got to watch General Conference, almost NO ONE came. Super sad. Like, yeah theres a prophet of God speaking this I can afford to miss that. EXCEPT WAIT HOLD UP a single solitary ONE of my investigators came. Shes a brand new investigator, I had only met her once and she totes came to watch general conference. She is seriously SO AWESOME. Probably one of the best investigators Ive ever had. Shes super smart and her only desire in her life is to just do the right thing and be a good person. She said she wants to learn about our church because every time she meets with the missionaries or walks into our church building or talks to the members she just feels so good inside and she knows shes surrounded by "goodness.: So yeah....shes stinkin awesome. Her name is Srei Oun. Love her already.

Speaking of general conference though. AMAZING. I usually have a favorite speaker and its usually pretty obvious, but this year it was harder for me to pick. I studied my notes for a long time and decided that Elder Perry was my favorite. Hes usually not up there for me but I LOVED his talk this year on obedience. If we have faith in God and trust that He has a plan for us, we will be obedient and do what He asks of us because we know that He can make far more of our life than we can on our own. Loved it. The obvious otherswere Holland, Uchtdorf and Bednar (no surprise there). I also really loved Gary Stevenson's talk. This life is your four minutes! They have already begun and the clock is ticking! Are you using your four minutes wisely? You never know when your four minutes will be up. Never delay the things you know you have to do. 

I also went on an exchange this week with Sister Homer's comp, the other sister training leader. Her name is Sister Melton and she is HILARIOUS. one of my favorite people in the whole mission. She is seriously so awesome. Super fun, but also such a hard-working and obedient missionary. We had a blast on our exchange. At the end of the exchange, when we were evaluating together, we were talking about how sometimes we're not sure if we're being effective as missionaries because we're not good at the language and Cambodia is a hard place to be teaching about Jesus Christ, so sometimes we feel like "whats the point?" And Sister Melton said something that changed my whole mission. I told her, "I dont know the language very well and i still feel like i dont really know what im doing, so I know that there are tons of other missionaries who could take my place, and teach the people im teaching right now, and they could do a much better job of it too. Its not like these people are depending on me. This elder or that sister could do a much better job than i could, so sometimes i feel ineffective." And she literally just whipped around and turned right to me and was like "Dont EVER think that way." And then this is the part that changed my mission. She said, "Im not great at the language. I dont know as much as these other missionaries about the gospel. But these people dont need perfect teachers. they need someone to love them. Could that other elder teach my investigators better and more clearly? Certainly. But I am sure that no one in the world could love them better than I do." I had never thought about that before. I LOVE my investigators, no matter who they are. And I want nothing more for them to be happy. Missions are not about being the best at the language or knowing the most about the gospel. Its about loving, and showing Christ-like love to others.All we are asked is to serve others with all of our "heart, might mind and strength." By doing that, you fulfill your purpose as a missionary. So thats my missionary lesson of the week.
Quick question though: last week i saw two movies and I want to know if they were actually big, because they both came out after I left and obviously ive never heard of them. 1) Mandela. Looks like a biopic of nelson mandelas life. Yea or nay? and 2) Mr.Pip. Starring Hugh Laurie. and i think we all know how i feel about hugh laurie. Yea or nay? 
Also do you guys know the song "What does the fox say?" Cuz its huge here.
Heres your weekly Om Sokha story: We were telling her that conference was coming up, and we were teaching her how to say President Monson's full name (which cambodians seriously struggle with. You have to make up word games and acronymns and stuff to help them remember). Om Sokha had her own method: She made up a song. Just started singing on the spot. "Thomaaaaa EHHHHh Mooooonsooon. Cia Pyiakarei (is a prohpet) ....." and then like five minutes more that i dont remember.

So anyway, all last week was people preparing for Khmer New Year, then general conference, and now people are gone for Khmer New Year so it wasnt a very eventful week.
Quick funny quote from sister homer: "I have discovered that a well-placed 'meow' will go a long way." ( idea.)
Also read Colossians chapter 3!!!! ALL OF IT!!!!
Peace out.
Love, Sister Davis

PS you may have also taken notice of Elder Ballard's talk, since he talked about missionary work and suggested members start reading Preach My Gosepl. I would like to draw your attention to this little snippit: "Can you imagine the impact if family and friends included things they are learning from their personal study of Preach My Gospel in their letters and emails to their full-time missionaries? Can you picture the blessings that will come to families when they know and understand better what their sons and daughters will be studying and teaching on their missions?"
Ahem. Need I say more? I have actually been thinking about telling you guys this for a while, but I just kept on forgetting. Cant really ignore it now that Elder Ballard has spoken up. I believe Phoebe bought all of us copies of Preach My Gospel many years ago, because shes awesome. Find it. Read it. Its not just for missionary work. PMG taught me A TON of things about the church and the gospel in general that I didnt even know before my mission. Its cool. DO IT.

This is another one of my very new investigators. Her name is Ming Touch. Shes really great. Already committed to baptism.
Also....I know. My hair.
A picture of Sister Kohler, Sister Homer, myself and SIster Melton after our exchange. It had just started raining before we got to the church so we all look like poo (except for sis homer, because she always looks like a model).
THIS IS OM SOKHA!!!! Arent you glad you can picture her now? I went to teach her the day of the exchange, when i was with sister melton. and obviously sister melton didnt know om sokha so we got in that lesson and sister melton was looking at me the whole time like "are you serious?!" At the end of the lesson she was taking videos and pictures of this woman because she could not believe how insane this lady is. Totally nuts. Totally love her.
This was another tukgae we ran into in the church. I know this picture does not at all show you how big it was but it was.....big. Certainly well over a foot long. Theyre about the size of iguanas only they are terrifying. It moves at the speed of lightning. Im surprised i was able to get this picture.

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