Thursday, May 29, 2014


I just want to make an announcement up front: I WILL have diabetes when I come home. You wanna know the secret to Khmer cooking? 4 pounds of sugar. In EVERYTHING. And then add some sweetened condensed milk if thats not enough. Last night Sister Fife enjoyed the classic Khmer snack of bread dipped in sweetened condensed milk. Nope, they really love to eat that here. And then when you run out of bread, you just eat the sweetened condensed milk on its own. Meanwhile, my hypoglycemic companion looks on, eatin some cabbage. Poor thing. Remember that time in my life when I had absolutely NO sweet-tooth? Those days are long gone. Diabeetus. (sorry that joke is about 400 years old, i know.)

Anyway, I had another AWESOME week. Our family of investigators is progressing well, along with our other investigators, and we also picked up two more referrals of people who want to learn at church yesterday. After being in Tuolkork (aka the static-y deadspot of my mission) for 3 looooong months, the work is starting to pick up again. I'm super stoked to be here right now.

Wanna know why else I'm super stoked to be here? STAKES HAVE BEEN OFFICIALLY ORGANIZED IN CAMBODIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We officially have the Cambodia Phnom Penh North Stake and the Cambodia Phnom Penh South Stake. President Moon sent us the email to inform us of the stake presidents and everything. Cambodia now officially has 10 functioning wards! I almost cried when I read that. I wanna send you guys an excerpt from the email we got from President Moon: 
"There are more than 4,000 Saints in Cambodia that now enjoy the blessing of living in a Stake of Zion...What a longed for, prayed for, worked for, and anticipated day for our members here.  Today we organized the Phnom Penh Cambodia North Stake and Phnom Penh Cambodia South Stake...In the North conference Sister Gong shared a brief testimony and thanked the choir.  She told how almost 20 years ago she and Elder Gong were living in Washington DC and were assigned to help with a branch full of Cambodian Saints that were transplants from the refugee camps in Thailand.  She related how she had been called as the chorister for Relief Society.  She tried to lead the music but no one would sing.  Finally after a couple of weeks she asked them— why won't you sing?  Are there any songs you know?  They said— we are afraid to sing.  It was dangerous to sing for us.  During the Khmer Rouge time anyone that sang would be killed.  So they didn't sing and were afraid to.  She then said how much her heart was filled with joy today to hear the Cambodian Saints and the choir singing the songs of Zion and singing praises to the Lord.  It was very touching...I testify that this is the work of the Lord.  He is in charge and leads the church and its leaders through inspiration.  The gospel is true.  It brings joy and happiness to those who will accept and live it.  Two elders at the North Stake Center today introduced me to a less active woman in their branch (now ward) that had not come to church for more than 12 years.  But she heard about what was happening and came today.  It has been a glorious Sabbath day in Cambodia."

Sorry that was a little longer than I was expecting it to be, but it was just such a dang good email. Brought tears to my eyes. It isnt until moments like that that I realize how attached i have become to this place and these people. I am so incredibly grateful to be serving here. 
Another great story about teaching the people here: Ming Siyan. My fav. This week we taught her about tithing. As you can imagine, teaching some of the poorest people in the world that they have to pay ten percent of their miniscule income is less than pleasant sometimes. Ming Siyan cant even afford a bike, and on top of that her daughter is really sick right now. She's definitely struggling. But when we were teaching her, I asked her: "Do you believe that God has enough power to help you through these problems?" Her response was not at all what I was expecting: "I don't know yet, but I will try." PRAISE THE HEAVENS ABOVE. This is exactly the type of investigator I have been dreaming of. Not only was it honest, but it also showed her willingness to "experiment on the word." Too often, I have those investigators that promise to keep commitments and then they don't, or they say that they understand when they really have no idea whats going on. Ming Siyan's response showed me that she is honest about where her faith is right now, but that she does indeed have faith enough that she's willing to give principles like tithing a chance and see if God will bless her. She heard Jesus Christ's name for the first time not even one month ago. But she knows she has faith enough to do something as difficult as paying tithing, even when she can barely afford to take care of her family. What an incredible example. These people teach me so much more than I teach them. 

You wanna know why else I love the members here? Because they show us so much love back. We went to teach a member here and her daughter just had a baby about 2-3 days before. Her daughter isn't even a member! But the people here are so kind and respectful and loving that when we walked in to teach this person, the daughter who just gave birth said to us, "Sisters! I want you to give my baby an American name." And she was SERIOUS. She had already given her child a Khmer name, but often times Khmers have an English name as well. And she asked US to pick the name. how cool is that?! We picked Aaron. It was so cool. (PS this baby weighed 2 kilos aka like less than 5 pounds and they were like "oh he's so big!" and I was impossible. Cambodians are tiny.)

Also in a moment of sheer genius this week, I threw our house keys and got them stuck on the roof. Huzzah. initially, Sister Cloud was NOT pleased with me. (meanwhile Sister Fife was standing on our balcony and laughing her head off, and Sister Hem just goes, "Sister Daiveee AYYY!") But we laugh about it now. Especially after we had to hold a less-than-stable Khmer-made "ladder" and watched our tiny little Khmer landlady climb onto the tin roof to go grab them for us. at 5:30 am. The best was having to explain it to her in the first place: "Maybe the sisters are a little crazy and maybe they got their keys stuck on the roof...." 

Oh ALSO guess what I did this week! I harvested peanuts! heres why I'm so excited about that: If you remember correctly, my very first service project when it was still my first week in the country was to PLANT peanuts. And I finally got to harvest some! So it looks like my mission has officially come full circle. #metaphors PS I now know why the literally Khmer translation for peanut is "dirt bean" : So. Much. Dirt. I looked like the dusty kid from the Peanuts (no pun intended. That was just a hilariously wonderful coincidence. McKenna would be proud to know that I'm still capable of making a pun). 

And to finish, a lovely quote from Sister Cloud, who was in the process of complaining about our burning hot bike seats that had been left out in the scorching Cambodian sun during a lesson: 
"I'm toastin my biscuits over about 'hot cross buns'."
--> aaaaalmost fell off my bike laughing so hard (again.)

Okay thats all for this week! I love you guys SOOOOOO much! Miss you tons! Peace out, botpisaot!

Love, Sister Davis

Scriptures I liked this week: 
Doctrine and Covenants 67:13, 19:16-19, 19:38
And Psalms 27. You all know thats my favorite. I reread it pretty often.
Keep on reading the Book of Mormon all the way through! 

Eating with the members after service. Sister Fife, Me (in Elder Plothow's hat) and Sister Peterson. Did I tell you guys that Sister Peterson is with me here in BB?? MTC comps reunite!

Cool rickety bridge We went to after service. I wish I couldve gotten a better angle for you guys, but there were too many trees in the way. 
​Me and Sister Dy (sis peterson's comp). Shes super adorable. 
​Aaaaaand this would be a sign that I found to be quite funny - reminding people to not stand in top of the toilet and squat. ( or sit backwards). *sigh* the problem with countries that still mainly use squatter-toilets #onlyincambodia

Monday, May 19, 2014

So a Brit and a "Canadian" walk into a bar...

Good story: Sister Cloud and I leave our bikes at a members house to go out and to some "walking and talking" aka contacting aka stalking and trapping into corners those unassuming Cambodians and making them listen to stories about Jesus. 
So we walk by this restaurant that Sister Cloud has been meaning to take me to and we're just looking at the menu, and this guy sitting at a table outside goes, "You've got badges." And we're like...yeah. We're missionaries! So he's clearly got an accent, and I guessed he was from Scotland and it turns out he was from Manchester, England (sorry Daddy, I know i failed you there) (PS I'm still really ashamed because I used to be able to tell the difference between those accents) (PPS when I said Scotland he got a look of disgust on his face and i knew immediately without him telling me that that meant he's from England). ANYWAY. He and his Canadian friend have just had a few too many pints of that Cambodian beer and start railing in on us. The Canadian is going on about how Buddhists are wonderful and Christ never really existed and then something about a prostitute, meanwhile, the guy from Manchester doesn't even care that he's interrupting and is asking us random annoying things like "WHY DO WE CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS WHEN JESUS WAS BORN IN APRIL?" and "THE MONTH OF OCTOBER IS NAMED AFTER CAESAR AUGUSTUS".........................thanks for that little tidbit of information (which is also wrong. Pretty sure the month of AUGUST is named after Augustus, jeenyus).So sister Cloud and I were both like.....k. you're drunk. We politely defended ourselves (mostly sister cloud did because i was steaming and was really eager to start an argument like the old Chloe would have but i refrained since i have Christ's name pinned on me) and we wished them a good day and kept on walking. 
The whole story is actually much longer and much more interesting than that basic info I just gave you, but it was a really cool experience. It helped me realize a lot of things. 1) Daddy is completely justified in hating everything north of London (nobody likes you, Manchester).  and 2) I now know why I was sent to Cambodia. Because if I was in Europe I'd just argue with everyone. People in Cambodia are wayyy more sloat. Easygoing and humble. And they give us 10 kilos of mangoes every week. I love Cambodians. After that little experience, I finally realized just how much I love the Cambodian people and how incredibly grateful I am to be serving them. 

So speaking of the Cambodians that I am currently serving, Sister Cloud and I were lucky enough to get a bunch of new investigators this week. Do you remember my investigator who brought her son to church? Well it turns out she has THREE kids, and now we're teaching them ALL. Her name is Ming Siyan and she is so awesome. She wanted all of her kids to start learning and they've all agreed to be baptized. She has a 22 year old daughter, a 14 year old son and a 9 year old son (who im positive has ADD, but hes adorable so I let it slide). This is the first family I've taught since I've been on my mission! I'm so so so excited to finally be teaching a family. Truth is, the husband is sort of out of the picture. Plus we also know that he's an abusive drunk (way more common here than you'd like to know) so obviously we're not teaching him. From what Sister Cloud and I understand, the parents are separated, but things like that are really fuzzy in Cambodia so its a little more confusing than that. Anyway, Ming Siyan and all her kids came to church yesterday (they come every week and its incredible because they actually dont even have a moto or a bike or enough money to get a ride, but they somehow find a way every week). So sister cloud asks ming siyan "hey are you gonna stay for the second and third hour of church?" and Ming Siyan goes "No sorry we can't! My husband was drunk so I took his moto and we gotta get it back before he realizes it's gone!" Just as cheery as ever. a CLASSIC cambodian investigator. Comments like that dont even surprise me anymore. Other than that, she is wonderful and her family is progressing well. We're hoping they'll get baptized sometime in June. SO SABAY.

In other news, Sister Cloud and I realized exactly how far we bike in our area. Just so you know, this is the largest area I've ever been in since I've been on my mission. IT'S GIGANTIC. Anyway, we have this huge map on the wall in our bedroom of the area and after a particularly long day, sister cloud and i were tracking where we had biked and we realized we had biked so far.....that we biked off the map. Not outside of our area, because thats against the rules, but the map doesnt cover our whole area. and we biked so far that where we went wasnt even covered on the map. literally biked OFF THE MAP. I dont even want to know how many kilos that is. But on the bright side, Sister Cloud and I have found a delightful way to pass the time: we sing VeggieTales! You should see the look on the Cambodian cow herders faces when two random white girls bike by them in the middle of freaking NOWHERE bouncing up and down and singing these songs. Not that they can understand what we're saying. 

OH i almost forgot: another really cool thing that happened yesterday: LOOKRUU OLESON CAME TO BATTAMBANG!!! My teacher from the MTC!!!!! He served in Battambang for like 7 months when we served his mission and he just got married so he came to my branch and I got to talk to him for a while! It was soooooo awesome. I miss my lookkruus so much. And it was so weird because when we were in the MTC, he would go off on rants in Khmer and we would all be like.................huh? Literally did not understand a word he said. But when he started speaking in Khmer, I totally got everything he said! It was so cool. It's the first time I've really been able to gauge how my language has progressed.

Anyway, thats pretty much all for this week. It was a really really good week! We taught a lot of lessons and had almost 100 contacts! I know thats probably puny compared to other missions in other places, but thats the most ive ever had on my mission so im stoked about it! 

I love you guys and miss you a ton! Keep on keepin on! See you soon!

Love, Sister Davis

PS Really awesome quote by Uchtdorf that I read this week:
"Sometimes we become impatient with where we are in our journey, don’t we? If you are 12 years old, you might wish you were 14. At 14, you might wish you were 18. And at 18, occasionally you might even wish you were 12 again and could start all over.
There will always be things to complain about—things that don’t seem to go quite right. You can spend your days feeling sad, alone, misunderstood, or unwanted. But that isn’t the journey you had hoped for, and it’s not the journey Heavenly Father sent you to take.
With this in mind, I invite you to walk confidently and joyfully. Yes, the road has bumps and detours and even some hazards. But don’t focus on them. Look for the happiness your Father in Heaven has prepared for you in every step of your journey. Happiness is the destination, but it’s also the path. “Peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” is what He promises. That is why He commands us to "be of good cheer." 

 ​LOOKRUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Such a great day. I'm so happy i got to see him. im gonna smiling for the rest of the week.
                                                   ​Just your regular trip to the crocodile farm.

 Baby crocodile! Sorry i know i look like im choking it but you have to hold it that way or else it can bite you.

​This day we went for a ride on the "bamboo train" they put a bed frame on wheels and stick it on a railroad track and then you get to ride through a really pretty part of battambang. Thats me and sister cloud with Elder and Sister Zemp, the senior couple

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Legend of Bo Phaa

I've decided that my subject lines are pretty much just for me. If I tried to explain them to you, you wouldnt find them funny at all. So, the Legend of Bo Phaa will forever remain a mystery. (Don't worry its not that interesting). 

Anywho....I know I mentioned last week how much I love Battambang, but I'm just going to reiterate: I LOVE BATTAMBANG. I never want to leave. I want to be here for the rest of my mission and I'm seriously going to yuum when i get transferred. Hopefully it wont be for a while. the members here are awesome, they LOVE the missionaries, and the whole atmosphere is just so sabay. It's simply superb. And last week, our brand new investigator not only came to church, but she also brought her son who is old enough to learn with us! We're hoping they'll both be able to learn together, but school schedules in Cambodia are whack so sometimes its really hard to teach families all together. We'll see. We also had like 10 less-active members show up that we worked with this past week. I dont know the area super well but Sister Cloud's jaw was on the floor when we saw all these people walk in. It was an awesome Sunday. We also got to teach the primary class a mother's day song for next week. Some thoughts about that experience: 1) they can sing in english better than they can sing in Khmer and 2) I have discovered that all primary rooms in Cambodia smell like dirt. 

So other than that, what else is going on? Well, the rainy season has started. At least one of the rainy seasons. Theres the rainy hot season, and the rainy cold season. Guess which one we're in. Yup. Rainy and HOTTTTT. The rain starts like clockwork here in the afternoon. You could set your watch to it. And it seems to cool down but then you just realize that it only seems cool because you're soaked through and then as soon as it stops raining you remember its stilll boiling hot only now, its also incredibly humid. My hair looks great, thanks for asking.

I've got a couple contacting stories for you guys. One funny, and one awesome. First the funny: Sister Cloud and I were out and about with a spare 15 minutes so we decided to go contacting near the phsaa. While we're looking around deciding which direction to go in, this lady walks up to us and starts begging for money. It's not that I dont have sympathy for those people, obviously I do. Its super sad. BUT you should know that first, a lot of people here who arent actually beggars will just start begging to white people if they come across them because they assume we'll give them money. and also, missionaries arent allowed to give money to beggars. Its khoh cbab. So we're trying to ignore this lady who has come up to us begging but she's kind of getting in our faces, so sister cloud and i look at each other and she just waits a second, then shrugs her shoulders and turns to the lady and goes "We cant give you money, but we can teach you about the gospel of Jesus Christ!" and just slaps a church pamphlet into this lady's hand that was open for money. The lady just started laughing and walked away because things clearly didnt go her way, but hey: when I turned around she was reading the pamphlet so yeah, mission accomplished. 
Okay now for the awesome awesome AWESOME contacting story. Let me take y'all on a trip clear back to 4 months ago when I was Kampong Cham (that seems like a lifetime ago, by the way, not quite 4 months). So Sister Kong and I (DANG Sister Kong I miss that girl) are walking around Bung Snaay, a village we taught in a lot that is filled with investigators who do not progress at all. It's kind of the black hole of Kampong Cham. Its like a mire. You get stuck teaching in there, but no one ever comes out. The investigators in Bung Snaay arent exactly what you would call "golden." But we were walking to one appt and Sister Kong starts talking to this one lady and decides to conatct her. I was just supporting her, doing my thang, but in my head Im thinking, "YAP MONG Sister Kong, we should not be contacting people in Bung Snaay. It's not worth it."  I know, I know, I know. Not a very good missionary, but hey, I was still in training and I had never gone contacting before. Cut me some slack. Anyway, this woman's name was Bong Yadaen and she said she was interested but everytime we tried to go meet with her again, she was never around. Typical Bung Snaay. We never even taught her the first lesson. I never saw her again. FAST FORWARD: My first week in Battambang. I'm living in a house with Sister Fife right? Sister Fife just finished her training. She was trained in KC Branch 2, one of my old branches. She was talking about how they hadnt had much success while she was there and then she says, "BUT we had one AMAZING woman that we baptized while we were there. She's still one of the strongest members in the branch, and shes getting her brother to learn too and she loves the scriptures and goes to church for all 3 hours every week blah blah blah.......Her name is Bong Yadaen." I KID YOU NOT MY HEART STOPPED. I asked to see a picture of this woman and guess what: it is THE Bong Yadaen. Sister Kong passed along the contact to Sister Fife and Sister Ashcraft after I left KC and Bong Yadaen ended up being their BEST investigator. And I contacted her! That was my contact!!!! I couldnt believe it. I am still sooooo happy about that story. Definitely one of the cooler stories of my mission. And it was a good lesson for me about contacting. You never know if that person you just passed by on the street might want to learn. And you never will know unless you open your mouth and go talk to them. And even if you dont see the fruits of your own labors, another missionary down the road will. So maybe that woman who was begging at me and Sister Cloud may seem like a random, nothing contact, but who knows?! 5 weeks, months or years from now she might be the newest member of the church. I love having a part in this work. It is so exciting. And nothing makes you feel better than hearing a story like that.

Anyway, I think thats all I've got for this week. Except a couple random things: Remember Elder Heng? Probably not. I didnt talk about him much. Well, I served with him for a few months in KC and he just finished his mission. His first sunday back home, he got called to be a counselor in the branch presidency. He's like, 20-something. Thats how things work here in Cambodia. He's in Battambang Branch 2 so I see him all the time. he's awesome. 
I also found a new Khmer word the other day, and the exact definition is: "to cave in, to collapse, to slip, to sink in; to die (by elephants only)" ..............I would like to introduce a new hashtag if thats okay: #onlyincambodia

Commitments for this week: read Jeremiah 31:3, @ Corinthians 13:11, Ephesians 3:19 and also read 1 John. Not St John, 1 John. I feel like 1 John is a best kept secret or something. no one ever talks about 1 John. But they should. Cause its great. All of it. Its only like 5 chapters so read it!

thngai nung, khnom mian tae ponnung! I'm super excited to Skype you guys next week! I love you loads and miss you a ton! 

Love, Sister Davis

 Sorry not many good pics from this week. 

Heres a picture of me and sister cloud sitting in the back of the primary class.