Monday, August 11, 2014

Woes of a Wannabe-Firebender

I swear, I'm never going back to the city. I was thinking back on my two transfers in Tuolkork and I was like....nope, two transfers was enough. I absolutely LOVED Tuolkork. I love all my areas. I'm forever staying in the provinces. Mainly because when I went down to the city last week for the meeting, I saw it. I SAW.........................

a mouse. yep you heard it. straight from the source. In the house in Chamkarmon. I stayed there with the sisters serving in that area and seriously, it ran right by my head while I was lying on the floor in the middle of the night. And the next morning was filled with lots of chasing and broom-smacking. Now, for any other Cambodian missionary, that would be completely normal. But somehow I have managed to live in three different houses and not ever have a vermin problem. IN CAMBODIA. I am one lucky gal. God is watching out for me for sure. Because He knows my sanity is on the line.

Anyway, what was great about going to the city is this: the Chamkarmon house is Sister Homer's house!!! HUZZAH!!! I hadn't seen my mom in over four months and it was killing me. She is actually a Sister Training Leader too so we got to spend the whole day together. It was glorious. She fed me Pineapple Fanta and made fun of me for liking Avatar, just like good old times. (You should know that approximately 80% of the 7 hour bus ride to Phnom Penh from Battambang was spent by Sister Fife, Elder Garrow and I discussing Avatar: The Last Airbender. hey....those bus rides are loooooong). 
Anyway, I got to see Sis Litchfield and Sister Melton and all my favorites (oh, you bet I' ve got favorites) so it was a good day.

Things in my area have been going.......okay. Sela just picked up a second job so we basically can never meet her anymore. We were all really sad, including her. But by the grace of God Sister Fife and I biked by the school she works at one day and she came running out the gate to say she was sorry we wouldnt be able to meet a lot anymore but that she would call us whenever she was free. (and to give me a hug, obvi). She was so golden, but she just works too dang hard. I have a few other investigators and not progress. (I hope you guys dont expect me to come home with stories of how Cambodia is the promised land of missionary work because those rumors are simply false. Its a goldmine for less-active work though).  And its okay because last week we went to visit a less-active member named Bong Sokchan. And in the middle of the lesson she just gives us THREE referrals. yep, count em THREE. Sister Fife and I almost passed out. We called them and they ALL want to learn. We're meeting with them all this week. So we're excited about that.
Here's the good stuff about the rest of my area: I just got a print out of every person that has ever been baptized in my area. Total count: 315. How many people come to church every week? Total Count: we're lucky if we hit 100.

I could NOT believe it. And thats like....really stressful. This is a list of members that were baptized clear back in the 90s and early 2000s and have been lost or inactive for like, a decade or two. and when I say lost, I mean LOST. We dont have any computers here for missionary work. What the missionaries here have is their CBR book (which I think I explained to you guys earlier). And the CBR book has a sheet of paper with the members name, when they were baptized, a phone number if theyve even got a phone and a poorly drawn map made by a lazy 19-year-old whose directions include "Turn right at the place that smells like pee." <-----Thats a real-life example. It happened. And I've got over 200 to find (assuming they havent moved or left the country to go work in Thailand). Missionary work is definitely still new here. Its kind of like an adventure though and going "CBR-Finding" is kind of like a treasure hunt.

So anyway, Sister Fife and I did a heck of a lot of CBR work this week. The missionaries that come into this branch next are going to love us for all the organization work we did. (just throwing it out there now - there isnt a lot of progress in my branch right now, so i really feel like next transfer my branch is going to get whitewashed). ANYWHO, CBR work is hilarious. My personal favorites were when Sister Fife picks up a CBR and just goes, "someone drew reindeer on this one." Or another CBR where someone (a missionary who was also doing SBR work at some point) commented: "The Elders didnt love this investigator so they made a CBR with no picture, no map and no phone number. They're already lsot so good luck finding them."  There's a good pick-me-up.
There was also one we found that gave directions like "turn left at the tall building." Very specific thank you. Sister Fife just goes, "..................That building better be REALLY tall."
So, cooler/slightly-depressing/good learning moment: Lots of you have emailed me about the recent court case involving the leaders of the Khmer Rouge being convicted for crimes against humanity, terrorism, etc. I'm glad you did 1) because I didnt even know that was going on and 2) because I had a really cool lesson with a member that Im going to tell you about right now:

Om Vutha: a long-time member that I have always known but never visited or really talked to much. But I decided that this transfer I was going to work really hard to know all the members (this was before I found out there were 200 plus that essentially dont exist) and get in good with em all. So Sister Fife and I set up an appt to go see Om Vutha. And honestly, we ended up not teaching very much because she talked pretty much the whole time about the Khmer Rouge (I'd be lying if I said I hadn't encouraged it simply because I know how important and cool it is to hear those accounts first-hand). So I'm going to skip the flowery language and just list off a couple of the things she told me because me telling a fancy story wouldn't be nearly as haunting as hearing the person tell you themselves: 
-She told us mainly about how much she starved. Out of seven days, they were only granted one day to eat. On those days they would mainly eat "Baba" which is a rice porridge (in those days Im guessing it was just rice and water). She said each person got one or two spoonfuls each. That was it. The other days, when they were forced to do manual labor in the fields, they would sneak pieces of ongkaa (uncooked rice straight from the stalks they were picking) and eat them in the fields. Or, they would eat pig slop when they would feed the animals. They were so hungry that they would steal the food for pigs, and afterwards she said she would throw up so much it would come out her nose. Also, they were only given 3 shirts and 3 pants as clothing.

-She told us about the soldiers that would run the areas they were in, and she told us about how she would hear shooting at night. She also said that if they knew you could run (like if you were healthy enough to run) they would hurt you. She also told about how the soldiers would march people to Wat Sampeuv to exterminate them. Thats actually a Wat in our area, but its really far away. Anyway, if you go to Wat Sampeuv now, you can see the Killing site and all the skulls. 
-All of this happened when she was 15 years-old, completely separated from her family. I dont know if she ever was reunited with her parents. But the most remarkable thing is that she told these stories with a smile, sometimes laughing. She seemed to hold no grudges at all about what happened, and only expressed sincere gratitude to be able to find the gospel of Jesus Christ. I let her talk for like 45 minutes because I was so amazed by all the stories, and just because hearing things like that makes me so grateful for many, MANY things. First and foremost, the lucky opportunity I have been given to come to this country and hear those stories in the first place.

On that note, I LOVE this country. I love these people. And I seriously have moments where I cant get over how lucky I am that I got sent here.

Read Doctrine and Covenants 112:10, and also read the story about Elisha and the angels and the fire, because for some reason I'm loving that story right now. I get chills when I read it. Its only like 3 verses, but its great. 2 Chronicles, chapter 6 i believe. Open your eyes, and you wilkl see God all around you. Im really getting into the old testament these days.  love reading about the history of Christ, his ancestors and his gospel.
I love you guys so much. Thanks for all your support. My mission is a huge blessing and I wouldn't be living it without your guys' help. Miss you so much!

Love, Sister Davis

 ​                                           Me and Sister Kacher on the way to the meeting in PP

                                                                  ​Me and Sister Melton.

 ​Doing CBR work. Sister Fife: "THIS is your baptismal record?!?!" Just a random snippet of paper stuffed between CBR papers.
                                                                   ​This is Om Vutha

 ​a random kid was playuing with my camera and took this picture of his sister. I thought it was pretty cute so here ya go.
​I decided to stop taking pictures of sister fife while she fell asleep on the bus. Instead, the two of us teamed up and snapped this lovely picture of Elder Garrow and Elder Neng. (dont blame us for the angle, we had to reach across the aisle. im surprised elder garrows neck didnt snap sleeping like that.)

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