Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Raise your hand if a member of the Quorum of the Seventy gave you granola bars!
(Sister Harris and I mentally jumping out of our chairs)
Yep, you heard it right. Apparently, Cambodia isn't the most ignored mission in the world (still TBD). This past week we got three of the Church History specialists, like the big head honchos who run the entire Church History program from Salt Lake City, coming to Cambodia to check out the family history work going on here. They had a pretty cool devotional meeting where they talked about the importance of recording your own personal history in journal and what not for future generations. We biked all the way to the south stake center in Chamkarmon to listen because our english class was cancelled due to renovations in the church building. 
We heard from Elder Snow and Elder Chi Hong Wong.
If you don't remember, Elder Wong spoke in the most recent General Conference in Cantonese. He was the first person EVER to speak in General Conference in his native language. But don't worry because he's super good at english. And apparently super funny too. He was CRACKING everyone up. He was trying to make his comments really quick and short (which made things super difficult for Elder Sam who was translating). He was trying to go quick because he wanted to hold a meeting with the missionaries after the devotional. So we all sat down and Elder Snow and Elder Wong and their wives all spoke to us briefly. It was really cool, and nice for them to take time out to just do a meeting with the missionaries. When Sister Snow spoke, she was just like "Thank you for your service. Just thank you so much." And she was almost crying. It was really cool to see how highly they think of the missionary work. And Sister Wong reminded us that even though it's hard now, and you don't always feel like your hard work is paying off, sometimes you just have to have an eternal perspective. Think about the single people we are teaching now who's children will one day go on missions. Think about the little things we are doing today that will help Cambodia to one day get a temple. She shared her personal experience of the missionary who taught her father and how much her family has been blessed since then. I loved what she said too.

BUT HERE'S THE COOLEST PART (my email has just been building up to this moment). The day BEFORE this special meeting, Sister Harris and I were out CBR finding. It started to rain, we were in a random alleyway, and the main road was under construction and just a river of mud. So we come out of the alley trying to decide where we should turn next according to the poorly drawn map. and we see this white van slow down on the side of the road. I assumed it was just a random bunch of Cambodians who were gonna roll down the window to start yelling and making fun of the white barrangs on the side of the road, but down the window rolls and i see the face of Sister Hollenzer! She is one of the senior couples, and she and Elder Hollenzer are in charge of family history. I knew them pretty well from when I served back in Tuolkork. So I took off my mask and was like "HEY!!" She originally didnt know it was me until she saw my face and she was like "ITS SISTER DAVIS PULL OVER!!" so they pulled over and we chatted for a bit and they were like, oh hey by the way, that Chinese guy sitting behind us is the one that just spoke in general conference. My jaw dropped and i was like .....hey. Im soaking wet and covered in mud but its nice to meet you anyway. So Elder Wong doesnt even say a word...he just reaches out both arms and hands us a couple Nature Valley granola bars. So we chatted for a bit, they told us about the devotional, and then we went our separate ways. I turned to sister harris and said "He's in the Quorum of the Seventy! He just spoke in General Conference!" And Sister harris goes, "Is it the one that gave us these granola bars because I'M PUMPED." so funny.
Anyway, we went to the meeting the next day, and Elder Wong shook my hand and was like "I didnt recognize you without your helmet and mask!" We had a good chat. 
When I met the Hollenzers at the meeting they both spoke to us on two separate occasions and both said the same thing: While driving on the road the other day, they had all been complaining about the construction and rain and then they saw us on the side of the road and they were all like "the sisters are going out in these conditions?" So after they drove away they had all just been talking about how impressed they were and elder and sister Hollenzer were like "we were just so grateful to run into you. It was the best thing for them to see you out proselyting. It was the best thing that could have happened for all the missionaries here because of how impressed those men were." 

Obviously, Sister Harris and I really didnt do anything impressive. We were just.....there. But Elder Wong later told Sister Harris that we were the reason they called that meeting with the missionaries. To encourage the missionaries, inspire us, and thank us for our service. It was just overall a really cool experience. 

Also, Elder Wong told me to make my new companion eat the fried spiders, so I'll get right on that.

On that topic though, Sister Harris refuses to eat my food. Like she will take a bite and be like okay, thats enough. I DONT GET IT. I dont think its that gross. I dont understand because she literally ONLY eats bread and cereal. I tried to explain that we have to do chaas and eat lots of vegetable soups and things because its whats cheapest and we cant afford to eat normal american food, but she would prefer to just be malnourished on bread and plain rice. She also likes to joke that the reason I wanna make that food is because I think I'm a Khmer. She's like yep, youve crossed over. At first, I wholeheartedly disagreed. But then it hit me. I didnt realize how "Khmer" I was until I got put with a companion fresh off the boat from America. I have very Khmer habits nowadays. What I eat, the way I eat, the noises i make (I have a habit of doing this weird Khmer grunt whenever I get frustrated. I remember Sister Kong did it to me when I was brand new and I hated it. They make the same noise at animals. She always did it to me and I would be like "STAHP IT. I'M NOT A CHICKEN." And now I do it a million times a day). I wear a mask, like most Khmers here because SMC is FREAKING DUSTY MAN. I'm definitely touchier, which is weird because I used to pride myself on not being touchy at all. I'm still not a huge fan, but I sometimes find myself touching someones arm or patting them on the back and im like...why did i just do that. And also, I always have to have my legs crossed nowadays. I would rather sit on the floor than on a chair because I cant cross my legs on a chair. My chair in Battambang was big enough but my new one now is not, so i never realized how often i want to cross my legs until i cant. Anyway, ill end this rant but yeah.....#wannabeKhmer

Although back to the mask thing, I started wearing one because a couple days into my SMC adventure, I blew my nose and the tissue was BROWN. Like I literally had dirt, and dust and unidentified foreign particles coming out of my nose. Enough said.

Sister Harris and I have made up a good contacting game by the way. Its pretty effective. We started talking about it during lunch one day and it was a big joke, and then the first woman we saw after lunch became our first victim. It has two parts: 1) We are each responsible for 5 personal contacts. You are supposed to get 10 per companionship every day and so we have decided to make each person individually responsible for 5, which makes it way more effective because its sort of like a competition. 2) (this is the good part) The goal is to get as many random gospel terms into the contact as possible before you get rejected. VERY hilarious. And we were like, okay words like"church" and "Jesus Christ" do not count. those are part of a normal contact. You've gotta put yourself out there and be like "TEMPLE blah blah khmer words blah APOSTASY blah blah blah OUTER DARKNESS....." and so on and so forth. And then the other companion keeps count. Dont worry none of them have been that crazy. It was just a good way for us to get motivated to contact. The other tricky issue is when you get "rejected." The first woman I started talking to "got a phone call" in the middle of me telling her about our church so i turned to sister harris after standing there awkwardly for a while and asked "does it count as a rejection if they pretend to take a phone call they obviously dont really have?" She goes"lets find out".  we started walking away and sure enough the woman hung up as soon as our back were turned. roasted. the sting kind of wears off after a while, dont worry.

***the great part about this country is that nobody speaks english so i can literally say whatever i want as loud as i want in front of someone and they will have no idea if im talking about them.

We also got a couple recent converts handed over to us from the elders because they are women. and I LOVE THEM. One of them is named Om Im. Shes probably like 70 something and maybe 4'8" if we're being generous and shes just the CUTEST. (i think we all know how i feel about teaching old Cambodian women). Sister Harris was reading in a lesson, and shes still new so the reading is a little slower, but Om Im just jumped in and started reading over her like each individual word that she struggled on. This is actually a REALLY common thing that Cambodians do, its incredibly frustrating. But what was funny was that the day before I warned sister Harris it would happen, and the fact that it was like a super old crazy woman was just too much to handle. She and I were DYING. i mean, in tears in the middle of the lesson (i tried to hold in my laughter until it came out as a snort, so that was awks) but its okay because Om Im is so old she justkept on readin and didnt even notice. 

Okay well, I think im mostly done for this week. It was a pretty good week. The whitewashing is getting easier, bit by bit. Our investigator pool is a little clogged from the old missionaries who handed it over, but we are working on organizing it. Sister Harris is continuing to crack me up. She is a trooper. Things are going great!

Love you all and miss you tons! 

Love, Sister Davis

PS. Quote from Sister Harris this week. We had a conversation about how much she DESPISES buttons. I dont really get it she just hates them. Sometimes she cuts them off of her clothing. Shortly after taking about how much she also hates tofu, we are in the middle of this button conversation adn she goes, "Oh,  it is DISGUSTING. Like. I would rather eat that tofu than put buttons in my mouth." 

...............????????? I always get the crazy ones. JUST KIDDING SHES SO COOL. dont know what her deal with buttons is though. 

             ​Our first comp photo! a selfie, of course. This was the rainy day we met Elder Wong.
                   ​Just a random Cambodian child and some cows chillin in the swampy garbage piles.

                               I am muddier and nastier here than I ever was in Battambang.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Go left at the stinky water

You would be surprised at how many CBRs make a reference to "the stinky water."I was starting to get frustrated because lets be honest, thats not a REAL landmark, and doesn't make my life easy when trying to find members houses (woe be unto those who are whitewashing). But let me tell you this: When you find the stinky water, YOU KNOW IT. Did I tell you that the word "steungmeanchey" means "river of success"? 
...........not quite the river I was expecting. Its as black as tar and has probably one of the worst stenches I have ever had the privilege of allowing into my nostrils. Which says a lot, since I'm serving in a fairly smelly country. (sidenote: do they have a ranking of the smelliest countries? I'd be interested in that. be a pal and vicariously google it for me, will ya?)

This week, I had some serious homesickness. Homesickness for Battambang. And things that are green in general. Like, I've mentioned before, the provinces are loads better than the city. BUT. the city has its perks. And I am a fan of riding my bike really fast in the middle of Cambodian traffic. Sister Jepsen and Sister Harris both tell me that I'm really good at "shooting the gap". It wasn't a compliment when they said it though. Because what usually happens is I leave my comp behind a lot of traffic and then I have to wait for them. Sister Harris is WAYYYYY better at riding a bike than I was when I started my mission, so she's actually prety good at shooting the gap herself. This creates a BIG problem. I have lost Sister Harris more in one week than I have ever done with a companion EVER in my whole mission (aka only once with Sister Cloud). Like, literally cant find her. There is too much traffic and construction in my area and when we both shoot two different gaps, you lose sight for a second and then.......gone. It has happened MULTIPLE times. I finally got used to it and just realized its easier if i just stay where I am, and eventually she'll come back and find me. She laughed every time until I explained to her that that actually SHOULDN't happen EVER. I told her it had never happened to me before and she was like "Really?!" So we're working on it. Its getting better. At first, I was like, we both just suck at riding our bikes which is why it happens so much, and Sister Harris goes, "Nope. its actually because we're both really good. You cant have two good bike riders in one companionship because they both can weave through the traffic really well." Sure lets go with that. We also made a big U-turn the other day across a busy main road in a small gap in between the traffic and we were prety perfectly in sync so Sister Harris yells "DID YOU SEE THAT?! That was awesome! We should be in a motorcycle gang!" Its a good time with this one. 

Oh. Have I mentioned that Sister Harris is probably the most sarcastic person I've ever met in my whole life? Like its no joke. I know people think I'm more on the sarcastic side. But this girl puts me to shame. Everything that comes out of her mouth is sarcasm and I LOVE IT. the other day shes goes Ït's really annoying because I try to say something seriously every once in a while but everyone assumes I'm still being sarcastic." She is hysterical. I'm lovin it. 

So back to whitewashing. This area is pretty big, which is hard BUT I've been told I will have most success only in certain areas so i am trying to make the area a little smaller for us. The problem with those small areas is that its all literally a maze. 

STOP: THE INTERNET SHOP IM IN JUST STARTED PLAYING ENRIQUE IGLESIAS. from like 2011. or some year like that. I dont even remember. Its one of those times where I have no control over what music im listening to so I get to bask in the glory and pretend its bothering me.  this is an exciting moment, and I wanted you all to be a part of it.

okay, so my area is a maze. We've been doing a lot of CBR finding, which is honestly one of my favorite things. Its like a treasure hunt. And whats at the end of the trail? An inactive member who is VERY unhappy to see me! X marks the spot! 
We've also been getting lost a lot. Thats always good. But when we do we just do a lot of contacting. I hate contacting BUT. Sister Harris. is. AWESOME AT IT. Her speaking skills are obviously not fluent yet, so mostly she's really good at picking out people and then having me talk to them. We went contacting the other day and I swear to you like 50% of the people we talked to were like "Sure, I'll learn about Jesus Christ." I got like five phone numbers in 20 minutes. It was a MIRACLE. 
Training is super fun though. I try not to do all the talking. Mostly we'll pick someone ("that one on the corner in the yellow shirt! lets get her! we're like ninjas) and then I'll give sister harris a smirk and a head nod and be like "go for it." And then I'll jump in when she needs help. The annoying thing about Cambodia is that people here have a harder time understanding you the slower you speak. so for new missionaries its really yap. Because OBVIOUSLY you talk slowly at first. Even if you pronounce everything right they'll still be like "huh?" So when they do that I just repeat what Sister Harris says and theyre like "ohhhhhhh ok" i remember how frustrating that was when I first got here but sister harris is a champ. She loves going out to proselyte, she loves teaching, and she is ALWAYS studying the language, even when she doesnt have to. any free time, that girl is IN the books. I seriously feel like I'm the one being trained, not the other way around. She is such a trooper. 

Okay, here is a story about why I love Cambodians. So Sister Harris and I are out CBR finding and we're trying to find this one members house and we walked up to a woman selling stuff outside of her house and we tried contacting her. not interested. a bit of the cold shoulder. so then we showed her a picture and we were like "do you know these people?" and she was like oh yeah they are just around the corner. And then she just freaking hopped on her moto and was like "follow me!" and took us to their house. So funny. Moral of the story: 1) cambodians will invite you into their house on a whim and drive you to random peoples houses because they're just that kind of people. its awesome. 2) in cambodia, it is not creepy/sketchy or strange in any way to ask questions like "where are you going? where is your house? how old are you?" and show pictures of people and be like "we want to FIND THEM." not creepy at all. In fact, they'll lead you right there. 

So another CBR find. We tried to find a less-active family  (they are inactive because they asked the senior couple to give them money to build a new house and the senior couple said no obviously because its against the rules and then they got mad and are now renting from a very very Buddhist lady who doesnt want them to be associated with the church. difficult sitch there) So we went trying to find their house and we walked up to some women on the street corner and asked "hey do you know ming sokha and lookpuu hai?" and this one hilarious lady, after making a big deal of the white girl spekaing khmer, finally pointed behind us to a house on the corner and yells "THAT ONE. RIGHT THERE!"and she's yelling and point and laughing and making a big scene. Just big enough that Ming Sokha, who's sitting right in front of her doorway, looks out and sees two white missionaries holding a picture of her family and asking how to find her house. (She was one of those less-than-thrilled to see us). But her daughter was super cool! Her daughter told a story of how her house flooded (reason why they needed money for a new one) during the rainy season, and that night, she had a dream of being stuck in her flooding house and a man glowing in white came and held out his hand to her and pulled her out of the flood.

Another sidenote: I dont know if I've mentioned this to you guys, but one of the uncommon "gifts" that Cambodians have is their dreams. At first, I thought it was a bunch of boloney (do I have to spell that bologna?) but then I talked to Sister Moon and she was like "no its a real gift. They receive answers and direction and see almost visions in their dreams." it happens aaaaaallllll the time. Like on a daily basis I hear about dreams they have of two men in white shirts knocking on their door one night, and the next day, the missionaries show up at their house, OR  they will have dreams when they are sick or have problems and they literally see Jesus Christ in their dreams ( a lot of times they will describe a Christ-like figure before they have ever even learned about Christ. It's wild)

Anywho, this girl was telling me about her dream, and she told us that she knows her family was so happy when they had the gospel in their lives, and she knows they can have it again, but her parents are very difficult right now and refuse to even pray. But she said she wants them to have that again and that she knows they have to go back to church. So we encouraged her to begin praying again on her own and start praying for her family. She was a really sweet girl. 

Anyway, I feel like this email is already long, and other than that its been a mostly uneventful week. Just getting used to our new bearings. So I think thats all for today. I love you guys and miss you so much! Keep on reading, praying and going to church! Peace out botpisaot

Love, Sister Davis

PS I forgot to tell you guys last week about a HIGHLIGHT of my nasty new house. My bathroom (is disgusting, first of all) has a toilet that doesnt actually flush. But it will if you lift up the lid. I had a good laugh about that. I dont even know what to make of it.

PPS I guess I can end on a spiritual note instead of toilets. Read 1 Peter 2:9-10. I read those verses this morning and they took on a whole new meaning for me. I really loved them.

                                                                   1. A tuk tuk with a raincoat!

                                                                        2. my new area.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Mother knows best

Awkward moment of the week: Day one and a half with my trainee, and at lunch we find out that not only had she found and read my blog before she started her mission, but she also frequently made fun of it because my emails were just a little too cheesy for her taste.
****note: Im very aware that my emails can be heavy-handed. But when else am I going to freely talk about Jesus Christ like that. Probs NEVER. Taking advantage.
Her name is Sister Harris. From Colorado. Student at BYU. Super chill, super sarcastic, super cool. Here's the creepy part. After I got assigned to my koon, everyone was like "You got a koon thats exactly like you." And I was like, I dont know what you guys are talking about. We're not that much alike. And then I took a good long look. And guess what?
SHE IS LITERALLY ME ONE YEAR AGO. I bet you President knew what he was doing when he made that assignment. Its kind of cracking me up. (I see you, President Moon.) No but for real, she reminds me exactly of myself when I started my mission. Its fun. Its only been a couple days and goodness knows what my first few days were like in the country (see email number one from my arrival aka the MOST DRAMATIC and RIDICULOUS thing I have ever written). So Im trying to be real sympathetic here. Plus, our new area is way crazier than Kampong Cham, where I started.  I cant even imagine starting my mission in Steungmeanchey.
First of all: Our house. Is. Nasty. HANDS DOWN the worst house I've lived in on my mission. And the entire area of Steungmeanchey runs rampant with cockroaches. I knew it was too good to be true. I've lived in 3 houses without a single cockroach problem and now I'm paying the price. I found one in the bag of eggs I bought at the phsaa this morning. And there was one crawling all over Sister Allen (she's in first branch) during an opening prayer at the church. AT THE CHURCH. (nowhere is safe). She hopped up from her chair and started wiping herself off frantically saying "longest prayer of my life!" The thing just sat therre on the chair staring right at me as if to say "Welcome to Steungmeanchey." I've said this before and I'll say it again: the devil IS cockroaches. There are also a bunch in the downstairs bathroom but Sister Ray, who is like my FAVORITE native sister, switched bathrooms so I could be upstairs. Day one in the house she goes, "I know you are more afraid than me." Well, it looks like my reputation proceeds me. So yeah, our house used to have only 4 sisters and now it has six, so Sister Harris and I moved into the spare room. We have no closets, no refridgerator, no DVD player (which is kinda necessary since im TRAINING) no rice cooker (also necessary because im in Asia) and our beds have termites. Well, thats not entirely true about the refridgerator. There was one extra fridge that hasnt been used since probably I came to the mission, and when Sister Harris and I opened it we found a whole host of black mold and a colony of lizards living in the back compartment. Plus it doesnt actually get "cold". So hopefully we'll be getting a new one. Its literally like they didnt even know we were coming. Poor Sister Harris is looking around the place like "what is this establishment. Is this my life?"
Second: the traffic in Steungmeanchey is HORRIFIC. hey are doing major construction on the main road, where the church is conveniently located. So thank goodness, because the construcvtion takes place RIGHT in between our house and the church. And yesterday while we were barely surviving the traffic, Sister Harris and I almost got hit by frantic motos trying to avoid the giant snake weaving its way through the middle of the road. random. snakes dont spend a lot of time in the inner city, to my knowledge.
BUT, the members and church-goers in SMC are fantastic. We've been able to meet a couple investigators and some of the active members and they are wonderful. They love the missionaries. Do you guys remember Mei and Mian from Tuolkork? They were the two cute identical twins? Well, they moved to my ward! Steungmeanchey 2! Oh hey thats another thing:
I"M IN A WARD. cue fanfare,drums, parades, etc. I have never served in a ward or a stake for my whole mission! When they organized the first two stakes a couple months ago, it was all Phnom Penh, and I was already back in the provinces by then. So this is the first time I will be part of a Stake. super cool. The Senior couple for Steungmeanchey is the Belchers, and they were telling us that most of the youth activities (which actually happen on a weekly basis) are totally run and taken care of by the members. Do I need to repeat that? THE MEMBERS RUN THE AUXILLIARY ACTIVITIES. ON THEIR OWN. I feel like I'm in America (minus the cockroaches). I almost shed tears of joy. A branch that isnt run by the missionaries! A dream come true!!!
Anyway, last night we got to go out with the senior couple to visit a long-time less-active member. (When the senior couple goes to visit members, they usually bring missionaries with them to translate and such). Anyway, the member's name is Izabel. She's was SO FREAKIN CUTE. She was always laughing and smiling and so sweet. Shes also pretty smart too and right now shes going to school so she can get authorization to be a mephum (leader of her little village/corner of the street). Shes about 50 years old, and has the most adorable smile and laugh and wears glasses that are far too big for her face. It was a pretty good visit, and I hope I get to go back with them next week.
We also have met a couple investigators left over from the last sisters that were here. They came to conference and everything. Speaking of which, my investigaotr Srei Nit FROM BATTAMBANG came down to phnom penh this weekend to visit her boyfriend and randomly called me to ask where the church was. Before I left I told her I would be serving in Steungmeanchey and she was like "When I go to phnom penh I will call you and go to church with you!" So I got to see her. Her boyfriend came too and I think he might be interested in learning. He's very supportive of her learning and joining the church. I miss Battambang a TON so that was a tender mercy that I got to see my old investigator.
I will say, I forgot how hard whitewashing is. The first few dyas you have NOTHING to do. You feel pretty helpless. I couldnt even get us to the church. Everyone assumes you know stuff and your like HEY i literally never even been to the church. a little help here? Sometimes I just dont know what to do, but I dont want Sister Harris to think we're just kickin it, ya know? So Im trying to to some CBR work or contacting, and mostly just doing things to help her grow accustomed to missionary work. It gets better after a couple weeks but honestly whitewashing is DANG hard.
Oh also. Apparently I'm still the Sister training leader. So thats the pits. I thought I had escaped! I honestly dont mind being the STL, but in the city its even harder because I have like three times as many exchanges to do. But it will be cool because me, sister thain and sister peterson are all training and sister training leaders so we'll see each other at the meetings and such. It'll be a hoot.
Coming up in Cambodia: the water festival. We got a sneak peek in Battambang and it was pretty crazy. It was like a gigantic carnival with boat races. I honestly dont fully understand what the water festival is, so ill expain it when it comes down and hits phnom penh. It was so crowded in Battambang that I hit a girl with my bike. IN MY DEFENSE. She essentially walked right across the road and didnt even look. I braked as hard as possible and tried to veer off to the left, but I still nicked her head with my elbow. And poor sister Jepsen got the crazy Cambodian grandma tugging at her skirt and yelling at her while I road off like lightning. #Christlikemoments
Okay I think thats all for this week! Back in the city so.....ya know. I hope you all have a great week! I miss you and love you a ton!
Love, Sister Davis
My personal favorite was Christofferson's talk about agency and the choice that we have in our lives to become the best we can be. it is up to us! He knocked it outta the park. That was one of those talks that was so good that i wanted to take notes, but I kept on getting hung up on his every word so I forgot to keep on taking notes. My favorite part from that one:
"God will not act to make us something we do not choose by our actions to become. Truly He loves us, and because He loves us, He neither compels nor abandons us. Rather He helpsand guides us. Indeed, the real manifestation of God’s love is His commandments." 
And then his whole thing on mercy and justice. Pure gold.
I also loved the story that Elder Bednar told about his two sons, explaining WHY members of our church are so eager to share our gospel with others. That story was just perfect. In a simple way, it explained a very profound concept. The healing power of Christ and His Atonement is something that brings us such great joy and happiness, that we can't help but want to share it with others. I hope you guys are doing your part to take ful advantage of the gospel and the happiness is provides. And dont be selfish. Share it with others! AKA help the missionaries cuz we need it!!!

                                               My life in two suitcases and a carry-on

 Bong Sokha, a less-active member I love. (i took a lot more goodbye pictures in battambang, but i decided to spare you guys and not send all of them)

                                           ​So this is Srei Nit, the Battambang investigator

​                                                            Sister Jepsen and I ate snake. For real.
                                                        ​MY KOON. SISTER HARRIS!!! 

 ​Family photo!!! SISTER HOMER IS DEAD!!!! She finished her mission on friday!!1 I literally cant believe it. I dont even know what to do with myself. My mom died! I got to say goodbye to her because she came to visit members in Steungmeanchey while i was there for conference. So weird.

​So I took thispicture at the doctors office when i went with sister jepsen. Youll all be pleased to know that Cambodia is only "High Medical Risk"as opposed to Ëxtremely High medical risk". Hooray!

Monday, October 6, 2014

"I dont blame them for not putting us in the Liahona"

So Sister Jepsen just showed me some pictures of her friends who are on missions in Hong Kong. Apparently people from the church went to take pictures of the missionaries there and are planning on putting them in the Conference edition of the church magazines. I was jealous for a second and then I was like.....Sister Davis, you know what you look like. Its 95 degrees, and you bike through shack villages covered in a layer of sweat and dirt." I dont blame them for ignoring the Cambodian missionaries. PS Those aren't the pictures you want advertising your church. PPS Did I mention I stuck my hand in poop this week? Sitting there innocently on a bamboo bedframe. It'll sneak up on ya. That is all.
So when you guys get those magazines, you will see pictures of missionaries who look nice, and take decent, public transportation everywhere and are able to wear pencil skirts while walking around groomed public parks #notmylife One day I'll ask them what it was like to serve a mission because I'm pretty sure we're not doing the same thing.

Speaking of public transportation, one of my FAVORITE THINGS EVER happened on our way back from Phnom Penh after the leadership meeting. So, those long 8-hour busrides with the elders have become some of my favorite times. Here's why. Sister Jepsen was sleeping next to me, and Elder Garrow and Elder Jones are both sleeping across the aisle too. And Im awake. Because thats me. Forever alone. ANYWAY, some guy in front of me randomly starts playing OneDirection faintly on his phone and I'm just sitting there, pretending I hate it. And then Elder Garrow, who's clearly in the middle of having an apocalyptic dream, JOLTS up, nearly coming out of his seat. He starts whipping his head all around, super confused at where he is and whats going on (im just watching him and already laughing) and eventually he calms down and just finds me staring at him, and he keeps on blinking and his eyes are super red and he's obviously exhausted. So I say "How are ya doin there?" and he doesn't answer. But then five seconds of silence later, just whips his head back and starts singing One Direction along to the guy who's playing it on his phone. I was THIS CLOSE to taking out my camera and videotaping it. At the next rest stop, I asked him if he remembered doing that. Not at all. It was too good. And Im gonna hang onto that for the rest of my life because i was the only one who witnessed the hilarity of it all.

Another sad thing: THAT WAS MY LAST EVER LEADERSHIP MEETING. Cuz Im not a sister training leader anymore. which i expected because ive been it for three transfers already and i also know I have to leave Battambang, which brings me to my next point:
WE GOT TRANSFER CALLS LAST NIGHT. And I seriously am more excited then I ever have been about a transfer call. I am going back to PP which is eh because I love the provinces, but I am going to Steungmeanchey branch 2, which I've heard great things about. BUT ALSO IM TRAINING!!!!!! Woo-hoo!!! Which means I will be whitewashing AGAIN and training at the same time. I cant wait.  Training Sister Soun was super great, and i am so excited to meet koon #2. I dont know who it is yet. President Moon only tells you that your training and then he assigns you on the day of transfers in the big training meeting. I still remember the day I got assigned to Sister Homer and had literally NO IDEA what was going on. I cant wait to be on the other side of the table. We have a HUGE group coming in. we have 16 elders coming in and 8 sisters coming in and that is JUST FROM AMERICA. i dont know how many Khmer missionaries there are. So its a huge transfer. 
Another really big thing: WE ARE OPENING UP TWO NEW PROVINCES!!! Unfortunately only elders get to go in to open up the provinces, because there really is no branch there at all and we need elders to set up the leadership and everything. We are opening up PreahVeng which is near Kampong Cham and then Pursat which is near Battambang. I am SOOOO excited!! Cambodia is making so much progress it is incredible! 

So this past week, I conducted my last exchange with Sister Peterson. I got to go into her branch and meet some of her investigators and members. Her area reminded me so much of 1st branch in Kampong Cham. It was a great exchange. I learned a ton from Sister Peterson. She is such a great missionary and she AND I AND SISTER THAIN ARE ALL GONNA BE TRAINING!!!! Im super excited for all of us to be together at the meeting. Sister Litchfield is training in the Vietnamese program too, and so is Sister Jepsen actually, which is way cool because she's super new. 

Anyway, some cool things that happened this week. I knew I was leaving Battambang even before I got the transfer calls, so I told some of the members and was able to see a few before I leave. Seila skipped school to not only meet with us during the week but also to come to church. She is so stellar. After wee met with her on thursday, I turned around to Sister Jepsen and got right in her face and was like, "YOU TAKE CARE OF HER AFTER I LEAVE." Seila will need some support in the future but she is wonderful. I am super grateful that I got to be the missionary to teach her. 
We also got a new investigator in third branch. Her name is Bong Savi. It was a super funny story. A million years ago, I did an exchange in Siem Reap. I was out contacting with Siter Hem and Sister Hem was like "Hey do you wanna go see Sister Vorn's house?" (in case you guys dont remember, sister vorn was my companion in my third transfer. she finished her mission a few transfers ago and lives in siem reap.) so i was like okay sure. We went, and sister vorn was at work, but there was a woman there who i got talking to for a while and it turns out her dad is like this long-time member in Battambang! She said she had been trying to learn for a long time but she kept on having to stop learning because she moves back and forth between siem reap and battambang so much. Anyway, she finally ended up coming down to battambang (again) and asked specifically for us to start teaching her! She came to church on her own and she is already awesome. Shes all like "I know how many blessings my family members have received from being members. I want to get baptized so much but it just hasnt worked out yet because I keep on stopping lessons with the missionaries when I move, and then they start over!" She is so sweet. She was really sad when I told her I was leaving, especially because 3rd branch wont have sisters. (President Moon told me he didnt have enough sisters coming in this transfer and asked for my opinion on Battambang and I was like: no more of this "being in two branches." Take sisters out of third branch and keep them in first. It was just the logical thing. So thats what he ended up doing.) BUT I know she'll be great and I'm excited for her.

Anyway, honestly not much exciting going on. I spent two days in Phnom Penh and then did an exchange so there isnt much to report on in terms of my area. But Sister Jepsen and I have picked up a couple new investigators (including a family, of course, right as im about to leave) so first branch is on an incline right now. It was a pretty boring week. Ive already started to pack and it gets me everytime. How do I have so much stuff?! I swear I only throw things away! Anywho, thats pretty much it.

I actually had a bunch of pictures to send last week but none of them went through. So ill try again and you guys might be receiving a ton. 
Next week I'll be in SMC with a newbie!!! I cant wait. My mission just keeps on getting better. I love you guys a lot and miss you tons!

Love, Sister Davis

PS I watched the General Women's conference and loved this quote from Uchtdorf:

"And yet for some of us, obedience to God’s commandments doesn’t always feel very joyful. Let’s face it: there may be some that seem harder or less appealing—commandments that we approach with the enthusiasm of a child sitting before a plate of healthy but hated vegetables. We grit our teeth and force ourselves to comply so that we can move on to more desirable activities.
Perhaps during times such as these, we might find ourselves asking, “Do we really need to obey all of God’s commandments?”
My response to this question is simple:
I think God knows something we don’t—things that are beyond our capacity to comprehend! Our Father in Heaven is an eternal being whose experience, wisdom, and intelligence are infinitely greater than ours...In other words, He not only knows what is best for you; He also anxiously wants you to choose what is best for you."
                                                              ​Just some more rice harvesting

 ​                                                                         Me with Sister Zemp

​                                                                      Pday in phnom penh
                                                                           very very wet.