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.

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