Monday, November 3, 2014

Toad wants to eat the flesh of a goose

This week I went on an exchange with Sister Nov, a Khmer sister serving in SMC 1. During our language study she taught me a bunch of inapprpriate Khmer phrases (mostly fighting words and immature things having to do with flatulence) and also some old Khmer proverbs. The Khmer elders crack up every time I secretly tell them I want to get in a fist fight with them (Khmer style). It must be simialr to when I taught Sister Vorn how to say "You're killin me Smalls!" because that never got old. I considered making one of those my subject line for the email, but there's this thing about not speaking casually in emails (yeah right) so I picked an old Khmer proverb instead. 

"Toad wants to eat the flesh of a goose" - Someone is trying to flirt with someone else who is out of their league.  You're welcome.

What did we do to celebrate Halloween night you ask? Sister Harris says, "I think we ate dinner and went to bed at 9:30." 
So thanks to everyone who sent me their pictures from what they did on Halloween, but I think my night was probably the craziest of them all. Who would've thought how much I would miss Halloween while being on a mission? Just so we're all aware, chocolate here is CRAZY EXPENSIVE. God knew He had to send me to a place where everything American/delicious is outrageously priced. Well done.
Anyway, the senior couple in SMC, the Belchers, decided to have District meeting at their house this week, and we had a mini -Halloween party after our meetings ended (Don't tell President Moon). We made Jack-o-lanters and went "trick-or-treating" and ate hot dogs. HOT DOGS. First time in.....well, at least 14 months. 

​We ended up hanging these up on our wall at home. Too cute.

So anywho. Sister Harris and I are getting even better at our contacting games. This week it was "Who can get the most people to just blatantly walk away from you."  Not five minutes after we set up the rules, Sister Harris goes up to a girl coming home from the factory and all she says is "SUESDAI!!" and the girl just turns right around and walks away down an alley. as soon as she turned her back, sister harris turned to look at me and we both silently raised our eyebrows at each other and raised up a single finger: "1"   It was pretty funny.

Well, in terms of teaching, let's see what happened this week. We have this investigator that the elders used to teach. (Let me just clear something up about whitewshing: it means, the elders just dump all of their non-progressing investigators on you and claim its because "they're women" until you find out they kept all the progressing single women who also happen to be very wealthy. Very sly. So essentially we get a clogged investigator pool of people that no one wants to teach, and our only other work is contacting and finding less actives. You know what? Bring. it. on. #whitewashing2014.) 
ANYWHO. The investigator the elders used to teach. Her name is Ming Rani. And she's nuts. She's got this one grudge with the church that keeps her from going to church at all and its actually a problem you would never expect from a Cambodian. She came to church once a while ago, and in the Sunday School class asked the teacher if it was okay to go to worship at the wat. The teacher, of course, said yes (because thats what i deal with here folks e.g. go back to my Battambang emails) and Ming Rani, who has been a devoted Christian for many years, got so offended by that answer that she has refused to come back. Even though she acknowledges that we don't ACTUALLY TEACH THAT AS DOCTRINE and she knows that it was the teacher that made the mistake, she has essentially said that she doesn't even want to associate herself with that teacher and now refuses to come to church. I've tried everything. I've taught her about forgiveness, about how people are imperfect but Christ's gospel is perfect, despite the mistakes of men in teaching it, and I've taught her about how we have the ability to choose to do whats right for ourselves even if others around us dont do what is right....I've even built up her ego and was like "Well, we need members like you to be a good example for those you don't necessarily know what the right thing to do is!" Nada. this woman wont take the bait. The problem is that she full-heartedly agrees with what we teach and has a ton of faith and her son is the young men's president. The other issue is that she keeps on talking about "folllowing the commandments, you have to follow christ!"and sister harris and I are both like "WELL WHAT ABOUT KEEPING THE SABBATH DAY HOLY?!?!" Its funny to hear her talk about it while its obvious that she isnt doing the right thing either. Its sad, but we'll probably have to drop her soon. 

Our recent converts tho......too good. Remember Om SOkha, my FAVORITE less-active membver form Tuolkork? She used to sing and say "hallelujah" in the middle of her prayers? I have found a very mild, ACTIVE version of her in my recent convert Ming Puang. Right before we rode into a lesson with her (she is also a former christian. Baptist to be exact, whic will be relevant in just a second), I was telling Sister Harris about Christian in Cambodia. I told her they are basically all classic Baptists who sing gospel songs and shout out random phrases during their prayers. Luckily Ming Puang was next on our "to-do list"and we sat down in that lesson and she goes "yes, yes, before we say the prayre though, i would like to sing for you, a song from my old church." and proceeds to sing this Khmer version of a gospel song (Khmers do this weird thing when they sing, Thai people do it too, and im working on it so when i come home i can sing that way for you guys). And sister Harris was just wide-eyed the whole time trying not to laugh. As per usual, Ming went right into the prayer from the song without taking a breath (one of those awkward things when you dont know when they are starting the prayer) and SIster Harris was barely keeping it under control. 

OKay and this is my favorite part of the week: the girl with the crazy eye. Sister Harris and I went to find this less-active member, thinking it was the ming in the front of the photo that was pasted onto the CBR. After much struggling with mediocre map drawing, we finally found this apartment building. The ming from the picture was nowhere to be found, but her daughters were. One of them had.....a bit of an eye issue. I am NOT judging by appearances. BUT this girl had a big white lump in her eye, and even for someone like me (and i like to pretend i have SOME social tact) it was a little difficult to focus on the lesson. Anyway, we leave, and once we get far away from the house, sister Harris goes "DID YOU SEE HER EYE?!?!!" I died laughing. Nope, Sister Harris i happened to miss it. Sister Harris was grabbing her chest and being like "no no no. no i cant handle those kinds fo things. oh my gosh." lo and behold, we go home to check out the CBR again, and it turns out "the girl with the crazy eye" as Sister Harris likes to call her, is creeping in the corner of the picture, out of anyone's focus. Dont worry, despite my koon's fears, we will be going back to visit them. 

Here's my little churchy thought for the week. I LOVE the church buildings here. Especially this one in SMC. all the church building here are largely the same. And anywhere else, probably not that impressive. BUT HERE, these church buildings are quite literally a beacon of light. Riding your bike through this area of the city is treacherous, dirty, dusty and depressing (credit for that alliteration?) Its like every second of biking I'm all tensed up, ready to get hit by a truck, coughing up the dirt I'm swallowing and trying to ignore the piles of garbage and naked children and beggars on the side of the road. But I can see the church steeple from far away and as soon as my bike crosses the threshold of the gate, its like entering into another world (America, if you will). I can see groomed lawns, children playing safely with their siblings instead of peeing off of mountains of garbage and gravel in the middle of the road (real life).  Its as if I cant hear the traffic, or smell the garbage and my entire body relaxes. Im not kidding you when I say it is a physical AND emotional relief to enter the courtyard of the church here. And Sister Harris and I have frequently said since being here, that seeing the church is like seeing a beacon of hope in the distance. It may seem a little dramatic, and for us, yes maybe. But for a random Cambodian? Maybe not. The church is probably the closest they can get to heaven here. And I am just SO grateful that it's here for them. I am grateful its here for me. It represents not just safety and protection from the outside world, but for me, it represents all the peace and joy the gospel brings. I love the church. Enough said. 

Okay, well thats all for this week. Things are going well in Steungmeanchey! I feel like we're doing a lot of good work. And that is a great feeling! I love you all tons and miss you so much! 

Love, Sister Davis

These pictures are from today.

Besides the fact that I've never looked worse, I am now covered in sludge from the flooding streets of Phnom Penh. First thing in the morning. definitely wakes you up. 

THIS TRAFFIC. YOU GUYS DONT EVEN KNOW. This is an every single day thing happening in our area. The traffic is so bad that everyone just turns off their motos and we sit their in the dark for approximately 45 minutes. trust me, I WISH that was an exaggeration. So many people and motos (as you can tell from the picture, which doesnt even do it full justice) that there isnt even room for us to walk through, let alone weave our bikes through the traffic. it fills up the sidewalks and every inch of space. You literally cannot get around it. EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE.

This is a picture of me missing Instagram and trying to take an artsy picture of my beacon of hope. It worked right?!
my koon getting stuck in the water. I turned around after making it through and find her struggling on either side of her bike, almost falling over. Shes such a trooper. But i still laughed at her and snapped a pic.

i feel like a weird mom who takes way to many pictures of their children? She forgot to take off her helmet, then collapsed into a chair in the church and proceeded to eat a random banana a member had given us. she just cracks me up ALWAYS.

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