^^^^^How Sister Harris describes canned soymilk. Sage words from my companion.
On the topic of soymilk, Om Im did not make us any when we visited her this week, but she still had her moments. 1) Sister Harris and I offered to help her hang up her wet laundry, and obviously she said no (they always do). So instead, Sister Harris and I snuck behind her while she was talking to a neighbor and started hanging things up. When she saw she yelled "NO! STOP!"and waddled over like lightning and snagged this MASSIVE pile of clothes and started running away from us so we couldn't help. And then when I offered to help fold the dry clothes she grabbed my arm with one of her hands and with the other hand she gave me a WHACK. It hurt pretty bad but the crazy thing is that it was meant in love. Go figure. Then she sat us down and put a bunch of bananas on the table and just pointed her finger out and yelled "EAT!" Trust me, that word is way funnier in Khmer. She's actually not a scary or mean woman, she's just a very classic old Khmer woman. I love her to pieces.
Other classic Cambodian things: Their love of rice. We're all aware of that one. The other day, Sister Ray and Sister Nov got into a fake fight over soemthing and Sister Nov yelled, "FINE! We break up now!" And Sister Ray yelled back "Okay we break up! YOU CAN'T EAT MY RICE ANYMORE!!" I died laughing and ran upstairs to write it down. You know things are SERIOUS when a Khmer tells you that you can't eat their rice anymore.
Last of the cultural mishaps this week: Cambodians are Buddhist. And they put their little buddhist shrines EVERYWHERE. Complete with the idols, incense, and food offerings. And all i've been told by Khmers is that those thigns are sacred to people and I shouldn't even touch them. Well, Sister Harris and I were walking in a phsaa and I totally ran into a shrine. It should've been in a movie. I wasn't looking where I was going, walked right into it, and ended up kicking a silver bowl. It bounced and rolled for like ten feet and made a clattering sound so everyone turned around and looked at me. I just ran away and hid behind sister Harris. We wont be going back there anytime soon.
So back to America. It was Thanksgiving this week, wasn't it! We got to go to the senior couples house for an hour and they made mashed potatoes and turkey and stuffing, and after an hour, it was back to regular proselyting. No football games, no Macy's parade.....just a lot of less-actives. But it was a pretty good thanksgiving lunch otherwise. While we were there, we got to see the new church ad "He is the Gift." SO GOOD. I'll get into that later.
Also, speaking of America, Sister Harris and I were curious how Black Friday went over. The day after thanksgiving, which was thanksgiving night for you guys, Sister Harris looked at her watch while we were biking and goes, "According to my watch its 12:04 on Black Friday. Do you think anyone has died yet?" We tried explaining the craziness of black friday to the khmers and they were so confused. Our only advice to them: "If you're ever in America, DON"T go to Walmart the day after thanksgiving." **Not sure that was helpful. I dont think they know what Walmart is.**
So, Thaksgiving night, SIster Harris FINALLY gave me persmission to set up my Christmas tree from last year that Sister Homer gave me and start playing christmas music. We have a tree, ornaments, wrapped gifts, fake snow, flashing lights, a nativity scene (lego style....thanks mom) and a scented pinecone. It's basically like we're in America, except for the fact that I'm sweating from the heat and our house smells like fried fish instead of pie.
So, we also had Stake Conference for South Zone this past Saturday and Sunday. It was at the South Stake Center in Chamkarmon instead of in Steungmeanchey, so a lot of the members from SMC didn't come because it was too far. BUT our faithful Om Im called a tuk tuk and made her way over. When we taught her the day before she was like, Its so far and I dont know where it is! And we were like, we'll talk to your neighbors (long time members) they can explain to you where it is, and you can totally come! You can do it Om! And she was like Yeah!!! I can get a tuk tuk! And she totally followed through! We later found out that she rode her tuk tuk to our other recent converts house and was like "hop in!" She is too awesome. Even better, she brought her neighbor, a woman named Bong Sokha who is ineterested in learning with us. Right now her schedule is a littel nuts, so it has been difficult, but she has been to church once, and brought her kids, and she came to stake conference so we are super impressed with her, especially since 80% of our members didn't even go to stake conference.
BUT we are not getting too down about it. Even though the numbers were way less than they should be, it was still fun to go. There were about 250 people there from 6 wards, and the room was pretty packed. We started the opening hymn and lots of people were still coming in, and it was awesome because we heard the intro to the hymn, and as soon as the congregation started singing, they opened the doors for the overflow room because we needed more space for people to sit down. And I am used to hearing about 40 people singing off key, so to hear 250 people singing loud and proud together as a congregation was super awesome. Gave me chills. Another movie moment for the week.
Fun story about Sister Harris this week though. She got SASSY with the choir director at Stake Conference. The director for the choir is a woman named Seila and she has about fifty callings. She's young, and really cool and fashionable and sort of one of the key members in Cambodia. So she's a bit intimidating and Sister Harris and I have been happy to be her slaves for a while, playing the piano for the choir. But the night before stake conference, she asked us to stay late (past our curfew) to practice and we were like, Seila, we have no elders to take us home past curfew, and we have to BIKE home 40 minutes away. We can't stay! The main issue was that there was a piano player there who was more than capable of taking Sister Harris' spot for the night. And Seila was like, "no. you have to stay." So Sister Harris took matters into her own hands and asked the guy to play the piano so we could go home and he was fine with it, and she went up to seila and was like ok, its taken care of we're leaving now. and seila goes, "You can't leave!" (not in a desperate way, shes a bit scary). And Sister Harris goes back änd days "You don't own me Seila!!! We're going home!!!" It was kind of hilarious from my perspective. I was a little terrified of both of them, but also super happy Sister Harris stood her ground so that we could be home on time. I was like, well you handled it in a very gruff manner, but I'm still proud of ya. Thats my girl.
So anyway, the main conversation Sister Harris and I have been having this week is this: missions are LONG. Since this is my second time going through the Christmas season in Cambodia, I have come to a realization: missions are, in fact, quite long. And everybodydoes that thing where they are like "oh it goes by so fast!" and thats true. But DANGIT!!! I've been here for forever!!!! I just didn't realize it until now. The only logical explanation is that missions are so wonderful and so worth it, and thats why it goes by lickety-split.
Okay my other thoguht for this week: The church advertisement for "He is the Gift". Okay, this video almost made me cry. It was so dang inspirational that all I wated to do was go outside and tell every unassuming Cambodian "HEY!! GOD LOVES YOU!!! So He sent His Son just for you!!! Christ IS the Gift!!!!" But unfortunately, they wold have ZERO clue what I would be talking about, so that would be a less-effective approach. But here are my thoughts:
1) watch the video. Its like 2 minutes and absolutely worth it. Here it is: http://www.mormon.org/christmas?cid=HPFR112814529
2) be grateful for the greatest Gift that mankind has ever known. The birth, life, example, ministry, and Atonement of Jesus Christ. That is God's gift to you. Every single day. there is no greater gift in the world.
3) Share the gift. I read a quote by someone important (forgive me for not remembering who or exactly what they said) but they essentiqally said that the beauty of the Christmas season is that everyone is touched by the Spirit of Christmas, which in reality is the Spirit of CHRIST. People want to love more, to serve more, to be a little kinder, to be a little more grateful. Use that Spirit to your advantage, and share the gift of Christ's life with a dear friend, a family member, someone who needs that gift in their life. Because we all need it.
I'm going to end with a really cliche scripture. We all know this one, but I love it now more than ever, because every time i think about it, it holds new meaning for me. This Christmas season, think long and hard about this scripture. Think about what God's gift has done for you, and think about how it can help everyone around you, too.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son
......that the world through him might be saved." John 3:16
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season. Wish me luck in SMC.
Let's do this again next week.
Love, Sister Davis
Mother and daughter decorating the tree together.
Happy Thanksgiving from the SMC missionaries!