Monday, January 26, 2015

So I have very little time today, and I'm gonna try to keep it short. I'm leaving Phnom Penh with Sister Litchfield to hit up Angkor Wat for half a day. it's chill. 

Anyway, here's a list of things that happened this week:

-Bong Sokha got baptized!!!!!!! woot woot!

-Sister Mathews and I found Chanthi, Elder Cao's crazy girlfriend referral that I told you about last week. We gave it another shot after 0 success last week, and I just asked the first old lady I saw. The conversation went a little something like this:
me: "Hello there. Do you have any kids?" (<-- not a creepy question in Cambodia \, believe it or not)
her: nope.
Me: Oh thats too bad, because we are missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and we also teach a free english class for people who are 15 or older.
Her: No, sorry I dont have any kids.
Me: Do you know anyone around here that has kids that age?
Her: Well, my daughter, who's 23, but she's at work.
Me: .............................................................................................................................................................................................-__________________________-
^thats the face I make when I'm a missionary talking to Cambodians.
Me: you have kids or not.
Her: Oh yeah, I have five, but they all work.
Me: What is your daughter's name?
Her: Chanthi.

And then we won. Unfortunately, she works AND goes to school and is impossible to meet with, but we found her house and hopefully at some point I wil get to be a part of Elder Cao's great love story where his girlfriend joins the church because of two sister missionaries who were suckers and actually found this girl with little to no information about her. Good stuff
In case you can't tell, I have found the dialogue format to be a much more efficient way of communicating in emails where I am short on time.

okay next:
- I got really sick of having only 60 members at church, all of whom could not care less about helping the missionaries, so I forced our bishop to organize a "missionary work" day where all of the sacrament talks and sunday school classes were geared towards member-missionary work. So, of course when I open my big fat mouth to get those things done, I get roped into talking. That all went down last week, and lo and behold, a member that we had visited that week gave us a referral for a family member!!! It was the first time I felt like I had really done something right.....until I found out that my whole missionary work Sunday had nothing to do with this referral. BUT that's okay because guess what? I have been in Steungmeanchey for 4 months and that is the FIRST referral I have gotten from a member of the ward. Yep, you heard it. The first. HELP THE MISSIONARIES PEOPLE. I'm not joking. 

- the elders handed over a family to us that is SUPER good but wants to learn with girls not boys (hahahahaha elders lose). SO the daughter in the family is 17 and super awesome and smart. Her parents are a little slower in following the teachings but they are doing okay and are just super happy to learn with us. they have some to church a few times already, except the mom because she works on sundays, but we're working on it. Anyway, really awesome family. the dad's name is Puu Saret and the mom's name is Bong Srei Tuoch and the daughter's name is Srei Niat. 

-There is this one less-active girl we go to teach pretty regularly. She lives with her older aunt who is super nice, but refuses to let us help her with the house chores even though she is always washing clothes or dishes when we go over. Last week, I saw the member washing clothes inside, so I literally BOOKED IT around her aunt and ran inside and squatted down and started washing clothes and I thought I had outsmarted her and had won the good fight. Not so. This old woman burst her way in the bathroom (aka the 3 ft by 3 ft water closet / squatty potty) and literally wrapped her arms fully around my waist and LIFTED me clear off the ground to get me to stop doing the laundry. It was pretty excessive on her part but I was laughing for about an hour.

Also, a SUPER great thing happened yesterday. There is this inactive member named Izabel. I think I've told you about her. She was one of the first people I taught in SMC. She is the sweetest but has not been to church in years, and she seemed pretty much convinced she wasnt coming back. Anyway, she's actually fairly wealthy and her daughter married a German man, so she was in Germany visiting their family for the past month. We went to visit her on Saturday and she was like, "My daughter took me to see the temple. It was so beautiful. She went inside with some of her friends, but I couldn't go inside because I didnt have a temple recommend. I had to just wait outside for her. She was in there from morning until evening."  She didn't seem sad when she told the story but let me tell you.......that would be awful to see a family member go in the temple and be told you couldn't go in too. So something must have clicked and I am CERTAIN she had some sort of conversation with her daughter about it, because the day after we visited her, she and her husband came to church! I remember when we were visitng her I told her we started church at 8 am and she immediately turned to her husband and was like, "Can we go to church tomorrow? I want to go."  This woman hasn't been to church in YEARS. It was a miracle! I was soooo happy to see her there. 

Also, you guys. I found a FANTASTIC little restaurant called Brooklyn Pizza and Bistro. Actually Sister Nov showed it to me because they sell cheesecake and for some reason she's obsessed with cheesecake. Before I ordered anything I looked the owner (a white guy) in the eye and asked, "Are you REALLY from New York?" And he goes, "Yes. Brooklyn." So I felt kinda dumb, but after that I knew I could trust his pizza. It was hands down the most american pizza I've eaten since I've been in Cambodia. Which brings me to my next point: My end-of-mission diet rule: If I can get it in America, I'm not allowed to eat it. So I'll be eating quite a bit of chaa, rice and what Sister Litchfield calls "Swamp soup." (aka Num Bonchuuk. She hates it. Its my favorite Khmer food.) it's to help me take advantage of Khmer food while I can and make sure I dont gain weight on something dumb  (like pizza) because I'm gonna get fat on that when I go home. Good plan, I know. Unfortuantely, I also found the "Door 2 Door" book, which is FAMOUS. Its a little book with all the menus and info of all the restaurants in PP that deliver. Its kind of killing my brilliant diet ideas. Sister Mathews laughs at me because I am constantly reading it. I JUST MISS FOOD THAT ISNT RICE. 
also, on that note, we found a mouse sniffing around our old pizza box last night. You guys would be really shocked at how little I freak out about those things nowadays. Its really more annoyance than fear. 

Anywho, I'm pretty much out of time, but those were the important things I could think of from this past week. I am SOOOOOO excited to go to Siem Reap with Sister Litchfield today. It's going to be 42.5 hours of uninterrupted talking that she and I haven't had the time for on our whole missions. It's just a bummer Thainy can't come with us, but thats what happens when you kick it up to Battambang for your last three transfers. We only have half a day to see all the sites, so I dont think I'll get to see all of it but you bet your bottom dollar I'm gonna ride an elephant. Hope you guys have a great week! Love and miss you all!

Love, Sister Davis

PS I was reading in 1 Corinthians today, so I figured I would send a few scriptures that I read and liked (yes, including verse 11)

1 Cor. Chapter 1, verses 3-6, 9:

 3 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and fromthe Lord Jesus Christ.
 4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of Godwhich is given you by Jesus Christ;
 5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, andin all knowledge;
 6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:

 9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of  his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

 The great things about Cmabodia is that you find random litters of new born puppies all over the place, including your neighborhood sugar cane juice lady.

Aaaand the people are so nice that they just let you grab one and take a picture.

                      Sister Soun sent me a birthday present and letter and I almost cried it was so cute.

My usual attire. Usual company.

                       BONG SOKHA!!!!!!! (you finaLLY get to see the famous one-armed investigator).

 Her daughter Kannakaa for some reason cried every time we tried to take a picture of her and her mom, so when she was spacing out i whispered to Bong Sokha to scooch next to her and I would sneak a picture. nice try, Kannakaa.
 This one was also funny because I was taking a picture of Bong Sokha and her son, and Kannakaa thought she was safe behind the door, but I dont think she realized that we can see right through and that she was in the picture too. Family photo!!!!

KHMER HYMNBOOKS!!!!!!!! One of the happiest days of my mission. Its been my whole language study for the past 7 days.

Monday, January 19, 2015


So Sister Harris may be gone, but now we've got Sister Spangler in the house and thats a delight. She is from Sister Harris' group so its like, the next best thing. Sister Spangler is the one who appreciates my obsession with Instagram and ...............................

this is one of those times where I have to interrupt myself. So, I'm currently in the Internet Cafe and there is a loud Tv right in range of sight. I do my best to avoid it (as always), but this one particular commercial simply could not be ignored: Cambodia's Got Talent. Its a real thing. Tell your friends.

So. Sister Spangler. Anyway, the point is, while Sister Matthews was teaching English Class this week, Sister Spangler and I were busy being really unhelpful. Heres the problem: they recently revamped the English class lessons to be more modern and helpful to the students, and this past week's topic was "the Internet." So while Sister Matthews was following the lesson plan and doing what she was supposed to do, Sister Spangler nudged me and was like, "we should teach them about hashtags." Now, we all know my hashtag skills are a little rusty, but I did my best. I ran up there and drew a hashtag sign and I was like, do you guys know what this is?! And a few of them yelled out "number! sign for number!" and I was like, "NO. this is called a hashtag." I briefly explained the many uses for a hashtag, and then I just went down the list for examples, with Sister Spangler calling some stuff out too. "hashtag friends! hashtag so fun! hashtag we love hashtags!" I think it was pretty useless because they seemed really confused (hey now, think back to the days when you had to learn what a hashtag was).  Then, when I sat back down, this one really smart girl in the class started talking to us about the different electronic communication methods she uses and Sister Spangler and I asked her if she used Instagram. She said no and both of us were should get instagram. Then her friend sitting next to her opened up her instagram account and requested to follow sister spangler and I. It was a hoot. 
You guys should know that the whole point of english class is to get referrals for people who also want to learn about the church, so when we had our "after-english class-meeting" Elder neuberger asked if anybody had gotten any referrals and Sister Spangler and I were like, "No referrals, Elder, but we DID get two new followers on Instagram so I would say it was a success." 

All joking aside, I was assigned to give the spiritual thought at the end of English class, and we had about 20 new students show up that I had never seen before. So I was going to share a thought on gratitude, but I ended up changing my mind at the last minute to talk about prayer and getting to know God, essentially, because there were SO many new people who probably didnt know much at all. So i talked a little bit about prayer, shared a story that a member had shared with me a few days earlier about when she prayed for the first time and God answered her much needed plea, and closed it up. Pretty simple. Then at the end, we announced that anyone who wanted to learn more about our church should read the Book of Mormon and that we had free copies at the front. We gave away like 20 copies!! It was crazy! Granted, they're Cambodian, so its not like they are opposed to our church or anything. they most likely didnt even know what they were taking they just figured, might as well, since its free. But it was super cool anyway. They were all way stoked to get a copy. So hopefully they all come back!

Speaking of Sister Spangler, I got to go on an exchange with her this week in my area and it was super fun! She is already a great missionary. We took some selfies, taught some lessons, ate some sandwiches from our sandwich lady, and found a new sugar cane person, so overall it was a very productive day.

Also, on that day we taught Bong Sokha about tithing and she was totally up for it! She ahd learned a little bit about it in relief society already so she understood pretty well. But she is like......SO POOR. So at a certain point I asked her, "Bong, do you believe that if you pay your tithing that God will help you and your family have everything you need?"  And she goes, "Well, I'm not sure yet. We'll have to wait and see when I pay my tithing next month."  Done deal. 

Also, I had a lesson with her last week with Sister Mathews where we decided to just take some time to read the Book of Mormon with her. After we had been teaching her for about a month she told us that she had read all the way to Alma, which for Cambodians is UNHEARD OF. I feel so bad about it, but I almost didnt believe her because she said she couldnt remember where she stopped. But when I taught her with Sister Mathews I got my answer. We wanted to pick up where she left off, but she wasnt sure where she had stopped. But she was telling us about the family relations and how the generations work in the Book of Mormon and then I was looking for Jarom which is like the tiniest and most overlooked book in probably the whole Book of Mormon and Bong Sokha yelled out while I was flipping pages, "No youve gone to far! Jarom is back that way, its after Enos!"  And I was like....I dont even know where Jarom is, and she knows exactly. I was floored. Then after we read, we were saying a clsoing prayer and her little 5-year-old daughter Kannakaa is CRAZY. always running around, never sitting still and giving Bong Sokha a whole lot of grief. Anyway, during the prayer, I heard some moving around and felt Kannakaa climbing around and I peeked my eyes open and saw that kannakaa had seen that we were praying, and immediately climbed into Bong Sokha's lap and closed her eyes and folded her hands. Calm as a cucumber. It seriously made me want to cry. So anyway, after the last few months of sheer bliss, Bong Sokha should be getting baptized this Sunday. 

The other thing that made me want to cry this week: Finding Om Som An. It's this really long story that goes all the way back to Tuolkork. No joke. When I was in Tuolkork there was this one CBR for an old member and nobody knew where she was, and I'm sorry to say, I just didnt put that much effort into finding her. I just put the CBR aside and went to find other people. But the picture that was on that CBR stuck in my mind. I never forgot about it. And halfway through the whitewashing of Steunmeanchey, a solid 8 months later, the elders in our branch here in SMC gave us that very CBR. I was like, "Where did you get this?!" Freakin out because I totally remembered it. I read the comments and some other missionary had apparently found a way to contact this woman's daughter, and had written her phone number on the CBR. So I called the daughter and she told me that her mom had moved to live with her in our area, in a place near Wat Ceeng Aek. Which Sister Mathews and I later found out is like forever away. So we went all the way there, and when we got to the wat I called her again and was like, okay we're here but we dont know where your house is. (just be aware that i am shortening this story by MILES for you guys.) So five minutes later, I see this old, hunched over woman in a purple shirt, riding a bike and looking around all confused and honestly a little annoyed. It had been a few years since she got baptized so she looked much older than her picture but I KNEW it was her. I literally RAN from the wat entrance to go meet her and was waving like a maniac yelling "OM! OM!"  and I ran up and grabbed her arm and was like "We're here! the sisters are here! thank you so much for coming to get us!" As soon as she saw me running her face totally opened up and broke out into this huge smile (moment #1 for this story when I almsot started crying). Then she turned her bike around and we followed her down a couple dirt roads to her house where we met her daughter and granddaughter. The first thing she did when we got there was she sat us down, got us some cold water, and came back with a plastic back and sat down in front of us. After some small talk, I hesitantly asked if she still prayed, read her scriptures, etc, and her daughter answered for her and was like " Oh she reads all the time!" and Om Som An was like "Yeah, I read all the time!" and then whipped out the plastic bag which had like 3 copies of the Book of Mormon and the bible and she was like, "I would never forget Sisters. Jesus Christ is the greatest of them all. I would never forget." (moment #2 when I almost started crying). Anywho, they were super happy to see us because she had moved, nobody knew about her, and she probably felt like everyone in the church had forgotten about her. Long story short, I found a 7-year old CBR for a lost member with no map which had been haunting me for pretty much my entire mission and follwoed me all the way to Steungmeanchey. Finding lost sheep. My favorite activity. 

Also, this week I realized that Elder Kim and I have been serving together for what will be half of my mission by the time I'm done. # transfers in Battambang, and then we transferred to Steungmeanchey together and did 3 transfers here too. he was kind of a punk when he started (aka I first met him when he was still in his training) but now he's my district leader (weird) and he's a great missionary. We have a few inside jokes, tend to make weird faces at each other at inappropriate times (like in our meetings with the bishop or while Sister Matthews and I are teaching Ming Rani) and he always makes me laugh when he speaks english. So overall, its been a good run with Elder Kim. I figured since he was in the same branch as me for 6 transfers in a row I might as well give him a shout out. 

Also, this week, Sister Matthews and I got the weirdest referral. Good old Elder Plothow, who transferred up to Siem Reap a few weeks ago, called us and told us he had a referral. He was like, "Okay Sister Davis, you're gonna go over the Steungmeanchey bridge...*pause*....then take the very first right, dont go past the wat!.....*pause.....*some muffled talking*.....then take a right......*whispers*......then the first left.........*pause*........then the first right......."  
In case you guys were wondering, this is NOT how a normal contact goes. Usually its just, heres the number, give em a call and see if they'll learn with you. So I was like, "Elder Plothow, what kind of contact are you giving me? How do you even know these turns in my area?"  And he was like, " companion elder Cao just started his mission and his girlfriend lives in Steungmeanchey and he really wants her to learn so he wants you to go to her house and figure out if she will learn with you but he doesn't want her to know that he was the one who sent you guys."  And if it weren't for the fact that I was so touched by Elder Cao's story, I would have been like, "this is ridiculous"  and hung up. But Dangit! Sister Matthews and I tried our darndest! It took a few more calls to elder plothow to get the directions straight and some walking down random alleyways and INCREDIBLY creepy contacting aka "Do you want to learn english? Or do you know anyone with the age of 22 who has five or six brothers and sisters that lives near here that wants to learn English?"  (Elder Cao didnt allow us to ask her name because he thought it would blow our cover). In case you were wondering, we didnt find her. Everyone there insisted that there was no one of that age nearby but Sister Mathews and I are determined to go back and give it another shot. We cant let Elder Cao down!

So those are all of my cool stories for the week. Next Monday I'm taking my Siem Reaptrip with Sister Litchfield. I can't believe I am actually at that point in my mission. So I'll email in the morning like usual and then be gone monday and tuesday when I'll get to go to Angkor Wat and ride elephants and all that cool stuff. And spending a lot of money on souvenirs for you guys. Get excited. 
It was a really good week! I'm really loving Steungmeanchey despite some of the harder/more annoying and disappointing things. I hope I get to finish my mission here! Pray for that! I'll be praying for you guys too. Love you all very much! Have a great week!

Love, Sister Davis

Sister Spangler's cleaning checklist for us all. Its on the back of a laminated mission house cleaning checklist that nobody actually follows and that you are most likely to find covered in dust behind the stove top. Things get a little messy in our house (believe it or not....not my fault) so some of us kind of lost patience with the state of messiness. I appreciate her candor.
Sidenote: I do not actually remember what the word "candor" means but I'm pretty sure it works in that sentence.

 This is why we dont go eating at sketchy underground Khmer restaurants. Because we find miniature fishheads in food where miniature fishheads do not belong. 

 point is, Sister Spangler made me eat it and it was way crunchier than you guys want to know.

 A random candid Sister Spangler took of me on our exchange. Not sure what I'm doing, but it was on her camera so I had to send to to you guys to make sure I have it.

Om Sam An and her daughter!!!!! Not even kidding, this was one of the best moments of my whole mission. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Soymilk: Round 2

I hit my low point this week when it came to sugar cane juice. I not only devised a very well thought out plan as to how I am going to obtain a sugar cane pressing machine in America AND the accompanying sugar cane stalks (question: do they grow sugar cane in America besides Hawaii? Like in Florida? Or am I gonna have to import it from other countries?) BUT i also bought a special sugar cane peeling knife that cost me five dollars. Aka the cost of 5 Cambodian meals. (Im gonna starve in America just because all food is too expensive). Anywho, the lady who sold it to me thought I was nuts, for sure. 

There really isn't much to report for this week, in the way of weird or funny situations. We got more lessons this week than I've ever had since I've been in SMC (which was still a pretty low number) but I was pretty pleased with it. Other than that, pretty normal lessons. 

Actually I Do have a funny sotry unrelated to me in every aspect. I am sitting next to sister Harris right now:

​Real time selfie!!! I see her all the time, its no big deal.
And no......the date is not December 31, 2037..............AGAIN #ihatemycamera

Okay, so we're sitting here together and Sister Harris and I were reminiscing about Om Im's soymilk days and Sister Harris told me the funniest story. In her own words:

"So, in my house theres a huge skylight aka a HUGE hole in the ceiling that peers into the attic. its way creepy. Like you can see right into this abandoned attic. Anyway, the other day I ate something sketchy and so I was spending a lot of time in the bathroom, and as I sat there in my misery, I looked up to stare into the abyss and there, in the hole in the ceiling was a CAT just peering on in! It was the scariest thing ever! just two huge eyes STARING at me!" 

Anyway, I died laughing when she told me that. So, when life gets you down, play Sister Harris'favorite game "It could be worse" as in....It could be could have a stray cat staring at you while you're going to the bathroom.

Speaking of It could be worse, Sister Harris wrote me a letter before we parted ways and signed off with this little message:  "It could be worse.....we could still be teaching Ming Rani"

Which brings me to my next point: We are teaching Min Rani again. She went to church last week, and as we promised, if she came to church we would start teaching her. So we went and decided to teach her about baptism, since she had previously learned all the lessons, and specifically talking about baptism by the proper authority, since she is a member of another Christian church. Here's the crazy thing: this woman is FULL of contradictions.  she CLAIMS that she believes our church is the true church, but she does not believe she needs to be baptized into it. She CLAIMS that she believes the Book of Mormon is the word of god, but she refuses to read it because its the exact same as the Bible so she only reads the Bible. So...we're struggling. We are also struggling because she is STILL way offended about the wat situation I told you about ages ago, AND she is offended with another member....that one member being Om Im. When I heard about her issue with Om Im I almost jumped out of my chair to defend my favorite Cambodian grandma. It was seriously the dumbest thing ever. People here get so easily offended, and I do NOT know how to combat it. Anyway, we are planning on seeing Ming Rani again today and going through the lessons again start to finish to make sure she understands clearly. its gonna be a doozy.

here's one thing Sister Matthews and I have discussed, particularly surrounding Ming Rani. We think that most people we teach assume we are really........not smart (censoring myself there). Because we dont speak their language as well, and we probably have a funny accent and we are "slow of speech" to quote the BoM, they assume that we are unintelligent individuals. here's the deal. Do i know everything? Not in the slightest. But I KNOW what Ming Rani is trying to pull. She makes a lot of excuses and thinks that I am not smart enough to know that she's lying to us. So we committed her to read the Book of Mormon every day and she was like, "oh, sisters I would but I cant read the small print." and I was like, well what if we got copied for you in big print. they've got them at the mission home." and she started laughing and weas like.....oh i see what your getting at sisters. It was this moment that Im not sure I can describe in words, but its like she knows what shes trying to do, I know what shes trying to do, and now SHE knows that I know what shes trying to pull.....and its not working. She is a toughie, thats all I have to say. But Sister Matthews and I are going into the lesson tonight with our ENLGISH Bibles, so you know we are planning on an intense lesson here.

We also had a woman come to church named Ming Khan who had learned with our missioanries about two years ago and never got baptized. But she has come back to Phnom Penh and walked right into the church building on her own and was like, I learned before, I'm here to worship God. And we were like...........................k. So we tried to follow her home after church so we could find out where her house is and she was on a moto but the guy driving the moto got ticked about something halfway along the road and started speeding off and we totally lost em. It was SO FRUSTRATING because we are going to have to do it again next week (and because we're pretty sure she lives in Narnia)  BUT its worth it because she is basically ready to be baptized and has already come to church twice in a row, all three hours. She is super sweet. 

Anyway, one lesson I learned this week while teaching. It was one of those moments where I realized my own testimony is stronger than I give it credit for. We were teaching a VERY inactive former missionary, a woman named Lalin. She makes up a ton of excuses as to why she cant come to church, and honestly, teaching her has always been discouraging for me. BUT this last lessons, Sister Matthews and I went in to teach her about temples (sidenote: teaching returned missionaries is always awkward because im like.....I know you know this. In fact, you taught it, And you taught it better than I can because its your own language! But an unfortunate coincidence is that the less-active rate for returned missionaries in Cambodia is SKY HIGH.)  So we taught her about the importance of families in the church and the happiness and blessings our family can receive from going to the temple together. And for the first time since I;ve started teaching her, she was real with me for a second and she was like, "Sister, I just feel like its hopeless. I dont think we'll ever get to go." And I just felt SO SAD. So I looked her right in the eye and said, "I KNOW Heavenly Father will help you go to the temple if you prepare yourself first. If you make the steps to go to church and be worthy, then He will help your family get there. That is His promise. And I know its hard. there arent many temples in Asia and you cant afford to go. But I KNOW that Cambodia will have a temple one day. And when it happens, I will be so happy for all of you." and you know what? I do know it! I know that God loves all of His children, especially the ones in Cambodia, and that He is waiting for the day when He can prepare a temple for them here. I can't wait for that day. I know that the temple brings innumerable blessings to our lives. I know it blesses families. And I know that God wants every single person to have the opportunity to go. I love the temple!!!! And I love Cambodians and I KNOW that they will have those blessings too one day. 

Anyway, thats all for this week. Im sorry not much exciting happened, but just know that things are pretty normal. I miss you all and love you a lot. have a great week!

Love, SIster Davis

                            Some neighborhood kids. I think that one in the black pants is firebending.

This is the stuff our sandwich lady sells. Some cambodians riding their moto by shouted that we were some Americans taking pictures of Khmer food because we dont understand it. they probably thought I was instagramming it.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Lookyiay Davis

For those of you who don't speak Khmer (........) Lookyiay means "grandma." Which is what I am now, at age 21. Sister Harris made me a birthday card before she got transferred out (I'm still crying about it) and it had a old lady stick figure with a hunched over back and a cambodian scarf tied around the neck like a cape with an arrow pointing to it that said, "Lookyiay Davis." That Sister Harris. Such a doll.

So here's how my birthday went: I woke up, studied, went to church, sat through 3 hours, filled out the slip for my fast offering (because yes, I was fasting on my birthday, MISSIONS ARE ABOUT SACRFICES, RIGHT?!) asked Elder Neuberger what the date was, and he responded with "uhhhh....the fourth." And I was like.........oh yeah. Its my birthday. And Elder Neuberger goes, "Its your birthday?!?!?! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!" And I was like, "I know I just found out too!!" And then i yelled at Sister Matthews for not reminding me. Then, on the way home, My bike broke down, our power was out, I ate some Cocoa Pebbles, and our bishop ended up cancelling our meeting. And then three more times I forgot it was my birthday. 

That probably sounded like a complaint. It actually was not. In reality, It's just to make a point that my birthday kind of didnt really happen, the same as last year, and I'm convinced that I am not 21, nor 20. I'm actually still 19 and I expect you to still treat me that way. Thank you, that is all. 

So yesterday, we had a VERY inactive family come back to church twice in a row! It was really exciting. It was the mom of one of our recent converts, Srei Nic. She is twelve and her mom hasnt been to church since they got baptized years ago. Her brother is the only other active one. Its kind of a miracle because when we first got here, her mom kinda hated us. She was NOT thrilled to see us show up at her door. but we started serving her, helping her cut her clothes and just chatting with her to get to know her, and now she'll be like, "Why havent I seen you in four days sisters?!?!" She even is going to cut a sick pair of shorts for SIster Harris and I. Anyway, she has come to church twice in a row now and I was BEAMING. It made the day good. 
Also, our CRAZY "investigator" who wont let the wat problem go came to church we'll see how that goes. It was cool, but she was being her crazy self. Shes really nice to us though so I'll take it. 
Om Im stood up to talk and bear her testimony and had the whole congregation cracking up, of course. OH WAIT THIS IS THE BET STORY EVER. So Om Im is Sister Harris'favorite member, hands down. So when Sister Harris went to tell Om Im that she would be leaving and going to Toultompung, Om Im was like "OH I'm gonna miss you so much! Can I give you some soap before you leave?" I immediately started laughing and asked Sister Harris if she understood what Om was saying and she shook her head and I was like, "She wants to give you soap as a parting gift." Sister Harris was delighted and thought it was the nicest/funniest thing ever. Om Im kept on going on and on: "We are going to separate from each other, I want to give you some soap to wash your body because we will never see each other again...." it was too good. But it gets better. She waddles into her house to get this huge bottle of SKIN WHITENING soap, and hands it to sister harris, and I started taking pictures because as she is giving Sister Harris the soap she starts pronouncing blessings upon her, like "God bless you, safety on your way, have good health..." So im trying to get a picture of the handoff and Om Im saw me trying to do it all secretly and SHE WAS LIVING IT UP. Smiling for the camera, posing to make sure I got it right, she held that position for like 5 minutes to make sure i got the picture. And sister harris was of course dying of laughter. It was one of the funniest Om Im moments yet. 

On that note, you guys should know that I have SO MANY pictures for you this week, so sorry about that. Just hold your horses.

So anyway, transfers. Our house is wayyyy quiet now. We used to have 6 sisters, which mostly meant that the dishes were never clean and Sister Young spent a lot of time in our room building houses of cards (dont worry, they werent real cards. Church pass along cards. #missionaries).  President Moon took sisters out of third branch, so both Sister Young and Sister Ray are gone. (Sister young went to my old branch in Battambang! And Sister Ray went to Siem Reap, and you should all know, I legit cried when she left because heaven only knows if I will ever see her again in my whole life because i will finish my mission before she leaves Siem Reap. It was rough. She is my favorite person ever.) So now Its just me and Sister Matthews, and Sister Nov's new comp is Sister Spangler, who is Sister Harris'favorite person from the MTC. Its......really quiet. BUT SUPER CLEAN. Im happy about that. In our branch, we also have two sets of elders. Elder Kim and Elder Neuberger were companions, but they split from each other and are both training now. Both training Americans. We have a half-Tongan guy (classic) named Elder Uhey. And the other elders name is Elder Allred. And he is actually the nephew of Brother and Sister Alvord from the NC ward! He literally jumped six feet in the air and may as well have clicked his heels when he asked me where I was from and found out that I know them. He's a fun guy. So yep, small world stories. The funniest things ever was when I asked Elder Kim, "how is your trainee?" And he responded with "HE IS SO BIG!!!" This conversation was in Khmer so that made it way funnier when this happened: Elder Kim said "koat mian brolung" and I was like, I dont know what that means and he goes...."It mean like choooby."  choooby=chubby in Elder Kim language. Sister Matthews and I about died laughing, not because he was calling his companion fat but because of the way he speaks English. There is nothing funnier than Elder Kim speaking English. 

Anyway, we also had a cool lesson with a recent convert Sinaa. Sometimes Sinaa can get a little depressed and has some emotional issues and so Sister Matthews and I decided to do a lesson on fasting so she could learn to fast when she needs a little extra help. And plus, it was the day before fast sunday so it worked out really well. We taught her the principle, which she obviously had learned before at some point with the missionaries that taught her but i guess had forgotten it. So we retaught her all the reasons you can fast and some personal experiences with it and she was SO down for it. She was like, well I cant start today but is it okay if i start tomorrow? And we were like yeah! go for it! She was just super stoked to give it a shot. Anyway, we got to the end of the lesson  and we were like okay, so do you have any questions or anything you are wondering about or want to share? And she goes "No...its just.....I'M HUNGRY!!!" Sister Matthews and I were cracking up. But other than that, a really good lesson. 

So, SIster Matthews is working on getting the hang of 2nd branch. Its about 15 times the size of her old branch and its all traffic and construction and her bike is already awful so the travelling has taken a toll on her, but other than that she seems to be doing well. Hopefully we'll have some more stories for you next week. Before I sign out, I do want to share one more SIster Harris story (the first Pday after transfers is that awkward time when the majority of the last week was spent with your old companion, so even though Sister Harris is no longer with us [RIP] most of my stories in this email have revolved around her).
So companionship study one morning, Sister Harris shared a thought she had about a talk that President Uchtdorf gave that talked about "the language of love" which is essentially the univeresal language of showing Christlike love for others, instead of using words. So Sister Harris was talking about how its hard for her when she doesnt understand everyone and cant say everything she wants to, and let me be honest, that is my life too. No matter how long I'm here, there is always sometimes a language barrier I just cant seem to get past. Anyway, Sister Harris said this: "Maybe the reason we were sent to this country to learn this completely useless language (sorry Khmer) is because God really wants us to learn the language of love. Maybe if we were speaking English, we wouldn't learn it as well." And you know what? She's right. I bet the people who understand the language of love a little better get sent to their own country. For people like me, who need a little more help with that, we were sent to a place where we would have to rely on other means of communication when words are not good enough. Reason #643 I got sent to Cambodia. They are coming out of the woodwork every day.

Anyway, I hope everyone has had a great week. I love you all a lot and miss you too. Keep on working hard! 

Love, Sister Davis

 Sister Harris got some hot chocolate sent to her. It was almost like real winter, if I werent sweating. 

                                                                         The good ol'days

                                              of course Sister Litchfield gets her christmas spotlight.

 Sister HArris snapped this candid of me and sister ray when we were in a tuk tuk. me always having a mask on and being bothered by the dust is one of sister harris' greatest evidences that i have turned into a khmer.

Sister Ray, Sister Young, Sister Harris and I all sort of became one big quad by the end of our steungmeanchey adventures. Heres a great story. So last week, on pday i mentioned that my and sister harris'bikes fell apart. So Sister Ray and Sister Young wanted to take a tuk tuk home with us, but no tuk tuk guy wanted to strap four bikes onto his car, so in true Sister Harris/ Sister Davis style, we convinced Sister Ray and Sister Young to "tow"us home. But Sister Ray is the size of a baby bird (with the strength of one too) Sos Sister Harris towed her and Sister Young towed me......from the mission home allllll the weay back to Steungmean chey. You dont know how far or crazy that is...but trust me, it is. It was a crack up the whole way. We almost died. (towing is harder than it seems). But we finally made it back and from then on called ourselves "the biker gang." and this is our biker gang pic. 
 And this is us not being able to handle the serious biker gang pose

 Someone finally snapped a pic of me towing sister harris, so now you know what im talking about. 
weaving through PP traffic like that.
 While Sister Harris and I were holding the english class sign, a random man came up to us, gave us free sugar cane juice and asked to join our english class. In america, I never would have accepted it for fear of roofies. In Cambodia......well lets just say it was delicious sugar cane juice. And he totally came!!!

 Okay this picture legitimately looks photoshopped. But its not i swear!!  If i wanted to photoshop it i would have made myself look better, trust me. 
                                    Bong Combei from Tuolkork found me at the mission home! 

 Also mei and mian are leaving SMC to go back to toulkork, leaving me in a trail of tears. Those girls are some of my favorite members.
This is our sandwich girl (dont ask).

                             me and my dearest Sister Ray (i subsequently bawled my eyes out). 

okay now for the birthday pics. The thursday before transfers, Sister Harris, Sister Young and Sister Ray did some fun birthday stuff for me. Yes momy, I got your cake and it was delicious. Sister Ray ate it for breakfast too haha.

 Presents included: A LARGE cup of sugar cane juice, a mask, a carton of mangosteen juice, a bueno bar, and a bunch of random, creepy eyed pandas they found at a japanese recycling store. Which I afterwards through away because they probably had lice (they were all like, "yeah, we were surprised you didnt do it sooner.")
                                          more tuk tuk adventures with Sister Ray and Sister Harris