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 yesterday......so 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
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
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!!!
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