This week while we were holding the English class sign, a woman came up to talk to me and Sister Mathews about our class (she didnt know we spoke any Khmer because she was one of those people that demanded to speak in English to show off how much she knows) and as she drove away on her moto she yelled out, "WELCOME TO CAMBODIA." thoughts: 1) I have never had someone say "Welcome to Cambodia"to me on my whole mission. I feel like that was a bit of a delayed welcome party. 2) I feel like it was a really nice, ironic thing to happen to me at the commencement of my last transfer in Cambodia where I have been living for A YEAR AND A HALF. She didnt know that though so i just decided to say thanks and wave goodbye.
Also, yesterday in church, I was leading the music as perusual, because Cambodians can't handle anything that is even slighlty related to music and also the missionaries run the branches here so they ask me to lead every single week (add that to my list of things my mission has taught me: I can now lead music. Badly, but I can do it. Before my mission, I was of the variety of people who just sign their name in the air when they dont know how to lead). Anywho, I tried to move up the music stand and literally broke it in half. The whole top just popped right off, leaving me holding the tray and there I was, standing in front of the whole congregation, caught red-handed as the culprit of who broke the music stand as Elder Neuberger continues to play the intro for "Come, Come Ye Saints." Needless to say I had a panic attack and the former bishop from Tuolkork who now lives in my SMC ward was cracking up at me from the front row.
Also, just so we're all on the same page, my crazy investigator Ming Rani is trying to forcibly adopt me. She knows I'm going home in 6 weeks so she keeps on being like, "Sister! you can stay with me! I will feed you and take such good care of you. You could get a job when you finish your mission and just stay in Cambodia forever!" And I'm like......uhhhhhhhhh you know my biological parents take pretty good care of me too. back in AMERICA. So thats an ongoing problem, but I choose to look at it as a compliment.
OH MY GOSH I ALMOST FORGOT TO TELL YOU GUYS. the best thing ever happened this transfer. Sister Nov got a last-minute transfer call to leave SMC (thats not the good part, because now I can't have her kill cockroaches for me or tell me funny phrases in Khmer) but to replace her.........PRESIDENT MOON SENT SISTER JEPSEN. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So now, I'm living in a house with Sister Jepsen and I am LOVING IT. She and I go way back. Like 4 or five months. but in mission terms, thats a long time. Its like having one of your best friends make a surprise visit. We are living it up and reminiscing about BB like no other. She's having a rough tiem adjusting to the city. As all of us who come from the provinces do. We ran into her at the church building and she is in first branch but has to bike through the worst, ugliest, grossest part of my branch to get there and she saw me and ran up to me and was like "Sister Davis, hug me. I HATE IT HERE. there are no trees! It's so ugly!" It was really sad. I had to pat her head and tell her it would be alright, even though that was a lie, because I know better than anyone that Steungmeanchey never stops being smelly and ugly.
I also almost severely offended a member into less-activity this week. hooray! Here's what i say: If you never offended a member, I don't believe that you served a mission in Cambodia. So anyway, I told this one member that we couldn't eat lunch with her, she hung up the phone on me, and it gave me such bad anxiety that I caved and ended up stuffing three large vietnamese springrolls down my throat in less than 4 minutes ( a record). Then they gave us some fanta and sent us on our way. Aaaaand they came to church tomorrowso we know its all good. This family was already super offended and less-active so it wouldnt have really been my fault, but you get the point. I have to suck up to everyone these days. (for the record, that was a very abridged version of the story).
Okay, so now to get to the good part, we had some FANTASTIC lessons this week. Srei Lay and Bong Da are doing amazing. First of all, we had two lessons with Bong Da this week. In the first one we taught the Plan of Salvation and when we were teaching her about our life on earth and the Atonement of Jesus Christ she just ran with it and basically ended up teaching herself. We segued into baptism and she just was like "OHHHHHH. So baptism is like SUPER important!!!" She even worked it out in her own head how baptism is related to the Atonement of Christ and the cleansing power of being baptized, so we can become clean from sin. At a certain point I had to be like, did we even teach you that? where did that come from? And then afterwards she goes, okay so now I have a question. What about people that didn't get the chance to learn before they died? Like my dad. Is there anything I can do to help him even though he's dead? And guys.....I started laughing. In the middle of the lesson I started laughing because i was like, "YES THERE IS!!" she just is so in tune with our lessons and so smart and accepting that I couldnt even handle it anymore, to the point where i started laughing. Then, she went on to teach her eight year old daughter what a prophet was and how God helps us through his Living Prophet, and I just about died. In the same week, we also taught her about the Doctrine of Christ, which starts with faith and usually in those lessons we ask, "Okay, so now we've taught you what faith is. What do you think is the way that we show our faith in God?" So we taught her what faith is and then Bong Da goes, "Okay so this is what faith is. But tell me Sisters, how can I SHOW my faith in God?" I couldn't even handle it. She asks our questions before we ask them and THEN ANSWERS THEM. She's so smart! I think she's awesome.
And then there was Srei Lay. Goodness gracious Srei Lay. So she is the former Christian, and from the beginning she has been very smart and willing to listen, but I could tell she wasn't accepting everythign we were teaching about baptism and the priesthood and ESPECIALLY the Book of Mormon. and thats a big one because if she doesn't have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, our teachings are going to go nowhere with her. So we planned to teach her the Doctrine of Christ, and then at a certain point, SIster Mathews and I were like....No. that is not going to help her. She knows what faith and repentance is. that is not going to increase her desire to learn with us. And so we changed the lesson plan and decided to just teach her about the Book of Mormon. So we went in and started reading from the Intro with her, and we read every paragraph. And we would stop and she would ask these awesome, in-depth, kick-butt questions and to be honest, some of them felt like they were beyond my ability to explain in Khmer. Sometimes I would look at her face and I was like....dangit. She has no idea what I'm talking about, I'm just confusing her more, and now she's never gonna believe this is true. I honestly almost gave up in the middle of the lesson. But we finished the intro, and Sister Mathews and I were bearing our testimonies of how the Book of Mormon is true and while I was talking she just held up her hand to get me to stop talking and I was like oh. okay... and she just goes, "Sisters...I just want to tell you. Last week when you were teaching me, I did not understand. You kept on reading from the Book of Mormon but I did not understand what it is or where it came from and I could not decide...is the Bible true or is the Book of Mormon true? but now......I know they are both true. I know the Book of Mormon is true, because we read this introduction." And it was like BOOM. she gets it. She knows. We committed her, closed the lesson and asked her to say a closing prayer. While she was praying I got tears in my eyes because I was just so happy and filled with light! It was one of those moments where every thought I had was so clear and everything was just so filled with the Spirit and I KNEW that everything was true. It was a big moment. And it was unforgettable. it was probably the most gratifying lesson of my entire mission, for reasons I can't even exlpain. i would have to talk about it in person to explain to you guys the full significance of this lesson. All I know is, we said goodbye to Srei Lay, she left the room, and I said to Sister Mathews, "Sorry, I just need a second." And then i turned around and just started bawling. Like i was just CRYING! I just finally felt like it was all worth it and that that lesson was just as much for me as it was for Srei Lay. that lesson was my gift from Heavenly Father, I am not even kidding. It was also weird because seriously i havent cried in so long. For a while I was joking to people that my mission has hardened me so much that i dont know how to cry anymore. So anyway, I HAD to tell you guys that because it was one of the best moments of my mission so far. Steungmeanchey is a hard area, but I have seen a few very key, very important miracles. And I am grateful for everything in this area and in this country, even the hard things, because I was able to have those few moments and miracles that have shaped my whole view of my mission.
Anyway, I think that is all for this week. How was everybody's Friday the 13th?!?!? (that matters more to me than valentines day. Sister Spangler is still cracking herself up because we celebrated "Galentines day". aka......we ate terrible Cambodian made chocolate).
I hope you all have a great week! Love you and miss you!
Love, Sister Davis
PS a fantiastic missionary scripture I found in the Bible: "Yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!" 1 Corin 9:16. My new mantra. and it should be yours too!
At English Class Activity night, the elders brought an airsoft gun as a prop and Sister Nov took it a little too seriously. i told you guys.....shes kinda scary.
I dont know if you can tell from this picture, but my map-drawing skills are superb these days.
"Arise from the dust, O Jerusalem...."