Monday, February 2, 2015

Face wash is not a social circle

So, now I officially know why missionaries don't take vacations. Because I went to Siem Reap with Sister Litchfield for 2 days and the first day back was some hardcore whiplash from taking a long proselyting break. We basically just talked for 42 hours straight, got no sleep because the sisters in Siem Reap didn't know we were coming, and just basically didn't do missionary things. It was very odd. But worth it. I KNOW I KNOW you're all wondering..........Yes, I did get to ride an elephant. And don''t worry I've got enough pictures to last you until the end of my mission. 

So here's how the Siem Reap trip went:
We took a 9-hour bus ride to Siem Reap where Sister Litchfield and I shared ice cream bars, talked about squatty-potty quality, took mirror selfies and chatted til our throats were sore. The only thing that made it AWFUL was because some FOOL thought it would be a good idea to bring an open package of Durian onto the bus. AKA a closed, un-venitlated area filled with 40 other people. For those of you who don't know, Durian is an absolutely DISGUSTING asian fruit that smells incredibly strong and I swear to you is filled with toxic fumes. I would cover my nose with my scarf and it still couldn't block out the smell. I seriously thought I was gonna pass out. When I finally complained about it, Sister Litchfield goes, "Yeah, that person deserves to be executed." So that was good.
Then we got to Siem Reap and for our restful night, we got thin mats, no sheets, no pillows. Essentially we were like dogs sleeping on the welcome mat, according to Sister Litchfield. I will give her her credit though. Her mat was even thinner than mine, so she was basically sleeping on a tile floor. I woke up in the middle of the night (during the only 20 mins of sleep i actually got) and found that she had wrapped the mat around her and she was sleeping in it like a giant burrito because she was cold and had no sheets. What a trooper.

Then we woke up at 4:30 am to get to Angkor Wat in time to see the sunrise. Apparently the sunrise at Angkor wat is AWESOME but the day that we went was super cloudy. Still pretty, but nothing amazing. Anyway, it was still good because we got inside the wat at like 6 am and nobody is there that early so it wasnt crowded at all. Really cool. We went to three different wats (Angkor wat is the big, famous one, but there are a ton of smaller wats surrounding the area for miles.) We went to Bayon, across a river where they have the elephants, and another small temple called.....Tam Prol? I cant remember honestly. That one is famous for the giant trees that are growing inside the wat. Then we bought a few things, ate some lunch and went home. On the bus ride home, there was a group of maybe five khmer people sitting around us and they were talking about us the whole time but Sister Litchfield and I couldnt care less because we were having our own conversation. Until the end where sister litchfield asked me to subtly listen to what they were saying because she was curious (and a vietnamese speaker, so she actually couldnt understand everything) and when I tried to quiet down to listen in, a lady behind us was like "Stop gossiping them! Stop gossiping them! they might speak khmer!" (she said that in khmer obviously). And then a guy was like, they're french, they don't know khmer! and then I was like, yes i do. And they all went "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH" and started laughing because hey, they've been on a bus for eight hours with two white people who could understand what they were saying the whole time. (including the parts when they were observing our conversation and making fun of our hand movements, over-the-top reactions, and constant laughter). It was way funny, Sister Litchfield and I were dying. this is probably the only country in the world where that would be a funny situation instead of an awkward one.

I would say my favorite parts of the trip were when Sister Litchfield was taking pictures of me on the elephant (which i will explain later), seeing two drunk British men staggering/swaying their way into the wat and having Sister Litchfield say to me, "Those are your people, Sister Davis." and when Sister Litchfield told me I have the humor of Ricky Gervais. We had some really good conversations.

Anywho, this week I took sister mathews out to that one less-active member who lives an hour and a half away. This time, I reallt thought I was gonna pass out by the time we got back to the church. While we were out there, we went to visit another member who actually just recently moved from Trash Mountain in 3rd branch to this random place called "Smile Village" in our branch, in the same area as the super far away member. her name is Bong Siam, and she was already pretty less-active, but now she is super far away from the church with no moto or bike to get herself their. And she has started sending her kids to the wat to learn with the monks because they have no other schools near there. (This place is WAY out of the city). Anyway, the reason I tell you we went to visit her is because I sat down on the floor in a hand-me-down outfit that Sister Homer gave me bfore she left, looked at the wall and what did I find? A picture of dear Sister Homer with this lady's family. In this woman's house. Wearing the exact same outfit. Kind of random, but it made me laugh. That family LOVES Sister Homer. 

Another thing, we went to visit Bong Sokha this past week, as our newest recent convert. She is still FANTASTIC. We got to her house and asked if she was still reading and praying, etc, the usual, and she responded with "Well, I finished it a while ago, so I started reading again. I'm back somewhere in Mosiah." SHE'S SO GOOD. I cant even tell you how rare that is here. I'm lucky if I can get an investigator (or members for that matter) to read just one verse in the scriptures per day, let alone finish the whole book in 2 months. Also, while we were teaching her, we were explaining the fact that shes a member now so we'll reteach her the lessons and continue visiting her and she was like, "Thats good, because I still want to learn more. I'm not done learning. I just want to keep on learning!" Like, I dont even know where she came from. She's so good.

Also, that less-active member Izabel came back FOR THE SECOND WEEK IN A ROW. She is seriously the sweetest. I'm so glad she's coming back. 
And I went on an exchange this week with Sister Nov and she came into my area. And we had an AWESOME day. We got two new investigators, one of them came to church (and also started crying when she said her first prayer for us) and the other one is a former Christian. She still goes to her old church which is why she didnt have time to come to ours yesterday, but shes very knowledgeable and a good listener and I'm excited to keep working with her. Overall, a really good day. Seven lessons that day, so not bad at all. 

Anyway, thats kind of all I can think of. After getting back from Siem Reap there wasn't too much exciting stuff going on. So sorry about that. The only things I can think of are stories like when Elder Lauritzen immitated what his Khmer accent would sound like if he were speaking english and I was crying I laughed so hard. But thats one of those stories thats really only funny to me. Sooooo, yeah. again, sorry. 

But hey, to close off the email, I've got a ton of pictures, and a nice little quote from Sister Litchfield. So you should know that in our mission, we have this thing called a "Mission Vision" which has motivational sayings and scriptures to guide the work that we do on a daily basis. One of them is: "Obedience brings blessings, Exact obedience brings miracles." Good one right? Its like, OBEDIENCE. the difference between starting studies at 7:00 and starting at 7:04. And I'm totally down for it. You guys all know, one of the greatest things I've gotten out of my mission is an appreciation for being obedient, following the rules and guidelines, and just plain DOING WHAT YOU'RE ASKED. It makes you so much happier when you do. I have a sincere testimony of that. I wasn't fully happy on my mission until I learned how to be really, 100% obedient (well, thats impossible, but trying as hard as i could to be obedient) and working as hard as I could, too. So, in case you need any more convincing, here's what Sister Litchfield says:

"Obedience brings blessings. Disobedience brings diarrhea." And in Cambodia, she couldn't be more right. 
THE POINT IS...........just do what you're asked. Learn to love the commandments, and the God who gave them to you. Its the BEST way to be happy, when we are living in accordance to the principles that Jesus Christ himself taught. Why wouldn't we want to do what he did?!?!?

I love you guys very much, and hope you are having a great time back in America (or wherever you are). Keep up the good work! I'll see you all soon!

Love, Sister Davis

So....I borrowed Elder Asay's "Selfie stick".  its a real thing. And apparently neither myself nor sister litchfield knows how to use it. It is way hard! so in case you were wondering, that explains the lack of pictures of the two of us and one really bad selfies to show just how bad we are at it.
Nailed it.

almost there.....

Cambodians never smile in photos. Why should I???

Okay so theres a reason I was laughing hysterically throughout this whole trip. Sister Litchfield went to Siem Reap in a former life, so she didn't want to ride the elephant that badly. So I was like, ok, then you stay on the ground and take pictures for me. So I got on the elephant and it started walking around and Sister Litchfield all of a sudden becomes terrified of this huge hulking animal lunging towards her, so shes having a minor panic attack, while at the same time stumbling backwards and taking pictures of me. So shes just like, "Okay, here we go, good stuff, okay, dont kill me." and she kept on tripping over herself , nearly dying, running around trying to keep up with the was a sight to see. Only a really good friend would suffer like that for me. 

                                                     Thanks for the butt shot, Sister Litchfield.

 Also, I know its a little disappointing, I wasn't actually ON the elephant, but I have connections, so one day when I'm not a missionary.....I'm goin back.
also, dont worry, i got a nice few shots of the korean and chinese tourists while i was there too. they are just as annoying and funny as the internet makes fun of.

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