Monday, March 16, 2015

                         Pictures from Zone Conference with Elder Gong, member of the seventy.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Jorge and I

Okay for real though, let me just complain for a sec. Today we had to go to a new email place because ours was closed, so we stopped at the first internet shop we saw, and now I am stuck in a dingy, grungy place where someone apparently decided it would be a good idea to spew sweet chili sauce all over my computer booth (INCLUDING  THE KEYBOARD). So now my fingers are really sticky and every five minutes i have to use hand sanitizer to cover up the smell. Also, the "2" key on my keyboard is sketchy, so in case I have to type numbers later on in this email....dont get too confused.

Im trying to get the motivation to write this email. This very well might be the last email you guys get for the blog just because they take so much darn time and I am so darn lazy. 

So, my "Children of the World" story for the week:  So last Monday during proselyting hours, SIster Mathews and I came to a construction site in our area (no surprise there) and for some reason, the people in charge f the construction thought it would be a good idea to block off a main intersection with 15 foot high mountains of dirt and rubble. So sister mathews and i could have easily turned around, but that would have added on an unnecessary 20 minutes to our travel time so we just stood there staring at the mounds of dirt with market pedestrians crowding around us trying to direct us which way we should go. Finally, I made the executive decision to get off my bike and essentially throw it over the mountain. As i was struggling through this not-well-thought-out task, four boys of about 6 years of age with no shirts on peeked their heads over the top of the mountain and called down "We'll help you!" Climbing my own body over the dirt was sort of a crawling thing and required both my hands, so you can see how I was struggling with my bike. But one boy grabbed my front tire and pulled it towards him and then each of his friends grabbed a part of my bike and they lifted it over the top of the mound, calling out directions to each other with me at the tail end holding onto the back tire. I slid myself down the other side of the mountain and then they went back to help Sister Mathews. I was just smiling through the whole ordeal. Once we got our bikes on the ground I told the boys, "If I had candy I would give you some! But I dont have any, sorry. Thank you so much!"  And they just waved goodbye as we rode off. I Cambodia. and Cambodians. And little seemingly insignificant moments that I will always smile about for the rest of my life.

Also, Sister Jepsen totally thvee baabed me this week. (im sick of not speaking Khmer in these emails. Sometimes its just easier.) Our power went out and the landlady was over at our house trying to fix the situation, and Sister Jepsen started a conversation with her about Cambodian music, and then we parted ways. Well, wouldnt you know it, the landlady didnt forget. So she called the nearest sister to come meet her outside the gate of our house to give lyrics to her favorite cambodian song. Well, I was the lucky winner and so I went out to meet her, and instead of just handing me the lyrics she started serenading me and trying to teach me how to sing (lesson: Cambodian music DOES NOT mean american music with Cambodian lyrics. It means weirdo ancient asian tonal songs....that I am not capable of singing well, but im really good at making fun of). She literally didnt stop singing for ten minutes and then she was like "okay got it? your turn!"  And I mumbled some random words trying to read her chicken scrawl and also failing at the tune of the song and she was like "okay you dont know it yet. listen again."  ROUND 2. I finally got back inside and threw the paper at sister jepsen who was like "she sang for you?! Dangit I wish I had been there! Do you think she'll sing again for me?"  So i went to wash my dishes. At this point, you should know that our house and the landlady's house are connected and her bathroom connects to our kitchen. So WHILE THIS WOMAN IS SITTING ON THE TOILET, I hear her voice through the walls, "SIster! Listen to this:"  and then she starts playing the song on her phone and I just have to stand there listening through the walls as she plays this ten minute long song. SIster Jpesen and I covertly witched places so that sister jpesen could be like " Oh yes, ming, i see, oh yes, understood okay i know the song now thank you!"  It was a little extreme. but very funny.

Also....some mornings Im doing my personal study, trying to read about Jesus and stuff...............and I hear monks chanting to our neighbors next door. Some might say its ironic. Just makes you think, ya know?

So yesterday, SIster Mathews and I had a lesson with one of our investigators Kunthia. She is...............interesting, to say the least. She has very little education and is difficult to teach because she thinks our church is a school and that everything we teach is just a nice bunch of stories and not actually truth. not because she stubborn or unbelieving, just because shes kind of a ditz and no matter how many time we explain what our job is, she doesnt really understand. But she comes to church every week and keeps all of our commitments and reads and prays and she wants to learn so hey. we'll teach. We decided it would be good for her to see the movie Finding Faith in Christ, which details His life and shows His power, authority and divinity. It was HILARIOUS to watch this with her because every time something important happened she seriously did not understand. And every time something unimportant happened....well she tended to focus on that. Example: We are watching the scene where Thomas is talking about Jesus Christ and she goes "What? What is that they're eating? Beans?"  And then when Jesus is helping the disciples on the boat she goes, "Wow. So pretty. WOah! Thats a lot of fish!"  Like...she is hysterical. It is a crack-up to teach her. Shes not just your average blonde, she cant read or anything and has ZERO knowledge of God and its just a little difficult to help her understand the importance of what we're teaching. But shes really sweet and honestly more reliable than most of our other investigators so we're stickin with her. 

PS Sister Jepsen is very much convinced that I have a tapeworm.

So to end off, we had zone conference this past week, and Elder Gong from the Quorum of the Seventy came with his wife. they taught us a great deal about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith and helping our investigators and members to understand the importnace of the Book of Mormon, and especially to help them all have "a meaningful experience" with the Book of Mormon. And of course, how to become better teachers. It was really awesome. one thing that I really loved, on a personal level,m was when Elder gong started the meeting. I think I told you guys a while ago that my MTC teacher, Lookkruu Oleson, once made me a promise that by the end of my 18 months of service, I would know why Heavenly Father sent me to Cambodia. Well, one of the first things Elder Gong told us was this: "You can rest assured that God wants you to be here right now. He called you here. He sent a lot of other people to a lot of other places, but He sent YOU, HERE, NOW."  It was so powerful the way he said that, and wouldnt ya know? Zone Conference was on the day of my exact 18 month mark. I still dont necessarily know the exact reason WHY, but I know that it was no mistake for me to be called here, now, to this place, at this time. 
I have been grateful for every single moment, difficult, painful, awkward, strange, hilarious or otherwise. 

I can honestly say that I love my mission. I love Cambodia. I love all the people I've met here. I love Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. I love the Book of Mormon. I love this church. And I know its the only way for us to find complete, true and lasting happiness. I am eternally grateful for my mission, which taught me to love these things more than I ever have before.

Peace out. See you guys soon.

Love, Sister Davis 

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Godfather, Part 7: The Sister Training Leader

Okay Im really sorry you guys, but emailing seems to be pretty fruitless to me nowadays. Dont be surprised if you dont get these big long weekly emails for the last couple weeks of my mission.

Anywho, recently Ive been making jokes about how Im not even done yet and the mission has already bot caoled me. that is Cambodian for toss into a trashcan like a rotten fish head (PS Sister Spangler bought me an actual fish head to keep as a pet this week, but thats another story). I dont actually feel that way, but I started cracking jokes about it when i stopped being the Sister training Leader for my last transfer, and then there was this secret English Class meeting that I wasnt invited to (im trying to be sarcastic by the way. President Moon doesnt do "invite-only" meetings). So we were laughing about that to and i was like, whelp they dont care about me and my opinion anymore. this all became quite poignant as Sister Spangler and Sister jepsen called me into their room to have a little chat. They were all like...we need your help. You are the most senior sister in this house and we're doing a sister training leader exchange but we need you to go with one of the sisters because she wont listen to us. I started laughing because I was like, I dont know why you think she would listen to me, but they made the point that in Khmer culture age has a big pull. So they pulled me in to be a third sister training leader to help out with this one exchange.
(obviously Im making this sound way more dramatic than it actually was).
I am not kidding I had a field day with the whole fiasco. I couldnt take it seriously. I SO BADLY wanted to grab my stuffed animal and start petting it and throw some cotton balls in my mouth and go, "You show me nothin but disrespect. And now, you come to me, askin for help, on this the day of my daughters wedding." (Brooklyn accent implied).

I was a brat about it because exchanges are on of my least favorite things, BUT I did what they asked me to and came out alive. it was actually a really fun day and I was happy to do it. I went with Sister Harris comp and at the end of the day she and I were cracking each other up as per usual. And then Sister Jepsen stole Sister Harris'cake mix so all in all, it was worth it.

I also have your weekly English Class Sign Holding quote of the week.
A young man who speaks decent English for  CAmbodian comes up, finds out that we speak Khmer and goes "Wow! how long have you been here for?" Me: "a year and a half." Him: "You lovee Cambodia?" Me: "Yes, I love Cambodia." Him: "Good. CAMBODIA LOVE YOU TOO!" That was great. It finally loves me back, you guys.

Speaking of weekly things: Bong Sokhaa's weekly spotlight. here it is:  We decided to go see her as a back up one night, so it was an impromptu lesson that we hadn't fleshed out much. We just did a really basic lesson on the life of Christ and shared John 3:16 (classic). And she just sat there and after reading the verse she goes, "Sometimes I wonder how He did it. I wonder how God would send His own Son. it would be too hard to send your own child to do that. But I know He did it for us. Not just for one of us, but for EVERY ONE OF US." And I was like, you bascially just dissected one of my favorite quotes from brilliant author CS Lewis without even knowing it and you live in a shack in Cambodia! I swear she is perfect. Her kids are doing great too. They are still learning with the elders, and they join in and pray in our lessons.

I would also just like to go on a rant about this one guy in our ward named Bong Dara. He has been a member for probably close to ten years and he is seriously AWESOME. He is one of those people that you look at and just go....youve got a special place in the celestial kingdom, my friend. I wont go into too much detail, but essentially He runs our whole ward and does everything. he sacrifices times to help everyone in every activity and the whole place would be nothing without him. Anyway, a couple weeks ago, a random guy came up to us (again while holding the English Class guys probably think its the only thing that we do. In reality its just that a lot of crazy things happen when youve got two white girls standing on the side of the road in the middle-of-nowhere cambodia inviting people to come talk to us) and this guys handed us to cans of orange juice. I took it gingerly and then the guy took off his helmet and what do you know! its Bong Dara. I cannot tell you how busy this man is and how so much fo his good deeds go unnoticed, but he still makes time to buy the missionaries some soda. He is the definition of  Saint. Look it up.

Sidenote: as part of the exchange I missed a wedding for a member in SMC and Im still a little bitter about it.

OH ALSO, this week, I have my very last Zone Conference of my mission EVER. and its fantastic because Elder Gong is coming! A member of the Seventy is gonna be all up in our Zone Conference and I'm stoked about it, so wait to hear more about that.

i think thats all I've got for this week! Love you guys very much. Have a great week!


Sister Davis

                      Sister Spangler doing something. I think these photo creds go to Sister Jepsen.

Some exchange pics. We couldnt keep it together long enough. 

                                                                             semi normal.

                                     also a delayed photo from siem reap i stole from sister litchfield.

One of the best members in Cambodia. Named Zion (pronounced Seee-yon). She should be leaving on a mission soon.