Monday, July 21, 2014

First Week In Cambodia

The past few days feel like a really weird dream.  We left the MTC on Tuesday, and the travels went pretty well. 

On the way to SLC Airport we were on a bus with three or four 16-17 year old kids.  They kept asking each other (loudly so we could hear) "Hey, have you ever read the book of Satan?", and then when they got off the bus they told us "don't forget to read the book of Satan!"  and after we helped them get their bikes off.  
Our little Group going to Cambodia/Vietnam was about 14 people.  We stayed together and didn't have too many complications.  It was so nice to be in LA for the few hours I was there.  It was overcast and cool, better than the hot Utah I had come from.  The flight to Hong Kong was interesting, I've never been surrounded by so many Asian people in my life.  We sat on the left side of the big plane, and the seats went:  Sister Uresk (window seat), Me (middle), and a 21-year old Asian woman (aisle seat).  They fed us Asian food and there were tons of movies going on all around.  I fell asleep like two hours after boarding (we were maybe an hour's flight off the coast) and when I woke up again we were flying over Japan. That was a little weird.  I don't know how long I slept but I was really tired.  When I looked at the GPS map and saw Japan below us...I was thinking "Wow this just got real. I'm in Asia".

Sister Uresk and I arrived in Hong Kong an hour and a half before everyone else.  I was able to freshen up in a bathroom and change clothes.  
The flight to Cambodia was so cool.  We flew over Vietnam and Cambodia and it was flat, green, and there were tons of little rivers running through it.  On the flight I sat next to an Indian man from Canada. 

The airport was hot and everyone there looked super serious.  The airport was full of Buddha’s and we got through the entrance paperwork pretty fast.  We met President Moon and his wife and the AP’s (assistants to the President) outside.  President Moon and his wife are so nice.  He's always smiling and super helpful.  

From the airport, we loaded our bags into cars and headed for the large "Ouressay market".  People drive crazy here.  I was just waiting for us to get hit or hit someone.  The AP, elder Satterthwaite was driving, and the car was a stick and he said he learned to drive stick shift last week.  

The streets are packed with motorcycles and everybody sells some food/product or another: Fly infested Fish, random alien-fruit, clothes, etc.  Everything is really cheap too.  My companion elder Clark (from Orange county, California) Bought "BEATS" headphones here for $50.  (They cost $400 in America).  

In the market, I teamed up with the AP and gave a BOM and a few pamphlets out.  I can teach gospel stuff pretty fluently, but everything else is way over my head. Ha-ha.  I taught a few "Look pu's" (men my dad's age), and they were all pretty cool and said they'd read.  It was a cool first experience.  We went back to the mission home and ate lunch after that.  Then I got super tired.  At like 3:00 pm (Cambodia time) it felt soo late.  I felt like it was 11:00 pm and I was supposed to be getting to bed.  We had a little orientation, ate dinner, got interviewed, and went to bed at like 7:45.  We woke up at 5:30, and sister Moon had bought us "Bai sek choorop" Rice-meat-eggs, which is a popular breakfast here.  It’s probably my favorite thing to eat here.  
We met are new trainers/received our areas.  I've been assigned to Kampong Cham with Elder Clark.  Its four hours drive away from Phnom Penh.  The place has some okay areas and also extreme poverty.

Yesterday we visited a ton of members to get to know them.  We were chilling in huts and everyone is pretty nice.  The kids love us.  Every little kid says "HEYLO" when they see us ride by. They say that with big smiles on their faces.  There's like a ton of little Devonaes here too.  They're so cute, and I feel sad when I watch them eat some 3-week-old moldy crab thing.  In the really poor area, the kids walk around naked and they have little sores all over their bodies.  It’s just sad. Everybody's teeth are rotten.  

I made friends with all the priests at church, and one of them "Run" helped us find members around the area.  I can speak well enough with him and he helps me out when I mess up.  I still have a lot to learn.  I want to be like Elder Clark and just be able to say anything to anyone.  

I spoke in church yesterday. Ha-ha.  It was probably horrible but I bore my testimony and told them that I could tell they had a strong branch after meeting many of them the day before.

After church an older man in the ward was talking to me and he grabbed my hand, interlocked fingers, and started walking with me.  It was weird.  We walked for like a block and Elder Clark just smiled at me.  I guess that’s normal here.  One of the priests had his hand on my thigh for like 20 minutes during Sunday school.

Okay, our house is huge. It has 3 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, kitchen, patio, large entryway and all to ourselves.  Our room stays at 65 degrees all the time and we stay in there as much as possible.

Before I go I have a story.  2 nights ago my bike broke.  It was horrible already, but it just quit working. I would pedal and nothing would happen.  I checked the chain and it was still on.  We took it to a mechanic guy and he said we'd have to go to town and buy a new bike, that mine was a lost cause.  I was bummed. Elder Clarke towed me around for like half an hour so we could finish up what we had to get done.  Then, miraculously after coming out of a printing shop I started pedaling and it worked! My bike was fixed.  I don't know what happened.... but my bike works now and hasn't had a problem since. We road by the mechanic guys place and he had the most puzzled look ever on his face.  It was blessing and it made it so we could go out and teach the next day versus buy a new bike in town.  I'll never forget it.

I love you guys.  Cambodia is great.  I love these people.

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