Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Few Good Lessons

This week was packed with all sorts of things.  It was challenging because I was sick the majority of the week with food poisoning (and other South-East Asian diseases for all I know) but that didn't stop our proselyting efforts.  I learned my lesson though, if you eat food from the members, you get sick.  

The only problem is, you have to eat it or else they'll hate you.  For instance, Sunday night we were dropping by a member’s house on the way to another appointment.  Somehow they managed to force us inside and handed each of us a bowl of bowled pumpkin in water stuff.  It was gross, but we were late to our appointment and we had to at least take a few bites.  After eating half the bowl we did a little Asian bow and said, "Thank you very much, we have to go to another appointment now".  The member guy responded "No, hurry finish that bowl, I've got more"...*placing a big pot of the slime in front of us*.... We then said "Uh no thanks, we have to go now..."  So then the guy went on a big spiel about how the last missionaries were "cooler" than us and that they always ate tons of his food and would come hang out for 2-3 hours at a time.
Luckily we made it out of there, and got to our next appointment (who also decided to feed us :/ )  We ended up spending the next few days battling sickness as a result.  Being sick put a lot more stress on our already very busy week.  Although it was still a good week in my book.

After emailing we met up with the senior couple and the rest of our district and did some sight seeing.  The senior couple, Elder and Sister Dilworth, finished their mission this past week.  They drove us to see a cool zoo and a natural water spring/waterfall.  At the zoo I saw all kinds of animals like… ostriches, birds, lizards, fish, bears, boars, porcupines, and monkeys.  I think the Khmae's there were paying more attention to us than the animals though.  It’s not too often that they see white people.   

One crazy thing did happen at the zoo...

We were all looking into the monkey cages at one point.  Out of the corner of my eye, on the other end of the cage, a small girl (maybe 3-4 years-old) had been standing near the cage.  A larger monkey swung down and reached through a gap in the cage and GRABBED the little girls arm!  The monkey then proceeded to pull her whole arm into the hole in the cage, and started trying to eat it or something.  A nearby man was able to pull the child away from the cage and crazy monkey, and give her to her mom.  The girl was screaming, and seemed to be very frightened, but not seriously injured.  

2nd lesson learned this week: Monkey's are insane, avoid them.  

Tuesday was an average day.  I do have one good story though... 
Tuesday night we met with a less-active member outside a cafe were he works.  The cafe was closing and the lady there was shutting things down for the night. Very generously she brought elder Clark and me drinks, free of charge.  Awesome right?!? ....No, not awesome.  It was Coffee.  We don't drink that.  We apologetically and politely told her that we couldn't drink the coffee and that water (even dirty Cambodian water) would be fine.  She seemed to take it pretty well, but then she returned with sugar… like for the coffee I think?  So once again we told her we couldn't drink it.  Then I saw her go and start coming back with another drink. Thank goodness right?!?...No, it was Tea this time.  :/

We told her that we couldn't drink that either, and that plain water would be fine.  She just kinda waved us off and told us to "drink up" and walked away.  So here you've got two missionaries and a less-active member.  On the table we have Coffee and Tea.  It was a party.

We actually turned it into a teaching opportunity.  The less-active was able to witness the whole thing, and perhaps he was a bit impressed by our resilience.  We tied the whole thing into our lesson on "Enduring to the end", and explained that difficult circumstances come up, and we have to choose the right no matter what.  We promised him blessings and committed him to "endure to the end".

Wednesday was the day the Senior couple were leaving.  Elder Clark and I made a stop by their house in the morning to see them off, and they gave us basically all the food they had in their house! J  Few things compare to how happy I was when we received that food.  They had tons of expensive, imported American stuff. That day, Clark and I were able to stock our dusty, empty cabinets with food.  It was maybe the biggest score so far this mission. (besides Lookpu Nani's baptism of course)  Just to list a few food items we received: Carrot cake mix box, a couple of Jello mix boxes, a big container of oatmeal, brown rice, a container of chocolate powder for cooking, Crisco, all sorts of seasonings, raisins, craisins, Beef Jerky, dried mango, Barbecue sauce, and on and on.  (That may sound like nothing to you people over in USA, but here in Cambodia....that is the food of King's.) We will be eating great through the end of the transfer.  So that was one big blessing this week.

On Thursday we found a place that sells good fortune cookies.  The only problem is that they only sell them in 9 lb quantities. They were pretty cheap Clark and I have about 9 lbs of fortune cookies in our house...

On Friday we had service in the morning.  We served the same guy as last week I guess he had called the elders and said that we weren't done yet and he had more for us to do.  He's an investigator for the 1st branch elders, and he has a nice family.  I do wish they would help with the service more though...When we started working on Friday morning the guy said "I gotta go eat first", so we were like "okay" and started working.  3 hours later we were still working and the guy hadn't come back yet.  We finished up the job and headed back to our bikes.  The guy was just chilling in his hammock!  So yeah that was kinda annoying.  Again though, I do love service and its always a great workout, I just hope he gets baptized.  

Saturday was a big day.  We had a 24 hour exchange (Friday night through Saturday night).  It was Elieson and I holding down 2nd branch, and Clark headed to 3rd branch with the Zone Leader, Elder Krump.  At this point in my training I wasn't nervous at all to be sort of on our own.  (Elieson and I are from the same MTC group, we're both pretty new).  I was confident that we could handle the busy day, language and all.  We ended up having a great, successful day.  3 lessons, 2 meetings, and a referral.  After lunch we headed out to the Island and I was able to find the home of the less active who lived there.  We met 3 member families on the island, and had two lessons there as well.  
Saturday was a big confidence booster for me because I felt proficient enough in the language to carry out every task we had planned.  It is amazing how much we have learned in our 2 months here.  It was a blast proselyting with Elieson, and seeing each other's missionary-growth once again.  

On Sunday Lookpu Nani got confirmed and received the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Through out the week we were able to teach him and prepare him for these things.  Also, Elder Clark and I spoke in Church.  I gave a talk on "The One and True God".  It went well and I was able to speak for a solid 4-5 minutes on the topic and finish with my testimony.  I was able to ponder on the reality that it is only through Jesus Christ, and Heavenly Father's plan that we can have happiness in this life and the next.

As for proselyting, we had a few good lessons with some less-actives, contacts, etc..

Announcements for the week:  
This week the Cambodia Phnom Penh mission announced that it would be opening two new areas.  "Prey Veng" and "Pursat" will be opening up very soon for missionary work.  The government gave us the green-light on proselyting in those areas after years of trying to get in.  It’s super exciting and maybe I'll get the chance to serve in one of these new areas.  

Also.... Transfer call is this Friday the 5th and I'll find out if I go, or stay here in Kampong Cham.  Our guess is that I go somewhere else, and Clark will train again here in KC.  To be honest I'd be totally fine with spending another transfer with Clark.  It’s pretty unlikely though.

That's all I've got for this week.  Hope everybody is safe and having fun.

Elder Z

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