Sunday, May 5, 2013

Apr 21, 2013 First Week in Cambodia--Mission Wk 12

Wow. It still kind of blows me away how far I am from home and how different things are here than from anything I've ever seen. We stepped out of the airport and were immediately mobbed by missionaries and the Mission President. The weather is hot, but not as crazy hot as I had previously expected. Mostly it's just really uncomfortably humid. Always. Like right after someone has taken a shower and you walk into the bathroom? That's how it feels.

 We spent our first night in the Mission Home being oriented and trying to get un-jetlagged and such. On Friday we were assigned areas and trainers and headed out all over the country. My first area is here in the city, northern Phnom Penh, and it's called Tuek Tlat. Immediately after taking my luggage to our apartment and deciding which bike I was going to use, we headed out for my first lesson.

The streets in the city are insane. On the way back from the airport we were in vans and I thought we were going to kill someone. One day later, I was sure I had hours to live. The streets are crowded, clogged, messy and I don't know if anyone actually knows how to drive. I certainly don't. All I've got to say is that everyone in Cambodia needs to take a defensive driving course. I haven't actually seen anyone fall yet, only the results of accidents. My first contact with a moto (about 85% of the cars on the street are motorcycles called motos) was pretty uneventful. He needed to turn, I was in his way, he turned anyway, we bumped and I ended up driving onto the sidewalk. Anyway, the driving scene is completely ridiculous.

Our first appointment was with a family whose father died a year or so ago. The mother has been a member for a while but doesn't come to church. However, a few months ago the missionaries ran into them and retaught and baptized all of the children. When we arrived at the house, I was kind of stunned. They live in a little wood shack, about 8' by 20'. The kids were home, running around in the street and having a great time with the neighbors. The younger they are, the less clothing they wear. Toddlers and younger were naked. We played with the kids, gave them some candy and waited for mom to show up.

 Finally we just started the lesson. As we stepped into the room, my companion broke part of the floor. It was furnished with two yellow foam pads to sleep on , a tv, some clothes on the floor and two battered copies of the Book of Mormon. That was everything in the house. Nevertheless, in high spirits the children spoke rapidly, loudly and at my expense, making fun of my accent and general inability to do anything. "Tvee baab"ing is what they call it here. We taught, encouraged them to pray and come to church and left. 

I think the craziest thing for me here is how closely things that I see as normal are to things that I only associate with undeveloped and developing countries. Hanging "fresh" meat is right next to the Nike stand. Kids play, half naked in the garbage strewn streets as the Hummer comes through. I don't really get it yet, but I know that there isn't another group of people in the world that needs help more than the kids wandering around in the streets here in Phnom Penh. Love y'all. Be thankful for what you have. -Elder Vore 

My companion is Elder Edmonds. He's been out for 21 months now and I will be his very last assignment before he heads home. He's from Orem, Utah and is a really great guy. I really enjoy having him to help me and teach me.

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