Sunday, May 5, 2013

Apr 28, 2013 Second Week in Cambodia--Mission Wk 13

Wow. My first full week here and not a moment has gone by that we aren't having some sort of awesome spiritual experience or general adventure. My Khmer continues to be an obstacle but I can see that I have learned a great deal just since I have arrived. Nevertheless, I don't always understand what's going on and people don't always understand me. Earlier this week we were teaching the branch president's mother who is a recent convert and is super old. She doesn't always know what's going on either, but it was still a little jarring when after giving my part of the lesson she looked at me blankly and then turned to my companion and said, "Unjung, koat ot toan jeh Khmer dte?" (That's about how it sounds using English letters), which means, "So, he doesn't speak Khmer yet huh?" Pretty rough, but funny at the same time.

We were out in a neighborhood visiting an older woman who hasn't been to church in a while. We finished talking with her and began talking to another lady who was feeding her children when a tiny lady who looked to be about 30 walked by carrying a load of wood. We took it off her hands and when she went back for more we asked if we could help and she welcomed it (side note, About 95% of the time when we ask someone if we can help them we are turned down even if we could really help them). So, for the next hour and a half we helped tear down their old house and haul the wood to a new location. White shirts and ties+hauling wood=dirty elders, but we really had a good time. On a related note, when we returned the next day to help again they had already finished, but expressed a desire to learn about Christ. Since then we have begun teaching 4 new people in the area.

It's kind of funny the questions people ask us, especially my companion who can actually communicate. It usually goes in an order something like this: 1. Whoa, you speak Khmer! Why? 2. Hey, you're white! Where are you from? 3. Which state? 4. Do you have a wife? 5. Do you want a wife? Because I know someone...  I have been here for about a week and a half and my companion has been essentially proposed to 3 times. Super funny. Here in Cambodia, and I've been told generally in Asia, the lighter your skin is, the more beautiful you are. Also, we speak their language. On top of that, we're from America which automatically means we're rich. All that added up equals a marriage proposal a week or thereabouts. Sometimes fairly awkward, but funny for sure.

We entered one house earlier today to teach another recently baptized member. About two minutes into our conversation an older guy who lives with them and is super nice was moving our bikes inside when he said, "Did you come on one bike or what?'' Of course we hadn't but when we went outside to check, sure enough, my bike had been stolen. Ironically enough, I bought a lock on my third day here but it broke the same day we bought it. They sent out a search party but it was useless. All bikes here look exactly the same: old, sturdy, slightly beat up, gray/brown/black, and have a basket and a seat on the back. We used this seat as my companion took me home. This is called doping. One person sits on the back while the other rides. Pretty tough. Somehow I've already manged to do it several times and I figure I'll probably get pretty good at it by the end of my mission.

 In any case, we were doping and the back tire busted, so we walked our bike back to a bike repair shop near our house and took the extra bike in our apartment to the shop to be fixed as well, and then set off on foot to our next appointment. All's well that ends well. We are back to riding. On a related note, I had to buy a new helmet and I picked up a used moto helmet for 2 dollars. It reminds me of those helmets police officers in older movies wear.

It's rained four or five times since I got here, welcome to the dry season! Yesterday it rained for about an hour and then let up, but then came down in earnest for another hour and a half. Literally more rain than we get in a year has fallen since I arrived. Not that that's too hard compared to the weather in West Texas, but it's considerable. I've found that waterproofing your shoes is useless if you're walking/biking in water to your calves. Water get in your shoes and then stays there. During the rainy season we're allowed to wear crocs. Can't quite see myself doing it and my companion hasn't ever done it either but he certainly wants to.

That's all for me for now, sorry I can't address all the things in y'├ílls (don't know why that accent mark is on there but this computer won't let me change it. Weird.) emails. Thank you for writing though!  Love, Elder Vore

They don't have candy here! Too weird! Obviously all regular candy can be purchased at 1st world stores at slightly elevated prices, but slightly elevated means that I can buy a chocolate bar or lunch for three days. Cereal isn't too useful because there isn't any milk here. Gum is against the rules. Gatorade packets or something to put in my water would be nice. 
We do cook, a lot actually. Every day for lunch is a chaa, which is basically stir fry. My companion loves to cook and every morning I enjoy pancakes, french toast, eggs, etc.. We can skype for mothers day and I'll probably do it around 10 in the morning on Monday here.

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