Monday, September 2, 2013

Jul 1, 2013 Week 22 Surpise Transfer

This week has been really really eventful! I can't possibly put it all on one piece of paper/email/computer screen thing. We'll start with yesterday just because it's fresh in my mind. We left to go to church early so we could pick up an investigator of ours whose name is Reaksmei. He works at a factory from 7 at night to 7 in the morning and we picked him up at 7:20 to go to church at 8. Really great guy, really determined to go to church.

 As we were riding up to the church a tuk-tuk (motorcycle drawn carriage thing) came up beside us and the people in it started shouting at us. It was Elder Edmunds's family! They surprised him by coming a few days early so they could go to church with him! Really fun to see the reunion right in front of me. Everyone was really excited to meet the family and a large number of our investigators and recent converts came. It was really fun. I ended up translating a lot because Elder Fisher and Elder Garlick got called to go out in the foyer and teach someone who showed up to the church and wanted to learn. Translating is hard, but church was great! Poor Reaksmei fell asleep during 2nd hour but I don't blame him for a second. Factories are crazy. While we were in church Elder Edmunds's youngest brother was following him around while he was counting attendance. An older lady in the congregation whose name is Mat Ling gave him a spank (his brother, not Elder Edmunds) which in Cambodia is kind of a love tap type thing, but in America if anyone is hitting you that hard they are not happy with you. Super funny to see his reaction! He doesn't understand a thing and boom! An old lady is spanking him! It was really funny. It took all I had just to not crack up in the middle of sacrament meeting!
Elder Edmonds and his $17 picture of Angkor Wat
On the opposite page:  A really old statue of a lion. I think the whiskers are a little more recent.   They appear to be made out of fishing line.

The evening was good. We had several good lessons with people who are really progressing quickly. They are at church, reading from the scriptures, praying everyday, everything! It's so great! After all this we went home for transfer calls. My companion is going home and Elder Garlick has been here for a while so we were pretty much sure those two were on their way out. Instead, fireworks. Elder Fisher was called to be the new Assistant President, a pair of sister missionaries is coming into our area, Elder Garlick is staying to be the Zone Leader and train the new guy coming in (Elder Khem, my companion from the MTC) and I am going to Ta Khmau!

Wow. I was so shocked. Things were going so well here for me, I was finally getting to know the area, the members, and our branch missionaries. Chan Li and Sau Li are helping us everywhere we go and our investigators are progressing! And then I am ripped from my little house and branch and thrust into a new area that is going to be wildly different from my current area. All country, south of the city with a Khmer companion! I didn't realize how much I loved these people until they made me leave! I guess now I understand why it's hard for Elders to go home at the end of their missions. You make bonds with these people. Well, next week I'll be emailing from a whole different part of Cambodia. Should be interesting to be away from the city when rainy season hits though.

One brief experience before I close this thing up. Women breastfeeding in Cambodia have no shame. I guess it just seems so natural to them. We were talking to three women about going to church while one of their baby's was crying. She just opened up her shirt and began breastfeeding. Just right there like it was no big deal. We just kind of blinked and then kept going because what else could we do right? Really funny. Hard to keep a straight face for that one too.

Rainy season still hasn't hit. It's coming really late. One thing that has hit however is election season. Cambodian elections happen every 8 years, were established in the early 90s and the same guy has one it every time. 16 years ago the initial election had the opposing party in power but those who were in charge of the military called for a recount and that changed the results. There are huge parades with people waving flags and having matching t-shirts shouting things and playing recordings of old speeches. In short, it's loud, big and if it gets a little intense (like it did in 1997) the church might pull us out of Cambodia and send us to some other places for a little while. Should be interesting to see!
Love you guys! I sent letters back to y'all!    Elder Vore

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