Monday, September 2, 2013

Jul 14, 2013 The Best Mission in the World!

It's 6:15 in the morning. I am sitting on a bike that is loaded with about 3 kilos of vegetables, 2 of meat, 4 of rice and one companion, who's sitting on the back because his bike is being fixed. I have just purchased 3 dragon fruits for 75 cents and half a kilo of some other fruit that is really spiky and difficult to open but pretty much tastes like candy once you get through the skin. I am waiting on my companion. He's buying a cupful of fried crickets to augment his breakfast. I am in Cambodia.

Crickets! Yum, they are actually pretty good.
Being with a native is a little different. I have eaten some really weird food this week. Among other things I have tried for the first time, snake, crickets, weird smelly minnows, and a couple of fruits that taste like bitter orange peels. He really likes cooking, and honestly, most of it is pretty mundane. I really like all of the stir fry and other things, but when we head on out of the house we eat the weirdest things. Fun though. I am going to learn the language really fast speaking 24/7 like this. Except for our twice a week sleepovers in the city, I pretty much don't speak English at all. It's pretty weird. I feel weird speaking English. Occasionally my companion will bust out with something really random. For example, we were preparing to leave the house when he stopped me and said, "Elder, Elder. It's hammer time." So funny!

Oranges are really big in Cambodia
I met one investigator for the first time the other day. She insisted on knowing my first name, so I asked her, "skoal loke Adam dte?" which translates to "do you know Adam?" (loke kind of means sir so when you say it like that it's clear you're talking about Adam, the first man on Earth). Her response was really quick. "Yeah, he fell." I cracked up. We meet her a lot and she has a lot of questions. Hard questions. Questions like, "Does God have a wife?", "Why do we meet on Sundays rather than Saturdays?", "Why don't we use unleavened bread for the sacrament" and "Why did God make all women suffer through childbirth because of Eve's sin?"

 For all of these she was not satisfied until I had a scripture to back up my answer. When we talked about life before this life she asked so many questions and demanded so much proof behind each answer that we spent over an hour just teaching about what happened from the war in heaven to Adam and Eve and reading scriptures from Genesis, to Moses, to John to 2nd Nephi to Revelation. It was exhausting. In addition, it was really challenging. I can usually find the scripture I want if I pull open my scriptures and skim through the chapter or the chapter headings but everything was in Khmer! She is really great though. 

In Utah, they celebrate July 24th as Pioneer Day, the day the first wave of covered wagons arrived in the Salt Lake Valley and Brigham Young said, "This is the place". In Cambodia, they like parties. Our pioneer day celebration out here will last from 2 to the end of the night. It will include a 30 minute play of events that happened in church history such as the martyrdom of Joseph Smith, handcarts, a deathly ill Brigham Young determined to go forward and, of course, square dancing. Cambodians square dancing. It just doesn't get any better than that.

In continuing with my study of older General Conference sessions I recently read President Uchtdorf's talk 'Your Potential, Your Privilege' in which he shares the following story. 

There once was a man whose lifelong dream was to board a cruise ship and sail the Mediterranean Sea. He dreamed of walking the streets of Rome, Athens, and Istanbul. He saved every penny until he had enough for his passage. Since money was tight, he brought an extra suitcase filled with cans of beans, boxes of crackers, and bags of powdered lemonade, and that is what he lived on every day.

He would have loved to take part in the many activities offered on the ship—working out in the gym, playing miniature golf, and swimming in the pool. He envied those who went to movies, shows, and cultural presentations. And, oh, how he yearned for only a taste of the amazing food he saw on the ship—every meal appeared to be a feast! But the man wanted to spend so very little money that he didn’t participate in any of these. He was able to see the cities he had longed to visit, but for the most part of the journey, he stayed in his cabin and ate only his humble food.

On the last day of the cruise, a crew member asked him which of the farewell parties he would be attending. It was then that the man learned that not only the farewell party but almost everything on board the cruise ship—the food, the entertainment, all the activities—had been included in the price of his ticket. Too late the man realized that he had been living far beneath his privileges.

As Paul taught in Acts, "We are children of God" and as such are entitled to everything that the father has. A comparison that I use almost every other day here is that of a prince. When a prince grows up, who does he become? We, as children of the most high, have infinite potential to become like our Father in Heaven but it is up to us to apply that. There's an old saying that says, "God is voting with me and the Devil is voting against me, but it's my vote that counts". Choose the right!
Elder Vore 

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