Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Jul 29, 2013 Week 26 Crazy Week in Cambodia!

Well, it has been quite the week. I'm pretty sure I say that every week, but even for being on a mission in Cambodia it has been a crazy week. Before we start, I'm going to share some background information. I want to tell you a little bit about Ranyaa. She has been our investigator for just a short time now but has a desire to follow Christ and so it's been easy to teach her a lot. Her older sister is a member of our church, but Ranyaa and her mom go to another church because they pay for Ranyaa's education. Going into this week she had a baptismal date for Saturday July 27.  Also I've been having some stomach aches and this Sunday is elections.

Our investigator Ranyaa being silly
Our story begins last Thursday. In the morning we had weekly planning so we didn't manage to get out of the house until almost 1:30. Rainy season is just beginning, which means that it rains every evening for 3 or 4 hours until the sun goes down. Not too hard, mostly just drizzling. When we set out it was the middle of the afternoon and it was hot. Really hot. To make things worse, it was windy, which in our area means that dirt roads just become little clouds of dust that you drive through. After about 10 minutes of this, the wind suddenly turned really cold. The temperature probably changed by 25 degrees in a matter of minutes. Every temperature change like this is immediately followed by rain, but this storm hit unexpectedly hard and right in our faces. The wind blew hard enough that it felt like we were biking uphill, and the raindrops felt like hailstones on our faces. Totally blinded. It was pretty crazy, but it died down after about 10 minutes to a normal drizzle.

 Once in Baku we were talking to a woman who wants to learn but owns a restaurant and is really busy. While I was talking to her, Elder Sin took a phone call from Ranyaa's older sister who told him that Ranyaa was reconsidering her baptism and might just move to Kompung Saom (A province by the seashore) for a few months. Elder Sin was understandably concerned and I didn't know what was going on. Our hostess offered us some food but I declined because I was feeling a little nauseous and we went to prepare for our very first English Class in Baku. We spent a few weeks talking about it and finally we were opening up; a momentous occasion! English went well, but I started feeling sick about halfway through and when we were biking home I began to get tired and sick. Eventually my companion got a little ahead of me. I called out to him but started coughing and then fell off my bike and threw up in the gravel. No fun at all. On arriving home I collapsed on my bed and slept for 15 hours or so.

It is now Friday, and I am sick. In addition, we are having training today so one of our zone leaders is here at our house ready to go out proselyting with us. Unfortunately, that looks as if it is not going to happen, as I am still having some fairly intense stomach pains. He stayed with us all day and we talked about our Area and updated our paperwork. On the positive side, I read the New Testament for like 3 1/2 hours! It was great. Meanwhile, other Elders in our area went to visit Ranyaa and her family and had a miracle! After everything had been said they were all in tears and had a renewed vigor to follow Christ's example through baptism! 

Saturday started with us visiting Ranyaa and talking about her concerns and then visiting some members who were having a hard time. Around 2:30 we set out for one of our furthest areas (without actually going to Baku) to meet with a new member. He wasn't home but his mom told us there were probably some people who wanted to learn in the next Pum (village/neighborhood thing) over. We had never been in that direction, but following her instructions we crossed the bridge and headed out to contact.

I'm not so sure about their interest in the gospel of Jesus Christ, but they sure thought it was cool that a white guy who spoke Khmer had biked out from Ta Khmau regardless of why he had done it. We promised to return and then hurried to the church for Ranyaa's baptism. Hurried means biked quickly, not that it didn't take very long. We were a long way from the church but once we got there, everything went very smoothly. Nice to have people who actually speak Khmer perform the service. After the service we did another companion switch for all the Khmer missionaries who had to go all over the country to vote (they have to vote in the province they were born in). 

A word or two about voting. Cambodia is holding elections every 5 five years and abiding by the results of those elections but they are far from politically stable. We were not allowed outside except for our church services. Later in the evening we got a panicked phone call from Sister Kung, who is serving in Ta Khmau with me but had to go back to the city to vote near her house. She told us a police car had been flipped and set on fire near her house and she was scared. Apparently there was a little violence in her area because some people who showed up to vote weren't on the voter registry lists. Elder Sin was also in the area. They were all picked up in a van by the mission president early this morning. 

And that's been my week. I'm exhausted. One parting thought. Khmer women think that if they are wearing a towel they are fully dressed. People will invite us into their home where their aunt is drying off from her shower in the corner. Really weird. It's even more prevalent among men. They just walk around wearing nothing but a towel. That's all I've got! Love you guys!  Elder Vore

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