Saturday, September 7, 2013

Aug 26, 2013 Week 30 The Back Roads of Baku

     It has not been an easy week out here. We had 3 families decide to stop learning with us for various reasons relating to their previous religion. Learning with the Elders is always a choice, we don't force anyone to listen to us, but that doesn't keep us from feeling sad when they exercise their moral agency and choose not to accept the gospel of Christ. And then there was the lady whose husband committed suicide and then his ghost came back and told her that if she kept learning with us she would get sick and die. That was pretty weird.

     We moved houses back into the city. It was kind of relief as we were without various basic commodities (Hot water, power in half of the house and no running water at all at the end) for a number of days. We moved into the city a couple of miles and are now living with the other 4 Elders in an apartment next to the church. The apartment is really skinny and has 5 stories, like a lot of buildings here in the city. Since we were the last ones in, our room is on the fourth floor. Climbing up and down four flights of stairs to get to our room is a little frustrating but we're taking it with good humor. I have suggested installing a fireman's pole to make going down a little easier but I don't know how well I explained it in Khmer. My companion told me it would probably be easier to use the stairs anyway.

     One nice thing about living in a house with a lot of guys is that Elder Sin is making food for all of us essentially 2 meals a day. We have to force him to accept our help in doing the dishes and cutting vegetables and stuff like that. What a great guy. He makes good food too. We're trying to get him to open a little restaurant after his mission. He's not so sure. Speaking of food, I had some fried frogs the other day. I've had frog before but this time it wasn't skinned or anything like that, it was just fried, bones and all. Actually pretty good. Frog is kind of like a mix between chicken and fish. I was not however, brave enough to try the fried bats (see pictures).

     The trip from Baku to our house takes about an hour and fifteen minutes to bike. The beaten stretch of highway between Ta Khmau and Baku is over traveled, has no lines or speed limits and is full of pot holes. The trip is dark and the large trucks are intimidating. Sometimes it's nice to see a car coming because the headlights illuminate our path but as the car comes closer we are blinded and when it passes we are plunged back into darkness.

 Saturday night we left Baku after a very fun activity. Our warm hearts quickly cooled as we set out on our long journey back. For the first 5 minutes or so the traffic was normal, which is not a good thing. Riding on that road is scary! However, after a few minutes a very interesting thing happened. A very large, very slow moving semi-truck pulled up behind us and began to follow us. At first I tried to pull off to the side to let him pass but it soon became clear that if anything, he was actually moving slower than us and simultaneously acting as a fantastic flashlight. The road in front of us was bright and the pot hole strewn highway was suddenly very easy to navigate. Even more, oncoming traffic that would usually come to the middle of the road (and uncomfortably close) to avoid the patchy edges of the road stayed far from us, intimidated by the 20 ton truck behind us. The truck traveled with us for over 30 minutes before passing us and moving on. I had a lot of time to think about this (there just isn't much to do when you're riding your bike for hours on end) and my thoughts kept turning to our life on Earth.

 Life is a long, dark, harrowing journey, full of pot holes and oncoming traffic. When we travel down this road alone, it is difficult and even dangerous. However, we have been promised that when we follow the example of Jesus Christ, we will be blessed with His Spirit, who will guide us. The Spirit is the third member of the godhead, whose purpose is to ''testify of [Christ]'' (John 15:26), ''teach'' us and ''bring all things to [our] remembrance'' (John 14:26), and ''guide [us] into all truth''. I testify that as we follow the promptings of the spirit, we will be protected from danger and guided to ''the narrow [way]... which leadeth unto life'', even life eternal (Matthew 7:14). I know that Jesus Christ was the perfect example, the master teacher, and I believe it is significant that on the last day of His mortal life He taught his disciples about the importance of His Spirit (See John 14-16). Follow the spirit! He will not lead you astray! That's all I've got for today. Pictures on the way!
-Love Elder Vore
                                         And me biking through the flooding

All of my pant legs are filthy!

Ruub Tot tiat! (More pictures)
                            Weird foods (snake eggs, bats other stuff that I'm not too sure about)

                                          A family we have been teaching.

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