Honestly, I don't even really like eating the bugs they give me and I really don't even eat them that often, but it makes for fun email subjects. Also, today it looks like I have a lot of time but I don't really have a whole lot to say. Funny how these things go sometimes.
We were biking to Baku on Thursday when I saw a guy fishing in a rice field. All rice fields have about two feet or so of standing water that the rice grows from so I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised but I thought it was really strange. He had a bamboo pole, hook, worm and all and was fishing in the rice field. I stopped to talk to him and he assured me that yes, there actually were fish in there, and then, as if to prove his point, he caught one and threw it back in saying it was too small. That kind of surprised me because the fish was hand sized, plenty big enough to eat, and surely the fishing can't be that good in the rice field right? He explained that most of the fish he caught were well over a foot long.
Eventually the conversation turned to Christ and he shocked me again when he told me he was already a Christian and when he lived in the city some years before, he was very active in his congregation. We, of course, invited him to come with us and worship at our ''church'' in Baku (We meet at a member's house so I guess it's not a church in the strictest sense of the word but it works). We gave him a pamphlet and he called us later that night with questions and then he actually came to church on Sunday. The vast majority of Cambodians require a little prodding to change their ways but Puu Hat is awesome and is quickly falling back into the routine of following Jesus Christ. In missionary jargon they call people like these ''golden investigators''.
In places where the church isn't firmly built (eg places that don't have wards, stakes, 3rd and 4th generation members etc.) the missionaries keep track of converts through CBRs. I'm pretty sure CBR stands for convert baptism record but I'm not totally sure. On these CBRs the missionaries who baptized the convert fill out important information about the convert or family like names, birth dates, when they were baptized and where they live.
That being said, these are being filled out by 20 year old boys, who sometimes have a tendency to do ''unimportant'' things like paperwork halfway. So, when we go out looking for those who we don't know and try and help them come back to church, occasionally we do so with pretty limited information. Especially maps. Addresses are totally useless in this country unless you live in the middle of the city or have a really nice house, so we use maps to find people. Because nobody knows what streets are called, we use landmarks to figure out where we are. Unfortunately, some people's definition of what landmarks are include ''the big tree in front of the blue house'' or ''small rice field'' or ''place that sells stuff''. Walking through rice fields in the middle of nowhere asking people if they know someone with nothing to go on but a name, a ten year old picture and a map that references ''that big rice field'' is quite the adventure. CBR work, it's the best.
I was studying in the scriptures the other day about life and trials. After my studies I went to write my thoughts in my study journal and recorded the following: ''Life is a test, and not just any old test but a really hard test. And not only is it a really hard test, there's a lot riding on it. Fortunately, it's an open book test, we're allowed to share answers and the teacher is working out the problems on the board''. I go back to my high school days and remember that it seemed like it was the very smartest kids were the ones that went in for tutoring in the mornings. It seems obvious now that the very smartest kids were also the ones who would be taking advantage of all their resources. Life is hard but we have all sorts of guides! We have the words of prophets and the teachings of Jesus Christ that are recorded in the scriptures. We have teachers and pastors and Bishops who can and will help us. We have families! All of this stuff is great but if we don't look up from our test and look for some help, we won't get any. Use your resources! Love you guys. Elder Vore