Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sept 8, 2013 Week 32 A Turn for the Wet

Well, it looks as if the rainy season that everyone has been talking about is finally here. It's rained really hard every day for nearly a week now and some of the lower roads have water all the time. It wouldn't really be a big deal except that essentially all roofs (of people's houses) here in Cambodia are made of sheet metal which means that when it rains it gets really loud. I feel sometimes that I'm trying to teach people on the tarmac at LAX.

 According to the Missionary Handbook, missionaries aren't really supposed to go out when it's raining hard or there are other kinds of severe weather. I kind of feel like for us, out here in Southeast Asia, those pages are a little bit overlooked. I don't know if our leaders have actually said, ''Ignore those pages, they're for Elders and Sisters that don't live in tropical rain forests'' but we certainly are not going by the book.

So we had a lesson with a woman named Lim and her daughters Rotana, who has been a member for many years, and Ranyaa, who was just baptized a little more than a month ago by Elder Sin. Their family is doing very well right now and they were all at church yesterday. After our lesson we were just talking a little bit and I asked Ming Lim if she knew anyone that wanted to learn about Jesus Christ. She answered no but I asked her about her married daughter who lives about 10 minutes down the road. Lim told me he didn't really think her daughter was super into the religion thing and suggested that if I wanted to go talk to her I should bring something to defend myself because she would hit me. I kept asking about her daughter and eventually asked what she did for a living. I proceeded to not understand a word she said for nearly 3 straight sentences. She asked me if I had had understood and when I indicated that I hadn't, her daughter told me that her sister was a ''kruu areak'' which means a evil spirit teacher (or person who does stuff with evil spirits). That was a little weird. After explaining it to me in words that were a little more familiar (I haven't really had much of a chance to make flashcards for words about sorcery and evil spirits), I began to understand that Lim's daughter is kind of like a reverse exorcist.  She takes money from people and then calls down evil spirits through some sort of strange ritual to go and kill or otherwise bother her customer's enemies.
That was a very interesting conversation.
This email is being cut a little short because of some difficulties with the computer. Love you guys!
-Elder Vore

Hi!  This is Adam's mom.  Since Adam's email was so short this week, I decided to type a letter we got from him in the mail just the other day.  It is dated 8/10/13 so it is a month old.

Dear Vore Family,

Hello from Cambodia!  How's the weather in Odessa?  That's nice.  It's really wet here.  There are a couple of bridges that I cross nearly every day and now that it's raining a little more I can actually see the water level rising.  It looks like it's going to go past the little barriers they made in a couple of months, but I suppose they know what they're doing!  There's one bridge that I really need to send y'all a picture of, hopefully by the time you get this I'll already have sent it.  The view from the bridge is just so beautiful and green and it's just cool.  The only problem is, it's a fairly well traveled bridge, right in the middle of the "city" part of my area, so it's kind of hard to stop and snap a photo.  I want to take the picture before the water level rises over a lot of the greenery.

  The work is going well in our area.  It's much harder to find people here than in Phnom Penh, but we are managing.  We are now teaching the rest of Ranyaa's family in addition to a referral family and an old investigator that was dropped and we managed to recontact them.  Three families progressing!  It's so cool!  Glad you share my enthusiasm.  Really though, it's so nice to have people to teach.  When I got here we didn't have anybody.

  In other news, I passed my 6 month mark this last week, weird.  I still feel like I just got here, I can't believe that I've already been through so much time when I still feel like I haven't done anything yet.  Have you ever been watching a good movie and you look down at the time, realize that the movie has been going for nearly 2 hours and then feel a little sad because you want to keep watching it, you're not ready for it to end yet?  Or got to the last few pages of a book and thought the same?  That's how I feel about my mission.  I just want the time to slow down a bit so I can enjoy it.

  This letter has no order and I'm just writing what I think about so....Cool story!  Not about me though.  There's an Elder that got here the transfer after me from Utah, speaking Vietnamese.  He's a recent convert whose family speaks Vietnamese in their home.  Random side note, he's in Jon Schmidt's ward and when he got baptized, brother Schmidt played 3 special musical numbers.  Anyway, one transfer into the mission, President Moon decided Elder Tran needed to learn Khmer.  So he started learning Khmer about 4 weeks ago.  Last week his back was hurting so they took him to see a doctor who told him he had a pinched nerve or something!  I forgot, but that meant he was going home for surgery.  Because he had to leave so suddenly and it was weird timing, his flight back sent him through Shanghai where he sat by a 20 year old woman heading to the states for a 2 week school exchange.  As they began to talk, he learned she was a very recent convert to Christianity and they began talking about religion.  Through the course of their flight he taught the first 3 lessons:  The Restoration, The Plan of Salvation, and the Gospel of Christ.  She is now meeting with missionaries in California and plans to be baptized before returning to China.  So cool!

  Just talked to our landlord about 5 minutes ago.  He bought this house from the old landlord last week.  We talked with him because we haven't received our electric bill yet and if we don't pay it, our power will be shut off on Thursday.  He doesn't know where it is and promised to call the old landlord about it on Tuesday.  "Tuesday?" was my reply.  He told me, "yeah, I'm pretty busy today and tomorrow but I should be able to call Tuesday."  I don't understand  Khmers sometimes.  I can understand every single word coming out of their mouths but it still doesn't make any sense.

One more example of this is when we are out contacting.  Usually we just wander down the street and talk to people who are sitting outside their houses.  I talk to people every single day who are lounging around in hammocks talking to their friends who tell me that they are just too busy to learn about Jesus Christ.  They really want to, they just don't have time.  Or returned missionaries with degrees in law or engineering that sit around at their parents' house all day and tell me that I don't understand how hard it is to find a job in Cambodia.  That's my rant for the day, going back to more positive subjects.  

Our Preach My Gospel class here in Ta KhMav is awesome!  All the youth and YSAs that have a goal to serve a mission meet every Sunday night at the church to learn from Preach My Gospel, learn from the missionaries, and practice teaching.  The future of Cambodia is bright because of how prepared and willing to serve their youth are. Returned missionaries make really good leaders at church.  This is really apparent in our branch (congregation).  I counted who was on the stand on Sunday:  President and his 2 counselors, the two blessing the sacrament and the two leading and playing piano are all returned missionaries.

It's very easy to see the blessing of serving a mission from the perspective of one guy trying really hard to make his branch grow.  We are really working on getting Melchizedek Priesthood holders active and helping those who could potentially receive it progress toward that goal because in order to have a ward/stake/functioning branch you need Melchizedek Priesthood holders to lead out.  One of the slower ways to do this is by sending all your young men on missions.  The percentage of young men serving missions from Cambodia is really high and I'm sure the percentage of young women serving is way higher than it is in the states.  Most of these young people are recent converts.  I know at least 3 that had their papers in before they were even allowed to go to the temple (members for 1 year).  Elder Sin was baptized at age 20 and before his 23rd birthday he was on a mission.  He's now approaching the end of his mission and he's been a member for almost 4 years.  Serve missions!  Love you!  Adam

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