Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Dec 1, 2013 I Have Chicken Poop Between My Toes

''You can party an hour a day or you can go on a mission and party all day everyday!'' -Elder Caine
It's a party in Baku! We decided to check Elder Caine's back tire the other day because it was looking a little bare. While there we started talking to a man named Chok, who said he was willing to learn and had free time at nights. Later that night he called us and asked us to come over. We taught him and his family that night and the next day and then he went to church on Sunday! Chok is an example of someone who really does want to change his life. After just a few minutes of talking with us he decided to stop drinking! Just like that! And he did. What an amazing guy. The miracles are just piling up here in Baku. 20% of our attendance on Sunday was people who are learning with us. The gospel is great!!

Also, we asked Chok if we could help him with anything and he told us that he would be trimming his chickens' beaks the following morning and invited us to help. We eagerly accepted the service project and the following morning we trimmed 2,400 chickens' beaks, and I got chicken poop all over myself. Just bucketloads of fun! :D

We were heading to the closest branch in Ta Khmao the other day when an older man driving a truck called out to us. He told us he was a member of our church and asked where we were going and if we needed a ride. We accepted his offer and rode in the car to the church. It cut like 40 minutes off of our journey but I have rarely been so scared for my life as I was in those few minutes. I learned that when you're driving a car in Cambodia, the horn is more important than the steering wheel.

To make the ride more interesting, this man speaks Khmer as a second language. His native tongue is Vietnamese and though his Khmer was better than mine, we had a little bit of difficulty in communication. Turns out, Vietnamese sounds a lot like Khmer as spoken by people in the provinces around here so when he used Vietnamese words I just thought he was using Khmer words that I didn't know. Many Khmer speakers don't like the letter R. So, rather than say the letter R they skip it and throw a tone in there.  Up tones, down tones, it doesn't really matter, it just has to be really indistinct. For example, an Elder named Elder Price served here back in March or so. They pronounce his name pee'ay'eeh with the ay being said at a lower pitch than the rest of them. Fun right? Also, I picked up like five words in Vietnamese. I'm going to try and use them and see if people actually understand me.

Some ants got into our rice and sugar the other day. I could've dug them out, dumped the rice or put it in the fridge to kill them but I just cooked it anyway, ants and all. When it came time to put some sugar in the stir fry I found that our sugar was also infested. Our lunch had a little extra protein in it that day. I wonder how many ants the average Khmer person eats in a week? It's probably a lot. Cambodians as a whole routinely ignore pests like ants, spiders and other things that don't actually bite you if you leave them alone. I guess it's not a bad thing...

I was reading in Isaiah chapter 50 this morning and was interested by the second half of the first verse which reads, ''Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away,'' however in the New Living Translation it was put slightly differently. I don't remember the exact wording but it went something like, ''No, you have been sold into slavery because of your sins and your mother has been sent away because of your unrighteous actions''.

After reading those two translations side by side I was struck by the fact that in the KJV it says that we sell ourselves while in the NLT it says that we are sold. I thought about the difference for a minute and decided that I really liked the more word for word translation in the KJV. When we sin, God does not punish us, we punish ourselves. When we sin, we act as our own jury, judge and jailer in deciding our punishment. I was reminded of my High School soccer coach who told us that he didn't pick the starting lineup, we did, and in a very real sense this is true. We are free to choose right or wrong, sin or good works (See 2 Nephi 2:27), but we are not free to choose the consequences.  When we choose to sin and not repent we are very literally selling ourselves as slaves to our sins.
So! Don't sin, and then when you do anyway, repent! No sense in reestablishing slavery, we got rid of that years ago.
Love y'all,  Elder Vore

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