Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Jan 20, 2014 Learning How to Learn

Yesterday we met a girl named Srey Leak for the first time. She asked some cool questions about life after death and we talked about God's plan for us for a while but her real questions for us were more personal. "Why are white people so much smarter than Cambodian's??" That's actually a pretty normal question, especially if the only white people they know are the Elders who seem so much smarter than everyone else because we learned their language in a relatively short amount of time.

 We had a pretty lively debate with the ladies selling clothes around us on the subject. The general consensus among them was that white people are white and have a better diets and so they are smarter. I kind of tried to throw that idea out the window but they weren't having it. I'll tell you what though, living in Cambodia for a year has given me a real testimony of the power of Elementary School. Gosh Elementary School is a great thing! Even more than learning how to read and such, you learn how to learn!

 In Khmer schools the teachers say one thing and then the students repeat it and they repeat after the teacher until they have 'learned' whatever they're studying. It's not the best system. Learning how to learn is important. I meet 50 year old men and women that haven't ever learned how to read and tell me that they can't learn about Christ because they don't know how to read. Though that idea is false, the sentiment behind it has some truth. When you learn about stuff, it makes it easier to learn about other stuff. When you haven't done much learning in your life it makes it that must harder to pick up something new.

Can I confide something here. Actually, maybe that's the wrong word since Mom is posting these on the internet huh? Maybe confess? I had no idea what alcohol even smelled like before my mission. If someone was a little tipsy I would have had no idea. And I had never been around drunk people, like ever. I was a sheltered little kid. These days crazy drunk guys are an everyday thing. Sometimes they're actually even written into my planner as part of our planned schedule! I am always amazed by the number of really drunk men who want to learn about Jesus Christ. And I am always amazed by the crazy things drunk people do.

 The other day we were talking to a man who used to go to a Christian church near his house but it closed and he was looking for another church to go to. While we were talking to him his very drunk father came up to us and asked for "Jesus to buy him a toilet". He explained in great detail about how difficult it was for him to go to the bathroom while squatting and showed us about 5 times how exactly he pulled his pants down and squatted.  He said he would even buy the toilet though he would prefer if Jesus just gave it to him. It was really distracting. Also, maybe I need to dress differently if people are mistaking me for a toilet salesperson.

 Most people around here don't know a whole lot about Christ, but they do usually know about His crucifixion on the cross. One of the more common questions we get when talking about Christ around here is why He died in such a horrible way? It's a good question. It is important to remember that there was a purpose behind His death and that Christ was a volunteer. In Matthew 26:39 we read "And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." Christ truly "[bore] our griefs and carried our sorrows'' (Isaiah 53:4). He was "brought as a lamb to the slaughter", a willing sacrifice for sin (Isaiah 53:7).  The purpose of this infinite and eternal atonement was summarized by a Book of Mormon prophet named Amulek who declared "And thus he shall bring salvation to all those who shall believe on his name; this being the intent of this last sacrifice, to bring about the bowels of mercy, which overpowereth justice, and bringeth about means unto men that they may have faith unto repentance. (Alma 34:15)''

"[Christ's] atonement is the most transcendent event that ever has or ever will occur from Creation’s dawn through all the ages of a never-ending eternity. It is the supreme act of goodness and grace that only a god could perform. Through it, all of the terms and conditions of the Father’s eternal plan of salvation became operative. Through it are brought to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. Through it, all men are saved from death, hell, the devil, and endless torment (Bruce R. McConkie 'The Purifying Power of Gethsemane')."

Christ is our Savior and King. His Atonement was the most important event that ever has occurred on the face of the Earth or ever will. Someday we will be brought before him and we will have the opportunity to thank Him face to face for all that He has done for us but we needn't wait until that day. Today we can begin to honor Him by following His commandments and the reading and applying the teachings of His holy prophets in the scriptures. Love y'all,  Elder Vore

Me and Elder Caine near the group president's house, several missionaries and recent converts after helping a family beat their harvested rice into little grains

Soke the monkey

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