Thursday, February 6, 2014

Feb 2, 2014 Happy New Year!

Introducing Elder Duffy!!! Elder Duffy is from West Valley City Utah.  He is relatively new to Cambodia, pushing on three months now, but knows a lot more about the area than me so I'm going to be relying on him a lot. He is very good at the language for having just been here two transfers and enjoys singing and playing computer games when he is not in Cambodia doing missionary work. Fun fact, Elder Duffy actually graduated from high school in 2012 with me but went to school (University of Utah) for a year before coming out. So we're the same age, even though I feel like I'm older than him because I've been here longer. Funny how that works.

Happy new year! It's the year of the horse! Some thoughts on the ''new year'' celebration. Years repeat. Every 365 1/4 days the Earth passes around the sun and all the seasons and stuff start over. People figured that out thousands and thousands of years ago and they've been celebrating the "new year" ever since. But, it doesn't really matter which day we choose to celebrate the first day of the year so depending on where you're from the new year can be pretty much anytime.

So, in Cambodia everyone got really excited for the 1st of January and now for Chinese New Year and then in two months we have the biggest party of them all, Khmer New Year. It's pretty ridiculous. A lot of people just stop working for days when Chinese New Year comes around and though I haven't yet been here for Khmer New Year I've been told that the city essentially shuts down. Khmer New Year is something like Christmas, Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July, Valentines day, Saint Patrick's day and everyone's birthday all rolled up into one. So be prepared for me to wish you a happy new year in a few months again.

It feels weird to be back in the city. I have spent a long time out in the very undeveloped area near Baku and it's weird to be here and feel almost confined. Pretty much anything other than a major road is really narrow and the apartment buildings stretch straight up four or five stories. Sometimes I feel like I'm biking through valleys, other times I feel like I'm playing Frogger. But hey, being in the city has perks too! It means things like bread and hot water and meeting other missionaries more often than once a week so that's fun.

Last dinner before leaving Baku was memorable. Our super awesome investigator Sovanna was having a Chinese New Year party and they bought an entire pig and then cooked it piece by piece in a huge slow cooker. I haven't eaten large pieces of meat for dinner in so long. It was so delicious! That is definitely something I miss around here. Steaks, pot roasts, ribs, pork chops, barbequed chicken are not to be found on menus here. Meat is expensive and sadly, we just don't eat it like we do in America. I am very excited to eat steak and potatoes on my return.

A good friend of mine here gave a spiritual thought at a meeting recently that I have thought about a great deal. He spoke about obedience and I have since added to his thoughts a bit. Imagine a father with 5 sons that all obey their father, but for different reasons. The first son obeys because he's afraid that his father will hit him, the second because when he obeys his father gives him candy. The third son obeys because he knows he's supposed to obey and the fourth son obeys just because all his other brothers are obeying. The fifth one however, obeys because he loves his father.

Our Heavenly Father has given us commandments and asks for our obedience, but how often do we obey out of love? Some people obey because they are afraid that if they don't, God will judge them and send them to Hell. Others because they know that God bestows blessings to those who follow him. After some reflection I decided I usually fell in the third category, those who obey simply because they know that they are supposed to. And many many people follow parents, friends and family in obeying God without really thinking about it.

When I mentioned this to my companion I had to stop for a minute. Saying it in that way makes it sound like obeying God because you know that he will bless you or that honoring Him because it is your duty is sinful or not complete and that is simply not true. All who obey God's commandments are fulfilling His commandment to obey for whatever reason they may be obeying.
However, pause and reflect. Why do you obey God's commandments?

Have you ever headed off to church thinking, "I need to go to church today because I love God.''? For you missionaries out there, have you ever hurried to get to bed on time because you want to show your love for your Heavenly Father? Is that what was going through your head? Should it be? This is definitely a work in progress for me. I want to obey because I love God and not just because I'm supposed to or because I will get blessings. Props to Elder Brittain for the super thought provoking comparison. Love you guys,  Elder Vore

No comments:

Post a Comment