Monday, February 17, 2014

Feb 16, 2014 Small Miracles

Had a fun Wednesday.. Renewed my belief that God actually works miracles in just the smallest little things we need.

We headed to a bookstore right before English Class to buy whiteboard markers and started a couple of conversations with people about Christ in the aisles. While I was there I got distracted by a row of picture dictionaries. Now, I know that doesn't sound too exciting but regular English-Khmer dictionaries are notoriously inaccurate and pictures of things helps me understand what the noun actually means (ex. a word could be translated into English as 'rice' but in Khmer there are three different words for rice in it's different stages and I would need to know which one it was). Frustratingly I couldn't find an English-Khmer picture dictionary because they were all out (everyone wants to learn English) and the best they had was an English-Khmer-Chinese book that was $1 more. I bought it and we headed to English class.

Getting away from the English Class story, while we were on our way over to the church I saw a spectacular wreck, literally inches away from me. My companion was biking maybe 15 feet in front of me and a motorcycle was right behind me. He passed me a little too quickly and didn't see the college student making her way across the road. T-bone bike accidents are really something. No one was hurt (I didn't even see any blood) which is why I don't feel bad about talking about it like this, but the girl on the bike got thrown up in the air like a rag doll. It looked like something out of an action movie. She was glaring daggers at him even as he picked himself up and rode off. Now that we're back in the city, accidents are once again nearly an everyday occurrence.  The government has been running a campaign for safer roads by showing extremely gory awful commercials starring fatal moto crashes and their sobbing family members. They are horrible.

Once arriving at English Class my companion, the English Class leader, assigned us to help in the basic class and we checked lesson plans with the teacher. About five minutes before class started two Chinese men walked in. One spoke English fluently and the other barely knew his ABCs. I volunteered to teach the man who spoke no English at all off to the side as he would have to learn a completely different lesson than the rest of the group. Teaching was pretty much impossible. With no way to communicate with him other than the 20-30 words he knew in English it was a project just to introduce myself. Then I remembered the dictionary. After 45 minutes of the dictionary, hand signals and a lot of exasperated laughing from both of us, we had a breakthrough and I finally understood the word for accountant in Chinese. I figured out that he is an accountant at an Adidas shoe factory. I helped him learn how to introduce himself in both English and Khmer and he seemed eager to learn.

As we were working on introducing ourselves he asked me what my job was. Obviously he didn't understand when I explained that I was a missionary. It took about the last 10 minutes of class for me to figure out the word for Jesus Christ. And then he taught me how to say it and showed me how to write it. After the class, his friend, the fluent English speaker, and I had a really fun conversation about how amazing it was that I had purchased an English-Chinese dictionary literally 5 minutes before meeting for English Class. Then he bought it and they took pictures of me giving it to him. Fun stuff. They said they'd be here this week too!

Spiritual thought for the day comes from an experience that I shared with y'all in August or so. We shared essentially this very same lesson with a family while on exchange with Elder Lyman, one of the APs (assistant to the Mission President).

The trip from Baku to our house takes about an hour and fifteen minutes to bike (approx 18 kilometers). The beaten stretch of highway between Ta Khmau and Baku is over traveled, has no lines or speed limits and is full of pot holes. The trip is dark and the large trucks are intimidating. Sometimes it's nice to see a car coming because the headlights illuminate our path but as the car comes closer we are blinded and when it passes we are plunged back into darkness.

Saturday night we left Baku after a very fun activity. Our warm hearts quickly cooled as we set out on our long journey back. For the first 5 minutes or so the traffic was normal, which is not a good thing. Riding on that road is scary! However, after a few minutes a very interesting thing happened. A very large, very slow moving semi-truck pulled up behind us and began to follow us. At first I tried to pull off to the side to let him pass but it soon became clear that if anything, he was actually moving slower than us and simultaneously acting as a fantastic flashlight. The road in front of us was bright and the pot hole strewn highway was suddenly very easy to navigate. Even more, oncoming traffic that would usually come to the middle of the road (and uncomfortably close) to avoid the patchy edges of the road stayed far from us, intimidated by the 20 ton truck behind us. The truck traveled with us for over 30 minutes before passing us and moving on.

 I had a lot of time to think about this (there just isn't much to do when you're riding your bike for hours on end) and my thoughts kept turning to our life on Earth. Life is a long, dark, harrowing journey, full of pot holes and oncoming traffic. When we travel down this road alone, it is difficult and even dangerous. However, we have been promised that when we follow the example of Jesus Christ, we will be blessed with His Spirit, who will guide us. The Spirit is the third member of the godhead, whose purpose is to ''testify of [Christ]'' (John 15:26), ''teach'' us and ''bring all things to [our] remembrance'' (John 14:26), and ''guide [us] into all truth''.

At the end of my explanation and Elder Duffy's thoughts Elder Lyman said two things that I thought were really deep. First, he pointed out that all the trials were still there. God's guidance doesn't erase trials, it just makes them easier to beat. He also said that if our eyes are closed (meaning we ignored promptings from the Spirit) it doesn't matter how bright the road is, we will still fall into the pot holes. We ended the lesson by telling them that there were three things you needeed to do to have true guidance from the spirit. You have to be worthy, you should ask, and you have to follow. Keep it in mind! Love y'all.   Elder Vore

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