It has been quite the week around here. I have rarely been so exhausted in my life and feeling like I had so little to show for it. It seems like right around the time that Elder Quirante got here, everybody who we had been teaching disappeared. So we hit the streets and, right now, we're kind of feeling like no one wants to listen to a word we say, even if we're white and speak their language. It's been a little frustrating, especially here where we know there are hundreds if not thousands of people who would accept us and the message we bear if we could just meet them.
Hmm, that was a pretty negative introduction. Let's go for some lighter stuff here. I love names here. In America very few of our names have actual meaning. You can look in a name dictionary for the "meaning" of your name based on its ancient roots and stuff but rarely can we actually use our names as normal words. In Cambodia, almost all names have meanings. I could give a bunch of peoples' names as examples but the ones that are funny to me are the names of places. I started my mission in Tuk Thla, or clear/clean water. Then I moved to Ta Khmao which means Black Grandpa. There's a big statue there of an old dark skinned man there, I guess that probably relates to the name. Baku, my next area, is a level for monks and now I'm back near my birth area in Tuk La'ak, or Dirty Water. Isn't it fun? Phnom Penh, the city we live in, means the mountain of fulfillment and Batdombang, a city in the north, means Lost Stick but we like to call it I Lost My Stick because it's more fun. Can we come up with some more interesting names in English? I vote we change Odessa to "Ugly Desert". All in favor please manifest by the raising of the right hand. Those opposed if any?
Had a long talk with an older member named Om Daly the other day. She recently lost a son and we spent a long time trying to help her through her difficulties. During this she shared the story of her family during the Khmer Rouge regime under Pol Pot. She was born the ninth of eleven children in a province up north, actually not in Cambodia's borders. They spoke both Khmer and Laotian in the home. During the Khmer Rough regime she and her family were moved to Kampong Cham, where they were put to work in the rice fields for up to 20 hours a day. Daly was in her teens at the time and was one of the strong ones, but they were being worked to death and it was certainly taking it's toll. One day, Daly was randomly picked to go with a group out to a work site that was very far away. It took all of the morning to walk there and was already dark when they started heading back. When she arrived home late that night she was greeted by a completely empty home. Her family had been taken by the government and bundled into a truck with hundreds of others that were sent to be executed. Daly went to live with an uncle in the same camp and manged to survive the experience. After telling us this story she sighed and began numbering all of her loved ones who had passed on, ending with her son. Then she said, "Will I really see my family again?"
It was kind of a heart wrenching thing. We opened with her in the Book of Mormon to Alma 40:11-12 which reads, "Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.
Here we explained the meaning of Easter to her. That because Christ rose from the dead, all of us will as well. We are recipients of the greatest gift that could ever be imagined.I know that this is true. It is a miracle and it is just for us. Love you guys,Elder Vore