Monday, August 11, 2014

Aug 11, 2014 Thou Shalt Not Play with Guns

Had a couple of run ins with ghosts this week. Well, we talked to people who said they had. One of the members that we work with a lot, Chanty, took a trip to Siem Riep, the cultural capitol of Cambodia and the site of all the famous ruins and temples and of course, Angkor Wat. She made a deal with a friend who promised a free room for a month if Chanty would help work at the family restaurant. It was the perfect set up. The family even had a nice home and Chanty had her own bedroom. Well, this was a really long story when she told it to me, and it actually wasn't very interesting which is why I interrupted her explanation of all the creepy ghostly things that were going on and asked her, "What would the ghost do if you saw it?" She kind of rolled her eyes at my comment and said, "Well, it will scare you of course!" I thought that I had misunderstood so I asked her about her friend who had actually seen the supposed ghost. What happened to her when she saw the ghost? "It scared her! Duh!" Laughing a little to myself I kept pushing. "Can the ghost mess with you at all? Can it hurt you?" The answer? No, ghosts scare you. That's it. At the point the question that had been implied but not yet said aloud came out. "If the ghost can't do anything other than scare you, what's the point of being scared by it?" My companion and I thought it was hilarious but the Khmers insisted that we just didn't understand. "Just wait. When you see a ghost, it'll scare you" they said.

More fun facts about Khmer! When Khmers say a name, the last syllable is almost always the most important syllable and therefore the syllable that they actually say. Think of how we pronounce the word 'because'. Usually if you're just speaking normally you drop the 'be' and just say 'cuz' right? Well, Khmers do that for basically all names and lots of words. For example, when people talk to us on the street they will often call us teacher, but with the Khmer accent it just comes out as "cheu" (eu would be roughly equivalent to the way we say oo in the word 'look'). Funny thing about that word? It has meaning in Khmer, it means wood. Well, taking all of those things into account, we were out near a member's house, Maly, just talking to people and looking for people that wanted to learn about the gospel when I started talking to some little kids. They were calling me  'cheu' or teacher, but they were just saying it like they would say the word wood. I tried to be funny and crack a joke. I told them that I wasn't wood, I was a person, and then picked up a stick and told them that this was wood and not to confuse us. It probably wasn't the clearest joke and they clearly didn't get it, but Maly understood what I was trying to get at. She told me I was wrong and that I was wood. That was a little confusing for me and my face must have shown it because she laughed and told me to read my name tag. "Elder Vwoa". "That's right!" she said triumphantly, "you're daum cheu vwoa!" or "a wooden vine", which actually makes sense when you say it in Khmer. That was a joke the kids could understand. They cracked up.

We were teaching an older lady who joined the church about 8 months ago and doesn't remember things very well. We went over the 10 commandments and taught her this fun little trick where you hold up your hands and count and it can help you remember them in order. Ex. 1) (holds up one finger) there is only one God. 2) (two fingers curled up and "kneel" on the table) don't make or worship graven images. Anyways, the sixth commandment is always a pretty easy one. Six fingers go up and a finger gun "shoots" the other five fingers, hopefully reminding us that the sixth commandment is "Thou shalt not kill". She loved it, and by the time we were done she could get all of them, except the sixth one. Twice she held up her little finger gun and "shot" the other five fingers, and then paused, "Thou shalt not... play with guns? Is that right Elder?"

There is a recent convert in our branch here who is incredibly rich. The life of the incredibly rich is interesting in Cambodia. Obviously you don't have to do much. Living costs are incredibly low and so she hires servants to do everything for her. It's actually a pretty good gig for the servants, especially if they are there with their whole family. She invited us over for dinner on Sunday night and we went assuming that we would eat and then share a short lesson before heading home. Nope! She wasn't even there actually. She had gone swimming with her grandkids and then had a meeting with the Relief Society President in our branch to talk about some of the needs for some of the poorer members in our branch. We were greeted by a team of servants and one of her nephews who ate with us. 5 different main courses! It was pretty wild.
Elder Vore

No comments:

Post a Comment