Monday, September 15, 2014

Sept 15, 2014 Weird Things

Sometimes strange things happen around here.

Had a super weird experience on Wednesday when I went on a companion exchange in Pochentong earlier this week. We were at the church interviewing a young man who was preparing to get baptized when a girl walked into the church building. That wasn't the weird thing, the weird thing was that she was white. We don't get a lot of white people in that part of town.

She was talking to one of the missionaries out in the lobby when I got out of the interview. She explained that she was just walking around and saw the church and wanted to check it out. Then one of the members came up and asked us where she was from and she answered in Khmer. Everyone's heads turned to look at her. I wish I could have seen it from the third person, we must have looked ridiculous.  You would think that we, as people who have learned this language already, would be less shocked to meet someone who had also learned this language. I must have felt about the same as everybody who meets me on the street and is shocked that I actually speak Khmer. But she didn't just speak Khmer, she spoke Khmer like someone who had been raised in the ghetto. That's an accent that I am familiar with, but it was absolutely shocking to hear it come from her mouth. She came to Cambodia when she was 9 years old. Some time after she got here her dad died and she lost contact with her family in South Africa. She went around teaching English at people's houses. Some people lead really crazy lives. We weren't sure what to make of her because her story didn't make much sense after the basic details and eventually we just left. I still can't believe how perfect her Khmer was.

Last week I talked to a guy named Sau and he indicated that he had some interest in learning more about the gospel of Jesus Christ. I set a return appointment with him and got his address. We called him before heading over and he didn't answer so we decided to just go to the address and hope that he would be there. The address was a little hard to find but finally we found the house and were a little shocked to see that it was a massage parlor. Now, in Cambodia, massage parlors are not as innocent as massage parlors in America. Sure there are plenty of places where you can get a normal, nice, massage and at really decent prices (Like under $3 an hour) but many others that deal with a less innocent business. There were 5 or 6 women sitting around playing cards and waiting for customers when we showed up.

 Once we had convinced them that we didn't want massages, we asked about Sau. They seemed to not recognize the name but couldn't decide. That was weird. We were getting ready to leave when one of the women pulled out a picture and asked us if we recognized him. I wasn't sure, but it was enough to get us to call the guy again before leaving. Sau answered the phone and I told him that I thought I was at the wrong address. He told me it was the right address and that he would be by in a few minutes. Well... We weren't sure how comfortable we were at the massage parlor, but we sat and waited for him. I started making faces at a baby that was playing just inside and he giggled. Then Sau came up. Everyone clearly recognized him and he got off his motorcycle and picked up the baby I was playing with. It was his child. We were thoroughly weirded  out at this point but taught him and his wife a very normal lesson and invited them to church. We haven't tried to meet them again yet, but I think next time we'll try and see if we can meet at the church or something...

 I wish I could explain better what this missionary experience means to me. Every time I leave the house I am excited. Every time I walk into the church I'm happy. Every time I meet new people that want to learn about the gospel I just get this big grin on my face. This is so much fun! I love my job, I wish I could do it forever.

There's a scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants that explains this joy. It is the joy of bringing other unto Christ. It says: "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me! (D&C 18:15-16)"

I know that sharing the gospel with others brings great joy and I want to encourage you who are reading this to think about the ways you are trying to share the gospel and whether you can do it more boldly. Love you guys!
-Elder Vore

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