By the time we got there he had already died. He was fishing and leaned over the guardrail when he slipped. His fall jostled some rocks that fell and crushed him. It was a bloody, heartbreaking scene. We helped the medical crew move his body into their home where most of the village was gathered. His dad was beyond comforting. He knelt by his son's body and sobbed for some three hours.
After a while I took the other children aside and we prayed for comfort. His mom was one of the last to arrive. She was at work far away when she got word that her son was in a serious accident. She immediately left work and flagged down a passing motor taxi. Without a personal cell phone, she had no way of knowing how severe the accident was until she got to the house. I can't even write about this without tears coming to my eyes. Several of the village leaders came up to me and asked if we would be taking Makara's body to the wat to do the necessary Buddhist rites or if we would be taking care of the funeral services. I didn't want to step out of my boundaries and suggested that they wait until his father had collected himself and then ask him. Makara's brother solved the question when he declared very emphatically that he, his siblings and his parents were Christian now and whatever the Branch President decided to do, that's what they would do. I was frustrated how quickly they focused on a somewhat less important matter. Couldn't we let the parents mourn for a few hours before we start talking about what we're going to do next?
It's always a sad thing when our loved ones pass away, but we can take comfort in the promises that are contained the holy scriptures. When we are faithful, we will meet with our loved ones in the next life.
I left straight from there to go to my next area all the way up north in Batdambong. The church hasn't been established here as long as it has been in the city. The area is much more open and the buildings and scenery make you think of... well, Cambodia. Our Bishop is an excited member who was baptized a few months after I got to the country. We will likely be taking a more in depth role in the branch and helping teach classes and manage the branch than we usually do.
Random thought. A couple of weeks ago I was at church and a member who recently returned from his mission here in Cambodia asked the Branch President who would be teaching Sunday School. The teacher had suddenly gone out of town and no one had prepared a lesson. The Branch President said something like, "Well, Final, will you teach today? Actually, can you teach this class from now on?" 10 minutes later the Branch President was setting him apart as a teacher in front of the class. Don't see that in America much...
Last week I was taking a different route than I usually take to go home. It was late, dark and the road was lit only by the light from signs on the side of the road. I looked up and was somewhat surprised to see that there were light posts at regular intervals, but that they were all off. I wondered why they were off. Was there a power outage? Did they not have enough money to keep them on? I never really got to the bottom of it but I remember thinking, "Why would you put lights and then not use them? "
There's probably several lessons that could be learned here but as I was biking I started thinking about the importance of applying the gospel of Jesus Christ. There's not much point in having a knowledge of the scriptures and of the doctrine of salvation that can lead to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come, if you don't apply it. It's kind of like ordering food at a restaurant and then just staring at it. "Boy that pizza sure looks good..." Quit staring at your food and eat it! Likewise, we need to apply our knowledge and understanding about the gospel. Love y'all,