Sunday, November 9, 2014

Nov 9, 2014 Back to the Boonies

After a pretty crazy week with several problems in the branches out here, President Moon decided that some changes needed to be made. I was on my way to teach at a Zone Training meeting this last Friday when I got the call that I was to pack my bags and take over things in Sen Sok starting that evening. Boy, that was a bit of a shock. I didn't even get to say goodbye to everyone! Sen Sok is still in the same zone as Tuol Kork but it is about 13 kilos north and a little off to the west. I'm going there with Elder Neng, who is somewhat familiar with the area, having previously served there for like three weeks.

 Sen Sok is a small, struggling branch that is based in a very poor area that was created by the government for people whose land was needed for city building projects. It's pretty different from my last couple of areas in the city. Goats and chickens are all over the place. Cows, ducks, geese, pigs, all over the place. Most of the people live in small tin shanties raised on stilts. I'll have to send y'all some pictures so you can visualize it. We live in one of the nicest houses in the whole area. Honestly, I'm embarrassed by how nice our house is in comparison to everyone else around us. Sure there are housing standards for the mission and stuff but it's pretty ridiculous.

One of the members that I'm really sad I won't be meeting around town any more is Chombei. Chombei has been a member for a little over a year now and she is one of the most devoted Christians I have ever met. She always seems to have some dramatic event going on in her life.  For example, a few weeks ago at church she came up to me and told me that she had a problem. A cousin (like a third cousin or something like that) or hers got a really serious illness and his family took him to a kruu Khmea, or a Khmea witch doctor who told them that he sensed that one of their relatives had joined the christians and that the reason this kid was sick was because his ancestors were angry.

His family started racking their brains to try and figure out who had joined the dark side and finally decided that Chombei was the closest Christian relative. They called her and told her that she needed to renounce Christianity and go do a Buddhist ritual to save her cousin's life. She, of course, told them that it was ridiculous and she would not do any rituals or renouncing but that she would come as soon as church was over. Around the time church ended, her cousin died. It was a very sad, very dramatic afternoon. One morning later in the week she looked out her front window to see a Khmea witch doctor and a couple of others burning incense, sprinkling water and chanting around her little shop. They were trying to curse her and call down evil spirits to harm her... She told me she just prayed and went around like normal!

Another person that I'm leaving in Tuol Kork is named Sarueon. He's led an interesting life. He never has explained exactly what he was doing during the Pol Pot era, but after the Vietnamese invaded Phnom Penh in 1979 he became a monk for 7 years. Afterward he got married and had several children, but was conscripted into the army and fought in several civil wars during the turbulent late 80s and early 90s. He went into politics and government and now works as the government representative at a large open market, as well as holding several local government positions. Such a cool guy. He comes to church every week too.

Here's a fun one for you that are familiar with how ward councils are run. My ward council met this last week and only the Bishop, the Relief Society President, the second counselor and the Elder's Quorum President were over the age of 28. The Young Men's President, Young Women's President, Primary President, Ward Mission Leader, Clerk, Executive Secretary, Sunday School President, 2 sets of missionaries and even the high counselor were all under the age of 28. Let that one sit for a second...

I don't think the public works ministry communicates very well. My companion and I were complaining about a road full of pot holes one week and the next we were pleasantly surprised to see it being patched! The new road was actually quite nice. Two weeks later we were unable to go over the road because they were ripping it up to fix a sewer underneath. Then they just left the road ripped up with loose gravel over the hole.

I wish you could come here and go to a slum and turn in a slow circle and just take in all the difficulties these people deal with. It would change your perspective on life. I wish even more that all of you could have all the experiences that I've had over the last two years that have shown me how much God cares for us and how much he loves us. His plan is perfect and those who follow His commandments will be blessed.
 -Elder Vore

No comments:

Post a Comment