Sunday, November 9, 2014

Nov 2, 2014 Srawberries and Raspberries

Conditions near the Railroad Tracks

One of the most obvious differences between Cambodia and the states (I don't even know if I can say this is one of the most obvious differences because it's all so different but it is a big difference) is the architecture. In the cramped confines of Phnom Penh there are millions of people stacked on top of each other and they all need houses to live in. Most everything is built straight up. If you want a bigger house you stack a second floor on top of the first floor. More space? Put another couple of floors up there.

 This last week I went to help a member of our ward move. His family is pretty well off and their house is five stories tall. Now, keep in mind, each story is maybe 12 feet wide and 40 feet long. Because he is a little wealthier than most, his furniture is made of real wood. I don't know how professional movers do it! We were taking huge pieces of furniture that are made from solid wood, through cramped stairwells down 2, 3 and even 4 flights of stairs.

 One time as we were halfway down one of the flights, a dresser got turned awkwardly and everyone got pushed out of the way except for me. We were moving it with six people but I ended up being the only person between the dresser and the lower floor, everyone else was holding onto the top and trying to hold it up and keep the weight off me. This actually happened several times with several different people and all different types of furniture. I wish some Khmer architects would design these stairwells with this in mind. My back was sore for two days after that! Pretty ridiculous.

One of the families we've been teaching includes some members of the family that joined the group in Phnom Penh a little later including an adopted brother, and husband. The reason that is significant is because they never learned how to read. Actually, one of them knew the ABCs pretty well and know the sounds and stuff but when you start putting it all together he got a little dizzy. We volunteered to help teach them how to read.

 Can we all ponder the irony of this for a second?  No matter how well I speak Khmer I'm always going to have an accent. I'm never going to say some of the vowels correctly. But I am going to teach them how to read? It's not the first time I've done this either. Actually the third time. In any case, I took the man that didn't know his ABCs very well and Elder Brewer got the other one and we set off. We started reciting the Khmer alphabet and he got to the 12th letter of the alphabet. When I started writing them he only recognized up to the 4th one and he could only write the first two.  After a very laborious hour, he could write any of the first 10 letters if I called it out. He was averaging only about 80% accuracy on that one too. Learning to read is REALLY hard if you've never even been to school to learn how to learn.

Due to a pretty crazy set of circumstances I now have another companion in addition to Elder Brewer. Welcome Elder Neng! Elder Neng is from Toul Tom Pung here in Phnom Penh and has been a member of the church for just a few years. He's bee on his mission for just over three months now and is always excited to get out the door and start teaching people. We are going to push each other. I think he's in one of the pictures I sent of me on a bridge over a small creek.

We were teaching about the importance of going to church as part of our lesson to an investigator the other day when another person who was listening and somewhat familiar with Christianity asked the following question, "If you believe in Christ and pray in your home on Sunday to keep the Sabbath Day holy do you still have to go to church?" I answered with the following story:

Once there was a mother who was very busy preparing for a gathering in her home. She sent her young son down the street with some money and instructions to buy some raspberries (fruit has been changed for the sake of the audience :P). The fruit store was quite a way down the road and so the boy got going. When he was still far from his destination he happened to pass a man who was selling strawberries from a cart. He stopped and bought strawberries. Then he went home and gave the strawberries to his mom.

We then talked about the little boy. Was what he did bad? No, not really. He kind of followed his mother's directions. He was willing to go do something. And who doesn't like strawberries anyway? I'm sure his mom could use the strawberries right? The problem was not that what he did was bad, it was that he was given a specific assignment and then didn't fulfill it.

In the Doctrine and Covenants section 59 verses 9-10 we read, "And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted from the world, thou shalt go to the house of prayer and offer up thy sacraments upon my holy day;For verily this is a day appointed unto you to rest from your labors, and to pay thy devotions unto the Most High;"

Praying in faith and as a family and other such related activities are really great and extremely important, but on Sunday we have received a specific assignment from the Lord. He has asked us to go to His holy house and partake of His sacraments. And it's that simple.
That's all I've got for today. Have a great week!!!
-Elder Vore

Cambodian Housing

Delicious Fish
The reason I won't be able to make it under the 50 pound limit for suitcases.

Sunset near the church

No comments:

Post a Comment