Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Dec 28, 2014 An Agricultural Revolution

"You ride [your bike] like you were born in the [provinces]." Me to Elder Child

"You ride like bikes have the right of way." Elder Child in response

The provinces are a little different than the city. I mean, it's still Cambodia and it's still missionary work and it's still teaching people and stuff but it's still different. Different how? Uhh, well... there are fewer people, the houses are more spread out, it's prettier, people are generally less educated but more friendly. It's hard to describe really. Obviously on the surface it's pretty different but it has a different feel too. Maybe I've just got a bad cold.

We were at an investigator's house the other day and he owns some kind of parrot. It wasn't like any parrot I've ever seen but it talked and stuff like that. It spoke in Khmer of course, and basically like the first word that came out of his mouth after hello was a swear word. Is that just universal or what? It seems like that is always the second thing the bird learns. Pretty funny. The guy we're teaching was really apologetic. "Sorry about my bird, he doesn't know that's a bad word. He thinks it's a good word! That's why he keeps saying it so much!" Elder Nhoem told us about a bird near his house in Kampong Cham that sat at the front of a little shop and announced to the owner that "they're here" whenever customers walked up. Funny enough, that bird said bad words, too.

Transfer calls were yesterday. Elder Child and Elder Nhoem are leaving me and I'll be with Elder Ngov for my last six weeks here. His parents are Khmer but he was born and raised in America. It will be a fun companionship. I've had a pretty wild last few months as far as the mission goes. I've been in 3 areas with 5 different companions, in a threesome twice, an emergency transfer, etc. Hopefully this will be the last of that.

Me, Elder Child and Elder Nheom after the road dead ended into the river. We had to backtrack a little but there were some cool views. Elder Nheom tried to take some artsy pictures by holding his camera out over the water.

It's rice harvesting season! I don't remember how much I told you about rice harvesting last year but it pretty much consumes all the laborers for 2-3 months in the winter. Unless, you use a tractor. I saw a couple of people use tractors last year but this year it's really becoming wide spread. I would guess that up to 60% of the rice fields I see are being harvested with a machine. The thing with the tractor is that, unless you do the whole thing without hiring any labor (which would take a really long time unless you have a very large family), it's both cheaper and faster. People are catching on. We're watching the second agricultural revolution happen right before our eyes in Cambodia. It causes problems in the short run (no jobs for the laborers) but obviously it will be better in the long run. Still, we go out and help those that harvest by hand.

Elder Vore harvesting rice (chrote srow). You take that little mini curved scythe thing, hook it in the stalks of rice, grab with your free hand cut and repeat.

Elder Nhum told a story the other day that really made me stop and think and I want to share it with y'all too. It was a couple of years ago when he was a recent convert and his mom was learning with the missionaries. She hadn't really caught the spirit yet. She hadn't been to church in a while and wasn't really progressing. At one particular lesson the missionaries asked if she had her scriptures. She went to a different room to get them and brought them out, covered in dust, slightly water damaged and obviously unread for quite some time. She excused herself briefly and was busy in the other room.

Then Elder Nhum saw the missionary do something that really made him think. That missionary picked the book up carefully, and with tears in his eyes wiped the dust off of the cover and fanned through the pages to unstick them. He then pulled a small rag out of his backpack and wiped the cover until it was clean. Now, I don't know what was going through that missionary's head but that story really made me pause and think: How much do I value God's word? 

"In the late 1300s, a priest named John Wycliffe initiated a translation of the Bible from Latin into English. Because English was then an emerging, unrefined language, church leaders deemed it unsuitable to convey God’s word. Some leaders were certain that if people could read and interpret the Bible for themselves, its doctrine would be corrupted; others feared that people with independent access to the scriptures would not need the church and would cease to support it financially. Consequently, Wycliffe was denounced as a heretic and treated accordingly. After he died and was buried, his bones were dug up and burned. But God’s work could not be stopped. (Robert D. Hales 'Preparations for the Restoration and the Second Coming: My Hand Shall Be over Thee'", Oct 2005)

God's word cannot be stopped! Isn't that just so cool! Can we think about that for a minute? How do you treat God's word? How often are you reading, studying, feasting upon the words of Christ? (2 Nephi 32:3) Take 5 seconds of personal reflection for a second here and then decide what you can do to be more fully a student of the Word. Love you guys!
-Elder Vore

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