Friday, December 12, 2014

Dec 8, 2014 Boring Off-Roading in Cambodian Jungles

Yesterday there was a baby blessing in our branch here. It's quite possible that everyone who participated in the blessing was participating in a baby blessing for the very first time. With that in mind, we can all understand why there were some problems. They announced that there would be a blessing and then came to the front. Problem: the child's mom is breastfeeding her. Solution: pull up a chair for mommy! So, this woman who is breastfeeding her child walks right up to the front of the congregation and sits down in the chair that our branch president has provided for her. --Side note, public breastfeeding is not weird in Cambodia, though it felt a little too out in the open for me...-- They all started gathering around the chair to bless the baby but the woman was still just smiling and breastfeeding her child! That's when me and Elder Nheom got up and suggested that Mom go sit down and that the child's father should hold the baby and everyone else in the circle put their hands under the baby. Crisis averted.

Elder Vore and Elder Child
The other day we were going to our last lesson and Elder Nhum turns to me and says that the house we are going to is on the other side of this ditch and we have to back track to the main road to get around it. "Or," he says, "We can ride our bikes down the side and then carry them up the other side". Well, that sounded like a good idea to me but when we started going forward Elder Child (who had not really been consulted yet) said, "Wait, we're going THAT way? Well, OK." That was a little ominous but he explained that last time it was pretty muddy and they almost slipped and fell into the stream. As we walked our bikes into the jungle an older woman muttered, "I don't know why you're going over there. There's no road." Yet another somewhat ominous sign, but we continued forward.

Elder Child shined his flashlight down the hill. It was probably 20-25 feet downhill at a 55 degree angle or so. Rocks, trees and small animals cluttered the way. We went anyway, and after that dramatic of an introduction you would expect that something happened huh? Nope. We took the hill like BMX riders. Loud, screamy BMX riders. I wish I had taken a picture as we were looking down. Dragging the bikes back up the other side was probably the hardest part actually.

Had someone compliment me in a very strange way the other day. She told me I was so attractive that I looked like a girl. That was supposed to be a good thing for her but I wasn't really sure about it. Still, she persisted. "Yeah, you do look like a girl, but like you still love women... A homosexual woman! Yup, that's it!" I didn;t really know what to say so I just thanked her, invited her to church and rode off. Weird...

I've been studying the Doctrine and Covenants lately and started thinking about one of the themes found in it. D&C 82:10 reads, "I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise." It's not a very complicated idea but it is a very important one. God promises great blessings for us but they are all conditional blessings. "There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated—  And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.(D&C 130:20-21)" .Some blessings we receive having fulfilled the condition of being His children. Other blessings have a longer list of conditions.

For example, take the scripture found in D&C 14:7 "And, IF (emphasis added) you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God." Does that scripture even need further explanation to make it clear? IF we keep God's commandments and endure to the end, THEN we will receive the great blessing of eternal life.

There are those who would say that God will bless people regardless of their actions and they are absolutely right. God blesses everyone, both righteous and sinners, but He reserves His greatest blessings for those who work for them. "For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory."  

That's my spiel for today! Love y'all!
-Elder Vore

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