Monday, December 1, 2014

Nov 30, 2014 Gassed Out!

New companions! Introducing Elders Nheom and Child! Elder Nheom is a Khmer Elder from Kampung Cham who has been a member of the church for just over 4 years now. He's about 5' 5" and says the funniest things when we bike down the road. The members love him here. Elder Child is from Bountiful, Utah. This is his first area and he's really picking up the language quickly. Fun fact, his parents knew mine back when they were in college (our moms were camp counselors together?) and apparently they read this blog a lot. Shout out to the Child family! Your son is the coolest!

I had a really fun companion exchange this week when I went to Pursat with Elder Britain. Elders Britain and Bo just opened missionary work in Pursat last month and it is exciting to be in a new relatively untouched area. They were in Batdambong for Thanksgiving. We actually did have a pretty great Thanksgiving meal but it was kind of funny because it was hosted by a Canadian couple serving a mission here and we ate turkey with Khmer food.

 After Thanksgiving dinner, 4 of us, Elders Britain, Bo, Nheom and myself headed to Pursat. Because the bus schedules didn't work well with our schedule we decided to just flag down a car and go with them. That may sound sketchy according to first world standards, but it's perfectly normal around here. We had our backpacks and started walking down the highway. It wasn't long until someone asked us where we were going and offered to take us there for $15. All four of us sat in the backseat. Elder Britain and I didn't have bikes so we spent our entire time out there on foot, teaching, looking for people that want to learn about our church and advertising for their English class. On the way back Elder Nhoem and I did the same thing. This time we both sat in the front seat together for the hour and a half ride back to Batdambong.

A member of a branch here in Batdambong died on Friday and they kept her body in the church. Some interesting things about Khmer funerals. The family of the deceased person is expected to put on a feast for everyone who comes to pay their respects. The people who come pay for the food and are expected to pay very generously for the food to help pay for the funeral. Also, the family and friends of the deceased person have to be with the body all the time. The more there are the better.

 So for the past few days there has been a constant parade of people coming through the church eating and taking turns sitting in the chapel overflow room with the casket. Sunday morning came and we were filing in for sacrament meeting. Several family members were keeping vigil with the casket and were slightly miffed that we were going through with our normal church services. One of the members of the branch presidency came to me and asked if it would be a good idea to open the overflow curtain so that we could all be in the same room as the casket. Actually, he literally said, "Do you think we should open the overflow and display the casket during sacrament meeting?" Umm, no. They picked me to go explain that to the family members with the casket who were actually ok with that. Never thought I'd hear that question asked to me...  "Do you think we should open the overflow and display the casket during sacrament meeting?"

On Tuesday mornings the missionaries in our zone here in Batdambong all gather together for district meetings. We are in 4 districts and three of them meet in separate rooms at the church. We were getting close to wrapping up our district meeting when we heard a loud whirring sound. Someone was out in front of the church, wearing a gas mask, holding what appeared to be a large leaf blower. It was clear though that he was spraying for pests and he blew billowing clouds of grey mist into drains out around the church.

 We ignored him, closed the curtains and continued our training meeting. About 10 minutes later the sound got suddenly much louder and we were somewhat shocked to hear the blower thing coming into the church. We tried to get out but by the time we opened the door there were already clouds of bug poison filling the church. The other two districts opened their doors to find the same thing. It was pretty hilarious. Would have been really bad if the stuff had been a little more dangerous.  We closed the door, opened the widows in our room, and sat over by the windows for 30 minutes or so. We couldn't get out of the windows because they are barred to discourage theft. They OKed us to leave after a while and we held our breaths and stumbled through the smokey hallways out the door. It was a little more dramatic than it should have been. Funny though.

Last little story! We were at Thanksgiving dinner and one of the Khmer Elders, Elder Reom, was looking at a little pilgrim hat that Sister Zemp had made to decorate the table. She put a black paper circle down and then covered a small cup with black paper and put it one top. Elder Reom picked it up and asked me what it was. That was kind of hard for me to explain and I told him it was the style of hat they wore in America 400 years or so ago. He turned it over in his hand and then turned the cup right side up and poured himself some water. 

That's it for me guys, I'm out of time! Thank you for your prayers, both those in my behalf and those offered for the people I meet everyday. Love y'all!
-Elder Vore

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