Monday, January 26, 2015

In Which I Find Myself Alone in Cambodia

Us doing service with the elders in our proselyting clothes.

It's been another week. This one went by really quickly. It feels like I was just doing this! But it was a good week. I got a fun surprise on Tuesday. I got mail! It was like Christmas! Especially because the mail consisted of Christmas cards from a bunch of people. So thank you to those who sent Christmas cards! They found their way to me. And it didn't even take too long, I was impressed. 

This week started off pretty exciting. We got two referrals from the elders on Monday night! They took us around to meet two different families who they started to teach, but the husbands lost interest and so they couldn't keep meeting them. As the week went on though, they didn't turn out to be quite as promising as they originally seemed. One said she couldn't learn because her mom wouldn't allow it (despite the fact that she was well into her 30s..?) The other one is very busy and works every Sunday. So.... We'll see how those progress. Well, the latter one at least. 

We do have one other investigator now. She lives across the street from our new recent convert Srei Khuat. She came to church last week and we taught her the first lesson that night. She seems really eager to learn, but we have yet to have taught her again... It's a little strange. She's super friendly and her husband wants to learn too. They originally started learning with elders a little while ago but then stopped. So we were hoping to be able to teach them all together but that has yet to pan out. She's funny. She calls us elders every time despite the fact that we've told her we are called sisters. Now it's gone on too long it's to awkward to correct her. Stay tuned on that situation...

Thursday I went on exchanges with Sister A. We live in the same house with her and her comp Sister Chan. Sister Chan finishes this transfer in three weeks! And Sister A. is two transfers ahead of me, and super good at Khmer! They are good roommates. We cook dinner (and by we I mean the Khmer sisters cook. At our house the American sisters do the eating and the dishes) together every night. It's been kind of a strange thing going to the city and coming in later at night. Most nights we get home around 7:00 or 7:30. Plan, shower, and cook. So we don't eat til 8:45 or 9:00 most nights!

Anyways, exchanges with Sister A. It was fun! We went to KFC together for lunch! I think I'm a little too into food. The big events in my life these days involve going out to eat. Her area is a bit more city-ish then mine. So it was fun to be in a new area. A couple of the lessons fell through in a row, so we did a lot of contacting. I hate contacting. Have I talked about how much I hate contacting? But I'm getting more used to it the more I do it. When I was in my traininghood, I never did it. Partly because I was too shy/scared and partly because Sis P was just so good at it. But my current comp is a much more timid, so I'm having to step up to the plate when it comes to contacting. One thing I have learned to appreciate about it though is that random people on the street don't know you're supposed to speak Khmer. So when you go up to them and start chatting (even if it's not that good) they're still impressed/amused. I love it when people ask me how long I've been here and I start to say three... and they fill in years when I was about to say months. 

On Wednesday we had lunch at a member's house. They live right next to the airport. The airport is in our area, but it's a long ways to our house. Finding this member's house is a challenge! We literally take like 24 different turns to get there. We've only been there twice, but I'm going to be in trouble when Sister Choek leaves (if she leaves this transfer). Pochentong is much bigger and more confusing than Kampongcham! But we ate lunch outside (fish, rice, veggies, and dipping sauce--it was pretty good!) on a bamboo bed/table thing (they call it a krei). From our spot, we could watch all the planes coming in and taking off. Mason would have enjoyed it. And with the breeze going, it made for a pleasant afternoon. 

One nice thing about December and January is the wind. While it doesn't really get cool here, the breeze keeps it nice and comfortable. I wore a sweater to church the other day (because of the AC) and I was comfortable wearing it biking to church in the morning!

Okay. Now it's time for the bike incident. There's always a bike incident. Okay so my bike is weird. It's what they call an 'elder's bike" because the bar is really high. Also it has gears. That don't work. Anyways. The spokes on it have been coming loose. Occasionally they will rub against the frame, and I'll have to stop and bend them back. Well the other day when leaving a lesson I was biking along and they started to make that noise. But we weren't going very far, so I figured it would be fine. I would fix it once we got to the next house. But the noise got louder. And then my bike got slower until it came to a halt. I knelt down and realized that the spokes had gotten caught in the gear and the more I rode it the tighter it wound around the gears. If I had stopped when I first heard the noise, it wouldn't have been a problem. There's a spiritual parallel here... which I will refrain from expounding upon because I have not yet become THAT missionary. But it did remind me of a story you would tell, Dad, at a standard's night or something. Something about a vehicle with a similar problem on the ranch...

Anyways. By this time my comp is around the corner and out of sight. So (because my wheel won't turn) I lifted up my bike and carried it along. Eventually Sis Choek realized I wasn't there. And came around the corner and miraculously pulled a pair of pliers out of her bag and got it unwound. Problem solved. Except I had messed up the gear. And now the chain kept falling off. I know nothing about bikes. I could be calling these parts the wrong names. But now the chain wouldn't stay on. I would go a few yards and it would fall off. After going from bike shop to bike shop trying to find someone who would fix it, we eventually found a place. It would take two hours, but we hadn't eaten lunch yet. So that was fine. We left the bike there and I rode Sister Choek's bike and doped her (she rode on the back). Because the other way around would not work very well. I'm not the best doper, but I'm getting better. And we made it home in one piece. When it was time to go back and get the bike again, we hopped on her bike and went along the road. The road we live on is constantly under construction. It goes from a dirt road to a paved road in stages. So there are times when it shifts to dirt and the transition is really bumpy. So she'd hop off and back on for those parts no problem. We got to the end of the road and turned off to find the bike shop no problem. I even turned around to her and said something like, "see, it's easy! No problem". Only to realize, I was talking to myself. 

I was immediately horrified. I realized I was alone and did not know at what point I had left my companion stranded! I turned around and biked up the road as fast as I could to get to the main road. As I turned on to it I saw her maybe 50 yards back walking up the road in the midst of traffic carrying my bag (her's was in the basket of the bike). And then I started laughing. Thankfully she had a good sense of humor about it. I apologized profusely. I had been thinking as I was biking a long that I'm getting quite good at this balancing thing. It's easy! Oh goodness.... So that's my absent-minded story of the week. But, oh man it makes me laugh so much. I've been thinking about it all week. Every time I think of the image of her walking down the street with the "did you really just abandon me?" look on her face it makes me laugh.

Well, that's it for this week! Stay tuned for more adventures in this strange country. Have a good week, friends!


Sister Fields

Lunch at a member's house. This is Bong Ryna. She is a branch missionary and helps us all the time!

My desk with all my pretty pictures! (The Merrill calendar is hanging by my bed). 

1 comment:

  1. Hey! I just came across your blog.. My parents are in the MTC right now heading for the Phnom Penh mission next week! It's fun to get a little glimpse of what it's going to be like for them! Thanks for sharing! Cambodia is about to get an amazing couple of missionaries! They will be serving as public affairs missionaries so I don't know if you will serve with them or not. :)