Sunday, February 1, 2015

In Which I Become a Seamstress

Beading.  (The fish cracker box in the background was used to mail something from the US here.  You cannot buy fishies here!)
Cumriabsua, friends!

Yet another week has come and gone. Today I start my fifth week of the transfer., which means on Sunday we get transfer calls and the following Friday is exchange day! So that's pretty crazy. Sister Choek thinks she's getting transferred, but we'll see. This is only her second transfer here. Around this time every transfer everyone gets into predicting where people will go. Certain sisters have even been known to make brackets. It's like March Madness around here. So stay tuned!

Also. This Friday is officially my six month mark. Six months as a missionary. One year left. So that is QUITE INSANE. 

This week was a good week. We worked really hard. Our district leader gave us a goal to hit as a whole district for number of contacts and number of member-present lessons this week, with the promise of a reward. Turns out if I might get a present out of it, I actually shoot for my goals. We contacted a lot this week. I still hate it, but not as much as I did before. If I lead the conversation, I can navigate the language pretty well. Though very quickly we can delve into non-get to know you and non-gospel related topics and then it's really uncharted territory. I feel like I haven't learned a whole lot of vocab this transfer, but I do feel my fluency has improved a lot. Speaking all day every day will do that for you. 

Our other goal this week was to get member-present lessons with our investigators. Currently we have two sets of investigators. One is an older lady who has raised her family already and is recently divorced. Ming Cen Thi. She is a referral from the elders. She learned a little bit with them and with her husband, but then she and her husband got a divorce. Since then her life has gone downhill. She just recently lost her job and is struggling a lot right now. We met her last week, but didn't get a chance to teach her. We met her again Friday night. We had the intention of teaching lesson 1, but when we got there she was pretty distressed. We were lucky to have a really awesome member present (Ming Samay!) who was able to relate to her and help her feel listened to and loved. But after a while some neighbors came in and chatted and soon an hour went by. Eventually we felt like a lesson just wasn't going to happen. When we talked to her about the gospel, she said she didn't remember anything and wasn't very smart.

My comp was about ready to call it and just leave, but I felt like we should try to share something one more time, even if we didn't get the whole lesson 1 in. So I asked and she agreed. We prayed, and then I began to talk about the Atonement. I shared with her Alma 7:11 and told her that all the pain and worry and struggles she was having right now in her life had been felt by Jesus Christ. And because He had experienced them all before her, she can know that she's not alone. And that she can receive comfort and help through Him who knows exactly how to help her. As we shared, you could see her whole countenance change. And then she said something really cool. She told me that even though she didn't really sdap baan (understand) what I was talking about, that she felt good and happy when I was talking. And that she didn't think about her troubles as much. We reviewed the way to pray with her and told her she can have those same feelings with her when she prays. It was a pretty cool experience! The Spirit was strong. She will be a challenge, but I really hope we get to teach her more. She's out of town for the weekend, but we'll try again this week. 

As for our other investigators, they are a married couple who have learned a little bit in the past but for various reasons didn't get baptized. We've been trying to meet them all week without success, but they still seemed like they had desires to learn regardless. Sometimes it feels like pulling teeth to get them to sit down and learn about this gospel that will change their life. Agency is the worst. Jk. Their names are Bong Makara and Bong Phaa. They are a young couple with two young kids. We had a good lesson 1 with them. They're going to be a bit of a challenge to meet with. Scheduling with people doesn't really seem to be a thing here. I feel like we pin one of them down and then the other goes to the market. And then when we've got the other one back home, the first one is helping the neighbor build his house. But I have high hopes for them. 

Other highlights of the week:

Oh, here's something cool. Some dentists from Utah came and did free dental work at our stake center for members and non-members alike. I think an RM who served in Cambodia arranged it. But that was a pretty cool thing for the members. Lots of missionaries went and translated. As I do not even know the word for teeth, I was not invited. Haha. But that's okay. I heard some pretty gruesome stories of watching people get teeth pulled!

I became a seamstress this week! One woman in our ward makes dresses for a living (really fancy, prom-ish looking dresses are a big thing here in Cambodia). And we did some service for her and did some beading for the dresses. It was kind of fun. Picture to follow. 

I started a beginner class for English this week. Last week we had a really good turnout for us, about 12 people! But this week it was 6:05, and then 6:10, and then 6:15 and still no one had showed up. Then all of a sudden everyone came at once! We weren't prepared for it. So we pulled up chairs as usual. I told them that I would be teaching the alphabet and very beginner stuff in the other room, and then everyone got up to follow me! So I had about ten in my class, and then we ended up getting five or so in the advanced class. So we're pretty excited about that! I think that having two classes will be really helpful.

Oh, I almost called home this week! Hahaa. So we went over to Ming Samay's house this week. I've talked about her a little bit, but she is awesome and helps us out a lot. Also, I learned that she and her husband were the first people to get sealed in Cambodia! (Well, not in Cambodia, technically, because there's not a temple here, but they were the first converts in Cambodia to get sealed). Her husband has since passed away, and she is raising her four kids. Her oldest is working on his mission papers now. He's serving as the ward mission leader right now, so he helps us a lot too. Anyways, we were over at her house and she pulls out a little electric oven that you plug into the wall. And then she turns to me and asks me how to use it. It has a rotisserie thing on which you can cook meat. But it comes with no instruction manual. Apparently the American elder in our ward told her I would know how to use it...  And then my companion said that I should know how to use it because I'm American and a girl... ... Regardless, cooking rotisserie chicken is not in my skills. We needed to know how long to cook it for and at what temperature. I told them that in such a situation I would usually just call my mom. So you almost got a call from me at about midnight asking how to cook a chicken!

Anyways, that's about it for this week. I feel like, despite my lack of cooking skills, I'm becoming a real missionary over here. The more I become familiar with my area, contact and build relationships with the members, and get comfortable talking in Khmer on the phone, the better I feel about possibly leading my area with a new companion in the next two weeks! Also, the harder I work, the better I feel at the end of the day. Even if things don't work out the way I would like them too, when I put in my full effort, I feel good. 

Well, that's all the news for this side of the world. Just learned about the Superbowl. And by that I mean I just learned that the Superbowl was today and also that the Seahawks were playing, and also that they lost. But let's be real, even when I lived in America I probably wouldn't have been that informed. 

Have a good week, kids!

Sister Fields

Hard at work. People in this country do not like their picture taken. Or else they don't smile and it seems like they're not having a good time. I promise we were all enjoying ourselves...

SWENSONS. I'm obsessed. This is reason enough to serve in the city. It's delicious. 

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