|The flood! This is the intersection right down the street from our apartment|
Yes, big news came last night. I will be training! I will be getting a koon (child) of my very own. I will be staying in the same two areas (Tuolkork and Tuk La'ak), and Sister Xiong will go up and take my old place in Battambang! So we're both excited. I'm a little bit anxious about it all, mostly because I've had less than three weeks to get to know two areas. I still feel like I don't know anything. But I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to train. I feel like being with Sister Xiong has been a good warm up round for me, and it has helped me realize that I can do this. There are eight sisters coming in; four Khmer and four American. I won't know who I get until , so stay tuned!
Other than that news, this week wasn't too eventful. We went on exchanges with the sister training leaders. I went with Sister Haum in Toulsangkae. She's super funny, and it was a lot of fun. It also made me realize that our side of the city is very nice (compared to Pochentong). If Pochentong is District 13, Toulkork is Beverly Hills, in a world where those two places co-exist. Not that Toulkork is all that great, but there's this big road lined with palm trees and enormous houses. I feel like if Cambodia had movie stars (they don't really, they only ever watch Thai and Indian soap operas dubbed with Khmer) we would see them in Toulkork. Tuk La'ak on the other hand, I'd say isn't quite as nice. I mean, let's be real. I wouldn't call either of them "nice" because let's not forget I'm in Cambodia. But Tuk La'ak has a lot of apartment buildings, markets and traffic. It makes contacting a little more difficult. We can't knock on doors here, so we just go street contacting (when we do go contacting). And it's just easier in the khets where life is slower and people aren't busy selling all the time. So I'm going to have to up my contacting game a bit here once I have a koon. But the good thing is we are staying plenty busy being in two branches. Even though it's hard to manage two areas, being busy is infinitely nicer than not knowing how to fill up your hours.
We got five new investigators this week, which sounds much more impressive than it actually is. Four of them are the teenage daughters of Ming Sovanna who was baptized my firsthere. They're a lot of fun to teach. Sister Xiong and I have come up with creative ways to get them to pay attention and actually enjoy learning. And we've had some really powerful lessons with them. It's cute, when we come over they all form a circle (the Mom included), cross-legged each with their own copy of the Book of Mormon out in front of them. Even just in the one week we've started teaching them, I can see they've changed. Their confidence has grown. They are much more willing to answer questions. I've had sooooo many investigators and potential investigators who are afraid to investigate the church because they are ashamed of their lack of education. They think because they can't read or never went to school that they are dumb and will never be able to learn anything. Even though these girls have loving parents, no one has ever called them smart before. So it's so fun to see their confidence levels rise when they answer questions correctly and start to understand a scripture verse. In gospel learning, it's really not knowledge we gain that's the most important; it's how we feel. And the Spirit is there guiding our lessons; and in the end, the Spirit is's causing the change.
Our other new investigator is the 12-year-old girl of a recent convert. I'm all about baptizing the kids. JK, I'm not. I'm about uniting families. I'm also going to try to work on the dad. He's learned all the lessons (he even comes to church sometimes), but he can't kick his smoking habit so we'll see.
Other big news this week. We've had some serious rainstorms.we had a good weekly planning session, ate lunch, and then (since we're in the city and we stay out later) we studied language after lunch. So we got out about 2:00 and had a long, full afternoon. Just as we were leaving, it began to sprinkle, which wasn't a big deal because it does that all the time. We got to a less active's house and it turned to a pretty steady pour. We went upstairs and chatted with her a bit; and just as we began the lesson, it turned into a huge downpour. We had to yell to hear each other! We read a chapter in the Book of Mormon (it's fun, because she's learning English. So she reads a verse in English and we read in Khmer, so we learn the gospel and language all together. It's been a good way to form a friendship with her too). We finished and it was still pouring. No one ever lets us go out in the rain, so we gave it another twenty minutes or so. But it was not about to stop. So we told her it's okay, we're tough, also we have ponchos. And we went out to the front. Only then did we realize to what extent had it been raining. The streets were filling up and water had leaked all into the first level of her house. It was ankle deep in the street. We stood at the front of the house watching motos and bikes slosh through the steadily rising water. Her dad, being funny, went in the house and pulled out a fishing pole and pretended to go fishing in the street.
Pretty soon we left, because it was not going to let up any time soon. As we made it out to the main street, the water only got higher. It was knee and even thigh deep in some places. Biking was really just wading, trying to avoid the floating trash that would attach itself to our limbs. It took us forever to get back to our area, and by this point it was 5:00 pm. Traffic was crazy, and it was only getting worse. So we unfortunately had to forget the day we had planned and go home early and work on CBRs. We were completely drenched. I think I can say I went swimming on my mission.
Those were the main highlights of the week. This week will be filled with frantically trying to remember all the roads before I'm the one truly in charge. It'll be interesting to see if I get a Khmer or an American. Really, everyone starting a mission is brand new. But knowing the culture and the LANGUAGE makes a big difference. So we'll see what happens. I would be happy with either.
Just to end with a quick scriptural thought. This comes from district meeting this week on diligence. The scripture is in D&C 58:26-28. I've read this scripture more than a handful of times on my mission, but it really hit me this week.
26 For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.
27 Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
28 For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward.
I have learned (especially in these past two weeks as being a trainer) that no one is going to do the task for you. You can try waiting around for someone else to come along, or you can just get in and do it yourself. Utihaa muay (for example),morning we showed up at the Church to help clean. It was Tuk La'ak ward's time, but no one was there except a recent convert of ours, her son and our four teenage investigators who arrived early for English class. The supply closet was locked, and they were all sitting there not knowing what to do. I am not a go-getter. I pretty much don't like being in charge. Ever. But I've learned sometimes you've got to step up to the plate and get it done. So I tracked down keys and assigned tasks. In an hour, we had a clean church. It's something I've had to learn over the past year. But like this verse says, God wants us anxiously engaged in a good cause and doing things of our own free will, not because we were told to do it, but because we saw a need and we filled it. I'm still learning this lesson. So many times i would much rather be on the side lines. But it's only when we get to work that we 1) get things done 2) gain the personal growth we're supposed to.
I don't really know why I shared that thought, but it came to me as I typed.
Well, until next week!
|Me and Sister Haum on our exchange.|