Sunday, August 4, 2013

It's me again

Dear Family,

What a crazy week! It was kind of slow numbers-wise. I don't know what the deal was but things just kept falling through daily. BUT I had some awesome experiences to make up for it!

Our service area this week, planting and pulling rice.
First of all, I've told you a bit about Bong Cabanna and Om Crockett, I think. Bong Cabanna got baptized the first week I was here. Well, they are incredible! They are both recent converts and we meet with them a couple times a week. They are so converted and want to learn so much, I always look forward to visiting them. What has been neat to see though is that we are now teaching Bong Cabanna's mother, Om Nebo. She will be getting baptized this Sunday! And it is the sweetest thing to watch them interact. Bong Cabanna reviews and teaches her mom when we aren't there, and then when we come back she helps her mom remember what they had reviewed. She cares so much about her mom learning. It touches my heart every time!

Something interesting here is that people often don't really learn at the same rate as I would say most people do in the states. You have to review things A LOT. And teach very simply. I don't really know the reason but I think it could be a result of most of the educated people being killed during Phol Pot era. It makes for interesting teaching. But also I just love it. These people are so humble,and they love learning!

It got SUPER stormy and we were drenched in seconds.
The rain was literally like coming down sideways. It was so cool!
Tuesday was what Sister Window and I like to call "Tipsy Tuesday". As you may suspect, that does involve alcohol. Our day was essentially sabotaged by various alcoholics. The FUNNIEST thing though happened. This member was very much intoxicated and he lives near our investigators, so he ended up coming into our lessons. The best part was that although very drunk he was spitting out doctrine like no ones business! So, it could have been worse. It was crazy though because, he was very much in Sister Window and my face. I have only had few people's faces that close to mine in my life. I felt so bad for him though because that is SO SO SO against this culture. Men and women really don't touch in public here and like they are all very sensitive about things that are offensive. So I felt so bad for him. But then yesterday, Sis Window and I ended up going to his house to teach his granddaughter. He was so nice and gave a deep apology. You could tell he felt so bad. I hope this is just what he needs to just push him back onto a good path! Fun times here!

The Liahona is probably the best literature ever published. And EFY music should probably be in the top ten regularly. Just saying, how did I ever live without them?

There is something really cool about this language that I can't remember if I've told you before. They are called infixes. You have a word that is a verb, and then you add a couple of letters in the middle (usually omn) and then it makes it a noun. It is really nice because you can figure out a lot of words that way! For example: Cua is to believe. Cumnua is a belief! How cool is that!

So, just the latest update on my freckles. The literal translation of the word for freckles is "fly poop". No wonder they think something is wrong with my face!!

These are the magic rocks I told you about.
Yesterday and Saturday we had our district conference! A member of the 70 came, Elder Ron? It was really good. President Moon and Sister Moon were there too of course. Many of our investigators and recent converts went, so it was great! Also, I did accompany I Know That My Redeemer Lives. It turned out really well! I actually had such a fun time accompanying! I'm no accompanist, but I did good!

Yesterday we had one of the best experiences. There is a less-active family in the branch who have been members for a long time. We have never met them so we went to their house to kinda see where they are at. What we found was not what I expected at all! We met with the Lookpuu and the Neakming, and can I just say, he may be the coolest person I've met so far in this country. His name is Lookpuu Shire. He has been a member for so long and he bore his testimony to us about how much he knows the gospel is true and how much he loves the church. He said he also loves all the missionaries so much and thinks of us as like children to him! He appreciates so much that he knows in our country we ride around in cars but that we come here and ride around in mud and rain all day to try and help people. The reason he hasn't been coming to church is because he has had to work, but he said he knows how important it is and will try to come back this month. Honestly, I felt the spirit so strong in that home! And they have pictures of the temple and of Christ still on the wall! I feel so blessed to have gone to that home! I hope they make it to church this week!

So the new family we teach is Lookpuu Dore, Ming Sophie, and their daughters Srei Drey and Srei June. I love them! We've only taught a little bit but they just smile the whole time and promise to follow the commandments. They were so willing to try praying in our lessons. We have them committed to be baptized on the 25th, fingers crossed! It's also so funny because when we teach these lessons, I promise it's like the whole neighborhood sits in. All these kids come and neakming's friends come. The member who referred them to us is always there. She is awesome! Her name is Bong French. And then one of our other investigators sits in. It's so funny! I love it!

So yes, our other family is Lookpuu Jordan, Neakming Sleigh and their daughter Canteen. They were scheduled for baptism this week, but we are pushing theirs back until the 25th as well. Lookpuu hasn't made it to church at all so far. He is so good though! He has actually attempted to come to church, but things always go wrong! I'm hoping he will get to church these next few weeks so he can be baptized! I love them so much!

One of the highlights of the week is that the little girls in that neighborhood told me i'm cool. YES! Validated. I proceeded to play pictionary with them and give them stickers, while Sister Window helped their mom fill out baptism forms.

This is sugar cane. You like peel it and then
chew it to get the juice and then you just like spit it back out.
Interesting experience last night.
I'm not sure what happened, but I am officially in love with cambodia. One evening I was just riding down our regular dirt road home, surrounded by green, and I just was so happy! I literally just felt love for every little part of Cambodia! And then the next day I felt it again!!! I love it here! There are so many things that or just not ideal, but my love for the people and the beauty and everything I'm doing just surpassed it all this week! I'm so happy. It's not that I didn't like it, but the jury was kinda still out. No worries though, I'm sold!

A few cultural insights, for your pleasure:
The people here really like long nails. And I'm talking LONG nails. Especially the men. But usually it's only like one or two finger. It is beyond me.

They have very traditional values here. Like I mentioned earlier, men and women really don't touch very much in public. So I was talking to Sister Smock and Sister Eekoo last night and they said that they were definitely not going to kiss anyone until they are married. So, super different from the states!

Dad asked a lot of questions in his email that I'll answer now:
Bananas here are tiny!!
So the Cambodians I live with are Sister Eekoo and Sister Smock. I can't tell you how much I love them! They are both actually from Stung Mean Chey!! That is like 3-4 hours from where we are. They both have been members most of their lives. They are both like kinda quiet and shy but at the same time they LOVE to laugh, and if you get them going they are so funny!! Sister Smock is especially just stinkin' hilarious!! She does and says the funniest thing! She has been her for a while and is actually currently training Sister Eekoo. Sister Eekoo came in when I did. She is so so sweet! They both are great cooks and they cook for us every single meal. They insist. We all get along really well.

My companion, Sister Window, is also super awesome! She and I get along really well. We both are just like chill and don't get angry or upset or annoyed. Or if we do, we just figure it out and get over it! She loves the people and loves the gospel! I don't know what to tell you about her! What do you want to know! Haha, I'm sorry, I know that's not very helpful. She is very service-minded. We get transfer calls this Sunday and I'm just crossing my fingers that I get to stay here in KC with Sis Window for one more transfer!

The Language. I feel like at times it is good and other times I know nothing. I feel like gospel vocab I know quite well. I follow along really well in church and in lessons. No problem. But if we are talking about other things I really don't know the vocab as much. But I am studying like crazy to learn words. Reading I think I'm doing pretty good. Writing, is the last of my worries. I don't actually have opportunity to write a ton, but I do write words over and over to try to remember them. It helps! So my writing probably isn't so bad. It could definitely use improvement though. I think people usually know what I am trying to say. I think my accent is decent enough that they can tell what I'm saying. There are like 52 or something vowels in this language and many are very very similar. I try really hard to distinguish them though and say them correctly. Because it really changes the word. They sound mostly the same, but they aren't. So I try to pay close attention to the sound I'm supposed to be making. Sister Payne's language is good! I feel like in lessons we are equal at the language. At listening to other random conversations, she does so much better than me! She really catches a lot of what goes on. I really don't. Haha, oh well!

Dad also asked if it is common to have the Dad learn with the family. Truth is, it definitely isn't. There is definitely more neakmings than lookpuus in the church here. So the fact that we have TWO families with the lookpuu's learning is AWESOME! I have been praying every night for entire families that will want to learn that can be a strength to the branch. I think Heavenly Father is answering my prayers!

Every morning I have been praying in spanish. Just a random detail from my life. Haha! You can't even imagine how hard it is though. Without even thinking I just go into Khmer!

K I love you all! I miss you!

Sister Homer

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