Sunday, December 1, 2013

December already!

Dear Family,
I really can't believe it is already December. When I got here in MAY I thought that I would never make it here. Can you believe I have already been here this long? This month I will hit my 9 months as a missionary. Technically that would be halfway. But If I stay 'til next October it won't quite be halfway. But it is all just so bizarre because I still feel like a fool who has no idea what is going on around me. But, whatever. I make do. It also is incredible because today I was standing at our kitchen sink washing our vegetables looking out over my backyard swamp and just thinking to myself, "I don't really want to leave yet." That's like a big deal. Obviously I'm not really close to leaving, but also I just really really love it here. I know that you probably already assumed I love it here, but like I don't know there are different levels. And something no one will ever understand is what it is like to live in Cambodia. It really is not ideal in almost every way. It's hard, but today I just actually LOVE IT. And I don't want to go home yet. Good thing I still have at least 9 more months!
This week was probably the craziest thing that ever happened. I think there was literally some force in the universe preventing Sister Davis and I from getting anything done. I have no way I can really put it into perspective for you besides just telling you it was comical how thing after thing after thing just came up and fell through. The best way I could tell you would probably be to say that we only taught 12 lessons this week. I know for some missions and some areas that really might not be bad. Actually that might be really good, I have no perspective of these things. BUT, for me and my companion here in Kampong Cham, that is HORRIBLE. Two weeks ago we had 37 lessons. So it really was like, not okay. But honestly we were working hard all week and doing what we were supposed to, so I don't feel frustrated or disappointed in myself, it really just turned out to be comical!
One major thing that came up during this week was that one of our members died here in 1st branch. He has been a member for a long time, but he is not just any member, he is actually our recent convert, Seang Hach's dad. :( So that was like the worst thing ever. He was sick for the past few weeks so he went up to Phnom Penh to get it taken care of. They said there was nothing they could do and that he would die soon, and they sent him back home. He did indeed pass away I think on Friday morning. So we were there on Friday and Saturday doing stuff with the funeral. And funerals actually last 7 days here, so we'll be going back there again this week. They did already bury him though, and that was the most interesting thing. The monks came and did all the cleaning of the body all the way through the procession. They then let the mormons come in and dedicate the grave before they covered it all up. It was really fascinating thing to be a part of. There was a good turnout of members there and I was really grateful for that. I think the family was as well, to have all that support. More than anything seeing they way the did the funeral and the difference between mormon funerals really just confirmed that I KNOW the plan of salvation is real. I have literally no doubt. I just wish people could see that and understand.
The thing that is amazing is that yesterday Seang Hach still came to church. I was so touched by that! You would think if there were one time that maybe there was a decent excuse to not come to church, it would have been yesterday. And in a place where everyone is looking for excuses to not come to church, that was truly amazing. I was just blown away when I saw her walk in. I'm literally speechless.
Another thing that took up a lot of our time this week was Brak Soknii's baptismal interviews. She had to be interviewed by both our district leader and our Mission President. So Tuesday we did the DL one and then on Friday we arranged for her to skype with president moon. Let me tell you how hysterical this was. I told her we would come pick her up on friday to go do the interview. I obviously didn't think it was that big of a deal. But so yes, we went and picked her up in the senior couples car, took her back to their house, set up the computer so she could skype him, and then just took her back home after it was all finished. Totally normal. Well based on the look on her face when we dropped her back off, it was obviously like the most bizarre experience she's ever had. Then I realized, she had just driven in a car with a bunch of white people to go to a nice, big, air-conditioned house to talk on a computer with a white man speaking Khmer about the gospel. Turns out that really isn't a normal thing here. Her face was seriously like the funniest thing I had ever seen when we dropped her off. She just had this goofy little smile and she like didn't know where to go or who to talk to. You could tell her mind had just been blown. It was so great! It was eye-opening to me to though, for how eye-opening it was for her. I'll send a picture of the neighborhood she's from. But besides all that, she did SO AWESOME! on her interview. I obviously don't really know what was said but I heard her talking a lot and afterward President Moon said she was awesome. woohoo! So she was baptized yesterday! Ming Sokhom did come to church yesterday so she was baptized as well!
Srei Miah was also baptized yesterday. This was endearing. Saturday she had her interview with Elder Sorenson. We were at the funeral so we just had him go by himself. Not ideal, but necessary. Well, Srie Miah our fiesty little ten year old turned from sassy to scared. She literally wouldn't even talk to him. She hid under a towel for 30 minutes and refused to do the interview. So he called us, and we finally got there. I talked to her for a while under the towel and finally got her to do the interview if I sat in. Elder Sorenson made an exception and decided that was fine. So we finally got the interview all done. So fast forward to yesterday, baptism. Her dad baptized her, but once she got in the water with him she was SO scared. She doesn't know how to swim and the water was cold. She was just like crying through the whole thing. And then they always have the new converts stand and bear their testimony, well that was just too much for her. She was just sitting there with tears streaming down her face, refusing to get up. I felt so bad!! I promise we didn't force her to be baptized! She wanted this. So they didn't make her talk, and it was all fine. After it was all over she was fine and even smiled at me. I just don't know how getting her the Holy Ghost next week will work.

Another thing this week is that our BM helper Sanna got her mission call! She is going to Cambodia! She leaves for the Manila MTC on January 17th. That is so soon! I could very well be her companion in the future, which is crazy because I've known spent so much time with her already these past 5 months. I guess we'll see!
And now I will report on Thanksgiving. IT. WAS. WONDERFUL. The senior couple seriously went above and beyond. We had a delicious ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, salad, corn, rolls, PUMPKIN PIE!!!!!, ice cream. Oh my gosh. It was delicious. I was in heaven. After that we all went and did service for a member in 3rd branch. That is the funnest, best thing ever as well. We harvested rice. I don't think anyone can even understand the work that goes into rice. I literally can't understand how there is so much rice in this world. I ponder this regularly and I come up short every time. I do not understand. But it was super fun! And it was the perfect thing for Thanksgiving day.

The other coolest thing about Thanksgiving was this. Sister Dilworth had her ipad and she showed us this music video of these people singing Little Drummer Boy. You must find this. It was incredible. Search Pentatonix, Little Drummer Boy on Youtube. Do it. It is the best thing ever!!! And from what I can tell it looks like there is a whole Christmas album. Are they like a thing in the United States? I love them.
This morning the best thing happened at the market. We were buying bananas and sister Davis pointed to the ones she wanted and the Neakming who was selling them to us like got really startled and she looked at the ming selling next to her and was like "what do I say??" and she was like looking back and forth at us and holding up fingers. It was hilarous. She assumed we couldn't speak Khmer. So I was like "haha ming, don't worry, I understand." And like this great wave of relief washed over her. Haha, it was HILARIOUS! You really had to be there, but really it was super funny.
So yeah I guess that is all I have this week!

I love you all!
Sister Homer
Read the back of this dictionary. HILARIOUS. There are a lot of errors in our dictionaries. Also my favorite favorite favorite thing is to find hilarious definitions in my dictionary and highlight them. It will certainly be one of my favorite souvenirs.

A normal house in the neighborhood

Brak Kneesock's neighborhood

When Savannah received her call

The group at the call opening

My Thanksgiving meal :)

The group at the Dilworths!

In the rice fields

Sister Davis and I

The Elders

The rice fields

Our new converts!  Ming Laundry, Srei Chia, Brak Kneesock

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