Monday, April 20, 2015

Getting Used to Cambodia

Me at the end of a long day in Cambodia

Alright, so this week was a little slower than the last two I have had here, because of Khmer new year, (also just a side note, if any one is wondering how to pronounce Khmer its like Kmae, with the vowel sound the same as sky, die, and fly) so I will talk about more general things that I have been getting used to. 

This pic is to show how empty the city was in contrast to that one picture of all the traffic that one day

1. Motodopes. These guys all wear flannel longsleeves with fingerless gloves, long pants, and huge helmets. They all dress the exact same. There is one in my ward named Puu Pon who wears the same stuff to lessons with investigators that we have him help teach. So anyways, the way they make money is by driving people around the city on the back of their motos (not unlike the swagmobile) and they can maneuver better than tuk tuks, so people that are by themselves usually motodope instead of taking a tuk tuk. Unless you are a white tourist, because they all just take tuk tuks even if they are by themselves. The way they find customers is by looking at people that are walking by themselves and waving at them. And if you wave back they turn around and drive up to you and ask you where you want to go. However, my first few days I did not know this. Can you see why a fresh missionary ready to be friendly to anyone going to a country where waving is less of a greeting and more of a "I would like to purchase your service" would be a slight problem? If not, I will continue. The first few days I waved at like 3 moto dopes and then they rode up to me, and the whole time I was thinking, "Wow. That's all it takes to get investigators? I mean, my teachers in the MTC told me that the people here were super ready to hear the gospel, but I didn't know they were that ready." So the first time one of them came up, he said some things that I didn't know and so I asked my companion and he just shakes his head and tells the motodope we don't want to dope. And then the moto dope looks at us all mad and drives away. Then my companion told me to not wave at people here, but I thought he was just joking lol. So I think in my first week I waved down so many motodopes that I may have waved down the same guy more than once. I'm just kidding--I didn't wave down that many, but it is just hard to have to remember that when people wave at you here they arent being friendly. Unless its a little baby whose parents tell them, "Hey, go wave at those white people and say hello like you learned in your school."

The tin walls with the cambodian writing on it in black spraypaint: This means "haam nom" and is written on walls all over chaktomuk. I'm serious. It says it on like 40% of all walls. It is the english equivalent of tacking a sign on the wall saying, "No Peeing" hahahahahaha. There are people that pee on walls all the time.

2. This is a Buddhist country, and believe it or not, America has more Christian traditions than I realized. And one of the most important is things closing for Sunday. Or people not working for the weekend. Actually, I don't know if they don't do these things here because they are Buddhist or because they are poor or both, but the point is, Sunday is not a day of rest in any sense. So it is a huge thing [sacrifice] to not work on Sunday. (Probably the equivalent to attending all 3 hours of church when you aren't going to your own ward if you're traveling or something.) They all work. Even the members. Maybe not the stronger members but a LOT of them still work/go out to eat on Sunday. So I think when we teach, we need to really impress to them the blessings of following the commandment of God to Keep the Sabbath Day holy. 

This was in celebration of Khmer New Year and I had so much meat it was ridiculous. 

Also it got super messy and those two pots are full of actual fire. Inside a house. lol.

3. A few of the blessings I have seen come into my life from being a missionary, is being able to retain myself from getting angry at things that are really bothersome. In fact, sometimes I forget that these kind of things used to make me angry. One of them is the way they read here. When somebody starts to read in a group of people (Sunday school, lessons, etc.), if you are a bad reader, everyone just reads for you, even if you are native Khmer. So I start to read and say one word and then someone else has already said like the whole first line of the scripture. If somebody did this to me in America during like Sunday school, I would have to leave and go get a drink to cool off so I wouldn't have to smack that persons face off, but I honestly didn't even care here. I just started laughing a little and kept reading. And I know that it is a blessing from God that He has given me to be more temperate towards these people. Also, I didn't pray for that blessing so whoever did, I sincerely thank you. 

Freaking bike problems

4. The same principle in reading applies in any lessons. People just finish each others' (sandwiches, that's what I was going to say!) sentences here all the time, and I was giving a talk for a baptism yesterday and literally during the talk at this super spiritual and special ordinance, people are like talking to me in the middle of the talk and like correcting me, or trying to finish my sentence. Most of the time what they finish my sentence with is totally wrong, too haha, but I didn't even think about it until I was finished with the talk, that this would have made me really mad before my mission. 
Elder Gardiner

Aside from these I didn't have many lessons with investigators since they were all gone, so I will talk about them next week, when I actually have lessons with them. 
Thank you guys for all your love and emails and everything!
Elder Hall

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