So another week, another 7 days of living on the edge of death. I'm just kidding. You don't even think about how close you are to death here on the roads, and neither does anyone else here, which somehow makes it super safe... hmm... also I have angels watching over me since I'm a missionary, so I don't need to fear. Also Elder Bednar's talk about that was SUPER good and applies to life as a missionary a lot.
Last Monday was my first real experience being in the rain here: We were eating dinner with an investigator and we had to be at a recent convert's house (Om Yem, straight baller I will talk about later) in like 10 minutes. Then lightning strikes and it starts raining. So that was really cool. We thought about staying with this investigator because he was really cool and Om Yem doesn't remember anything anyways, but then we decided that it would be best to go to Om Yem's house and just check up on him (also we had the AP's [Assistant to the President] with us eating so it wasn't too big of a deal for us to leave this investigator with them). So we look out at the rain that is just pretty much a waterfall at this point, and after putting all of our things in a plastic bag inside of our backpack, we book it. We had to run to get to the church to pick up our bikes, and then from the church, bike all the way to near the national monument where Om Yem lives. So on the way to the church after taking about 3 steps I was already completely soaked. It reminded me of when I hiked to Stewart Falls in Provo Canyon and then like jumped through the waterfall and got super wet. Except here it was like I didnt jump through, I just had to stand under neath it. So on our way to Om Yem's house, with Stewart Falls following us around all the way there, I started to feel a tingly sensation, that was very familiar to me, yet very foreign and something I hadn't felt in weeks. This wasn't the spirit, no, it was something much more tangible. Then, I began to realize what this strange feeling was... This was COLD. I was literally biking as fast as the canal (which used to be a road) would let me so I could feel colder because it felt so good, man. So anyways we got to Om Yem's house and we were soaking wet but he lets us in anyways. We are teaching him and just talking to him and then a mouse like squeaks in the corner. Om Yem's sixty year old body, that gets daily exercise at the park by his house, was easily able to keep up with his 20 year old spirit that got up off his chair slowly, found the source of the noise, and (literally before I could process what was making the noise) sprints after this mouse and stomps on it in the middle of his hallway and then slowly walks back to his seat. So with the dead mouse in the hall and our mouths gaping, we finished the lesson.
Puu Hiang and Elder Hall
Alright, this was easily my favorite part of the week. We went to go teach a guy named Puu Hiang on Wednesday who lived by Psaa Thmei. Or the white people call it central market (which I have a picture of). So we pull up to the stairs to get to his house, and luckily, he was already outside, so he called to us and took us up to his house. We teach him about the Law of Chastity, for no particular reason, we just have to teach all the recent converts everything again, and it's a really good lesson--which I felt the spirit direct to teach him according to God's desire. So that was a great experience and I will always treasure those, but what happened after the lesson was hilarious. So he invites us to go eat frog with him across the street, and as we follow him there, he goes up to this man, that's probably the same age as him and just smacks him across the face and starts laughing. The guy that got hit didn't really think anything of it, but I could tell he wasn't super happy about it lol. Nobody should just be able to do that .So then I start thinking about Puu Hiang and who he really is haha. I started noticing that he was walking with a dip. This old man was walking with the most confidence I have ever seen in an old man in Cambodia. While we walked through that alley I could see most people saying hi to Puu Hiang, but there were some that like looked down at the ground while we walked by, which was strange. Then we get to the frog leg place and we all three sit down and start chit chatting, and then they start bringing us food spontaneously, which would be normal if we had paid, but I don't remember anyone paying, so I just figured we would pay after. Then we ate and it was super good. Puu Hiang yelled at a few people as they walked by and yelled at this vendor to bring us sugar cane juice (which he never did), and then yelled at this water melon guy to bring us water melon, which he did. So then we finished eating everything and before we get up Puu Hiang walks over to the vendor that didn't bring us sugarcane juice and starts yelling and then comes back over and then we all walk home. It didn't really hit me until Puu Hiang had gone back inside his house and we were on our way to our next appointment that at no time during that whole thing did Puu Hiang ever get out any money except for when a beggar came up to us. So either Puu Hiang runs the Cambodian hood up there, or he just owns everything. Or he is just a straight thug. Either one Puu Hiang has a cool hat that makes him look like Freddy Kruger.
Psaa Thmei (orCentral Market)
Other than the insane people here, it is really cool to be able to teach investigators by the power of the spirit of God. When we testify to these people that Jesus lives and that he can help them in their every day lives, the power and joy that the Holy Spirit brings into the conversation offsets any of my doubts and discouragement that I experience in the rest of my days here and makes me excited to go back and teach people every time.
Cambodia is insane, Cambodia is hot, Cambodia is dangerous, and that's why I love it here.
Love, Elder Hall
Questions Elder Hall has been asked:
Q: What is your companion, Elder Gardiner, like?
A: My companion is awesome. He is as enthusiastic to get things done as I am, which is really cool because I was a little scared that I would have a comp that was lazy and not have the same drive I do the first transfer. He knows the language really well which is good. I just feel really bad for him because my child self asks like a million questions about things that it would be ridiculous for him to know the answer to. Like I honestly probably ask him 10 questions every minute. So hopefully when I have a more solid footing in the language I wont have to be so curious just towards him since I will be able to ask natives all of my questions.
Q: What is your apartment like?
A: So my apartment is, yes, just me and my companion, and it's so big for Cambodia man. Its probably about 15 feet wide and 100 feet deep with two floors, but the second floor is half as big as the first floor because the ceiling is high in the front half on the first floor, so our second floor overlooks the open area of the first floor. That's pretty much how all the houses here are. And all the businesses since they are all in peoples houses too haha. Also I just realized this internet cafe is literally the same too hahaha (i just got a picture of it).
Q: What is the food like?
A: The food is the same as what I have been eating all my life at Sammy and Danny's house. There is literally nothing I have eaten here so far, that I haven't eaten at some point at their house. The worst food I have eaten so far is durian (sp?) wafers. Durian is so nasty but Khmers love it for some reason. When we were teaching a member one time he pulls out this HUGE box of durian wafers and gives us a bunch. His mom opened mine and like shoved it in my mouth. It tasted good at first so I ate the whole thing, but the after taste is literally the worst thing. I cant even describe it its so bad. It tasted like baby spit up mixed with a rusted nail that had been nailed to a piece of pine wood. Thats the only way I can describe it within the bounds of language. It was so bad.
The best thing I have eaten however, baaysaccruk (bai-saek-jruuk). Which means rice and pork. Because its a styrofoam take out box filled with...? You guessed it, rice and pork. But I guess what makes it good is just the pickled vegetables that you put all over it.