Monday, July 20, 2015

Dog Eat Dog World

So first of all, last week seeing Angkor Wat and all the ruins around it was fun, but it was strikingly similar to when I would go shopping with my Mom in a big mall as a kid and just want to sit down and stop walking. So Elder Jones had to verbally drag me around all day. It was a blast.
Also last week we had three people get baptized--Sokha, Ty, and Chanda. They are all super cool guys and all want to serve missions, but Ty is too old. They all have families that they want us to eventually start teaching, too, so that's an exciting prospect. Other than them we have the family from way out there getting baptized this coming Sunday. 


Now I would like to take the liberty of walking you all through a typical Cambodian lesson. It usually goes something like this: 

You walk up to the door with a slight sprinkling of rain (amplified by the metal roof of the house) and sompeah (do the hand thing/greeting) the family you are about to teach. They invite you inside. If you have more than a couple members with you, then you all have to sit in really weird positions on the ground. This is because houses usually aren't too spacious. If the family is a little more well off, then they have a car right in the middle of the spacious part of their house. So you have to teach in these really weird positions anyways for extended periods of time, so it is almost inevitable that one or both of your legs will fall asleep during the lesson. 

Us eating out in the middle of Cambodia

We have somebody start the lesson with a prayer, during which one of the members gets a phone call AND answers it. When the prayer is over he is still on the phone...but still says, "Amen." Then we start teaching by reading a scripture in, let's say Luke, so we tell everyone the Chapter and verse, but that's not how they work here. You have to tell them the page number, and then they all start trying to find the page...but all the bibles have different page numbers, so everyone is trying to figure out where this verse is. All the while you have your member still whispering into his phone. After everyone finds the verse and the phones are put away, one person starts reading. Then two people start reading, because the first person wasn't fast enough, so then the first guy starts reading faster to catch up. When they finish reading, we ask them what it means to them, and they have to read it again in their heads, because they read it too fast the first time to get anything out of it. 

Then the rain starts getting harder, (the tin roof basically sounds like a neighbor playing drums in his garage, which would be super cool if you didn't need to focus on something really important--in this case the Gospel), but there's nothing you can do about it. 

Then your investigator starts to say something, and for the first three seconds of what he said a huge bus drives by and honks his unnecessarily loud horn, so you don't hear any of it. It just so happens that it was a question they were asking, so you have to get them to repeat what they said. Then you realize it's a question that would be perfect to have one of your members (who came with you) answer, because he has already experienced it before, so you have him answer. During the course of his answer, he starts talking about something way off topic (like prophets) when he was just asked a question about the Atonement. And not only that, but he goes on for like 30 minutes (I wish I was exaggerating!). Then even though he started saying all this weird stuff about Prophets, the investigator starts nodding his head and somehow is satisfied with this answer to his question about the Atoning sacrifice of Jesus. (I don't know what it is, maybe Khmae is a way more complex language than I thought, this kind of stuff always happens.) Then when we realize that we have no more time, we ask someone to pray before we leave, and then we rush to go do it all again. 

That is a Cambodian missionary lesson.

Keep in mind during the whole thing there is sweat running down your face, and you've only eaten rice all day. However, despite all that, you helped a child of God come closer to knowing who his true Father is, so that's what keeps me going.

Elder Hall

It's a dog-eat-dog world. 
(Apologies to PETA. It's cultural...)

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