Monday, October 27, 2014

Tempered and molded by the Lord

At the phsaa this morning. Looks just like HEB
Helloooooo. This week wasn't one of those weeks where I can say, "Wow it’s already been another week!" Haha . . . this past week was brutal. Full of people canceling appointments and telling us they're busy and making us ride all over the city just to stand us up when we get to their house. It was good though, because I am certainly learning a lot about patience.

Elder Vout and I got super lost in the boonies of Pochentong

It's kind of hard for me to complain about my situation, because at the same time I think, "How cool is it that the Lord is helping me become a better person?" We all want to be better people, and I feel like sometimes we don't know what we can do to really make that next step to becoming like Christ. Well the great thing about serving in Pochentong is that the Lord gives you a custom-made package of everything you need to be tempered and molded into a better person! I feel like I'm becoming a tailor-made glove for the Lord's hands, which is amazing, but by necessity it requires a lot of cutting and stitching and sewing back together. Painful, but absolutely worth it!

So yeah this week was long. We only taught 12 lessons. Have I ever told y’all what the phrase for "standing someone up" is in Khmae? It’s "baok kroab baek" which essentially translates to "they chunked a grenade at us". There's your fun Khmae fact of the day.

My lunch on Wednesday says hi by the way

Living with a Khmae 24/7 is definitely a once in a lifetime experience. I wouldn't be able to do anything like this if I didn't serve a mission in Cambodia. To answer your question, no I don't live with any Americans. In our house it is actually just me and Elder Vout. It’s weird because we live in the huge Tuk Thlaa house. It has 4 floors, and plenty of room for 6 elders, but it’s just us! Pretty interesting. There are many days where the only American I see that day is myself in the mirror. I'm glad I'm doing this after my training though. The culture shock was bad enough those first couple months, even though I was living with an American. Now everything is kind of normal. Sometimes I crave to talk to someone from America though, especially at the end of the day when we return home. It was fun coming home at the end of the day and unwinding and relaxing with Elder Johnson and Elder McGavin.

Elder Vout eating duck embryos. I have yet to try them. One day though! 
Steaming pig intestines cooling on ice. Yummy!

A little bit about my companion:  Elder Vout is the oldest of 9 siblings. 2 of his other siblings have joined the church, but nobody else has. He actually has a brother who is a Buddhist monk. Elder Vout is from Kampong Thom on the north side of Tonle Sap (large lake in Cambodia).

Elder Vout sipping tuk ampo, or sugarcane juice. It's so good, you can't even understand

Glad to hear your stake conference was so good! Elder Hamula is amazing. I read one of his talks recently in an old Liahona. I forget what it was about, I just remembered that I liked it a lot. And plus he talked at this recent General Conference, didn't he? That's really neat. What is President Spendlove up to these days now that he resigned from his job?

Dad you asked about a service we provided this last week. On Saturday we went to the home of this recent convert who is a widow who was moving out of her house to this other house a couple minutes away (on foot). We helped disassemble this huge, I don't really know what to call it, it’s called a kree in Khmae, it’s like a platform or a bed made of wood slats. I don't know. I feel like there is a word for it in English though. But anyway, it’s like a wood slat bed thing that everybody in Cambodia sits and eats and sleeps on. She had this super tall one in her shack, it was probably 6 feet off the ground. So we took it all apart with hammers and hatchets. It took about an hour and a half. And her house didn't have working electricity so we were doing it all by the light of flashlights in this dingy smoky little home. It was fun. I enjoyed it. 

A teaching moment I had this week was with this less-active in our ward Puu Vichet. He's actually been coming back strong these past few months. I love him to death. He's been a member for about 10 years. Anyway we were teaching him yesterday from 3 Nephi 27:27 about "what manner of men ought ye to be?". Elder Vout and I pulled a lot from Elder Hallstrom's talk on that subject which he gave in the Priesthood session. I felt prompted as we closed the lesson to challenge him to go and get a temple recommend from bishop. Elder Johnson and I had talked to him previously about setting a goal to go to the temple, but this time that isn't what I felt like committing him to do. I just wanted him to go and get the recommend. The Spirit really spoke through Elder Vout and I as we taught about the importance of holding a temple recommend, even if we don't yet have the opportunity to go. The temple recommend truly is one of the greatest reminders we have that we should live every single day of our life like we are going to go to the temple, even if that actually isn't possible because of where we live. We should constantly try and have that absolute worthiness, and we should always make sure that we have a current temple recommend. It truly shows both to ourselves and to Heavenly Father that we are trying to live our life in accordance with the sacred covenants that we have made, or will one day make, inside the temple. 

Suburbia in Pochentong

Haha, this week Elder Vout and I contacted a guy who was like "Joseph Smith? Oh yeah I already know about that guy. He founded y’all's church and also founded the Pepsi company." I was first amazed that this guy had heard about Joseph Smith before, because I don't think I have ever met somebody in Cambodia who had heard about him, but then after that I just laughed, because I realized that the crazy ridiculous rumors about Joseph Smith reach Cambodia as well. People come up with the most ridiculous things sometimes. We directed him to to learn more about Joseph Smith. Maybe we should have directed him to the Pepsi website as well. Obviously he has some facts that he needs straightened.

This week I saw clowns for the first time in Cambodia. They were entertaining at some marriage party thing. Let me tell you one thing: there is nothing in this world as pathetic, disturbing, or terrifying as Cambodian slum clowns. It was quite a sight. They look like American clowns, but American clowns that got lost in the slums of Phnom Penh for 2 or 3 decades.

That’s all I have folks. I love y’all! I love hearing about y’alls lives! Everybody keep sending me pictures of your lives as well! Keep the faith! Read the scriptures and re-watch General Conference talks and make prayer the biggest priority in your day and I promise that you will find strength beyond your imagination. 

Love Elder Burger

The water in all the ricefields looks like a mirror
There is sooo much water everywhere in Cambodia. Like you go down any random alley and you'll pop out on the other side and find a hidden river, or pond, or marsh, or lake, right in the middle of the city!

More pictures of the psaa

These pot-holes filled with mud are terrifying. Some of them could swallow me whole 
Pretty much describes how I felt on Thursday when all of our appointments fell through right before we left the house. That meant another day of contacting in the brutal tropical sun for hours and hours. I love it though! Contacting is super fun! It just comes along with the sideeffect of heat exhaustion

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