Monday, August 11, 2014

Sam sent us the following email and pictures on Sunday, August 10, 2014.  We had asked him several questions in an email we had sent him earlier, and in his reply, he answers our questions.  I will include our questions in italics.

  • Hi guys,

    How are your socks?  Socks are super good. So glad I got those switched out. They definitely got too little and they're just rough. I love these ones now.  Are you wearing sunglasses?  I haven't been wearing sunglasses, but I probably will sometime when we go to a little phsaa and they have cool fake sunglasses for cheap. Fake oakleys for like $2. Thanks for the ideas on games.How many investigators do you have right now?  We have about idk 4 investigators or so. But people here are so shaky that it's hard to know which ones you can actually call real investigators.

    Can most of the Cambodian people read and write, or do you have to read to them?  Most people can read. I don't know about writing. There's a few who can't read and have to be read to. It's hard to commit them to do stuff when they can't read. 

    Are you allowed to ride on a moto?  Can't ride on a moto. I should be able to though because there's millions of them. Actually as hard as biking always is, I'm glad that we bike. We were waiting to teach this one guy last week and he stood us up, but two other guys rolled up on motos and asked for the same guy. He never came and we left. But before we left we went over and talked to them and as Elder Yorgason kind of suspected they were JW missionaries. They were Japanese and were wearing like button shirt with the top button open and they have these nice motos and helmets. One of the guys had been here 6 years and already my companion could speak better Khmae than he could. It was funny to talk to them, but if I was a poor Cambodian person and I saw white people laboring on these terrible bikes I'd be more inclined to listen to them than if we just rolled up on these nice motos.

    Are there any pianos in the churches there, and if so, have you gotten to play yet?  There are a few pianos. No real ones, though. We teach a weekly piano lesson every saturday for an hour. Well mostly Elder Yorgason teaches it. We get like 1 or 2 people. And the bishop wants us to teach his wife to play the piano because he wants her to play hymns in sacrament. But it's kind of sad because we teach these people, and they don't realize how long of a road it really is to get good. Unfortunately we can teach them all that we can, but they can't practice without coming to the church, and they just don't know that it really is hard. The best thing that we can try to do is teach them enough to be able to teach themselves.

    What kinds of things do you do on your P-days besides email us?  We email on P day then usually go to the mission home for a little bit to get reimbursed, get stuff, then usually we go play soccer or something with other people, then we go to the American place to get some groceries, then we go home and start doing missionary stuff again. P days go so fast.

    How do you do laundry?  We actually have a really nice laundry machine that we use. We have to hang up our clothes to air dry because we don't have a dryer, but the washer is nice. And I can use it whenever the Cambodian who lives with us isn't using it because it seems like he washes his clothes about every day or so.

    Have you done any grocery shopping in outdoor markets?  We go to a phsaa which is an outdoor market every morning on p day before our studies to get stuff for the week. Meat, and vegetables. They're just so like dirty and stuff, but I've really stopped being too concerned about germs and stuff because at this point it's a bit of a lost cause. People prepare all of the food with their bare hands and I'm about positive that they guy who handles and cuts all the raw pig meat doesn't clean his hands when he's done. I'm sure he just wipes it on his clothes or something.

    Is the fruit there delicious?  I really haven't eaten as much fruit here as I should. There's some that's really good like dragon fruit. Watermelon has a ton of seeds in it. I've had a lychee, but I need to track more of those down. It's just a matter of stopping on my bike some time and buying some because it's pretty cheap. They have even smaller bananas than the ones I sent a picture of last week, and they're good. They're almost the size of baby carrots.

    Are you keeping a healthy supply of PB&J on hand?  I ate the last of my peanut butter out of the jar last night. It's becoming a sunday night ritual to eat the peanut butter plain because I run out of bread by that time. I never thought in my life I would go through a thing of peanut butter in one week, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

    Are there mosquitoes or other pesky insects around?  Not many problems with bugs. People out in the country have way bigger problems with stuff than I've had here in the city. Yorgason killed another rat in our apartment, but this one was much smaller. I got some good footage though.

    Do the little Cambodian children love you?  what do they think of your height, red hair, & blue eyes?  The pictures you’ve sent of the little kids are precious!  I think they probably just think I look freaky. Everyone that I talk to and tell that I'm 19 is like no way you are very, very big. BIG. I'm not as sure that they love me as I am sure that they love my camera. Every time we go to this one place the little kids attack us and ride on our bikes and stuff and start yelling "tot muay" which is like take a picture or I want to take a picture or something. So they love posing and looking at their pictures. But I start getting a little worried when they're handling my camera. The best way to get pictures of the kids though is to have one of them take it because then it doesn't seem like I'm just taking pictures of their poor life. They like hang on my bike and I don't know how to tell them to get off so I'm kind of just stuck. They also love my watch and my little thing that keeps my pant leg from getting greasy in the chain.

    I got my bike fixed here twice this week because it kept breaking.

    Is it quiet or noisy at night when you go to sleep?  It's very quiet inside where we sleep. We have a very nice place compared to most of the people here. 

    Yesterday they had a holiday where everybody stays home and gets drunk. Heck of an idea.

    One thing that is really maddening here is that nobody knows how the church SHOULD run. I'm going to write what I wrote in my journal this morning about church yesterday:
    Speaking of relying on missionaries, and I think I've hit on this once already, they seriously couldn't have church each week without us. For example: yesterday we are waiting to start priesthood, but there's no member of the bishopric present to start. So everyone just sits there and looks at each other until we go out to find a member of the bishopric. We find one, bring him back, he starts it and then they break the young men off. What do you know, there is no Elders Quorum teacher. The EQP (who I don't necessarily blame b/c he's new and doesn't know how things run) gets up there with the 2nd counselor and they're basically like well, Elders, what are you waiting for. No one's here, you've got to teach, duh. A: I guess they promised the other elders last week that they would for sure have a teacher this week (we were teaching the young men's class that didn't have a teacher). B: There were only 9 people in there to start. 4 were missionaries! Then halfway through, the other companionship had to go get their baptism ready, and took their candidate with them, so there was 6, two elders included. Where are the (theoretically) strongest male members of the ward during this you ask? i.e. ENTIRE bishopric, ward clerk, etc. Oh yeah, they're just chilling at the bishop's office doing who-knows-what like they literally do every single Sunday. They never come to the 3rd hour Priesthood for sure, and I don't think they go to 2nd hour class, either. The aforementioned 2nd counselor just peaced out after he handed off the lesson to us (obviously we were teaching). The assigned elder's quorum teacher just bailed and didn't worry about finding a sub. The bishopric can't just do that and not come to priesthood. I think they just don't know or something, but it's bad and it is so maddening.

    So yeah that drives me nuts. Ok that's all for now I think. There's a lot more stuff in my journal, so I'm not forgetting all these other experiences. It's a good thing that I have it.

    Peace and love you guys. I miss you


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