Monday, January 19, 2015

Sam sent the following email & pictures on Sunday, January 18, 2015.  Our questions & comments are in italics.

From: Samuel Christensen <>
Subject: Another Day, Another W
Date: January 18, 2015 10:31:02 PM MST

Hi everyone,

Thanks for letting me know what's going on. Mom, I really liked what you sent me in the email. I think it does ring pretty true. I'm going to have to think on that a little longer. We've definitely had a bunch more success contacting as of late. We (just Elder Cook and me) contacted 119 people this week. 70 was our goal, so we're doing pretty well. And usually every time we contact we go for return appointments if the situation is right, or just go for a phone number. Last night we didn't have any contacts after church ended at 6 and we didn't get out on the road til about 6:30, but we found a few places and just talked to everyone we thought we should and got 18 contacts in about an hour. I was thinking last night "this is just getting too easy!" because everyone was like yeah, sure, I'd love to learn. I think sometimes it's like that and other times it is definitely not.

Do people actually buy those pig heads they have at the phsaa?  And if so, what do they do with them?  Yeah, I'm not exactly sure if they eat the pigs heads or what. Like I've seen one completely cut open and skinned, so I imagine they do something with them. At the phsaa this morning I saw something that I was pretty sure was pig brain and I asked if they eat it, but the lady said it was actually lungs and they were delicious if you know how to eat them. So...? Did you know pigs can grow to 100 kilos in just 4 months? Pigs are truly disgusting animals.

Nate put a picture of you on our computer as our latest wallpaper.  Glad to hear my face finally made it onto the computer wallpaper. Interesting findings on the family science project, too.

Last week after emailing, all of the missionaries went and rode the famous "Bamboo Train." That was a good time.  Not much I can say that the pictures can't. Basically you're on a really unsafe little platform that's just set on wheels and they crank up a motor and you just go. Then the road stops and you get attacked by little kids wanting you to buy stuff. But that was a good time. 

We had a hang up with an investigator who was concerned that fasting wasn't actually a real thing, just that it was like self punishment. Can't remember if I talked about him before. We're like "of all the things to be hung up on in this church, fasting...?" He did an elaborate comparison to how the tower of Babel was led by someone who they all believed in, and he was afraid the fasting thing was the same situation. When we had a later lesson with him that week about it, we shared Bible scriptures like "Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights." He didn't really have anything to say about that. The best part was when our member help (who did a good job) was like "actually they (the missionaries) know more about it than I do because they fast every month." ...Yep.

On an exchange this week, we very fortunately met this Christian family that had been Christian for a long time. They have like 7 kids who are all Christian. Oh man, we were stoked. We set up an appointment to teach them the next night and did and it did not go well. The part about the "authority" didn't register with them at all. The house right next to them was blasting music for the entire lesson and it didn't stop until we had finished the lesson. Satan! In retrospect, I should have just asked for another place or said we'd come back another time, but it was far away and we had been planning on it. Anyways, they belong to a different sect and they have a pastor who goes to their house every Tuesday night and teaches them. It's always hard telling people that their baptism wasn't necessarily good. Ughh, it was rough. Their old son was like "whose name do you baptize in?" So I read the prayer to them and he's like "same as us." Authority, authority, authority. We may, if we're really, really lucky, get a second chance with them. He said that they believe in Jesus not in churches. I'm like yeah bro. Is there a bible scripture somewhere that says that Jesus established His church or something. I don't know, I feel like that's what a mission in a more Christian country would be like. That Great and Abominable Church of The Devil...

Anyways. We talked to some monks in a wat [a Buddhist monastery or temple] and they were like "it's not important that we be of the same religion, just that we're friends with each other." And we just kind of sat there nodding our heads with each other in silent approval and a spirit of friendship. Times like that I wish we just had a camera man following us. Also needed a photographer on Saturday when I had just bought a bag of baguettes and was hungry and Elder Cook had bought some too, so we both just ate the straight bread immediately as we were riding on our bikes before we could go home and stash them at the house. I mean, if that doesn't further stereotypes I don't know what will. 

Our sacrament meeting is by far the best part of this email, so don't stop reading yet! President Moon was in town to interview us today and go to church yesterday. He was in our sacrament and actually spoke to them all on repentance. He's really pretty dang good at the language. He was probably about halfway through and Elder Cook and I were quietly sitting and listening to his talk when we heard the strange but unmistakable sound of water hitting metal coming from the row behind us. Curious, we both turned around to see what was making the noise. It was none other than a little 4 or 5 year old urinating into an empty Coca-Cola tin can that his mother was holding for him to make things easier for him. Just fillin' the can. Takin' care of business. Oh man, that was about it. I was oh so very close to having one of those uncontrollable laughing attacks. I made a note to write that one down in the journal. But you can clearly understand their logic: obviously they were concerned that by getting up and going out to the bathroom (conveniently located right down the hall from the chapel) would interrupt a very well thought out talk by the President of the Cambodia Mission, and furthermore, would be very distracting for the members in attendance. So ultimately I think they made the right call. 5 minutes later the little kid's brother took a turn, but I think he didn't have as much to drain. I mean, nice mom, right? So that's a little bit of how our sacrament meetings go. All I'm saying is make sure that kid doesn't have to urinate over 12 ounces or we're going to have a problem.

That's all the fun news for me. If you have questions or want to know something specific, fire me off an email and ask me or I'll never know what you want answered. How's the Cub? Don't have too much fun skiing without me. Wow, the 5 of you all back together in one group. Just missing me....Dang.

Miss you and love you.

-Your favorite son
Big old spider

Your typical "Survivor Man" set-the-camera-on-timer-to-take-a-picture-of-yourself-in-a-crazy-natural-habitat-that-you-walk-through-often-but-never-have-anyone-there-to-take-a-picture-for-you-to-let-the-folks-at-home-know-what-life-is-like-out-here shot.

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