Friday, June 26, 2015

Sam sent the following email & pictures on Sunday, June 21, 2015. Our questions & comments are in italics.

From: Samuel Christensen <>
Subject: Summer
Date: June 22, 2015 12:38:37 AM MDT

Hey Guys,

Wow, summer is just starting up for you guys and it sounds super exciting. I'm going on my probably 12th month of summer in a row, or something like that.

I was wondering, when your bike is broke (or tire) do you fix it or do you have to take it to a repair person?  Do you need more green slime?  Does that stuff work?  There's people that fix bikes on every corner. The slime didn't work for some reason, so I wont need anymore. I think it really freaked the guy out who fixed it though. Was that picture of you eating at Burger King on your birthday?  I’ll bet that was a treat. Burger king was on P-day. A week ago, while we were gone, Kevin Gust was made the Bishop of the First Ward.  Can you believe it?  I am so excited for him.  He is a good man and has a neat opportunity in front of him.  Kevin will do great.  Kevin was the called “trail boss” for the upcoming pioneer trek.  Since he became a bishop, it was felt he needed to be released.  Guess, who gets to take over that calling?  I have been called as the trail boss and Heidi is my partner.  I have been quite involved anyway, being the YM president and Trainer for  Ma’s and Pa’s, so it makes sense for them.  I feel a lot of responsibility.  Anyway, I thought you would be happy for Kevin and his family as well.  Trek is in about 45 days.  Since my new calling I have started a trek beard.  We’ll see how long that lasts.  And good luck with the extra trek responsibilities. You might as well keep the beard and see how far you can get it, because now you've got an excuse. Just keep it tamed. We have had fun looking at the pictures of you on the Rean English Class website.  This English class is sponsored by the LDS church, right?  It looks like the classes are held in an LDS church building.  What does "Rean" mean? Does this class generate a lot of investigators for the missionaries? Yeah, we do the english class. Rean means learn. It's probably our greatest generator of investigators overall. Plus it's good because it generally targets the type of people we'd like in our church. I'm glad your birthday package got to you, and I'm glad you liked it.  I was hoping the food mixes were things that sounded good to you.  Have you used any of them this past week?  I didn't know if you'd have access to a CD player, but I thought the songs on the CD I sent were some you would like. We eat some of the stuff you sent every week. The CD is nice. For the next package you send, you could send a Josh Groban CD and maybe a Les Mis soundtrack if you want.

Elder Yorgason died ["died" is missionary jargon for "completed his mission"] last Tuesday. He's a good guy and they got Battambang on fire again.
Elder Yorgason (Sam's trainer) with Sam

As far as missionary work goes, it was a little bit of a downer week for us again. We lost a good investigator to a different area, but gained one more who we'll see about. We need to do more contacting because we need more people to teach.

Hey we finally killed the rat in our house. It was, apparently, a rat and not a mouse, but now it's dead so who really cares. It didn't die from the permethrin, then the second trap we set up for it didn't work, so finally Myers bought a trap. The first time it stole the meat from the trap and got away, but the second time it died. The last thing that went through it's head was a metal bar. It felt like I was living an episode of Tom and Jerry.

With you guys being on vacation it made me think of vacation memories as it relates to me now. For example, Elder Myers dodges traffic and shoots gaps in traffic all the time and I get left behind struggling to keep up but ultimately lost in a crowd of Asians. When our family goes to Disneyland, Peter is shooting gaps and speed walking and I get left behind struggling to keep up, but ultimately lost in a crowd of Asians. The same!

For the first time I got to go contacting with the brand new missionaries. Fresh off the plane for 30 minutes they drop them at a Phnom Penh hotspot market and tell them to go contact people. So I finally got to go do that and was with a guy from my original MTC group, so that was fun.

We were told that we were not allowed to go to the mission home for transfers because we were not transferring. But after repeated requests (with legitimate reasons) the APs conceded that it was our zone, and we do get a lunch hour, sooooo. Yeah so we went, but when we were there we got a call from Elder Kim. There's two people of that name in our mission. The one that we got the call from was not the infamous one. He said he was joining our companionship for a few days because he's sick and now he's getting treatment. We were supposed to go to the mission home and pick him up. Lucky for us, we were already there! And now we were supposed to be. Elder Kim is awesome, he's the best missionary I've ever met I think. His personality reminds me of Bompa a little bit, like his sense of humor. But I've never been with a Khmae that can teach like him. He was only with us for like 2 days, but I hope someday I can go with him for a whole transfer. It was fun to be in a three-some because all of us can teach so we just took even turns and it was great.

On the way back to taking him to the mission home last night, some short white guy walking along the road saw us and yelled something at us. We didn't pick up the whole thing, but it was something along the lines of "F(swear word) you mother F(swear word)" Elder Kim thought that was hilarious.

I think it's amazing how humor is universal. Not all humor translates, but most of it does. If it's funny in America, it's generally funny in Cambodia and any other language and culture for that matter. Like pantsing. That's hilarious in America. Hilarious here too. Off-color jokes, the same. Pretty much you name it, it transfers. Humor is a language that all people can speak.

The other thing is that yesterday I went to the international branch with the office elders because I was going to do an interview that didn't happen. But I just could not feel comfortable in that branch. It's ironic that the place that I feel like I fit in most isn't in the international branch, but in any regular old cambodian branch.

Thanks for your guys' support and everything. Until next week

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