Well Christmas is coming, but here I honestly think its still August! Its just hot! And nobody even knows what Christmas is, everyone here is just stoked for mango season. I guesss theres tons and tons of mango trees here, so thats going to be good.
So Elder Brewer finished his mission and I got a new comp. His name is Elder NeuBerger. Way cool dude. We're going to help a lot of people and have fun doing it. This transfer is going to be awesome. I am no longer in training. My 12 weeks are over, and now I'm leading out the area. Which means i have to remember every single persons house in all of the villages. Ha its been fun.
So for the Investigator Uptdate: Ponloke, hes the restraunt man. Turns out he is a fortune teller and is telling the old lady we live with, that the reason she is sick is because her daughter believes in the Jesus. Seem legit. His magic cards told him that. So maybe our next lesson will be to stop doing magic. Never thought I would be teaching about that. Om June: He hasnt drunk in like 2 weeks, should get baptized in 2 weeks, but since he has no teeth it is very hard to understand him when he talks. We thought we heard him say he has been getting high, yes this 65 year old tootheless man. Lets hope its false. Ming Sophol: She is watching her house get built so shes way "busy" but wants to get baptized in like 3 weeks. Shes still doing good. There was a big wedding this week so no one was home at all, so we didnt really get to teach a lot. The party is over so hopefully things will work out. We got some other people we are teaching, but I have no time because we are going to a hill that has big statues of fruit, so i am crunched on time.
This are is just so beautiful, but the people are just so poor. There are some pretty desperate situtations that we see everyday. One of our investigators named Samoon had his house collapse. He and his wife have 3 children. I kid you not they are living in a house thats 6 feet by 6 feet. Its rough. But on Tuesday we are helping him build a new house so Im way excited.
Well sorry this email is kinda lame, I've got to go. But I love all of you guys. have an awesome week and remember what Christmas is all about: The Savior. It's all about Him and His amazing Atonement. Love, Elder Smith
Coolest family! They sell sugar cane together.
Bought a live fish and then came home and cooked it.
|Just a little bus stop snack of fried tarantula|
Our church building--there is no church sign, but that blue sign advertises English classes
I found Sam’s companion’s blog and he went into a little more detail about their week…
"My companion is Elder Smith. He's the coolest! He just finished training with Elder Brewer. Pretty funny that when Elder Brewer left Chaktomuk he went with my kid, and when I left I went with his. Elder Smith is from Eagle, Idaho and loves to work. He's a fearless contactor too! I love it! He'll just walk up to a huge group of people and invite all of them to learn about Christ.People out here in the khets are all way inviting, even more so than in the city! Everyone always invites us to come and sit with them on their kre (a wooden bed) underneath their stilt houses.
So for those of you who feel bad, because you've never heard of Prey Cho, don't feel bad, because most Cambodians have never ever heard of Prey Cho either. It's this little farming community off the side of the road to Kampong Cham. It doesn't even have a town, it literally isn't anything, haha. The way Elder Smith put it is that Prey Cho has got to be the most overlooked place on the planet Earth. Haha, there's nothing really there to set it apart from anywhere else on the road to Kampong Cham. Maybe you're wondering, why in the world is the church there? Well because about 6 years ago this man named Puu Dee was baptized and became one of the most active members in one of the Kampong Cham branches, even though he had to ride about 45 minutes to get to church (that's how far away it is by moto or car). He kept spreading the gospel to his friends and neighbors. He's one of those guys who just tells everyone about it. They all started joining to the point that about 1.5 years ago, right before I entered the MTC, President Moon decided to establish a group out there. So that's where I am! We actually don't even live in Prey Cho, we live in this village called Kvet Thom. That's what our area is, just a cluster of different farming villages that we ride out to.
Right now is the middle of harvesting season so everyone is harvesting rice everyday. Everyone has told me this whole last week as I was preparing to leave out to Prey Cho that it is the prettiest area in the whole mission. I believed them, but I had yet to see it, just because the only part of Prey Cho I've ever seen is the national road that goes right through the middle of it, but even that part is beautiful. The whole road is lined with these white-barked trees and you can see rice fields on either side as you ride down it. But even prettier than that is if you just go down the road, and go under one of the tons of wat archways, and ride for like 50 meters and all of a sudden you're just on a raised dirt road surrounded by rice fields and palm trees literally till you cut the tail of your eye (that's how you say, “as far as you can see" in Khmae). It’s insane. And off in the distance you can see like a bunch of trees or jungle looking stuff past the rice fields, with some stilted houses in it, and you ride to it and that’s where an investigator or a member lives! That's how our whole area looks! It’s insane! It's a pretty big adjustment going from the most urban area in the mission to the most rural for sure, but I'm loving it! So as you could expect in a village like Kvet Thom, there’s not much to go by in terms of nice housing, haha. We live in this house in the middle of a member's rice mill/pig farm/chicken coops. The house is small, but very clean. That's good, because the last time I went to the Prey Cho house, about 5 months ago for President to do interviews with the missionaries there, it was way gross. Out here in the boonies there’s no water pressure, so we don't have a shower. Or a toilet. In our bathroom we've just got a squatter, a basin that fills with water, and 2 buckets, one to clean yourself with and one to shower with (don't mix them up!) It's a pretty grand life. I've sent pics of this house before, way back when. Remember when I took those pictures with the pigs like 5 months ago? That's my house!
There are the most wonderful members in the Prey Cho group. Puu Dee is our group president, and he and his wife and 3 kids are just about the most Christ-like family you could find anywhere. They are super loving with each other and are always smiling. Puu Dee is actually like the most well-known person in all these farming villages, because he's a traveling doctor, so every always knows who Kruu Puu Dee is when you ask them. It's way cool. All the active members here are way faithful, even though they've all been members for less than 2 years (since that’s how long missionaries have been out there).
Since Prey Cho is such an isolated community, people freak out when we speak Khmae. They literally are in disbelief. It's like that in the city too, but out here it’s even more exaggerated. Haha, their accents out here are hilarious. Kampong Cham's accent is even worse than Phnom Penh's. They all speak like country bumpkins. I love it, hahaha.I love Cambodians so much. Moroni 7 has come to have such a deeper meaning to me now, because on my mission God has truly blessed me with at least a taste of what true love feels like for your fellowmen. I hope I can help this group progress, to continue establishing the kingdom of God in every clime, even in some quiet farming villages in Cambodia.I love my mission.”
ps--Botevy drove 90 minutes each way to drop off Sam's Christmas package. She is an absolute angel I tell you. She had taken it to the mission home for Sam to pick up when he got a new companion last week-- but plans changed and his comp went out to meet him instead so he didn't get the bag. I was so sad because I didn't think that Sam would have anything for Christmas. I'm not sure how Botevy found out that Sam did not get it, but this week she emailed me and said she picked the bag up and drove it out to him. I love her!!