Saturday, January 2, 2010

June 16, 2009

I spent like 15 minutes thanking Heavenly Father for letting the sun come out yesterday. I was sick and tired of the rain and cold. It rained everyday for over a week straight.

I can't wait until the mission president’s conference in June. Elder David A. Bednar gave a talk at the Tuesday Devotional. It was the single greatest talk ever. The Spirit that was there was so strong. It was about whether it’s the Holy Ghost or whether its just you. It was amazing. At the end he bore his testimony. You could feel the Spirit almost start shaking the place. It was the craziest feeling in the world, it was so cool.

One of our Elders in my district was diagnosed with swine flu this morning. He's the one from Hawaii. He'll be in quarantine for 5 days. He's the 4th person to get it on our floor. So we're all getting checked and have to take medicine for the next couple of days.

I'm getting really good at speaking Khmae (It’s spelled like that because that is the actual way to do it. Americans call it Khmer). Reading it is still quite a struggle, although I'm getting much faster. I'm just not as good as I would like to be. Me and Elder Hermann are doing great. We really dedicated ourselves to studying super hard this week and I can already see the rewards from it. It’s funny because we pray in companion prayer in Khmae, and usually I say my personal prayers in English. But last night I couldn't remember how to start a prayer in English, so I just said the whole thing in Khmae. It’s really starting to take over. My handwriting is starting to look like Khmae too. I keep putting extra humps and curves in the letters that look like script letters. It’s weird because when I say certain things, Khmae is what pops into my head, not English. It’s so crazy how the Lord takes over here. It took me about 20-30 minutes to translate Alma 32:21-22. I’m getting better at recognizing words, but it’s still really super hard. They said we’re way ahead of the other classes they’ve taught which surprised me because I feel so far behind right now. Yesterday I was really frustrated with it because it’s just so different, especially questions. They are completely backwards. The khmae language is the largest phonetic alphabet in the world. There isn’t any tones. It just sounds like it because of all the letters. There are 34 consonants, 26 vowels, 12 independent vowels, 33 subconsonants, and 8 different accent marks to change the words. Some of the accents work different according to different letters too. Every vowel has two sounds, and every consonant has a vowel sound that may or may not be used depending on if the vowel is there. And the letter roo is sometimes used to make a pause. So it’s hard trying to figure out if we have to say it or not. They also spell words in ways where there are no logical reasons. We go to all script next week.

Brother Masters also taught us how they sit. But they squat. Almost like a catcher. It’s weird so we all take a few minutes and practice everyday.

The food here is still awful. I never feel full, and I never feel hungry. I always feel like I need to throw up after I eat though. I can’t wait to eat Khmae food. They say you’ve never had rice until you’ve been there because it’s just so good. Food is their topic of conversation too. When you meet someone you don’t talk about sports or weather like you do here. You talk about food and recipes. After you ask how they’re doing, you ask if they have eaten yet. Then you talk about food. They’re favorite time of day is when dad comes home, and they eat dinner together because food is so important to them. All the little kids try to speak English to you too. It’s going to be so fun. Our first counselor, Brother Damron, knows so much about the church. He comes into our district meeting every Sunday and gives some of the greatest lessons ever. It’s so good. Also, my understanding of the scriptures and gospel doctrine just keeps increasing. Doctrines I didn't quite understand just all of a sudden make sense now. It makes it way easier to teach the lessons every Saturday to all the volunteer investigators who come in.

The second set of English speakers left this morning. The third leaves next Wednesday, including our roommates. It is sad. I really like them. The thing I like most about our district is how spiritual everyone is. We're all super really close and do everything together, but the spirit is so strong with us.

Brother Masters is really funny because he teaches us all the words that we're not supposed to say. He says that you shouldn't say them but this is how to say them if you do. It’s because a lot of words are really close to them, so if we say them we'd be in really big trouble. So we have to learn them so that we don't accidently confuse them. He said he did it and it didn't go over well. So he's telling us so we don't make the same mistake.

I'm excited to go to the temple tonight. Every time I go more and more is opened up to me in terms of understanding the gospel more. It’s so cool.

I can't remember if I told you this already but in averages 6 inches of rain per day in Cambodia during the rainy season. And guess when we'll be getting there? During the peak of rainy season of course. But from what we hear they are so easy to love. I'm looking forward to them becoming my people. Bringing them the gospel will just be the coolest thing ever. I can't wait.

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