Thursday, July 21, 2011

I get why Noah needed the Ark.

Hi Family,

This week, I completely understood the story of Noah and the Ark. I have personally witnessed how extremely fast rain can fall and flood.  That may sound odd but I experienced my first true Cambodian rainstorm. First, it started getting pretty windy and my companion said,  “Oh shoot, here it comes!” When I looked up, I saw huge, scary looking clouds that were moving in way too fast. It was like those Disney Halloween movies when the clouds start circling and lightning starts striking.  So, my companion suggested we put our backpacks in garbage bags and head out.  My companion kept saying, “Yep, this is gonna be a Doozy!" All the local Cambodians were scattering in every direction and closing their shops and doors in a really chaotic manner; Motos kept flying by us from further down the road, with ponchos that were soaking wet. In a matter of about 10 seconds it went from no rain at all, to the hardest, craziest rain that I have ever experienced! It was totally insane! It’s really hard to describe.  But I think I saw this kind of rain in Forest Gump.  The rain starts pounding super hard and you think, wow, that’s not even possible! But, I will tell you, it is.

We soon started losing visibility because of how hard it was raining. The dirt roads quickly started filling up with water with deep puddles everywhere.   It was hard to bike on any solid ground. Interestingly, the rain was very loud.  Usually when people talk about rain being loud they talk about it hitting the steel roofs or something, but it was super loud just from hitting the mud and the puddles. I literally could not communicate with my companion between the wind and the rain. Again, totally insane. Needless to say, I was completely soaked from head to toe with a fountain running off of my helmet. You have to ride with your head facing to the side because the rain gets in your eyes if you look forward. In 15 minutes more time, there were no longer puddles and we were riding through a solid 6+ inches of water and orange mud. We were on our way to an investigators house and my bike suddenly started sinking and sunk half way up the tires in murky mud. It was so cool! Complete chaos! I just started laughing really hard when I ended up knee deep in water. I couldn't hear my companion but it looked like he was laughing too. My clothes were literally soaked like I had just jumped in a swimming pool. I noticed it didn't faze my companion at all. I look forward to being a seasoned missionary and don't get fazed by stuff like that.

It was so crazy. And it all happened in about 15 minutes. The whole city was under inches of water.  It turned out being a really cool experience for me.

Remember the man I told you about before?  We decided what was important for him was prayer, and the Book of Mormon. So, instead of teaching him, we would pray, read the Book of Mormon together until there was a really good feeling in the room.  We did this for a while and started meeting him every night. We started teaching regular lessons slowly but surely. If he didn't read ahead, we would just read with him and not teach. If he read, we would teach a short lesson. It’s been super exciting. Anyway, to make a long story short, we had the chance to commit him to baptism!  He's made a complete turn around.  The last lesson we taught him was the Atonement, and he understood it clearly (which is a first because its usually a difficult, foreign concept for Cambodians to grasp) He was wearing a polo t-shirt, clean-shaven, very respectful, with his hair combed to the side. He was actually bummed to see us go.  Last week, he went to all 3 hours of church and was found outside afterward reading his Book of Mormon.   How cool is that?

Wow, what a change. It is absolutely amazing to see the positive influence the Book of Mormon can have on people’s lives. Hopefully, it will change and benefit his family forever. His wife is so thankful for the missionaries.  It has strengthened my testimony of the power of the Book of Mormon tremendously, and of the love our Heavenly Father has for each one of his children. He truly does not forget about any his children and loves them all.  And, He will do whatever He can do to help us as soon as we ask for it. 

In other news.

-I've lost 15 pounds since I've been here.

-The rains won’t end until November.  I guess the worst is ahead.

-I’m buying a new bike as soon as I get my debit card.  For 20 bucks.

-We sprayed the huge spider with Raid, and the scorpion by our shoes.

-Maybe send some Kleenex.  It hasn’t been invented here yet.

-Went to Battambang, (It’s 3 1/2 hours away) to do interviews with President Smedly and to go on exchanges. (One of the many cool perks of being in a big country with fewer missionaries)

-Got to go out on exchanges with Elder Jorgenson, my MTC companion and an AP. super fun.

-Transfer calls are next week, I’m sure I won’t be transferred though.

Life is good in Cambodia!

-Elder Nelson

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