Thursday, August 18, 2011

Harvesting rice with tough, hardworking people!

All is well in Cambodia. And as usual, it’s been a pretty wild week.

I could write another story about a crazy rainstorm experience, but those may be getting old.  Lets just say it is definitely "rainy season".  After every storm I think, “Wow! That must’ve been the biggest storm in Cambodian history!”  But it never is, and they happen every other day. Just a part of the daily adventure here.

Yesterday, we had a unique Cambodian opportunity. We did service for one of the members in our branch. We helped to harvest her rice field! It was really fun! We just rolled up our dress pants and got to work! It was funny because we were so bad at it.  The Cambodians really liked showing off their rice field harvesting skills.  Word spread fast through the village that there was a couple guys in white shirts and ties, helping harvest a rice field.  After a while, there were about 20 extra people helping us and we all had a great time!  We got a few contacts from that group too, so we were pretty excited.

When you harvest the rice, there's a specific process that needs to be done. At one point, you need to get the mud off the bottom of the bunch of rice that’s pulled up by slapping it against your foot. Well, I didn't know much about what I was doing and was slapping the rice on my foot too timidly.  One of the older ladies there started yelling something at me! Then she just rolled up her pants and marched right into the rice field and did about 30 minutes of my work in about 5. Then was whacking the rice so hard against her foot, it was kind of freaky. I thought she was just a fragile older lady but she was tough and really knew how to work! Needless to say, she really showed me up. Then, when I started hitting the rice against my foot really hard, I got covered with mud. I must’ve looked pretty awkward.  I have lots of respect for rice farmers... a very cool experience with very cool people.

So there is a member named Dora that helps us with our teaching. He’d been somewhat inactive lately. We wanted find a way to strengthen him so we invited him to help us with some missionary work. He is an awesome guy. The first day he seemed a little reluctant to help us, and when we asked him to contribute to the lesson he would share only 2 sentences that weren't really related to the lesson. But, after a few weeks of working with him he now LOVES working with us! He brings his Book of Mormon and contributes powerfully to the lessons. He's by far our best member helper. Yesterday when I was “doping him” (letting him ride on the back of my bike) he was practicing how he was going to introduce himself and what he was going to say. I asked him, "Dora, have you ever thought about serving a mission?" He said, “Me, be an elder?” I said Yeah!  He felt like that wasn’t possible. I asked him why and he just said he didn't know. I assured him he really could and he got very excited. When we take him along, he talks all about how much he wants to serve a mission! So now we call him Elder Dora.

It has been so cool to see the progression and spiritual growth of him and others. Once again the Book of Mormon is the important part that starts the process. It really is powerful, and has the capability of impacting people’s lives in positive ways.

The Book of Mormon truly changes lives. I keep seeing it over and over again. I love having the opportunity to read it every morning. I wish there was more time in the day so that I could read it even more. It is truly another testament of our Savior Jesus Christ.

I love you all! Hope all is well at home

Elder Nelson

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