Elder Cannon is here! Yes, he was the one called to Boston, but he's here now! I guess the mission president in Boston decided he didn't need more Cambodian-speaking missionaries, but President Moon said we could use him over here, so they sent him over! When people were first hearing about it, everyone I spoke to had a similar reaction: YAY! That's so AWESOME!...but he's allergic to everything...
We met this Vietnamese man who has read the Book of Mormon -- twice! He's already Christian, and he told us that if you put the Book of Mormon and the Bible together, you'd have a great testament about Christ, and I was like, "Ümm, I have a scripture for you. It's in Ezekiel..."
Vietnamese people can be hard to find, but we have some new investigators, and I'm pretty excited about them. If you need more people to pray for, one could use some extra help to stop smoking, one needs work because her husband left her and she has one child with another on the way and needs means to provide for them, and we have a fourteen-year-old boy who is the only member of the church in his family and we're trying to get him to come back to church. He's a really sweet kid; it's just that Sunday is his day to sleep in. If you could also pray that we could find Vietnamese families to teach, we could really use it. It seems fairly common that a Vietnamese woman marries a Cambodian man and they raise their children here in Cambodia, and then the mother is the only one who speaks Vietnamese, so for them to learn the gospel as a family, the Cambodian elders have to teach them, which is great, but the Vietnamese sisters want to teach too!
Speaking of people for whom to pray, President Lam's house burned down this week. We were headed to lunch around 12:15 or 12:20 on Friday afternoon when Em Long called and said President Lam's house was on fire. A more descriptive way to explain the situation would have been President Lam's entire neighborhood was on fire. When we got there, all the homes in the area were pretty much gone. It was one of those places where lots of families live very close together under, in, and on top of multi-story buildings, so a lot of people have been displaced. There were still a few flames, lots of smoke, and ash falling all over. The water running off the house foundations was hot, and wading through it to look for President Lam's family on the other side of the dirt lot left my shoes full of charcoal. I guess in Cambodia someone has to pay the fire department before they'll try to stop the fire.
We spent the first several hours of hour Saturday shoveling several inches of charcoal off cement foundations, tearing down charred beams, and clearing away piles of broken brick. We did this for three houses. We got really dirty, not only from the charcoal but also the fish goo that was all over the debris. It smelled nasty! I found a really big bug (maybe four inches long) and grabbed it because it looked interesting. A couple people started yelling in Vietnamese when I held it up. I wasn't sure what they said, but the nonverbal cues were sufficient. I threw it against a wall and didn't see what happened to it. My companion told me later it was poisonous. In the future I must remember not to pick up fascinating creatures. I was very tempted to catch a couple frogs but I refrained and decided to be content with the fact that I got to wear pants, climb on broken brick walls, and destroy stuff. At one point President Lam tried to take a shovel from me and tell me to take a break, but I was having too much fun. I didn't stop until the rice was ready and they called everyone down to eat. We washed in a muddy river with naked children swimming in it. I laughed when President Lam gave me the soap because we were washing with laundry detergent. I ate this weird gooey stuff with whole fish, mint, and chilies. That was an adventure.
To finish the day, we went around to our investigators to remind them to go to church the following morning. One of them was working, so we helped her for a while. You know when you pull a project off the sewing machine and it has a those extra threads hanging off it? You know how the clothes you buy in the store don't have those? It's because people sit on dusty cement floors in Cambodia with little scissors and go over every pair of pants clipping those threads off and then they turn them all inside out and do it all over again. Some of those people are our investigators...and occasionally those people are missionaries who want to teach people about the Plan of Salvation.
Yesterday was Vietnamese Independence Day! Coconut mooncakes are yummy!