Tempus Fugit

31 days left in our Mission. Time indeed does fly (or flee as the proper translation states).

Sister Tuck and I want to end our Mission on a high, not getting ‘trunky’. Unfortunately, we do feel the pull of home, but are working to keep doing what we do here.

Sister Tuck continues to teach piano, even getting new students as more people want to learn something about how to play. She has had major success, because now there are people who ‘can’ play in the church meetings as long as they have adequate warning and time to practice.

I am continuing to teach English, although I have a single student, Tin (which I think is short for Rattana). Tin has been taking the missionary lessons off and on for 3+ years and isn’t ready to join but seems to not be able to stay away. One of the members called him a ‘dry Mormon’ which seems true to me. We are reading the Book of Mormon together in English, where I explain the words he does not understand and cannot find in his rather limited dictionary, which must be a Khmer/English dictionary. One of the words that confused him is ‘nevertheless’. It seems to me the words constructed from multiple English words really confuse the people here, of which there seems to be plenty in the Book of Mormon. Most Khmer people I have taught have difficulty with the old biblical words like ‘thee’, ‘thine’, and ‘spake’.

More importantly, and a huge blessing for Sister Tuck, has been the last 40 translated songs for the Cambodian Hymnal were delivered to her for review three weeks ago. We hired a translator to Romanize the Cambodian script so she can sing the songs to make sure the words fit with the music, then the Music Review Committee (or some of it anyway) get together to make a combined pass through it. The committee met for two hours last Saturday and made it through 13 songs. Thankfully, Sister Tuck is prepared with all 40 songs Romanized and we have enough time to have two more Music Review Committee meetings so she can complete her part of the work. Needless to say, we really appreciate our translator, Chhoeun Sokunthea.

When we arrived here, we were out of our ‘comfort zone’ so we began acquiring the things we felt we needed, such as better dishes, utensils, pots and pans, kitchen appliances, a computer table, chairs and shelves. We created our own comfort zone with all this ‘stuff’, and now need to dispose of it. It is my desire to help other Senior Couples, then the Missionaries, then the branch members as we rid ourselves of all these items. Unfortunately, if we give things to some members, other members will be unhappy that we didn’t give anything to them. To combat this, it is our plan to give to the other senior couples and the Mission whatever they want, then give the remainder to the branch presidents to distribute as they see fit. An alternative is to give things to a member friend who doesn’t live in either of the Ta Khmau branches.

We are trying to consume all our food before leaving, but most likely will not accomplish that perfectly, so our plan is to offer our remaining food to the missionaries serving in Ta Khmau, which will not be easy because we have 6 Elders and 2 Sisters serving here.

Some things will be easy to leave, while others will be hard. We love these people and have grown close to them. Saying ‘goodbye’ will be difficult, especially since we do not expect to ever return here again, although we could be wrong. We really like how green it is here and the beauty of the trees in bloom, but the high humidity and oppressive heat, not so much. The rain is a mixed bag because when it rains it really rains, dropping a lot of water all at once. We once got stuck in a flooded area which we didn’t like, but we really haven’t seen the continual downpour that causes the whole area to be flooded. In spite of our worries, last year’s wet season did not live up to all the hype, causing the local harvests to be lower. As I write this, the rainy season is starting and we hear thunder in the distance, so perhaps we will get enough rain before we leave that will make us firm in the dislike of ‘too much rain’. (It did start raining the second time today and it is only 12:30 pm, this time putting the lights out too.)

Added to the list of dislikes we hope we are leaving behind are the frequent power disruptions. The power outages were bad enough that we purchased two Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) units just to keep our Internet and computers running. Even then, the outages are longer than the UPS units can keep us going.

The biggest thing we don’t like is the general disobedience of traffic laws. It seems most every native driver treats the laws as suggestions and then only when it is convenient. Red lights are not red lights. One-way streets are not one way.

As it turns out, we feel the good outweighs the bad. We love the people, and the places we have rented are not too bad either. Both of the homes we rented are better than our Provo home. It’s a little hot but our homes have had AC so we sleep OK. It will be hard to say good-bye though. Today at church, one of the young ladies we are close to teared up when we told her how soon our departure date is. Leaving will be hard indeed.

However, we have family back home we haven’t seen in a while. In fact, we have two grandchildren born while we were here, that need badly to be held and spoiled. I hope they don’t cry when I hold them. On the downside, I expect most of our family will zone out after the first five minutes of our pictures and videos, and will leave immediately when we suggest they look at more photos. Because we fear we will wear out our welcome, we have started papers for a new mission call we will turn in soon after getting home.

But we have a month more to go which means we can do more Family History, more piano lessons and more English classes, and we can clasp hands with our friends and demonstrate our love for them several more times before we are gone.

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