There are two Stakes in Phnom Penh. In our Stake we have 6 Wards and Branches. One is an English speaking Branch, but we decided to go to a Khmer speaking Ward. Why would we do such a thing? Well, we thought the kids would benefit more from this Ward, and it is closer to the house. We did attend the English Speaking Branch (International Ward), and we did like it. It was nice meeting people from different parts of the world, not just Cambodia. We might go back there in January. We thought we could do some good in this Ward, but it feels we are more of a hinder. We each need translators in our different classes. We can't teach classes, because we don't speak the language and it doesn't seem like we are learning it anytime soon. We will see, we are still deciding. We go back and forth all the time.
Before I left the States, I remember telling a fellow Young Women leader that we probably won't get a chance to go to Girls Camp. She said, "They have Girl's Camp everywhere there is a LDS church." (Remember Donna?) Well, sorry to say the Young Women's program in our Ward is not very organized. We would be very lucky to have weekday activities. The Young Women President is an 18 year old and I don't feel she has authority over the other girls. She teaches the lessons when she does show up. They do go to the church every night, just to hang out. I am not in there so I don't know much that goes on. All I know is what Kaya have told me.
I go to Primary with the my younger girls. I have to be their translator. The Primary room is under construction so we all fit in a classroom. Sometimes there are 5 kids including mine and sometimes we have 15. The Primary President does everything, she teaches the lessons and sharing time, etc. She doesn't know the primary songs so they don't have music time. The big kids and little kids are all together and it is chaotic. I volunteered to do some moving songs just to break up the sitting like "Head, Shoulder, Knees and Toes" and "Do as I am doing" and "If you are happy and you know it, Clap your Hands" and other songs I think they know in English, because I don't know any Khmer songs.
The Stake scheduled our Primary Program for Nov 5th but that was a Saturday and the 6th was Fast and Testimony Sunday. The week after that it was The Water Festival and less than half of the members were at church. There was not any kids in Primary. So they have moved the program to December. I think they need more time anyways, because the kids don't know any of the songs. One Young Man and one Young Woman has been recruited to help. My kids know the songs, but they only know it in English. Now, they have them singing English one verse and have the other kids sing in Khmer for the second verse. We all hope for the best and that the little kids don't run off the stage. LOL
I was told this ward was strong a few years ago, but it have lost members in the last couple of years. They have been struggling. This Weekend is Stake Conference, and they are having special meetings. Sounds like they might merge some wards, it will be curious to see what they will do. Too bad we won't be there. We will be out of town. We will be going to Battambang. We hear there might be turkey at one of the restaurant there (Green Mango).
On a high point Chad loves his classes. He says they are so passionate and strong, but he does feel like a burden. I think the missionaries fight on who is not the translator. Nobody wants to hear that.
Oh, I never told you guys how my talked went. So I wrote my talk in English and I translated it to Khmer. It was not perfect, but I felt I was ready. I was so nervous. They told me that it was only 5 minutes so I thought I was the first speaker, since I thought they were treating me as a youth speaker. That morning I was so anxious and when I got to church my heart was jumping out of my chest. After the Sacrament, they announced the speakers and I was not the first speaker. They announced I was going to be the last speaker and that made me freak out. Good thing I don't know how to give a 5 minute talk. Hahaha Let's just say it was not in pure Khmer, lol, it was in Khmerlish. They were very attentive and very helpful. When I didn't know how to say a word they would shout it out for me. They would nod and seem to say, "Yes, that is the way you say it." I also think that they liked what I had to say, too. Afterwards, people came up to me and told me they liked my talk. They also said I have a beautiful accent and they love listening to me. It was a very enjoyable experience, but I don't want to do that again.