So on Monday, we made the trek out to KC and I probably...no I legit cried a bit when I left the city because it felt so good to see the Khets and actual vegetation.
We got there around 6, unpacked and settled in and made plans for the next three days.
So on Tuesday, we went to branch 1 area and the elders and sisters helped us out a bit. We went along the riverside and actually ended up meeting a lot of Vietnamese. The catch is that they all live ON the water and we have to take canoes out to their homes or walk on really sketchy bridges that aren't really stable. We came across a family and told them we were missionaries and they directed us to another family and then we told THEM that we were missionaries and they started going on about this Vietnamese teacher guy from America who also teaches about Jesus. And then they told us we could come over whenever, they would always invite us because all the Vietnamese people are brothers and sisters. The rest of the day, we went out to Branch 1's furthest area Ro Ang and no Vietnamese were spotted. We would ask people and then they would point us to a small village and then we would bike over to the village and they would look at us and say "nope. no Vietnamese here" and it was that way for a while.
On Wednesday, we took a different approach. Instead of asking where the Vietnamese were, we just contacted in Khmer but gave everyone two pamphlets, one in Vietnamese and one in Khmer because we found this out. The Vietnamese people here get really nervous when we ask them if they are Vietnamese. For example, we were at the market and a guy kept staring at us so we walked over and talked to him in Khmer, but he wasn't speaking clearly so I asked him what nationality he was. He said he was Khmer and that he lived over in Phsaa Thom (which is where all the Vietnamese live) and so i asked him if he knew Vietnamese and he said no, but then the next day when we were scoping out the area, we saw him speaking Vietnamese. So we concluded that the Vietnamese just don't want to be found. And it was a little discouraging.
And then on Thursday, at one last attempt, we went to go find a member in Phum Thenang to help us out because I knew she knew some Vietnamese. But when we got there, she wasn't home. So we rode home and on the way home we saw the member and stopped her. She gave us a number for another member who was actually Vietnamese. We called the guy and found his house after 45 minutes of looking. And we asked him where most of the Vietnamese were. He said öh you want Vietnamese? come with me" and walked us over to this little shack where a bunch of foreigners were sitting. One of the men said in Vietnamese "where are you taking the tourists?" Turns out, he was the Vietnamese guy from america that the first family told us about. We talked for a while and they are also missionaries for the evangelical(???) church and have been working with the Vietnamese in Kampong Cham for 10 years.
Then we came back and on Saturday, we went to see our investigator Phi Nhan. Who tried to run away and hide from us! We sat her down and she prayed and in her prayer she said "I heard Sister Nguyen was moving to Kampong Cham and I got so sad because Sister Trinh already left me. And I didn't want to learn with the elders because I don't understand anything they teach. I was going to run away and hide from the sisters, but I know I need to have faith and learn about the gospel. " And after the prayer, I looked her in the eye and asked her if she still had a desire to learn. She cried a little bit and said of course, she was just scared. and then I looked her in the eye and promised her we would do everything that we could to help her get her marriage certificate and be baptized and that if she didn't understand anything we taught or if Sister Galland or I didn't speak clearly, then she needed to tell us so we would try again. And It was just a really humbling moment for all of us.
this week, i felt even more gratitude for this opportunity to be a missionary and be serving the Vietnamese people in Cambodia. They have become nothing short of a family to me. I love this calling and I love this work,
Sister Chi Ca Nguyen
Pictures 1 & 2 My Beloved Sister Galland is a gem
Picture 3 POOCEY. DO YOU REMEMBER HIM??
Picture 4 The Great Neak Ming landlord who is the best person ever and ran and screamed when we surprised her