Friday, August 17, 2012

I can’t believe the things I learn!—email from 08-13-12

I can't believe that July is the hottest month on record. It has been really uncomfortable but I have managed pretty well with lots of drinking water. People crack me up when they have only their swimsuit on and they are walking around complaining about how hot it is. I just want to say...try wearing all the layers I do ya sissy! :) But instead I tell them about Jesus. haha

We had a pretty slow week in the work. Our investigators just were all unavailable for one reason or another. So hopefully this week they are at home!!!

Yesterday was a pretty crazy experience though. We went to a member's home to have dinner with them and their children that were in town visiting. Their daughter-in-law sat down to eat with us and talk to us. She has a beautiful olive complexion and dark hair which meant Asian culture, Philipino, or Native American. So I asked where she was from and she said Cambodia. WHAT?!?! Then she told us her story. She was born in Cambodia when the country was being occupied by communists. She was the 6th of seven children. When she was two the military people came to her city and dragged her father into the streets and shot him. They were killing anyone with an education. They threatened to kill anyone in her family who cried for her father. She said how her mother could hear them patrolling around their house at night listening for crying. One day her mother had the feeling she needed to get out of there and right then. So she packed up her seven kids ranging between 13 and 1 and her elderly mother and disappeared into the jungle. They got word that an hour after they left the people had come to kill her family. They spent the next two years hiding in the jungles of Cambodia running from the Vietnamese and Cambodians trying to get to Thailand where they would be safe. She talked about eating dirt because there was nothing else and drinking out of puddles right next to dead bodies. She said one time her family was hiding in the bushes and a patrol when right in front of them and should have been able to see them but missed them. She lived in a refugee camp in Thailand for about 7 years. Her grandmother died from all that stress. At 11 they came to America and lived in the scariest of the ghettos in Philadelphia. One day when she was 20 two guys walked down the street as she sat on the porch, as she listened to them she said she didn't need what they had but her sister did. A few months later though she was baptized. And a year after that she served a mission. And she told us all of this without crying or trying to scare us, just to help us understand the life she had and how the Lord had protected her and brought her to the gospel. Amazing!!!!

Then one of the member's sons came in and said he had to get home to take care of the tiger. Yes, he said tiger. We both had our jaws hit the floor and said "what?!?!" He proceeded to explain that he works at a private preserve for wild animals like tigers, jaguars, deer, lions, gators, wolves, and basically everything but bears. They are these exotic animals that are bought by rich people and they get away or the people don't want them anymore, but since they aren't pure pedigree they can't go to zoos. So euthanization is the next option. So this reserve was created for these animals to live out the rest of their lives in peace. And he told us story after story of playing with the tigers and showed us pictures. They have a Siberian that is 10 feet tall when he goes up on his back legs. They are getting a 1600 pound liger soon that is like 12 feet tall. It's amazing.

So yeah, those are my stories for the week. Crazy right?!?! You only meet these kind of people on your mission. He said if we are ever in Saint Augustine he'll take us and introduce us to the animals. :) Hope I get transferred there sometime. hahaha

Change is something inevitable and we see that with the seasons. So the question I always wonder is why do we resist it so much? I don't know quite sure why as of yet. But I do know that we can overcome those hesitations and be the change if we try. So how 'bout we all go out and do it?

love y'all,

Sister McCracken

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