Heaven is Pho Real

Thuyên Chuyển

Monday, July 24, 2017

Unfortunately, chi Tam and I did not survive the transfer call. We will be getting split up and she is off to Thao Dien :( I'll be staying in Tan Son Nhat with my new companion, chi Chau! Here we go, the two tallest sisters in the mission serving together. Chi Chau's words about this: "We can just intimidate them into baptism". Cũng được.

This week I decided to read the Book of Mormon again in English. For the past 6 months or so, I've been reading the Book of Mormon in Vietnamese during personal study,  but this past week I decided to switch things up and go back to English for a time to see if anything new pops out that I didn't see before. I was just reading in the very first few chapters of 1 Nephi, and I came across the verse that I love, but this time it had a new meaning:

1 Nephi 1:20 -"And when the Jews heard these things they were
angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they
had cast out, and stoned, and slain; and they also sought his life,
that they might take it away.  But behold, I, Nephi, will show
unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those
whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty
even unto the power of deliverance."

I've always liked this verse because I love to think about the tender mercies that the Lord gives us. He always blesses us in such small ways just to make our day better. I've loved this verse because it helps me to remember that when we have faith and follow Him, He will give us tons of tender mercies throughout our lives. This time however, when I read this verse, I started thinking about what Nephi was saying. Nephi was reflecting on the tender mercy that had been given to his family that his father Lehi, was not harmed or killed by these people that didn't like what he was saying, even though it was the truth. That is DEFINITELY not a tender mercy - that is a miracle! It is such a miracle that Lehi and their family left Jerusalem unharmed. So what does this mean to us now? For me, when I reread this verse, I realized that sometimes, and probably more often than not, those little tender mercies we receive are actually miracles. They aren't just tiny little blessing that Heavenly Father is giving us to get through the day, they are full-on miracles that He is giving us to let us know that He is real, He is there, and He loves us. Our responsibility now is to change our mindset and to view the things that He gives us as the great miracles that they are.

This week was a good week. It was a hard week, but I learned a lot. Thanks for all the emails and pictures and updates! Have a good week!

This helmet has seen better days!

Riding the Saigon bridge again...

A lizard that I found in my room

Một năm đã trôi qua

Monday, July 17, 2017

This past week marked my ONE YEAR MARK IN VIETNAM!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow. I read over my first journal entry for my first day in Vietnam:
"Today I killed my first cockroach. Expecting many more to come. So today I was given my first area and companions/trainers! Hanoi, Chi Man Nghi, and Chi Ha. I'm glad I get to stay in Hanoi - I really didn't want to get on another plan after 30 hours of traveling. So here's how the day went: We spent the night at Elder and Sister Van Wagenen's home and then woke up and had a BOMB breakfast. We then went to the mission office to go through orientation. I had my first interview with President Hassell - sometimes I forget that he's a mission president because of how chill he is. After the orientation, we all walked to a restaurant for lunch. I don't really know what I ate. One dish was like banana curry or something - it was bright green. I was sweating the whole time. It's so hot outside and then we always eat hot food. The 2 don't mix. Tonight during our planning session I had to CALL SOMEONE. I had to ask if a member could help in a lesson and it freaked me out but I did it and she seemed to understand me. The swelling in my feet has gone down a little. This is good."

Well, needless to say, a LOT has changed since my first day here, July 14th, 2016! Basically everything is different now except for the fact that I still sweat all the time and I still don't really know the kind of food that I get fed. Serving here in Vietnam has been, hands down, the hardest thing I've ever done but it's also been the most rewarding. The one thing that has always seemed to help me get through the trials arise is just remembering who it is that I need to put first - and the answer to that is always God. Whenever hard things come up, we just need to remember to put God first, and then it will be clear what kind of sacrifices we need to make and what things we need to do to get back on track.

The quote for this week comes with a wonderful, wonderful story. Every Tuesday, my companion and I will go help out at our investigator's restaurant. After the busy lunch shift is over, we normally will sit down with our investigator, eat lunch, and talk with her. So this past week as we sat down to eat, our investigator asked us, (here's the quote of the week), "Hai em có thích trứng gà không?" which translates to "Do you like eggs?" (chicken eggs, to be more specific). Who doesn't like eggs, right? So we replied, " Dạ có, thích nhiều!" TURNS OUT WE MISS HEARD HER becuase the next thing we know she brings out a big plate full of CHICKEN FEET. She had said "chân gà" and not "trứng gà". Oh man. Lunch that day was very exciting. 

Thanks to everyone once again for the emails and pictures and updates!! Happy late birthday to JANICE MAN NGHI LYNGUYEN aka CHI MAN NGHI and happy early birthday to Anna Hu :)))

Người Châu Phi

Monday, July 10, 2017

This past Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, my companion and I went up to Hanoi for MLC and exchanges! Tuesday night I got to go visit one of my FAVORITE families, Cô Tâm, and the whole time Cô Tâm couldn't get over how much tanner I've gotten since being in Sài Gòn. She just kept saying, "Kim Thư là người Châu Phi!!" which translates to "Kim Thư is black!" 

Reunited with Chi Tam in Hanoi


This past week we had 2 great lessons with our new investigators Cô Hương and her daughter Chị Thanh. They have been coming to church on their own for about 2 months now, but EVERYONE thought Cô Hương was member! Part of that may be because she told us all that she was a member already.. We always new that hẻr daughter, Thanh, wasn't a member, but everytime we asked if Thanh wanted to meet with us to take discussions she always said no! Then one day, out of the blue, we receive a phone call from President Hassell who said that Co Huong's brother in California wants them to start learning about the gospel (he's the branch president over there). Next thing you know, we're meeting with them and learning the real story that Co Huong IS NOT A MEMBER and chi Thanh ACTUALLY WILL MEET WITH US! Everyone at church was so surprised to find out that Co Huong actually hadn't been baptized yet. But she's adorable. She paid her tithing yesterday and didn't know what they used tithing for until we explained it to her.

Long story short, make sure that you deeply interview everyone in your branch/ward/stake because there is a chance that someone actually isn't a member.

Just last night, my companion and I had a lesson with another investigator, Nhu, and I had a huge epiphany of how great the Lord's timing is. Nhu has been coming to English class for quite a while, and most of the time will stay to hear the spiritual thoughts. However, my companion and I have never had time to talk to her about the gospel because we've been focusing on other people after english class. Well, just two weeks ago she approached the elders with one of her friends and asked to meet with them to learn more about the differences between our church and the catholic church (she's catholic). The elders invited us to come to the lesson as well, and now she's one of our investigators! Just last night after our lesson, she told us that she was going to start learning Japanese and doesn't know if she'll have time to come to English class on Wednesdays anymore. I am SO SO SO THANKFUL that, with the help of the Lord's timing, we were able to start meeting with her before that happened! If she had stopped coming to English class 2 weeks earlier, then we would never have had the chance to teach her about the gospel. The Lord really does have a certain schedule for everything, and everything will occur according to His timing.

The quote for this week comes from my lovely companion, "Chúng ta phải làm sức khỏe cho thế gian" (We need to make health for the world). She was trying to say something along the lines of "Don't pollute the earth" and this is the translation that we got! It's probably better than what I could do.

Thanks for all the emails, pictures, updates, everything! 

Your favorite người châu phi
Navigating the streets of Saigon
Visiting Hanoi

Tan Son Nhat  (TSN) Branch talent show

Ngày 4 Tháng 7

Monday, July 3, 2017

HAPPY early FOURTH OF JULY!!! I'm going to attach a picture of what last year's fourth of july was like back in the MTC, just for good memories.

Celebrating 4th of July at the Missionary Training Center (July 2016)

This fourth of July, I will be spending the whole day..... IN THE MISSION OFFICE for MLC. Yay. I'll stilll be sure to wear something patriotic to make Chi Cheney/Tuyet proud. 

This past week was a pretty good one - also pretty different because we had quite a few appointments with some catholic investigators! My whole time serving in Vietnam I haven't had any investigators that have had a religious background. Everyone that I've taught has never known anything about Christ before! So being here in Saigon with 2 catholic investigators and a catholic potential family has been absolutely crazy! We had a lesson with one of those investigators yesterday after church. To close the lesson, she prayed for our salvation and for God's help so that we could find the right path to Him. It was a very sweet prayer, and I'm really glad that at least one person is looking out for my salvation! We've been a little stuck with this particular investigator because she's not a fan of reading the Book of Mormon, so we agreed that we would read from the Bible every day if she would read from the Book of Mormon every day. Hopefully she'll learn to love the Book of Mormon as much as I love it! 

Having these catholic investigators has really opened my eyes about the lives of the missionaries serving in the states, where almost all of their investigators already have a religious background. You go, guys. Investigators with religious backgrounds are trickier than I thought! 

Saturday night, we had the first ever District Conference for Relief Society in Vietnam! It took place in Hanoi and was broadcasted to Saigon. Unfortunately, the internet connection wasn't the best, so we couldn't actually hear any of the talks that were given. My favorite part was when our mission president's wife gave a talk with some visual aids, such as a squash, rice, and a butter knife. It was so entertaining to try to figure out what she was talking about when she was trying to cut a squash with a butter knife.

The quote for this week comes from our ADORABLE investigator, Tinh, who will be baptized on the 23rd of July: "Ồ dạ, Sa Tan... Đó là Sophia, phải không?" which translates to, "Yes, Satan.. That's Sophia, right?" In Tinh's attempts to say "Lucifer" in english, it ended up coming out as "Sophia"! She's so cute. But, just a lesson for us all, don't let the temptations of Sophia get to you. She's a tricky one.

Thanks for all the emails, pictures, and updates! According to my dad, I'm slacking on the pictures and I need to find some better things. My apologies. I will be sure to step up my game.

Also, shoutout to the Vietnam Hanoi Mission missionaries who are reporting to the MTC this Wednesday! See you in two months :)

The bridge that we ride across 6x per day!

Con lười

Monday, June 26, 2017

Apparently "con lười" is vietnamese for "sloth". It directly translates to "lazy animal". I love it. Also shoutout to my good friend Cason over in Africa because sloths are his favorite animal.

This past week was pretty good and very busy! On Tuesday, chị Tâm and I went to go visit Chú Mao. Chú Mao is someone that chị Phượng and I contacted about 2 months ago and due to lack of time and a busy schedule we haven't been able to go visit him and his family! When we contacted him, we gave him a Plan of Salvation pamphlet which he read and LOVED. He and his family have been catholic for a long time, so we were pretty excited about the opportunity to go and share the message of the Restoration with them. After about 1.5 hours of bike riding (because my poor navigation skills took us the SUPER long way) we finally showed up to his house which is a GIANT bánh mì shop. After we parked our bikes by the pile of freshly baked bread, we got led into the living part of their house (I would have said 'living quarters' but that sounds so old fashioned) and it is DECKED OUT with pictures and statues of Christ. It was such a sight to see, puts my two small pictures of Christ hanging on my window to shame. We had a really good conversation with them about our church and were able to say a prayer with them before we left as well. Chú Mao also happens to be my biggest fan and has commanded his nephew to start taking the discussions. His exact words: "Anh ấy là cháu ruột của chú. Anh ấy sẽ theo đạo của Kim Thư." (This is my nephew. He will follow Kim Thư's religion.)

On Sunday we had a lesson with Huyền - she was a Protestant and then a Catholic and now she's taking lessons with us! She always asks us, "Tại sao mọi người đọc nhiều sách quá vậy nhưng không có đọc kinh thánh?" (Why does everyone read so many books but not the Bible?) Our response to her: WE DO READ THE BIBLE!!! So today, in answer to her request, we will be meeting at 3 to just read the bible together. Because we support our investigators and all of their loves and interests. (that was not sarcasm or joking, her and her love for the bible are adorable).

I recently rediscovered one of my old planners and opened up to a random week to see what I had done. I got to re-read my companionship's weekly goals for that week, which just so happened to be... "Help KT talk more at dinner appointments." and "Help KT talk to people more." (sound familiar, chị Mẩn Nghi??). No worries, 3 months later, I've definitely fulfilled those two goals.

Last night I was reading in Alma chapter 8 about the story of Alma and Amulek, and something new caught my eye. Alma received a personal commandment from the Lord to return to a certain city and preach the gospel to some people. Long story short, he runs into Amulek, who has been prepared by the Lord to receive him and help him. But then later, in verse 28, it says that the people of the city, the people that Alma and Amulek were commanded to teach, had gotten worse in their iniquity. Basically they were even worse than the first time Alma was there to preach to them! If I were Alma/Amulek I would be thinking, "What is this? Heavenly Father personally asked me to come back here and teach these people and they're still terrible? Why would he send me back here if it is even worse than before?" Sometimes Heavenly Father gives us a personal commandment/personal revelation and we think that if we follow it, it will be easy. He's guiding us in a certain direction, so we're just going to be obedient and do what He says and everything will turn out great. However, sometimes His personal guidance for us isn't easy. Sometimes it feels like He guides us STRAIGHT INTO A TRIAL and our life gets 100 times harder. But, all of the guidance and commandments He gives us has a purpose. Maybe it's essential for us to have a certain trial at a certain time, maybe it's essential for us to not have an easy life 100% of the time. We just have to be obedient and trust in Him, and He will help us get through the things that He commands us.

And I have no eloquent way to end my email after that, so I'll just say thanks for all the emails and pictures and updates! 

xin chào buổi sáng, Việt Nam

Monday, June 19, 2017

This Sunday I was asked to say the closing prayer for sacrament meeting. Afterwards, this woman that was visiting came up to me and said, "Your Korean is amazing!!!!!!" :)))

On Thursday I was in a trio while chi Phuong was flying to Hanoi and chi Tam was flying to Saigon, which means I got my own phone for the whole day. While we were taking our nap (QUICK EXPLANATION! President Hassell changed up our daily routine. We now wake up at 5:30 and go to bed at 10:30. Because we wake up an hour earlier, he has us schedule in a 1 hour nap during the dead hours aka the afternoon when it is boiling hot and no one in the right mind is outside) I got a surprise phone call from Elizabeth/Chi Cuc!!! Remember my email about 2 weeks ago?? About the australian/vietnamese woman that contacted us at the coffee shop?? Well we put in a referral for her in Australia because she lives there, but she called me on Thursday saying that she was back in Saigon!!! I was just super pumped because that means I get to go see her again, but then we got an email through the referral system saying that they are handing her back over to us because she is planning on living in saigon now!! YAY!!!!!!!!! how amazing is that.

Once again, coffee shops are a missionary's best friend. Minus the part about the coffee because that's breaking the word of wisdom, but in all other aspects, they are a missionary's best friend.

As a general update, missionary life is pretty normal and pretty good. My new companion Sister Moss/Chi Tam is amazing. This morning she made us all crepes for breakfast so that's how you know she's a keeper. Our investigators are doing well, aside from the 2 that are out of town due to work. When they get back to Saigon they'll be doing well.

The quote from this week was one of the most amazing quotes I've ever heard from my best friend Hieu: "I have a happy full this life or I have a happy full forever life." When we have to think about choices, we need to consider them in an eternal perspective. If we choose the things of the world, sure, we will be happy. But that would result in just a "happy full this life." If we choose the things of the Lord, sure, we might have to sacrifice a few other things. But, we will have "a happy full forever life." When in doubt, just think about what you want. Do you want a happy full this life or a happy full forever life?
When it's 9:28 and you have to be home by 9:30!

When the branch asks you to help out in Primary and the little kids are monsters.  JKJK!!

That special feeling you get when someone compliments you on your Korean...

3rd wheeling with the Thao Dien district

Mười ba tháng rồi

Monday, June 12, 2017

Yesterday was my 13th month mark, and the baptism of chi Phung!! What a good day. 


I promise the format of this email will be normal. No headaches for anyone who reads it this week.

This past week was definitely CRAZY. On Monday I went to Cambodia with my companion and Elder Huy to renew our visas. Unfortunately, after the long crazy journey, chi Phuong's visa didn't get renewed. This resulted in a last minute call on Thusrday saying that she was getting kicked out of the country to go to Hong Kong until Monday. She's still not back yet. SO this also means that I would be third-wheeling with the two sisters in the Thao Dien branch for 4 days. It was quite the adventure. My personal favorite activity was trying to weekly plan (this is when you set up tons of appointments and think about what lessons you need to teach to investigators and other members, set goals for the upcoming week, talk about how your past week went) by myself. the part for companionship inventory lasted about 3 seconds bc no companion.

My favorite part about being in a trio for the past 4 days was that on Saturday night we were out contacting at a mall. We stopped by the grocery store and ended up buying 3 giant pints of ice cream. 

Last night was also our transfer call! I will be staying in Saigon for another 6 weeks, and my new companion will be chi Tam from Hanoi. It's quite a change, and one that NO ONE was expecting, but it will be a fun 6 weeks!

Today I am third-wheeling it to the Thao Dien district pday, and the activity for the day is ice skating, which means we get to wear PANTS. I've officially decided that it's harder to bike in pants than it is in a skirt. I feel so bad for the elders.

The quote for this week would be: "It's either going to be really bad or just okay." This is basically mine and Chi Chau's new life motto. Whether your trying to bake brownies in a rice cooker, trying on a new outfit - this sentence applies to everything.

Thanks for all the emails and updates and pictures! Most of all thanks for sticking around and reading my emails even though they aren't that great.
Heaven is Pho Real.
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