Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Chúc Mừng Giáng Sinh!

I think that's how you say "Merry Christmas". No one really says it here because they don't celebrate it. But it's okay. Now that it's the week of Christmas, we are going all out! And by all out, I mean hanging an ornament outside our door and making a popcorn necklace for our third companion, Peggy. We're pretty festive. 

Our mission president, President Hassell, and his wife came up with the best Christmas presents for all of us missionaries here in Vietnam. We were each given a binder with different talks, poems, questions, and scriptures for us to use as a Christmas Advent Calendar. Yesterday, I read a talk given by President Uchtdorf entitled "Your Wonderful Journey Home". In this talk, he talked about different things we can do to in order to prepare ourselves to live with our Heavenly Father again. One of my favorite things that he said was this:

 "Now, take a moment right now and look at the people around you. Some may be your leaders, friends, or family members. Others you may have never met before. Nevertheless, everyone you see around you—in this meeting or at any other place, today or at any other time—was valiant in the premortal world. That unassuming and ordinary-looking person sitting next to you may have been one of the great figures you loved and admired in the sphere of spirits. You may have been such a role model yourself!
Of one thing you can be certain: every person you see—no matter the race, religion, political beliefs, body type, or appearance—is family. The young woman you look at has the same Heavenly Father as you, and she left His loving presence just as you did, eager to come to this earth and live so that she could one day return to Him."
Before we came to this earth, we all lived with our Heavenly Father. We all accepted His plan to come to earth - to gain a body, to have a family, and to experience things that would help us reach our divine potential. Literally everyone that has lived, is on the earth today, and will live accepted His plan. But, when we came to earth, we forgot all about that. Here on earth, we are to re-learn and re-discover the plan that we have already accepted. We need to remember that everyone we interact with is a member of our eternal family - they also accepted Heavenly Father's plan, and at one point they also had the desire of returning to live with Him again! This fact just proves to me how important it is to treat others with kindness, at all times and in all things and in all places. Here is the link to President Uchtdorf's talk for those who want to read more: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/your-wonderful-journey-home?lang=eng
I know that this email is INCREDIBLY long already, but I had thee funniest conversation with our taxi driver this last Thursday night. Chi Man Nghi and I took the wrong bus route on our way home from English class in Long Bien, so we caught a taxi because better safe than sorry - am I right. Here's how the conversation went (Taxi driver, whose name is Hung, = H, Me = M):
H: Where are you from? M: America. Where are you from? H: Vietnam. M: Do you have a family? H: Yes, I have two daughters, 12 and 9. How old are you? Do you have a husband yet? M: I'm only 19. No, I don't have a husband yet. That's way too young. H: In Vietnam, 19 year olds have husbands already. M: Are you going to allow your daughters to get married at 19? H: No, that's too young. M: Do you have any plans for Christmas? H: No, Vietnam is poor. M: Have you eaten at KFC? H: No *says something about an incident that happened in China* M: That's okay, KFC is pretty gross. What food do you like? H: I like fruit. M: Oh I like pineapple. H: Don't eat too much pineapple. Too much is bad for you. M: Okay. Do you want to live with your family forever? H: Yes. I love my family. M: In our church we believe that families can live together forever. Do you believe that? H: Yes, I believe that. I like that. M: Do you read the Bible? H: Yes when I go to the Chua. M: We read the Bible. We also read a book called the Book of Mormon. Do you want to read the Book of Mormon? H: I don't have one. M: I have one. *hands over Book of Mormon* Do you want to come to our church for Christmas Sunday? H: There's too many people. M: There's only like 40 people. You're coming. Here's our contact information. H: Okay, I'll call you before I show up.
And just like that, I handed out my first Book of Mormon. We aren't allowed to hand out literature on the streets, it has to be a private setting, so those scenarios are very rare. More updates to come on whether or not Anh Hung actually shows up for Christmas Sunday.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas week! And, it just so happens that Christmas falls on a Sunday this year! If you don't already have plans, you might want to stop by an LDS church building near you ;) You'll be promised wonderful talks, and possibly a performance or two by the primary kids.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

It's the most wonderful time of the year

....Because my companion is officially letting me listen to Christmas music 24/7. I couldn't be happier. And while we are on the topic of Christmas, I am going to include the link for the new Christmas Initiative the church just released! There is this AWESOME new program called "Light the World" where for 25 days there are different ideas on how you can serve others! Not only is the video ADORABLE, but all of the service ideas are super easy to do. I love it. 

This week was pretty uneventful because we had MLC and Zone Training, but it was still a good one :) We had a HUGE miracle occur on Friday morning. We've been teaching our investigator, Trung Anh, since July (right when I got to Vietnam). She is AWESOME - she always comes to church, she loves praying and reading scriptures, and she always keeps the commitments we give to her. She just would never accept a solid baptism date! She would always say she was going to get baptized, she just didn't want to have a specific date picked out. But on Friday morning, she told us she would finally decide on a date! She will be getting baptized next February - so it's PRETTY FAR OFF - but that's okay. I know Heavenly Father has a plan for everyone, and this is just part of His plan for her. I'm so happy that she is finally taking the next big step to have everlasting happiness!

The only other thing that happened this week was that we got stood up by Bac Bon. Twice. Her excuse: "I have to go sweep my porch". Porch as in the little corner that she uses to sell stuff every night. So it was basically "It's not me, it's you" type of deal. I'm fine, it's fine, everything's fine. She'll come back around.

The quote for this email will be one of the best jokes I have ever heard in my life. I was rereading some letters that my family sent to me while I was in the MTC (back when they still loved me) (lol JOKES mom) and found this beauty from Danny: "One knight was sitting at a table and said, 'who created this round table?' Another knight replied, 'Sir Cumference'". I busted up laughing so hard that I may or may have not shed a few tears. Most likely my friends are currently rolling their eyes about how stupid this joke is. Except for Anna Hu. I know she'll love it.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week! It's getting closer and closer to Christmas time, and I LOVE IT. MERRY EARLY CHRISTMAS.

Monday, November 28, 2016

I'm a mom :')

As of Wednesday night last week, Chi Man Nghi and I are training! Wednesday night, Chi Man Nghi and I came home from an appointment at around 9:30. Nothing out of the ordinary. I unlocked and opened the door to our apartment, and what do we see? My bathroom light is on, and a 7-foot tall, white, woman without a face is just standing in the bathroom doorway. We were scared OUT OF OUR MINDS. Turns out that the senior couple that lives in our building, the Noordas, have a spare key to our apartment. They had gotten in, planted a mannequin in the house, and then hid around the corner FOR AN HOUR waiting to videotape our reaction - talk about dedication. So, needless to say, we now have a third companion. Chi Man Nghi named her Peggy. She's currently standing in our living room.

This week was an awesome one, especially because of Thanksgiving. This year might have been the best Thanksgiving I've ever had. That night, we met with a new investigator, Chi Diệu. Chi Man Nghi and her old companion contacted Chị Diệu a long time ago, right before I arrived in Vietnam. We had planned out a lesson for her, and were only going to teach three principles - Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and prayer. But, she arrived with a ton of questions for us, and all were about the Restoration of the gospel! We ended up having one of the most amazing lessons I have ever had. At one part of the lesson, Chi Diệu began to cry, and said, "I don't know what I'm feeling - I don't know why I'm crying!" She is truly someone that Heavenly Father has prepared to hear about the gospel. She is so ready for everything that the gospel has to offer - I am so excited! 

I just wanted to take some time to bear my testimony about the Restoration. For those who are reading this and are not members, we believe that Joseph Smith was chosen by God to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know with a surety that Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ back when he was only 14 years old. I know with a surety that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, and that it truly is the word of God. And, of course, I know with a surety that Heavenly Father is our loving father in heaven, who loves us more than we can possibly imagine. 

Here's the one quote of the week that is more accurate than anything I've ever heard:
"Chị dẹp hơn ở ben Mỹ" which translates into, "you were prettier in America". This was given by my darling recent convert, Em Linh, who always speaks her mind. Hahaha she is so cute, I love it. Props to being a sister missionary out in southeast asia!!!

I hope everyone had a great week and is setting up Christmas decorations!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Lòng biết ơn

It's Thanksgiving week!!! Definitely missing the American holiday traditions right about now, nhưng chị sẽ chịu khó!


This past Saturday, we celebrated an early Thanksgiving with four of the senior missionaries - the Noordas and the Van Wagenens. Our commitment for them was a bit of a math problem, and I want everyone to do it:

Take the year 2016. Subtract the year that you were born. Take the number that you get, and that's how many things you have to write down that you're grateful for.

Or, if you don't like math, you can just take your age. 

Over these past six months of serving, I have realized that the best thing I can do when I'm having a hard time is to think about all the things that I am grateful for. So often I get caught up in the things that I DON'T have - I'm not fluent Vietnamese yet, I don't get to spend the holidays with my family, I don't have Ben & Jerry's here. But, when I think about all of the things that I DO have - an awesome companion, wonderful church members, 4 NEW INVESTIGATORS (that truly is a miracle) - life seems so much better. Here is a link to a conference talk given by our prophet, President Monson, about gratitude:

I wanted to take some time in this email to just bear my testimony, and express my gratitude for the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that my Savior lives, and that He knows exactly what I'm thinking and feeling every minute of every day. Sometimes that's hard for me to wrap my head around - How is it even possible for Him to understand every trial that I have in my life? But I know, without a doubt, that He does. He has experienced all the pain of the world so that He could personally identify with each and every one of us. I know that He loves us and that He wants us to be happy. I know that His gospel, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is true. I know that it has brought me all of the happiness that I have right now. I know that this work that I am doing, even though it is incredibly hard and sometimes really disheartening, is the most important work I could ever do on this earth.

I hope everyone has a great week, especially on Thanksgiving Day! Always remember to give thanks for everything that you have.

If there was one quote for this week, it would be this: "Maybe just scared because for once someone act be with you." Once again, credit for this beauty goes to BIG-C. They've released a second edition to my favorite sweater, found in their women's department. If I had to guess, I'm thinking they meant to say "because for once someone ACTUALLY wants to be with you", but who knows. I'm not a designer - that's Lindsay's job. But can I just say that there IS someone that wants to be with each and every one of us, and that person is our loving older brother, Jesus Christ. https://www.lds.org/liahona/2000/04/the-living-christ-the-testimony-of-the-apostles-the-church-of-jesus-christ-of-latter-day-saints?lang=eng

Monday, November 14, 2016

Một Năm Nữa

This past week I hit my six month mark! To celebrate it, my companion visited our favorite lady, Bac Bon, and gave her a back massage while she was at her stand on the side of the road. What a great way to celebrate.

This week we had the opportunity to hear from Elder and Sister Funk, who preside over a lot of the missions in Asia. On Thursday we had our zone conference, and on Friday we had MLC with some of the missionaries from Saigon. So much was said and discussed over these 2 days, but I want to talk about just one of them.

Our mission president's wife, Sister Hassell, started a discussion on the word "redemption". What does redemption really mean? We always say that Christ is our Redeemer, but what does that mean? She then gave us the brilliant analogy of a pawnshop: When we sell something, like a guitar, to a pawnshop, we receive money for it. But, if we want to get that guitar back, we have to pay even more to have it back. When we sell ourselves into sin, Christ is the one who has to pay for us. When we get ourselves stuck in the pawnshop, Christ is the one who pays to get us back out. I absolutely love this analogy. I know that Jesus Christ was the only person who could perform the Atonement for us - no one else could have done what He did. I know that He has already paid the price for all of our sins and mistakes, and that through Him we can become clean and forgiven. He is the most kind, loving, humble, patient, and perfect person who is ready and willing to comfort us whenever we need Him. There is nothing that He would not do for us - all we have to do is come to Him. 

Here is a link to a General Conference talk given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks about Christ and the Atonement:

I encourage everyone to read it! And of course, if there are any questions about Jesus Christ, missionary work, or anything about the church in general, I'd be happy to help!

If there was one quote to describe this week, it would be this: "Just you. You don't learn if you don't mistakes. Your dreams." Credit for this beauty goes to Big-C, my favorite superstore here in Hanoi. This phrase was printed on beautiful sweaters that they were selling in the women's department. I totally agree - you will never learn if you don't mistakes. Do not be afraid to mistake.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Sán Day

If I spelled the subject line correctly, that means "tapeworm". My companion and I currently believe that she has a tapeworm, because on Friday night we ate at Co Hang's house and Chi Man Nghi was still hungry afterwards. That's definitely not a normal thing, and the only explanation is that she has a tapeworm.

This week was a great one, and completely filled with miracles! Our mission has set some pretty high goals for the end of this year, and as we've been working hard to fulfill them we have seen a ton of miracles in our lives:

1. Last Monday, Chi Man Nghi and I went contacting at a bookstore before the branch Halloween party. We hadn't had much success and we were about to leave, when all of the sudden this adorable lady stopped us and wanted to talk! This NEVER happens. We're always the ones that have to try to start a conversation! But she was super interested in the work that we do here, and has even called us to meet again!

2. Friday, we went contacting at a zoo (these are a gold mine for finding families) and we met this guy who was there with his son. We didn't even have to try to tell him who we were, and he was the one that asked US for our phone numbers so that he could learn more! Once again, this NEVER happens!

3. Saturday, we went and visited with Bac Bon (refresher: she's my favorite old lady that sells tea on the side of the road). We finally convinced her to come to church last week because of the brownies, but as soon as we started talking to her on Saturday she said that she was going to go to church again the following day! And to top it off, she said that she wouldn't be selling any more on Sundays! I have to say it again.. this NEVER happens! 

This past Sunday was the first Sunday of the month, something that we call "Fast Sunday". We had our first mission-wide fast to help us fulfill our goals, and I know that we really receive the help of Heavenly Father because of this special fast. Chi Man Nghi and I tried to explain what fasting was to a nonmember, and it does seem a bit crazy. We basically told him that we are fasting to help someone else. How does that even make sense? Going without food and water for 24 hours to help another person - that doesn't quite line up. But, I know that when we fast for a special purpose, and make a sacrifice, Heavenly Father will bless us with the strength and wisdom that we need for whatever situation we may be in. Fasting truly does bring more blessings into our lives, as well as knowledge and guidance. So, no, maybe me going without food and water for 24 hours doesn't help another person directly. But I know that when I fast for a special purpose, Heavenly Father will help that other person for me, or find a way to do something for them. I've attached a link to a page on the Lds.org website where you can read more about fasting and why we do it:

All in all, this week was amazing. I really do love the work that I get to do out here with all of the awesome missionaries that are in Hanoi. Thanks again for all the emails and pictures people send me, I love hearing about everyone's adventures!

The road to Bac Bon's heart   

I've been told multiple times, "The experiences you've had in the past are what have prepared you for the things you will face in the future." Today, I am going to testify that this statement is true. All throughout middle school and high school, I loved to bake. Partly because I would get bored and need something to do, and partly because I love junk food (mostly because I love junk food). Turns out that all the time I spent in the kitchen baking brownies and cookies paid off, because that was how my companion and I got Bac Bon to come to church on Sunday. We visited Bac Bon on Saturday night, and our conversation went like this (in Vietnamese, of course):

Us: Everyone is going to eat food after church tomorrow. Are you going to come?
Bac Bon: Mmm.
Us: Have you eaten brownies before?
Bac Bon: No.
Us: Do you like chocolate?
Bac Bon: Yes.
Us: If you come we will give you two brownies.
Bac Bon: Okay.

AND NEXT THING YOU KNOW there's Bac Bon, sitting in sacrament meeting. I don't know if I'll have to whip up brownies every Sunday to get her to come, but I'm willing to do what it takes. In all seriousness, I do know that every trial we've had to face is what has prepared us for the things we will have to do in the future. All of the trials I have had while on this mission have been more bearable because of my past experiences and the lessons that I've learned. I know that in the moment, our trials seem to consume our whole lives and we feel like things are never going to get better - but I know for a fact that they will. Our Heavenly Father doesn't want us to feel sad. Our purpose in this life is to have joy! So when we face our trials with the knowledge that they will help us in the future, things will seem just a bit easier.

Here is a link to a talk given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks at BYU (go cougs):

There are so many different things about this Vietnam Hanoi Mission than any other mission, and one of them was revealed to me on Saturday. There is a less active member that lives out in Hai Ba Trung, about 1.5 hours away from where we live. We try to go visit her as often as possible, always on Saturdays. Last Saturday, we set aside some time to make the bike ride out there, and we even contacted her the night before to make sure that she would be home. But after an hour and a half of biking, we had a no-show! I've always heard so many stories of missionaries going out for appointments only to have their people not answer the door, so this problem is totally normal all around the world. What's not normal is when our people don't answer the door, we have to bike home an hour and a half in hot Vietnam weather. It's wonderful. I love it.

If there was one quote to describe this week, it would be this: "Nam lkajspofij lkajsfpoi ;alskdjfpowiej!" coming from Em Ha (my banana-eating contest partner, age 6). On Sunday, her and her cousin Nam got into a bit of an argument and she started bawling like crazy. Turns out it's really hard to comfort a crying 6 year old when you're not fluent in their language, so when I asked her what was wrong that was literally what it sounded like. 

I hope everyone has an fun Halloween! My companion and I do not have costumes, but we are going to treat ourselves to a really expensive restaurant that has American burgers. Happy Halloween.

Monday, October 24, 2016


This week's subject line comes from something my drivers ed teacher said to me (not kidding). It also is a pretty accurate description of my entire life. On Friday and Saturday, Chi Thu Hong and Chi Thuy Anh flew up to Hanoi to go on companion exchange. All day on Friday, I was paired up with Chi Thu Hong (HOLLA). We had a last minute appointment all the way out in Ha Dong, which is about an hour's bike ride away from Cau Giay (the area where I live). Unfortunately, seeing as I am the way that I am (and get lost on the roads in little Nampa, Idaho), and Chi Thu Hong has only lived in Saigon, we got lost trying to get there. Long story short, it took us over 2 hours to meet with this new girl. It was a fun experience. For Christmas, I am going to by myself a GPS and stick it on my bike so that it never happens again!

Saturday night was another special night for us.. Chi Trang's baptism!! Chi Trang really is a miracle for Chi Man Nghi and I. We have been meeting with her since I first got here, all the way back in July! She has been through so much in her life, especially as she was investigating the gospel. It's just amazing to see the way that she's changed and become happier as she's started learning! 

This weekend we had our Branch Conference, and had a special guest come up from Saigon to teach Sunday School (Chi Quen). Chi Quen taught everyone about the importance of family home evening. Back when I lived at home, I admit, family home evening felt like a drag. The only thing that I looked forward to was the snack at the end (just being honest). But now that I don't get to see my family every day, I understand why family home evening is so important! When we have time to spend with our families, our relationships will grow stronger and everyone will be happier. The family unit is so important to Heavenly Father, and I know that we have the families that we do for a reason. I don't believe in coincidences, and so I know that my parents & siblings were placed in my family so that I could learn from them and become a better person. In the church, we have this special thing called "The Family: A Proclamation to the World". This article talks about the importance of families, and more about why families are a central unit in the plan of happiness. As always, here's the link for everyone to go and read it:

Just a little update on my ethnicity tally:
Filipino: 3, Korean 2, Laos: 1, Russian:4 (When we went to the grocery store on Tuesday, I said hello to a vietnamese women and she replied to me in some weird language that I'm assuming was Russian. Definitely one of the weirdest experiences I've had so far.)

If there was one quote to describe this week, it would be this: "Anh phải đến đế hiểu nhiều hơn!" (Meaning: you have to come to understand more!) When Chi Thu Hong and I were trying to get to Ha Dong, this random guy stopped us to try to get our numbers, and didn't understand why we shared a phone and didn't have a personal number. He ended up coming to church on Sunday, and I had our elders swoop him up real quick.

Also, I had to give a prayer in English yesterday and it was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.

Monday, October 10, 2016

GENERAL CONFERENCE & the Powerpuff Girls

This weekend I FINALLY had the chance to watch all of General Conference.. And how does the Powerpuff Girls relate to that? Well, this little 6 year old girl, Em Ha, decided to sit next to me during the Saturday Morning Session. For the whole 2 hours, she kept stealing my notebook and pens and drew about 50 pictures of the Powerpuff Girls. So, right in the middle of Elder Lynn G. Robbins' talk, I have a beautiful sketch of Bubbles (who just so happens to be my favorite Powerpuff Girl, so it's fine).

I wanted to share something from General Conference with everyone. During Elder Nelson's talk, he said, "we are meant to have joy." That's such a simple sentence, but it is so true! We really are meant to have joy in this life. Some of you may be wondering, "What? I've had plenty of experiences that are far from joy." I agree - I've been there, too. Most of these experiences for me have been when I realized that Walmart doesn't have any more Chunky Monkey Ben & Jerry's so I have to settle with Chocolate Fudge Brownie. No joy there. But in all reality, our Heavenly Father wants us to be happy. Yes, we will have some experiences where we will feel sad, disappointed, or angry. But it's so important for us to learn from these experiences so that we can have joy in our lives once again. I read a different conference talk this morning from President Uchtdorf about one way we can always have joy - by being grateful.

So this week was BUSY BUSY BUSY. On Tuesday, Chi Thu Hong and all the other missionaries from Ho Chi Minh came to Hanoi! We spent the whole day in meetings to prep for the new missionaries coming from the MTC. On Wednesday, our fresh batch of 18 year old children arrived! Another full day of training and orientation for them (such a good time too - right after 30 hours of traveling). Our Hanoi Zone has now gained 4 new elders: Anh Ca Khai, Viec, Luc, and Hung. They are going to be so great!

Thursday is when things get exciting. Chi Thu Hong and I had some time to go out on the town BY OURSELVES. Literally the day after our 12 weeks of training ends, we get sent out to go contacting together. You know that feeling when your mom sends you to go grocery shopping by yourself for the first time? You've gone with her before and know what you need to do, but when you don't have her right by your side you freak out and end up buying 2 red milks instead of 1 green and 1 red? This was basically the same. I didn't have my "mom" for the first time (Chi Man Nghi was at the office) so me and my MTC companion, Chi Thu Hong, were just biking around pretending like we knew what we were doing! But it all turned out well in the end and we had a great time together.

One miracle that came from this that I wanted to share with everyone - While Chi Thu Hong and I were walking around at Ho Thanh Cong, we smiled and said hi to this random girl that walked past us. Nothing unusual. We then got stopped by 3 older women who wanted to know who we were and why we looked so different. It was while we were talking to these women that the girl (who's name is Chi Hue) turned around and came back to talk to us! She asked us a lot about what we do here and what the gospel of Jesus Christ is. THIS NEVER HAPPENS. I have never had anyone come back and ask specifically about the gospel. Chi Hue wasn't even interested about coming to a free English class, she just wanted to learn more about our church! We've set up a time to meet with her this week, and I am so excited! MIRACLE.

If there was one quote to describe this week, it would be this: "Em ghet Viet Nam smells nhu the nao" (translated: "I hate the way Vietnam smells". I always forget what the word for "smells" is) This past week, so many people were burning fires outside so every night I came home smelling like a bonfire. LOVE IT.

Also, shoutout to my old teachers, Thay Long and Thay Hai, who translated for General Conference. I totally recognized your voices - especially when Thay Long said "Washington, Seattle" in a British accent.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Khong mau xanh nua

Why yes, the subject for this email would be my awful translation of "No longer green", meaning that I'm NO LONGER A GREENIE. As of this upcoming Wednesday, I will have officially finished me 12 week training period! Chi Man Nghi and I will be staying in Hanoi for another 12 weeks though, because there aren't very many sisters to shift around!

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to watch the General Conference session for all the women in the church. It was SO GOOD. One of my favorite things that was said was this, from Sister Jean B. Bingham, "We can't direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails." One of the biggest things that I've learned since being here in Vietnam is that attitude is everything. We are going to have trials no matter what we do - that's just a part of life. We'll have days where we don't feel like doing anything, days where we feel like nothing will ever get better. But, I know that when we face those days with a good, hopeful attitude, things always get better. If you didn't have a chance to watch the General Women's session (or general conference for that matter), here is a link:

Another important lesson that I've learned since being here: how to toughen up. There have been so many days where people will say things about the way that I look, since I look COMPLETELY different from anyone here, and I just have to smile and laugh it off! This past week while in an elevator, this little old grandpa stepped in, pointed at me and said, "Why is she so tall? That's not normal." :))))))) THANKS. (I also ran into him later in the week and he said the same thing, so we've developed a really great friendship). I've also started what I call an "ethnicity tally", a little chart to keep track of all the guesses people make about where I come from! As of right now, the most common is Filipino or (for some weird reason) Russian. Coming in a tight second is Korean.

Chi Man Nghi and I had the opportunity to visit one of our favorite people, Bac Bon. I've had some interesting experiences with Bac Bon already, and every time we visit her something exciting happens. This time, we were trying to share a scripture with her and invite her to come back to church. Right as I was reading in Mosiah 2, verse 41 (about "happy are those that keep the commandments of God") a customer stepped up to her little stand and asked to buy some cigarettes. So we had to take a bit of a pause so Bac Bon could do her job, selling cigarettes. But all is well in Zion, I was able to finish up sharing the scripture.

If I had one quote to describe this week, it would be this: "GIOI QUA" (gioi = talented, qua = !!!!!!!!!!!!). This is in total sarcasm. Last Tuesday, Chi Man Nghi and I spent 20 straight minutes trying to figure out how to spell "gioi" so we could text it to one of our investigators. I thought I knew it all, and was trying to convince her that to spell it a certain way. She finally gave in and sent the text, only for us to be told by our investigator that our spelling was completely wrong. So, unfortunately, I am not "gioi qua". 

The next time you all hear from me, our mission will have DOUBLED IN SIZE. We are getting 8 NEW MISSIONARIES on Wednesday, for a whopping total of 20 MISSIONARIES!!!! This means we are big enough for ZONES!! (I can just see all my missionary friends laughing about this excitement). Big changes are coming for our baby Vietnam Mission!

Thanks for all the emails and updates! I hope everyone enjoyed General Conference. If you missed it, it's not too late to watch!

Monday, September 26, 2016


Let's go in order.

Surgery - Wednesday night after our English Class, Chi Man Nghi and I went to the home of Elder and Sister Noorda (one of the senior couples here) for some ingrown toenail surgery! So glamorous, I know. Chi Man Nghi has had this problem for a long time now, and we are just barely getting around to fixing it! We we got to their apartment, Elder and Sister Noorda were all decked out in scrubs with the kitchen dining table covered with  tableclothes, syringes, and blades of some sort. Best part of the whole procedure was that when it was over, Sister Noorda brought out rice krispie treats for us. So here we are, sitting around the same table that Chi Man Nghi just had surgery on, eating dessert. Totally normal.

Spaghetti - Chi Man Nghi and I live as if we are freshmen at BYU again. Except for I had the Cannon Center and could eat whatever I wanted, and she ate Nutella sandwiches for every meal. So I'd say our meals here are worse than when we were freshmen at BYU.. Anyways, our most exciting meal this week was our creatively-made spaghetti: eggplant, sauce, and then those dry noodles that come in Ramen noodle packets (we cooked them, don't worry). So, if you ever want to make spaghetti but don't have proper noodles for it, have no fear. Boil up some ramen noodles and you're good to go. My mom would also be proud - I made some "breadsticks" by cutting up 2 slices of bread and sticking it in the toaster oven. You learn so much on your mission :')

Sustaining the prophet - On Sunday, Chi Man Nghi and I had the opportunity to teach Relief Society about sustaining our prophet and other church leaders! This was in preparation for General Conference, which will take place in Salt Lake City this weekend! Our prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, receives revelation from God to help guide and direct us - ultimately so that we can better our lives. There have been so many times that I have received things that I needed to hear through his talks given at General Conference, and I know that he truly is called of God. Everyone should tune in to General Conference on Saturday, October 1st, and Sunday, October 2nd! You can contact me or my parents for specific information (You're welcome for volunteering you, Parents). I'll also attach a link to lds.org where you can find out more :) General Conference isn't a blast of religious information that has no application to you if you aren't a member of the church. It really is a great time for you to receive advice and counsel on how you can strengthen your family's relationship, how you can feel better/more confident about yourself, how you can be more self-reliant. It's also a great time to bake lots of yummy food and pig-out in the living room while wearing your pajamas.

Viewing times/General Conference in general (hahaha, used general twice in one sentence, I'm sorry)-

Link to a talk from last General Conference, April 2016, just so you can see General Conference can apply to those outside the church, too :) -

The quote for this week would be.. "The xac cua em met qua!" This is literally translated into, "my body is tired." According to Chi Man Nghi, this isn't the proper way to say that. Because of all my little blunders such as this one, she has begun to compile a list called "KT PHRASES". You can tell that my Vietnamese is coming along great :')
Bowling in Vietnam!
Enjoying P (preparation) day and yes, wearing pants (as opposed to dresses and skirts)!

HELLO HO CHI MINH CITY!!  (9/18/2016)

This Thursday, Chi Man Nghi and I got to fly down to Ho Chi Minh for some exchanges! Unfortunately we were only able to spend about 7 hours in the city with the sisters down there, but it was still fun! I've noticed that Ho Chi Minh is a lot quiter, the food is really good, and the air is a bit cleaner.. Still love Hanoi, but I definitely will not have very many complaints if I get transferred down to Ho Chi Minh!

This week I want to share a scripture, D&C 122:5-9
(I would copy and paste the scripture on here but I really don't like the way it formatted in this email.. So you will just have to go look it up on www.lds.org!) This scripture talks about trials that we have in life, and that ultimately every trial that we are given is for our benefit. We have trials in life to improve and become the person that we are meant to be. We don't have trials because Heavenly Father thinks it's funny to watch us suffer. Trials truly do help us reach our full potential. Serving here in Vietnam has been rough - there are so many things to plan and think about, a lot of stuff that I didn't even know missionaries had to do! But I know that with every trial I have, I'm improving (maybe just a smidge, but improving) and hopefully by the end of my 18 months I'll be someone that people actually enjoy being around! 

Not much happened this week, except for that our investigator Chi Trang officially accepted 10/22 as her baptism date!!!! SO EXCITING. 

This Saturday, we were invited over to a member's house for lunch: Chi Tan. She is the relief society president here in Hanoi. She lives about an hour away, so we new it would be a LONG bike ride. Unfortunately, we forgot our cellphone at home.. So when we got lost we had to ask about 15 people for directions!! But we couldn't give up and go home because Chi Tan makes really good ice cream and we knew she would give us some when we got to her house. So we endured this bike ride pretty well. FUNNIEST PART of this whole experience though, was that her kitchen (where we ate lunch) is only about 5 feet 10 inches tall. I'm 5 foot 8/5 foot 9 (depending on who's measuring). So that's right, I had about 1 inch of space when I stood up. It was the funniest thing ever. I will be attaching a picture of it later on so that everyone can laugh about how ridiculous my life is here in Vietnam.

On Saturday night, we had a party for Le Trung Thu, the mid-autumn festival!! We had a lot of new people show up for it, so it was a great night for us! My least favorite part, however, was when my lovely, kind companion Chi Man Nghi volunteered me for the banana eating contest. I absolutely love the bananas here (they're so cute and little) but I don't love them when I have 2 minutes to eat as many as I can! Thank goodness I had a little helper, Em Ha (5 or 6 years old). She managed to eat 1 banana and I ate 4 more for a WHOPPING TOTAL OF FIVE MINI BANANAS. We place third... Out of 3 teams. Don't worry, I know that this is just one trial that's been given to me in my life, and (like I said before about trials) through it I will be able to improve to become the person I was meant to be. A person that can eat 10 mini bananas in 2 minutes.

The one quote to describe this week would be this: "Hai Chi Ca an thoai mai, nhe!" Which translates to "Oh, eat comfortably!" Meaning that we can eat as much or as little as we want. Unfortunately, people here say that and then expect you to change your definition of "comfortable" so that you eat everything they put on your plate. For example, Co Hang said that to us this week and then forced us to eat a huge platter of ban cuon, nep com, and papaya. Yum.

The only 4 sister missionaries in the whole entire mission!

This time I'm going to start off with the quote of the week, because it pretty much summarizes what my whole email will be about: "SURPRISE!"

Surprise #1: I can't handle spicy food. Last Tuesday for lunch, Chi Man Nghi and I went to a Mi Cay restaurant - this Korean noodle restaurant that has 7 levels of spicy noodles. My whole family knows that I don't like spicy foods. I'm such a baby when it comes to that kind of stuff. And turns out, just because you live in Southeast Asia for 2 months doesn't mean that you can handle spicier foods. So, out of the 7 levels, I took the bold move of ordering level 1. Chi Man Nghi ordered level 3. Let me just tell you, this might have been the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. I felt like such a wimp for not being able to conquer level 1, but it's okay. It's fine, I'm fine, everything's fine. 2 girls behind us ordered level 4's and they went through 3 huge jugs of water and a box of Kleenex to wipe up their tears. 

Surprise #2: Right after Chi Man Nghi and I had finished up our daily planning session on Friday night (around 9pm) we got a call from Chi Hien, the wife of the branch president here. Turns out that her daughter, 8 year old Bong, is going to get baptized THIS UPCOMING SUNDAY RIGHT AFTER CHURCH. And she needed us to put the program together. So with that came the fastest baptism planning that I have ever been part of - calling people to give talks, arranging a special musical number, FINDING CLOTHES SMALL ENOUGH TO FIT AN 8 YEAR OLD VIETNAMESE CHILD. But no worries, the baptism was fantastic.

Surprise #3: Our investigators!!!!! We had three of our investigators attend church & the baptism this week: Chi Trang, Trung Anh, and Em Linh. All three of them are wanting to get baptized, but we only have a set date for Em Linh. In our last lesson with Chi Trang, we extended the date of October 22nd for her baptism, to which she replied that it was too soon. But, yesterday after the baptism, Chi Man Nghi was joking around with them and said, "Oh so you guys are next, right?" To which Chi Trang replied, "Yeah, on October 22nd." MIRACLE. In just 4 days she had completely changed her mind about that day! Mine & Chi Man Nghi's faces were definitely in shock.

Surprise #4: Banh Trung Thu. September is the month of the Moon Festival, so there are tons of outdoor stands selling Banh Trung Thu - these yummy, cute, little cakes. Chi Man Nghi and I are really scared to try the adventurous flavors (specifically the meat ones) so we stick to Dau Xanh - Mong Bean. It's the best kind. Anyways, after Bong's baptism yesterday, all of the members brought out food for everyone to eat (no surprise there). Someone had brought a big platter of Banh Trung Thu, so I decided to try one! There was this deep green colored one, which of course I thought "Oh, that has to be green tea. Can't eat that one." But then a member told us that the green one was some kind of fruit flavor... Of course I wanted to try it, but RIGHT before I put it in my mouth one of our elders said, "Chi Kim Thu, that's green tea!!!!" I almost caused the biggest scandal in all of missionary history. Xin loi.

Surprise #5: CHI MAN NGHI AND I ARE GOING TO HO CHI MINH ON THURSDAY. We were informed this last Wednesday and had our tickets booked that same day. We will be doing a 24 hour exchange with Chi Tam and Chi Thu Hong so that we can learn the area (just incase one of us gets transferred down there). Super excited to see them (especially Chi Thu Hong!!!) but also super nervous. We will see what happens.

Seeing as I spent the majority of this email talking about a baptismal service that we had, I want to spend some time to talk about why baptism is such a big deal for us. You always hear missionaries talking about baptisms, baptisms, and more baptisms. But why? I believe that baptism is the first step to live with our Heavenly Father again after this life. No one is perfect, and because of that we all make mistakes. I make millions of mistakes every single day, so thank goodness for repentance. But, when we are baptized, all of our sins and mistakes are completely wiped away. It's a brand new, fresh start. We make a covenant with Heavenly Father that we're willing to live the way that He wants us to live - to serve others, to be patient (or try to at least), to love one another. I'm attaching a link to a General Conference talk about baptism by Elder Robert D. Hales that will give more insight on baptism:

Alright well, not much else has changed out here in Vietnam! Weather is still hot, it still rains off and on, the food is still delicious, and the people are still the nicest people I have ever met. The most patient, too, because I struggle a lot with the language and they still try to understand me.

Vietnam Week 4

Happy Birthday Danny! Wanna know how they sing happy birthday in Vietnamese?

“Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday Happy Birthday
Happy Birthday to you"

it’s really creative. Well, another week come and gone! This week felt really really fast, but maybe because last PDay was on Tuesday so it wasn’t like a full week. So last Tuesday I had the coolest dinner that I have to tell you guys about. After our museum trips and emailing, we had to go prep for English Class (the kids class is on Tuesdays now). Afterwards we had an appointment to meet with a less active member who just came back from China, so we were at the church until pretty late and we hadn’t eaten dinner yet! So we biked to this grocery store called Circle K to pick up something called Rice Burgers that Anh Ca Thoai’s family makes. It’s this cute little circle cut out of rice with some teriyaki beef in the middle - ITS SO CUTE. It tasted really good too. I took a picture so you’ll get to see it. We also got ice cream shaped like fish and then drank milk out of a bag. It was a cool dinner.Now for my bike story. This is rad. And hilarious. On Friday afternoon we had an appointment with Co Hang, the member that lives about an hour away from us. This would be my second time going to her house. My bike had been squeaking for a few days before, but I didn’t want to worry about it. It was still functioning properly. So I didn’t think much of it when it started squeaking again when we left for Co Hang’s house. But then, about fifteen minutes into our ride, I started to feel my left pedal making some weird clicking noise.. I had absolutely no idea what was going on. And then it got REALLY REALLY bad… next thing I knew, the whole leg (not just the black pedal part, but the legit silver leg that connects the pedal to the bike) had fallen off and was laying in the middle of the road!! This was at 3:45 in the afternoon, so there were a ton of people out on the roads. I was screaming for Man Nghi because she didn’t notice that it had fallen off while trying to maneuver my way back to the pedal. I tried to fix it myself, but it wasn’t working at all! So we got the help of some nice random guy to find a bike shop in one of the alleys by us, got it all fixed up, and kept on biking. So my bike felt a LOT better, but it was still clicking a little bit. We got to Co Hang’s just fine, and had a nice dinner and lesson, but then on the way back the bike sounded REALLY BAD. I knew the pedal was going to fall off again, and everytime I looked down at it, it was farther and farther away from the part it connected to. So me and Man Nghi had to get creative. We couldn’t just leave the bike on the side of the road because we don’t have any extras here, so we had to take turns pulling each other (it looked like Napoleon Dynamite when Kip is on the roller blades, just without the rope part). I sat on my bike without pedaling and held on to her with one hand, the other hand steering my bike. She would pedal for the both of us. Only thing is, the bike she was using that day didn’t have brakes! Mine did, and they still worked, so I had to brake for us everytime we came to a red light or hit traffic. It took us legit 2 hours to get home. It was HILARIOUS. But all is well, the elders took my bike and got it fixed up real nice Saturday morning.Speaking of Saturday. Here’s another hilarious story. Our day was basically all planned, but we had one appointment get dropped so we didn’t have anything for the evening. But then, this old less active grandma called us - her name is Bac Bon - and asked us to come out and help her around five. She didn’t say what she needed help with. So we show up at five, walk into her house, and she tells us that she wants to feed us dinner and then we can help her bring out stuff for her store! She cooked us rice and bi xanh (this light green vegetable thing). She also brought out cold fish eggs and some weird soggy nut looking thing, but I lucked out and didn’t have to eat any of that. While we were eating, she made me teach her English and her pronounciation was SO FUNNY. She would write down the phrase she wanted to learn, her first one being “An Com” as in “Eat rice”. I then would have to write down what it meant in English, and then she would write down what it sounded like to her. So “An” became “Eat” which became “I a tho - It”. It was SO FUNNY. We did the words for eat rice, don’t eat, grandpa, grandma, grandaughter, grandson, mom, and dad. After dinner, we cleaned up and loaded up her cart (which is a piece of wood on wheels) with bananas, tea, water, some weird black water thing, and ice. She then had me wheel it from the front with this dingy little rope while Man Nghi pushed from the back, and she would just stand there and yell “Thang, thang! Tu, Tu! Cham, Cham!” (straight straight, gradually, gradually, slow, slow). It was the funniest sight to see, you guys would have been dying. We wheel her stuff out to the opening of the main road and help her set up “shop”: a plastic table, ten plastic stools, and then all of her goods spread out for people to see. I didn’t think much of it until she, out of NOWHERE, pulled out a container with boxes of CIGARETTES. So here me and Man Nghi are, sitting with Bac Bon, selling cigarettes on a corner in Vietnam. Bac Bon was dying of the heat, so she brought out this little red dish towel, soaked it with water, and laid it straight down on her head. She looked like ET, it was so funny. We sat there for a while and then another worker came over to talk to Bac Bon. I didn’t understand what they were saying, but all of the sudden the worker hands Bac Bon a full on HOOKAH PIPE AND BAGGIES OF TOBACCO. (Man Nghi said that it’s stronger than tobacco but not quite weed). At one point Bac Bon left us by ourselves, so it was legit just me and Man Nghi with a table full of bananas, water, tea, cigarettes, and hookah. We had no idea what to do!! We told her that we would help her, and we couldn’t just leave her there by herself! Luckily she only had one customer in the hour that we were there and he just bought a pack of cigarettes (so i can now say that i’ve sold a pack). I think that if he had wanted hookah I would have died. Yesterday was my first fast sunday here in Vietnam, and going without water was SO HARD. It’s just so hot. Luckily we get to drink water if we have to bike somewhere, so we had water on our 1 hour and 15 minute bike ride to a dinner appointment. We ate dinner with this American from Milwaukee, named Anita. She’s been living all over the place - Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam, etc. She also invited an american older couple, the Stephens, who are here for work (Sister Stephens works at an international college). The dinner was SO GOOD (it even would have been good in America) especially since we fasted all day. She made us SALAD (like the kind with lettuce, not just chopped up cucumber) and chicken, french bread, read butter and cheese (we only have the money to buy slices of kraft cheese) and then for dessert some sort of Mango Honey Lasi and brownies. It was theeee best. Sunday after church was my first branch council! I’m pretty sure dad would have gone insane. It started 30 minutes late and took 2 hours, so we were at church for like 5 hours yesterday hahaha. For the first hour, all we talked about was this 13 year old boy who has autism and is romantically obsessed with this 10 y ear old american girl who lived here for like a year but now is back in the US. This boy likes to message some members here and doesn’t stop talking about this 10 year old girl, and everyone was trying to figure out a way to get him to move on. HE’S THIRTEEN IT WAS DRIVING ME CRAZY. We then discussed the possibility of having a “food donation box” for the missionaries. Where the members could literally dump whatever food they had/wanted to give us. I was dying. So funny. We only discussed one thing that was actually important - helping a member find a job. So this branch has got a lot of work to do.Update on some of my investigators: Em Hien will be getting baptized on the 20th now. She came to church yesterday for the full three hours, and so she’ll have her interview this saturday and then one more sunday of full three hours and then her baptism! We’ve been talking to Trung Anh about an actual baptism date as well. She’s a little frustrating because she doesn’t think she’s ready for it - she wants to learn more. But we know that she’s ready because she applies the gospel so well into her life, she always keeps our commitments, and she goes to literally every single church activity there is. Yesterday she even brought her little brother to church. So we have to keep working on her..For my personal study hour, I rotate between the Book of Mormon and the Teachings by the Prophets: Joseph Smith book. The other day I was in the Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 10, and read a footnote in D&C section 76, verses 50-62. These verses talked about 3 blessings that are promised to us: being blessed with everything we’ll ever need, overcoming all things, and living with God and Christ. As I was thinking about these promised blessings, I realized that I think we already have the first two. We really are blessed with everything we need right now, at least everything that God knows we need right now. Everything that we receive is according to God’s schedule. He knows the best time for us to receive certain things. And as for overcoming all things, as I kept reading about this topic, we aren’t promised necessarily to just overcome all things. We’re promised with the strength to do so. When I initially read about overcoming all things, I started thinking “Oh great, Heavenly Father is going to take all of my trials from me”. But that’s not what overcoming is. Overcoming requires work, especially work on our part. It’s too easy for Heavenly Father to just snap His fingers and make our lives a breeze - He can do that in a matter of seconds. But the blessing that He’s given us is for us to work to overcome them, so that we can gain experience and develop Christlike attributes. It was just very cool for me to think about how these two blessings, which are basically everything we could ever want in this life, have already been given to us. We just have to 1) realize that we have everything we need at the moment and 2) realize that if we want to overcome all things, we have to work.

Touring Museums Today

Vietnam Week 3

Guess what we got to do last Monday for pday? Get facials. It was HILARIOUS. They don’t have any special tools or anything, they just use their hands and these cool lotions and stuff. The lady’s hands felt like a MACHINE it was the weirdest thing of my life. She was playing with my cheeks and all that, so funny. 
I’m skipping from topic to topic because I’m pretty bad at recapping my week. 
SO, last Thursday or something like that there was a TROPICAL STORM. It was crazy. We got tons of texts from members and investigators about the storm all throughout the week, and then it finally hit Thursday morning! No one wanted to meet with us because of it. We had to go outside 3 times, once to get money, once to go grocery shopping, and once to go get a new SIM card for our phone (for every phone here, including smart phones, you have to buy SIM cards that have a certain amount of calling and texting minutes and once your minutes run out you have to go buy another one!). All day we just stayed inside and studied, too crazy and too windy and too wet to go out! The elders, Toan and Nguyen, came over and tried to set up a fire alarm in our apartment. No success because there are random bricks everywhere that make it impossible to put anything in the wall. BUT while they were there, elder nguyen cooked lunch for us. It was hilarious how it happened. YOu aren’t allowed to be in the same apartment with the elders unless there is an odd amount of people, so man nghi and i had to sit outside OUR OWN apartment and yell cooking instructions to elder nguyen through the doorway. He cooked us some pasta and it actually tasted pretty good.
Speaking of food, I got to eat like 4 things this week that tasted american.
1. Toan and Nguyen cooked us spaghetti last night. SUPER GOOD.
2. WE FOUND HONEY BUNCHES OF OATS AT THE GROCERY STORE. Costed like seven bucks (US money) but it was so worth it
3. We had dinner at a potential investigator’s house. She made us this really yummy pasta with peppers and bacon.
4. There was a linger longer after church this last Sunday! Two older senior couples made CHEESECAKE and COOKIES. It was like heaven mixed in with some sticky rice and pumpkin che.
Just yesterday, man nghi and I biked an hour to go to her dentist appointment. The dentist offices here are TOTALLY PIMPED OUT and have all these cool high tech gadgets and stuff. Funniest part was that the workers made us wear these special crocs so that we wouldn’t get the floor dirty. They were black and bright green, and about 2 sizes too big. SO FUNNY LOOKING. Will attach a picture of them.
TODAY’S ADVENTURES. We took a taxi to the museum where the body of President Ho Chi Minh lies! I don’t know if it’s the actual body or just a replica, but it’s creepy looking. It was SO HOT OUTSIDE TODAY. I felt like I was back taking a tour of Versailles. We then went and ate lunch - PHO. It was delicious, but I think mom and ba ngoai make it better. Here they cook these little “bread sticks” which you can dip into your pho. Those were pretty good, too. We then went and got some ice cream (kem) and these cute little shop, bought some souvenirs and stuff at this market, and then went to a different museum. This second museum was like the history of Vietnam, so we got to see the Gold Plates that the royalty wrote on and then all the cool statues and stuff! I am EXHAUSTED because today is just so stinking hot (it’s officially august). Tonight we have English class for the little kids and then that will be our day. SO MUCH TO DO HERE IT’S INSANE.
Life here is so hard, and I think I’m feeling homesick a little bit. BUt I’m trying not to think about myself as much, LOL. A lot harder to do than I thought it was going to be! With one of the less actives we visit, we extended her the commitment of the 40 day fast - choosing one thing to do every day for 40 days. We decided to do it too, and so I decided to write down tender mercies every night. I think this will really help me feel less homesick, because I really am SO LUCKY to be able to be serving a mission right now, especially here in Vietnam. I think it’s really easy for all of us to forget about our tender mercies/blessings when we are going through a hard time or feel sad. But I think that when we have trials, those are the best times to count our blessings. Because it really is the little things that make all the difference.
Bahn Mi

Hailey’s friend Em An, same age - Hailey is sitting in a chair while her friend is standing (for height comparison)

Eating snails

The street when it's not too busy

Street food

Hailey's handmade scripture case

Vietnam Week 2

Good morning/good night, family! Week two is offically complete. Well not officially, not until Wednesday, but it’s pretty close. This week has been great! It went by pretty fast, and I’m pretty much used to the heat by now. So that’s good, I’m no longer dying because of it. Don’t really know where to start, so this email will be a little bit all over the place!
On Monday we did our pday activities, which is email, grocery shopping, NAP (we get to take one on p days) and then family home evening. At FHE, the members threw a cute surprise birthday party for Chi Man Nghi (my companion). The cakes here are so funny. They aren’t too bad tasting, not as good as america’s, but the way they decorate them is HILARIOUS. They always do white frosting with the person’s face outlined in a different color. It’s so funny, i’ve witnessed three so far. At FHE, Chi Ha (my companion)’s brother opened his mission call! He will be serving in Anaheim California, Viet speaking. We also played this hilarious game, but I will talk more about it in the big email. 
Tuesday, we had a district meeting, a few lessons (if I remember correctly) and of course planning. WE plan SO MUCH here because everything is so new. We plan for english class, branch correlation, weekly planning, daily planning, relief society planning, happy families class, self reliance class, basically everything you can think of.  As of right now, we have about… 4 or 5 investigators/less actives we teach. Em Hoa, Em Hien, Chi Trang, Trung Anh - those are our investigators. Em Hoa and Em Hien are both 19, but they’re both like 3 foot 5 and weight 70-75 pounds.. So my age but literally half the size of me. Chi Trang is older, we just started teaching her. Trung Anh is 21 and is TINY but I love her to death, she’s so cute. Em Hien and Trung Anh are committed to baptism.. Oh so is Em Hoa. But Hoa and Trung Anh don’t have official dates yet. Em Hien’s date is Aug. 20th. There’s also another investigator that I haven’t met yet, Chi Ngat. Her baptism date is sometime in August as well, but she’s not progressing right now so I don’t really know what we are going to do about that. Every week we try to make contact with the recent converts, Em An and Chi Hien. This week we also met with a girl named Khanh Linh - she’s good friends with Nhi Tran, one of the people I talked to at BYU when I got my call. Our only less active that we visit is Chi Trang. She’s super pretty, I think she’s 23. She’s been a member for a year or so now, but she hasn’t been to church in a long time. When we visited her last week we made this fabric scripture covers! I will send a picture of it later.
Wednesday is English Class day! Chi Man Nghi and I teach the little kids. They are super smart and know more English than I know Vietnamese, but none of them like to participate or talk in class. Every lesson we have a spiritual thought after words from For the Strength of Youth. I gave it last week with Chi Ha to the older class. We had probably 15 people stay to listen. None of the little kids stay, but I think it’s because class ends at 8 and 8 is a really late time for people to be out because it gets dangerous outside. We even have to be in by 8 every night or else the elders have to come escort us home.
Thursday. Don’t remember what happened on Thursday.
Or Friday. The days blend together so it’s hard to remember.
BUT on Sunday, yesterday, I GOT TO BAKE BROWNIES. I haven’t baked anything in 2 weeks and 2 months. It was President Hassell’s birthday yesterday, so we gave him a picture of our district and a pan of brownies that Chi Man Nghi and I baked. They were pretty good, the sugar here is a LOT BIGGER than in america. Like chunks. Anyways, when we delivered the brownies, Pres. Hassell invited us in for some CAKE THAT HE HAD MADE. IT TASTED LIKE AMERICA. It was so good. Apparently he is a really good baker, so he made a chocolate cake with really yummy chocolate frosting. Nghi and I are going to try to make frosting one of these days, if we ever have time to. LOL. Anyways, so yeah, last night for dinner I had a brownie and a piece of chocolate cake. Probably the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I don’t even feel bad about it though because once we go outside we bike and sweat it all off. 
Oh, Sunday Nghi and I also had to teach relief society - revelation and prophets. I have a hard time understanding when people answer my questions, so I just ask questions, nod my head, and then look at Nghi and she comments about it in a way that I can understand. Anyways, afterwards Co Hang (i’ll talk more about her in the big email) told me that my vietnamese is getting better! So that’s good. I feel like I’m not really improving much.. Like I’,m just saying the words that I already know. I am learning new vocabulary though, so I guess that’s a start.
So lately for personal study, I started the Book of Mormon over so that I could read it verse by verse and actually understand what’s going on. It takes a LONG time. For example, I’ve been working on 1 nephi 8 for like 3 days now and I just finished this morning. It’s really fun though because you notice things that you wouldn’t have noticed before. For example, 1 N 8:28 has a footnote linking it to 2 Peter 2:20, which talks about pollution. As in like, the world pollutes us. I thought that was SO COOL because I had never thought about using that word before to describe worldly things, but I love how perfectly it fits. Anyways, I challenge you guys to try it out, study the Book of Mormon verse by verse and see what you find!
Heaven is Pho Real.
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