Monday, September 26, 2016

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.

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