Vietnam Week 4

Monday, September 26, 2016

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.

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