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.

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 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.
Heaven is Pho Real.
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