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.
Heaven is Pho Real.
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