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.

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