Monday, January 30, 2017

Tết Tết Tết Tết đến rồi

HAPPY NEW YEAR/CHÚC MỪNG NĂM MỚI for everyone that follows the lunar calendar!!!
An Khang Thịnh Vượng, sống lâu trong năm mãi mãi không già. 

All day Saturday and Sunday there was literally NO ONE out on the streets because of the new year. It was the most peaceful I have ever seen Hanoi. You could actually ride your bike and not have anyone honk at you to go faster or get out of the way. It was nice.

We had a WHOPPING TOTAL of 5 students at english class and 10 members at church because everyone else was in their hometown.

With the lack of people in Hanoi this week, we had a pretty rough time contacting. One day, we had already been out contacting for 2 hours and hadn't talked to a single person the whole time.. I was pretty frustrated. We were on our way home and I really didn't want to go home without talking to anyone, so I just said a little prayer and decided to try a little bit harder. Long story short, we were able to have an awesome conversation with a man named Chú Hà. We gave him a Book of Mormon to read and as we left, he chased us down so that we could write a little note for him on the inside cover. This experience just proved to me that Heavenly Father really will work miracles for us, but we have to act on our faith. We can't just ask for something and then sit there and wait for it to happen - we actually have to try.

Speaking of faith, it took a whole lot of faith for me to be able to eat some of the food that was given to us for Tet. One of which being ostrich meat.. I can't say that it was the best thing I've ever eaten, but I got it down. 

On Saturday we had Zone Conference, and President Hassell showed us a video clip called "The Silver Thread". It talked about the history of the church in Vietnam and everything that has happened since the first missionaries here way back when (one of those missionaries was President Hassell himself!) It was SUCH an amazing video and I wish I could send the link, but it's not on the church website. So you'll just have to go look it up yourself.. But it is amazing.
It made me realize how much of a miracle it is that I can be here in Vietnam doing what I'm doing. It was so hard to preach the gospel and have any kind of church activity when it first started. Vietnam has come a loooong way.

Quote for the week: "Chị cả Thư có ăn món này chưa?" (Sister Graviet, have you eaten this yet?) This week we spent a lot of time having meals with members because of the new years.. And I've discovered one amazing thing. Not only do missionaries receive the gift of tongues, but we also receive the gift of eating. There is absolutely no way I could eat all of the food that they give me (and you have to eat all of it or else it's rude) without the grace of God.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Hai chi nhánh mới ỏ Hà Nội!!!!

2 new branches in Ha Noi!!!!

Yesterday, President Hassell announced the opening of TWO NEW BRANCHES IN HANOI!!!!! For 6.5 months of my mission, I've been in the same area - Cau Giay, Hanoi. We've only had 1 branch, and on average we get around 40 native members at sacrament meeting every week. BUT we have been progressing really well with new members and reactivation, and so President Hassell officially opened up the new Ha Dong and Long Bien branches! Those two branches are very small, they only have about 15 active members including the missionaries, but it is SO EXCITING! My little Hanoi is growing up :'))

For part of personal study everyday, I have been reading out of the New Testament (I'm ashamed to admit this but I used to never read the Bible, only the Book of Mormon.. Whoops..). I came across a scripture in John chapter 6, verse 35 that I love. It's when Christ is talking to the people - It says, "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on my shall never thirst." Of course this doesn't mean that when we have faith in Christ, we will never be hungry or thirsty again (literally) because I still get really hungry and thirsty sometimes. For me, it means that when we have faith in Christ, believe in Him, we will always receive the substance that we need to keep us going everyday. He will give us hope, strength, and happiness. 

In other news for this week, the Hanoi branch was busy with Bánh Chưng! It's a traditional Vietnamese cake that they eat for Tet: full of beans, rice, and meat and all wrapped up in giant leaves. Thursday, my companion and I went to the church to help them wash and cut the leaves. Friday, we helped wash the rice and beans and wrap up the cakes! It was probably the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I'm blaming it on the fact that I'm only half Vietnamese, so I'm missing half of the skills a full Vietnamese person would have. 

We found a new PI this week.. Chi Linh. She owns a restaurant right next to the church, and she came to participate in the cake wrapping festivities. I had a chance to talk to her while we were there, and she invited us to go eat at her restaurant the following day. She sells Bún Đậu, which is just noodles and tofu. Chi Man Nghi said that it's not very good, so we didn't commit to actually going.. Unfortunately, the next day we made the foolish mistake of going contacting around the church. We were walking around in the area when she saw us from her restaurant and flagged us down. She cooked us up a HUGE platter of Bún Đậu, so it was a little painful.. but we did have a good conversation with her while we ate. 

Sometimes you have to sacrifice your tastebuds for the work.

If there was one quote to describe this week, it would be this: "Xin lỗi em, chị sẽ đi về quê cho Tết." (sorry I'm going home for Tet!)  spoken by literally every single one of our investigators and recent converts, meaning that we have close to zero appointments for this week. Tết begins this week. Chết rồi.

Thanks for all the emails and pictures! I hope everyone is having a wonderful time back in the States (or wherever you are) and enjoying the cold weather. Hanoi has gotten so cold. I wore a scarf to church yesterday. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017


That's supposed to be "hello" in Khmer but I have no idea how to spell it. You can ask my BYU roommate, Sister Snooks. If you want to ask her how it's actually spelled or just want to talk to her in general because she's really cute, email Her birthday is also coming up in February, so feel free to spam her email with birthday wishes.

One of our investigators, Chi Ngoc, is going through a really hard time right now, and it's something that I personally can't identify with. BUT, I know that no matter what kind of trial we have in our life, there is always someone that understands how we feel: Our older brother, Jesus Christ.
 Chi Man Nghi and I encouraged Chi Ngoc to keep praying, and we promised her that she would receive the strength and hope to overcome this trial. Prayer is something that I know, 100%, works every time. Whenever we feel sad, lonely, or like we can't go on anymore, prayer will help. I know that prayer seems like such an odd thing because we can't physically see Heavenly Father when we talk to Him. But I know that He is always listening, and that He is always trying to talk to us if we just take the time to listen.

I've heard from my family that the weather back in the states is freezing cold, which means that everyone is spending plenty of time inside with the Wifi.. So I know everyone has time to read those two talks :)

Here in Vietnam, we are approaching TET SEASON! This means that literally everyone and their cat are decorating their shops and preparing huge baskets full of chocolate, nuts, fruit, and wine to give to family members and friends. It is so awesome (aside from the wine, because you know, Word of Wisdom: But, there is a down side to Tet.. Everyone and their cat also goes to their hometown! Right now, my companion and I feel like campus missionaries at BYU during Christmas break: there's no one here. Everyone has started to pack up their things, take time off of school and work, and go on vacation. Pretty soon there will be NO ONE on the streets (one of the elders said that you can literally lay on the street and not get run over, but I wouldn't recommend that because the streets are dirty).

If there was one quote to describe this week, it would be this.. "Madam, Madam.. Campuchia xa quá!" (Madam, Madam, Cambodia is too far!) On Monday, Chi Man Nghi and I flew down to Saigon for our exchange with the sisters there. On Tuesday, Sister Schley and I got bussed out to the Vietnam/Cambodia border to renew our visas. After a 2 hour bus ride, we got dumped off in the middle of no where and were instructed to walk to the border! The most hilarious thing was that as soon as we got off the bus, tons of these guys riding motorbikes rode right next to us, begging us to get on so that they could drive us to the border (they just wanted us for our money, sheesh). They literally were driving so close to us and just talking to us the whole time, it was HILARIOUS. From this experience I really got my poker face down, because if you smile, talk, or even look at them they get egged on even more.

Thanks for all the emails from everyone! I love getting updates and pictures :) Happy almost Lunar New Year!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Tuần này khá là chán, xin lỗi

Not much happened this week other than the normal missionary work :)

BUT, some good news, my companion and I passed out ANOTHER Book of Mormon!! This makes a total of 3. We're getting up there :')

Since the weather in Hanoi right now has cooled down a lot, going contacting has been SUCH a struggle. There is less and less people outside because everyone thinks it's freezing, which forces us to contact inside stores and malls - which is a problem because if you talk to too many people, the employees will start to get suspicious. This week, we had the opportunity to go contacting outside at a park! That day was a bit warmer than normal, so people had come back out to exercise and what not (in the future I will send home a video of Vietnamese "exercise". It's hilarious). As we were walking, we started talking to three older women. While we were talking to them, one named Bac Thao started measuring my wrist size with her fingers because she couldn't get over how tall I was. It cracks me up with how obsessed people are here with my appearance!

This weeks quote comes from one of the other older women that we talked to: "Khi cháu sẵn sàng lấy chồng, báo cho Bác và Bác sẽ giới thiệu." (translation - "when you're ready to get married, let me know and I'll introduce you to someone). At least now I know that if things don't work out for me in the States, I can always return to Vietnam and get an arranged marriage.

My final news of the week....


To renew my Visa. Unfortunately I'll just be getting bussed to the border and then back, so I won't be able to see Sister Snooks or Chi Cheney. But it'll still be cool to go to a different country.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Chúc Mừng Năm Mới!!

It's officially 2017! Which means the year that I come home.. Also the year that I turn 20.. I don't know which one is weirder.

I'd like to start off by apologizing. There are going to be so many pictures today. I'm so sorry. But we just happened to have the coolest P-day ever last Monday (Ninh Binh), plus all the Christmas activities - hence 100s of pictures coming your way.

The other day, Chi Man Nghi and I were out contacting when I spotted a Starbucks on the corner of a street. It was almost lunch time so 1) I was hungry 2) I haven't had Starbucks in like 8 months and 3) it was cold outside, so I asked her if we could stop by and get hot chocolate. She knows how I feel about chocolate, so she agreed. Long story short, we ran into two dads and had a good conversation with them about missionary work and the church! It was awesome! The lesson that we can all take away from this experience is this: Never shy away from your chocolate cravings. It will always lead to good opportunities to share the gospel.

We got a fresh batch of elders on Thursday! And, the best part, 3 of them are 100% American with absolutely no tie to Vietnam! Elder Player, Anh Ca Cong, is in our zone here in Hanoi - the others went down to Saigon. It's so funny to see this tall, 18 year old American walking around among all the Vietnamese people. It's awesome.

And, the last exciting thing of the week - I KNOCKED ON MY FIRST DOOR. We aren't allowed to go tracting here, which is when you go around knocking doors. We normally just go contacting at stores or parks. But, the Thursday before Christmas, we made some toffee to pass around to all of our neighbors that live on our floor. We got to go around, knock on their doors, introduce ourselves and invite them to church! It was SO MUCH FUN. A little bummed we don't have permission to do that everyday.

If there was one quote to summarize the past two weeks (because I didn't email last Monday), it would be this: "Chị là người nữ, và em ấy còn trẻ, thì không sau, an toàn mà." (translation: I'm a woman, and he's still young. It's fine, totally safe.) This was told to us by a PI we met the other day. We stopped by her house again to give her a Book of Mormon, and afterwards she told us that if we were ever too tired from our work, we would just crash and go to bed at her house. So so so nice, but breaks about 100 missionary rules. I just love how kind Vietnamese people are.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and a happy New Year!! I got to Skype my family Christmas night, LOVED IT (even though they were half asleep because it was 7:30 in the morning, I know, SO EARLY). Thanks for all the emails and pictures! Have a great week!

Heaven is Pho Real.
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