Xin chào sài gòn

Monday, March 27, 2017

The first part of the email is in Vietnamese.  English portion below so keep reading!
Xin chào tất cả mọi người. Hôm nay con sẽ nói bằng tiếng việt bởi vì khả năng của con kha là kém, thì con phải tạp. 

Thì tuần này con đã được truyền qua Sài Gòn. Một khu vực mới! Bạn đồng hành mới của con là Chị Phượng, hoặc là Sister Lawton, từ Virginia. Chúng con đang phục vụ ơ Bình Thạnh, chi nhánh Tân Sơn Nhất. Sài Gòn và Hà Nội rất là khác nhau. Sài Gòn rất là nóng, đồ ăn rất là ngon, và mọi người rất là thân thiện. Một vấn đề là con không biết khu vực này và cũng phải huấn luyện một người truyền giáo mới, thì cuộc sống cũng khó! Nhưng không sau. Con biết sự thay đổi này sẽ giúp đỡ con rất nhiều. Thượng Đế có một kế hoạch cho tất cả mọi điều, thì con phải kiên trì và cố gắng hết sức. 

Cách đay 3 ngày, con đã đọc An Ma chương 32, câu 12. Con sẽ thay đổi lời nói đó một chút để sử dụng với hoàn cảnh của con: "Thật là một điều tốt khi Chị Kim Thư bị đuổi ra khỏi ngôi nhà của chị ấy ở Hà Nội, và có thể chị ấy mới trở nên khiêm nhường và mới học được sự khôn ngoan." Con đã sống ở Hà Nội cho sắp 9 tháng, và đã thích Hà Nội rất nhiều. Con đã có những người tầm đạo rất tuyệt vời và rất thân với những tín hữu ở chi nhánh đó. Vậy thì khi con đã biết con phải đi Sài Gòn, con cảm thấy rất buồn. Con không muốn nói tạm biệt với mọi người mà con yêu thương. Con không muốn đi bởi vì con không biết gì hết về Sài Gòn, và không muốn sống ở một chỗ mà con không biết! Nhưng con biết rằng nếu con luôn luôn sống ở Hà Nội, con sẽ không bao giờ cải tiến. Con sẽ không bao giờ học hỏi thêm hoặc là phát triển. Thì con phải sử dụng thời gian này để phát triển khả năng của con và học những cái điều Cha Thiên Thường muốn con học. Con biết với thời gian này, con sẽ biết khiêm nhường và kiên nhẫn, và đức tin của con nơi Chúa Giê Su Ky Tô và Thượng Đế sẽ gia tăng. Mạc dù đây là một thử thách rất lớn đối với con, con biết Thượng Đế có một kế hoạch cho tất cả mọi người, và Ngài sẽ giúp đỡ con.

For those of you who don't want to use Google Translate, I will briefly say it all again in English :)
I am officially in Saigon! It has been the craziest week of my life. My new companion is Sister Lawton/Chi Phuong from Virginia, and she is an absolute fireball (not just because she has red hair, hahaha). We are in a new area and currently don't have any investigators, but that's okay. We will just work super hard and do our best, and Heavenly Father is right there with us every step of the way.

Saying goodbye to everyone in Hanoi was the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life. It was especially hard because Co Hoa and Em Khue got baptized on Saturday, and I knew I wouldn't be there to see it. But I know that Heavenly Father has a reason as to why I need to be Saigon. I have a purpose here, and I know that I will figure that out when I keep on keepin' on.

The other day, I was reading in Alma chapter 32, and came across verse 12. I changed up the wording a bit to fit with my circumstance: "I say unto you, it is well that Sister Graviet was cast out of her house in Hanoi, that she may be humble, and that she may learn of wisdom; for it is necessary that she should learn wisdom; for it is because that she is cast out, that she is brought to a lowliness of heart; for she is necessarily brought to be humble."

 After living in Cau Giay, Hanoi for almost 9 months, I was very very comfortable. I knew the people, I knew the area, and I loved my investigators. It was so devastating to hear that I had to go to the south because I didn't know anything about the area. I knew that I wouldn't have any investigators, and to make things even more challenging, I would be training a brand new missionary! But I know that Heavenly Father is watching over me, just as He is watching over every one of His children. Even though this will be hard, He will help me every day. This change will help me to be more humble (I need that) and to learn to have more patience (I really need that). 

Thanks for all the emails, everyone! I hope everyone has a great week :)

God be with you til we meet again

Monday, March 20, 2017

The next time you hear from me, I will be writing you from the spirit world. Saturday night we received our transfer call, and I will be heading down South on Wednesday. This means...
1. It's so much hotter there that I will probably die of sun stroke.
2. The language dialect is different so I will probably die of confusion
3. I don't know the area so I will probably get lost and then die
4. I will be training so the both of us will probably die (so sorry to the parents of my dear companion)

All joking aside, I am pretty excited to go to Saigon. I will be serving in the Tân Sơn Nhất branch (don't ask me where that is because I have literally no idea). On Sunday I had to say goodbye to all of the members and investigators here and it was SO tough. In the MTC, I thought saying goodbye to the other missionaries was hard, and then I thought saying goodbye to Chi Cheney was hard, and then I thought saying goodbye to Chi Man Nghi was hard, but then saying goodbye to the members and the recent converts I used to teach was the HARDEST THING EVER.

After saying goodbye to everyone, I started thinking about how I got to know them so well, and why it's so hard to leave them, and I realized that it all comes back to the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel of Jesus Christ unites people, and I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to share it with everyone here in Hanoi.

Anyways, back to the normal week stuff. Co Hoa and Em Khue had their baptismal interviews before church on Sunday, and everything went perfect! They are all good to go for this Saturday. Pretty sad that I won't be able to see it, but I am so happy for them. They have been prepared for a long time now, and I am so grateful that I was able to meet them and help them, even though it was only a little bit. 

This week we were also able to meet up with the new Relief Society president for lunch to talk to her about things we can do to help with the program. Once again, sometimes you have to sacrifice your tastebuds for the work because 1) she chose to go eat Bun Dau, which is one of my least favorite foods and 2) the Bun Dau was so hot that I burned my tongue and literally don't have any taste buds left.

The quote for this week is.. "Chị thấy có 3 người làm chứng về sách, sau đó 8 người nữa, thì chắc là sách này là có thật." (First 3 people testify about the book and then 8 other people, so it must be true.) This was spoken by one of our new investigators, Chi Thanh, during our first lesson with her. We had just read the introduction of the Book of Mormon and then the testimonies of the 3 and 8 witnesses when she looked at us and said that. Afterwards it was followed by a, "There's probably a lot of other people who think this way too, right?" IF ONLY ALL OF OUR INVESTIGATORS COULD BE AS ACCEPTING AS THIS. It was awesome.

Last email writting from Hanoi, Vietnam, my home for the past 8.5 months. I hope everyone has a great week, and when you have the time say a quick prayer for me while I'm out in Saigon.

8/3 là ngày của phép lạ

Saturday, March 18, 2017

THIS PAST WEDNESDAY WAS AMAZING. The whole week was amazing, but Wednesday especially.
1. Chi Truc Ly got her Visa!! We biked over to the US Embassy Wednesday morning for her 2nd interview. Chi Thu Hong and I weren't allowed to go inside the building because we didn't have an appointment, so we waited in a cafe until she finished and... SHE GOT IT! She'll be reporting to the Provo MTC on April 11th (one day before my 20th birthday, holla), so we get to keep her for a little while longer.

2. We taught more lessons than I have ever taught IN MY LIFE. We had a lesson at 5, 2 lessons at 6 (had to do splits, lol), English Class at 7, and then a lesson at 8. Let's just say I was exhausted by the end of the day.
3. Co Hoa and Em Khue accepted a baptism date! Wednesday we had an amazing lesson about the Plan of Salvation (more to come on that later), and they both agreed to be baptized on that day! The 25th is coming up quick, and so it was a bit of a surprise to everyone that the baptism would be that soon. After we invited them to be baptized on that day, one of the members helping us said "Ồ, sớm thế!" (that's so soon!). BUT NO WORRIES. Co Hoa and Em Khue have been prepared since before they came to this earth, and I know that the 25th of March is the day that they need to be baptized. It's going to be amazing.

Now to talk about things that didn't happen on Wednesday.. Saturday, one of the elders' investigators got baptized! His name is Supreme and is only 18 years old, even though he looks like he's 25. He's from Nigeria, so shoutout to Dallin & Cason who are both serving out in Africa. Just 3 weeks ago was the first time that he came to church and he couldn't understand why we didn't have pastors, why we had to call each other sister & elder, and why I had stopped going to school for a year and a half to live in Vietnam. And now, here he is, the newest member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints. MIRACLES. The elders also asked me to speak at his baptism, and I managed to speak in English with proper grammar, no stuttering, and not switching into Vietnamese halfway through. (that was the first time I've ever spoken in english at the church). MIRACLES.

Now to come back to the Plan of Salvation. The Plan of Salvation is something that I have known for my whole life, but for some reason it hit me hard when we were teaching it to Co Hoa and Em Khue. Before we came to earth, we lived with our Heavenly Father. While we live here on earth, we go through experiences that will help us become more like our Heavenly Father. And after this life, our Heavenly Father wants us to return to live with Him again. During the lesson, Co Hoa was summarizing the Plan of Salvation and really emphasizing that the whole plan has to do with us being able to return to where we started - living with our Heavenly Father and the people that we love. That hit me like a brick - THAT'S EXACTLY IT. We are going home, right back to where we started. Heavenly Father loves us so much and wants every single one of us to come back home safely.

The quote for this week is one of my favorite things to say: "bỏ tay". There's no direct translation for this one, but Chi Truc Ly just taught it to me and Chi Thu Hong. You can bet that's all I'll be saying when I get home to the states. Bỏ tay.


Monday, March 6, 2017

This past Monday, President Hassell surprised us with a transfer call! No one got transferred. BUT Chi Thu Hong and I did receive a new companion! Her name is Chị Trúc Ly - She's currently waiting for her Visa to go to the Provo MTC, and then from there she'll be off to the Japan Kobe Mission (shoutout to Elder McEwan). Being in a trio has definitely been challenging, especially since Chị Trúc Ly isn't familiar with any of the missionary rules, but we are doing our best to teach her :) 

Last night we had the opportunity to attend the Hassells' Eternal Marriages class with some of our potential investigators. During the class, they talked a lot about how the covenants we make when we are baptized apply to our marriage. When we are baptized, we promise to serve others by bearing their burdens, comforting them when they need comfort, and even crying with them when they need it (I'm not a big fan of that one because I don't like crying, but it's okay). When we are baptized, we promise those things with our Heavenly Father. But, in our family lives, we also need to promise each other those things. President and Sister Hassell then brought up the point that if we continue to do these things with our spouse, parents, siblings, or children, our relationships will improve. For me, I always focus on serving people OUTSIDE of my family. Buying chocolate for my friends when they're having a bad day, playing piano at the nursing home, etc. But last night made me realize that I was extremely lacking when it came to serving the people INSIDE my family, who in reality are the most important people! I would love to set a goal and commit myself to serving them more often, but I won't see them for another 8 months.. SO FAMILY, I promise that when I get home in November I will be serving you all like crazy. Until then, I get a break for 8 more months.

On Sunday we had an AMAZING first lesson with two new investigators, Cô Hoa and Em Khuê (mother and daughter). They remind me SO MUCH of when Chị Mẩn Nghi and I taught Cô Tâm and Em Linh. Cô Hoa truly is someone that Heavenly Father has prepared to accept the gospel. She loves everything about the church and is so willing to learn. And Em Khuê, who is only 9, is the cutest thing ever. Such a chatterbox and made the lesson so fun. Heavenly Father is preparing people all over the world to receive His gospel, and it is our job to help them receive it.

In other news, Chi Thu Hong and I biked to a member's house in 30 minutes this week. It normally takes us 1 hour, but we were running behind schedule and only had 30 minutes to get there. Heavenly Father definitely blessed us with strength to do that, no doubt, no doubt in my mind.

The quote for this week would be "Nói bằng tiếng Việt đi! Điều gì làm cho em bực bội?" (Speak in Vietnamese! What's making your frustrated?). Chi Thu Hong and I were taking a taxi over to the Hassells' home to pick up Chi Truc Ly, and I was a bit frustrated about something that had happened and was speaking English WAY fast with Chi Thu Hong. Then our taxi driver asked me to speak in Vietnamese so that he could help me feel less frustrated. Suprisingly, he had very good advice and was very comforting. 
Heaven is Pho Real.
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