Tuần cuối cùng của tháng 4!!!!

Monday, April 24, 2017

It's the last week of April. How weird is that. 

To start off, I want to share a scripture I read in my personal study this week, 3 Nephi 21:10 - "But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil." This scripture was brought to life for me this week. My companion and I have been trying to get to know the members better, and so we have set up more appointments to visit them at their homes. Friday we had planned to visit an older couple out in the Go Vap district, which is about an hour away from our house. And then, we received a referral from Temple Square to contact, and so we set up an appointment with her at her house that same night. Unfortunately, she lives about 30 minutes away from our house in the opposite direction of the elderly couple. We set up our appointments so that we would have enough time to get there on time, but everyone that knows me well knows that something always goes wrong when I'm the one that has to navigate/give directions. I lived in Nampa, Idaho for 18 years of my life, and I only knew how to get to the high school, Walmart, and sometimes the mall (sometimes Nathan (age 11) had to help me out with the mall..). That morning we mapped out the route we were going to take so that the chances of me getting us lost would be minimal.. Just like this scripture says, "the life of my servant shall be in my hand" - we made it out alive, and on time to both appointments. And, just like this scripture says, "although he shall be marred" - our adventure was definitely not free of near-death experiences (like realizing the road you chose to go down was a one-way and now you have to pedal against Saigon traffic, having to stop to ask for help 20 times, and showing up completely soaked in sweat). 

The moral of this experience is that Heavenly Father protects us. He watches over us and guides us. That doesn't mean life is always going to be easy (going against traffic was definitely NOT EASY), but He will helps us pull through it.

In other news, we got a new investigator this week! He has taken the discussions before with the elders but stopped for a long time. We were able to meet him on Wednesday and he agreed to continue investigating. Our next appointment with him is on Tuesday, so wish us luck! And speaking of the referral I mentioned earlier, we were able to meet with THEE CUTEST woman who has such a strong desire to learn more and eventually join the church. Right now she is super busy (she's going to Thailand this week and then Pennsylvania and then who knows where else) but she has such a strong desire. After she gets back from Thailand she said she wants to meet wish us, so FINGERS CROSSED! (actually, don't cross your fingers. Apparently that's a really bad hand gesture here in vietnam). When we met her at her home, she was teaching english to her students and 2 of them happened to be nuns in training. When we started talking about the church, the nuns started asking amazing questions that ended up in us being able to informally teach the restoration lesson. Holla. 

This week we also got to pretend to be tourists at the Saigon Zoo to help out this group of students trying to learn English. We walked around for about 3 hours while they explained the animals to us and we explained the gospel to them. It was a wonderful time.

The quote for this week would be from the best mission president's wife, Sister Hassell: "Not only did we happily celebrate your birthday, but we have happily celebrated a year of your being covered by the japanese encephilities vaccination you received in the U.S." Unfortunately this means I'm off to the clinic for another shot that will make my arm feel like it's dead. Yay :))

Thanks for all the emails, prayers, thoughts, pictures, videos, EVERYTHING. Life is hard but I'm learning a lot, so what more can you ask for.
The Pygmy Hippo

 Friday night dinner thanks to the Temple Square referral

Hailey's favorite church member in Saigon, Hieu

Photo opportunity with Hieu.

người bà già rồi

Monday, April 17, 2017

Tuesday was my 11th month mark. 
Wednesday was my 20th birthday.
A Birthday cake from the Elders 

A loaf of bread with a KitKat as the candle; from the sisters

Basically, in terms of real age and missionary age, I am old.

In good news, we (sort of) have an investigator now! The elders met with this girl named Anh 2 times, but then she ended up moving back to her hometown in the middle part of Vietnam. She'll be there for a few months but will return to Saigon. They felt like it would be better for Chi Phuong and I to teach her, so we inherited an investigator! 

With the rest of our time, we have just been contacting, contacting, contacting, and then visiting with less-actives and members. We have built up our pool of potential investigators, so HOPEFULLY it's just a matter of time before they feel comfortable enough to learn about the gospel.

This Sunday was.. EASTER SUNDAY. My first Easter in Vietnam, and man, was it different. Turns out instead of doing and easter egg hunt with plastic eggs filled with candy, Vietnamese people prefer to hunt for hard-boiled quail eggs. Healthier and smells better, too (jokes). In relief society, we had a birthday celebration for everyone with a birthday in April, but unfortunately the cake they bought was coffee flavored so no one could eat it. Instead everyone ate what looked like hard-boiled eggs but was actually vietnamese jelly with pumpkin inside. Probably not my favorite thing that I've eaten here, but it was worth the experience. But the most important thing about Easter, is that we were able to celebrate the Savior. Jesus Christ atoned and died for our sins, and then overcame physical death, making it possible for all of us to do the same. This life isn't the end - I know we will be able to be reunited with our loved ones that have already passed away. And if those two simple sentences aren't comforting enough, the church came out with a video for Easter that is absolutely wonderful. I'm attaching the version from Youtube that a member translated, so that those of you that speak Vietnamese (or want to see Vietnamese) can enjoy it as well:

Thì con sẽ nói bằng tiếng Việt. Ngày thứ ba là mười một tháng cho con với tư cách là người truyền giáo. Qua thời gian này, con đã học rất nhiều về phúc âm của Chúa Giê Su Ky Tô và về bản thân con. Thật ra, cuộc sống của một người truyền giáo không dễ. Mọi ngày con gặp một thử thách nào đó, và đôi khi con cảm thấy như con không thể nào tiếp tục nữa. Nhưng, mọi ngày là một ngày mới. Mọi ngày là một cơ hội nữa để tiếp tục cố gắng, bất luận hoàn cảnh của con đi nữa. Hiện tại, những thử thách của con là khó nhất. Nhưng mọi ngày, con nhận được sức mạnh từ Thượng Đế để thức dạy và kiên trì. Con biết rằng Thượng Đế và Chúa Giê Su Ky Tô hằng sống. Con biết rằng họ biết chúng ta là ai, họ biết những yếu kém của mình. Con biết rằng công việc truyền giáo sẽ không bao giờ dễ bởi vì cuộc sống của Chúa Giê Su Ky Tô không bao giờ dễ. Con yêu thương mọi người ở Việt Nam. Con yêu thương phúc âm của Chúa Giê Su Ky Tô và niềm vui phúc âm mang đến cuộc sống của mọi người chúng ta. Con yêu thương Chúa Giê Su Ky Tô, Đấng Cứu Rỗi của con.

The quote from this week would be, once again, from my dear companion Chi Phuong: "I just can't tone." Sometimes the tones in Vietnamese just get to one's brain. I feel you, Chi Phuong.

Hailey's favorite smoothie lady 

This is Chi Phuong!!

Half a miracle is still a miracle

Monday, April 10, 2017

The first day that I got to Saigon, Chi Thuy Anh gave us 2 records of investigators they currently had that my companion and I would start teaching. One of those investigators told us she was going to the Philippines and wouldn't be back until May. The other investigator, Joseph, wouldn't answer us back - all 3 times that we tried to contact him. But then last Thursday, we received a call from our district leader who said another elder had received a prompting that we should try to contact Joseph again. we both figured there was nothing to lose, so we gave it a shot and called him again. No answer - so we texted him a short message. Then the next night at around 9:15pm, we received a call from Joseph! Turns out he didn't want to answer the phone because he didn't recognize our number, but after reading our text he decided to call us back! AND EVEN BETTER, he told us that he would be willing to meet with us on Friday of next week! WE WERE SO PUMPED - FINALLY, A LESSON. Here is when it turns into a half miracle: two days after, we were informed that he lives outside of our area because the boundaries got rearranged again, so the other sisters will be meeting him instead of us. So no appointment for us. I was super bummed when I found out we wouldn't be able to meet with him. I was feeling really jealous and upset because we haven't been able to teach any investigators and this was finally our opportunity to do so. BUT Heavenly Father's plan rules out my plan, and this is what will be best for Joseph. 

This week consisted of my companion and I flying to Hanoi for MLC, attending a vietnamese birthday party (my first one ever. Best part was that someone was announcing the program the whole time over a really loud microphone even though there were only 20 people there and we totally could have heard each other without it), setting up appointments with PI's, getting appointments with PI's cancelled, eating delicious vietnamese food, and best of all - WATCHING GENERAL CONFERENCE. All day Saturday and Sunday we watched General Conference at the church. It was AMAZING. My favorite talk was from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in the Saturday morning session. The theme of his talk was emphasizing the line from a hymn, "Jesus listening can hear the songs I cannot sing". Sometimes in life, things come up that make it hard for us to have a good attitude or a positive outlook. We don't feel happy and have a warped perception that things will never get better. I have definitely felt that this past transfer. Being new to the area with a new companion and not having anyone to teach has been SUCH a struggle. There have been so many days where I just don't have a good attitude or feel like we will never be able to find anyone in our area. But I know that Christ knows how I feel - exactly how I feel. He knows the days that I'm struggling, and He knows the feelings that I have. And because He knows how I feel, I know for a fact that He knows how everyone else feels. He knows when we have bad days, when we can't get ourselves to think positively. He's not upset with it. He's sad that we are sad, but He knows He can help us overcome these feelings, these trials. He feels all the things we feel, understands all the things that go through our minds, and hears all the songs that we can't sing.

The quote for this week would be from my darling companion, Chi Phuong: "Do you think that by the time I get home they'll have new episodes of Say Yes To The Dress on Netflix?" This is what happens when you go contacting all day and have tons of time to talk. Yes, Chi Phuong, I sincerely hope they will have new episodes of Say Yes To The Dress on Netflix.

This is the building where Hailey lives.  Their apartment is on the 16th floor!

It rains hard in Vietnam!

Một tuần nữa trôi qua

Monday, April 3, 2017

This is the month that I turn 20. This is so weird. I also hit my 11th month mark in a week. That is also so weird.

This week my companion and I saw so many miracles occur.
90 year old woman who sells clothes on the streets of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh city)

It was a very exciting week - full of straight up contacting! We still don't have any investigators, but we have been working SO hard to find people. I know that if we just keep on trying, we will find someone. OUR TIME WILL COME. Chi Phuong and I have been going contacting for a few hours every day and we have meet some crazy, wonderful, awesome, interesting people (to say the least). We've been talking to everyone from lottery card sellers to people in bookstores to people in markets to the guys that try to get you to take a motorcycle ride from them (it sounds creepy but it's basically just like uber). We've had some appointments set up for potential investigators, but we've gotten stood up with almost every appointment. It definitely is disappointing at times, but we both agreed that we can't let those disappoinments shake our faith - we just have to keep going! Miracles definitely come when you just try your hardest and trust in Heavenly Father. Even though not all of the miracles played out as I would have liked them to (aka not getting stood up and having 4 new investigators), it was still a  blessing to be able to meet people in general. This past week I have contacted and invited more than I ever have in my WHOLE life. It's been insane, but it's been fun.

This past April Fools' Day was also the one year mark of when I went through the temple!
Payson Utah Temple 4/1/2016

So crazy that it was a year ago. Being in a mission that doesn't have access to the temple has definitely made my love for it grow even more. Temples truly are the house of God, and inside we can feel His spirit strong than ever. I'll attach a link for those of you that haven't seen a temple yet - take a look, they're the prettiest things ever. https://www.lds.org/church/temples/gallery?lang=eng

If there was one quote for this week, it would be this: "Bảy giờ? Ồ Ba giờ??" (meaning: 7 pm? Oh! 3 pm??) We have been going through lists of less active members in our branch and we able to schedule an appointment with someone for sunday. We invited her to come to church with us and SHE ACTUALLY CAME despite how weird she said it would be. When church ended, I was trying to ask her if we could meet right now (the word for that in vietnamese is bây giờ) but because my pronounciation is still far from perfect, she thought I was asking her to meet at either 7pm or 3pm. Man, I love language barriers.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week! If you didn't get a chance to see General Conference (or have no idea what that is) take a look on lds.org. I'll be seeing it next weekend so no one spoil anything for me :)))
Last p-day in Hanoi (3/20/2017) 

Co Hoa and Em Khue's baptism in Hanoi from 3/25/2017.
Heaven is Pho Real.
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