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Monday, May 29, 2017

This past week was filled with finding new investigators, studying at coffee shops, and receiving the best graduation announcement picture for my brother Andrew's graduation. I'll be attaching a picture of the grad announcement for your enjoyment. I hope you all have seen the movie The Three Amigos.

Chi Phuong and I went and studied at a coffee shop about 4 days this week. We were thinking that it doesn't make much sense for us to study all day locked up in our house when the vietnamese people are outside. So on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday we packed up our stuff and studied at a coffee shop close to the church. It was a lot more fun than studying at our house, mainly because the chairs are comfier (comfyer? I don't know how to spell it. The chairs are more comfortable.) and also this particular coffee shop makes really yummy frozen hot chocolate. BUT we also were able to meet this AMAZING lady from Australia! She's Vietnamese, has lived in Australia for the past 11 years, and returned to Saigon for a quick vacation/visit her boyfriend. On Wednesday when we were planning our spiritual though for English Class, she approached us and asked if she could sit and talk with us. Turns out she had seen us at the coffee shop on Tuesday and really wanted to talk to us, but she was too scared to! So she was super glad that we had returned on Wednesday so that she could meet us. It was such an amazing experience! We were able to talk to her about temples, because that's what our spiritual thought was about, and she is now making plans to go visit the Melbourne temple when she returns to Australia! 

So, lesson learned. Good things come when you study at coffee shops that have yummy frozen hot chocolate. I encourage everyone to spend 3 hours at a coffee shop for 4 days out of the week and see what miracles come from it. Slightly joking.

Saigon is just getting hotter and hotter and the rain comes at the most random times. It makes biking a lot more exciting.

This week we also tried to set up an appointment with a referral from Taiwan. This Vietnamese woman just moved back to Vietnam, and so we called her and scheduled a time for this upcoming Tuesday to go visit her at her house. And then we found out that she lives in a province outside of Hanoi, so we would either have to leave right now to get there in time on our bikes, fly there on Tuesday morning, or hand her over to the sisters in Hanoi. We handed her over to the sisters in Hanoi.

Anyways, that's about all the updates for this past week! Thanks everyone for the fun emails and pictures, and have a great week!
Chi Phuong (Vietnamese Beyoncé) got baptized this week.

Hey sister won't you come to the creamery...

Monday, May 22, 2017

The BYU folk dance team came to Vietnam for some performances. That line was in one of their songs. It was hands down the cheesiest (haha, get it, cheese) song I have ever heard in my life but at the same time it was nice to be reminded of the BYU creamery.

Every Sunday I play the piano during sacrament meeting. Because of the humidity, the wires in the electric piano get weird, and so currently the middle C note is going crazy. At the most random times the middle C will be 50x louder than any other note. It's a great wake up call for all those who are sleeping through sacrament meeting, but at the same time it's a really quick way to drive away the spirit. There's nothing that bothers me more than when I play that note and it goes off super loud because it ruins the hymn that I'm playing, so I've started to play around that note. Every time the music calls for a middle C, I just try to play a different note that would be a good harmony. Unfortunately, about 6 times out of 10 I forget and end up playing the middle C, which causes a HUGE noise and disrupts everyone's singing.

Why am I telling this weird story about the middle C note on a piano? Sometimes in life we have something about ourselves that we want to change. It could be having more patience, being more humble, not eating so much - anything. Sometimes we do all that we can to change that certain thing about ourselves, but 6 times out of 10 we fall back into bad habits and end up doing it again. We know it's something that we shouldn't do, and so we feel disappointed in ourselves that we aren't improving. Thankfully, Heavenly Father is much more merciful than the members in my branch who always laugh when the middle C goes off. Heavenly Father is aware of our weaknesses and of the things that we want to change. He is there to help us change those things in order to become more like Jesus Christ. And, for those 6 times out of 10 when we mess up, He has patience with us. He doesn't like, "Oh my goodness, this girl just repented of that sin LAST NIGHT and here she is doing it again." He knows that we are trying, and He is there to assist us all the way. https://www.lds.org/ensign/2011/11/the-divine-gift-of-repentance.p1?lang=eng

My apologies, this week I didn't take any pictures. But have no fear, I have tons of pictures from the 3D art museum a few weeks pack that I'll throw at ya. The work is picking up, our investigators are doing well, and I am still sweating like crazy because of this heat.
Trying to get referrals out of members...

When the random Saigon storms hit and only one of you has a rain poncho!

When you let your trainee do the training for the day

After companionship inventory, when you and your companion become one.

One year ago...

Monday, May 15, 2017

  • Flew to Salt Lake City
  • Got picked up by Lindsay and driven to Provo
  • Went and ate Sushi Burrito for the last time with my BYU friends and...
  • It has officially been a year of me being a missionary! Over this past year I have learned so much about the gospel, the Church, and about myself. Life as a missionary has been nothing like what I expected it to be. There are things that I find SO HARD that I never would have thought would be that bad. Almost every time I see myself in a mirror, I just think, "Who would have guessed that you would be living out in Vietnam serving a full-time mission?" I honestly can say I am the LAST person that would have thought I would be serving a mission, and yet, here I am! Just as my mission president's wife always says, "On your mission you will experience the lowest lows and highest highs." That sentence has rung true every day of my mission experience. I have seen and witnessed so many amazing things that have changed my life, and then I have gone through some of the hardest trials that I have ever faced. But all in all, I know with a surety that Jesus Christ is our Savior. He lives, knows us, and loves us. Our Heavenly Father watches over us every single moment of every day, and He knows what's best for us. Being on a full-time mission has confirmed those truths.

    This email will be short because this morning I got to SKYPE WITH MY FAMILY (for the very last time, too). The quote for the week would be this:

    "Oh, Chi Kim Thu, we brought you a jack fruit." - 2 of my favorite members, Co Ha and Lin Da. And when they say "we brought you a jack fruit" they really mean "we brought you a ginormous jack fruit that weighs more than your youngest brother." It was such a fun journey biking back home from church with a giant jack fruit in my basket!! 
    Yes, this would be a jackfruit! (my mom mentioned that they can be also found at Albertsons!)

    6 more months left to go! Thanks to everyone for the prayers, support, emails, and pictures. 

    Finding my cousins

    Wednesday, May 10, 2017

    2 years ago I went to a "Come and See" program, and they showed everyone a video of "Finding your cousins" - all about family history work. Well, this week I FOUND A COUSIN! Technically not a cousin - She's more of a friend of my grandparents. But it works nonetheless. My companion and I were able to go over to her home for dinner on Thursday night, look at baby pictures of my mom, and talk about family things. It was so much fun. 
    Dinner at Bac Phuc's house
    Dessert at Bac Phuc's

    This week I've been trying to read more out of the Bible, because I'm a terrible person and always neglect it. One of my problems though is connecting to the verses in the Bible - the Book of Mormon is easier for me (maybe because I've read it more?), but for some reason I get a little bored when reading the Bible (should I admit that?). Anyways, Yesterday I came across a verse that, with some word changing creativity, I was able to apply to my life:

    1 Corinthians 5:6 - "Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?" 

    I've never been good at this "leaven" analogies, but that's okay because my version doesn't use that word: 

    1 Corinthians according to Chi Kim Thu 5:6 - "Your whining is not good. Know ye not that a little whine ruineth the whole day?" Over the ALMOST ONE YEAR that I've been a missionary, that statement has been true every single day. There are some days when I wake up at 5:30 (hello new mission schedule) and think "There is no way anyone is forcing me to get out of this bed today. Not even Ben & Jerry's ice cream would convince me." I start thinking about how hot it is outside, how tired I am, how I don't want to ride a bike anymore - basically I start whining about every little thing in the book! However, on the days that I wake up and think "Okay it's way too early, yes, but today is going to be a good day" it's so much easier for me to have motivation. A little bit of whine truly does ruineth the whole day, so let's just not whine anymore. Let's also not wine anymore, because Word of Wisdom (https://www.lds.org/topics/word-of-wisdom?lang=eng). My family and friends are going to kill me for that tie-in, but that's okay.

    In other news, Sunday night we were able to go over to Em Doan's house to bake cinnamon rolls! Our investigator, Chi Phung, came with us. It was so much fun and we were able to help Em Doan's family learn a little bit more about the church. We are praying that the family liked us so much that they will give Em Doan permission to be baptized!!

    The quote for this week is.. "Bạn có yêu người hàng xóm của mình không?" Translation: do you love your neighbor? Flash WAY back to my very first week in Vietnam. Chi Man Nghi, Chi Ha, and I went to the YSA activity where they played that game. I still remember that I had ABSOLUTLEY no idea what was going on because my vietnamese vocabulary was not large enough to understand, "I love everyone wearing red socks". Thankfully, this time I was able to understand. That's how you know your one year's worth of missionary service has paid off.

    Việc tiếp xúc ở trên máy bay

    Monday, May 1, 2017

    There's more to the subject line if you stick around 'til the end of the email - Napoleon Dynamite

    This whole week can be summed up by my experience on Saturday. Saturday I made the journey over to a hospital to get a booster for Japanese Encephalitis. After getting there, my companion and I waited for 2.5 hours before seeing the doctor - I got my height measured, weight taken, blood pressure taken, the whole 9 yards. Once we finally got into his office he took one look at my medical records and said, "You don't need any booster for this." I was definitely a bit frustrated because I had waited there for soooo long - half of our day was gone and I didn't even get the shot! My companion and I had two options: 1. Bike home when it was boiling hot, get home all tired and sweaty, and be grumpy. or 2. Go to a nearby American imports store and stock up on all the random american food you can't find any where else, such as Special K, wheat bread, and raspberry jam, and then go home when it's boiling hot, get home all tired and sweaty, but feast on American food to cheer you up. I no longer have any money in my wallet, if that helps you figure out when option we chose. 

    So what's the point of that story? Well, sometimes in life we wait around for things, do all that we can to prepare for something special to happen, and then NOTHING HAPPENS. We get let down, the opportunity gets given to someone else, we miss our chance - basically we don't get the Japanese Encephalitis booster that we waited 2.5 hours for. When we feel like this, feel like we didn't get something that we deserved, we have 2 options: 1. Turn around, go back to where we started, and be grumpy about it, or 2. Find something good about your situation and make the most out of it (such as blow all your money on food you haven't eaten in 10 months. There may be a hole in your wallet, but at least your heart will be happy.)

    One of my favorite sayings, something that my good friend Elder Duffy said to me recently, goes, "Come what may and love it." So that's my advice for this email, something that I struggle with and am still trying to apply - Come what may and love it. It'll be easier to love it when you have Special K, wheat bread, and raspberry jam. I promise.

    In other news for this week, Thursday and Friday my companion and I flew to Hanoi for an exchange with the sisters there! This exchange was so special because I was able to be companions with Chi Trang, one of the investigators I taught who was baptized in October. She is an amazing member and an even more amazing missionary. Serving with her for the day was so surreal - so much fun! Because she's 29 this year, she's too old to serve a full-time mission, but she still volunteered to serve a mini-mission for 6 weeks in Hanoi. SHE'S THE BEST. 

    The quote for this week would be, "Teach him the restoration". On our flight home, Chi Phuong and I were sitting next to a random guy. Chi Phuong engaged him in conversation, and since she was sitting in between me and him, I just leaned over and said, "teach him the restoration", and then proceeded to take a 2 hour nap until we arrived in Saigon. Basically, my trainee is the best ever and doesn't even need to be trained because she taught the whole restoration and a little bit of the plan of salvation, and we will be meeting with him on Thursday night to give him a book of mormon. So when in doubt, just teach the restoration and everything will turn out fine.
    Hieu & I trading vehicles for the nigh.  Bike vs. Motorcycle!

    Reunited with my BFF, Em Linh

    Exchanges in Hanoi, Chi Tam, Em Linh, Chi Trang

    Em Linh

    Heaven is Pho Real.
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