Sầu riêng

Monday, September 25, 2017

After all the effort I put in to make up the analogy with durian, it backfired in my face. This past week I was forced to eat during for the first time. But, on the plus side, I now know for sure that I will never ever eat durian ever again because it really is as bad as everyone says it is.

So this week I was asked to go back to my old area to serve with chi Thuy An - she's one of the new sisters who went to the Philippines MTC and chi Chau was her trainer. Chi Chau went out to Hong Kong to renew her Visa, so I came back to helped chi Thuy An out with the Tan Son Nhat area. It was super weird to be back, but also a lot of fun. I was able to see all of our old investigators and the members that I used to go to church with! The best part was that I was able to go to church in Thao Dien as well and see Co Huong and Chi Thanh get confirmed!
Sister in the striped shirt is from Vietnam and served in Cambodia.

Sunday really was the best day of my week, as usual, but this Sunday was extra special! Why? One of our recent converts who was baptized a while ago hasn't been coming to church. It's been really sad and frustrating and we were running out of ideas as to what we can share with her to help her come back to church. She loves reading her scriptures, praying, meeting with the missionaries, but she's never able to come to church on Sundays because of outside pressure from family/boyfriend. BUT, this past Sunday, she came to church and stayed for the whole time!! 

Heavenly Father knows exactly what we need. And most of the time, He knows the things that we need even though we didn't know we needed it! (that sentence makes sense in my head). When I got asked to return to my old area for a week, I didn't think too much about it. To me it wasn't anything special, it would just be a normal week. But Heavenly Father knew how much I needed to come back to this area. Not that I would help anyone any more than the other sisters would, but it was just something that I personally needed. I was able to see some of the investigators and recent converts that I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to, I got to witness Co Huong and Chi Thanh get confirmed (which was awesome because I missed their baptism), and I got to be there at church when our recent convert finally came back! Heavenly Father knew that I needed to reunite with all these people, witness these things, one last time before going on to a new area, because He knew how happy it would make me. He knows all things, and He always knows what's best for us - even if we don't realize it!

All in all, this week was a really good, fulfilling week. Thanks for all the emails and updates, as usual!
Mia's birthday party

Giáo Hạt đang chia tay

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

In vietnamese, "chia tay" is a way you can say "breaking up". And our district (which is the smaller version of a stake) is BREAKING UP. We officially have 2 WHOLE DISTRICTS IN VIETNAM!! One in Hanoi, one in Saigon. SO EXCITING. The most exciting part is that now on our teaching records, we can actually write something different and not just write "Hanoi District" every time we get a new investigator. Now I can write "Saigon District", and that's the best part of it all. 

First Sunday in Hanoi (over 1 year ago)
The Saigon district today; so basically only half the missionaries

In addition to the new district, 3 new branches were created! So in total, we now have 10 BRANCHES in all of Vietnam! When i first started serving here in July 2016, we only had 3: One in Hanoi and 2 in Saigon. Now we have TEN. The growth of the church here in Vietnam has been amazing! In just a year I've seen so many changes. If we keep going at this rate, we'll have a temple here in no time!

This past saturday, we were able to have a lesson with one of our investigators who has been taught by almost all the sister missionaries in Vietnam (she just keeps moving houses). She asked one of the best questions ever: "Ý kiến đó là của mình hay là ý kiến đó đến từ Thượng Đế?" (Was that just my idea or did that come from God?) That is one of the questions that tons of members of the church ask themselves: Was that just me thinking or is God trying to tell me something? Our response to her? Pray about it. Pray about whatever it is, and then ACT. Heavenly Father is ready and willing to give us guidance and answers, but it requires some action on our part. We can't just sit there and think, "Ok Heavenly Father, I'm ready. What do I do?" SOMETIMES it works like that, but most of the time we have to take some action. We have to really study out our decisions, make some plans, and sometimes we even have to make a decision. And when we make that decision, we can come back and ask Heavenly Father if that decision was the right one. Heavenly Father won't withold answers and guidance from us, but He likes to see that we are willing and ready to try!

The quote of this week comes from a wonderful phone call we had the other night. We've been trying to contact some less-actives our area, but unfortunately we didn't have the right phone number for one of them. When we tried calling, a random man picked up the phone. My companion, chi Thu Hong, being the awesome missionary that she is, immediately started talking to him about the church and asked if he wanted to come to an activity with us. His response? "Umm.. Sẽ có đậu hủ ở đó không?" (Translation: will there be tofu?) Turns out he was buddhist and a vegetarian. But regardless. If you ever have to decide whether or not to go to an activity when random strangers invite you through the phone, just ask them if they'll have tofu there. That will help you make up your mind.

Thanks for all the emails, updates, and PICTURES (thanks Elder Duffy for all the pictures you just sent). Have a good week!
Family Home Evening

Celebrating our 16 months in the mission and Sister Nelson's 1st month.

Xin chào Quận 6

Monday, September 11, 2017

It's been 4 days since we moved houses to District 6. I'm currently typing on a keyboard that flashes rainbow lights everytime I hit a key. The faster I type the more it flashes. I think I might have a seizure after this email. 

The new living quarters

I am currently serving with Chi Thu Hong (MTC COMPANION!) and our new trainee, Chi My! She's from Utah and is ADORABLE. She is so young. Only 19 :')) 
New companions:  Hailey, Chi My (sister Nelson) and Chi Thu-Hung (Sister Schley)

Serving in District 6 has been a bit of a flashback from when I got transferred to Saigon for the first time and didn't have any investigators or recent converts or less-actives to work with.. So basically all our time was spent contacting! Right now though, here in District 6 it's a little easier, especially because I've already experienced this before! That's one of the blessings of our trials - after we get through them, we'll be able to use that experience and new knowledge to help us get through future trials. I read a scripture the other day that reminded me of this (I'm changing some of the words so that it fits the situation better):

"And Satan had hope to shake Kim Thu from the faith, notwithstanding the many miracles and experiences which she had seen concerning whitewashing a new area; for she truly had seen angels, and they had ministered unto her. And also, she had heard the voice of the Lord speaking unto her in very word, from time to time; wherefore, she could not be shaken." (Jacob 7:5, except for my name isn't actually in there).

There's been a few moments when I've felt a little panicky because our lack of investigators, or all the work that has to be done. But then I remember, "Oh wait, Heavenly Father already gave me this trial, and last time it was 10x harder because I didn't know what I was doing. If I did it last time, I can do it again." Sometimes are trials feel way hard and we just want to get rid of them as soon as possible, but after we get through them, we have all this new experience and knowledge. (Example, I just realized that I used the word "Are" instead of "our".. Typing is now a trial in my life, please excuse my bad grammar.) And then, in the future, when we meet another trial, we'll be able to use that past experience to get through it more easily. So trials really are blessings. Hard blessings that sometimes we don't want, but still blessings.

The branch here in District 6 is so tiny, it's adorable! There were probably 30 people that came to church, including us 7 missionaries. There is so much work to do, but it's great. The members here are awesome and so fun to talk to, so I'm really excited to be serving here. The food has been great, the weather has been incredibly hot, and there are probably more mosquitos here than I've ever seen in my life. But life is good.

The quote for this week, of course, comes from our adorable chi My: "Chú, bao nhiêu tiền." (Hey you, how much money). We went and ate pho the other night (chi my's first time!!) and chi My wanted to ask the owner for the bill, and she did! We haven't quite gotten down a more polite way to ask for the bill, but at least she did it! Hahaha, chi my is absolutely ADORABLE and is so willing to try everything, even if she doesn't really know what she's doing! Plus we have some chinese neighbors in our new apartment, and she was able to talk to them a little bit. Go chi My!! Or in the words of one of the members here, Go Sister America!!

Thanks for all the updates and pictures, I love hearing from you all! Have a good week!

The new Ho Chi Minh district

Bye Bye, Tan Son Nhat

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

I'm off to Quan 6! We got our transfer calls last night, and I'll be serving with chi Thu Hong (AGAIN!!!!) in Quan 6. We'll be training a new missionary together until the 26th of September, and then at that point we'll get a different transfer call to see who will be moving to a different area to train someone else. I'm going to miss the investigators of Tan Son Nhat, and all the members too, but I am excited to see what quan 6 is like. I also feel bad for whoever will get both me and chi Thu Hong as co-trainers.. We'll probably go crazy.

This past week was a good one. Very tiring, but a good week. Our investigator, Co Huong, was back at it again with the random post-lesson comments. This week, after we ended the lesson, she said: "Want to know one of the foods that I learned to love in America? OATMEAL. MMM so good! That is why the Lord wants us to follow the word of wisdom and eat grains. because OATMEAL." She is so stinking cute. I'm going to miss them so much! But lucky me - their baptism day is the day of district conference, so I'll be able to attend and see them get baptized!

Our other star investigator, chi Van, has hit a different kind of problem.. She's ran out of stuff to read! We try to get her some good reading commitments so that she's learning new things, but she's almost done with the Book of Mormom already! She's also read the entire Gospel Principles book.. So we are just about out of ideas!

Church yesterday was such a great time. One of the members in the branch just had her 3rd child, and yesterday the father was able to give the baby a baby blessing! It was such a great experience because those don't happen very often here in Vietnam! To have a whole family in the church, have children born into the covenant, is such a miracle. It was such a great blessing! 

Well, Wednesday night we get to meet our new companions. Our two roommates, chi Tam and Thuy Anh, are both getting sent to Long Bien (that's in Hanoi) so now there will only be 2 sisters living in this current apartment. What does that mean? Freedom. We are going to deep clean the whole apartment and rearrange everything. 

Well, the next time you hear from me I'll be in Quan 6. I hope everyone has a good week!
Our district going back to the MTC

Our new friend, Truc aka Jenny, at English competition

Ba Du, one of the most hilarious members

Heaven is Pho Real.
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