Monday, February 9, 2015

I guess we can call this a break-up.

Sorry, no weekly email. I had a really good one prepared but I don't have time to write it out. I'll try to get in the habit of blogging or something when I get home so maybe someday you'll all be able to read the great message I had in mind. Don't count on it though...

This is what I want my final words from the mission field to be:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true. I know it and I want you to know it too. Just give it a chance because I can promise you it will change your life. It's not an easy thing to accept, it took me 20 years to get this far, but the journey is beautiful despite all of the challenges. Without the Savior and His Atonement my life would be without purpose. I'm grateful for the perfect plan that Heavenly Father created for each of our lives. The Lord loves us all despite our weaknesses. He sees what we can become. I know you have probably heard that numerous times, but it's the truth. That truth is what keeps me going each day. 

I love the gospel. I love my Heavenly Father and I'm grateful that He will always love me back. His love is perfect.

Never give up on what you know to be true. Bad things happen because good things are to come. 

I love you all and I have loved my mission. I'm sad that it's over now, but "there are no true endings, just everlasting beginnings."

With love,
Sister Trinh Ly

P.S. For my friends at home, I will be landing at the SLC airport on Sunday, February 15th at 2:30 pm. Those of you that want to be the first ones to see my face, be there and wait for me to come down those infamous escalators. Everyone is welcome and admission to the show is free. All that I ask is that you donate a bar of chocolate to the "Emily will be hungry and jetlagged fund". After the show we will have a shindig, if you will, at my house in Tooele. Any questions? Ask my dad because he's the smart one. His email is danegelund@live.com

For friends who are on missions, you can continue to write me at Emilytrinhly@gmail.com

If you don't fall into either of those categories, well I don't know what to tell you. See ya when I see ya.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Another Random Example

As this 18 months comes to an end, naturally my mind is full of both fear and anticipation of what the rest of my life has in store. I have also spent a lot of time thinking about the past too. Questions like, "Who will I still be friends with?" "Do I still want to study this at school?" "Do I even like the things that I liked before?", are constantly running through my mind. I can think about these things all day long, but there is really no way to know. None of us know what the future has in store. That doesn't mean that the Lord has us blindly cruising through life though. 

Life is like a highway. When you start driving you know where you want to go, but on the highway there are dozens of little exits that lead to random towns that you've never ever heard of, let alone want to hang out in. When you first get on the highway, you know where you want to go, but then all of these exits and billboards start distracting you and they all point in different directions. Before you know it your awesome day trip to City Creek Mall has ended up being a less-than-fashionable day spent at the Valley Fair Mall in West Valley. (Only Utahn's will understand that one.) And don't even get me started on the traffic! The highways are just full of dummies that are inconsiderate and unaware of all the other cars around them.

This example doesn't need too much explanation, but I'll draw it out to kill some of my internet time. Like I said, the highway is life. Whether you know it or not, the destination is returning to live with God. All of the exits are the million and one distractions that keep you from fulfilling your purpose and hold you back from continuing down the road. The billboards and their advertisements are the voices of the world telling you you need things that are actually completely unnecessary. And the dumb people on the street, well they're exactly that - the dumb people in your life.

So what are we to do to reach our final destination? In the last general conference President Thomas S. Monson said, "Our Father provided the sun, the moon, and the stars— heavenly galaxies to guide mariners who sail the lanes of the sea. To us, as we walk the 
pathway of life, He provides clear map and points the way toward our desired destination. He cautions: beware the detours, the pitfalls, the traps. We cannot be deceived by those who would lead us astray, those clever pied pipers of sin beckoning here or there. Instead, we pause to  pray; we listen to that still, small voice which speaks to the depths of our souls the Master’s  gentle invitation, “Come, follow me.”"

Prayer and the words of the prophets are two of the most important tools on our trip down the long-stretched highway of life. I guess you could say that they're like the fancy navigation system in your car. If you want to know God, you have to communicate with Him. If you want to receive His directions, you have to study the words of His representative - the living prophet. I can promise you that prayer and studying of the prophet's teachings are the quickest ways to feel peace. Trust me, I am the least peaceful person you will ever meet. I'm a rambler, I'm always talking, and I've always got enough energy to run up and down the street a million times. Yet each time I just take a couple minutes to stop and say a prayer or read through the Liahona I just feel good! I'm happier! I feel that the Lord actually loves me and I can see his hand in my life! It's super cool, you should try it out sometime!

I want to talk a little bit about the dummies on the road - they're inevitable. Each street has them and 1. they're annoying and 2. they're dangerous. Don't be friends with these dummies! Being friends with the dummies turns you into a dummie. Dummies are the friends that think that Panda Express is Chinese food and that Taco Bell is authentic Mexican food. Beware of dummies. Unfortunately, they're everywhere! They make stupid things look fun to do. They make the dumbest jokes seem hilarious. They make sin look like something appealing. Once again, beware of dummies. The dummies in life are those backseat drivers that try to give you directions when the built in nativagation system obviously knows better how to get to your destination.

This week I'm extremely grateful for my friends, especially those that are out serving missions too. Those general weekly emails that you send to me and to everyone else in your contacts are important to me. The faith that I've seen you all show inspires me to keep working hard. The words of encouragement that we all share with one another is a pattern of what life should be like after we serve missions. Even though you may think that someone already knows that you love them, or you think that they're too busy to be visited, still do it.  Do you remember Elder Holland's talk from last general conference - "Are We Not All Beggars?"? Well if not here's a snippet of it conveniently copied and pasted from lds.org here for you to read: "journalist once questioned Mother Teresa of Calcutta about her hopeless task of rescuing the destitute in that city. He said that, statistically speaking, she was accomplishing absolutely nothing. This remarkable little woman shotback that her work was about love, not statistics. Notwithstanding the staggering number beyond her reach, she said she could keep the  commandment to love God and her neighbor by serving those within her reach with whatever  resources she had. “What we do is nothing but drop in the ocean,” she would say on another occasion. “But if we didn’t do it, the ocean would be one drop less [than it is].”

Good, genuine friends that are commited to the gospel keep me on the highway. Thank you for your support. 

I don't know if I'll be sending a long email next week (it being my last p-day), but I want you all to know that I love you and I'm so grateful for the support I've received that last 18 months. Serving a mission was the best choice I ever made. It's been a lot harder than I imagined it would be, but there's nothing I would trade it for. I don't understand why a lot of things have happened the past year and a half, but I understand that the Lord is guiding our lives and everything that happens is meant to make us stronger. Life is full of regrets, but through the Atonement we can repent and resolve to do better. Of Regrets and Resolutions Love the Lord and I promise you will love your life. The Church is true. It's restored and everything you need to know is clear if you will put in the time to study and ponder. 

I don't know where the Lord will lead me after my mission. The words of my favorite hymn "Be Thou Humble" gives me comfort as I try and figure things out though:

1. Be thou humble in thy weakness, and the Lord thy God shall lead thee,
Shall lead thee by the hand and give thee answer to thy prayers.
Be thou humble in thy pleading, and the Lord thy God shall bless thee,
Shall bless thee with a sweet and calm assurance that he cares.

2. Be thou humble in thy calling, and the Lord thy God shall teach thee
To serve his children gladly with a pure and gentle love.
Be thou humble in thy longing, and the Lord thy God shall take thee,
Shall take thee home at last to ever dwell with him above.

The Lord is guiding you, and me, and every single one of us. Never forget that. Never turn away from Him and His infinite love. 

With love, 
Sister Egelund Trinh Ly
Real friends take you out to get Indian food. Kelley + Loan = Numbaa 1

I didn't know President Moon owns a smoothie shop in Vietnam?

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Awkward Parable of the Library

January 18, 2015

For the next few weeks until I finish my mission I'm going to count how many people ask me if I'm "trunky".
There's a simple answer to that question - "NO!"

The past seventeen months have not been what I wanted at all. I wanted to go to a new country, learn a new language. I wanted to baptize a million people and get really skinny because I rode a bike all over Vietnam. I wanted to take some cool pictures that I could put on Facebook when I got home that would impress everyone. I wanted to write cute letters to all of my friends that had stickers and smelled like my perfume. I wanted to be the "mission legend" that can contact anyone out on the streets. I wanted a lot of things. A whole lot of selfish things that don't matter.

I didn't really get anything that I wanted, but I gained so many blessings from Heavenly Father. And I wouldn't trade any of them for the world. 

Does reading my emails seem like I've been sad through my whole mission? Well, I won't tell you that the past year and a half has been all smiles and hugs. It's been tough! I've spent so much time feeling like the Lord is turning my world upside down. I know that each trial brought a blessing though.

I imagine it like this: My life was similar to a large library full of books. Not just an ordinary library either. This library was massive. The shelves were each carefully carved from fine wood. There were large windows that had comfortable chairs set right in front of them so I could read with the natural sunlight coming in. And conveniently in the corner there was a bean bag chair I could take cat naps in. 

The books were awesome too! Each book was based on experiences I've had, things I've studied, examples I've learned from, my personal interests, and many other things that make me who I am. The library was completely full of books from the ceiling to the floor. The library even included one of those cool ladders that slides around the walls!

Each time I had a spiritual experience, or learned something new from the scriptures was like buying a new book. The only problem is that the shelves were full and I had no space to place any of my new books. 

What was I to do? It will be too cluttered if I just make stacks on the floor. Doing that I would never be able to enjoy the library. Maybe I could download the ebook and put it on my iPhone? I don't like doing that though because I'm afraid they'll accidentally be deleted. Could I just ask my friend to read the book and give me a summary once they're finished? What good would that do me though. How could I add books to the library when it was already full?

I decided that to make room for the new books, I had to get rid of a lot of the old ones. You know, those books that just sit around and collect dust? The ones you buy because everyone else is reading them, or because they have a nice cover that would look pretty on the shelf. I had lots of books like that.

It required a heavy dose of courage, but I decided to just throw all of them away. Every single one of them! Even the ones that had cost a lot of money and the ones that had been passed down from family. I just threw them all into a dumpster. Taking each book off of the shelf I could look at it and immediately remember what it was about. I could remember how I got the book. I could easily recall how fun and exciting it was to read through the pages. And I could clearly remember how accomplished I felt as I finished each story. It was sad to toss each book off the shelf, but I had to do it to make room for the new books. Besides, all the old books would never even be read again. I already knew the story, why would I read it again when there are so many other new books I can read?

The trials of my mission have been like standing in this large, empty library. I looked around at empty shelves feeling sad that I didn't have anything. The room just didn't seem as beautiful without all of those colorful books lining the shelves. But I also looked around with so much hope knowing that I could start over and fill the shelves again.

I didn't want to part with my old books. Those books represent my habits, my opinions, my personality, my strengths, my flaws, and all the things that make me Emily. I knew I didn't need them though. Who I was was not who the Lord wants me to be. If I had been satisfied with all of those books, I would never reach my potential. 

Like the library that once seemed great, but then became nothing, I had once thought I was good enough, but realized that I needed to start all over again. 

I've thrown away all of my books. And the only way that that has been possible is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I'm happy to say that my library is filling up again. Each day as I work, I buy a new book. And each day as I repent, I toss out a book that didn't have any meaning. 

I'm still trying to get things figured out. Sometimes I am sad. That's normal. Sometimes I feel on top of the world. Of course, I'm a missionary!

I didn't get what I wanted from my mission, but I'm trying to accept what the Lord wants me to receive. 

The gospel is exactly what you and I need! Never let it go. 

With love, 
Sister Egelund

Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls...

January 11, 2015

Don't go chasing waterfalls. I don't even know what that means. Good song though if you ask me.

So right before New Year's President Moon spent a lot of time teaching us to make goals that will help us progress individually and as a mission. Goals that are S.M.A.R.T. - specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based. I have seen that the mission field is a place where goals are achieved and dreams come true. For example, I have had a dream of becoming the first "office sister" of the mission. I tell people about it all the time and they think that I'm a lunatic because sisters never work in the office and it wouldn't be practical. But I've spent a majority of my life proving people wrong, and I did just that this past week. For three days I was in Cambam for MLC with President Moon and to renew my visa and in most of the time that I wasn't out teaching with the other sisters or in meetings I worked in the office and helped out the elders with their mountain of work. Three days of working in the office was enough for me! Those elders have a million things to do. No wonder they all get fat and lose their hair while in that tiny office. Haha Shout out to Elder Duffy and Elder Tan! BUT, I did it! I made my dream come true of working in the mission office.

That is all I want to say this week. My time is quickly coming to an end. I think I have four more p-days. Meaning that in the next couple weeks more people are going to start emailing me saying they're "so excited for me to come home" so that it seems like they missed me while I was gone. #Content I'm looking forward to going into coma for a few months when I'm back. 

Remember what I say - Dreams come true...when you make them a goal and do all in your power to work towards them.

Jesus said love everyone.

Love, Sister Egelund Trinh Ly

BTW, I'm thinking of changing my name to Emily Trinh Marie Egelund. Yeah? K cool.

See ya.

Oh and happy birthday to my stud of a brother, Eric Trinh Egelund - the future Anh Cả Trịnh! You're cool and I like you. You're jokes are a 10 and so are your muscles. With love, Chị 2.


We've realized that we're totally opposite but completely the same. You can say "we found love in a hopeless place."

Happy early Valentines day. I love you more than chocolate.

Vietnam Moving Forward...

January 5, 2015

They say that if you begin your mission happy you will finish miserable or vise versa. I've proved that to be wrong so far though. I was really happy at the beginning of this adventure, and now in my last transfer I'm still feeling good!

We're in Cambodia right now and I don't have much time to write but let me just tell you about the very best thing that's happened in a while - 

This week President Moon announced that we are now allowed to teach in the homes of investigators if the owner of the home gives us permission! Things are gettttting nuuuuuuts! Before we had to teach at the homes of members or teach people at the church. Both of those being fairly inconvenient for those that want to learn. But now we can just go to their house and teach them! We're almost like normal missionaries! The only thing that we have left to do is get permission to wear our name tags outside!

I'm so stoked to see what the future holds for the Church and its members here in Vietnam! Sister Trinh Ly will be peacing out in just one transfer, but hopefully that kid I call brother will someday get to serve here as Elder Trinh!

Sorry for the short email but please know that I love you and I think most of you are pretty cool.

Stay righteous,
Sister Trinh Ly