Monday, November 11, 2013

Wise men say only fools rush in, but I can't help falling...on the ground

As you all know I am currently in Cambodia. And boy oh boy do I have some stories to share!
So Tuesday we left the MTC to go to the airport. Of course all the Viet's sat in the back of the bus. Anyone who has ever been in the sixth grade knows that only cool kids sit there. After waving goodbye to the MTC we drove for about fifteen minutes and then stopped in the middle of no where. I thought they were going to kill us. In reality they were just dropping us off at the Trax station so we could ride public transportation to the airport. Well that was an adventure and a half. Three huge bags and one not-tiny-anymore Asian isn't the best combination. (My trainer told me I look skinnier in my photo President Moon has at the mission office...) After about three hours of chaos we finally got to the airport.
Our flight was intended to leave at 6:10 in the evening, meaning that we were to board around 5:40. Well, around 5:45 I'm sitting at the gate wondering why we have yet to board. Come to find out our flight had been delayed until 9 o'clock. And if we were to wait to board we would miss our connecting flight to Hong Kong by twenty minutes. Poor Sister Davis was our travel leader and was responsible for contacting airlines and figuring everything out. At one point she was told that we would not be able to get to Cambodia for at least a week. After hours of confusion the missionary travel office had a flight for us the following morning. They didn't want us to sleep at the airport though so we had to go back to the MTC for the night. Oh joy, back to Provo! We got back around 10:30 and slept for TWO HOURS in unmade beds then left the MTC again at 2:00 in the morning. Hashtag exhaustion.
I tried to figure out what the blessing of leaving a day late was...AND FIGURED IT OUT AT THE LA AIRPORT!
There was this really old man we saw while going through security. He was about 70 and dressed like a total hoodrat. The airport security had to stop him because he had 12 oz of pepper spray in his bag and a toy gun. He didn't see any problem with that though. Haha So, as we were sitting at the gate he sat between Elder Pham and Elder Tran and started talking with them. I left for about an hour to go eat and be an explorer and when I got back Elder Pham and Elder Tran were teaching him about the Restoration and commandments! The best part is, he was already living every commandment they taught him! So his name is Ralph and he is hilarious! He kept telling us that "He never heard any of these things before from Mormon's, he just knew that they were a good way to live." On the airplane Elder Pham sat next to him and when the flight attendant was handing out food he said, "She's really nice. She should be a Mormon too.'' Haha Oh good ol' Ralph! He wants to be friends with Elder Pham in two years so that will be sweet.
We finally got to CamBam around 11:00 at night. President and Sister Moon met us along with the assistants. We spent the night at the mission home and had meetings all of the next day. Here's the news you have all been waiting for:
My first area I will be serving in is HO CHI MIN CITY!!!  Booyaa! I've spent the past few days in Cambodia waiting for my visa but either this evening or tomorrow I go to Vietnam! For now Sister Litchfield and her trainer Sister Hays are my companions. Elder Tran is going to be in Ho Chi Min too and Elder Pham is going to Hanoi. Sister Litchfield has to stay in Cambodia for now because she is not Vietnamese and cannot go to Vietnam, but fingers crossed that Vietnam will be opened to all missionaries soon. Everyone, please pray for more missions to open! Everyone needs to hear of this glad message! ASAP
Okay, so here's some of what's been happening here in Cambodia:
As many of you know, my biggest fear of being in the field is biking. Everyone told me that once I got here I wouldn't be scared anymore. False. On Saturday I was hit my a moto, and on Sunday my skirt got caught in the wheel of my bike. I could feel it getting twisted and dragging me back. Once I fell onto the ground I sat up and missed having my head crushed by a huge garbage truck by about a foot. Remind me in 16 months to show you all of my battle wounds! I was told angels would be round about me if I'm obedient so I'm banking on that. I think they just tell missionaries that so they'll be good, but I'm not going to run the risk of it just being a hoax. Obedience has never sounded so rewarding!
On to members and investigators:
Honestly, the church is not extremely strong here. There are many members that go inactive soon after baptism so our main focus is meeting and strengthening less active members. There is a woman named Chi Kim that we went and visited on Saturday. She recently broke the word of wisdom when she was invited to go drinking with friends. She knew that it was wrong but didn't want to be impolite and not go. Chi Kim lives on the river in a boat. House boat woowoo! Not even close. The living area on the boats is the size of my bed back home and they have multiple people living on these boats. Chi Kim's boat sunk though so now she's living in this cement room in an alley. We read from the Book of Mormon with her and she shared with us that she doesn't want to follow Satan but it's really hard because there are so many bad people that influence her. We invited her to go to church on Sunday but she didn't make it because she had to move houses. Wanna know something awesome?! Her husband who is not a member has stopped smoking and buying cigarettes all together! I kind of wish I could stay in Cambodia so I could see how Chi Kim progresses. She's in good hands with Sister Litchfield though!
Then that night we went to meet with a man named Ong Hai. He was given a Book of Mormon a couple weeks ago by the Khmer missionaries (He likes to switch between speaking Khmer and Viet but you never know what language you're going to get when you see him). So in morning planning we expected that when we went to see him that he would say that he had not been reading, but when we pulled up to his "business" he was reading from the Book of Mormon!! First, let me describe his business. The word "business" and "home" are open to a lot of interpretation here. His business is actually a tarp draped across a cement wall and a rusty bicycle. Him and his wife sit underneath it all day and fill up bike tires with air. So we rode up on our bikes and saw that he was reading! So awesome. We don't make appointments to meet with people here because they'll usually just avoid us if they know we're coming. So we knew that he wasn't bluffing about reading just to please us. Ong Hai has actually read all the way to Mosiah 10! He told us all about the Lamanites, Jacob, Nephi and Lehi. He has a little trouble differentiating between Mosiah and Moses, but we'll work on that. Sister Hays invited him to go to church but he said he couldn't because he has a responsibility at another church. Sister Litchfield is awesome though and quickly said that we would give him a responsibility at our church! Haha, like President Hinckley says, all new members of the church need a calling!
There are a million more things that I could write, but I'm out of time. There's is no doubt that I'm going to be that returned missionary who tells "When I was on my mission" stories. These things are just too good not to share!
I hope things are going well for everyone back home! The church is still true! The work is going forward! I love you all!
-Sister Egelund
P.S. Peggy I met on the airplane, if you see this I hope you're having tons of fun in North Carolina, Florida or the mountains! :)

 Some of the original Viet district from the MTC reunited at Branch 6 in Cambodia. So good to kick it old school here in CamBam!
 This is everyone from the group going to Cambodia! Haha The travel pillows were a 10.
Everyone played a part in teaching Ralph.
At the MTC there are tons of pictures of missionaries with investigators. I definitely think this is worthy of the MTC walls. Someone try to do something about that for us.

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