Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Always Eat the Cake

The New Year is this weekend, or in other words, this weekend will be the party of a lifetime. Really I don't understand the holiday, but it's a big deal. The past month people have been preparing buying food, buying gifts, cleaning their houses, visiting family, decorating, the list goes on and on. Problemo is that no one has had time to meet because they're either busy getting everything ready from sun rise to sun set, or they've gone back to their home towns for like a month. We're struggling a bit with getting lessons taught, but if you can't find a way to do missionary work you're doing something wrong. This week will probably be visiting all those who are not leaving town and helping homes get cleaned and all the fun service stuff.
Sen's Shindig
This week was Sen, our recent coverts, birthday! Surprise birthday parties are the thing to do around here, so we got some of the members together and had a little shindig at the church. It was a good time and the cake was good. I eat cake numerous times a week...You know that movie Matilda when the mean principal lady, Ms. Trunchbull or something like that makes the fat kid eat the giant chocolate cake in front of the whole school and although the chubster loves cake it's a struggle to eat it all. That's how I feel or regular occasion. I cannot NOT eat cake though. Like who goes to a shindig and doesn't eat cake? I'll tell you who - noobs and squares.
Chú Trường and Chú Nguyên are holding hands. Baptism buddies! :)
Six people were baptized this week! The sweetest family of five got baptized and a man named Chú Trường. Chú Trường showed up at the gate of the church late one night about a month and a half ago and told the security guy that he wanted to talk to the missionaries. He came inside, but no one really knew who he was. The Elders talked to him a bit and found out that he had learned about the gospel about a year prior but stopped learning because he left Saigon and wanted to begin learning again. Now, a month and a half later he's a baptized man!
Classic Baptism Pics.
Funny little experience:
On Friday I went on exchanges with Chị Hồng and served in her branch. We went on a little bike ride (hour and a half and three bridges) to district 12 to visit a super cute young member, Em Ngọc. We taught and had lunch together and had a jolly good time. It's not companionship exchanges unless you have a little mishap though...
While heading back home Chị Hồng went over a screw and punctured her bike tire - and the adventure began. We wandered around for about 45 minutes trying to find a place to fix the tire, but no one in that area did that. There were only people fixing moto's and selling machines. Finally though we found a little place that could fix the tire, but would have to wait about 30 minutes. Hồng and I being typical woman, our first instinct was to go shopping while we waited. Like I said there were only people fixing moto's and selling machines in that area, but we were determined to find some shopping! I've learned in my short time here that EVERY SINGLE thing happens for a reason and especially every experience that just seems like a problem has a reason and is an opportunity to do the Lord's work. Walking down the busy street I asked Chị Hồng "So who looks like they need to be contacted?" I saw a man selling nước mía with a mullet...maybe another day. We kept walking and found a clothing store that was selling Britney Spears style mesh tops...I'm an optimist so we went inside. We browsed for a minute, then the owner saw us and started talking to us. After just a second she realized we were Americans and got SO excited and wanted us to speak English with her. Before I could even say xin chào she was pulling out chairs and forcing us to sit down and talk to her. Goooood stuff! We ended up spending about 30 minutes in her little house/business talking about her family and inviting her to English class. And soon she's going to have dinner with us at Em Ngọc's house!
The Lord continues to work in mysterious ways.
If He keeps this up I think the church should issue me a Mystery Machine (I think that's what it's called). You know, like the van Shaggy and Scooby have? Just a thought.
That's it for this week. Love you all more than fat kids love cake!
-Chị Trịnh Ly
P.S. I just got the transfer call and I'm staying in the Thảo Diền branch but I have a new companion, Sister Tiên. We live in the same house and have gone on exchanges before together so it won't be too much of an adjustment.
L8r Sk8r's

The Struggle - A Story of a Homely Amerasian

January 19, 2014

We meet again.
This week was unfortunately fairly slow. We got struck with the "Leo Cây" like three times. Leo cây translates to "climb the tree"...basically we had a bunch of lessons that people didn't show up to. The struggle.
I got to do my very first contacting in English this week though! It was like stepping into a parallel universe. We're not allowed to openly proselyte here in Vietnam to the Vietnamese people, which includes: not wearing our nametags, not giving out pamphlets, no going to investigators homes, and we don't even refer to ourselves as missionaries outside of the church, we're "Branch Builders". Our finding tools are very limited to the natives, but we can openly share with foreigners. I met a French man at a nearby coffee shop the other day and shared the three pamphlets and it was super sick, but super duper weird to be talking about the gospel in English. I haven't talked about Jesus in English for like three months! He was extremely interesting and said that right before we rode up on our bikes he was thinking about God. He also shared that ten years ago while living in Germany he was in a village and a crazy man on LSD gave him a Book of Mormon...Fun stuff, right? I like being a missionary.
I had to translate in Relief Society yesterday for the English speaking women...the topic was planning out meal schedules for families and it was all based on the food pyramid...aaaaaall vocabulary that I don't know. Once again, The Struggle.

If I were to ever write a book it would probably be called 'The Struggle - A Story of a Homely Amerasian"
That's it for now.

Sorry I get more and more boring as the time goes on.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hey hey wha's happenin'?

Greetings loved ones. (Snoop Dogg voice)
I am pleased to announce that the weekly email boycott of 2014 has come to a close. Last week, soon after beginning the boycott my beloved siblings emailed me. Unfortunately, this past week was a bit of a dud compared to other weeks so there's not too much to share.
We spent this week focusing a lot on teaching members about missionary work and helping them begin sharing the gospel with their friends and family. There are only one or two full member families so it's really important that we get the member's sharing with their relatives. The very first thing that is taught to new investigators is that the gospel blesses families. Our families are a gift from our Heavenly Father to strengthen and support us, and a gospel centered family is a happier family! We have many strong members, now we just need to get their families learning about the gospel too!
One of our lessons was with a member named Co Thuy. She is a single, older woman who owns a small hair salon in her house. We tried setting up appointments with her for a couple weeks, but she's always busy with customers. We got lucky one evening though and were able to stop by and teach a short lesson about missionary work. She, like most other members, was a little doubtful about her ability to share thinking that the people she knows would be unaccepting. We gave her three pamphlets though, The Restoration, Plan of Salvation and The Gospel of Jesus Christ and committed her to try and give them to someone she knows. She accepted our commitment, but probably thought that she wouldn't have the chance to give them away. We've got faith that everyone will have opportunities to do missionary work though! Following the lesson Co Thuy said she was going to go out on the street and buy us some soup (pig intestine's to be exact) for me to try. While Chi Van and I were waiting for her to come back a customer came by wanting a hair cut so we invited her to wait with us until Co Thuy came back with the food. We talked to this customer a little bit but didn't say very much other than we taught English classes and went to the same church as Co Thuy. Once Co Thuy came back we went to the back room of her house to eat and encouraged her to use that hair appointment as a missionary opportunity! BOOM! It worked. She came back and asked us if she should give away the pamphlets! Well, of course! It's as easy as that. In just five minutes someone was invited to learn about the gospel.
I don't know if that woman will want to learn about the church, but I also don't know if God has been preparing her to learn about the restored gospel. The most important thing for everyone to realize is that missionary work is easy. We're not asking members to prepare lessons and go to their friends homes and share full lessons like us full-time missionaries do. All we're asking is for them to invite.
Our purpose is to "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end."
Notice that the first word is "invite". That's all you have to do! Give someone a pamphlet, invite them to church, introduce them to missionaries. All that YOU have to do is invite! And I'm not saying this as a suggestion, missionary work is the responsibility of every single member of the church.
President George Albert Smith once said,
"This is your mission, my brethren and sisters of the church, that is your responsibility. Freely you have received and our Heavenly Father will expect you freely to share with his other sons and daughters these glorious truths. . . We will attain our exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom only on the condition that we share with our Father's other children the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and observe the commandments that will enrich our lives here and hereafter."
Thaaaat's right. Things just got real. You gotta share if you want to go to the Celestial Kingdom. Seriously though, I hope you will all listen to the prophets call that we are all missionaries and begin fulfilling your responsibilities!
That's all for this week.

Do what I tell you to do. Do what your parents tell you to do. Do what the prophet tells you to do. Do what Jesus tells you to do. Okay? Okay.
Sister Egelund
And shout out to my brother Eric who turns 17 this week! I remember on my 17th birthday right at midnight I listened to 17 Forever by Metro Station and it was sweet...but now I'm 19 and getting old.
Also here's a scripture I really like,
v16 . . . yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
v17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
v18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4: 16-18

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Oh, hey.

Well, folks.
I have been serving for four months....
and my siblings have not emailed me once.
I regret to inform you that I am boycotting weekly emails until those stinkin' kids email me.
Just know that I am not dead. The work is progressing - yesterday the third meeting house in all of Vietnam opened. We currently have three branches in the country and are hoping for a fourth by the end of 2014!
New Year's was decent. I got kinda bummed remembering that for the past two years I was in Disneyland for New Years. This year I'm a missionary though and that's totes magotes a million times better.
I love you all. I love Jesus. Lit-rally he's my best friend.
-Sister Trinh Ly

While at the MTC I seriously saw about 30 - 40 people I knew from Southern Virginia University. It was nuts. Yesterday while teaching a lesson at the church I looked up at an old photo of the general authorities and saw SVU's President, President Sybrowsky. Apparently he was a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy...I come all the way to Vietnam and I cannot escape Virginia.
There was a poisonous frog in the chapel and the security guy went hard trying to kill it with a broom. Thank goodness I had learned the word for capture animal that morning. That little bugger was fast though so it is potentially still in the church. NBD

"Santaaaaaa!" - Buddy the Elf

(This email was sent on Dec. 29, 2013. Yes I'm a loser or a slacker or both. Honestly though, I read Emily's emails and then I forget to share them with all of you. I have like a year to get better at updating in a timely fashion. Cheers! Kristin)
This week was saaaahweeet.

So for those of you that don't own a calender, Christmas was this past week and it was killer. On Christmas Eve we had dinner at a members, Co Phuong's, house. It was a heap load of fun and her five year old grandson sang Feliz Navidad for like an hour for us. 
Christmas Eve at Co Phuong's house.

I felt like a chump though because I couldn't remember the words to the darn song. All of my not so hard work at Spanish is gone. Para Bailar La Bamba used to be my jam and now it's all gone. Back when I was at home people always mistook me for a Mexican and when they tried speaking Spanish to me I could at least sing Para Bailar La Bamba to them. Now when I get home and everyone thinks I'm a Mexican again what am I going to do?! The struggle. OH! Santa showed up at Co Phuong's house! You know in the movie Elf when Santa shows up at Gimble's and Buddy the Elf goes insane? Yeah, that was me when Santa showed up on his motorcycle.
 (Please reference the attached picture to understand my excitement.)

Santa, Vietnam style.
District One Christmas Lights.
Riding back home on Christmas Eve was a party and a half. The streets in District One were insane in the membrane so I took some sweet pics of the lights for you all------->
You're welcome.
Christmas Day we visited members and it was Chi Van's birthday too! Everyone threw a surprise party for her that included spring rolls, fruit and Dunkin' Donuts. It doesn't get any better than that. All in all I loved Christmas in Vietnam! Some of the members and investigators have told me that they read this blog, so shout out to all of you. Thank you for making Christmas awesome! :)
So yesterday I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting. For those of you that have heard me give talks before you know that I basically just stand up there and say whatever. It's not like I don't prepare a talk, but I just get up there and go with the flow. And typically going with the flow just ends up being a mess and I speak for like 5 minutes then the following speaker has to give a 40 minute farewell talk to be exact. Haha I spoke about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and it went fairly well.
Recently my new favorite scripture is Alma 7:12. It reads: "And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities." I love this scripture because many of us know that Jesus Christ died for our sins. He willingly died so that we may all have the opportunity to repent and become better people each day. But he also went through all of that so He can know exactly how we feel in our experiences and trials. 
I relate the idea to a friend who cannot give us advice or counsel because they have never had experiences similar to us. Although they may sincerely want to help, they do not know what advice to give because they are not in our situation. Jesus Christ is the only one who knows exactly what we are feeling though. He clearly knows every emotion, every trial and every thought we have. He's the one who will counsel us. He knows how to "succor his people according to [our] infirmities." 
That is why the Atonement is so amazing. It's the opportunity for each of us to rid ourselves of sorrow and pain, become forgiven, receive the advice of the most perfect Person and become better and happier.
What a blessing it is to have a knowledge of the Restored Gospel! I just celebrated Christ's birth as a missionary - a servant of The Lord - and I'm in a mission that is perfect for me. I'm the luckiest girl in the world. 
I hope you all enjoyed Christmas and I hope you will always carry the Light of Christ with you. Share that Light with others and share the glad message. 
I love you all,
Sister Egelund
Matching ties and headbands for Christmas.
Fun fact: Out of 25 missions in Asia, the Cambodia, Phnom Penh mission is the fastest progressing mission!