Monday, March 17, 2014

The Vietnamese are always deceiving me

Great story I forgot to tell a few weeks ago:
So the Thao Dien branch president, President Thanh, is from Vietnam and served his mission in the states. After his mission he went to school at BYU and met his wife, Lindsey, who's American. They were married two years ago and moved to Vietnam immediately after. Everyone always asks them when they are going to have children and I have heard them reply the same way each time, "It's all part of Heavenly Father's plan." Well, a couple weeks ago President Thanh and Lindsey came to YSA's family home evening. At the end of the activity President had us all gather together for a photo to send to Lindsey's family in America. The plan was this: The first two photos were going to be normal smiley poses, then the third photo was going to be silly faces. Right before we took the third photo President Thanh shouted "Lindsey is going to have a baby!!" It. Was. Priceless. Our jaws just dropped. Everyone was screaming and going nuts. Haha. Isn't that a great way to announce a pregnancy? Vietnam is heap loads of fun.
So yeah, President Thanh and Lindsey are going to have a cute little mixed Amerasian child like me! Just kidding. The child will for sure be cute though! All the members are hoping it's a boy so someday we can have another Priesthood holder. Always thinking ahead, right?
So that was fun. Some new, not so fun experiences lately:
...the meal when I ate snake.
I ate python...and a dog. PLEASE DO NOT HATE ME. With the python they told me it was chicken and with the dog they just told me it was barbequed meat! Totally not my fault.
Anh Nam, a guy from my English class was baptized yesterday! When I first started teaching English class in November he was just a quiet guy who seemed somewhat interested in the gospel. Once a week I would see him in class and I could see how he was slowly changing and loving the gospel more and more. Now, a few months later he is a baptized man! Plus, he is the first person ever to be baptized at the Than Son Nhat branch's building! Gosh, that guy is gold!

That's it for this week.
Lesson I learned:
Obedience brings blessings. Exact obedience brings miracles!
Egelund, out.
Ho Chi Minh City missionaries at the war history musuem. 

For the natives to get into the musuem it's only 2,000 - about 20 cents. For me to go into the musuem is 15,000 - 75 cents. Cheap...but I feel ripped off.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Headin' to Cam Bam

First, I'm getting transferred to Cambodia!
I'm staying in the good ol' Thao Dien branch here in Ho Chi Minh City! I've been serving here since I started my mission, but I'm not complaining. Lots of people stay here for like 6 + months . It's like the eternal area. Once you come to Ho Chi Minh City you never leave Ho Chi Minh City.
Elder Tran and Elder Pham from my MTC district are coming to Thao Dien! Those kids keep me youthful. Haha. There are four sisters that live in my apartment - three Viets and me...the American. Sometimes I feel like an outsider because I've got 0 jokes in Vietnamese, so it'll be nice to speak English with people again. That may sound selfish, but seriously, speaking a foreign language 24/7 is such a headache sometimes. I consider this new transfer a tender mercy from Heavenly Father.
This week was a spiritual high! On Saturday Sister Tien and I had the opportunity to teach a recent convert family who is AMAZING! They've been baptized for about a month now and they're already making plans to go to the temple which is all the way in the Philippines. We taught them about prophets to prepare them for their first general conference. The mother of the family, Co Ha, was so excited when I explained to her that she would be listening to the words of the prophet next month. It was nice to have someone be SO excited for the lesson we shared. I just love that family! Plus Co Ha has a wooden leg that makes her 10x cooler!

This week was spent teaching everyone about the importance of a living prophet - Thomas S. Monson, or as the Vietnamese pronounce it "Thomat Et Montun". Haha It's crazy that nearly a year and a half ago President Monson announced that I could serve my mission at age 19, and now here I am in "the land of my people" teaching the happiest message in the world! I will forever be grateful that a month before the announcement was made in general conference that the spirit was prompting me to pray about serving a mission. I'm grateful that I decided to wake up that Saturday morning in November and watch the first session of general conference in my footie pajamas. And I'm grateful that our living prophet is receiving revelation to guide us.
God is good. God is great.
Yesterday was zone conference with my mission president, President Moon and Elder and Sister Funk of the Asia area presidency. The conference was EXACTLY what I needed. I could go into all the details, and I could write for hours about all the wonderful things I learned. Here's the gist of it: The first vision is super duper powerful - so memorize it. And if you wanna receive revelation you have to read the scriptures, pray and go to church. Heavenly Father is just waiting to help us but we have to use our faith and walk towards Him. "Come unto Christ. Come unto Him. And by his grace be made holy again. He's calling your name. He's waiting for you. With arms open wide - come unto Christ."
I love you all and hope you're feeling like a million bucks.
-Sister Egelund
P.S. The zoo was awesome last week!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Same Same a Woman

March 2, 2014
Sorry I don't have too much time to email today because I'm going to...THE ZOO! Yeeeheee! If you're my friend you probably know that I am like obsessed with the zoo. Elephants and tigers are my favorite in case you care. I can't do the snakes though. Not about that life style.
Here's a recap of the week:
Everyone is FINALLY back home after doing who knows what for the lunar new year. You may be asking yourself, "Emily told us about the lunar new year over a month ago, why are people just barely getting back home?" WELL THAT'S WHAT I'M SAYING. It's been like a month since the holiday and things are just barely getting back to normal. The Viets really know how to party hardy.
So the work is finally back on track and we have been able to teach lessons more regularly. The mission goal is to teach 20 lessons a week because this year is the 20th anniversary of the church in Cambodia. Teaching 20 lessons a week is super difficult though. Most everyone works at least 12 hours a day so they cannot meet in the afternoon, and those that are available in the afternoon live fairly far. Lots of time is spent biking around the city trying to meet with everyone. Then in the evening after hours of wandering the city we go back to the church building and teach two or three lessons in a row. Exhausting to say the least. I still have yet to teach 20 lessons in a week though. Whau whau whau. My record high is 14. I am determined to get 20 in a week though at least once in my missionary life. BTW, my missionary life is down to less than a year now. Tomorrow is my six month mark. I've got the wrinkles and heinous tan lines to prove it.
Gosh, I wish you could all see my calve muscles. I'm jacked from all the peddling around.
Saturday we didn't have anymore to teach though so we went out contacting in our neighborhood. Like I've shared because we're not allowed to just go up and down the streets and make the initial contact with people so a great way to make conversation is through shopping. We went to a really nice western pharmacy to but Muscle Milk. If you're my friend you probably also know that I am a muscle milk addict. Too bad so sad they didn't have muscle milk but I bought a few other things. While paying I had a hard time figuring out my money and I jokingly told the two girls working at the cash register (in Vietnamese) that I'm an American and I couldn't figure out their darn Vietnamese money. They gave me a few courtesy laughs and asked how long I'd been living in Vietnam. When I told them four months they freaked and thought it was so cool that I could speak Vietnamese after just a short time. We got to talking and I invited them to English class and then they were hooked! They were so excited to be able to go learn English then their manager comes running out from the back room and asking me all about English class. These people flipped. It was sweet. Before I knew it they were trying to give me things for free because I'm going to teach them English for free. The manager is also a tour guide and offered to take us on tours of Vietnam for free and gave me a huge tour guide book - all because I'm going to teach them English for free. Haha What a fun contacting experience.
That's all for now.
Line of the week:
Sitting at a place that sells drinks, talking to a potential investigator, and her 13 year old son walks out and says in English, "Trinh, you is same same a woman." idea what that means.
Welcome to my life.

The Work of the Lord is Working

February 23, 2014

This week was one of the more difficult ones.
I was sick on Wednesday and spent the day in bed. Of course being sick is never fun, but added with the pressure of being a sis mish it sucked knowing that the Lord's time was being wasted. I don't know if being a missionary is supposed to be this stressful. When I don't feel stressed I don't feel productive though. #TheStruggle. That is one of the things I think I inherited from my mother.
If you can handle the stress, then comes the success. #PoeticiKnow #ButimNotaRapper Haha Okay, I'm done with the hashtags.
Our number of investigators has been lacking recently, but the Lord doesn't let missionary work not work. Last month Sister Tien and I contacted a lady who works at a spa and invited her to our English class. Thursday night she came to class...and brought fifteen other people with her!! Yep. That was super amazing! We were able to share with them about the Savior's earthly ministry and gave away five Book of Mormons! To other missionaries that go street contacting and meet new people often, five Book of Mormons may sound like nothing, but five Book of Mormons is a HUGE deal. I have probably only given away like 10 books in the last four months in the field.
We also had a woman come to church yesterday who heard about the church while searching universities online and saw BYU's website. Her son is going to school in Illinois right now and will introduce him to the church if she likes what we teach! :)
A member from California came to Vietnam this week for business as his company he works for in America partners with a company here. He is a good member of the church who knows his responsibility to share the gospel and invited a woman from the partnering business here in Vietnam to attend church yesterday. She's got a Christian background and is very excited to learn about the church! Lots of new people to teach!! And hey, all the missionaries and Jesus too would be extremely appreciative if everyone would be member missionaries and introduce people to the church. Thanks :)
To finish I want to share a quote from Elder Holland's talk entitled 'Lord, I Believe' from the April 2013 General Conference. Elder Holland said, "Except in the case of His only Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has ever had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating to Him, but He deals with it. So should we." You have to love that Elder Holland is always straight forward! We are all children of a Heavenly Father who loves and cares for us just as our earthly fathers do. And just like an earthly parent, He has to deal with our disobedience and annoying attitudes. So have a little mercy on our Heavenly Father and "try a little harder to be a little better". Also, forgive others for their weakness'. None of us are perfect and we are all bound to mess up. So forgive others when things are wrong.
That's it for this week.
Went out to eat with the parents of an Elder serving in Cambodia. I overate and about died on the two hour bike ride following lunch.
-Egelund out

Only six months and we're already having mission reunions

February 16, 2014

Hello hello hello.
Sorry I didn't email last week, I was in Cambodia renewing my visa. Going back to the mission home is always like a little vacation because there's a closet with church materials like pamphlets, Book of Mormons, planners and tons of other things and when we get there we just choose all the things that we need and take them back to Vietnam. Sounds lame, right? Think of it like this: Nordstrom gives you a $1,000 gift card and you just walk in and grab all the things you want. Same idea. Maybe it's a little pathetic that I get so excited about getting new pamphlets, but that's missionary life for you.
Litchfield and I celebrated Valentines day early together...
Cambodia was a really good time though!! Sister Litchfield, my MTC companion pulled some strings and we got to serve together the three days I was there. Major throwback, except for this time that we were together we actually knew how to speak Vietnamese and the people we taught were real. The first night we taught a little old lady about 90 years old about the Restoration. Middle of me speaking she stands up, walks outside and picks up a rock and just chucks it. I didn't see what she threw it at but I'm really hoping that it wasn't a child.
Day two was quite the adventure. Even after nine weeks at the MTC Sister Litchfield always had a hard time figuring out which building we lived in, and of course she hasn't changed one bit. Haha We spent a good portion of the day just wandering around trying to figure out where every one's house was at. Mid afternoon we were pretty much over it and stopped in front of a course to look at the area map. The lady whose house we stopped in front of came outside and started speaking Khmer with us. "Sorry Vietnamese, sorry Vietnamese" was like my catchphrase while over there. I had to say it a couple times until the lady finally got what I was saying. Then you know what she did? She started speaking Vietnamese! And you know what the missionaries did? We taught her a lesson. Boom Shaka Lacka. It was pretty cool to be able to teach a stranger that we met on the street (we're not allowed to do that in Vietnam). Once again, the Lord works in mysterious ways.
This tree is apparently special for the New Year so this member, Co Phuong, wanted pictures with it. Haha
That's a wrap of what happened this week. Hope all is going well at home. Hope you had a good Valentines day and don't forget to go buy all the discounted candy at Walmart.

MTC district reunited! That dress made me feel like Lilo from Lilo and Stitch. "You can't give Pudge tuna! Do you know what tuna is? IT'S FISH! If I gave Pudge tuna I'd be an abomination!!
See ya 'round.
-Sister Egelund
Also, if any of you have ever sent me a package...I've never got them. Sorry but the mail system is the worst.

Gucci Gucci Louis Louis Fendi Fendi Prada

February 2, 2014

Not many updates this week, but here are some deets:
So Chi Tien and I are companions now! Other than the harsh reality that she doesn't speak much English and I don't speak much Vietnamese things are really good between us. I've been blessed with having super good makes me a little afraid that I'm the bad companion that no one wants to be with though...
This week was the Lunar New Year or Tet. This holiday is super interesting because every single business closes for three days or more and the streets are empty during the day and hoppin' and poppin' at night. The weird thing is that Tet felt more like Christmas than Christmas did. One way that the two holidays are similar is the excess eating...You don't say that you celebrate Tet, you say that you "eat Tet". And we definitely ate Tet. Not too worried about gaining weight though because I'm now serving in the two branches in Saigon. The entire city of Saigon, with it's whatever millions of people, is my entire area. My bike and I are best friends now.
Eating Tet. This is only one of the meals, we actually ate Tet like five times. Oh and there was a white guy there from Sweden and EVERYONE wanted pictures with him. Sometimes I wish I was white so people would like me more. Psych.
 We were supposed to be getting two Elders transferred over to Vietnam from Cambodia last week, but one of them got hit by a car and dislocated his elbow so we have to wait for him to recover before he comes. I didn't even know that you could dislocate your elbow...
Flower Festival with my homies. If life was like myspace and you could choose a top ten, it would be these people. (Hopefully someone got that.)
 Went to the flower festival in District One this week. As I've said before I hate District One because it has all the good shopping. Versace, Marc Jacobs, Gucci, the list goes on and on and it all just reminds me that I'm wearing clothes from the DI and I ride a bike around.
The Louis Vuitton store...
That's what they call the good life though so I'm not too upset. The flower festival was less flowers more Vietnamese people taking selfies. If you thought white people were bad with always taking pictures of coffee and sushi on Insta-G, that's nothing compared to how many pictures we take her in Vietnam. Every. Single. Meal begins with photos. It's all good fun though and I just feel like a super model...
That's it for the week. I'll try this coming week to do something interesting. Next week I have to go to Cambodia for a couple days. Let's hope I don't dislocate my elbow. Just kidding. Don't worry, mom...
...I've got church insurance so you won't have to pay for it if I go to the hospital.
Catch ya on the flip side.

 Egelund out.

U of U hoodie riding down the streets of V-Nam.
Versace store. #FirstWorldProblemsInAThirdWorldCountry