Monday, June 16, 2014

Boycott the "Spirit Cry"

Yeah, I know I told you all that I would have a really exciting email to send home this week...but I don't. Sorry about that folks. I mean, it was a crazy week here in Vietnam (each week is), but nothing toooooo crazy and out of the ordinary.

I've told you all before about "shop-contacting". Well now that I have a white companion contacting just got so much easier! A white girl and an indian girl (that's me) walk into a store and speak Vietnamese together = instant contact. People are so freaked when they hear us speak Viet and then we're like 
"Oh, hey, come to our English class."
Then they come to our English class, and we're like
"Hey let me tell you all about Jesus."
Then they're all like, "Okay."
And then I'm like, "Hey wanna get baptized and wash away all of your sins?...For FREEEE?"
Then they're like, "Deal."
Then skip to the end of the story and it ends like this, "And they lived happily ever after in the presence of God in an eternal family unit."

So yeah, that's what I imagine the fruits of my week of contacting will be.

Anyway, so I want to share a talk with everyone about ways that we can help those "lost sheep" and help them return to activity. I may have shared it before, but it's the best talk I've read my entire mission and I would appreciate it if you all ACTUALLY read it, lived it, loved it. Here's a story from the talk and I'll add the link too so you can read the whole thing: 

Some will say: “We must be careful with the weak among us. It is better not to call on them to pray or to bear testimony, for they will be frightened and repelled and will leave us.” That is a myth! A commonly accepted one, but a myth nevertheless! I have asked bishops—hundreds of them—whether they could certify to such a happening in their personal experience. I have had very few affirmative responses—in fact, all those bishops produced only one or two instances. So the risk is very small, whereas such an invitation may result in a lost sheep being reclaimed.

Several years ago I visited a stake presided over by a man of unusual efficiency and ability. Every detail of the stake conference had been scheduled. He had done the usual thing in assigning prayers from the selected circle of the stake presidency, the high council, the bishops, and the stake patriarch. Those brethren had not been notified, so we changed the assignment from those who deserved the honor to those who needed—desperately needed—the experience.

The president had a detailed agenda for the general sessions, and he mentioned that there were 20 minutes in one session that were not scheduled. I told him that we could call on some to respond who otherwise would not have the opportunity and needed the strengthening experience. He countered with the suggestion that he alert several able, prominent leaders to prepare for possible speaking assignments. “There will be many nonmembers present,” he said. “We are used to having an organized and very polished conference performance. We have very able people in the stake. They will leave an excellent impression.”

Twice again during our meeting he mentioned the schedule and pressed to have the stake’s “best performers” called. “Why don’t we save this time for those who need it most?” I said. His reaction was a disappointed, “Well, you are the General Authority.”

Early Sunday morning he reminded me that there was still time to alert someone and thus leave the best impression.

The morning session was opened by the president with a polished and stirring address. Next we called on his second counselor. He was obviously flustered. … (We had previously indicated that both counselors would probably speak in the afternoon session. We were to go to his home for the noon meal. He had known there would be time to go over his notes, so he had left them at home.)

For want of his notes, he turned to testimony, giving an inspiring account of an administration he had performed during the week. A brother, given up by his doctors, had been called from the very shadows of death by the power of the priesthood. I do not know what was on his notes, but surely it could not have compared in inspiration to the testimony he bore.

An elderly woman sat on the front row, holding hands with a weathered-looking man. She looked a bit out of place in the fashionably dressed congregation—rather homespun by comparison. She looked as if she ought to talk in conference, and given the privilege, she reported her mission. Fifty-two years before, she had returned from the mission field, and since then she had never been invited to speak in church. It was a touching and moving witness that she bore.

Others were called upon to speak, and near the close of the meeting, the president suggested that I take the remainder of the time. “Have you had any inspiration?” I asked. He said that he kept thinking of the mayor. (The voters in that large city had elected a member of the Church to be mayor, and he was in attendance.) When I told him we could have a greeting from the mayor, he whispered that the man was not active in the Church. When I suggested that he call upon him anyway, he resisted, saying flatly that he was not worthy to speak in that meeting. At my insistence, however, he called the man to the stand.

The mayor’s father had been a pioneer of the Church in that region. He had served as bishop of one of the wards and had been succeeded by one of his sons—a twin to the mayor, as I recall. The mayor was the lost sheep. He came to the pulpit and spoke, to my surprise, with bitterness and with hostility. His talk began something like this: “I don’t know why you called on me. I don’t know why I am in church today. I don’t belong in church. I have never fit in. I don’t agree with the way the Church does things.”

I confess that I began to worry, but he then paused and lowered his eyes to the pulpit. From then until his talk was over, he did not look up. After hesitating, he continued: “I guess I just as well tell you. I quit smoking six weeks ago.” Then, shaking his fist in a gesture over his head towards the congregation, he said, “If any of you think that’s easy, you have never suffered the hell I have suffered in the last few weeks.”

Then he just melted. “I know the gospel is true,” he said. “I’ve always known it was true. I learned that from my mother as a boy.

“I know the Church isn’t out of order,” he confessed. “It’s me that’s out of order, and I’ve always known that too.”

Then he spoke perhaps for all of the lost sheep when he pleaded: “I know it’s me that is wrong, and I want to come back. I have been trying to come back, but you won’t let me!”

Of course we would let him come back, but somehow we hadn’t let him know that. After the meeting the congregation flooded up—not to us but to him to say, “Welcome home!”

On the way to the airport after conference, the stake president said to me, “I’ve learned a lesson today.”

Hoping to confirm it, I said, “If we had done what you wanted to do, you would have called on this man’s father, wouldn’t you, or perhaps his brother, the bishop?”

He nodded in affirmation and said: “Either of them, given 5 minutes, would have presented a stirring 15- or 20-minute sermon to the approval of all in attendance. But no lost sheep would have been reclaimed.”

All of us who lead in the wards and stakes must open the door to the lost sheep; stand aside to let them through. We must learn not to block the entrance. It is a narrow way. Sometimes we assume the clumsy posture of trying to pull them through the gate that we ourselves are blocking. Only when we have the spirit of lifting them, pushing them before us, seeing them elevated above us, do we have that spirit that will engender testimony.

So what have I learned and realized from this story? I realized that I have heard talks from the same 15 people while on my mission, and also while at home. If I go home and the same people that have been sharing talks for the last 5 years are still sharing and doing things like the "spirit cry" I will #PMITF (you have to be my friend to understand that one.) 
Come on, give other people a chance to speak! While at SVU, if I was never assigned to give a talk I never would have had the impression that I should serve a mission. Yeah, I gave a bogus talk that lasted three minutes, and I will go ahead and assume that no one in the congregation got too much out of it, BUT the spiritual impressions that I received told me that I should serve a mission and entirely changed my life. 
So yeah, that's what I have got to say about that. You were all thinking it, I'm just the one who said it.

Until next week,
Sister Egelund

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Good to be home.

June 8, 2014

Sister Egelund coming to you straight from Vietnaaaaaam.

This past week was pretty nuts trying to say goodbye to everyone in Cambodia, then making our way over and getting settled in Vietnam. It's really weird to be back here and see all of the familiar faces. It kind of felt like coming home. I love Vietnam a lot. A year and a half ago I was at home preparing for a mission and telling everyone that my dream was to serve in Vietnam. Look at me now! 

I get to serve in Vietnam at a really historic time for the progress of the church. Plus, I get to serve in a branch where my cousin is the second counselor in the branch presidency. It's a good time here in the mission life of Sister Egelund.

The last week in Cambodia was really sad though. Despite the...craziness...of everything and everyone in Cambam, I really loved being there. Oh well,it's good to be back here in the homeland.

Sorry my emails are getting blander and blander as the weeks go on. You should expect a crazy email next week though - wer're white washing in a city of 19 million should be fun.

Love you all like a fat kid loves cake!

-Sister Egelund/Chi Trinh Ly

Line of the week:
*saying goodbye to the senior couple at the mission home*
Me: "You're invited to my wedding. It'll probably be in 2 thousand...30!"
*I turned around and President Moon was right behind me*
President: "You're wedding better be sooner than that."
Me: "Oh yeah. Sorry I meant to say next year right after I get home..."

Awkward interactions with President. My specialty. 

The Trinh Twins Takeover

June 1, 2014

I'm coming home, to the place where I belong...
Another sunny place. I'm lucky I know but I wanna come home...
Ahh home, let me come home. Home is wherever I'm with you...

Sorry, I am not coming home to Tooele for about 9 months, but I am going back to the homeland - Vietnam! And guess who my companion is? Sister Hunsaker/Chi Trinh! That's right, I'm staying with the same companion, just moving over to a new area. Actually not just a new area...a different country!

Season 2: The Trinh Twins Take Over Vietnam

So here's the rundown of the past week:

On Friday President Moon went to Vietnam to sign papers to continue the progress of the church in Vietnam. Apparently you have all heard of it already because it was in the news or something. Maybe everyone at home finally realizes how cool my mission is? Who knows.
Oh yeah, the missionaries got to sign in the 20th year thing. That was neato.
Saturday was the big celebration for the 20th anniversary of the church in Cambodia. It was cool. The AP's put me in charge of rallying up 40 or so missionaries against 3,000 or so Cambodian people to distribute food after the program. Well I did it and it was a 10. I also lost my voice, but the AP's said they would put in the good word to President Moon to make me an AP if I passed the test. They're liars. My dream of being a sister AP or sister district leader may never come to pass. Whatevs.

The food rally thing...Yeah, that's me down there yelling at people. Probably yelling at Elders who won't stand in their assigned spots.
 So for the past six weeks of this transfer I have been missing Saigon a lot, but everyone told me I would probably be returning after I serve in Cambo for a few transfers. But, they say I'm a dreamer, so I told everyone that not only was I going to go back this transfer, but I was also going to take the other Trinh with me. And look at what happened...Personal revelation, positive thinking and energy, plain ol' crazy. Call it what you will, but this is the craziest transfer EVER.

Oh hey, did I mention that this is the first time that two mixed people are going to be serving together in Vietnam, and the first time there has been a sister companionship in Vietnam with two Americans. Yeah, I'm pumped.
Saiiiii Goonnnnnnn

This is my best friend, Ba Tu. She's one of the oldest members and she has a hunchback. To say she's a million times cooler than all of you would be a definite understatement.
So yeah, wish me lots of luck next transfer. We're heading over on Friday, who knows when we'll see the good land of Cambodia again.

Egelund, out.

Sincerely, all sisters in the world

May 25, 2014

Nothing too exciting to report on this week.

In celebration for serving nearly 10 months...and having to deal with Elders for 10 months I have put together a list of The Do's and The Don'ts for Elders. I have been designated as the advocate for all the sister missionaries that have head aches from the foolish things Elders do.
So here's the list:
The Do's for Elders - 

Do bleach your shirts so they are not disgustingly yellow. I can look at an Elder and be able to tell how long he has been in the field based on the yellow tint of his shirt.
Do cut your hair so you do not look like a father gorilla from behind. #RealExperience
If a sister falls off her bike and is bleeding, ask how she is first before asking if the bicycle is damaged.
Please, try to actually be helpful to the sisters instead of being stubborn teenage boys.
Be on time.
Look presentable.
Try to just be normal and not socially awkward. There is a difference between obedience and being a robot.
DO shine your shoes.
Wear a watch.
The Don'ts for Elders:

Don't be assigned to bike home with the sisters at night to make sure they get home safely, BUT bike so quickly that we are just left in the dust. Yes, that happens. Yes, you get yelled at by Sister Egelund if you do it.
Do not tell sisters your biased opinion of our clothing or the way we look.
Do not say phrases like "what the freak" or anything remotely similar to inappropriate words.
Don't wear scarves.
Do not ever, ever, ever talk back to the sisters. It's just like in high school - you make one girl mad and every other girl will have a problem with you.
Don't forget to give a sister a Priesthood blessing.
Don't talk bad about other missionaries in front of everyone.
Don't shake a woman's hand for more than 3 seconds.
Do not make stupid irrelevant jokes. Really, they're not funny to anyone other than you.
Don't take stuff without asking.

Don't expect the sisters to always have food for you.
Don't tell someone they're immature just because they're an 18 or 19 year old missionary.
Don't volunteer the sisters to do stuff for other people.
Don't be a hypocrite.
So those are some of the Do's and Don'ts for Elders. I'm mostly writing this because my younger brother Eric should be beginning his mission in one year. And Eric, if you are like some of the people I have met, I will show up to your mission and punch you in the face. #PMITF
#rantover #Idolovemymission #noteventrunky #peoplearecool #thisismylife

The Viet district here in Cambo! I have a really cool stick for my camera. We call it the Selfie Stick. Obviously it comes in handy.

Jerry, Jerry!!!

May 18, 2014

Sorry I didn't email last week. If you have ever looked at InstaG or anything like that though you probably know that every missionary skyped home for Mother's Day. And all 80,000 of us were too lazy to write weekly emails home.

These past two weeks were intense. We ended this week with only teaching 5 full lessons. We managed to visit a good amount of people, but the heat is killing everyone. I have no idea how hot it actually is, all I know is that the minute you step outside all of your energy is gone and we legleglegit get sick after being out for a few hours. It's the worst. The people are lucky though because they just take a million showers in one day. A blind guy freaked out when I told him I only have time to take 2 showers a day...
This is called the 'Poop River'.
Anyway, here's the weekly recap:

Monday - Like I said, it was Skype time. I found out Joey the goldfish is dead. No worries. I just cried myself to sleep. Then we went to the grocery store where I bought instant noodles and cereal. #GetFit

Tuesday - The Young Ambassadors from BYU came and did a super cool show here in Phnom Penh. The coolest part wasn't the show though, the best part was that we were outside past curfew - 9 o'clock! AND IT WAS ALLOWED. Honestly it was really weird and Sister Hunsaker and I were exhausted. Haha at home I could stay up until 4 am without any problem. Look at me now.

Wednesday - I think that was the day that I walked outside of our bedroom and there was a cat there.

Thursday - Can't remember.

Friday - Sister Hunsaker and I went to an area down by the stinky river with the senior couples and helped them give out relief supplies to 30 + families that had their homes burned down.

The Scene of the fire...pretty scary.
Saturday - That night there was a branch activity so in the afternoon we biked over the bridge to go to a sisters home and help her cook for the activity. After cooking we left our bikes at her house and took a tuk tuk to the church. The activity was pretty fun other than the fact that our branch is incapable of playing games. Whatever though because we ate really good food. After the activity we took the tuk tuk back to the sisters house to get our bikes...but we were so full that we couldn't bike back home so we had to take a tuk tuk back to our house.
Sunday - Let's just say that going to church sometimes turns into a fight that's crazier than an episode of the Jerry Springer show.
Hula hooping because I wanted to show the kids how it's really done.

So that was my week.

Sorry not to many details, but this heat is exhausting.