Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Temporary Returned Missionary

So if you read last weeks email you heard that I was going to go get the lump on my throat checked out...
 
Here's a recap of the week:
 
Monday - Went to an international medical center and met with the doctor. She immediately had me do some blood tests and then I was transported to another hospital for an ultrasound (Ultrasounds just make me think of Juno). The doctor was really awkward. I walked into the room and he didn't say a single word. He just pointed to the uncomfortable paper-covered bed and I assumed he wanted me to lay down.
Guess what? All of the rumors about ultrasounds that you've heard from pregnant ladies are true - that goo stuff is cold and gross.
So yeah that happened. I tried to take selfies for proof but it there was no photography allowed...

Tuesday - Went back to the hospital to get my results...

Woman doctor: "You need a biopsy."
Trinh Ly: "Where do I do that?"
Woman doctor: "I suggest you do it outside of Vietnam. You can go to Singapore, Hong Kong, or back to the States."

And that's what happened. I cried so hard for a solid 30 seconds then decided to be a big kid. Then spent the rest of the day stressing out and trying to get all the medical exams sent to Cambo so they could be sent to the area doctor in Hong Kong.

Wednesday - Sister Moon had told me she would call me back at about 4 in the afternoon to let me know what the area doctor suggested I do. 4 o'clock came and went...still no call...still lots of anxiety.

Finally at 9 PM President Moon called. Getting a call from the mission president is never a good thing. It's like when you're in school and they call you to the principals office. You want to believe he's asked to see you because you're a great student...but that's never it. Anyway, I don't really remember what he said. I just remember that after a whole bunch of talking it was decided that I needed to get on the early morning bus and get to Cambodia ASAP.

Then the anxiety got higher and in my moment of trial and fear I promised Elder Phat four boxes of Honey Bunches of Oats. That was very irrational.
Then I spent the night getting my bags packed...I didn't realize that I had accumulated so much junk. I thought that I would have no problem getting all of my stuff in those three pink suitcases...nope. It took three suitcases and four big boxes. #ClassicEmily

Thursday - Said bye to the four elders in my district and Mr. Hiep the security guy at the church. I gave the Elders my food...Elder Phat better thank me for those boxes of cereal. Honey Bunches of Oats is my life.
My cousin, Hoang, came to the church and gave me a Priesthood blessing. It was my first blessing I've received in Viet and it was a solid 10!
After peacing out Sister Tra and I jumped into a taxi that had a female driver...sups sketch. Sister Hunsaker and Sister Hong met us at the bus stop and it was like a horrible breakup. They bought me baked goods though so I didn't shed any tears.

5 That night we got the to mission home. I interviewed with President Moon to discuss what would happen and ultimately we decided it would be best for me to go home for further testing.

11 o'clock PM...I was on an airplane.

Friday: Home. They released me (not as cool as I thought it would be). And I became a normal person...

Saturday: Being normal is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. Have you ever seen that movie Life Size with Tyra Banks and Lindsay Lohan. You know, the one where the Barbie doll comes to life? Yeah, well I'm the come to life Barbie doll that literally doesn't know how to do anything and eats plain butter.

Cool story right? I wish I could add a big fat JUST KIDDING...but it's true. So now I'm home and Tuesday I will go to the doctor. The doctor in Hong Kong says that it is probably one of three things: A schist, a thyroid nodule, or cancer. I along with everyone else doubt that it is cancer though. If it were cancer my blood  would probably be out of wack, but it's fine. Really everything with my health is completely normal, I just have this stupid lump! And if it's a schist or a thyroid nodule I should be healthy enough to go back out to the field!!

That's that. Don't worry about me too much, kay?! I know without a doubt that this is part of Heavenly Father's plan and there are things that I must learn from this. I already have so much more appreciation for my mission, and I know there are many other things I will learn through this experience! Remember, each one of our lives is in the hands of God. So don't stress, just trust Him!

I love you all! Thank you so much for all of your support during this crazy thing. And for all of you that are currently serving that receive this, remember YOSMO! You Only Serve A Mission Once so use this time the very best you can. We have the power to change lives!
I hope to be back in Cambam soon!

With toooooons of love,
Emily Egelund the RM :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Viets are Poets

September 21, 2014

The Vietnamese have this weird thing that they do when they just start rambling off weird Vietnamese poetry. It's weird. One minute they're just having a nice, normal conversation about rice or phở and then before I can even process what they're saying they're going off about lotus flowers and wise old men.
More than anything I want to be a real Vietnamese person. I try my best to eat some of the funky things people put in front of me at the dinner table, I wear socks with sandals like all the ladies, I put whitening lotion on every morning and evening. I'm doing my best to be as Viet as I can be. The only major road block is the my Vietnamese is worth 2 cents. So, to try to get at the top of my game I'm learning the weird Vietnamese poems. Although half of them don't make sense to me people love it when I say them and slowly but surely I will become a Viet. You know, I'm just preparing for the day that I inherit mom's nail salon. Haha

So list of things that happened this week:

Monday: Everyone went to play soccer. I chickened out like usual so I just sat there taking pictures. Some things never change.

Soccer...I don't know what Elder Thái was doing, but I'm glad I got the picture.
Tuesday: We finally got around to having our zone training. Sister Trà and I are doing this thing where we give our members and recent converts a Preach My Gospel and have them teach us the lessons and we act like investigators. It's a little weird because they even follow up with us and ask us if we've been praying and reading the Book of Mormon often. The lessons are amazing though and it's awesome to have recent converts testify to us about the truthfulness of the gospel instead of the other way around. Then at the end we review and evaluate what things they taught that were really spiritual and what could be taught better in preparation of teaching actual investigators. Since the last General Conference in April 2014 we've been sharing Elder Ballard's talking with everyone:

". . . I invite all members, regardless of your current calling or level of activity in the Church, to obtain a copy of Preach My Gospel. It is available through our distribution centers and also online. The online version can be read or downloaded at no cost. It is a guidebook for missionary work—which means it is a guidebook for all of us. Read it, study it, and then apply what you learn to help you understand how to bring souls to Christ through invitation and follow-up. As President Thomas S. Monson has said, “Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together, to work together, to labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto Him.”5
There are practical ways for members to help and support our remarkable missionaries. For example, you can tell the missionaries that you are studying Preach My Gospel and ask them to show you what they are learning in their studies. As you share with each other, increased confidence between members and full-time missionaries will surely develop, just as the Lord commanded:
“But that every man [and woman] might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world.”7
And “Behold, I sent you out to testify and warn the people, and it becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor.”8
Brothers and sisters, can you imagine the impact if family and friends included things they are learning from their personal study of Preach My Gospel in their letters and emails to their full-time missionaries? Can you picture the blessings that will come to families when they know and understand better what their sons and daughters will be studying and teaching on their missions? Can you even begin to fathom the extraordinary outpouring of atoning grace that will be ours, individually and collectively, according to the Savior’s promise to all who bear testimony in the process of inviting souls to come unto Him—and then following up on those invitations?"
Wednesday: There is a television program from India that is translated and broadcast on a local Vietnamese channel. Everyone watches this show...and everyone thinks that I am one of those Indians.
Thursday: I love Americans. Especially the American families in our branch that make us dinner every week!
Friday: One word: sweaty. We're making our way out of the rainy season and it's gettin' hot up in here. We spent an hour walking around trying to contact and by the end of it I was so sweaty that my lotion was literally coming out of my pores. I looked like I was melting because my arm just had this layer of white lotion on it. Hahaha Sups gross.
Saturday: It was a roller coaster ride of emotions that day. At noon we taught an investigator...she yelled at our member help and told her she didn't have any faith. That was suuuuuper awkward. Then I pulled an Elder Moreno from The District videos and told our nameless investigator that there was no way she is going to learn anything if she won't even open the Book of Mormon. Then we went home for lunch and I was really frustrated so I raged and asked the Elders to call the rice and chicken guy to deliver me food. The rice and chicken calmed me down. That evening the branch put together a going away party for the 3 members that will begin their missions this week. It was sad. We're all going to be serving within the same mission together but regardless it's still a goodbye and I hate goodbye's more than anything.
The going away party!
There's also a new girl in the branch. She's from Texas and is Mexican and Native American. She looks like she's from India though and everyone literally thinks that we are sisters...
Sunday: It was my cousins birthday. We had a party and they made my favorite food - rice porridge soup stuff with chicken! They just moved here and they've already made it three times for me. #TheGoodLife
Birthday party!
See ya,
Egelund
P.S. I'm going to the hospital today because I've had a lump in my throat for two months...Happy P-day.

Food is Love

September 14, 2014

I'm short on time today so here's a quick recap of the week:
Monday - I slept. P-days are grool.
Tuesday - We ate three meals in a row. It was supposed to be four but one had to be cancelled because Sister Tra and I were beginning to see the light. Food is how Vietnamese people show love. Seriously. They don't say I love you, they just make good food for each other. I love being loved...until I'm fat.
Wednesday - At the end of English class we had all the students get together and watch the Restoration video. It was the largest group we've had in a while and everyone was super into the movie. I looked around and everyone was smiling and I was super happy. And I've learned that when things are going right in missionary work, there seems to always be something that tries to stop the work. RIGHT at the part where Joseph Smith is praying and he looks up and sees "a pillar of light over his head" the video just stopped. #PMITF Everyone freaked out and the kids were sighing because they didn't know what was happening. It was like at the end of National Treasure 2 when they bring up "page 47" in the Book of Secrets and you're so excited to know what the secret is but then the movie ends. So the Restoration video stopping was comparable to that...
Fortunately for me, as an Asian, being tech savvy is part of my blood so I got it fixed and it was a grand evening at English class.
Thursday - We went hard with contacting. Some guy on the street invited us into his house after 15 seconds of talking (we had Khanh as our body guard so it was totes safe. No worries.) THIS MAN WAS EXACTLY LIKE DAVID SPADE AND I ALMOST CRIED BECAUSE I WAS LAUGHING SO HARD AT EVERYTHING HE SAID. I am proud to announce that I have found my Vietnamese best friend! 
I also accidentally contacted a police officer that was undercover...We all thought we were going to go to jail. Haha #YOSMO (You Only Serve A Mission Once)
Friday - We were supposed to have a big billion hour long zone training...until the zone leader didn't get back from Cambodia in time.
Saturday - "Sister Tra, do you know who the Beatles are?", I said. She replies, "Ummmm. Band with Justin Timbaaa...." *I literally punched myself in the face*
Sunday - I went to church and they made me translate...little do they know that when I translate I just make up and teach my own lesson because I can't translate. Jokes on them.

See you later alligator.
-Egghead


Photo 1: This is my cool bike. His name is Marty McFly because there's a sticker that came with the bike that says Back to the Future!
Photo 2: Sometimes Khanh tries to teach me Vietnamese but I don't know what he's saying so he has to do things like this as an example of the word he's explaining.




Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hey, are you happy?

September 7, 2014

Friends, so you know how we used to go to Salt Lake, or Washington D.C. or really anywhere that was crowded and I would just go around giving high fives to random people, ask strangers if they were happy, or give compliments to random people? 

I would try to walk through a crowded area and put my hand up and shout "up top!" to everyone in hopes that someone would give me a high five! I would roll down the car window when we stopped at a stoplight and ask the people in the cars next to us if they were happy. We would always smile and wave to the people that were around us. Well, a majority of the time the response received would be a confused look, but each time we went out I would find a few people that actually found it fun or humorous to talk to someone they did not know.

A lot of people, even including my friends, thought I was weird or a freak for just going around talking to strangers though. Honestly, it is weird. Normal people don't just go around talking to people they don't know asking them how their day was. But I never have been normal.
So why would I make myself a fool and go do this? Because I honestly believe that a smile from a stranger could change the world. If we would all just take a moment each day and stop being so caught up in our own lives and see what and who is around us, we could do incredible things! 

Don't hate me for this but I'm going to quote a Hannah Montana song:
"I want to see beyond my own little world, and see the world with clarity. We all want to be part of the greater picture. It fills the universe and lights the sky above. It rescues all of our hearts. It's love! That's what's bigger than us. We all want to believe in love, we all want to believe in something that's bigger then us. That is love."

Okay, so that is my lousy quotation of Hannah Montana, but do you get what I'm saying? If we will all love people, and not just the people we know and consider friends, but if we love ALL people we can do something that's bigger than us.

How this connects to missionary work:
President Moon has set a goal for each companionship to contact at least 10 people a day. For me and Sister Tra here in Vietnam is takes about 2 - 3 hours at the minimum to contact 10 people. When the goal was first announced I thought it was completely impossible. Before that I had probably only contacted 10 people within two transfers, and now I was expected to contact that many people in one day?! Ha. Well jokes on me. It's totally possible and it's totally fun! It's like being at home. I just walk around the streets and talk to whoever I want. The only difference is that now I don't just chat with them and leave, but I talk to them in hopes of sharing the sweetest, coolest, most fantastic message ever - The Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ! Boom! It's super cool and tons of fun. We also take members who plan to go on missions with us so they can get a taste of what the work is like...and they know the streets better so we don't get lost...

I really liked being a missionary this week! 

With LOL (the old people version of LOL not the youthful one),

Sister Egelund


Photo 1: Preach My Gospel class only had one student because of the rain. But it was probably one of the best lessons we have ever had. Chú Nghĩa, the man in the picture, is like a mini mission president. He has tons of faith in missionary work and he always shares scriptures with us to encourage the missionaries....and if we do something wrong he also tells us straight what we need to change. I love him!


Photo 2: Quick contacting break to take some selfies.


Photo 3: The beginning of flooding outside of our house.




Thursday, September 11, 2014

Year 1. Not as special as you would imagine.

August 31, 2014

So apparently sections of my emails are copied, pasted, and stuck into some ward bulletin back home. 
That's nice and all, but if you want to know what's going on in my life you can just email me directly. 
Or not, it's whatever.

This week marks the one year anniversary of being a missionary.
In celebration I've decided that I really am lazy and I don't like having to come up with interesting emails for you all each week. Therefore, these things are probably going to be really boring unless something fantastic happens. Plus, I know that my blog doesn't get updated either, so really no one even reads these emails and they're a waste of my p-day sleeping time.

Updates of my week:
Six Viet missionaries died this week. Not like died died, finished their missions died. Five of them were at the Thao Dien branch of Sunday. I hated it. They're just normal returned missionaries now and they can hug each other and go to the bathroom without someone having to stand outside the door. You know, normal people stuff. It kind of made me trunky, but also made me not want to ever go back to being normal. 

Here's my big news for the week:

I'm staying an extra transfer!

Yay! Last week someone from the mission office called and asked if I wanted to go home on February 13 or March 27. My exact 18 months is in the middle of a transfer so I can choose to go home early or later. I thought for sure I would want to go home as early as possible, but you gotta practice what you preach - sacrifice is a source of blessings. 
"The concluding section of For the Strength of Youth, in a section titled “Go Forward with Faith,” it says: “As you do these things, the Lord will make much more out of your life than you can by yourself. He will increase your opportunities, expand your vision, and strengthen you. He will give you the help you need to meet your trials and challenges. You will gain stronger testimony and find 
true joy as you come to know your Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christand feel Their love for you”([2011], 43)."



And there you have it, my weekly email.

Respectfully submitted, church auditing department.


The piccha: The dead missionaries. So weird, so weird.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

#Lovatic

August 24, 2014

Highlight of the week: While in the middle of personal study I can hear out in the lobby of our apartment some familiar music. Part of me wants to just ignore it and keep studying, but I listened just to see if I'm still good at guessing songs. Once I focused in it wasn't too hard to guess - it was Demi Lovato! And not only did I, the top 40 expert American recognize the song, but so does my companion Sister Trà. Haha We both just stared at each other for a moment, laughed, then decided we should probably try to focus on studying again. But it kept going - Demi song after Demi song. Suuuper distracting. After studying we had to head over to the church. While leaving I looked to see who it was that is a Lovatic. I thought it would be the receptionist, but nope, it was the old man security guy! Haha He was watching a whole reel of Demi music videos! He's cool.

Okay, so that probably wasn't the ultimate highlight of my week. I would say the highlight of my week was seeing Khánh open his mission call. Although there has only ever been one missionary from Vietnam serve outside of the Cambodia mission, we all like to guess random places. I had everyone play that silly game when you put the mission call on your forehead and guess. Well, all of our guesses that he is going to go to Singapore, or South America, or Africa were all wrong. Brother Khánh will soon be Elder Khánh in the Cambodia, Phnom Penh mission! I'm super stoked for him! In the year that I've been here I have seen Khánh change so much. When I first began in Thảo Điền he had a calling as a branch missionary, but never came to the meetings because he wanted to go play soccer instead. But after a lot of persistence from the elders, he began coming each week. Just a few months ago he was called as the branch mission LEADER! Normally BM leaders are returned missionaries. Not Khánh though, he's an exception. (You are the only exception. Oh you are the only exception. Guess that song! C'mon it's super easy!) And now he's off to the MTC the end of September. 

In one year I have seen SO many things change. My own self, my friends, my family, and especially this branch have all changed so much. It's a little weird to think that just a while ago I was trying really hard just to say the tones on khỏe không (how are you?) and now I'm having straight conversations with people. My language is still a work in progress though. Here's an example from this past week: Sister Stephens and I were on an exchange and went to Khánh's house to visit his family and teach a recent convert. After the lesson we were helping them with their English a bit and they wanted us to choose English names for them. We chose Khánh's name to be Jordan, his mom is now Sister Susan, but I couldn't think of a good name for the little brother Lộc. After some deep thinking I came up with one that's perfect for him - Matt! But when Sister Stephens and I told them they all just busted up laughing. Why? Because apparently there is a Vietnamese word that is pronounced like Matt - Mách - that means 'crazy'.... 

Speaking of crazy - transfer calls . . . for the first time weren't super crazy. Sister Trà and I are staying together another transfer! There are a few other changes within the Viet program that are a little interesting but nothing too nuts. The Vietnamese kid from California who was assigned to the Khmer speaking program has now been moved to the Viet program...I think he's spent over an entire year learning Khmer and now he's switching languages. The Viet program is so small (24 missionaries) that it should be pretty easy to guess who is going to transfer where, but weird things always happen that don't make sense. We've all given up on guessing now.

That's it for the week.
B.B. (Viet way to say 'bye bye'.)

-Chị Cả Trịnh Ly

Photo 1: The mission call opening.
Photo 2: Me and my cousin - mean muggin' 4 lyfe.
Photo 3: The headline of the article is "I wish I wasn't an American."





The Book of Mormon + Law and Order

August 17, 2014

You know why I like my mom?
Because she does funny things like secretly coming to Vietnam, getting sick from eating random food, and then goes to the hospital and refers people to the church. So shout out to Mama Hương for referring to us our most recent investigator...who has already accepted to be baptized in October!

So this kid is awesome! His name's Duy and he's in his third year of college in the city. He's really shy, but just a super sweet, genuine guy! It's kind of hard to get him talking, but him and my cousin Hoàng have become pretty good friends so they share a lot with each other! Like I've said from the very beginning, the Trịnh/Egelund family is doing the Work of Salvation together! In the words of my favorite Disney Channel original movie, "We're all in this together."

Speaking of all being in this together - what have you done recently to be a member missionary?
This is my friendly reminded for you all to follow Elder Ballard's commitment to invite four people a year to learn about the restored gospel. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/following-up?lang=eng
I'm really grateful for my mom inviting Duy to come to church because now Sister Trà and I have the opportunity to teach an investigator! It's been a while since I've had the chance to teach an investigator, so I'm really excited about this. It's really hard to be here and be a missionary when there's no investigators to teach. I mean, teaching members and recent converts is awesome! But when you meet an investigator and you see that they're ready - they want to be baptized, they keep commitments, and the Spirit testifies to them and to you that the things you are teaching are true - that's the best feeling. 
So, help the missionaries out and refer us your friends, your family, your colleagues, your neighbors, anyone and everyone! The gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone so just take a chance and invite them to learn. Invite. That's all you have to do. Then the missionaries will take the reigns and teach! Please and thank you!

Moving on to the next topic in my typical incoherent email:

-You know what I don't miss about home? Commercials on TV. 
I don't know why I thought about this the other day, but I really don't miss things like Proactiv commercials telling me I need to buy random stuff to make my face nicer.

-Have you ever read the book of Helaman in the Book of Mormon? Most of it is really cool stories of trying to figure out who killed who and while reading iIt I just imagine it like that show Law and Order. Am I the only one who feels like this?...
Probably.

Last but not least, I miss sitting with my family during sacrament meeting at church! That's something we do at home that they don't do here and I hate it. It's hard because they drive moto's to church so everyone in the family gets there at different times and it's hard to find seats all together, but sitting as a family at church is really important! So there's another thing to add to my list of things I miss from home.

Sister Egelund, over and out.
Dueces (I'm trying to get that to catch on in Vietnam...)

Photo 1: Look at these clouds and tell me that's not the coolest thing ever. I was riding my bike down the street and stopped for probably over 5 minutes to just stop and stare! They were amazing!

Photo 2: Caption missing, really, Emily didn't say anything about this one. But doesn't she look great anyway? 



#MissionaryLingo

August 10, 2014

This week. 
I liked it.
On Tuesday morning we went over to Cambodia to renew my Visa and I went out on exchanges with Sister Litchfield for a few days. It's always fun to have the opportunity to serve together again after being companions with each other in the MTC. Sister Litchfield is a really hard worker and she is super diligent which is perfect because that's the Christlike attribute that I've been trying really hard to work on - Diligence! #ThingsMissionariesSay
Anyway, we had a good time and we were able to contact a lot of people! Honestly, I hate contacting. I mean, who really likes it though? You have to go walk around under the blazing sun and talk to people who are total strangers. BUT in the end you find super amazing people and you become "forever friends" with them! 

On Wednesday night we had English class so "Elder Cambo Tran" (A Vietnamese Elder who is in the Khmer program) had us stand on the streets with posters inviting people to come to a FREEEEE English class! If any of you remember my prom campaigning in high school you know that I'm really good at going out on the streets and yelling at people...
That's probably my best talent and I def haven't lost it while serving a mission! In the end English class was a hit! I even contacted this white guy from London...who was on drugs...and claims that Quinten Tarantino wrote the Bible. Super awesome guy to say the least.

One sad thing happened while I was in the Cambo - I found out that there is no way I can become assistant to the president. I mean, life gets tough sometimes but I have a testimony that in times of trial we simply have to pray. Okay okay just kidding. Well, not kidding, you should pray. And also not kidding because I was devastated. Life goes on though...

And that's what happened this week.

Be cool. Be you.

-Sister Egelund

Photo 1: I bought 18 boxes of cereal because it was buy one get one free.
Photo 2: You can't really tell but that's the view of a double rainbow from the top of the Saigon bridge.
Photo 3: The Zone.





Thursday, September 4, 2014

It's the Plan, Stan.

August 3, 2014

My mission definitely hasn't been ordinary. From the moment I got my call to serve in Cambodia/Vietnam this has been an adventure and a half. I never imagined that being assigned to serve in the "homeland" would be like this - every week seeing my cousins, meeting people again that I met eight years ago while only traveling in Vietnam, and even having my own mother travel to the city every other month and trying to avoid running into her. I don't know what a "normal mission" is like, but this isn't what I expected.

One thing that I've learned while serving is an appreciation for my Vietnamese roots. Yeah, I know I was born and raised in America but being a halfsie has always been important to me. And if you knew me in high school you probably just knew me by the name Asian. I did, and still do take a lot of pride in being a Viet.

Another thing I have come to love and really appreciate is my cousins. Last summer my family and I went to the Manila, Philippines temple together. At the time I could barely communicate with them, really I could barely say their names correctly. And although my Vietnamese is still not that great, I am able to talk to them a lot, especially my cousin Hoàng! These past eleven months he has always helped me and encouraged me to do the best work I can for the Lord. Hoàng is the best and all Vietnamese girls should want to marry him...in the temple...maybe even this year....anywayyy...

I know the Lord answered my prayers when He allowed me to serve in Vietnam. But He didn't just send me here because He knows I thought it would be fun. I think the Lord knows that I'm really too weak and wouldn't be able to do this whole mission thing without my family's support. Missions aren't for quitters. When things get tough, when you're stressed or frustrated, you just have to make 1 phone call to the president and you can go home. They don't teach you this, but I learned it while in the MTC - if you want to go home, go. No one is going to force you to stay. No one is going to help you with your bags though because no one wants to see a missionary go home. To be honest a lot of us want to quit sometimes. I wanted to quit just three weeks ago - made the phone call and everything. Well, obviously I didn't go home because I'm currently in a really hot internet shop in Saigon. But yeah, sometimes this gets difficult. But because I have my family, I'm staying.

So let me tell you about what happened this past week and maybe you'll understand why I've told you of the importance of my family. 

I have two cousins, Huy and Dung. They're Hoàng's brother, and sister-in-law. They're members but live far out of the city so I don't get the chance to see them too often. Dung was pregnant expecting a baby girl who was to be born this week. But, Tuesday morning I received a call and found out that Dung had had a miscarriage. From that morning, even until now I feel like this is a dream and that none of this has actually happened. I really wish that it didn't happen. I really really wish that this week I would have a new baby cousin. That's not God's plan though. This past week I have had to really practice what I preach and simply put my life in the Lord's hands and really trust that it is all part of His plan.

Tuesday afternoon I went to the hospital to visit. Being there was hard, really hard. The hospital was full and she just had to lay on a bed in the hallway. And in there we all just sat crying. You know when you're surrounded by people but you just kinda feel alone? (That may or may not be a song. I don't know.) I felt like that for a bit until I remembered one of my favorite scriptures in Alma 7: 11 - 12

 11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
 12 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.
He knows. The Lord knows it all because He felt it all. And in our infirmities He knows how to comfort and heal us. He understands this trial that has caused heartache for many people. And He is here for us.

I'm grateful that I didn't go home and I chose to stay here. I'm grateful for the numerous members who served and went to the hospital this past week to be with Huy and Dung. I'm grateful for families - the ones that are connected to you by blood, and also the ones that are connected to you through the gospel. I'm especially grateful that we have the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation and knowing that we never really have to say goodbye to our families. And I'm grateful for temples that make eternal families possible.

Huy and Dung hope to go to the temple this year to be sealed as a family, and plan to move to the city so they can attend church regularly.

Lesson learned this week: Endure to the end - it's all part of His plan.

With love,
Sister Egelund

Watch this a million times because it's the best.