Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Roller Coaster Ride

October 26, 2014

My first email I sent to President Moon when I arrived back to the mission field described what it feels like to be on this roller coaster ride of emotions I feel as a missionary. What I didn't realize at the time I wrote that email was that the ride hadn't even started! All I had done was sit down and fasten my seat belt. This week the roller coaster took off though and we have already gone through some crazy stuff.
This week had a couple steep drops down, but also a lot of high points. You know when you're at the very top of the coaster and you can look out and see everything in front of you? The sun is shining really bright and although you're only up there for one second the time feels infinite? The high points this week were like that.
So the ride quickly went to a high point this week on Wednesday when we found four new investigators at English class! In the middle of Elder Bao's class we split the students up because we had so many people there. I got to teach an English class of my own for the first time in like six months. Meaning that I also had the opportunity to teach the gospel message for the first time in a long time. And it went really well! These four students, this was their first time to class and they really wanted to learn about the church afterwards. That never happens!

On Thursday and Friday the coaster took us through a couple loops as we did exchanges for training.
Trinh Twins on exchange...
I spent the day with Sister Hunsaker in the Thao Dien branch and we planned ourselves an action packed, missionary work filled day...until the people we planned on meeting cancelled and the Elders called and said they noticed Sister Hunsaker's bike was broken and they took it out to get fixed. Well, it didn't take me 14 months of this mission thing to understand that it's not a companion exchange unless something goes wrong.
Around noon the bike was supposed to be done so we went to go pick it up. but we were left with only one bike so I had to bike while Sister Hunsaker rode on the back. Definitely not a skill I've picked up on the mission, but it went surprisingly well. (I took pictures to prove it.) So we get there, and they still didn't have the bike finished! So now what do we do? No bike = nothing to really do. All members live at least a half hour away by bicycle, and the area we were in was white people central so contacting would be difficult. So I followed my instincts and went and bought myself an oatmeal raisin cookie to cheer myself up. 
Even more of the Trinh Twins.

So now the Trinh Twins both had cookies in hand, and no place to sit down and eat them...so we went to Popeye's. We're sitting there, kickin' it old school while 2012 top 40 hits is playing and the air conditioner is making me drowsy, and I look around to find that two American members are there getting food too! The number of members here in Vietnam is really few, so seeing a fellow member out in public is as freaky as watching a dog walk on two legs.
While leaving we stopped to talk to them. Oh, their names are David and Josh by the way. Anyway, so Josh invited us to sit down and share a spiritual thought with them. Umm...okay. We're in Popeye's, it smells like fried chicken, the walls are painted the brightest shade of orange known to mankind, and One Direction is playing - it's a perfect setting to share the Gospel. But like I've told you all before, I think lessons are always better when the missionaries don't teach, but the members are the ones to teach and testify to us. So I invited Josh, a returned missionary from Australia, to share his favorite scripture with us. And the next half hour was like crazy Harry Potter magic!
He shared about the sons of Mosiah and how they were the "very violest of sinners", and they suffered "much anguish of soul because of their iniquities." The sons of Mosiah had done many many wrongs things and openly rebelled against God and His church in their past. And although they had left those things behind in their past, choosing to never do them again, they still had regrets. They were still remorseful for the things they had done. And they didn't feel worthy. But "the Lord saw fit in His infinite mercy to spare them." The Lord loved them so He saved them. Heavenly Father loved them so He forgave. And by feeling the grace and love of God in their lives, they chose to go and declare of the Lord's goodness to the Lamanites!
Every single one of us is going to face trials. Every single one of us is going to be faced with whirlwinds and storms that could potentially break us and throw us to the ground. Our trials are our make or break moments. And we have to choose - we have to choose if our sins will pull us into the storm, or if they will make us stronger! Are you going to hold on to the burdens that come from guilt and sulk in your misery because you feel weak? Or are you going to reach out and grab the hand of the Lord that is always extended towards you, and allow Him to pull you back to safety? That's the question we have to constantly ask ourselves - am I going to let the Lord save me? The sons of Mosiah were forgiven after true, sincere repentance. We too can be forgiven. They "experienced a change of heart, and . . . [sang] the song of redeeming love" then went out and shared that joy with others!
All of this happened while in the Popeye's! That's testimony to me that the Spirit can be felt in any place, and although a bunch of things go wrong and plans fall through, the Lord will always lead us to where we need to be. Shout out to Josh! I don't know how much of a help the sister missionaries were to you, but Sister Hunsaker and I both agreed that our testimonies were strengthened that day because of all that you shared!
I want to end this email right here on a high note, but this email is about the roller coaster. And all things that go up must come down. And this drop in the ride is probably the quickest, lowest drop I've experienced in my mission. Sunday afternoon while sitting outside of a members house I had to hear her blatantly tell us that she has chosen a different path in her life, and that path doesn't include the church. We all know inactive members, we all know people that don't want to attend church anymore, but being there as this member finally admitted this to us, and honestly admitted it to herself that she has chosen to not attend church anymore, it broke my heart. i just wanted her to understand that having faith in Christ is the best, and the only way to be truly happy! I know that! I've climbed up to some really tall points of the roller coaster and I've looked out and I know that there are a bunch of loops, and drops, and some scary heights coming up. Sometimes we're unsure if we're going to be able to handle it. But we have all been promised that if we will hold on tight we'll enjoy the ride.
I love roller coasters. I love when you drop down and your heart skips a beat, but then all of a sudden you're going back up and you feel on top of the world! The ride is amazing and I'm glad to be on it!
Saturday night was the wedding of two returned missionaries. I think it's weird that I know married people.
Married people...
I think it's extremely weird that that is one of those things that I'm supposed to actually be thinking about for my own life to happen in the near future. Life is freaky and growing up scares me. But I know that if you stay on the ride the Lord will provide (that rhymes).
The hope this roller coaster is like the ones at Disneyland and that when I get to Heaven and step off the ride there will be a place where I can see pictures that were secretly taken at the scariest points when I was freaking out. That would be pretty neat!
Thank you everyone for all of your support. I love you all! Have a good Halloween...I'll be spending mine on a bus to Cambodia :(

Reasons to get married: Really pretty flowers.

​See ya in 16 weeks,
Sister Egelund

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