Monday, November 17, 2014

Vietnam Takes Over England

I have been serving in the Thao Dien branch for quite a while now - 10 and a half months to be exact. And for the past few weeks I have been writing up my "transfer call prediction bracket" and trying to guess what branch I will serve in this next transfer.

I have always been the type of person that loves change. I love the Thao Dien branch more than I love conspiracy theories, but I've been here so long that I kind of feel uneasy because I need some sort of change. Please note that there is a distinctive difference between always wanting change and having commitment least I think there is. 

Anyway, I thought I would be leaving this branch, but last night after hours of anxiously waiting by the phone I received the transfer call...and I'm staying in Thao Dien. That's 12 months in the record books for me here! 12 months = 1 year. I have never actually done anything for one year. #EgelundWorldRecord 
After receiving the info I was feeling a little blue - I wanted to go experience a new area, or at least go to one of my old ones. Looking back on just this past week though, my time that I've been blessed to have here in Thao Dien has been so amazing! One year ago I just began my mission as a fat little greenie serving in this branch and getting hit by motorcycles. Now, this year I'm a fat almost-dead missionary!

There was a day this week that all of our plans fell through. From 2 - 6 o'clock we were totally free and we had no idea what we would do to fill our time. The elders came to our apartment asking to borrow our phone because theirs was out of money. Elder Bao was making calls to tons of people trying to find someone to help in a lesson with a member, Cô Phương. No one was free though so the elders were forced to cancel the lesson. I had overheard what was going on so I offered to go out and teach the lesson for them. The elders agreed and we were able to find something to do that afternoon! The lesson started out a bit rocky because we weren't really prepared to teach, but in the end it was a good time! Cô Phương is a long time member relatively speaking compared to how long the church has been here in Vietnam, and she's the bees knees! The first time I ever went to her home was for Christmas dinner last year. It feels really strange to think about what I was doing a year ago, and I'm still at the same places visiting the same people. 

That same evening we taught Em Tuyết, a girl who just "graduated" from being a recent convert, meaning that she has been a member of the church for over a year. She's a cutie pie and has such a strong testimony. If I could have been like her when I was only 17 years old I would be a straight up power house by now. Tuyết is also someone that I taught when I first started my mission. I think when I first came to Vietnam she had just been baptized a few weeks prior. I wish you could all meet this girl! She's the skinniest person I've ever met - there's no way she weighs more than 70 pounds. But she bears a testimony that'll knock your socks off. I love her more than I love tootsie rolls. 

After we taught Tuyết we were leaving the church and one of our recent converts, Em Sen, asked if we had some time to teach her a quick lesson. Oh course, anything for my fave Sen Sen! Em Sen is the first one of my investigators that was baptized so of course she has a special place in my heart. She too has an extremely powerful testimony despite that fact that her family forbids her to come to church. For months she hasn't been able to attend church regularly, and when she has come she can only spend about 15 minutes with us. But through all of her hardships she has been able to keep her testimony and slowly she has persuaded her family to allow her more time at the church!

That day was a 10! Being here in this branch honestly gets a little boring sometimes because I'm so used to everything, but it is such a fun blessing to get to see how so many of us have changed within a year!

One more change I've seen in this past year: Before I began my mission all the members here in Vietnam had already added me on Facebook. Upon arriving it was really awkward because everyone already knew things about me, and I already knew a little bit about everyone else as well. Anyway, there's a member, Chị Tâm, who I had talked to a tiny bit with before the mish. Once I was able to actually meet her face to face we were kind of already friends. Long story short, Tâm has been preparing to serve a mission for a really long time, and last night she opened her mission call and will be serving in the LONDON ENGLAND SOUTH MISSION! WHAAAAAAA?! Only two other members in Vietnam have ever served outside of the Cambodia/Vietnam mission - Temple Square and Atlanta, GA. So when it comes to guessing where someone will go...well we don't really even guess because we just assume that everyone will serve in Cambo. NO ONE saw this one coming though! Gosh, I am so hackin' excited for her! BTW I'm now planning myself a trip to England next year...

Thao Dien, you are my first long term relationship. I must really love you because we've had a lot of really difficult times together, but I've never wanted to leave you. You mean a lot to me. I hope we always have a strong relationship... 
I love this country. See that big bridge? Yeah, I bike it every day! #GetFit And that's only a fourth of it!

See ya guys,
Sister Egelund 

Oh! As for the transfer...
I'm staying with Sister Thi and all the elders in my branch are the same...but they're adding another set of elders to our branch too. Eight missionaries in one branch...President Moon knows that great things are about to happen!

Sister Hunsaker is leaving...this is the worst thing to ever happen to me. This transfer is Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year...and I'm going to be away from my Trinh Twin. #TearsOnTears

Baptism!! Báp Têm!!

Cô Thoa. (Insert all of the heart emojis to describe how much I love her!)

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