Monday, December 8, 2014

Santa Was a Prophet, First One That We Know

Sometimes I can't help but laugh at the silly things that people say. 
Like the time that Sister Tra thought that Justin Timberlake was part of The Beatles.
Or the time that I asked Sister Thi what she thought it meant by dragons in the Book of Mormon and she just looked at me with the most honest face and said, "What? Dragons aren't real? I thought they have them in Europe?"
Haha There's never a dull moment around here! Yesterday was the funniest/most awkward experience ever though. 
Sister Thi and I were teaching a recent convert about the "He is the Gift" initiative and Sister Thi was sharing about how the tradition of receiving gifts from Santa Claus really isn't what's important about Christmas. 
So in Vietnamese the name for Santa Claus is Noen, and just like in America, Santa wears a red suit, lives in the North Pole, has a big stomach and a gnarly beard. We had spent about 10 minutes discussing how we can try to avoid being focused on the traditions of Christmas when our recent convert began to share some of the "doctrine" she had learned while she had investigated the Protestant church before being baptized. What she said went something like this:

"In the Protestant church they believe that Noen was a prophet. He was kind of like Lehi in the Book of Mormon and he received revelation from God that he had to leave a city. So yeah, they believe that Noen is a prophet. So Noen had to build a boat and he brought animals and people onto the boat with him. Why don't we talk about Noen in our church? That other church says that he was a prophet. Why don't I ever hear anyone talk about him? Wasn't Noen a prophet?"

*Blank stares from me and Sister Thi* 
Wait. What? Long story short, our recent convert who shall not be named thought that Noen (Santa Claus) is the prophet Noah...

I've been here for a year and I don't think anyone has learned anything yet. #MyBad

Our Christmas open house is coming up next week! I'm super stoked because I'm in charge of the decorations and this shindig is gonna be off the hook! 
East Hollywood SLATe team, remember all those times I would yell at you while planning dances and decorating the school? This is basically the same thing and boy oh boy is it fun! BTW, sorry if I ever made any of you sad or cry. Just kidding! No one ever far as I'm aware. No really though, the open house is going to be really amazing. In the first room there will be pictures with Santa and the decorations are going to be really bright colors and there will be photos showing all of the different traditions of Christmas that are enjoyed all around the world. Then in the second room we will be showing the He is the Gift video, there will be a photo display telling the story of the birth of Christ, there will be members at different stations sharing about our different beliefs. Walking from one room to the other there will be a noticeable difference in the decorations and the atmosphere to show the contrast between worldly ideas and traditions of what Christmas is and what the true meaning of Christmas is - that is Jesus Christ.
aslkdjfalskdfjoiu I'm so excited!

Get ready 'cause Christmas is comingggg!

See ya in ten weeks!

Love, Sister Egelund

The most UN-photogenic group of people in all of Southeast Asia...

A Sea if Swirly, Twirly Gumdrops

December 1, 2014

It's the Christmas season again. Wubba bubba. How did the past year go by so fast? Beats me! It's another Christmas that I'm lucky to get to spend in Thảo Điền! Each year I love the holiday season when we are able to slow down and reflect on our lives and make resolutions to become better. Each Christmas in my life, although never a traditional and ordinary Christmas, is something special. This year though, we are all going to have the best Christmas of our lives! This year we're all going to share the gift - the greatest gift of all time, the gift of Christ! I hope that you already know what I'm talking about, but for those of you who haven't heard the Church has put together an amazing project! A project not only for the members, but a project for the entire world! An initiative to help everyone understand what Christmas really is. We, along with the entire world are going to have the best Christmas of our liiiiiiives! I know it! But in order for that to happen, we have to share the gift. 

So check out these super cool links that I attached!   You're welcome! :)

Next quick topic: MIRACLES! Guys, they're real. Like really, really real! The first definition for the word miracle that pops up when searched on Google is "a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency." Do you understand what that divine agency is? It is our Heavenly Father! HE makes miracles happen in our lives. I've seen it as I've served, I've seen it in myself as I've tried to let the Lord change my life, and I've seen it happen to countless people as they apply the Atonement of Jesus Christ. 

There are so many things I want to share with you all, but words cannot describe how grateful I am for the opportunity to participate in the Lord's work to fulfill His purpose. All I can say is trust in Him. Do His work. Share the gift. I promise you will find happiness. 

The first gift was not wrapped, had no bow, wasn't purchased online or in a store. 
The first gift of Christmas was a simple gift, a sacred gift. 
It wasn't gold or frankincense or myrrh. 
It was a gift of love, and life, and peace, and hope given by a Father to all His children. 
"For God so loved the world" and so loved you, and every single one of us. 
He gave His Son. 
He is the Christ. 
He is Christmas. 
He is the gift. 
This Christmas season 
discover the gift, 
embrace the gift, 
share the gift."

I love you all! Have a good week and keep following the prophet!
Sister Egelund

Zone conference. This is the largest zone I have ever served in...all fourteen of us.
Thanksgiving with my family away from family at my home away from home.