Thursday, December 31, 2015

The week Christmas happened!

Hello all! 

This has been a crazy week with Christmas and coming to the city and all. We went to Sister Nhem's graduation today and so we didn't have much time for email but I'll try to make it quick. Christmas was great! Our district went and gave gifts to our branch presidencies and sang carols to them all day. I got to skype home to family on Saturday and do miss them so very much but love Cambodia too much to desire to go home. We had an activity with first and second branch on Saturday for Christmas and more than 200 people showed up including less actives and so we committed almost all of our recent converts, less actives and investigators to come to church the next day and none of them ended up showing up. Bummer. I gave my first talk in sacrament meeting and was incredibly nervous, I'm pretty sure one of the Lookpuus yelled at me to speak up. All in all, Cambodia is still crazy, I think I'm still sane. I'm just incredibly grateful for the opportunity we had to remember the great gift of the Savior that gives us hope and helps us to endure. I hope that everyone can not only take time of Christmas to remember that but also in all we do each day. I'm pumped for New Years and hope everyone has a safe and happy one. Love you all and will hopefully send pictures next week!! 

Sister Nguyen 

Monday, December 21, 2015

The week, My Favorite Week So Far!‏

Hi all!

Cambodia is still great and I am still loving it and super optimistic :) This week was way fun! On Wednesday, we finally got to do service!!!! On our way to service, we had to take this mile long bridge made completely of bamboo to a tiny little island where our entire district plus our zone leaders helped a member harvest rice. My knees are still swollen from kneeling and I've got a few callouses but I'm so happy. It's difficult to serve people sometimes when you can't speak but being able to do actual physical labor made me incredibly happy because it was a different kind of service than we usually do. The members fed us afterwards and by gol it was so goood. Sister Brown and I sat down with one of the Bongs after eating and helped her wash the dishes and just talked to her and it felt so nice because there was no pressure or anything. It was just a nice casual conversation and tons of dirty dishes. Later that day, we headed to English class and the Elders made me translate the spiritual thought from English to Khmer. I was so nervous that I was literally turning red the entire time and getting feverish haha. But with divine help from the Lord, I didn't mess up anyone's chance at salvation I don't think. 😬

And then on Thursday, since my trainer is a Sister Training Leader, she went on exchanges with Sister Semones to Battambang and I stayed in Kampong Cham with Sister Ren and Sister Brown who we share an apartment with. It is so interesting to see how different companionship do things. Sister Brown and Ren literally contact everyone they see and are literally afraid of no one. It was so fun being with them and definitely have been three of my favoritest days so far. Being with Sister Brown was super helpful because she just got to Cambodia too and like me, her language skills are not too hot but she literally talks to everyone. The entire time I was with her I was just like, 'huh. I'm really quiet compared to her". And so this week, my goal is to talk to everyone and contact as much people as possible because everyone deserves to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ!!! We went and visited one of Sister Nhem, Sister Semones, and I's investigators. Her name is Bong Taa. She's super nice and has a baby and is always just sitting outside on her hammock. We taught her about the Law  of Chastity and her sister and aunt? neighbor? not sure, sat in on the lesson. They easily remembered all the points and it was way cool. Bong Taa's only problem is that her husband is currently working in Phnom Penh and lives there because of his job and they aren't legally married and that's keeping her from receiving baptism. And I guess that is the problem with more than half this country. No one is legally married, they just have a traditionally ceremony and then live together. We encourages her to try her best to get the paper work done, because she wants to get baptized because she said that God gave her a miracle and healed her baby. Hopefully ervything works out. We also visited Sum Si Niat who just got back from living in Vietnam for 3 months with her boyfriend. She's in the same situation but keeps asking us if she can get baptized already. Yesterday, she even asked the Branch President if she could get baptized on Christmas hahah. We're working with her and are super optimistic.
 While going out with Sister Brown and Sister Ren, we visited a lot of less-active members and shared with them the message of CHRISTMAS! We tried to help remind them of the importance of Jesus Christ and tried to get them to come back to church. Everyone always says they will come and then no one ever comes. I just want them to be happy. Everyone we visited told me I looked Khmer which made me super happy because I want to be Khmer sooo bad. I just want to understand these people and their situations so I can help them, but with it being Christmas, I was just reminded that that's not my role. That's the Savior's job. Through Him, everything is possible -- even learning this language! My role is just to share that with others and help them see that He lives and He knows them and understands and wants to help. This morning when I was studying in 3 Nephi 17-18, I was so touched by the love Jesus had for the people. It is such a tender moment in the scriptures. And for maybe just a moment I felt an immense love for the Khmer people. I know that this gift of charity is only from the Lord. I feel closest to Him when I feel it overtaking my soul and I feel so far away from Him when I let myself feel frustrated or angry at others. I'm forever grateful for the Savior's perfect example.  

All in all, this was a very interesting week. Someone told me I looked italian??? Sister Nhem found out she is going back to the city next week for three days and we get to go with her because she is graduating!! How many people can say they graduated university while on their mission?? Crazy. Anyway, this will be such a fun week because CHRISTMAS!! I hope you all get to share this tender holiday with your families and remembering all that the Savior has done, does, and will do. I'm grateful for the opportunity to share that message with the people of Cambodia. Love you all and may you have the best week ever!! 

Sister Nguyen 

PS sorry, i only have pictures from service :/ 

Picture 1 We harvested about three fields and it took a good two hours

Picture 2 About to conquer the rice fields 

Picture 3 Working hard

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The week I ate LARVA!

Hello all!
This week was full of several tender mercies. On Tuesday, we held signs up outside of the church for free English classes and that was fun. Not a lot of people stopped to grab flyers but they smiled so I guess that counts as something, right? Anyway, so on Wednesday, we taught an English class with the other elders and sisters from our district. I was pumped because now the Khmers had to try to understand me and I felt powerful. So this random girl comes and sits next to me and I was like alright cool. She was having trouble pronouncing some of the words and so I tried to help and decided to strike up a conversation. I asked her what her name was and stuff like that and she looked like she wasn't understanding me so I had to tell her that I didn't really know Khmer, I was Vietnamese and from America. She said something about Vietnam and I didn't really understand her so I smiled and nodded #classic. And then she asked me if I knew Vietnamese and so I asked her back just because that's what I do to everyone and she said yes! Turns out she's half Vietnamese and half Khmer and lived in Vietnam but was in Cambodia for school until the 24th. And so we talked for the rest of the time and she asked me what I was doing here and if I was scared because apparently I look terrified or something?? Not sure. But I told her we were missionaries and that we teach about Jesus Christ and that for me the Gospel of Jesus Christ has brought me so much comfort and guidance. We gave her a Book of Mormon and she said she would be interested in learning. The next day, we taught her and she asked if our church taught weird things like everyone has to be a sister. Sister Nhem told her that this was a choice because we want to share our happiness. Anyway, she had a bunch of good questions and in the end she accepted baptism!! So I am way pumped.
On Thursday, we made the trek to Phnom Penh for training. We caught a free bus ride with a bunch of members who were in Kampong Cham for a service project but on their way back to Phnom Penh. The entire bus ride was literally the worst. We heard Adele's and JB's new song and it kind of was awful. Sister Semones and I definitely bonded though and laughed the whole time at the Khmer's song selection. Some of the songs were in English but I don't think they knew what the lyrics meant because I'm pretty sure it wasn't appropriate to play at a church activity. On one of our pit stops, we met some of the other members on the other bus and a bunch of them spoke Vietnamese but i couldn't keep up haha. Also Sister Nhem held a tarantula and it was disgusting watching it's little sack jiggle. People actually do eat that here and I'm real tempted too. Also at the pit stop yes, Sister Semones and I ate larvae and it was pretty yum.
On Friday I saw all of my MTC district and I WAS LITERALLY SO HAPPY. Everyone sounds like they're doing awesome and having a lot of the same experiences! It's crazy how different you can look in a week. I missed them so much and I still do. They are a special group and are like a family to me. It was so heartbreaking to say bye because it'll be for a while but honestly, wouldn't want it to be any other way because we are here to do the Lord's work! And plus, they're homies for life so we've got all the time in the world after this. But for now, our time is devoted 10385048% to the Lord and to the Khmers. After our full day of training, we all went out a Christmas caroled around the city. It was super fun. And now I am back here in Kampong Cham ready to try harder and ready to forget myself. I'M GOING TO LEARN THIS LANGUAGE AND I AM GOING TO TRY MY BEST TO HELP THESE PEOPLE.
This week, my study was a lot about the Lord's work. I love Luke 4:18 because it lists off all the things Christ did during His ministry. And we are told so many times that our work is His work. The two are inseparable meaning we can do the same things Christ did during His ministry. Maybe not literally healing a leper or causing the blind to see but in a figurative sense yes. How great is that! The best way to make Christ's ways our ways is to learn of Him. This work is hard but I know it is worth it, if not for me then for them. I wouldn't rather be anywhere else in the world right now. Anyway, until next week!! I love you all and hope you are having fun preparing for Christmas!!!
Sister Nguyen
Picture 1 At Watt/ Mountain Haan Ce with GMO fruits 
 Picture 2 At Watt/Mountain Haan Ce Pday rocks
 Picture 3 Sister Nhem with satan in the form of a bug 
 Picture 4 Watt/Mountain Haan Ce again. Aren't my companions the cutest? Yes.
 Picture 5 In the city caroling and cornering people to give the pass along cards about Jesus 
 Picture 6 Good friends after a long day of training 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The week my brain went missing!


I am currently sitting in an internet shop in Cambodia in my pday clothes getting ready to go "hike" a "mountain". I'm not so sure they're qualified to be called mountains. But we shall see.
Boy, do I have so much to say and how lucky are we that President Christensen doesn't give us a one hour limit? Literally #blest 
The plane ride here was great! Not many troubles. We were able to call family and such and had a few minutes left over on our call card so called our Lookruus and Neakruu and were sooo happy to talk to them. Hopefully we didn't annoy them haha. A couple of Elders and Sisters from our group lost some luggage but hopefully that got taken care of. As soon as we got to the mission home, we met our trainers and were ripped from each other. So no chance to really say goodbye, which was probably for the better. But we get to see each other one last time on Thursday for training. I am excited because I miss our MTC district like no other. 
Ok so let's talk about what you're all really wondering about. CAMBODIA. My first area ever is....KAMPONGCHAM! IIt's in the coutry side about three hours from Phnom Penh. It reminds me a lot of Vietnam except dirtier so I don't think I am that culture shocked. The food is heaven and my body really likes it, so the possibility of losing weight is nonexistent because I eat more than I am able to bike off. I freaking love Khmer food. In case anyone is wondering, haven't had poop problems YET and I have not eaten any insects yet either. Anyway, no one here believes I'm Vietnamese. Everyone's initial guess is Chinese or Korean. And then when I tell them my name is Sister Nguyen, they all tell me about the place where you can go get money called "Wing" and then I have to tell them I don't have money. After that, they're too lazy to remember my name or read my plaque so they just call me Sister Vietnam. Also everyone always tells me I look like someone they know that lives a few houses down. I guess all of Cambodia looks like me. My trainer is Sister Nhaem! She's a native but speaks a LOT of English. I'm in a companionship with her and Sister Semones who has been out for three months! They're both super nice and have been super helpful in this transition. We had zone training the other day and were able to talk a little bit about how to help our members. So Sister Nhaem, Semones and I are actually serving in Branch 1 and 2 of Kampongcham. There are a bunch of inactive members here and everyone leaves after the first hour of church. The area is a little weak but we are excited to get to work and help these people. Our apartment is apparently the nicest in the mission. Yes we have AC #blest but we are sandwiched between two or three watts and they are super SUPER loud. I went to my first real Cambodian sacrament meeting yesterday. It is true, reverence does not exist in this country. Everyone talks during the whole thing and the kids are running around playing and talking to people on the pulpit and chasing after the sacrament trays. BTW THE SACAMENT BREAD IS THE BEST THING EVER. It's like sweet coconut bread and I died when I ate it. Yesterday was fast and testimony meeting so I got to hear a lot of the testimonies of the members. Although this place is completely insane, I have to say that the Holy Spirit that is here is the same that I have felt everywhere. These people have amazing faith that I admire so much. For example, one of the members in Branch 2 doesn't have use of her legs but still comes to church every week. And church is not close. The members here have been so kind to me and are always encouraging me to keep trying. I love these people so much already. But the language barrier makes it so so hard. I never understood what it felt like to have a "broken heart and contrite spirit" until now. I feel completely helpless and useless. BUT I am fully dependent on my trainer and the Lord. I only want to help the people. I only want to get to know them. But not knowing the language makes it so hard. I trust that God is going to help me through this like He has with every other trial I have had. I am optimistic and cannot wait until I can truly serve the Khmers. I was reading in the Book of Mormon and was just pondering and asking myself how the heck I am going to be of any aid. And then I flipped to 2 Nephi 32:3, saying that if we feast upon the words of Christ, the words of Christ will tell us all that we should do. So I have restarted the Book of Mormon and trust that it will help me to know how to help these people see the importance of the gospel. 
A lot of this week was about overcoming fears and just remembering why I am here. Sister Nhaem told me to not be afraid of contacting even if I don't speak the language because this is the reason I am share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Who am I to decide who gets to hear about it and who doesn't? And the worst they could say is no. SO BUCK UP, SISTER NGUYEN. Anyway, I love you all so much and am grateful for your thoughts, kind words, and prayers. I would not be here without your powerful testimonies and incredible example to help me along the way. Until next week! 
Sister Vietnam 
Picture 1 Our family. Sister Nhaem is my mom, there's "not so little baby me", and Dad Sister Semones

 Picture 2 Riding down dirt roads 

Monday, November 30, 2015

The week of charity


This week was a lot about charity and I'm grateful for that because I never thought of myself as an unloving person. I always thought I had a great capacity to love, but this week alone has shown me how much more I can develop that gift and learn more of Christ as I do so.
On Tuesday, we got to teach Lookruu Oleson as Makaraa who is a genius and knows like ten languages and is in charge of our department or something like that. During the lesson, I was getting so frustrated because he knew that the Book of Mormon was important and that Christ was important but he was doubting himself so much and asking questions that didn't matter. So, I just told him straight up none of that mattered and that all that mattered was Jesus Christ because I couldn't understand what he was going through because I'm Sister Nguyen, not Makaraa, but Christ understands. After our lesson, he came to say goodbye to our district and told us how much we helped remind him of his love for the Khmer people and the importance of the Book of Mormon. It was a very tender moment and the Spirit was incredible.

Everything this week just made me more and more excited to leave already. I love the MTC but let's be real, it's time to go.
During Bong Radii's lesson on Friday, we taught about the Law of Chastity and instead if saying refrain from sexual relationships before marriage, I accidentally said refrain from relationships with doctors. And so he thought I was telling him to not go to the doctor. First language oopsie, only 9999 more until I can say I'm good with the language. We laughed for a little and then clarified things up. How embarrassing.
On Wednesday, we went to in-field orientation for the entire day and it was helpful here and there and got me super pumped to get to work.
Thursday was Thanksgiving! I hope you all had an amazing time with family and were able to reflect on what you're truly grateful for, I know I did! This Thanksgiving felt like the first REAL Thanksgiving to me. I am so blessed to be here doing this work. We got to do a service project and broke a record! We made over 300,000 bags of food for children in the Salt Lake area. They told us that if they would've known how efficient we were, they would've provided more supplies and we could've made 500,000 bags! And then we went to a bunch of devotionals. In one of them, we got to watch 17 Miracles! Which is a fantastic movie. And we reflect a lot on the Savior and His gift of redemption to us. ALSO WAIT. ELDER DALLIN H OAKS CAME. HOW BLESSED. His family came and they sang together and it was way cute and made me so very very grateful for my family! I love you all so very much!
On Saturday, we did our last TRC Skype. We taught Phalla Mey again! She has a sister living in Columbus, OH! What a small world. I am so impressed by her faith and willingness to mett with us each week. Now we're about to teach real life Khmer people face to face.

WE LEAVE FOR CAMBODIA TOMORROW. I can't explain the mixed emotions that I have right now. I am so excited to finally get to meet and serve the people that I have been praying for for so long. Lookruu Mickelson showed us a PowerPoint of his mission  and I was so incredibly touched. When he was talking about the people, you could just feel the love he had and how special his mission was to him. He talked about teaching so many families and so many individuals who had huge impacts on those around them. And by golly, I want that too! We heard in a devotional to make the decision to love your mission now.  So I am deciding now to love the people, to endure the tarantulas and no toilet paper, and to serve with my whole heart, might, mind and strength. I know it's going to be hard but, Elder Holland taught that, "if they're unresponsive, maybe you can't teach them but you can love them. And if you can love them today, maybe you can teach them tomorrow." I absolutely love that because it's incredibly important to have love for the people before we even serve them because if we don't, what's it all for? The gospel of Jesus Christ is literally based on Heavenly Father's love and I just want to help them see that. It can get discouraging sometimes because I feel like I don't know much but Sister Penrod said something that really hit me. She said it doesn't matter how much knowledge you have because you have 100 times more knowledge of God than these people. They're completely new to this and as we help them learn more of God and Jesus Christ, we will learn with them. 
I think today is our last day with our teachers and I'm a little sad but so grateful for them always. They're literally so patient with me haha. I'm a very slow learner sometimes. So I'm grateful they put up with that. 
All in all, I'm grateful for the time spent here at the MTC BUT CAMBODIA IS JUST WAITING. Ahh, I cannot wait to go and share this message of love, peace, purpose, redemption, and eternal families with them. They need the power of the Atonement so much in their life to help heal their past and I really pray that they will accept it. If not, at least I can say I tried my best and did what Heavenly Father wanted me to do. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ and that love has grown exponentially these past two months. I know that the Book of Mormon is a book of truth and light and can help bring so much happiness into your lives. So I invite you all to READ IT or please please study it diligently -- ponder, ask questions, and trust that Heavenly Father will answer.

Well this is it! The next email will be from some rinky-dinky cafe shop in Cambodia. I love you all and miss you terribly, but honestly there's no time to think of myself anymore. On to the Cambodians!!!

Sister Nguyen 

Picture 1 WE LOVE LOOKRUU MICKELSON. Our last day with him. I cried #baby
 Picture 2 Classic Map Pic. I love Sister Luke more than anything.

Monday, November 23, 2015

The week our Flight Plans Came!


WE ARE ACTUALLY LEAVING THE MTC!! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?! I'm still in shock that we're not actually called to serve the Provo MTC mission. A lot of this week was just us sitting in class learning or eating or listening to devotional and just turning to each other randomly and saying, "Hey. We're actually going to Cambodia".
On Tuesday, Elder Kim B Clark came for devotional and it was the best devotional we've ever had. He said a lot of things that made me want to be more obedient in order to come home from my mission and say that I have no regrets because I know the Lord helped me do all I could. Also, I got nice warm socks and I am very grateful for that one, because it's getting cold here and two, because one of the elders in my district did sock puppets with me and we acted out a scene from Lord of the Rings and it was hilarious.

Wednesday was our last week of hosting. 600 and some missionaries came in and it was CRAZZYY!! One of the sisters I hosted said she knew Sister McDonald's family! And I met a sister from THE COLUMBUS, OH. She's from the Marysville ward. I don't really know her but she said she knew someone from Lewis Center ward. So that's cool! Friday was the longest day ever. We knew we were getting flight plans that day so we kept checking the mail box and nothing came. When we went to the Travel Office they told us they were behind and so we would get our flight plans Saturday morning at the latest. We were bummed for the rest of the day. And then at the end of the night, we sat down for our daily grateful circle and district prayer and Elder Mendenhall our District Leader said after we were done praying he had something he needed to talk to us about. We were all nervous that we were in trouble or something but after we were done, he looked into his bag and said, "Elder Schiefer and I were walking outside and found something that looks important and thought you all might want it". AND THEN HE PULLED OUT OUR FLIGHT PLANS. WE WERE HAD!!! We weren't even mad, he got us so good! 

And then on Saturday, we got to Skype a real life Khmer person in Cambodia!! Her name is Phalla Mey. She was so sweet and actually understood us! She served her mission in Cambodia and hopefully I get to meet her when I get there! Half way through the lesson, it started raining really hard. We thought it was a connection problem, but it was literally just rain and now I'm scared. Also, towards the end of her lesson, her mom walked in with some sort of very very low cut undershirt on and it was hilarious. Phalla Mey broke and started speaking English and kept saying, "my mom! my mom! it's very hot!" and then shoved her mom out the room but we saw her mom lurking at the door watching us pray over Skype. Needless to say, I am not traumatized because my mom does the same all the time. South east Asians I guess. 

Necruu Davis told us she wasn't coming this week because of Thanksgiving and I literally started crying because I didn't want to say bye. I'm so grateful for our teachers who are so patient with us and so kind and helpful every step of the way. I love them very much and am so grateful for the inspiration they receive for us. I just want to pack them up and take them to Cambodia with us. Lookruu Mickelson video taped us saying our testimonies in Khmer so we could have them later in our mission and see how much we've grown.

Anyway, last full week in America!! I am very excited to go to Cambodia and cannot wait to serve the Khmer people. They are so ready to heal their painful and heartbreaking past through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I'm grateful for this opportunity to serve the Lord and I would not want to be anywhere else in the world right now. I love you all and hope you have an amazing week and more fully recognize how much the Lord's hand is working in your lives as well. 

Daoy seckdeisr)lan,
Sister Ving  (that's how you pronounce my name in Khmer haha)

Picture 1 The District's longest running joke is Sister Nguyen Smells. The Elders wrote in on the board in a different class room and Lookruu Sorenson translated it into Sister Nguyen smells good :) (ALSO CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT I CAN ACTUALLY READ THAT!? GOD IS REAL. GIFT OF TONGUES IS REAL)

 Picture 2 Sister Moon and I have the same dress! Mine Is from a thrift store in Columbus, Ohio and hers is from Vietnam. lol 

Monday, November 16, 2015

The week it SNOWED!!

Hi friends and family!
I just typed out an email all about my week and it just got erased :( but I had an awesome week full of many blessings. The language is coming along great! And Necruu Davis says that we are learning faster than any group she has ever seen! It was way comforting to hear that. We got to skype real life Cambodians this past Saturday and they actually understood us! ITS NOT A MADE UP LANGUAGE!! I can't wait to actually serve in Cambodia. In exactly two weeks, we'll be out of America!!!! Anyway, I love you all and am grateful for your positive influence and uplifting words. Hopefully exciting things happen this week so I have something to write about!

Sister Nguyen

It snowed!

Monday, November 9, 2015

"I'll own up to that!"


Only three more weeks until we are done with America for a while! These weeks are going by really fast.and I need them so slow down big time. We got to host again this past week! It's always so fun helping new missionaries around and hearing about where they are headed. Our district reminisced about when we all first met each other and realized, we can't really pinpoint the exact moment we met or when we became so close. oh well! This week, during class we heard a really loud noise and thought that it was the radiator or that someone's desk broke so we all just looked around and were like "what was that?" and one of the Elders looks down and just goes, "I'll own up to that". I thought it was so funny because one, I'm actually an 11 year old boy who thinks farts are hilarious and two, totally unexpected and kind of gross haha. Sorry. We are really just looking for things to laugh at in each day.
We met two new people we'll be teaching this week! One is a less-active member named Puu Thuu. His family goes to church but he doesn't. He loves to read the BOM and pray with his family though. During our first time meeting him, I had no idea what to do or say and just kind of stared at him as he was speaking. I didn't understand him and I didn't know what to say to help him and I was just like 'wow. this is going to be Cambodia for me. and i'm going to have no idea what to do.' It was a little discouraging, but I know Heavenly Father will help me out if I put complete trust in Him :) We had our last TRC this week aka we start Skyping REAL people from Cambodia this Saturday and teaching REAL lessons. AHHH.  I don't really have much to say about this week. It was filled with many tender mercies that helped me remember how mindful the Lord is of me. Today in the temple, one of the brethren that was in same session as me told me about how touched he was to be there with me because he was in Vietnam when President Hinckley dedicated the land so we could begin preaching. He cried, I cried. It was a real tender mercy. All in all, what I really took away from this week is to trust in the Lord. And I mean COMPLETELY trust. Quit depending on your own. Surely He knows what He's doing. I love you all and hope you have a grand week! 

Sister Nguyen

                                   Picture 1 Bike helmets on stationary bikes. We've been in here for too long!
                                         Picture 2 LEAVES!!! FALL!! OUTDOORS!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Week We Made it Halfway!‏

Hi All!!!

I can't believe it's been a month now and we have one month left! I keep having to remind myself that the mission is much much more than just being in the MTC; it gets really hard to remember that sometimes. 

This week went by really fast. I would just like to take a moment of silence to appreciate and give eternal thanks to daylight savings because we got an extra hour of sleep and it was literally the #blest thing ever. I can't remember much about this week. We got three new investigators and one less-active to teach. So now we're teaching lots every day and it's helpful to be able to practice the language. We committed Bong Soknii and Bong Radii to baptism! They both love learning about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I really think it will help them so  much in life. There are so many blessings that come from living the gospel, especially blessings for the family. I LOVE IT.

In case anyone was wondering about who showed up for devotional on Tuesday, it was Elder Anderson of the 12. He talked a lot about sacrifice which our district loved! It made us all really think about what we give up to be here to serve the Lord. One of the things I didn't think about was our will and desires. Everything we do from here on out is for the Lord and is His will. 

This week we were reading in the Book of Mormon about Lehi's vision of the tree of life in 1 NEPHI 8. And Sister Lemon mentioned how funny she thought it was that even in his dream, Lehi prays to the Lord. I remember thinking wow! I want the kind of Faith Lehi has. Anyway, I went home that night and had a dream that I was super discouraged about being a missionary. I was telling myself that I couldn't do any of this and that I couldn't read, write, or speak. But someone in my dream -- I'm not sure who -- told me straight up "Don't worry. Do all you can and the Lord will provide for the rest. Trust in Him". How true is that and how silly of me to think that this success is all mine!? And also, what a tender mercy. He really is mindful of us and He cares very much for each and every one of us. 

Also, we did our first Language Speaking Assessment this week. HAH. It was rough. I didn't score the best but it also wasn't the worst! I'm just very grateful for amazing Lookruus who are able to give us feedback and things that we can work on. Still waiting until I can just speak this language without having to think about it! 

Halloween was way fun! We didn't get to wear real costumes but the sisters though would be funny to dress up as each other and make the elders and teachers guess who was who. We were so proud because we all thought we did a fantastic job and was wondering why no one was congratulating us on our costumes. We totally forgot that no one in this MTC really knows us except for our district and even they weren't that impressed either, haha. 

Yesterday was our first Fast Sunday at the MTC. We all thought we were going to die. It was a very spiritual experience though. We had mission conference and it was ALL about families! And a recent family of converts came and talked to us. They're headed to the temple to be sealed for all of eternity next month! All I could think about was my own family but also, the families we will come across in Cambodia! I'm so excited to share with them the knowledge that families are eternal and there is no end. The Gospel of Jesus Christ really does heal and bless families. It brings and incredible joy and WOW can we just go to Cambodia and tell them that already?

Anyway, all in all, the language is coming along and I believe my testimony of the Savior has grown exponentially. I love being here and have more joy than I've ever had in my life. I know that in everything we do in life, we are never alone. Christ understands and He is there waiting for us to reach out to Him so He can help us. I wouldn't want to be doing anything else with my life right now! I love you all and thank you for your incredible support :) 

Sister Nguyen  

                                                                     Picture 1 our costumes
                                                                         Picture 2 actual us
Picture 3 Thursday Service Day. I love it, I swear! 

Monday, October 26, 2015

The week we went back to first grade!

Friends. Family! 

Another week under the belt and an awesome week it was. On Wednesday, our district got to host (aka we helped) new missionaries find their way around (aka we ripped them from their families) as soon as they got to the MTC. It was so fun to be able to help them out, but it was also really sad to see how sad families were to say goodbye for so long. But let's be real, it's about to be an amazing two years for them!

Elder Phan who is in the Vietnamese district shared his amazing conversion story with us this week. I bawled like a baby being reminded of the Lord's hand in my life and the importance of family. So to my family, biological, adoptive, or whatever. I love you all. And I am forever and eternally grateful for your support and love. I could never form my feelings or thoughts for you all into words. PS Elder Phan has an "I'm a Mormon" video in process so keep an eye out for it, and someone please send me the link if you every find it. His name's Tetro or something like that.

We learned to read this week!! I can read a sentence and I feel like I'm back in elementary school. It's so fun though, but also it takes like five years to read a short verse in the scriptures. After I'm done reading a line, I feel super accomplished and just want to take a nice nap. 

Our lessons this past week were amazing. Jillie told me a quote once that was like whatever mission language you get called to is the language your testimony is the strongest in. Whether or not that's true, I definitely felt it this week. I've always had trouble explaining the Atonement and suffering of Jesus Christ and I don't know why. But when we were giving a lesson to our investigator Bong Radii this week, the Holy Ghost was incredible. It testified of so many things and I started crying during the lesson because I was so touched. Bong Radii, I'm hoping felt it too. We get to teach him again this week along with three new investigators. We also taught Bong Soknii this week and it was frustrating. Not because the spirit wasn't there but because of the language barrier. She understands the atonement of Christ and KNOWS that it can bless her but doesn't quite understand how it will bless her family. We tried sharing a lot of scriptures and testifying again but she still didn't get it. Sister Luke and I were so confused so we prayed about it and think that we need to tell her the importance of motherhood. I'm really excited to give this lesson. 

Fun thing! So our district is a part of the MTC choir and this Tuesday's devotional is being broadcast to all the MTCs around the world. We're thinking it's because someone special is coming. Hopefully Holland or the Prophet *fingers crossed*!!

I love my district and our teachers and our branch presidency. They always know exactly what we need to hear and do. It's incredible!! Our district has so much fun together. In these past few weeks, they've become my best friends. There's this game at the MTC that's been going on for a while where we try to slip a spoon into someone's pocket or belt loop. We think it's hilarious but it's so immature haha. Yesterday, we stuck a spoon UNDER Elder Schiefer's salad and he didn't realize it until he had already taken a few bites. So funny. 

This morning, we went to the temple and got to do initiatory! It was a very special experience for me because one of the workers asked what my last name was and I told her it was pronounced win because it's Vietnamese. She then asked me if I was the only member in my family and if I was a missionary. I told her yes, and then she said don't tell me you're going back to Vietnam. I told her actually Cambodia but that the mission covers Vietnam. She cried and told me I was so special. And it made me cry haha because of how mindful Heavenly Father is of us! 

I'm still loving it here! I can't believe we are almost halfway through with our stay at the MTC. I keep forgetting that the mission is more than just the MTC. We all want to got to Cambodia (and Sister Lemon to Tacoma) already. But we know we're here to prepare and build solid testimony before we go out and teach the people. Love you all lots and hope you have a fabulous week!!

Sister Nguyen 

Picture 1 Our district tags and temples

 Picture 2 Our district with Brother and Sister Moon who just finished serving as Cambodia Phnom Penh mission president and is now serving in our branch presidency here at the MTC.

Picture 3 Our district at the temple this morning: "Say something funny!" "Sister Nguyen smells!" 

Monday, October 19, 2015

"Hashtagging since Angkor Watt"‏


What a week! Did it go by super fast or was it just me? Week 3 has definitely been the hardest so far. We started teaching two new investigators, Bong Radii and Bong Soknii. They're both super awesome. It was frustrating at first because both were so quiet, so it was hard to understand them and so we didn't know how to help them. At one point, I just laughed while Bong Radii was speaking because I couldn't understand him and it was my way of coping rather than getting visually frustrated. Oops. But, both have committed to reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it so that's pretty neat! 

Oh! This past Saturday, we had our first TRC when a volunteer comes in (usually a member) and we have to teach them a lesson in Khmer based off of their needs. It was hard because our person Bong Brady was literally good with everything so we tried to invite him to continue to come unto Christ and read the Book of Mormon more sincerely. He served in Boston, MA Cambodian speaking! Isn't that crazy?! Anyway, our lesson was only twenty minutes and it was cool but next week, we have to plan a forty minute lesson and I'm a little nervous! 

My Phiassa Khmer is still beginners level. Bong Raddii asked us what we ate for dinner and all I could say was fruit...he was very concerned that we did not have a real meal. We started learning script and how to read and write. The alphabet is insane; it's literally the longest phonetic alphabet in the world. If you haven't seen it, google pictures! I swear, I'm not lying. The letters were made to look uniform because I guess the Cambodian people just wanted it to look pretty and neat. Crazy. Anyway, when we read a word, we are literally reading in a circle. It gets a little dizzy sometimes. AND they don't space out their words soliterallyeverythingiswrittenlikethis. Our Lookrruu told us they've been #hashtaggingsinceangkorwatt and it made me laugh. My English is progressively gettign worse. I can't even spell anything anymore  haha. I can't wait until I know this language. It's really cool how much we've learned already though. I can hold a very small conversation so yay! I got really frustrated with myself this week because the language is so difficult.

Yesterday was wonderful. I love Sundays and I love my district! We got to watch an amazing talk by Elder Holland called missions are forever. And it just helped re-motivate all of us. So we're trying to make every second count. Also, I ran into a girl from Kaysville, UT who knew Elder Twogood. How funny! Such a small world. And two of our Canto districts left this morning which was sad because they were awesome but they're on their way to Taiwan and I'm so excited for them and can't wait until our district gets to head to the mission field!

This week went by so fast and so much happened sthat I'm having trouble recalling everything. All I know is that, wow, the gift of tongues is so real, you guys. And the spirit is so real. I know it's not me doing these things and it's not me teaching our investigators. It's the Holy Ghost testifying truths unto them! Also, we got to shake hands with the Indonesian Ambassador this week. NBD. Love you all so much and I'm eternally grateful for your thoughts and prayers. Until next week!

Sister Nguyen
Picture #1 It rained. Sister Brown and I were ecstatic! 

Picture #2 Exhausted after six hours of class

Picture #3 My sweet companion sister Luke totally passed out during choir (haha)

Monday, October 12, 2015

The week we were all called "Babies"

I hope you all had the best week ever and are enjoying the Fall weather! It's getting pretty nippy here and I'm trying to soak it all in before we head to Cambodia and it becomes Summer for 18 months straight. 

This week was a little stressful because it was our first full week. I was sitting in class studying and had a strange moment of realization that this is my life for the next 18 months. It got a little stressful this week because the language is soo difficult and we started sticking to our real schedule which is 
6:30 wake up 
7:00 breakfast
7:35-8:25 gym
8:55 personal study
9:55 companion study
10:55 language study
11:55 lunch
12:40-1:30 additional study
1:30-4:30 classroom instruction
4:30 dinner
5:15-8:15 classroom instruction
8:15-9:00 additional study
9:00-9:15 planning 
and then until 9:30 our district sits down a talk about things we are grateful for and say a quick little family prayer. I can't complain because really we've only been here for not even a month and it's truly miraculous how much we already know. Also, I can't complain because our district made it a goal to not complain and be only positive. Can I just say how much I love them? At the end of each stressful day this week, we were able to laugh all the burdens of the day away and it felt great. 

Oh! So last Monday the Vietnamese delegates came. They only came into our class for five minutes but I got to use my mediocre Vietnamese on them! It was cool. There are only 15 missionaries in VN but 100 in Cambodia! Insane. Also, a senior couple sat next to us at lunch and it turned out the wife was Vietnamese and she told me my Vietnamese was really good which made me LOL because it's literal garbage, but I was really happy also because it reminded me of my mom :)  And the instructor from the Vietnamese class said I have the opportunity to serve in Vietnam because I already know some Viet. So fingers crossed that I will go get to teach my distant family over there!!

Our investigator, Vibool committed to baptism! The language is hard, but the Holy Spirit is so real and I know he's doing most of the teaching and testifying to our investigator, not me. And we get two new investigators this week. I am excited, but also nervous which means I need to put more trust in the Lord.

We had our first real sacrament meeting yesterday. Want to know what's scary? We all have to prepare a talk each week and no one knows who will be talking in sacrament meeting until we get there and they call your name. Haha. Luckily I did not get called up there this week. But I know I definitely will. 

I honestly can't remember much from this week other than we started learning script. Yikes! Very intimidating. It's all a blur. It's true what they say, a week feels like a day and a day feels like a week. 

Somethings I just want to share: the power of prayer is incredible. With true faith and real intent, Heavenly Father can provide us with so much help. Also, I never stop feeling the spirit here. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. Our district went to watch the Character of Christ by David A Bednar together last night and it was an incredible talk. We were all so happy at the end of the day because we were reminded of what really matters and why we are really here. I'm grateful to be here preparing to serve. I'm so excited to share the healing and enabling power of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I love you all so much and I'm grateful for the prayers because I know I am not doing this alone. Well, have a wonderful week!!

With love,
Sister Nguyen 

PS we went to the temple this morning and an older lady came up to us and said "Look at you little babies going out to save the world!"  It made me laugh.
Picture 1: "The Natives" Elder Phaan is Khmer and going back to Cambodia; Vietnamese speaking, Elder Rigby is Viet and going to Vietnam; Vietnamese speaking, Elder Mendenhall is Khmer going to Cambodia Vietnamese speaking, and the there's me!! 

Picture 2: The amount of joy I felt because we got to go on a temple walk and were out of the MTC for 40 minutes!!!

Picture 3: Missionaries headed for Vietnam and Cambodia outside the MTC

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week 1 - The Week We Kicked the Can'ts in the Pants‏!

October 5, 2015 

Cumriabsua kruumkrusaa!! 

WOW. DO I HAVE SO MUCH TO TELL YOU ALL. I'm kind of freaking out because we only have an hour to email and so it's sort of A LOT of pressure. So, I'm sorry for the typos and incorrect grammar. 

I'm not even sure where to start! My flight to SLC got delayed two hours on Wednesday so my plans before entering the MTC didn't happen. I was a little frustrated but then I was just really grateful that we were able to get here safely. I was so nervous before coming in because, one, I was SOO late and two, there was no turning back. Well, Sunny can testify to my nerves and anxiety, but as soon as I walked in, there was an amazing spirit that just filled my heart. I am so happy to be here. My companion is Sister Luke from Tennessee! She is so awesome and we get along really well. She is also going to Kampuchea! The other sisters in our room are Sister Brown and Sister Haddock. They're awesome, so diligent, and very full of the spirit. I love them so much already. They're hilarious and keep me distracted so I don't think about home and get sad. Everyone in the MTC has been so helpful and kind. It's kind of like Heaven on earth here. I love it so much and am not sure why everyone wants to get out of here so fast...then again I've only been here a few days. 

Let me tell you about my district! They are my favorite people ever. I could talk about them forever. We have seven sisters and four elders. One of the sisters, Sister Lemon was in my YSA ward at BYU (she is the only one not going to Kampuchea. She's going to Tacoma, WA Khmer speaking. I know right?!) and Elder Mendenhall was in my BIO 120 class! So it was a little comforting to see familiar faces. Our district leader is Elder Bullough, which is perfect. He is so in tune with the spirit and leads us in the direction we need. I wouldn't be surprised if he was called to be an apostle one day. I love my district a lot. Have I already said that? They are beyond amazing and soo motivated and already very good at speaking Khmer. It gets a little discouraging sometimes, but honestly, I love them so much that it's becoming difficult to compare myself to them. They motivate me to continue to learn and try harder. I'm so glad we all got called to not only serve together but to help each other learn and grow. There are two Vietnamese speaking elders in our zone! One is going to Vietnam because he is half Viet and the other is going to Kampuchea because he already speaks Khmer so they want him to learn another language. So he and I sort of are in the same situation! OH FUN THING. The Vietnamese ambassador and a few delegates are coming to observe our class today! They want to see what we are all about so they can decide whether or not they want to renew the Church's validity in their country. Apparently, this is a very rare opportunity so we are really blessed! I'm excited and can't wait to try my broken Vietnamese out on them. 

The language is so hard, but it's only been six days and I can already bear my testimony and say a simple prayer. We taught our first investigator, Vibool on our third day here. It was very difficult, but I definitely felt the Holy Ghost and that's what's really important. The spirit in the mtc really is so strong. I don't have to try to feel it, it's there and walking with me every step of the way. I love the fact that Heavenly Father loves us so much He has allowed a member of the Godhead to be our constant companion. Everything has seemed a little impossible these past few days, but it has helped me so much in turning to the Lord. I have never depended more on Him in any moment of my life than I have now. The atonement is real and I'm just beginning how to use it in my life. It has helped so much because I know I cannot do this alone. And really, I would not be able to do any of this without divine help. For that, I am eternally grateful. I'm so excited to serve the people of Kampuchea. They are so poor in spirit and wealth, they have been so pained by their history. I believe that it has humbled them so much and that they are ready to receive the Gospel so that they can use the atonement in their lives and see that Christ lives and allow Him to heal their hearts! He is there for us!! I had that moment of realization on Saturday at Conference (which was really great by the way! am I right or what??). I love this work and I can feel the atonement working in my life as my desires to repent and grow increase. I could talk forever about this week, but then I'd be rambling. I wouldn't want to be doing anything else with my life right now! I love you all so much and am so grateful for the tremendous amount of support you offer. I pray that you too seek to recognize the Lord's hand in your life and reap the blessings of the sacrifice Christ has made for us all. I love you I love you! Until next week! 

Sister Nguyen    

Picture 1 Sister Brown, Sister Luke, Sister Haddock and I with all the books we use. They tell us to save at least 10 pounds for books in our suitcases..uhm how about 50?

Picture 2 Our district right after our temple session this morning 

Picture 3 My sweet companion, Sister Luke and I