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