Week 56 : New companion

 

Hi family and friends,

 

Week 56 : Transferring week

 

I think I’m going to stop labeling my emails with what week I’m on because it’s legitimately starting to stress me out now that I’m counting down.

So this week has been a pretty normal week. We had some lessons with Son, our RC. We also met another doctor that was referred to us from the medical advisor. She’s not the most interested person we’ve ever met, but we’ll see if anything comes out of it as we follow. Buuuuuuuuuuuut…we did get a new investigator this week. Hopefully we get some good progress out of him, because he was quite receptive when we taught him the first lesson.
Probably the biggest thing that’s happening this week is transfers. I’m staying in the area and Elder Cong will be transferring to Ho Chi Minh City and my new companion is going to be Elder Dong Quang, my old district leader from Tan Son Nhat back when I was with Elder Thai. I’m super excited because Elder Dong Quang is one of my favorite missionaries. It’s going to be so much fun!
This week it’s Vietnam Independence day from France, so a lot of people went home to their hometowns for the weekend. Our church attendance numbers were a little low, but it was an awesome church service all the same. The misionaries that are getting transferred got to say goodbye to the members. It was a good time.
Pictures:
Some random pictures of missionaries and members.
English class
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A pic of the Hanoi/Cau Giay district before we split apart😣

Week 55 : Baptism – Hanoi Zone Conference

 

Helloooooooo everyone! How is everybody’s week this week?

It’s been a pretty great week for us over here in ‘Nam! The biggest success was that our investigator Son got baptized! It was an awesome day to finally see him take that step. The really stressful part was that President Funk of the Asia Area 70 presidency was in Vietnam for the week and he attended that baptism, so we had to make sure everything ran really smoothly. Satan got in the way a little bit with some technical issues revolcing around a laptop and a projector, but we got it all figured out with a prayer. So lesson learned, the power of prayer of works, especially when a baptism in front of a general authority of the church is on the line haha. The experience was amazing. I felt like I was on a spiritual high for the entire evening.
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This week we also had a very spiritually uplifting zone conference where we all got to learn a lot about finding new investigators. Afterwards, we got to have interviews with our mission president and his wife, and something she shared with me was really profound. I mean, everything she tells me is profound, but this part especially so. We were talking about charity, something that I’ve been working on trying to acquire these past couple months, and I’ve made some progress.
The next step I wanted to try was acquire empathy. Something that’s still a little hard for me is that I can understand in my head that a person may be feeling sad, and know what the appropriate response is, but I don’t actually feel anything. Sister Hassell gave great insight on how to better acquire, but the thing that hit me the most was the comparison she made between approval and appreciation. We’ve grown up in a culture where a person’s value, ie how much we love a person or what we think of a person, is based on how much we approve of them and what they do. It’s different from appreciation, where we can love them in spite of shortcomings and faults, because we know they are trying. One thing Sister Hassell has learned in her 60 some years of experience is that it is very hard for a lot of Mormon families is appreciate rather than approve. There’s a lot of expectations in being a Mormon. I’ve felt it. A lot of it is something along the lines of “you gotta keep God’s commandments, you gotta go to church, you gotta pray, you gotta read scriptures, you gotta do this and that…” As a personal anecdote, a big goal of an LDS parent is to live together with their family forever in Heaven, and obviously to go to Heaven, you need to live your life in accordance to God’s rules. As good as that is, there’s danger in letting those expectations of your children get in the way of you TRULY (I hope that’s enough emphasis) loving and appreciating your children. We get so caught up in wanting our families to grow up to be good people living in good LDS families that we lose sight of the fact that God doesn’t care so much about what we are able to accomplish in this life as much as He does about us preserving our relationships within our family at all costs and appreciating them no matter where they choose to go in life. Coming from someone who was raised very much in a culture of expectations and a standard to live up to those expectations, this was an eye opener to me. I’ve interacted with people in my life who have shown appreciation for things in some of its purest forms. In the beginning, it was so hard for me to wrap my head around it. I disapproved of that mentality. In my head, it was always like, “why would not love someone enough to expect more from them?” Now, my mind is opening. I’m not perfect at loving someone in spite of everything yet, but those people I know who can do, I admire very much and they have played a very special role in teaching me.
It’s nice to know that I still have a long way to go in life before I get this down. It makes life more interesting. Hopefully everyone has a great week this week. If anyone has any advice on how I can increase empathy, or if you just want to share your thoughts of how to meld appreciation and expectations together, especially from the perspective of a parent, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Love you all lotz,
Elder Phan
Pictures: The 3D art museum we went to this last P-day, the baptism, and other stuff

 

 

Week 54: Power of the Holy Ghost

 

Hello everybody!

So this week has been quite a rewarding week, but definitely not in the ways that we were expecting. Remember all those potential investigators that we planned on inviting and having them become investigators this week? Yeah that didn’t happen. One who we invested a lot of time in nurturing spiritually and getting to know threw a curveball at us during our lesson with her. When just talking to her, she very friendly and chatty and open. As soon as we entered into the lesson setting though, she completely shut down on us. Poker face the whole time, like she was determined to not give us any sort of foothold in teaching her. That was really unexpected for us and it became one of the most awkward lessons I’ve had in a long time.

We talked a long time to one of the senior couple missionaries about how the lesson went to see if there was anything else that we could have done to make it a better situation where maybe she would have accepted the message, but he assured us that we’re not here to convince people of the truth. Our job is to share the message that we have been called to share and provide an environment where we can invite the Spirit. One of the promises that comes to my mind is quoted in a scripture: And now I, Nephi, cannot write all the things which were taught among my people; neither am I mighty in writing, like unto speaking; for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.

 This was a principle that I learned a long time ago, that we only have the ability to invite the Spirit to come before the heart of a person (hence the word “unto”). But Heaven respects every person’s ability to choose so much that it will never force that person to accept and bring that Spirit “into” their hearts. That is completely up to that person. If they choose to do so, then the Holy Ghost can work His magic and testify to them that what we are saying is true. It’s a cool principle that I’ve never really noticed in action until now. In lessons like that, we teach and testify, and we feel the presence of the Spirit in the room, so you know it’s there. But it’s almost like the other person refuses to acknowledge it’s presence by not opening themselves up to it.
We had another situation like that with our other potential investigator. She invited us over to her home to share a message out of respect for a friend of hers who’s a member of the church back in America, but she said from the get go that she had no intentions of changing religions because she felt she was too old and along in her life to change her ways now. So even though we already knew where her heart was, it was an opportunity for us to share a message with her and give her an opportunity to hear what God wants her to hear. Unlike the last lesson, this one was complete fire! She and her daughter were there as we shared with her and honestly everything that came out of our mouths felt guided and inspired. The Spirit was there. We felt it, the member that we invited to come help us felt it, and her daughter felt it. As she listened to us expound upon where we came from, why we’re here, and where we are going after this life (things that before this she had never thought about before), her perspective was expanded and she said that she had a very good, heavy feeling inside of her. Her mother on the other hand did not open up her heart to allow the Spirit to come in and testify to her.
So to summarize, for all the prospective missionaries out there who are worrying about how to convince people about the truthfulness of the gospel: stop worrying about it. That’s not your job and that’s not your calling. It is the Holy Ghost who does the convincing and it is up to the investigator to choose whether they want to listen to what you have to say. All you have to do is love the people, share what it is that God needs you to share with them, and testify with all your heart and soul that you know these things will bless their life.
Teaching was such a small portion of my week this week, but there’s was so many other things that I learned, but it all generally revolves around inviting the Spirit into yourself so that you can share it with others. I’v had a chance to see that in various exchanges and discussions with other missionaries and planning throughout this week that let’s me know that God is there and quietly, subtly guiding the work. It’s interesting how a Being of such infinite power and knowledge plays such a seemingly gentle role in our lives, noticeable only to those who focus and genuinely try to seek out His presence and influence.
To close my email for this week, I wanted to end on some good news. After a long journey, lots of lessons, and many weeks of learning and evaluating and slowly progressing, our investigator Sơn is finally getting baptized. He was interviewed and found worthy of baptism this last Saturday and will be getting baptized this next Saturday! It’s been a privilege to be on this journey with him and watch him grow, because we sure have grown a lot with him. Because we’ve invested so much into him, I can honestly say that I love the guy. It makes me wonder how much God loves and has invested into me. Food for thought for the next week…
Cheers!
Elder Phan
Pictures: just some missionaries being missionaries 🙂
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Week 53 : Pressing forward to the Works of the Lord

Pictures: Us with the Area medical authority adviser, pictures of a baptism at the church, and picture with various members of the branch (one of them goes on a mission to Melbourne Australia this Thursday).

 

Hi everybody!

This will be a quick one because I’m running out of time. Lots of good stuff are happening this week. For one thing, I’ve made a subconscious resolution this week to really kick in the afterburners for this next year and work myself to death. I’ve officially determined that dying here in Vietnam on my mission would not be the worst way to go. That or serious consideration of coming back to live here in the future. Either one works really. But anyways, these past three days we’ve skipped out in our mandatory nap to work and I’m starting to feel it. Death on my mission might come a little sooner than I expected haha. But I’m being overdramatic.
We have our potential investigator list backed up super tight, so a lotof this week is going to be spent turning them into investigators! A lot of work was put into preparing all these people to be ready for the invitation to learn more. Besides that, Elder Cong and I were called to help out an area authority medical advisor as he came to Vietnam to inspect and evaluate hospitals here. It was really cool, and I’m glad that a couple weeks back I went on a splurge learning various diseases in Vietnamese. It was a good time, and the kicker was that one of the doctors we talked talked to was a friend of this medical advisor and wants to learn more about the church. That doctor’s daughter lives in Mesa, Arizona, and so Mom and Dad are going to get in contact with her. It’s such a small world! Small little miracle, but that’s all I have time for this week. Hopefully the pictures make up for it.
Love,
Elder Phan

Week 52: Has I changed? 1 year mark

 

I’m not sure where to start exactly. This past year has been…I don’t know. There’s no words to describe it. This past week, I largely kept myself from thinking that it’s been a year and I only have 1 left because we’ve been so busy. Honestly, sitting at the computer and writing this, this is the first time I’ve had to actually think about this in any sort of depth. I apologize in advance cause a lot of this is going to be on the fly.

For me, change has been funny because I haven’t felt it in large measure. The change has been so day-to-day and gradual that I really can’t notice it in myself. I’ve asked my mission president and my family, and they say they see it, so there’s comfort in that.
I CAN say that I’ve learned so much on my mission about who I am, who God is, how He works in my life and in the lives of others, and how much more I need to improve to be more like Christ. I think more progress has been made in those fields in this past year than in the past 18 years before that living as a member of the church. The lessons and impressions I’ve had the amazing opportunity and privilege to receive have been “still and small”, just as described in the scriptures. But it is those times when I’ve actually been able to notice those impressions and reflect on them that I realize that it is only because I’m am out here that I can point those things out. I don’t know how else to say it other than this has been the best year of my life so far.
More and more often, as I look around me, I find myself feeling that I never want to go home. I love it here, I love the people, I love doing the work that God has called me to do, I love Him and my Savior. Most importantly, I know they love me, and everyone else within their eternal family (all of us).
I also especially love all of you for your support. Here’s to another year full of more growth.
Much love,
Elder Phan
Pictures:
– Hanoi Zone Conference
– Baptism
– Celebrate Birthday of an elder
– Fun English class
– Power of prayers

Week 51: The Holy Spirit guide

Dear family and friends

Oh man where do I even start with this. I guess to summarize, this week has been nothing short a spiritual freight train. I think to break from the usual pattern, I’ll share first what I’ve learned and then talk about what we did this week, because it’s pretty interrelated this time around. I’ve seen so many miracles in the past 7 days that continue to convince me that God is there guiding this work.

So remember that incident about 3 weeks ago when I lost that binder of stuff on the bus and I had “wrestle” with God to figure out whether we should go retrieve it or not? Well, since that time, I’ve made it a priority to learn how to listen to the Spirit and follow it’s guidance.
Most of my practice has been along the lines of this process: whenever my companion and I have discussed with one another about what we wanna do, one effort I’ve made is to set aside a part of my mind that doesn’t pay attention to what I want or what my companion wants, butto really listen to what the Lord wants us to do. Even as we discuss, that part of my mind has always been thinking, “What do You want us to do?” In this, I’ve tried to model myself after couple of quotes that I found over the past couple weeks about others: “We’ll take intruction and correction if we’re wrong. We love the truth.” and “he’s the ultimate Samuel. Speak Lord, thy servant heareth.”
This week I’ve seen so much fruit from that practice and the difference it makes is like night and day! Every single lesson we taught this week felt like fire! Our only investigator right now, Sơn, came back to town and we got to teach him again for the first time in 2 weeks. In the 2 appointments we had with him, he brought up issues that I know for myself in the past, I would have absolutely no idea how to address. But the guidance of the Spirit stepped in unexpectedly. Inspired questions and comments popped immediately into my head to help us better understand where he’s coming from, how to direct the conversation, and immediately resolve a certain concern. In addition to that, there were times where something would come to my mind, but I would feel restrained from saying it. At that second, my companion would say the exact thing that was on my mind. We’re teaching on the same spiritual plane now and it’s quietly and subtly amazing to witness and be a part of.
Another instance was when we were planning and had planned to do our studies in the morning, but for whatever reason I felt prompted for us to go and visit a former investigator at his work. So we did it and that prompting yielded more fruit! Our investigator had originally stopped learning because he needed time to work out for himself if what we were sharing was true, and then work it out with his parents to get them on board. He has no phone, and no way to contact us, but has been pondering a lot about the things we shared with him over the past few weeks, and when we walked into the place he worked, he told us “I want to learn again. I miss the feelings I’ve had at church. I don’t care what my parents say, I know this is my choice and I feel it is the right one.” Well, of course we jumped on that opportunity and we scheduled an appointment with him. We thought we were gonna get him back as an investigator, but turns out the Lord had a different plan. Honestly, the lesson was perfect tailored to what he needed. We felt inspired to review rather than pick up where we left off, and it was just what he needed. God teaches us “line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little.” He doesn’t any more than what we can handle at any one given time, and at that time, this former investigator was not quite ready to return to learning just yet. Unbeknownst to us, God needed us to clear up a misconception that our religion is Protestant. We told our friend that we were not Catholic or Protestant, an essential truth that he needed to realize before continuing on. He’s now taking some time to ponder more on that. Just like in our lesson with Sơn, everything that needed to be said fell into place, and I was so grateful for the guidance for the Holy Ghost to help this friend of ours understand and come just a little closer to the Truth.
This is just a small sample of the times that the Holy Spirit has guided us this week. I’ve reflected over and over on the workings of Holy Ghost in us as missionaries and my testimony of His power has grown so much. Have you ever asked yourself why this church sends out 18 and 19 years old to do missionary work? From a normal sense, it’s absolutely ridiculous! Why aren’t we sending out older people with so much more life experience instead of kids that, for lack of a better way of saying it, have absolutely no idea what they’re doing? Why would God let people this young go out into a completely foreign place and help people quit smoking, quit committing sexual sins, and completely change their life around. What qualifies us as missionaries to be ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ? Truthfully, the answer is nothing. We’re not qualified. We may be set apart to do this work, but being set apart doesn’t just happen, it needs to be learned. And to be quite honest, in that process of learning, missionaries do some pretty stupid stuff. The reason God works in this pattern is to show His power. His power and the power of the Truth goes way beyond our inabilities.
My companion shared an awesome quote with me today: “If the church wasn’t true, us missionaries would have ruined it a long time ago.” Luckily, the church still stands because it is true, and God works through imperfect vessels such as us not because when you accomplish miracles through people who have “no idea what they’re doing,” it makes that power all the more evident. For those young people in the church who have the gift of the Holy Ghost, practice learning how to use it NOW! It will help you so much when you get out on your mission. God’s power is real. He’s lifted me to do things that I of myself could never do, and I know He can do that same for you. The Spirit of God really is like a fire.
Sincerely,
Elder Phan
Pictures:
a couple pictures of my companion and I and then pictures of a baptism in our branch of another companionship’s investigator.

Week 50: Power of personal testimony

 

Hello family and friends

According to my past emails, I should be on week 50, buuuuut, the year mark is coming up this next Thursday, and since there’s 52 weeks in a year, technically that means I should be on 51 right? Whatever, I was terrible enough at math before my mission, but now? Forget it haha!

This week has been a pretty good week. We had our district P-day and went bowling. I think this game was the first time that I broke 100 points, so that was a miracle in and of itself. Tuesday we had the Hanoi Zone Conference. Considering that it was my first time conducting zone conference, I don’t think it went too bad. But by the end of that conference, I was mentally drained. We still had about 6 hours left in our day, but luckily it filled up with interviews with the mission president, going home, dinner, and studies.
I learned about the power of personal testimony this week as we teach. There were a couple times during this week as we taught people that I noticed a marked difference in our lessons in terms of the level of spirituality. It took a couple of days of reflecting, but I finally figured out why. In those lessons that felt lacking, it was because we spent more time teaching and testifying of doctrine instead of sharing our own personal experiences of how that particular doctrine has affected our own personal lives.
In relation to that, one thing I learned from this last zone conference was how to approach our study and how to most effective share what we learn from our studies. Oftentimes when we read the scriptures, we are reading looking for the things that we “must” do. “Oh this is what I have to do in order to repent.” “Oh I have to rely on God” etc etc. And maybe sometimes that carries over when we teach people. “This is what you must do” “You need to do this and this in order to be saved” But our mission president and his wife showed us a much more effective way to do it. Rather than saying “You/I must…” we instead say “I have learned…” What changes when we study or teach with the mindset of “I have learned…”? To put it simply, our minds are opened.
True learning comes from taking something that we have read for example and finding how that can apply to us personally, and perhaps even more importantly, recognizing how that principle has been in effect in our lives in the past. We truly learn more from making connections in our minds and in our hearts between what we learn in the scriptures and our personal 

y experiences, especially when before, the two are seemingly unrelated. The concept applies to teaching people. We can tell them this is what they need to do in to receive salvation, but honestly, you feel something more and they feel something more when you don’t just tell them, but show them how this can help them in their life and testifying how it has helped you. I can definitely testify of this experience.

I have learned for myself (see what I did there?😊) that as we go the extra mile to connect personally with those we teach by sharing more of ourselves, it is a much more spiritually uplifting experience for everybody.
So that was a little thing that I learned this week. Hopefully it’s helpful to anyone who is looking to get a little more out of their study or teaching experience. Love you all and see you all in a week!
Much love,
Elder Phan
Pictures:
Our super rainy P-Day
The view from our apartment
An awesome lakeside park that we found. It has this super run-down waterpark next to it
Another dead animal
I like cooking at home.

Week 49: Preparing for Hanoi Zone Conference

 

07/17/2017

Hey look at all those 7s! Nifty, that must mean it’s gonna be a lucky week this next week. As for this last week, it actually turned out to be one of those weeks where not too much happened. We have the Hanoi Zone Conference happening this Tuesday, so a lot of our time has been spent indoors preparing and planning (remember a couple weeks back when I said that missionary is a lot more indoor work than people expect? There you go).

I’ve felt pretty restless and itching to get out there and do normal missionary work, but sometimes you just gotta bite the bullet and do what you gotta do. One thing I’m definitely learning is that as a leader (or whatever excuse of a leader I may be😊) in the mission, your priority is not necessarily the investigators you teach as a companionship, but the missionaries that the Lord has charged you to take care of. It kinda follows along the same principles of being a trainer. Your trainee is your priority, not necessarily your investigators. It’s still something that I’m trying to figure. I wish by some magical way there was a means by which we could focus our attention on everything that we need to without compromising on the other things. Oh well, that how it is as humans😁

I guess the only huge thing I wanted to share this week was my experience with church lately. I seriously underestimated the power behind coming to church every week. Maybe it has something to do with going to small branch where you get to really know everyone on a personal level, but as I was sitting in church this week and just thinking to myself, I was noticed that I’ve been feeling different coming to church the past weeks. It’s a subtle difference, but there it was as I was listening to speaker and sitting in a position where I could see the entire congregation. I felt a great bubble of love towards all the people that I’ve had the opportunity to serve for the past 5 or so weeks. It’s something that I definitely I’ve taken for granted the past few months and even before my mission. I can’t describe it well, but after feeling that special Spirit, the rest of that Sacrament meeting hour, I couldn’t stop smiling.
I love the people in this Hanoi branch and I love being here.
I’m sorry to say that I don’t have any pictures to send home this week. Spending a lot of time indoors doesn’t give one a lot of opportunities to take cool pictures, but hopefully this lucky week will give me some good stuff to take a shot at. Love you all!
Elder Phan

Week 48: The lesson that I learned

 

This week was a very interesting week, and I learned a lot. I’ll talk a little about that after talking about how our week went.

So a lot of the usual stuff happened. We taught a few lessons throughout the week, had meetings, did some contacting, did English class, the usual. Our investigator pool is down to 1 person now. His name is Anh Son, but he’s super awesome. There was one day during the week where we actually taught twice in one day. It was weird, but it worked out and he’s progressing really well.
On Saturday, our branch had the baptism of one of the sister missionary’s investigators. They really work hard. I’m convinced that sister missionaries are given some sort of special powers that give them the ability to work as hard as 2 companionships of Elders. The baptismal service was awesome.
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Ok we got that done, now moving on the stuff I learned this week. Brace yourself because this is going to be a long one…
Essentially, Heavenly Father chastised me big time and I learned a hard lesson from Him on relying on and acting upon His spiritual promptings.
It all started when I forgot a folder full of records on the public bus (missionary work is big on record-keeping by the way). Those records were pretty important and a lot of it was private information of other people, so we called the Hanoi bus system and reported the missing folder, on the off-chance that someone might find it and turn it in. Later that day, we got a call back from the bus people, and during that conversation, I had absolutely no clue what this lady was saying to me.
All I got out of it was that we had to go to some address and then call a certain number. The audio on the phone was bad, this lady spoke like a Vietnamese machine gun, and I am garbage when it comes to spelling Vietnamese words from what I hear, so it was a bad time. Needless to say, the lady on the other end was very frustrated with me by the end. Nevertheless, I wrote what I thought I heard, and then we sacrificed an hour out of our day to look for this street name on our map. Turns out I had heard the name of street wrong over the phone, so after a 2nd call to the bus people, we got the right street name written down. Even then, the street was STILL not on our map, so we then called the missionaries working in the mission office to look that street up for us on Google maps. Thanks to their direction, we found the general vicinity of the street on our map in an area that was pretty far from where we were at the moment.
At that point, my companion started talking about going all the way over there to retrieve the records. By that time, I was seriously mad about the whole situation and how much time we were wasting in trying to find this place. We had already wasted an hour trying to find the general area, and now he was considering going there with no idea HOW we would get there, where EXACTLY the street was, much less the building itself, on the off-chance that the missing records MIGHT be there. In my mind, it was a total shot in the dark and therefore a complete waste of our time. I made those thoughts very clear to my comp, that losing those records really wasn’t too big of a deal. Almost everything in that folder could be easily replaced and redone, and whatever could not be replaced wasn’t absolutely essential that we have them. In my mind, it definitely wasn’t essential enough to justify going on this wild goose chase. Every single fiber of my natural man raged to stay put because that was what made the most sense to me. But we decided to pray about it, and as we prayed, I focused on letting go of what I wanted (and mind you, I wanted to stay put very very badly) and opening my mind and heart to what God wanted me to do. Looking back now, when I presented the Lord with those 2 options, go or stay, I got a clear answer. My frustrations were wiped away and replaced with a measured sense of peace towards the idea of going. In hindsight, it was a clear answer, but at the time, I interpreted it to mean that either option was fine, which I felt was completely unhelpful. In that moment of great need to know for sure what to do, I demanded a loud and clear answer from God.
So after stewing about it for a few minutes, I finally said “You know what, forget it. I can regret this later” and told my comp, let’s go get the records. To be completely honest, my main motivation for going was to settle the matter and prove to both of us this was a dead end.
In the end, it was God who proved me wrong. We ended up calling one more time and figuring out exactly where this place was, and then took a taxi there. Lo and behold, there was our folder of records. Elder Cong was ecstatic, but I felt more subdued as I realized that I was on the wrong side of God. Against all sense of human logic and judgment, God pulled off a small miracle to teach me the value of trusting in His promptings.
I see now that that answer I got was clear, I was just unwilling to act upon it. We give a lot of flak to Laman and Lemuel in the Book of Mormon for seeing so many times in which God has worked His miracles in front of them, and yet they are “easy to forget the Lord their God”. Like, these guys have seen angels, and yet after that they still doubt His works. I always used to think they were such goofs for forgetting so easily. What I realized from this experience is that I’m a lot more like Laman and Lemuel than I thought, and now I don’t blame them so much. This isn’t the first time that I’ve clearly seen God’s hand in my life, and yet it seems like every single time another opportunity comes up to trust Him, I’m still skeptical.
A few months ago, an experienced missionary once asked me how, as you get farther along in your mission, do you differentiate between and continue to rely upon the promptings of the Holy Ghost rather than your own acquired experience. I’ve always been a huge champion of human ability and intellect, so the answer that I gave was that God works His miracles through the abilities of His servants. As we gain more experience, we give God more tools in which to work with. I’ve learned from this last experience that that is not always true. Sometimes, God throws you a curveball that defies anything logical. Obvious lesson that I’ve heard before, but He really hammered it into me this time. I’ve learned that I still have a long way to go in terms of humbling myself enough to follow His promptings without question.
So that’s what I learned this week. This email is crazy long already, so to those who made it all the way through to the end, congratulations and sorry it took so long. Thanks for bearing with me and allowing me to share this experience with you. Love you all and good luck with next week!
Love, Elder Phan
Pictures:
-A lunch appointment with some members
-Continuing on with the tradition of picking up dead animals, here’s a snail that my comp accidentally stepped on as we were walking
-A cool little hill that we found
-The wreckage of a tree in front of the church after a storm
-Our investigator, Anh Son, with Dung, a member (he’s the one in the glasses)
-“I saw a pillar of light, exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun…”
-A random pig we found tied up to a stop sign. I don’t think it’s future is going to be too bright. I felt kinda bad for it.