Hi everybody! It’s been awhile. Sorry that I wasn’t able to email last week, I was in Bangkok, Thailand last Monday renewing my visa (quick going to Bangkok airport , get the stamp on visa, and flying back- we call it Visa Run). I didn’t realize that the airport there actually had computers that we could’ve used to email until it was too late and it was time for us (I and elder Khiêm) to fly back to Vietnam, so…
Anyways, the trip was fun, except we missed our flight back because they use 24 hour time instead of 12 hour, so we read the times wrong and had to transfer our ticket to another flight, which was EXPENSIVE! I’ve got a bad habit of missing my flights; it’s not fun. The good thing, though, is now for this P-day I got to read twice as many emails as i normally would have been able to read, which means twice the fun! The bad thing is now I have to try and remember 2 weeks worth of information to see what I can share with everyone.
I guess before I start, I wanted to give a shout-out to my dad! It’s his birthday today! Thanks Dad for being a great example of patience, humility, and service, and always pushing me to develop those traits within myself. I’ve really tried to apply those lessons while I’ve been out here, and they really have blessed my life. I hope you have a fantastic birthday!
I think next I’ll talk about our investigator’s. It’s been awhile since I’ve mentioned them. We currently have 3 investigators: Anh Tay (platinum pizza maker), Anh Phuc (a contact from English class, Buddhist, family man), and Anh An (another contact from English class, college student, grew up Catholic, but has had really special spiritual experiences since he has started learning with us that are really changing his life and bringing him closer to more a Truth). It’s really been an exciting time.
We haven’t been able to meet with Anh Tay for a really long time because he is so busy working for 2 restaurants so that he can save enough money to return home to his hometown for the Lunar New Year holidays (Tet). It’s hard to have lessons with him because of his busy schedule, but we’re still keeping in contact with him to keep the relationship going so that after Tet we can really make up for lost time.
Anh Phuc is doing pretty well. Ever since we’ve started teaching the lessons to him, he’s accepted what we’ve taught. It’s just a lot to take in and remember. we’ve really been trying to emphasize gaining a personal testimony through daily prayer and scripture study. If he can know for himself that the Book of Mormon is true, then it will really jumpstart his conversion process. Besides that, he also hasn’t told his wife that he’s been taking the lessons, which is also curtailing his conversion process. But we finally had a breakthrough with that! After our last lesson with him, we brought up how we can help him tell his wife about taking the lessons, and from that we are now able to teach him in his home (we always taught him at the church beforehand), meet his wife, and gradually get to know her and introduce the gospel to their family as a whole. We won’t be able to meet them until after Tet, but the gate is now open to us! I’m excited.
Anh An is our investigator that has progressed the most and he’s totally awesome! coming from a Catholic background, he has that spiritual foundation of faith and knowing the significance of prayer, scripture study, and feeling the Holy Ghost, all of which are essential to gaining a personal testimoy. And boy is Anh An starting to gain that personal testimony. The faith that he has in the things that we teach him surprises me every time. There are some things that we teach that, when we go into that lesson, makes me wonder “Will he accept that what we are about to share with him is the truth?” But he understand and readily embraces all the principles that he has been learning, and I marvel at how much faith that takes to embrace something that, to use a scriptural term, is “peculiar”. What is it in our church that makes us different from other Christian churches? Some examples include the detailed knowledge that we have of our lives before this mortal life, before even the Creation of the Earth. Another is our belief that God still speaks to His children today, that just like in ancient times, he communicates to us both personally and to his people as a whole through modern-day prophets and scriptures. We believe that just because we live in a different time does not mean that our time is unique in the sense that we no longer need God’s direct communication through chosen servants. The heavens are open now, and there are men who communicate directly with God and continually receive revelation relevant to our modern day to help the people of His church cope with modern day difficulties. These are all things we’ve shared with Anh An, and he’s believes it all.
One thing that I’ve really learned from this week is the importance of the role of the Holy Ghost in one’s conversion. We as missionaries can only do so much, but in the end, the investigator must put in that effort to know for themselves, and when they do that, the Holy Ghost can testify in their heart that it’s true. Obviously, as missionaries, we can’t hold their hand the whole time and tell them to do this and do that you’ll feel Him. They develop spiritual habits outside of our lessons, so when the Holy Ghost does speak to them, it increases their faith, and we as missionaries have no idea that they have those spiritual experiences until they share with us and continue to progress. It’s an out-of-body experience of sorts; I can’t describe it well at all. All I can say is, there is more at work here outside of what missionaries do.
I’m starting to get used to this whole “district leader” and “trainer” thing. It definitely adds more to the stress levels, but luckily, Elder Dat is a great companion. He makes life a lot more fun, and that takes a lot of the pressure off my shoulders. I’m grateful to him.
We’re looking forward to a big day next week as well. An investigator of one of the senior missionaries is getting baptized this next Sunday! As a district leader, I had the opportunity to interview him for baptism this last Sunday, and he has shared some truly amazing spiritual experiences. At the end of the interview, he asked me if I would baptize him! It’s really interesting because his wife (who’s been a member for years) was also coincidentally baptized by another missionary named Elder Huy, which we didn’t figure out until after he asked me to baptize him. We’ll see how it goes next week!
Love everyone bunches and I hope your next week is blessed!
PS: my brother Andrew Phan at home attended the mini- mission this week. It is 3 days/nights being companion with the real full time missionaries to do missionary work in local area. He said he really liked it . These are the pictures that he sent me.