Elder's Nguyen's Favorite Scripture

"And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.

"The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?

"Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever."

- D&C 122:7-9

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Second Email - Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I'm feeling much better, not sick at all anymore, and I probably won't be until I get to Cambodia.  Then I'll probably get sick very quickly.

I've been looking forward to the plane trip for a while, just to have:
1. Something different
2. Time to sleep
3. Different food
I don't know if they celebrate Halloween, but I think they might celebrate it as a minor holiday or something.  I won't find out until next year though, because I'm going to be on a plane pretty much all of Halloween.  Even if I wasn't, I wouldn't be allowed to dress up (probably).
Make sure Michael has a camera for his costume, one with a long strap that he can put around his neck if he needs to.  I think it will make the costume even better.
Enjoy these next two years, even though I won't be there you can still enjoy them!
Elder Nguyen

Last email from the MTC - Dated Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I'll try to call once before I get on the plane in Salt Lake, but I can't call for very long because there are a lot of other missionaries in the airport, so I'll have maybe two minutes to talk in Salt Lake.  I'll see if I can get in a longer call at LAX.
Oh, if you want to send a DearElder today, send it BEFORE 3:00 PM or I won't get it.
There's three of us flying to Cambodia, plus eight elders and one sister from the Cambodian district.  The other two Vietnamese elders are going to Melbourne Australia and Anaheim California. 
I just barely managed to get everything into my suitcases without going over the 50 pound per suitcase limit.  If I didn't need the Vietnamese books, it would have been a lot easier, as they're heavy and take up a lot of room.  But I suppose I'm going to need those for quite a while (I don't think that I'm going to bring most of them home though.)
I hope the people of New Jersey are O.K. (especially Greg and his family) but I'm glad everyone in the family is O.K. for now.  Hopefully the hurricane won't move toward Maryland.
I hope everyone is doing well.  I'm doing well here, and I'm looking foward to getting to Cambodia.
Remember to have fun while I'm gone!
Elder Nguyen

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Email - Dated Tuesday, October 23, 2012


How are all of you?  Are you all happy and healthy?

I was fine this week, until Sunday.  Somehow I got the flu on Sunday, and I've been quite sick since then.  In fact I've been so sick that I haven't been able to eat since Sunday.  I've finally started to get better today (though it's only been a short time since I got sick, it feels like it's been quite a long time.)

As for the language, while I'm doing fine with the language here, I expect to have to re-learn quite a lot of the language once I get to Cambodia.

This week is going to be exactly the same as the other weeks, except for two things.  First, I don't have any regular class on Friday.  Instead I have In-Field Orientation all day Friday, and I have no clue what is going to happen during that.  The second difference is much smaller, my companion and I don't have the usual weekly planning session on Saturday, because we are only here for two days next week.

Our investigators are doing fine.  I haven't seen them since Friday or Saturday (you can probably guess why) so I don't know exactly how well they are doing at the moment, but when I last saw them they were doing well.  We have three other investigators, Allen (I might have already told you about him) Rick, and Joe.  They're fairly new investigators, so we haven't taught them very much, but they like what we have taught them so far.  Em Thao is doing very well, we've taught him nearly everything that he needs to know before baptism, and Chi Thuy is coming along fairly well, we've been trying to teach her what she needs to know rather than just teaching the lessons in the perscribed order.

Unfortunately I forgot my camera today.  I'll try to get some pictures to you on Monday or Tuesday next week; however the computers here aren't very good with cameras so I haven't been able to send pictures even when I remember to bring my camera.

I got my travel itinerary this week, and I think I'm going to have to send a suitcase home because I am not allowed to have more than 2 suitcases.  Anyway, the itinerary is

LV: Salt Lake City, UT 8:05 P.M. 30 Oct
AR: Los Angeles, CA 9:05 P.M. 30 Oct
LV: Los Angeles, CA 1:05 A.M. 31 Oct
AR: Hong Kong, Hong Kong 7:40 A.M. 1 Nov
LV: Hong Kong, Hong Kong 8:55 A.M. 1 Nov
AR: Phnom Penh, Cambodia 10:30 A.M. 1 Nov

I'll try to call when I can, but I don't know when I'll be able to call at a reasonable hour. because of the time difference and the fact that all of my flights from the States are fairly late.

Elder Nguyen

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Email - Dated Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hi everyone,

I can hardly believe that it's been two months since I came to the MTC!  It seems like much longer sometimes, more like it's been two years already.  Other times it seems like it's only been a couple weeks.

Things have been fine here.  Everyone's sort of stressed out because everyone that we know has left or is leaving soon.  The Hmong companionship in our district is leaving very soon, and the rest of us are a little sad about that (partly because they're going to be leaving us, partly because they get to leave a week earlier than us.)  We're all waiting to get our travel plans this week, and we're all very excited to be leaving (though I think that we're going to miss the MTC oh, probably after a few hours on the plane.)

Our investigators aren't "real" investigators per se, they are our teachers, but they act like investigators, so we have to teach them, answer their questions, and all that fun stuff.  They're doing well, both of them are progressing, accepting commitments to pray and such.  I don't think that we'll be finished teaching them before we leave the MTC though.

It's been getting colder here, and it's rained a few times, but I don't think it's going to snow before I leave.  It's not nearly cold enough, so unless there's a sudden temperature drop it won't snow, though it will probably rain again.

This week my district (the Vietnamese speakers and the Hmong speakers) played softball against the Cambodian district (because we aren't allowed to play baseball.)  We won pretty easily, 9-4 after five innings.

Everyone's doing well, and we're all looking forward to getting out to the field.

Elder Nguyen

Monday, October 15, 2012

Letter - Written on Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dear everyone,

Surprise!  I was told I could write a letter today (Saturday) by the mission president, so here it is.

How is everyone?  I bet Michael and AJ were really glad to have some time off from school. 

I hope everyone is enjoying school and that Michael is enjoying seminary.  Seminary is a very good thing to have, we're very lucky to have it.  So enjoy it!  It's not meant to be torture!

Did everyone enjoy conference?  By the time you get this, conference will be over, but I hope you all heard something worth remembering.

I bet you were surprised when President Monson announced that missionaries can now begin serving at 18.  I certainly was!  I want to speak to Michael and A.J. a bit here.  Start preparing for your missions now.  I don't necessarily mean to start saving money now (though that wouldn't be a bad idea), I mean to start preparing spiritually and physically.  Eat healthily, exercise every day, and get into the habit of doing your own laundry weekly.  Read your scriptures and pray daily, go to and participate in seminary and church meetings.  I promise that if you do these things, you will be prepared to serve the Lord whether you serve at 18, 19, or 21, and that you will be an effective instrument in bringing souls to the Lord.

In her last letter, Mom asked me if there is anything else I would like to have here.  There are two things.  One is some ramen from Ranch 99.  The other, however, is more important.  There are... I think they're bags, that you put stuff into, then seal, then put a vacuum to it and it removes all the air.  The elders here say that these bags make packing much easier.  I would like some of these bags.

I hope everyone is doing well!  I'll be back sooner than you realize.  You (and I) are going to wonder where the last two years have gone when I return home.  Though it seems like a long time when we look ahead, what matters isn't the end of my mission.  What matters is what I do during these next two years in the service of the Lord.  Remember that!

Love, Elder Nguyen

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Email - Dated Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Xin Chao!

(Please excuse the lack of tone and vowel markers, this computer doesn't have any.  You'll have to fill them in yourself, sorry.  And please don't use Google Translate, because I might have accidentally written something offensive because I don't have the tone markers, etc.)

Em la khoe.  Khong thay luon luon heiu tieng viet, nhung anh ca hop tap.   Em co thay dop tieng viet.  Em co thay noi bang tieng anh trong Fundamental Practice va Coaching Missionary Study. 

OK, that's enough of that.

I'm doing just fine here.  The language is still difficult (for everyone) but everyone's learning.  There's not really much to report, every week is pretty much the same.

We actually have two investigators now (I don't know if I told you that already).  One of them, Em Thao, is progressing well.  We have him attending church and he is keeping most of the commitments that we have given to him (We haven't been able to follow up on some yet).  He has a baptismal date (Saturday) but my companion and I don't think that we're going to be able to finish teaching everything in time, so we're going to push it back a week or two.

Our other investigator, Chi Thuy, is another story altogether.  We've taught her one full lesson and are about halfway through the second lesson, but she doesn't understand why we need to pray. No matter what we tell her, she keeps insisting that she doesn't think prayer is necessary, and we can't really go anywhere with these lessons if she refuses to pray. 

In my last letter I said that I was called as the district leader last week.  It's not quite as demanding of a calling here as it is in the field.  I have to pick up the mail and approve companionship splits for some activities, and that's it (I don't think I'm going to be required to give baptismal interviews for the district, because there are some missionaries in the district who don't speak Vietnamese, they speak Hmong, and I can't interview people in Hmong.  In fact I can't say anything in Hmong at all.)

I was surprised at the announcement that young men could begin serving missions at 18, but not as surprised as most others were.  There were a few missionaries in our zone who were 18 when they came into the MTC, so when President Monson started talking about them I knew what was going to happen.  I'll bet Michael and A.J. are excited about that, now they don't have to wait quite as long.  But I probably wouldn't have gone at 18 even if I could have.  Not because I wouldn't have wanted to, but because I was so used to having 19 years old as the earliest people could begin serving that I probably would have just stuck with going at 19.

I'm glad that I'm leaving the MTC soon.  While it's good here and I enjoy it, I'm a bit tired of being here (most people who speak foreign languages are only here for 9 weeks and most of the people I know here who aren't in my district are already gone or will be going soon.)

Well I'm about out of time, so I'll end it here.  Bye!  Hopefully these next two years won't be too long for you.

Elder Nguyen

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Letter - Postmarked Friday, September 28, 2012

Dear everyone,

How is school going for everyone?  Has Mom started her BYU Independent Study class yet?  If so, how is the class?

I hope everyone is doing well in school, and at work, or whatever everyone is doing.

I actually have a couple things I would like for you to send me.  The first is those vacuum bags.  have you seen those?  You put your stuff in then use a vacuum to pull out all of the air.  People here say it makes it much easier to pack.

The other is some ramen (the good kind) and some paper bowls.  Sometimes I get hungry at night when I can't go to the cafeteria.

I'm doing good, getting enough sleep, eating enough (usually) and learning at a regular pace (very slowly).

I forgot to send pictures today, but I will send them next week for sure.

Elder Nguyen

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Email - Dated Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Unfortunately, I am unable to send pictures from this computer, so I will try to do that later today.

I'm doing just fine here.  Everyone's learning the language.  We're still teaching the same investigators.  Things are pretty much the same as last week.  There really isn't anything "new" that happens while you're at the MTC.  It's all the same.

However, there is one thing that happened.  I doubt you'll guess what it is.  Go ahead, try to guess.

Do you have a guess yet?  No?  I'll give you a little more time then.

Ok, time's up.  I was called as the district leader on Sunday.
I bet you didn't guess that.  If you did, good for you.

I'm looking forward to General Conference this weekend.  Partially because it means that there won't be class on Saturday.  But also because it's a good opportunity to teach our investigators about living prophets.

I'll try to get another e-mail out with the pictures I've been meaning to send for the last three weeks.

Elder Nguyen