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

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Email - Dated Monday, November 19, 2012

Hi everyone,

I don't have pictures this week because I forgot my camera.

It's hot here, though it's not as hot as California.  However it's always very humid, which makes it feel a lot hotter here than in California.

I haven't gotten sick yet, but everyone says that it's only a matter of time, and that every missionary gets sick within the first month of arriving.  I don't know, but it's probably true.

The days here aren't very exciting.  We aren't allowed to street contact in Vietnam, so we often have unfilled time.  My companion and I don't have many investigators, so mostly we teach recent converts.  We have a lot of recent converts to teach, as my companion and I teach most of those lessons, including some for new members taught by the other missionaries in the city.  We teach most of the lessons at church because it's easier for us, but when we go to visit less active members we usually bike there.  It usually takes about an hour, and the traffic is insane.  As I think I said in my last e-mail, there really aren't many traffic rules here (that people follow.)

The food we cook varies from day to day.  Elder Tai and I normally cook more American, but the other companionship cooks more Vietnamese food.  I sometimes cook Vietnamese because it's cheaper, but I usually can find some American stuff (like pasta or bread) on sale or very cheap because we have to go to many places in order to get everything we need.  Occasionally we order pizza if we really don't feel like cooking, there's a couple Dominoes in the city.

I don't miss the MTC for the food (it's much better to cook for myself) but I do miss not having to bike several kilometers a day in traffic that would get a couple million people arrested in America (including the missionaries, we sometimes have to follow traffic in order to actually go through some 4-way "gos", there aren't 4-way stops here unless there are traffic signals.)

One of our investigators (OK, really our only investigator) was baptized yesterday.  Her name is Chi Diem (That's not the correct spelling, but I don't know how to use the Vietnamese settings on this keyboard.)  I do have pictures, but again, I forgot my camera, so I'll send them next week probably.

I still can't really say much in Vietnamese, it's coming very slowly especially because it's hard to understand people.  Sometimesitseemsliketheytalklikethiswithabsolutelynospacesbetweenwordsorsyllables. 

All in all, I'm doing fine here.  Elder Tai is in Hanoi for a leadership assignment or something (he's the zone leader) so I am working with Elder Huyen this week.

Elder Nguyen

Last Letter from the MTC

This letter was tucked into a box David sent home from the MTC, and I didn't open the box right away, thinking it was just stuff to store until he got home.  In his email last week, he asked us if we read the letters he sent in the box, so we opened it and were pleasantly surprised to find it.


Dear everyone,

Surprise!  A second box!

Anyway, this is all the stuff which I couldn't fit within the prescribed weight limit.

Anyway, I'm all packed to go to Cambodia.  In fact, I'll probably be there by the time you read this.

How is everyone?  How's school and work for everyone?

How's Michael's Eagle Scout coming along?  Is he almost there or is he still working at getting a plan for his project, or what?  What does he want to do?

Is A.J. enjoying the 11-year old Scouts?  How is he doing with that?  Has he achieved any ranks yet?

How are things at home and at church?  Has anyone got a new calling?

I'm just fine.  I'll be happy to eat real food in the airport, and I'll be happy to reach Cambodia.

Remember to have fun while I'm gone!

Elder David Nguyen

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Email - Dated Monday, November 12, 2012

Wow, that's a lot of questions!  I'll try to answer everyone's questions, but I might miss a few.
The official schedule is like this: wake up at 6:30, exercise and breakfast until 8.  Study from 8 until 11.
That's really all that we have officially, because we're not allowed to tract or street contact in Vietnam.  Most days we have lessons to teach to investigators and recent converts.  Some days we bike to the houses of less active members and teach them, and one less active member pretty much eats up the whole day with travel, because we need to bike for several hours to reach the houses of less active members. 
We teach English four times per week.  We have two companionships in our apartment and we take turns teaching, so my companion and I teach two times per week. 
Many of the members here are from Vietnam, but there are also quite a few members from the States who are here because of work or for some other reason.
Church services are pretty much the same as they are in America (sacrament, Sunday School, Priesthood).  It's usually in Vietnamese, but there are headsets that English-speaking members can wear to get an English translation.  I don't usually wear it though.  While I don't understand much and I'm still not as good as I was at the MTC, I'm learning and I can understand a little.
The food here is something like this: rice, plus some sort of protein, usually chicken or pork, and some sort of vegetable.
My companion, Elder Tai, is from New York.
The Vietnamese elders usually get their mail every week, but in Vietnam we only get it once a month because we have to pick it up and the zone leader goes to the mission home (in Cambodia) about once a month or so, unless there's a transfer (which doesn't happen very often.)
Everything here is done by bike, no driving except for the mission president, the assistants, and the office elders, all of whom are in the Cambodia mission.  Bikes are supplied by the mission, but we have to put down a deposit in case something happens to the bike.  Traffic is quite bad here, there don't seem to be many rules besides
1. Don't crash
2. Don't go if there's a red light (some people ignore this one)
Those are pretty much all of the rules, besides this it's pretty much just go where you want.  I don't think there's even rulesabout what part of the road you're supposed to drive on.
It's hot and humid here (they say it always is, and I believe them) but it's not raining very much.  Apparently the rainy season was ENDING when I arrived, not beginning, as the rainy season seems to end early here.
From, Elder Nguyen

Monday, November 5, 2012

Email - Dated Monday, November 5, 2012

Good afternoon (well, it's afternoon here, I have no idea what time it is there).

How is everyone doing?  I noticed that Michael said that he no longer has free time, is that literal (he has homework from the time he gets out of school until bedtime) or does he just have very little free time so it feels like none?

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures as I forgot my camera (I seem to do that a lot!) but I'll try to send some next week.

I'm doing fine here.  We went to the Metro today (it's like a Costco) to get groceries and a new rice cooker, because something keeps happening to the rice cookers that we have and I don't really want to try to open them and fix them. 

It's not really that hot here, but it feels hotter because it's humid here.

Oh by the way, you'll never guess where my first area is.  Actually, now that I said that, you probably already have a good idea of where it is.  So I won't give time to guess, I'll just say it.  I'm in Ho Chi Minh City.  If you don't know where that is, I'll give you a hint.  It's not in Cambodia.

You can still send me DearElders here if you want to.  It's still free (I think) so if you want to send me actual letters, you can (probably) still do that through DearElder.com.

I lost most of what I learned of the language on the plane trip over here, but it's coming back slowly.  I mean VERY slowly.  I think in MTC terms I'd be at about week 3.

One final thing.  If you want to send actual letters, the only way is the mission home address.  I'll only get letters about once a month (for now) so don't expect a quick reply every time.  In fact, I don't know if I'll be able to reply quickly at all, at least, not to what's in the letters.  Here's my current address.
House #2B st. 222 off Norodom
PO Box 165
Phnom Penh Cambodia

Elder Nguyen

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Letter from David's Mission President - Dated Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sis. Nguyen,

I wanted to report to you that Elder Nguyen arrived safely here in Cambodia yesterday.  We are excited to serve with him.  The new missionaries had a brief opportunity to do some visits to members homes, then were taken to the mission home for lunch, orientation meetings, an evening devotional, and dinner.  I also had the opportunity to interview him.  They were very tired by the time they finally went to bed, after a long couple of days of travel.  He is safe and sound, and stayed with us last night at the mission home.  Today we will have some training meetings, he will be assigned a new companion and he will depart for his assigned area.

We have attached a photo of him with us in front of the mission home.  We are grateful to you for allowing your son to serve and can feel his desire to serve the Lord.  Thank you for your support, prayers and love.  Please feel free to contact us if we can be assistance or help or in the case of emergency.

Warmest regards,

Dave & Kathryn Moon
President, Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission
House 2B Street 222
Off Norodom Blvd.
Phnom Penh

He's in Cambodia! - Email Dated Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hi everyone,

So, I'm still alive.  The plane made it to Cambodia safely, and everyone made it here safely.  I wasn't able to sleep very much on the flight, but I suppose that's a good thing because I'll be able to sleep properly tonight and get used to the schedule quickly.

I don't know if I told you, but my Vietnamese name is my middle name.

The office elders are the coolest people ever.

Cambodia is good, it's humid but not really that hot, it just feels hot because it's so humid.  I do regret wearing a long sleeved shirt on the plane though, because it makes it somewhat worse.

Today the Vietnamese elders went and visited some members, then went street contacting, as we're not allowed to "tract" per se.  We (the new elders) went with them as a part of our training.  Somehow all of the Vietnamese that I learned in the MTC went away during the flight, but hopefully I can get it back fairly soon.

Well I don't have too much time, so I'll end it here.  I'm OK and I'm ready to get to work.

Elder Nguyen