Monday, December 7, 2015

Monday, November 30, 2015

Xe hơi - Footscray Week 12: Thanksgiving, Birthdays, and Driving in Australia!

Vietnamese Word of the week: Xe hơi (say hoi) as in "car" as in "The Lord protected me as I drive a car for the first time in Australia." :)

Scripture of the week: Alma 44:3 - Moroni knows that his victory was not because of his "great stature," his military cunning, or the strength of his troops; it was because of his religion. I hope we can all take into consideration the victories that come in our lives because we are choosing to be disciples of Jesus Christ. :)

What a week, what a week. It's been a crazy last week for training for me, and so much has happened! The Lord has really helped me get through this week as I've had headaches and have just been really tired.

On Thursday, we had a really great Thanksgiving feast at the branch in the city. We walked in to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing American Hymns with the smell of turkey, pie, and mashed potatoes, and I almost forgot that we were in Australia, celebrating an American holiday the day before the Americans were. :) It was really excellent and really filling. The branch takes good care of us.

I also had a pretty good birthday. Of course, it was missionary work as usual with not a lot of different things, but it was good nonetheless. I had several missionaries surprise me with calls and flash mobs of "Happy Birthday to You!" and some nice gifts from members and recent converts. :) I feel so lucky and blessed to serve here.

On Saturday, I had my first experience driving on the left side of the road. We went on exchanges, but as it turned out, I had to drive for our companionship in Fairfield! It was a really nerve-wracking experience full of prayers of safety and hope, but through Heavenly Father's great mercy, we survived. :) Fortunately, I probably won't have to do it again for a long while. It was pretty stressful driving around with foreign laws on the other side of the road.

Transfers are coming up, and I'm kind of leaving, kind of not really. I'm staying in Sunshine area, but Elder Roberts will be my new companion! We've both just finished training, so it'll be a bit hard, but we can do it if we rely on the Lord to help us. I'm looking forward to another week of faith, work, and Vietnamese! Tonight, we have a special Vietnamese Thanksgiving planned, and I'm making the mashed potatoes (thank you, dad, for teaching me how to make them!)

Until next week, the church is true, the Book of Mormon's blue, I must go now, but I love you! :)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Con Chau - Footscray Week 11: Hawaiian party!

Vietnamese Word of the Week: Con Chau (con chow) as in "posterity."
Scripture of the week: 3 Nephi 21:22-25 - When we follow the gospel of Jesus Christ, we enter into the Abrahamic covenant and become the children of Israel! We receive all the promised blessings of his posterity. :)

Hello! Long time no contact! Sorry about last week, due to technical difficulties, I had even less time than usual! Ah! But this week has been really good and really celebratory. :)

This week has gone by really quickly; I feel like the longer I'm out in the field, the faster time flies. It's hard to believe that I'm almost "graduated" from being a golden. Reflecting back on who I was twelve weeks ago, not just as a missionary but as a disciple of Jesus Christ, I truly see how serving a mission and dedicating so much time to the Lord has changed me for the better and increased my faith and trust in Him. It'll be interesting to see how transfers go and what it'll be like without my trainer, Elder Howell. he's done an excellent job at helping me grow and stretch and become the missionary that I need to be for this mission. I feel like I'll be able to do well next transfer, but I know that it will be hard.
We had a Hawaiian party at Footscray ward, and it was so fun to see the cultures all mixing! Islanders, Vietnamese, Australians, and even Americans thanks to the missionaries. It was so much fun to see the Vietnamese try to dance islander style, too. They did a good job! :)
The work of the Lord is moving forward! Although we had 2 investigators drop us this week, we're still moving forward with faith, and our recent converts are doing so well! They're incredible! It's a blessing to know them and work with them. :)

I've been reflecting a lot this week about the scriptures and how they unite us. Although we're all at different levels of understanding, the scriptures contain the doctrine which we all believe in, and they help us all draw closer to the Savior. As we all draw nearer to Him, we draw nearer to each other. :) I'm so blessed to be working here in Melbourne with all these wonderful people. Transfers are next week, so we'll see how it goes!
I love you all! Keep reading and ponderizing the scriptures. They will tell you all things that you should do. :) I love you! :)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Footscray week 10

I'm running out of time, and I don't have a general email! I'm so sorry! Will you just post these pictures? I feel really bad...

Sunday, November 8, 2015

cái khiên - Footscray Week 9: The Life of the Savior and temple work!

Scripture of the week: Luke 13:11-13 -> I know what it feels like to be someone who can in no wise lift up themselves, and I bear witness that the Savior's loving arms, outstretched to us all, can immediately make us straight. :)

Vietnamese Word of the Week: cái khiên (Cai Kee-ayn) as in Shield, like taking the "shield of faith" in defense of the Kingdom of God. :) I gave a talk this week at a devotional about that, so that's how it's relevant. Plus, it's always relevant. :)

This week has been a roller coaster of positive spiritual experiences and nerve-wracking, stressful situations, but, through the grace of God, I've made it through, and I feel that I'm even better than I was last week. I'm back inFootscray now, among my Vietnamese brethren and people, and I'm really grateful for that!
We really wanted to stress teaching recent converts the life of Jesus Christ this week. Our central purpose as missionaries is to bring others to come to know, have faith in, and love Jesus Christ. We should some of our recent converts the bible videos, giving a brief, simple overview of the Savior's life and teachings. Those lessons were among the most powerful I've ever been a part of on my mission. I will admit, tears were shed as we all, together, learned more about the extent of the Savior's love and sacrifice for us on an individual level. What a blessing to share that with everyone. :)

We had the opportunity to go to the Melbourne temple to assist the branch with baptisms! It was such a great experience, and my testimony of the temple has really grown although I haven't been able to go for a little bit. It's such a blessing to go there and participate in eternal ordinances!
I know that the gospel is true, that Jesus Christ lives and is our Savior, Redeemer, and Friend. As we rely on Him and seek spiritual experiences through the temple, the Book of Mormon, church, and prayer, we will draw nearer to Him and become more who we need to be. I invite you to seek out those experiences and to work toward making the ones that you already have more powerful through diligent study and pondering. I love you all! Until next week! :)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Tiếng Anh - Footscray(ish) Week 8: My Days as an English Elder

Scripture of the week: Luke 5:5 - Sometimes, what we need to do after all that we have been doing is do a little more; when the Savior invites us to act, we can be sure that by acting we will be blessed. :)

Vietnamese Word of the week: "Tiếng Anh" (Tea- ang Ah-n) "english" as in, for about half a week, I've been an English Elder!

​Well, this week has been 4 and a half adventures if I do say so myself. It all started on Tuesday, when I went on exchanges with Elder Roberts again. We're pretty much expecting to go on weekly exchanges at this point because of our companions' positions, but it turns out, Heavenly Father had more plans for me concerning exchanges... On Friday, the zone leaders tell me that I will be serving with Elder Wahlquist (pictured above) until Wednesday because his companion was going home for health reasons. That means for aobut 5 days, I was/am not really a Vietnamese elder! It was hard news to take, but it's been a really good, really rewarding experience.

I'm no in Fairfield area, which is near the stake center of our zone. We went tracting on Halloween and pretended to be trick or treaters just for fun. :) It was actually a lot of fun, and it reminded me of doing fast offerings back home. Speaking of fast offerings, we tracted for more than 5 hours yesterday! On a fast Sunday! Oi! But, it worked out really well because the Lord supported us. That means I've done about 8 hours of tracting in 2 days. Of course, it was the last door we tried that gave us the best results, and I'm excited to see that person progress in the gospel (though I'll be back in Footscray by then). :)

Other than that, we had an awesome Vietnamese Halloween party! Elder Roberts has the pictures, but we carved pumpkins, told scary stories, and played a lot of games. It was a lot of theirs' first Halloween, and it was so much fun to share that with them! I love being a missionary, especially for the Vietnamese people, and that's what made it a little hard to leave them for even just a few days. I know that the Lord has called me to do His work, though, wherever I serve, and I'm happy to do His will. I know that as I work harder for Him, He will bless me and all of you for my service. :) I know these things are true, and I share them in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Australian quirk: The weather here in Melbourne is crazy! I mean, crazier than Utah, even. It can be summer hot one for an hour and then the next be cold and rainy. It's unpredictable and really fun!

I love you all! :) Until next week! :)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Hy Sinh - Footscray Week 7: Sick Days and Zone Leaders

Vietnamese Word of the Week: Hy Sinh (Hee sin) as in "sacrifice" like "whatever we sacrifice for the Gospel and for Christ, we are promised 100 fold." :)
Scripture of the week: Mark 10:29-30 - Christ promises 100 fold of everything we give up, leave behind, or sacrifice when we serve Him and dedicate ourselves to Him and the gospel. The sacrifices we make are well worth the rewards of Eternal life with Him and our families. :) What aspect of the gospel can we improve on? No matter the sacrifice that requires, I promise that it is worth it; you will gain 100 fold from our Savior. :)
This week, we had transfer meeting, and the strangest thing happened; my companion became Zone leader, Elder Roberts' companion became Zone leader, but we're all still companions with each other. Usually, the Zone leaders are companions, but since Elder Roberts and I are still training, they split them up. It makes the dynamics in the flat really interesting trying to balance companionship unity when, truly, Elder Roberts, Elder Howell, and I are half companions. It'll be a fun adventure to try and figure out. :)

Elder Roberts and I have already been on exchanges (switching companions) this week, and it's anticipated that it'll happen at least once a week, if not more. That's alright with me, though; I've known him since the MTC, and it's a pleasure to work with him. :)

Lukas Erekson

Oct 25 (4 days ago)
to AngelicaAuntBraxtonChrismeElderEmilyEzarayGrandmaGrandmaGrandpaIzakJakobJamesKatherineKelleyKiraMomNikkiSammy
Accidentally sent that too soon! Sorry! :)

Something that I've really appreciated being able to see this week is how recent converts thrive after baptism. One of our recent converts taught me and Elder Howell the Plan of Salvation- we asked her to draw/tell us all that she remembered, and with little to know help, she quite thoroughly explained it all, bore testimony of it and the Book of Mormon, and even answered our questions as we "played investigator" with her. It was a really powerful experience.  :)

Something that I'm working on this week is really enjoying the work. I fell ill this week, starting around Friday and continuing to even today, so I'll try and get a lot of rest. nevertheless, I'm trying to rejoice in the great work the Lord has called me to and trusted me with. i know I'm where I need to be, and I know that I can enjoy it with the Lord's help.

I love Australian architecture! :) I'll try to send more pictures of Australian things. :)

Random Australian fact: the moon is upside down. No, really, it is. It was weird when I noticed that the first time, but in the southern hemisphere, the moon looks upside down relative to Utah. It's really cool. :)
Anyway, I'll leave you with my testimony that the church is true, God's work moves forward, and that Jesus Christ will give us 100 fold of what we give to Him, so I want to give my all to Him. :) I love you all! Have a great week! :)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Thay đổi - Footscray Week 6: The Gospel Changes lives!

Vietnamese Word of the Week: thay đổi (tie doi?) which means, "change" or "to change" as in "The gospel changes lives and people." :)
Scripture of the week: Mark 8:35 - How can I better lose my life for the Savior's sake and for the gospel's?

This week was such a crazy good week! Nhu was baptized, and it's so incredible to notice the great change in her. From what the other elders were telling me from what she was like before, she's changed immensely in these past few weeks. I'm hesitant to share too many details, but I've seen how the gospel has changed her to be sweeter, more social, and fun-loving. It's a joy to be in lessons with her, and she's really great and loving the gospel! Being at the baptism brought such a special spirit, and I'm so excited to see how the rest of her new life goes. :)

As I reflected on how I've seen others change, I've noticed that I've changed quite a bit myself, but also that I have a long way to go to be more Christ-like. I'm still trying to figure out my place in the mission and who I want to be (or rather, how to be the person that Christ knows I can be). I'm so excited for this challenging and rewarding opportunity to serve Him for two years and be refined, changed, and helped along my path to my own conversion by helping others. :) Although I've been sick and stressed, I find joy in working with the people; working with team Vietnam! :)
I know that I need to work on losing my life for the Savior's sake and for the gospel's, and that's what I'll be ponderizing this week. How can I do that better? How can I become who I need to be for the Savior, my loved ones, and everyone whom the Lord has trusted me with?
I love you all! Keep praying, reading the scriptures, and do the little things each day to become more like Christ. You will be happy in this life and in the next. :)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Vị Tien Tri - Footscray Week 5: General Conference!

Vietnamese Word of the Week: Vị Tien Tri (Vee- Ten Tree) as in "Prophet" like in "I bear witness that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God." He truly is. :)
Scripture of the week: 2 Nephi 27:23 - God is the same today, yesterday, and forever; He works with us according to our fatih. :)
This week was a crazy week. The first half, I was sick and stressed and feeling quite run down. I went on exchanges for the first time, and I was left to schedule the whole day and lead the other missionary just being out in the field for 4 weeks! However, with the grace of God and the Savior, I survived the day, and started to feel better. :)

This week, we tried some new food. There's a Greek place near the branch, and it was so delicious! I can't quite remember the name of it, unfortunately, but it was really good!

I'm so grateful for General Conference. I gained so many new insights and so many new ways to repent and change to be better for my family, my loved ones, and my mission. I'm so excited to apply everything that I've learned and to search the words of the prophets diligently, both ancient and modern. I love to read the words of the scriptures, both in the Book of Mormon and Conference. :) I invite you all to increase your study and ask yourselves, "How will I change because what I have learned today?"

I love you all so much! Sorry time is short! :)

Monday, October 5, 2015

Lễ Báp Têm - Footscray Week 4: Crystal is baptized!

Vietnamese Word of the Week: Lễ Báp Têm (Lay? Bap! Tem) As in, the ordinance of baptism. Like what Crystal did last Saturday! :)

This week has been full of exhaustion and miracles. One of our investigators (our last progressing) has also decided to get baptized. :) We are so blessed that the Lord has prepared us and prepared these people to come into His fold. :) I've been really tired all week and I think Elder Howell and I are falling ill, but being at Crystal's baptism really picked us up and helped us get excited to do missionary work again. :)
The next day, I got to confirm her a member of the Church... in Vietnamese. It was wonderful, but I was so nervous again. :) It's still a surprise to me how much English we speak, but it's wonderful to hear the gospel declared in many tounges. :)

Team Vietnam in Footscray/The City Branch is growing, and it's really exciting to be a part of the Lord's great work! :)
I got to go on exchanges for the first time with Elder Roberts! We're both new missionaries, but we survived a whole day of real missionary work without our trainers! He's such a great missionary, and I look forward to working with him more.

This week, we started to read the Four Gospels as a mission. Reading the words of the Savior has again touched my heart and I think has helped me even more to be like Him. I've been praying and asking for help to be more Christ-like, and I really feel that reading His words and His teachings are helping me do that. One of the best things we can do in this life is learn about the life of our Savior. The more we learn and apply, the more we'll thirst after righteousness, and He is the fountain of all Righteousness and will help us. :)
I'm so excited to see conference next week, and I hope you all took the opportunity to enjoy it. I know that these men are called of God, including the three new apostles whom I do not know yet. I know that their counsel is for us in our day; it's for you. If we apply all that the spirit tells us during conference and during diligent study every day, we will only draw nearer to our Father in Heaven. :) I love you all! Have a great week, and take care!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sự Tiến Triển - Footscray Week 3

Vietnamese Word of the Week:  sự tiến triển (sur Teen! Tree-en?) As in progress, like in "Progress helps us be more like our Father in Heaven." :)

I'm always running so short on time, I'm so sorry! This week, I failed a lot at teaching and Vietnamese, but I've succeeded in relying on the Lord to build me back up again. :) That's truly one of the most important skills that we can master in mortality; tenacity. He have to keep picking ourselves back up and trying again. :)

As I've considered what I need to do to be a better missionary, the answer that keeps coming up to me is something that I hadn't considered before; I need to be happy. I need to take pleasure and joy in the work, for it truly is a joyous work! I'm so happy to be a missionary, but sometimes, some of the things we go through are hard and discouraging. However, our Heavenly Father has given us the ability to choose to be happy and has even given us the resources to do so. Prayer, Scripture study, and going to church. I feel that as I utilize these more and be more bold, I'll be able to thrive more as a missionary and draw closer to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I'm looking forward to improving and helping Crystal, an investigator we've only taught 5 times, be baptized this week. :)
I love you all so much! Be sure to prepare for conference this week; if we prepare, we'll receive so much more revelation! The late Elder Scott counseled us about recording revelation. I invite you to read more about his word. :) I love you! :)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Xác nhận - Footscray Week 2

Vietnamese Word of the Week: xác nhận (sack nyan) As in "confirmation" as in "I performed a confirmation to give Niky the Holy Ghost in Vietnamese yesterday." That's a true statement, by the way. The first time I conferred the Holy Ghost to someone living was yesterday, in Vietnamese. Wow, what an experience.
Last week, I ran out of time even though I was trying to type a million words a minute, so I didn't say much about my mission, really. Or my flight, or anything. This week, I'm also running out of time, but I want to share a little more about the basics of my mission. :)

 There are 5 Vietnamese Elders in Footscray, and we all share an apartment ("flat" for you Aussie, folks"). There are 2 wards that we go to- Footscray and the branch (pictured above). The branch meets in an office building in the city, and it's anyone from Chinese, to Spanish, to Mexican, to, you guessed it, Vietnamese! It's the coolest building, and that's where we teach a lot of students and also offer English classes.
We have a car, and we use it a lot to get in the city. We're trying to use public transit more often, but for now, the car is really nice.

Most of our lessons are actually not in Vietnamese, but in English. Given that we're in Australia, a lot of people are trying to learn English and prefer to have lessons in English to practice and learn more. It's been really interesting, but we still do use Vietnamese for older members or to explain some English words more clearly. It's awesome, though! The spirit is so strong!
This Week:
Like I said above, I got to confirm a Vietnamese member into the church in Vietnamese! It was such a testimony builder, and I'm so happy to be able to have done that. :)
And with that, I'm out of time. :( Sorry about that. This week, I'd like to challenge all of you to prepare for General Conference by preparing a list of questions you want to have answered, and by praying over them to decide which ones you really should focus on. Since I'm out of the country, I get it a week late, so take advantage of the blessing of having it so soon! :) The church is true, the Book of Mormon is too, and I love you! :) Remember the Savior in all you do. :) 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Lễ Tiệc Thánh - Footscray Week 1 - Land Down Under!

Vietnamese word of the week:Lễ Tiệc Thánh As in "The sacrament" like in "The sacrament is such an important part of the week."
Hello! :) I'm finally here in Australia, serving my mission as a good and proper missionary! So much has happened, and I have so little time, so I need to be quick. Essentially, I'm so happy and so glad to be serving the Lord! The plane was long, but it was enjoyable. :) Day 1, I taught my first lesson. It was preparing someone to answer the baptismal interview questions, so it wasn't too intense, but I loved being able to experience that! :) I'm truly beginning to love the Vietnamese people more! Everyone I've met, I just have an instant love for and desire to serve them and help them come unto Christ. :)
I bear my testimony that the Sacrament is an essential ordinance and is one of the best parts of the week. :) I'm sorry that I'm always running out of time, but please, take time this week to prepare yourself to take the sacrament; ponder a scripture, a hymn, etc. Think about the Savior. :) I love you! :)
New Zealand Airport! First time out of the country!

My new desk- Personal study for the next 12 weeks!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

G'Day from Australia!

I made it safe and sound after skipping Tuesday. Sorry it's so early in the morning. I just want to let you know that I'm safe, happy, faithful, and teaching a lesson in half an hour! I love this gospel, and I love you all! :)

Sự bảo vệ MTC Week 9: Goodbye, USA!

Vietnamese word of the week: sự bảo vệ (Sur- bow? vay-) "protection" as in "we are all under our Heavenly Father's protection."

Wow, what a week! The last week flew by, and I'm so excited to be going! I leave within a matter of hours of sending this email, and I couldn't be more eager to serve the Lord! I'm also really nervous about flying on a plane, but I trust in the Lord to protect me and all of you as I pray for that. :) We're all in His tender care. :)

Saying goodbye to teachers this week was easier than I thought it would be. Pictures, however, were harder. When you have 6 cameras, it's like taking family photos! (Mom, I love taking family photos, but you know how crazy it gets sometimes. :) ) Mine, unfortunately, turned out blurry, but I got some nice ones with my district! :)

Last district photo at the temple!

And here's one more picture of us (minus my companion because he was against it for some reason) in front of the world map!

I'm afraid I'm out of time, but the church is true, I'm excited to tell you all about Australia, and I love you all! :)

Monday, August 31, 2015

Câu hỏi MTC Week 8: One Week More

Vietnamese word of the week: Câu hỏi (C-uh-oo hoi?) as in "question" like in "When we ask questions, we are promised that we shall receive (3 Nephi 14:7-8)."

One more week in the MTC! Wow, what a crazy week this last one has been. I anticipate this one will be even crazier, though, given everything we have to do to get ready to leave the continent. First things first, I got a haircut! Here are the wonderful before and after pictures:
Before, borderline against the rules...

After, super obedient and ready to serve the Lord some more. :)

​This week, we got our travel plans! Yay! We leave next Monday at around 1:00pm. That means 1 more temple trip and 1 more email from the MTC (hopefully)! I'm super excited, and I can't wait to go to the place where the Lord has called me to serve for two years. :) It's such a special and exciting feeling. :)

(Before the haircut, sorry)

This week, I learned a lot of valuable lessons (obviously). Some of the highlights of them are these:
Use They update articles every so often, and they're always spiritually uplifting, and they're definitely helping me be a better missionary. One of the ones about teaching explained that before we go to any lesson manuals (including Preach my Gospel and Bible Dictionary), we should go straight to the scriptures. 1, you'll be surprised by how much you already and 2, the revelation you receive may or may not match the manuals' insights, but it will be your own and you'll be able to teach with more power and with the spirit. :) I found that in preparing my talks and lessons this week, and it's been wonderful! :) The other resources about keeping the Sabbath day holy are absolutely incredible. :)

The other super duper important thing that I learned is that the Spirit answers questions. Now, that seems pretty simple, but it's super true! Think about it; perhaps the most powerful spiritual experiences that have ever happened were because of questions. Perhaps the beginnings of your testimony started (or can start) with the question, "Heavenly Father, are you really there?" The Church was restored because of Joseph Smith's question, "Which church should I join?" When we ask questions and seek the answers, the Spirit is able to answer us and we shall receive as promised in 3 Nephi 14:7-8 by our Savior and Redeemer. :)

I exhort you to ask questions, and then turn to your Heavenly Father in prayer and turn to the scriptures. I testify that as you do so with a sincere heart and desire, you will find and you will receive. :) I promise you that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I'm out of time, but I love you all! Have a great week! :)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Cam kết MTC Week 7: Ups, downs, and all arounds!

Vietnamese word of the week: cam kết (Cam Kay-t!) (With Google Translate's nifty tones and characters this week! Yay!) As in commitment or to commit, as in "We must commit ourselves to the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be perfected."

This week was really rough. Like, REALLY rough. My companion and I lost an investigator. A roleplaying investigator at the MTC who's one of our teachers, and we lost him! Oi. You can bet that made us feel pretty down-hearted for a while. But, just as with Ammon and his brethen, when our hearts were depressed, the Lord helped us be comforted. Going through the latter half of the week and hearing all the devotionals put a new fire under me to love, serve, and do all that I can for the Lord and for this mission. Who knows? We might even get the investigator back this week. :)

TRC this week was pretty odd; we had no volunteers! Our teacher improvised, and we taught the lessons we prepared to each other. We mixed it up again this week, so I taught with Elder Luu instead of Elder Marshall, and we ended up teaching Elder Roberts (pictured behind me and with whom I taught last week). It was nice, but different than speaking to fluent Vietnamese volunteers.

Time is short, so I'm sorry, but I love you, I love the gospel, and I love the opportunity to serve a mission! Have a great week, and I'll try to write more next week! Sorry I ran out of time!

God be with you till we write again!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Kie^m Nha^n - MTC Week 6: Hosting, baby scriptures, and Melbourne TRC!

Vietnamese word of the week: (Without tones/characters because they cut me off of google translate. :( ) Kie^m Nha^n. (Kee-em ny-uhn) As in "Patience" as in "Bear with patience thy cross of grief or pain.

It's been another week at the MTC, and I'm starting to understand why a lot of the languages leave around this time. It feels like it's time for me to go out in the field and start doing things! Unfortunately, I still have 3 more weeks here. Fortunately, I have 3 more weeks to prepare to go out and serve! One has to stay positive out here. :)

On Wednesday, my district got to host new missionaries! What's hosting new missionaries? That's when you get the chance to be the missionary that carries all the bags after you get dropped off at the MTC. I got to see Elder Merrell and Elder Torres, and those were some great blessings! I got to host Elder Torres, but I missed Elder Merrell by like two minutes. I'm still grateful that I got to see him, though!

I got some new scriptures! They're adorable and little and I enjoy reading from them so much! Ah! I started the Old Testament and restarted the Book of Mormon this week. It's been awesome. :)

TRC was awesome this week! It was one of the sister's last weeks down here for the summer, so we had to say goodbye. :( We got to teach her about the temple though, and it was a great, spiritual experience! The first picture is all of us at TRC and the second one is just the Melbourne missionaries! (Past, present, and Sister Thu was baptized in Melbourne).

This week, I've really been trying to work on patience. Some elders won't work as hard or as diligently as they should, and I know that I really need to develop patience with them. Also, I have to develop patience with myself since I'm not perfect. I know that my faith in Christ will help me develop more patience, hope, and charity, which I need to teach His gospel and also live as his devoted disciple.

Thank you so much for your prayers and your support. I love you all! Have any amazing week! :)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Đức Tin- MTC Week 5: Keep on keepin' on

Vietnamese word of the week: Đức Tin as in "faith" as in "Thy faith has made thee whole." :)

Another week at the MTC, another fluctuation of confidence and dejection. Oi. It seems like Thursdays are the designated low days, and then Fridays, things just pick back up. Friday was super spiritual, though, and we almost invited one of our investigators to be baptized! The spirit was so strong! However, we ran out of time. 

Also, I'm no longer district leader. It's an interesting transition, and I'm grateful for the chance to serve my district more. It was a great experience, and I'm excited for Elder Hustead to take it on and really enjoy it. :)

This week, I got to teach TRC with someone other than my companion. I taught it with Elder Roberts instead of Elder Marshall! It was a surprise, but it was a pleasant one. Elder Roberts is also going to Melbourne, you see, and we get along really well. :) We taught a really solid lesson, and I feel good about it. :)

​Elder Roberts and I at the temple together.

I'm afraid I'm running shorter on time today, so I can't say a whole lot more. :( However, this is really important. I finished the Book of Mormon this week! It was so amazing, and I'm so impressed at just how much my faith increased in such a short time of reading it from start to finish. My testimony has really sky-rocketed, and I feel more strongly now than ever that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and the by reading it, we'll draw closer to Him because we will feel the Holy Ghost and know that Jesus is the Christ. I invite you all to read it again and again and again until you know that it's true. I love the book so much, and I can't wait to share it with anyone and everyone. :)

No matter what language it's in, the Book of Mormon answers questions of the soul. It helps us develop faith in our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and it is the most correct book on the earth. :) I love it! I love all of you! :)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Cầu nguyện - MTC Week 4: Elder Lukas Erekson/ Anh Cả Trí...?

Vietnamese word of the week: "Cầu nguyện" (Cow ngoi-en) as in "to pray" as in "pray unto the Father in the name of Christ." :)

Another week, another crazy ride. What happened this week? Everything kind of blurs together. Let's see... I found out I enjoy ironing (a lot! Especially pants. I'm kind of a dork.), I got organized, and I experienced a spectrum of teaching confidence.

We started off with a ton of confidence in our teaching abilities. We're proclaiming the gospel to our investigators! How can we not rejoice in such an opportunity? And then... our teachers showed us what we sound like if we were to teach in English...
"God is our loving Heavenly Father. He love us. He loves you. Do you have any questions?" (Said with a ridiculous monotone and mispronouncing some words.) Ouch. That really damaged our morale for quite a bit. The lesson that afternoon was horrible, and I was so distraught that I couldn't even think about what to say, and our investigator didn't get anything out of it at all. :(

The next day, we were built up a little bit again, and every day since, I've been working on my charity and involving the investigator/making it more like a normal conversation. The next lessons when I was focusing on that went fantastically! I felt the spirit, I was able to teach a lot, and the investigators seemed a lot more engaged and caring about our message. It was really nice. :)

Anyway, time for the big news. This week, we got new names! Vietnamese people might have a hard time pronouncing "Erekson" apparently, so from now on, to them I'm Anh Cả Trí (on ca? Tree!)! Which, roughly speaking, means Elder Wisdom. Which is either a compliment on my wisdom, or a comment on my need to learn wisdom... maybe both. I'll work on that and become whom the Lord would have me become. :)

​(Elder Bakes in the background)

Now about being more organized... I bought a mini binder that will now encompass all my MTC learning experiences. Well, that's saying a bit much considering that my study journal and my daily journal aren't in there, but it'll help me be more organized and capable of doing the Lord's work effectively. I love organization. Plus, the small binder just has this great appeal to it! I completely forgot how much of a dork I am in that way, but I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue that on my mission. :)

TRC also went really well this week. We taught some recent Vietnamese converts, and they helped us a lot with understanding the language. They also complimented me on my ability to speak and be understood, so that's a confidence booster. :) We engaged them a lot more, and I think they really got something out of it! We taught about improving scripture study, and it was a lot less stressful this week. I had a really good time. :)

I'm running out of time, so I'd just like share this thought in the simple phrases that parallel my Vietnamese teaching ability: God loves you. He is your Father. Because He loves you and you are His child, He wants to talk with you. You can talk with him through prayer, at any time and anywhere. He wants to hear from you, and developing a relationship with Him is the most important thing you can do in this life. I bear witness that Jesus is the Christ, God is our Father, and the Holy Ghost is real. Angels do minister to us today, often unseen. Pray to know God and to recognize when His angels accompany you. You may be surprised by how frequently you receive Heavenly help. :)

Until next week!

With Love,
Elder Lukas Erekson/ Anh Cả Trí

Monday, July 27, 2015

Tình yêu thương - MTC Week 3

The Vietnamese word of the week is: "Tình yêu thương" (tin ay-oo tounge) as in love (n). As in, nothing can separate us from the tình yêu thương of Christ (more on that later)!

Another week at the MTC, and I'm starting to understand the paradox of time. A day drags on for a week, but after a day it's already P-day again. The district is starting to get a bit restless; we want to go to Australia/Cali/Texas already! Of course, none of us are ready as far as the language is concerned, but it's hard to see English speakers come after us and leave before us. Speaking of which, we ran into 2 Melbourne English speakers who will be out of training by the time we leave the MTC! Oi. It's okay with me, though. I love Vietnamese, and I know the Lord has a purpose for me. :)

This week, we had TRC! That's when we get to teach members lessons, and they get to give us feedback on how it went! So, how did it go? Here's the feedback we got:

Not too shabby, eh? We really do need to focus on engaging the investigators more, though. We're still learning how to teach in Vietnamese, but we need to learn how to discuss. I was super nervous beforehand, but I felt pretty good about it afterward. It was a good experience, and I'm grateful that we got to do it.

In other news, we get new names in two weeks! New names? Yep. Apparently, Vietnamese elders get new names because sometimes people can't pronounce names like, "Erekson," "Mandhart," or "Leonhard." (Our teachers) What's your new name Elder Erekson!? I have no idea. Our teachers won't tell us until the name tags come. It'll be really exciting when they do though, right? I'll be sure to send pictures with the new tag(s) when they come! 

This week, I had the wonderful opportunity to be an answer to someone's prayer. As I was being interviewed by my Zone Leader, he felt impressed to ask me to bear a simple testimony instead of his usual sharing a spiritual thought with me. Previously in the week, I had been prompted to study out of the New Testament, and I knew exactly what I was going to share: Romans 8:35-39.

 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

He said he'd been struggling with what to tell two of his investigators, and that this was just what he needed. What a blessing!

I'd just like to bear my testimony that the above verses are true. Nothing, I repeat NOTHING can separate us from the love of God, which is in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. No matter what you've done, turning to Him is the way to be happier and experience true joy. I know that my Savior loves me. I testify that He loves you, too, and nothing can separate you from that love unless you choose not to feel it. I exhort you to pray to feel His love UNTIL you feel His love. It's worked for me, and His love is one of the greatest joys we can experience in this life. I share these things in the sacred name of His beloved Son, our Savior, even Jesus Christ, amen.

I love you all! Remember that the gospel is true in every nation, to every kindred, and in every tongue! Above all, remember that God loves you perfectly, unconditionally. :)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Thường Để - MTC Week 2

Vietnamese word of the week: Thường Để! As in, God, our Heavenly Father, our best source of peace, love, and guidance. :)

Another week has gone by already, eh? Wow, that was fast. And incredibly slow at the same time. It's very paradoxical here; a day feels like a week, but a week feels like an hour. How is that possible? I don't know. The Lord has a different conception of time, I guess.

Anyway, let me tell you about our first baptism. Well, commitment to baptism. We asked Dung, our investigator, to prepare to be baptized, and lo and behold, he accepted! YAY! :) Except, he's not our investigator anymore. Boo. :( It turns out, Dung is not Dung at all! He's our mysterious third teacher, Tai! What...? It's pretty weird. I felt really close to Dung and sad that we wouldn't be teaching him anymore, but I never dreamed he would be teaching US! It'll be fun, though. :) I really felt love for him, and I'm excited to teach- not one, but TWO- investigators this week. They're our other teachers roleplaying, but that doesn't matter. I really need to practice loving the people and teaching like the Lord's missionary because that's who and what I want to be. :)

I got to go to the Provo Temple this week! It's gorgeous and nothing like what we have back home. I'm kidding, of course. It's pretty normal for me to go there, but it does feel different going as a missionary with my companion. It helps me feel closer to home even though I'm only 10 minutes away. :) It also helps me feel closer to my heavenly home, which is where we're all trying to go.

I got sick this week. Just the common cold, but it makes it hard to speak Vietnamese when you're coughing all the time. I'm loving the language, though! I'm staying pretty on pace with the class, and I love saying my prayers in Vietnamese. I especially love saying prayers in Vietnamese for my Vietnamese investigators. There's a special spirit in studying for and praying about people whom Heavenly Father has trusted to you to teach. Like I said earlier, even though it's roleplaying, I still feel the true love of our Father in Heaven.

Let's see, what else... The district is going well. We're all a little crazy and tired at night, but that's to be expected, isn't? A bunch of 18/19 year-olds in a room for 12 hours a day. My scripture study has been going really well. I'm not reading the BoM as fast as I'd like to, but I'm focusing on learning about faith. I'm in Mosiah, and wow, King Benjamin is a master of faith. I love learning about it. PMG is such a great book! If you haven't read it, I suggest that you do. I love it so much, and not just for teaching. The lessons stress that we are to learn, love, live, and THEN we can teach the doctrines therein, and the clear language with which it expresses the doctrine is amazing.

I'm running out of time, I'm afraid, but I hope you all have a fantastic week! :)

I was feeling homesick this week, but I took great comfort in the words given to the prophet Joseph Smith in D&C 100:1-2:
" 1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, my friends Sidney and Joseph, your families are well; they are in mine hands, and I will do with them as seemeth me good; for in me there is all power.

 2 Therefore, follow me, and listen to the counsel which I shall give unto you."

I know that the Lord is taking care of all of you, and I'm going to try my best to follow His counsel that you all may be in His hands. I testify that Jesus Christ loves you and is our Lord and Savior, and through Him, we can have not just immortality, but eternal life. I love you! :)