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 LDS.org. 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