Hello everyone! Hope you've all had a fantastic week, mine has been incredible. Right now i'm in Provo, Utah where I will be (slowly) learning the Vietnamese language. I head out for the motherland on August 7th. This week has been full of challenges, but the more I go through, the more I realize how much I needed them. Just yesterday, I lost one of my name tags and couldn't think of where I had left it. My companion and I (Elder Simpson) deep cleaned our little dorm room and couldn't find it anywhere, so we decided to do what all good missionaries in a story about a lost item do and said a prayer (mostly in Vietnamese, which is wild to think about). As expected, the name tag did not magically float down from the ceiling and land in our laps, but we kept our hopes up throughout the day, and into this morning. Since today is our Personal Day, (we usually call it P-Day), we were able to go to the temple as a group with everyone on my floor. As we were in the temple, a seemingly random thought entered my mind. "Suit coat pocket". It seemed like a random train of thought, but as I was going through the temple with my group, it wouldn't leave my head. If any of you have seen Inception, there's this scene where Joseph Gordon Levitt is explaining to his boss how the mind can always pinpoint the origin of a thought. In that case, it was a silly movie moment about giraffe's, but I'm starting to think there was some truth in those words. I started to realize that the phrase "suit coat pocket" wasn't something I had thought of, and sure enough as soon as I was back in my dorm I checked the inside pocket of my suit coat, where I would never put a name tag, and there it was. I have newly resolved belief in the power of prayer and in God's timing of everything. If the name tag had appeared moments after we had said that initial prayer, it would have been cool, but I doubt I would have remembered it well enough to write about it now. But instead, God decided to give me an extra day to see if I'd lose hope, and he rewarded my diligence with an experience I probably won't forget anytime soon. Anyways, I've only been homesick once this week, which is less than I expected. Elder Simpson and I were studying in this one area of the classroom building where music plays out of a small stereo between two chairs. You can only press a button to have it start playing music, you cant skip songs or select the track. Most of the songs are instrumental hymns, which is better than silence for me. However, there are a few classical songs that they include. They're effective song's for studying, and a few are vaguely familiar. But about twenty minutes into our study session, the all too familiar intro notes of Homeward Bound begin to play. For those of you who don't know, Homeward Bound is the song my Choir class sings at the end of each year at the end of the last concert, so there's a lot of emotion behind that simple song. But it wasn't a bad kind of homesick, if that makes any sense. If you haven't heard the song, I encourage you to look it up, but the ending line is "I'll be homeward bound in time". Naturally, this made me miss home, but at the same time it comforted me to know that in the middle of studying an incredibly difficult language, in an unfamiliar place, with a person I'd known for 3 days, preparing to go to a country that is hot all year and has malaria as a relatively common illness, that I will be "homeward bound in time". In the Lord's time. When the time is right for me. Hope you all have an awesome week, I'm sure I'll have more to share next email.
Anh Ca (Elder) Michael Duffy