Hey everyone, it's been a while.
To catch you up on everything, the last email I sent was in Provo, Utah. SInce then, I said goodbye to the missionaries I'd been living with for the last nine weeks who were headed to Thailand, and then jumped on an airplane with the 5 other vietnamese speakers and flew to Chicago before taking a connecting flight to the Narita airport in Japan, where I took a connecting flight to Hanoi Vietnam. My mission president picked us up and took us to their house in the city. We ate a small dinner and then went to bed after almost 24 hours of travel with delays and layovers. We woke up early the next morning and had breakfast in the house before driving a hour into the city to a highrise where the church headquarters are for Vietnam. There, we went through a brief orientation before I was greeted with my trainer and a plane ticket to Ho Chi Minh City that left in three hours. We made our way to a shuttle that took us to the airport, where a brief two hour flight took me to where I am now. We are currently living in Tan Son Nhat, which is in District three of the city. The City is beautiful. Our mode of transportation is biking, which is thrilling since we have to bike on the roads. The roads consist of mainly motorcycles, with the occasional car and bus (the ratio is like 40-1), and there are minimal if any traffic laws. We have to ride between cars, go up what are meant to be one way streets, and avoid being hit by any of the thousands of people. We've gotten caught in the pouring rain twice since being here, both times being on our way home but about 20 minutes away. Both times I have ridden into our apartment complex with the biggest smile. Hopefully it doesnt get old, because right now I think it's one of my favorite parts. My trainer, Elder Hennessee, is super helpful with everything, which is fortunate because I understand almost nothing from wlhat the natives are saying. We've had three lessons so far, and meetings with the local church leaders and other missionaries. I can pick up the gist of a lesson if I catch some of the more familiar church-oriented vocabulary, and have been able to add a thought or ask a question here and there. But I definitely have a lot of room to grow with this crazy language, and I cant wait to be more fluent and better able to serve those around me. The food here is fantastic, and costs about 50 cents on average. All the old street vendors are very sweet and love when we, being two white dudes, come eat their food and try to speak their language. My main focus this week and going foreward is to be able to laugh at myself and learn from my trials. It would be so easy to feel like you're drowning when you're in an unfamiliar country, spending every moment with a companion you barely know, and trying to speak a langugae you dont understand. And if I was doing all of that by myself, I'd be kind of terrified. But I have had the Spirit here in greater abndance than ever before, and I have come to treasure every moment. I encourage all of you to find the good in a trial. When you are going through a hard time, and it's not a result of a bad decision you made, it is God knowing that you are prepared to grow. Let him help you. I love all of you, and I hope your week is fantastic. I'll talk to you all next week.
Anh Ca Chi