Friday, January 4, 2013

Vietnam, AP and Loving it!

The Office Elders

Xin Chao Gia dinh. 

Things as an AP are definately, well, to say the lest, busy. Its really rewarding though and i'm learning so much. Its crazy to think when i showed up there were at 33 companionships and now there are like 53. It has grown so much. The mission is finally starting to get older too. It's weird to think i'm the second oldest group right now and my companion is in the oldest group. So yeah this is my first p-day in the office, and its not really a p-day since we will basically be doing stuff to try and get Christmas going for monday and tuesday.

So vietnam. To summarize, its awesome. Its so amazing. The members there are super smart. 15 and 17 year old fluent in English. 18 year olds tearing up the piano (better than me may i add) after learning for 3 years on the internet. Its crazy. The food there is super good. Everything there is pretty cheap, especially food. And they make more money there too. There are actual supermarkets they use, and there are a lot more cars. The Elders apartments are definately way nicer too. It's weird to see 

The most amazing thing is the missionary work there. If you see some pictures with me not wearing a tag, its not because i forgot it, we aren't allowed to wear our tag outside of the church. They can't contact people there, and they can't do anything outside the church. The only way they can tell people is if people ask questions. Its scary though because of the Government and Police. There are stories of spies, etc, trying to lure the elders or sisters so they can arrest them. Overall it was really weird going around in country with communist flags hanging up left and right. What really hit me is when i was on an exchange with Elder Nam in Ho Chi Minh. We were riding a bus (about 30 minutes) to get outside of the city to meet with a recent convert of theirs. He told me the history of Vietnam to the dedicatory prayer, to the Church & C.I.A. setting up helicoptors to get church members out of the country right before the fall of Saigon. (His mom was one of those who was taken out). Before that people were getting baptized by the dozens. You can just tell the country is so ready for the gospel. The government has not yet opened it for us but things are going good because within my time here they have let foreigners in to proselyte. Before it was only natives. My companion and Elder Tai were the first two foreigners to go in. You still have to be of Vietnameese descent in order to go in though.

Going to Vietnam, it was awesome. I got to see so many great things and meet such amazing people. All in all though it was mind boggling to think, as i was walking a dirt road in Vietnam, to actually think i am going about preaching the gospel in Vietnam. "no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing". This truly is the stone cut out of the mountain that will fill the whole earth. Someday the blessings declared in the dedicatory prayer of Vietnam will be blessed, and those people will be able to partake of all the blessings of the gospel. Please keep praying for Vietnam, that it will opened to more missionary opportunities. 

Me in front of the cathedral in Ho Chi Minh

Burger King in Vietnam
Baskin Robins in Vietnam!

Hey Everyone! 

This week was pretty good. President Moon left with his kids for Siem Riep so it left a lot of free time for us this week in order to do our AP thing. Elder Kim and I getting along great. I love being his companion, hopefully we will be friends for a long time. Everything in the house is doing well. This week was overall really great to spend some time on our area, to have zone leader counsel, and to go on some exchanges which was really fun.
On monday, we prepared for zone leader counsel and caught up on things for that and were able to go out and meet a less active family. The  husband of the family is a returned missionary who actually served his mission here in liked 95. He was here when Pol Pot was taken out. He has some cool stories. Unfortanately we were unable to meet with him because he doesn't come down to see the Elders. He is very well off though.
Tuesday was Zone Leader Training and it was nice to learn from president, to be able to teach, and to listen about the different areas of the zone leaders and how the missionaries are doing.
Wednesday i went on an exchange with elder Jorgensen in Pochengtong. It was so fun to be with him again. It was just like old times. Usually when you go on an exchange there is kind of that awkward feeling in teaching because you have never taught with eachother before and you usually didn't have a lot of time to prepare, but me and him felt the same thing, we taught in unity and it was like we had never left eachother even though its been a year.
Thursday was another normal day where we had time to do weekly planing and meet with some more investigators.

Friday was also another super fun day because i was able to go on an exhange in Tuol Tom Pong. All the members remembered me and i was able to meet a ton of them at the church too. It was so cool to see and hear how most of my recent converts there were doing so well and going to strongly. The crazy thing is one of my recent converts Rotonak, and his sister Rotana were so talkative. We originally find them because we found there parents who were inactives, and the father had the Melchizedek priesthood. So we found him, activated the parents, and taught the kids. Then, they like us, but would never talk. Now they are so talkative and confident. AND Rotanak used to have a really bad stutter. It's totally gone now. They are attending church and seminary every week.

Overall things are going very well and its great to have an opportunity to go out and have some time proselyting. I was able to spend some time seeing how missionaries are doing in their areas, to see what thy are working on and help them get a new focus and learn principles from Preach My Gospel. I really feel i have a hang on the AP thing now and i'm starting to know what i'm doing.
I'm really excited for next week because next week is our trip to the Provinces. I'll spend a day in Battambang, Siem Riep, Kampong Thom, and Kampong Cham. So i'll definately have a lot more to talk about for next week.
That's about it for me. I know this work is the work of God. I know we are all called of God. I am so grateful for the tools he has given us in these latter days. The scriptures, and more recently, Preach My Gospel. I don't know what you missionaries did without it.

Love always, Elder Rucker

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