Sunday, September 18, 2016

Living the Life in Ho Chi Minh City - Now...and Then


We live in a fairly nice apartment, simple, but adequate. The apartment is about a 23 minute walk from the chapel.  It is 12 stories high and we live on the 8th floor.

Our apartment is bright, cheery and comfortable.  Tile and wood floors are the flooring of choice here, with two spacious bedrooms (all things compared to our apartment in Hong Kong, of course), lots of closet space, two (yes – two!!) full bathrooms (his and hers – for sure!), a good sized kitchen which the mission has outfitted with a microwave, counter top oven and other Western “necessities”, dining and living room, and a flat screen TV with loads of US channels on it.  Not that we have had time to watch any!

Of course, there are some idiosyncrasies. There is no dryer, so you hang your clothes wherever you can - on the balcony or indoors. Either way, in the heat, they dry quickly.

And in order to get hot water in the showers, you have to remember to turn the hot water on 5 minutes prior.  But truthfully, there are days when you don’t need any hot water to shower – we are so dripping wet from the walk home that we are grateful for the cool, refreshing water in which to recover.

But at least the bathrooms have hot water if we need it.  The kitchen, on the other hand, does not.  Just one of those things – no hot water for the kitchen. Pretty typical for many homes in HCMC. So, to wash dishes safely, we heat water in the “coffey pot” and a large stock kettle, and add it to the sink.  This takes several trips back and forth – heating water and pouring it in the sink.  But it does the job!  No complaints here.

But perhaps the best part of our apartment is what we can see, and hear, out the balcony. Out the back from our balcony, we can look over the houses and buildings behind us, to see little stacks of old narrow four or five story homes ornamented with tropical plants and singing pet birds, all nestled in among narrow winding alleys. 

It's very quaint.

An old apartment complex also greets us behind our home, with a little courtyard and a round-a-bout with lush trees.

And somewhere down there is “Frank”. Frank is our friend.  We haven’t actually met Frank in person, but he greets us and everyone else each morning, as if on cue, around 4:30 am.  His lustrous voice echoes out through the sleepy little community as if to say, “GOOD MORNING EVERYONE!!!"

We don’t know what Frank looks like, but this is probably pretty close ....

We are told that the mind can learn to tune out certain sounds while sleeping, and focus only on the sounds it chooses to hear.  So far this hasn’t happened.  We hear Frank at 4:30 am. 

And Then...

Yesterday Elder Coffey and I had an assignment on another part of the city, and it just so happened that it was near my old home where I used to live. When I was a little girl, I lived in Saigon with my family from 1968-1972 - exciting years, to be sure.  My father worked for an international engineering construction company, so we were here as "ex-pats". I still remember my address - 26B Chi Lang, but they long ago changed the names of the streets. The new name is Phan Đăng Lưu. 

And there it still was, bringing even more memories flooding back - good memories and happy times. The purple Bougainvillea vine still hangs over from the house next door - just like it did decades ago. Now-a-days small shops and businesses crowd the front of the house but back then the house had nothing between it and the busy and wide Chi Lang Street.  

One of the reasons Vietnam holds dear memories for me, is that it was here that I "found Jesus". A friend took me to a church meeting, and I still to this day remember the sermon.  It was about looking up and finding the light.  And it was here, indeed, that I first "looked up".  

It was also in Vietnam that I was baptized by immersion in an outdoor font at the Interdenominational Church of Saigon.  

And it was also here, as I studied the Bible, that I discovered my baptism was not fully complete.  Peter, in teaching in Judea and Jerusalem, "said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that arafar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." Acts 2:38 - 39.

Paul asked the people of Ephesus whether they had received the Holy Ghost after their baptism. When they answered they didn't know anything about it, he "laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied." Acts 19:6. 

And so it was in Vietnam, in this old house, that I first learned about the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands by one who had authority.  And that knowledge set me on a quest to find - and to receive - that supernal gift. 
In time that quest led me to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where baptism by authority and receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost have been restored to the earth.

I have ever since been a grateful recipient of the power of the Holy Ghost in my life and the restoration of the fullness of the Gospel.

Young woman receiving a blessing by the laying on of hands

A Young Single Adult activity
This blessing is why Elder Coffey and I are here in Vietnam - to share this sacred message of the restoration of Christ's Gospel and offer these blessings to whoever will hear. 

For as Peter says, the promise is available for anyone."For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that arafar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." Acts 2:38-39. 

People are out there!

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