Em Tuan now calls me "Chi ga" (Sister Chicken). Worst nickname ever, but it's a wonderful pun in Vietnamese Mormon slang. The elders are all "anh ca" (eldest brother) and the sisters are supposed to "chi" (older sister), but pronouns in Vietnamese work differently than in English. It kind of like Japanese actually. They don't use second person pronouns, just third person, and you have to change the third person pronoun according to their age and status relative to yours. Also, names aren't supposed to be used alone, they be preceded by the appropriate title/third person pronoun, so any female who is older than you are but not old enough to be your aunt will be called "chi" meaning older sister. The male equivalent is "anh" meaning older brother. The oldest brother has his own pronoun, anh ca, because it's Asia and the firstborn son is the offspring that counts, and it is this pronoun that we use as the title "elder" in Vietnamese. Officially, the title for sister missionaries is "chi" because that is the best translation for "sister" (the pronoun for someone younger than you is gender neutral). Sister is the title we use for any female in the church. The Brethren have titles like elder and president because that is the title for their priesthood office, thus a sister is never called President, even if that is the role she fills in an auxiliary. However, in Vietnamese, "chi" is about as generic as "hey, you," so people here call the sister missionaries "chi ca" even though that isn't a proper word in Vietnamese (it isn't in the dictionary) and it isn't an official title in the Church (our tags say "chi"). Except now Em Tuan calls me Chi ga (tones: nang, huyen) because it rhymes well with chi ca (tones: nang, hoi) and it references our inside joke about forgiving a chicken.
The night before Thanksgiving, I found Chi Huong sitting on her bed with a contented smile on her face, humming to herself, with a pile of plastic Easter eggs in front of her. She was opening and closing each one to check for anything inside. She looked up at me, smiled even bigger, and excitedly asked, "Tomorrow we can use these, right?" I laughed so hard I almost fell over. Fortunately, Thanksgiving dinner at the Westovers included an explanation of what Thankgiving is all about. I tried to explain twice, but Chi Pham's translation of Sister Westovers words was far more informative. Thanksgiving dinner was chicken instead of turkey (the Westovers' oven isn't big enough to cook a turkey) and sweet potatoes are totally different here, but the dinner was amazing, especially the cranberry sauce (which was made from dried cranberries Sister Westover had her daughter send from the US).
One of our recent converts didn't come to church last week, but he came to FHE that night, so while we were waiting for everybody to show up, he and I talked about why he had missed church and about D&C 59:9-14. When Anh ca Minh started FHE, he said that he had forgotten to ask someone to give the spiritual thought. Before he could say anything else, I indicated to our recent convert and said that he had one. Then I handed him my scriptures opened to D&C 59 and he read verses 13 and 14 to everyone and told them about the importance of the Sabbath day. Em Long laughed silently through the whole thing and Em Hang gave me a thumbs up from across the circle. Most importantly, he was in church this week blessing the sacrament just as he promised.
This week is the Water Festival, so we have to stay in the house and not go out proselyting until Friday. We may go crazy.