Anh ca Canh and Anh ca Huong will stay together in Branch 6. Anh ca Tien will also stay in Branch 6 to train the one new Vietnamese-speaking elder coming in this transfer. Anh ca Duy will go to Branch 3 to be Anh ca Tu's companion. Anh ca Sang will stay in Branch 10 and be companions with Anh ca Nam, the one and only elder coming from Vietnam. Chi Hien will stay in Branch 6, and the other Chi Pham will come from Hanoi to be her companion. Hanoi won't have any sisters. There aren't enough sisters to have a companionship in each Vietnamese area in the mission anymore. You know what that means? Chi Dao and I are going to be companions and cover Branches 3 and 10. Things are definitely getting stirred up this week. I'm excited. It'll be fun!
Before I continue with my next thought, I want to explain just a little bit about Vietnamese language programs in missions throughout the world. Southeast Asia has been a rough place to live in recent history. A lot of Vietnamese people left Vietnam, so there were a lot people who spoke Vietnamese in places all over the globe, like California, Massachuetts, Australia, and Germany. We sent missionaries to those people, but as families grew up in those countries, the children learned whatever language was spoken there, and there was less demand for Vietnamese-speaking missionaries. A lot of those programs closed. The Cambodian program on Boston and the Vietnamese program in Houston both closed late last year. There are only a few missions where missionaries are still called to speak Vietnamese, places such as Australia, California San Jose, California Anaheim, and Cambodia Phnom Penh. Cambodia is the only place where sisters are called to speak Vietnamese. We are down to six, three native to Cambodia or Vietnam and three from the US. There are no new sisters coming to speak Vietnamese in the near future. Meanwhile, the branches here in Cambodia are struggling. There's talk of getting rid of one of them. There's talk of having them combine with the Cambodian branches because everyone speaks Khmer anyway. We won't despair too much because the work is picking up in Vietnam, but missionaries who serve there must have a legal Vietnamese last name and they can't wear nametags, proselyte, or even teach the gospel outside a church building. Next transfer we will have 22 Vietnamese speaking missionaries in the mission. Most of them can go to Vietnam. However, there are still seven of us, four elders and three sisters, who can't.
I said I would explain more about the 1600 lost sheep. Basically, next week Elder Gong is going to go to Vietnam to petition for the Church to be officially recognized there and we are trying to find as many members in Vietnam as we can so he can show them some meaningful numbers. There more members we can confirm are still in Vietnam, the better our case for official recognition. We may have found about a dozen people, so we have a lot of work to do. Please pray for us.
For anyone who wants or needs that in plainer terms, here you go:
We are trying to open Vietnam. We want any Vietnamese-speaking missionary serving in the Phnom Penh Cambodia Mission to be able to get a visa to go there regardless of whether or not their last name is Vietnamese. We want to wear our nametags, proselyte, and contact in Vietnam. We want to be able to to talk about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ outside the church buildings in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. An authorized servant of the Lord is going to go ask the government of Vietnam to let us do that. One of my favorite quotes says to exercise your faith in a way that invites more miracles into the lives of more people. Opening a country for the preaching of the gospel is an excellent way to bring a lot of miracles into the lives of a lot of people. I invite you to participate in bringing this miracle to pass. Pray.