December 23, 2013


This past week went really well!! My love for the mission and the Savior has really grown recently, especially with Christmas just around the corner! :)  Sister Anderson and I were really busy this past week performing and helping our wards throw parties and activities for Christmas.  


It was raining and super windy like crazy all of Monday night and all day Tuesday.  So, on Monday night, our bike ride home from family home evening at a member's house was definitely an adventure.  It was like a giant was busy blowing his nose because the rain would come down in waves, and the wind would blow us and spontaneously change directions all the time.  Sister Anderson and I almost got blown off our bikes, and the bottom of our skirts got soaking wet because our ponchos can't be too long. haha I had to put paper in my shoes when I got home so they wouldn't get ruined from the rain.  haha It was super fun, though.  

When we got home to plan, we changed into dry clothes, and Sister Anderson made us a cup of hot chocolate for planning.  :) It was SO GOOD! 

Personal study:

2 Nephi 9:50 "Come my brethren, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price."

D&C 58:27 "Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness."
28 "For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves.  And inasmuch as men do good they shall in nowise lose their reward."

I really liked these two scriptures.  They really helped me realize how important it is for us to ACT.  We don't have to wait for God to tell us to do something.  We just need to be diligent and do good without needing to be compelled or reminded all the time.  We are free agents.  All we need to do is get up and act.  Don't be slothful, and don't sulk in our own misery waiting for someone to come brighten up our day.  GET UP!  ACT! BE DILIGENT!

Tuesday night, we had dinner with a member family.  They took us out to a dumpling restaurant.  It was SO GOOD!!! OH my goodness.  I ate like 10 dumplings, a huge bowl of corn soup, and a bunch of "pao cai".  It was so good.  Everyone was really surprised at how much I CAN eat.  haha It was just too good!!!! Plus, the food at the place wasn't greasy or oily at all, so I didn't feel bad about eating so much.  :)


PS: I was just thinking - life is all about balance!! Sometimes all we want is for time to go faster - Sometimes we want it to go slower.  All in all, however, we all at one point realize that we are never satisfied with the amount we get when we are happy.  Does that make sense?! - Life is all about balance and attitude.  God allows us happiness by allowing us to feel pain, sorrow, and loneliness.  He allows these feelings to exist because He wants us to experience feelings of happiness and joy.

Wednesday, we had four lessons: Ye Yi Rou, Liu Wei Han, Chu A-gon/A-ma, and English class.  English class, as usual, was so crazy with all the little children running around.  haha I still love them, though!!! 

Oh, and I think I figured out why I love little children so much.  It's because they are honest, they have nothing to hide, and they are comfortable just being themselves!!! :) I want to be like that!!!


Thursday was the Christmas activity for the whole mission.  We woke up at 6 to catch the train at 7, and then we rode buses up as zones to Sun Moon Lake to take a mission picture.  It should be on the mission blog.  I'm in the bottom right of the picture next to a senior couple.  :) haha It's a little ironic that the mission always takes a picture right in front of a Buddhist temple every year.  It took forever to get a good picture.  I feel like all the missionaries were standing there for at least half-an-hour because people kept NOT looking at the camera, and Sister Blickenstaff is a perfectionist, so we had to keep taking pictures over and over again.  It was a good memory, though.  

Being at Sun Moon Lake brought back memories of when our family took a trip there a couple of years ago when we came back to Taiwan to visit.  :) I took a bunch of pictures in the places that I took pictures years ago!! :) I hope the dropbox account works so that you can all see how fun it was! :) Sister Anderson and I were taking pictures with all the fun things, and I saw Sister Burr, so I HAD to get pictures with her as well. :)

After walking around Sun Moon Lake and taking pictures, the mission headed to a all you can eat buffet for lunch/dinner around 2:30 p.m.  We ate so much!! :) I ATE SO MUCH SUSHI!! They had everything at the buffet, and it was so good!! I felt sick afterwards because I ate so much.  haha We didn't need to eat dinner that night because of how full we were!!

We all headed back to the Taiping stake center right next to the mission office after the huge meal for the Christmas devotional where I performed the musical number "O Holy Night".  It went really well!! Apparently, everyone thought I performed great!! :) I really only had about 2 hours total to practice this past week, but it was enough, and I felt happy about my performance. 

We all got a bag of candy and new cell phones after the social was over, and then we bused back home for the night.

Saturday was our ward Christmas party.  Earlier in the afternoon, we went out to perform carols at the Train station and the shopping area.  The piano that I was playing on was a dinky electric piano that doesn't have pedal, so it wasn't the best sounding, but Sister Anderson's voice made up for it, and the youth of the ward were really enthusiastic about inviting everyone to the party that night.  We were outside caroling/performing for two hours total.  I sent some pictures of our district performing at the shopping area of Yuanlin.  There were a bunch of people that passed.  It was hilarious because we didn't practice very much, and the elders didn't really like to sing in public, so we definitely didn't sound the best.  However, we had a really great time, and we all laughed about it afterwards.

The Christmas activity at night went off really well!! There weren't that many people there due to a different performance that was going on in Yuanlin the same night, but the people that came were really happy.  I spent all Friday preparing for the performances on Saturday night.  I had to put together the nativity play and accompany the performance, think of outfits, and then accompany the bishop's daughter for her french horn cantata.  It was great, though!! I got to perform my Liszt Rigoletto and then the musical number I performed for the Christmas activity.  :)

Yesterday at church, Wu Qi Cun had her baptismal interview with our district leader!! She passed, and she is getting baptized next Sunday after church. :) She's golden, and we are so excited for her baptism.  Yuanlin is doing really great.  :) I'm continuing to change and grow every day, and my love for God is growing as well. 

I love this work, and I am committed to continue serving the Lord with all my heart, might, mind, and strength for the rest of my life.  This time I have now is precious.  I know that I am a weak and simple thing, but I know that God really does call weak and simple people to do His work.  I am humbled to know that God HAS chosen me to do His work, and I am indebted to Him for the rest of my life.

I love and serve the Lord!!! :)

Oh, and of course, I love you all as well.

Sister Verina Chen

PS Here's a shoutout to Sister Anderson's Mom who has a really great saying that Sister Anderson shared with me the other day. 


It's so true!! Remember that every decision that we make in this life determines our happiness and the consequences that follow in the after-life.  I know that it is up to us to determine our own standards, attitudes, and outlook on life.  If you want to be happy, then be happy!!! You are the one who can change your own life.

December 15, 2013


Another week went by!! Can you believe it?! I was thinking about how long I've been out already, and I was surprised to realize that it's been TEN months since I left to the MTC.  WHAAA?!?!  Time really is a weird thing.

Anyway, other than being able to SKYPE all of my family next week on CHRISTMAS, (HOLLAHHHHH!!!!) I'm super excited because this week is the mission social at Sun Moon Lake!!! Since Mom is awesome and totally sent me the best Christmas arrangements for piano over the email, I have been able to practice and prepare my musical number.  I'm performing "Oh Holy Night" this Thursday for the mission social.  :) It'll hopefully go smoothly, since missionaries only have so much time to practice instruments. (Basically only P-Day, and whenever at the church waiting for lessons...) I'm gonna do some slow work and good, solid, cram practicing today.  It won't be my best, but I'll work with it. :)

SO EXCITED TO SKYPE THE FAMILY! - Oh wait, I've said that like a frillion times already.  Sorry.  Just had to say that again!! Don't worry, Sister Anderson and I aren't letting our excitement get in the way of missionary work.  We're just really happy that we get to see and hear our families again next week.  It's been a long time, and I feel like everyone has changed a lot!!!

Alright, here's what happened this week:

-Met the new district at district training meeting
-Rode all the way up to Beidou to have lunch and chat with Kiki.  We committed her to everyday prayer
-English proselyted.
-Taught a member lesson/RCLA lesson with Zhang Li Xue at Chu A-gon and A-ma's home in Yongjing.

Ok, on the side note, we have a total of SIX secondary areas.  Yeah, that's how big our area is, so the amount of lessons we have everyday also depends on how far we have to ride to every lesson.  We try to plan all of our lessons pretty close together in terms of destination, but there's only so much you can control with the time needs of all the people we teach and everything.  

I've noticed that an important part of being an effective missionary is using your brain and planning efficient and SMART appointments.  It takes practice, I can tell you!!

-After Chu A-gon and A-ma, we visited Chen Shu Yue and Chen Kai Rong, her daughter.  We read part of the Strength of Youth with her as well as the Book of Mormon introduction.  We were really happy because after we taught them, Chen Shu Yue expressed how much she really liked and appreciated how we stressed having high moral standards for the youth.  Her daughter Kai Rong is 14 and it's around that time when parents have to start worrying about their kids.  :) They're really progressing and everything.  The only thing keeping them in the way of hitting their baptismal goal in March is the fact that the grandma is traditional Buddhist "baibai", and she doesn't want her children or grandchildren to change those traditional beliefs...  WE'll keep praying!!

-When we got home, I made a lot of phone calls to set up all the appointments for the week.  :)  Happy to say that all of our plans were pretty much set up on Tuesday night!! :) There's no better way to start out a week than to have all plans and appointments already set up.

Sidenote: Apparently oreos with peanut butter are really good.  That's what Sister Anderson has been telling me... I'll have to try it sometime, but I'm trying to watch the amount of sugar I eat.  Maybe I'll let myself eat one on Christmas. :) hahaha


-Visited Ye Yi Rou, a less-active sister who lives in Yuanlin.  We talked and invited her to come to the Christmas party this upcoming Saturday.  She needs a priesthood blessing since she's been ill recently and her father has cancer.

- Li Zeng Ya Shan (the cool member with three crazy boys) called us up randomly before we left our apartment to invite us over to her home for lunch.  Of course, we agreed to lunch at her home, and it was absolutely delicious.  Holy Cow!!!  We had a warm, chicken soup, FISH, broccoli, rice with a yam, green beans, pork, and a delicious scrambled egg dish.  Having a home-cooked meal was HEAVEN.  Seriously, it reminded me of all the meals that I had at home before the mission.  Oh man, that was the best meal in a while!!!!  The whole time, I was like, "It tastes just like what my Dad and Mom cook at home!!" I kept thanking her over and over again and still have to give her the thank you note I wrote to her this last week.  


-We then visted Tina Ye.  She's so amazing!! WOW.  So, you know how we gave her a Book of Mormon two weeks ago?! I made a box and wrote her a really long letter to go with it.  When we met with her, Tina said that her parents were really touched that I even made a box and wrote her a letter to go along with the Book of Mormon.  The night she got it, her entire family read the Book of Mormon together for the FIRST time.  Her parents have been less-active for YEARS, and it was just so refreshing and so touching to hear that they are finally making progress and reading the scriptures together for the first time!!!! WHAT A MIRACLE.  Plus, Tina is only 11 and takes NOTES every time we visit her.  She's amazing!!!

OKAY - SIDE NOTE AGAIN: The mission office just sent all of us an email that was subjected, "THE CHRISTMAS PARTY IS CANCELLED..." - And for a moment, Sister Anderson and I had a heart attack because we thought it really was, but turns out - it's not, and it was just a joke. haha

-We then had a member lesson with Chen Jian Ru and Huang Mei Hua.  They are amazing!! I made a protective case for Chen Jian Ru's Book of Mormon.  I had included a bunch of scriptures on the case and spent the lesson reading them and explaining to her why I included them on her case.

-So remember the two young men that we contacted last week after the elder's baptism on our way home?! - They totally came to English class and had a lesson with the elders!!!

-English class was a ball.  Since the 2nd ward elders couldn't make it to class, we had a shortage of teachers, so I ended up teaching the little kids by myself.  Sister Anderson was doorman, and the other Elders taught the other two classes by themselves.  It actually didn't go that bad!!! :)  

There were actually MORE people in the children's class than there have ever been.  There were about 19 students (parents AND children) in my class, and although the kids were kind of rowdy, I was able to keep them under control, and the parents were all pretty happy.  It was funny because the whole time, they kept snapping photos of me while I was teaching.  Apparently, some of the parents are referrals from members and they posted the pictures they took of me on facebook.  So, somewhere on facebook are the pictures of me teaching English to the little kids last week.  :)

Okay, so I was thinking about what I want to do after my mission, and I realized that an awesome option that I would absolutely LOVE to do is become a kindergarten or 1st grade teacher... Well, at least something to do with 4-5 year old children.  I don't know why, but I LOVE being around kids and teaching them.  It's something that I'd like to go into after the mission.  I'm sure I could mix teaching/performing piano into there somewhere.  :)


-Thursday actually had a kind of oddly funny start to it.  In the morning, Sister Anderson turned on her music which happened to be the Canadian Tenors.  Yeah, if you don't know who they are, then look them up.  The point is, they sing really touching music, and they sing with so much passion.

Anyway, I just had woke up and was lying in bed when the music started going on, and I just started tearing up!! hahaha I didn't even know why, but I started crying, and I'm pretty sure it's because of the music and the fact that I just woke up and was totally out of it. hahaha

Sister Anderson came in the room to check if I was awake and when she saw the tears, she was so worried!! haha Later, I told her that it was TOTALLY the Canadian Tenors that made my cry. hahaa Isn't that a funny way to start out a morning?! yeah, at least I thought so...

Personal study:

2 Nephi 4 

When I read this chapter, I felt like I was receiving a lot of answers to my prayers.  Here are some versus that I LOVE:

16-21;26-35 (Basically the whole chapter.) Just go and read it.

For the sake of happiness, I will just type out my favorite versus:

34-35: "O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever, I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm."

"I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh.  Yea, my God will give me if I ask not amiss; I will lift up my voice unto thee, yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness.  Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God.  Amen."


We must always remember to put our trust in God and NOT man.  Even in marriage, we must trust God and love God ABOVE ALL, and then love our spouses.  When we do that, God will direct and allow those marriages/relationships to grow and exist in a deeper, more reliable environment.  I know that God loves me, and I want and do put my complete trust in Him.  


Funny moment: When we visited Liu Wei Han at her hair salon Thursday, we were biking to Yongjing and we saw the FATTEST dog just chilling on the side of the road.  It was hilarious because the fat rolls were ENCOMPASSING the entire road.  Sister Anderson and I were both like being super careful about biking around him, and then he totally barked.  It was probably the weirdest bark I have ever heard come out from a dog.  Anyway, point is this: Taiwan has a really obese dog problem. 

I'm NOT kidding at all.  AT ALL.  Oh, and I am NOT being sarcastic because everyone who knows me knows that I don't like to joke around.

... I hope you all got that.

Wait, I hope that you all DIDn'T get that.

Okay.  ONWARD!!!

- Thursday night, we went and visited Song Xiu Cuen, the woman who helped us find the Less active house that one night a month ago.  We brought her a thank you card and sat down with her to begin teaching.  She tried offering us some tea, and we had to tell her that we didn't drink it because of our church's standards.  Anyway, she's great and she's totally willing to let us bring other members over and continue visiting her in the future.  At the end of our meeting, she gave us some of her home-planted green beans and guava fruit!! SCORE!


In the morning, we had a member lesson with our awesome investigator Vilia.  Remember her?! She's the member referral who teaching Russian, and she's looking for truth.  Anyway, she had totally completed all the assignments we gave her last week, and she brought more questions.  I actually shared the scripture about trusting God in 2 Nephi 4 with her.  She had been asking us for ways to deal with a relationship that she has going on in her life, and we just told her that the only person who COULD and CAN tell her all the right answers to all her problems is GOD.  

We encouraged her to continue reading scriptures, and I gave her an assignment to read 2 Nephi 32, the scripture about answers being given through the holy ghost.  She also offered an awesome prayer at the end of the lesson, and it was SO GOOD.  She's a star!!!

Later that day, Sister Anderson's stomach was really upset, so we ended up going home and cancelling all of our lessons so she could rest.  I made phone calls and called APR while she was trying to rest up.  Later that night, she totally made an extra effort to make it to ward correlation meeting.  She just bought a soda and crackers, and headed out the door!! WHAT A TROOPER, eh?!

The next day, she felt all better.  :) 


I'm getting tired of typing, so I'll just share my favorite part of the day:

We taught a member lesson to Chen Shi Xuen.  Ya Ting helped us "peike".  We taught the plan of salvation, and gave her a pamphlet.  At the end of the lesson, we encouraged her to flip to the back and answer/write out all the answers to the questions in the back.  Yesterday after church, she showed me the back of the pamphlet and guess what?!
ALL THE ANSWERS WERE WRITTEN OUT.  She had spent FOUR hours just filling out the back and finding out the answers to questions about the plan of salvation.  Can you believe that?! I was so happy to see her desire and diligence to learn more about the gospel.

Isn't she amazing?!


I gave my talk in sacrament meeting in 2nd ward.  It lasted about 15 minutes.  I couldn't have done it without the help of Ya Ting, one of the sisters in the 2nd ward.  She had helped me prepare it on Saturday afternoon after helping us accompany Chen Shi Xuen's lesson.  :)  I basically talked about the ways members can do mission work and how simple and small means can bring about great results.  

Sometimes members get afraid of doing missionary work, but in reality, missionary work is NOT just tracting and contacting on the streets.  It includes doing the small and simple things, including the personal study and personal growth/effort/time that you spend being truly converted to Christ.  When you do yourself a service by reading scriptures and praying, you actually are doing missionary work!!!

Think about it. 

We had a good THREE investigators at church on Sunday.  Our goal WAS three, so it was perfect!  The music rehearsal for the Christmas party on the 21st this Saturday went pretty well as well. Sister Anderson and her beautiful voice are going to be providing entertainment for the crowds to come on Saturday night.  :) We are going to have a final rehearsal on Friday night. :) I'll tell you all about how it ends up going next week.

Oh, and last night, Sister Anderson pulled out her DELICIOUS YUMMY stuffing from her mom, and we totally ATE IT.  : ) SOOO GOODD!!!

This morning, I studied in 2 Nephi 8 and 9, and it's all about the plan of salvation.  I'm thinking about having Chen Shi Xuen read chapter 9 for her next reading assignment.  :) It's awesome!!!!

Alright, today, Sister Anderson and I are probably gonna just chill and I am wanting to practice the musical number for this Thursday's social/party.  :) It's gonna be fun!!

Sorry for no pictures this week.  There may or may not be a lot of pictures next week from the Christmas party. :)

I love you all!! Keep your heads up!! thanks for all the support and love you all send me.

Remember God is merciful and NEVER forgets us.

How could he?!

Sister Verina Chen

December 9, 2013


Dearest family and friends,

This week went by super fast!!!  Since I've been kind of lazy about writing in my journal recently, I'll just include the events that I DID write or I remember... haha Sorry, I'm soooo busy over here and I wish you all could be here with me, but I'll try to share just a tiny-itsy-bit of how happy I am over here. (Basically, whatever I DO write in my emails home, it's only the smallest portion/bit of how happy I am. - Indescribable happiness!!)

Alright, TUESDAY:

Personal study: 1 Nephi 20:10 
"For behold, I have refined thee, I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction."
verse 17: "The Lord they God who teacheth thee to profit, who leadeth thee by the way thou shouldst go..."
vs. 18: "O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments - then had thy peace been as a river and they righteousness as the waves of the sea."
vs. 22: "There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked."

God HAS chosen us out of a midst of afflictions.  He wasnt us to have the peace described in vs. 13 - as a river.  He wants us to be righteous and steadfast like the waves of the sea.  All that He requires of us is a humble, submissive, willingness to obey his commandments.  Can we do that? Can we choose of ourselves to keep His commandments?! I don't know about you, but sure want to try!! I definitely feel like that promised blessingis worth working hard for.

As I was reviewing my notes taken in PMG, I came across one of the notes I wrote off the side of "A Successful missionary" (Page 10).  Here it is:

Don't get descouraged.  It's okay to feel disappointment when the people you love don't understand/realize how important the messages of this gospel are, but never get discouraged.  Never let yourself fall away because you are disappointed.  Walk on in faith, believing that God is there.  He is a aware and will guide you.

I had written that note in a time when I felt that God had forgotten me on my mission.  I had written them feeling as if I was holding on to nothing but the last puny straw of hope/faith that I had.  Now that I look back, I can't but feel an overwhelming gratitude for knowing that God really NEVER did and NEVER will forget me.  He was carrying me through the hardest times.  He was walking with me - carrying my pains and burdens, guiding me with His love and light.

Sometimes we forget how much God loves us - how powerful He REALLY is.  More often than not, we should stop worrying so much about little things others may do or choose.  We should sense that God WILL direct and love/protect those who are trying their best to do His will and develop faith and patience.

When we look at our own actions, we are doing ourselves as well as others a huge favor.  God doesn't need us to judge others - to control their decisions and worry non-stop over the decisions they may make.  He wants us to do our part, be aware of ourselves, and go about with a love and example that speaks much louder than a reprimand or an unspoken grudge.

I guess I went on a little rant right there, but the point is this: God is God.  He loves us.  Trust in HIM, and be happy.  He will guide us through whatever opposition we may encounter.

Something that an elder in our district shared with us yesterday night was that he realized how happiness really is our own choice.  We can choose whether or not to look at a situation with an optimistic point of view or to complain and be unhappy about the trials and tribulations we may be going through at that moment. 

haha I feel like I share basically the same messages over and over again every week in my emails home... I guess that just goes to show just how important I really think these concepts and principles are!!!


Today was the Christmas English party.  Sister Anderson and I spent a lot of time on Tuesday finishing up all the Christmas decorations.  We also had Zone training meeting on Tuesday.  After the meeting, our district decorated the gym together until dinner time.  After dinner, we went to a young member couple in the 2nd ward to help them hold a family home evening.  FHE was really fun.  We played the game "Clue" for the activity, and we played as teams.  Sister Anderson and I won BOTH times we played.  

Everyone who came to the Christmas party LOVED it.  Sister Anderson and I spent basically the whole day making mashed potatoes, yams, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, salad, and cutting up fruit for the students.  Our English party was AWESOME.  We had about 8 investigators at the church, and we made SO MUCH FOOD.  It was ridiculous.  I'll send some pictures in the email!!

This is the personal study from Wednesday:

1 Nephi 21:14-16

"Behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me - but he will show that he hath not."
"For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?  Yea, they may forget yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel."
"Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands, thy walls are continually before me."

It's comforting/overwhelming to know how much God loves and cares for us.  From reading these scriptures, I know that Christ's atonement was out of the love He has for every single one of us, and all we have to do is remember to keep His commandments.  

Thursday and Friday are kind of meshed together:

I've noticed that this week's biggest challenge for me is having patience with others as well as myself!!  Sometimes, I get frustrated when I can't control the actions of others.  I always have to remind myself that God doesn't want me to change others.  He wants me to change myself!!! Whenever I find myself criticizing members or my companion or my investigators, etc, I remember that the only person I am supposed to be changing is myself. 

However, whenever I have been patient and put my trust in the Lord, I feel happier, and I'm able to concentrate more on the promptings of the Holy Ghost.  I know that in life, one of the most important things is just LISTENING to the Spirit.  


This morning, we biked all the way to Beidou to meet with Kiki.  Beidou is one of the further places in our area and usually, it takes about an hour to get there from the church.  After our appointment/lunch with Kiki, we realized we were short on time getting back to the church for our next appointment with Chen Shi Xuan, so we booked it back to the church and made it in record time: 30 minutes!! It was pretty epic.  Oh, and another thing - I'm pretty sure the we bike WAY faster than all the elders in our area.  Seriously... Anyway, we got to the church and had a member lesson with Chen Shi Xuan who really is progressing so fast!!! She wants to get baptized but has to wait till she's 18 years old.  After her lesson, we had a young women's activity.  Chen Shi Xuen came, and we all made chapstick and mosquito bite medicine from scratch.  It was pretty awesome!!! :)  

Today we visited Lai Qian Hui, Chen Shu Yue, Vilia, and Lin Cuen Hua.  Sister Yeh, a sister missionary from Zhanghua also came down to stay with us until move call on Monday.  :) Sister Anderson and I are both staying in Yuanlin together for an additional move call, and I am the new English leader (AGAIN).  GAH.  

Anyway, we met with our new investigator Vilia who is amazing!! She is a member referral and has a desire to find truth and peace in life.  She has been baptized in a church while she was in Russia and is really looking for answers.  She also asks the perfect questions.  When we met with her, she asked all the first lesson questions!!! It was amazing because we just whipped out the pamphlet and were like, "TA-DA! Here's the answer to your question!!! RIGHT HERE!" 

She's actually a little shy and doesn't like to feel stress, (Well, I don't know if ANYONE likes to feel stress... Anyway...) so we had to be really careful with the questions we asked her.  It was the perfect moment to use begin teaching phrases with her, and we totally covered basically every one!! :)  I think Vilia felt a lot more comfortable after we introduced our families to her and showed her pictures.  I've learned that when you're trying to teach someone from the start, you must first get to know them and be their friend.  That way, they are more willing and up to listening to you.

It's like when Nephi and his brothers went back to Jerusalem to get Ishmael's family to come to the wilderness with them.  It says that they first "gained Ishmael's favor" before actually succeeding and going together with the family into the wilderness.  Mission work and life in general works the same way.  :)  The Book of Mormon is awesome.

OH, also, I ordered a Chinese quad set of scriptures.  I'm so excited to start using it!!! :) My characters are getting really good now, and I always write letters to the ward members when I have time at night before bed.  GO LANGUAGE STUDY!!! YEAH!

On Saturday night, the elders baptized two of their investigators.  The baptism was so awesome, and their investigators both bore really great testimonies.  Something that I really loved about the testimony of one of the young men was how he now knows what's most important in his life.  He expressed his desire to one day to have a nice, simple, loving family of his own.  I LOVE FAMILY.  It's so true.

After the baptism, we biked home and ran into two guys on a scooter.  I felt prompted to just start talking to them.  It was like words just were coming out of my mouth, and it just felt really natural as they pulled off to the side to exchange information.  They said that they lived just near the church and it was the first time they saw us sister missionaries.  Anyway, it was awesome because they said they would come to church and English class this upcoming week.  :)  


Today was great!! Move call came last night - turned out just as we expected.  Sister Anderson and I are BOTH super happy to be spending Christmas and New Years' together!! It's going to be great since Sister Anderson's awesome (YEA!! SHOUTOUT TO SISTER ANDERSON'S MOM!!) sent her stuffing in the mail.  hahaha I'm actually good with eating anything, but I'm really excited because Sister Anderson shares EVERYTHING, and stuffing is definitely something I'd love to be a part of.

There were 4 investigators at church today, and we had meetings with all of our ward councils.  After church, we helped Sister Xue, a member who is moving, pack all her boxes into the moving truck.  Then we had a lesson with her neighbor, our investigator Chen Jian Ru.  

At night, we had a dinner with the 1st ward bishop Bishop Kuang.  Since Elder Lin and Elder Bak both moved, he wanted to treat them to his fried rice, so all the missionaries went over to his home for dinner.  Of course, his youngest son "K-9" (MY FAVORITE LITTLE BOY EVER) was there.  When I arrived, K-9 had already saved a seat right next to him for me to sit on.  :) I was OVERJOYED!! The whole time, K-9 and I were laughing and joking around.  He's so silly because whenever he thinks something is funny, he'll wrinkle his nose and laugh really loudly.  He also teaches his mother how to speak English.  :) WE LOVE THE BISHOP AND HIS FAMILY.  

Well, anyway, today is Monday.  We dropped Sister Yeh off at the train station.  She is going to Qishan to whitewash with another missionary of the same generation.  They are going to do awesome!!

Today, Sister Anderson and I are planning on buying groceries and then just chilling at home/listening to Christmas music.  It's going to be such an awesome day!!!

Alright, I love you all!! I'm so happy over here, you don't even know!! :) The mission is so good to me.  I know God loves me because He is always watching over me.  :) 

Also, I like writing letters/cards, so if you want one, just send me your address in an email!


Sister Verina Chen

December 2, 2013

12/2/13 It's December!!

Hello everyone!!

Happy December! I hope that everyone had such a wonderful Thanksgiving break.  Wow!! I miss eating turkey...

haha Anyway, here are the shoutouts:

This past week was Thanksgiving!!! I think I might have forgotten to say "Happy Thanksgiving" in my last email, so ... Happy late Thanksgiving, everyone!! ha... Sorry.  Everything on the mission is so different.  Like, this morning, Sister Anderson and I walked outside and couldn't believe how hot it was.  Seriously, it's like a summer's day over here, and there is absolutely NO SNOW.

The other night, Sister Anderson made a count-down-until-Christmas calendar, and she puts a star on every day that goes by.  It's pretty epic... well, as epic as Christmas gets on a mission in Taiwan.  

However, we ARE really grateful that it's warm over here.  We don't need to worry about freezing in the snow while we're proselyting.  To say the least, I'm just super grateful that I'm not riding my bike in the snow or having to walk miles in the snow, etc.  

Anyway, Thanksgiving day was pretty great!! We made pancakes for breakfast, ate macaroni and cheese for lunch, and had mashed potatoes and ... uh - DUMPLINGS - for dinner.  YEAH.  They were basically the closest "all-American" meals we could make for Thanksgiving... Well, minus the dumplings, of course.  

Hey, but aren't you proud of us?! - We had mashed potatoes and gravy! HOLLA!!!! - Oh, and it's super hilarious because there are basically no turkeys here in Taiwan.  The only place that has turkeys is in Jiayi, and are we in Jiayi?! - Yeah... NOPE.

Regardless, Thanksgiving was hilarious.  We had a blast, and we are so grateful for so many things!! haha Remember that gratitude journal that I said I started last week?! - I'm writing all the things I'm grateful for in Elvish!! One of the elders in our district is obsessed with writing in dwarvish and elvish, and so he gave a key to all of us, and now we all can write in Elvish... It's something a missionary WOULD do. haha  We find entertainment in the silliest things, and I'm SUCH a nerd. haha

There was one night this past week when Sister Anderson and I were really tired and a little bit mellow. So at night before going to bed, Sister Anderson pulled out her acrylic paints and then painted a green mustache on her face...  Of course, I had to follow suit, and I let her paint a mustache on MY face.  To sum it all up, we basically just sat, silently looking at each other for about 10 minutes, and then we decided to take a picture.

Anyway, it cheered us up, and although I look really fat, it was worth including in the email, so that's what that day was like, I guess...

(By the way, I was 47.1 Kilograms this morning.  I'm getting lighter!!)

The following day, we had appointments all over our area, and we were exhausted.  So, when we got home, we decided to have our own little photoshoot.  Sister Anderson and I basically painted our faces and then took a bunch of pictures in our apartment. hahaha - I love Sister Anderson because she's totally okay with doing random things like that to get rid of stress with me.  We had so much fun, and it was really great for companionship unity.

Our area is doing awesome.  Yesterday during fast and testimony meeting, our investigator Chen Shi Xuen totally went up and bore her testimony.  She is our 17 year old investigator who is GOLDEN.  Her parents oppose her joining the church right now, but she's so determined to come to church every Sunday.

During the middle of the week, Sister Liu (my previous companion in Zuoying) called me up and said that two of the investigators that I found were getting baptized!!!! Since Zuoying is too far away from Yuanlin, I wasn't able to go down to attend their baptism, but Sister Liu called me and told me all about their baptism.  The two investigators that got baptized this last weekend were Lily and Shing!! Remember them?! - They are the two friends who were referrals from English class, and Sister Liu and I started teaching them two move calls ago.  It was wonderful to hear that they decided to get baptized!!! 

I didn't really have a lot of time to write in my journal last week, so I kind of forgot everything that happened since I'm turning into an old A-ma  (grandma)... It's okay though because I made so many Christmas trees, snowflakes, gingerbread men, and other Christmas decorations for the English Christmas party this week!!!

Oh yeah!! On Thursday, I gave the Bishop's daughter a piano lesson because she has a competition coming up, and she currently doesn't have a piano teacher.  Sister Blickenstaff also asked me to play the piano during the mission Christmas social in two or three weeks... I'm not sure if she wants me to play a Christmas song or just anything from my piano repertoire, but I'll figure it out.  I just realized the other day that I'm so rusty on the piano. haha It's alright though, that makes more room for improvement, right?!

I feel like the biggest quality that I have been recently needing to develop is patience.  This week, Sister Anderson and I are working on understanding patience.  So, this morning, we read the patience portion from PMG 120.  I loved everything that was said about developing patience:

"Patience is the capacity to endure delay, trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry, frustrated, or anxious.  It is the ability to do God's will and accept His timing.  When you are a patient, you hold up under pressure and are able to face adversity calmly and hopefully.  Patience is related to hope and faith - you must wait for the Lord's promised blessings to be fulfilled.  

You need patience in your everyday experiences and relationships, especially with your companion.  You must be patient with all people, yourself included, as you work to overcome faults and weaknesses."

This morning as I was reading my patriarchal blessing, I was reminded of the importance in our worthiness and our faithfulness in keeping God's commandments.  A lot of the time, we get caught up in worrying about little trials and little occurrences happening right now.  We fail to see that in the long run, the only thing that will matter is our ability to stay focused on God's will and not our own.

I've realized recently that the only person who really knows and understands me is God.  He understands and knows me even more than I understand/know myself.  It is comforting to know that when we are confused or impatient, not knowing what to do or say, we can rely on God, pray to Him, and He will care of us.  God will place us in the situations we need to be placed in if we are looking and striving and living in accordance with the Spirit.

Last week's mission tour with Elder Funk went really well.  We were reminded the importance of working with the members in our mission work, so much of the time last week was spent working and developing relationships with the ward leaders and ward members.  Although our efforts didn't show up in the key indicators this last week, we feel like our efforts will really benefit us in the near future.  God's work is moving forward everyday, and every single person is vital to its success.

That's another thing that I've come to know recently.  I've learned that every person is so important.  The worth of a soul really IS great in the sight of God.  One person can do so much!!!! Sometimes, we can't see the influence that we make in others' lives.  However, I know that every small and simple thing we do counts.  It just makes me more motivated to  DO do those small and simple acts of kindness out here on my mission.

God is merciful.  He has provided me with countless opportunities and ways to serve others.  When you serve others, you are serving yourself.  Sometimes we lose sight of our own potentials.  We must remember that God loves us.  He is patient with us and wants us to be patient and loving towards ourselves.  "When at first you don't succeed, try, try again!!!"

Well, I'm really excited to talk to all of you on Christmas... I can't believe it's already December.  It feels like summer over here. hahaha  

Today, Sister Anderson and I are going to buy Christmas sweaters for the Christmas party.  It's going to be great! ;)

Love you all,
Sister Verina Chen