April 15, 2013

Washington - 4/14/13

Dear Family and Friends,


Mom and Dad, thank you so much for sending Sister Huddleston those oatmeal dark chocolate cookies.  She was overjoyed to have received something in the mail.  :) I was so happy to hear that you host missionaries for dinner and are such a support to them! GO MISSIONARIES!!! - This week, I was able to express how grateful I am for you both for all your sacrifice, hard work, and success in raising all five of us kids.  I think you are both SO amazing for all that you do for all of us, and I can't thank you enough. 
Sister Paula and Dave Williams and their family sent me a package in the mail!! It was filled with home-made lollipops which I shared with my companion.  Make sure to tell them thank you for me!! They're so kind and supportive.  Aren't they the coolest?!

I received a letter from Sister and Brother Taysom.  - Too kind!

Alright, so this week, guess how many baptisms we have on-date?!? - THREE!!!! They are all getting baptized the weekend of April 27th.  Two of them are a mother and daughter (11-years old), and the other one is a middle-aged woman.  - I can't believe how much the Lord has blessed me and Sister Huddleston.  We are so excited for these investigators to be baptized.  They are such bright, beautiful people, and I love each one so much.

I also got to teach Eric and Jeff, two Chinese foreign exchange students.  I gave each of them a Chinese Book of Mormon, taught them how to pray in Chinese, and gave them the Restoration pamphlet in Chinese.  They are helping me with my Chinese. 

One thing that I have learned on my mission is that we are all missionaries.  Some of us are harvesters, others are planters, and most of us are nurturers.  - We all play a role in bringing people to the Lord, and although we may feel our efforts are worthless or very simple/small, we must realize that we ARE contributing to the work, and without each and every effort, the work would never get done.  It reminds me of a favorite that talks about how through small and simple things are great things brought to pass. - It's SO true.

I was also able to perform my Liszt Rigoletto for many families.  It always lighten the mood and helps people to trust us missionaries more when we sing or play music for them.  - It's important to use our talents whenever we can so that we may bless the lives of the people we serve. 

Ok. So, here are some of my favorite quotes from this week:

"Know this: That wherever you are, your Heavenly Father loves you.  He weeps when we weep... But He ALWAYS loves you, and Jesus Christ ALWAYS loves you." - President Mullen
"Before you criticize, always look into the mirror and see what you can change."
"When doubt or difficulty come, do not hesitate to ask for help."
"Fan the flame of your faith." - Elder Holland
"Be happy with who you are.  Don't heed the mocking voices."
"Accept that darkness exists, but choose not to dwell there."

Being on this mission has helped me grow so much.  I see miracles every day!! - The time is also going by so incredibly fast.  Can you believe that I have already been out for a month and more?! - The Lord really keeps us busy so we can spread His work.  I know that He lives.  He loves us and desire us to return to Him one day.  I am so happy that the work is increasing.  I have been able to grow more than I have in my life, and I am determined to continue growing so that I may be worthy of the blessings God has in store for each and every one of us. 

Thank you for all the support and emails! I love hearing from all of you and can't wait to share more experiences next week.

Love you all!!

Sister Verina Chen

PS The first picture is of me, Sister Huddleston and her recent convert Floyd.  We are preparing Floyd to enter the temple this year.
The second picture is of Sister Huddleston and I at the temple.  We aren't able to go to the temple this transfer, so we just took a picture outside of it. :)

I forgot to tell you all a story about my second baptismal invite this week.  We went to visit this woman for the first time last week and when it came time to extend the invite, this is what I said, "As you pray to know if this church is true, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized on April 27th?!" - After that came out of my mouth, it was completely silent.  i couldn't even believe what I had said, and everyone took a minute to process what I had just said... and then, our investigator considered the invite and said yes!!! She thought it was amazing that she had asked for that day off from work earlier that week.
Isn't the Holy Ghost amazing?! It tells you what, when, and how you need to say things.

April 9, 2013

Washington - 4/9/13

Dear family and friends:

I'll start out with shoutouts this week!!! - EVERYONE LOVES SHOUTOUTS, RIGHT?!?

Mom and Dad: Thank you so much for that easter package and cute dishtowel bunnies.  Sister Huddleston was so happy to receive a gift, especially since she didn't get a lot of mail last week.  - We loved eating the candy, coconut crackers, reading the mail, and taking pictures with our easter bunnies.  I wrote a letter in Chinese today and will send it tomorrow.  Also, I was really happy to see the pictures of you all at the Humphries having an Easter dinner.  I'm so happy that you keep the traditions going!

Jeffrey and Kara: I'm glad you loved general conference and that you call home every week.  I am including my favorite quotes from general conference at the end of this email, and I know you'll love looking over them! :)

Sister Chen!! - She's so funny.  She always emails me with the funniest little messages, and she tells me all about the Taichung mission.  I CAN'T WAIT to be out there.  ALSO, I can't wait to talk to her on Mother's day! That's so cool that she is going home soon!

Elder Chen!! - WOW.  Every time I read about him, he's always baptizing like a million people.  It's so crazy! He's super amazing, and I am just trying to keep up with him!

JON JON!! AYAYAYAY!  He's SUCH A STUD!! I am so glad that you ran into Amy Smith at the temple so she could give you that cup!   Aren't they the best?! You should totally write Ashley and Amy Smith thank you letters sometime this week when you aren't busy with work and everything.  - You're so cool!!! I can't wait to see how much you've grown when I get back from my mission! LOVE YOU SO!!

MARY MITTON: AHHH!!! - I almost jumped out of my chair (I'm in the library) and started screaming when I read that she got called to the BALTIC, LATVIAN speaking mission!!! GAH! - CONGRATULATIONS!!! You'll have to get my myldsmail email from my parents so we can email one another these next months!

OK, I also saw the following people performing in the choirs during general conference: Sister Humphries (YOU LOOKED BEAUTIFUL!!!!! Hyrum Arnesen, David Ross, Arianne Same, Kiersten Favero, Caroline Madsen, and Zachary Adamson!! - WHEW! It was so fun spotting all those familiar faces as I watched general conference.  Isn't general conference SO amazing?! - I love how the WHOLE world watches it together.  The CHURCH IS TRUE!!!

Alright, so this week was really great! Sister Huddleston and I exceeded the standards of excellence!! - It's been really great because our numbers have been going up and up and up! She said they've been improving ever since all the new sisters have come out.  - We also went on exchanges this week.  Since Sister Huddleston is the coordinating sister, we have to go on exchanges at least once a week.  I'm taking over our area this week since she took care of it last week.  Last week, I left our area for Colville for about 24-hours, and I was able to serve the people up there with Sister Umphenour.  Colville is really rural and has fields and fields of farmland.  It's a cute little town.

I think in the past week I've washed about a thousand dishes (not really - it just feels like it).  We served so many people who needed help, and I feel like I've become stronger and stronger each day!!! It makes me so happy when I am able to serve so many people.

A lot of our investigators have little kids.  - It's perfect for me becuase I LOVE little kids.  They're so cute and have a special light about them.  I'm so grateful to be serving the people I am over here.  They are perfect.

We finally got the address of some of the Chinese students we want to contact this week.  I've been working on my Chinese and can't wait to finally use it to bless people's lives! 

One of the many miracles that happened this week was during general conference, Brother Marx, an 80-year-old man was sitting with us.  He's a recent convert and has a hard time coming to church sometimes.  I kept praying that he would be able to hear and understand everything that the prophets were saying, and guess what?! - HE DID, and he started crying when Elder Eyring started bearing his testimony about the Restoration and about Jesus Christ. 

Alright, so here are my favorite quotes from last week and from general conference:

"You will have success according to the time you spend in the Book of Mormon." - Elder Holland
"Faith is a REAL POWER." - Boyd K.
"What e'er thou art, act well thy part." - Elain S. Dalton
"There is a time and a season for all things." - Quentin L. Cook

How to be a successful missionary:
1. Search the scriptures
2. Teach truths with testimony
3. Plan life with a purpose
4. Serve the Lord with love
"With love we'll win its victory." - Priesthood session (can't remember who gave this talk.)

"The light will always overcome the dark." - Elder Uchtdorf
"Overcome fear with faith"
"No force in the entire world can stop the work of God." - Neil L. Anderson
"This isn't missionary work.  This is missionary fun."
"It's ok to try.  It's ok to stretch.  It's ok to dream." - Rosemary M. Wixom
"Humility answers softly and listens kindly." - Whitney Clayton
"Obedience to law is liberty." - L. Tom Perry
"A child who sings is a happy child." - Enrique R. Falabella
"Be not afraid. Only believe."
"All things are possible for those who believe."
"Hold fast to what you already know and hold strong." - Jeffrey R. Holland

I loved how Bruce D. Porter talked about how every morning we should wake up and say, "Oh! What a beautiful morning!" - Regardless how foggy, dreary, or cold our days may be, we should ALWAYS be optimistic and look at our blessings. 

"Ever be ready to extend a helping hand and a loving heart." - Pres. Thomas S. Monson

Alright, so I'll include pictures in another email, but funny story: One of our families has an autistic child, and I think he's only 5 or 6, so when he was talking to his mom about me (he didn't know my name), he called me "the brown one".  It's was really funny.

OK! - Love you all! Hope you all have a wonderful week!!!


Sister Verina Chen

April 2, 2013

Washington - 4/1/13

Hello family and friends!

My first week in Spokane Washington has been incredible.  Sister Huddleston and I work well together and taught 17 lessons in 4 days!! - We work really well with the members, less actives, and our NEW investigators Hamad, Ping, and Jeff. 

So before I forget, I have to tell an awesome story! The Lord really does place us in the right places at the right time.  This week, I got to speak to THREE Chinese investigators: Clarette, her Mother Ping (I gave her Mom's phone number... Did she call you?), and Jeff.  They are all foreign exchange students from China.  I got to play piano for Jeff, and we are scheduling another time for us to meet and talk about church and anything else he has questions about. - I've also been learning three Chinese characters a day and teaching my companion how to say "God is our Heavenly Father",  "I love you", "Good night", and other little phrases.  She tells me "Wo ai ni. Wan an." every night.  It's the best.  haha  I will write a letter home in Chinese soon!

Our other new investigator Hamad came to church on Sunday, and it was the Easter program (FOUR OF OUR INVESTIGATORS CAME TO CHURCH!!!) so that made it ten times better.  He is like the perfect investigator and was the one who came to us!! - Pretty sure he is from the middle east.  Anyway, we have an appointment with him this week to tell him more about our church.  - SO EXCITED!

We also have two baptisms coming up.  One of them is on date for April 26, and the other one is still pending, but we are pretty positive he is getting baptized.

Also, we tracted a lot this week.  Tracting is fun but not very effective.  My companion is really good at talking to everyone we run into, and we hand out SO MANY mormon.org cards and restoration pamphlets.  It's awesome.  I learned that working with less actives and members is the best way to get new investigators, so we've been teaching a lot of lessons and working with our ward.  It's great.  Everyone over here loves the sister missionaries! :)

Something that President Mullen said that I really liked is that we need to "Diligently do the things that matter most" every day!! I've been working hard to be optimistic and strictly obedient every day.  There are miracles that happen every day, and all we need to do is NOTICE them.

Yesterday, Sister Huddleston and I weren't sure whether we should go to one investigator's house or another's.  We were in the car and decided to say prayers and ask God where he wanted us to be.  When we finished, we both felt prompted that neither of the options was correct.  There was something better.  Right after we opened our eyes, there was a Chinese boy that rode past our car on his bike.  At first, we cracked the window open so I could say something, but we both got a little scared and just drove on.  The whole time we drove past him, I was saying a prayer and asking God if He would give us another chance to contact that boy!  Finally, we stopped by the Smith's home, where Sister Huddleston was prompted to go.  The Smiths are a nice old couple in our ward.  Anyway, we stopped by and were talking when we heard their back door opening, and guess who walked in?!?! - The Chinese boy we had passed earlier on the bike! His name is Jeff, and he is one of the Smith's foreign exchange students!!! :O!  I bet all of your jaws just dropped!! MIRACLE!! (And that's just one of them.) 

Alright, shout-outs:

Sam and John Turner!!: I met Elder Turner over here, John's little brother.  He said he would email you about it!!! He acts A LOT like John does.

Mom and Dad, Thank you for sending those blueberries, vitamins, and letter the first day I arrived in Washington.  I can't believe you got the package to me so quickly!! I love reading your emails every week.  They are filled with so much love and happiness! - Also, I ran into the Garretts and Sis./Bro. Garry during my last temple walk.  They are so great!!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!

PS WE ran into Vicky's old mission presidents, Christian Garrett, and we made Easter eggs yesterday and had a green meal (literally).  I CAN'T WAIT FOR CONFERENCE NEXT WEEKEND!!!