July 24, 2013


Dear Family and Friends,

WHAT?!?!  JOSEPH IS HOME!?!? GAHAldfkjalsdkfjalsk! (I hope you actually try pronouncing what I just typed...) haha Ok.  Not funny.  Don't laugh.

Alright, this week's events:

I DID TAICHI WITH ALL THE OLD PEOPLE AT THE PARK.  Every Wednesday and Friday, I do Taichi with the old people at the park.  (Tue, Thurs, Sat are running days).  Anyway, it is basically the best thing ever.  I hope I can pick up on it fast so I can teach Mom and Dad when I get back home.  Wouldn't that be something?! - We could do taichi every morning in our front yard or something.  It'd be BIG. 

Sister Tsai, Sister Lai, and I are super happy all the time.  We work hard together and are doing well!! We even had a companion fast yesterday for our investigators with baptismal dates.  We are praying for them to follow through with their goals!!  Anyway, I love fasting.  I think it's the best thing ever.  This week, I was reading in Alma about how the sons of Mosiah fasted and prayed often in order to have the Spirit with them.

I know that God blesses those who seek continually for His light and direction.  I know that through Him, we can be so happy!  This week, we planted 246 seeds!! YES! Isn't that the best?!  I love planting seeds over here in Zuoying.  There are so many people who need an opportunity/direction to improve their lives, and we can be the first ones to contact them! 

Sister Tsai shared her conversion story with us this week.  She said that she started investigating the church through English class (like Mom!!).  Anyway, something I learned is that English class IS important!  The people we contact may not want to hear the gospel right then and there, but they may be interested in English class, come to English class, hear the spiritual portion of English class, and then be willing to hear the gospel.  There are just so many countless ways for God's children to accept His gospel and find that peace/happiness that comes from living by its precepts. 

Another thing: Time is flying by so fast.  I can't even believe I've been out for 5 months.  It's crazy to think that the transfer is ending next week.  I feel like I just arrived in Taiwan.  - OK.  So cliche, but it's true.  Time goes by too fast.

Also, I've been learning so much about/from my companions.  We always have really deep conversations and love sharing Spiritual experiences.  Sister Tsai says I remind her of her older sister and always asks if I'm really 19 years old. Sometimes I feel like an old woman in a child's body.  It's really weird.

Anyway, this week was amazing.  I love each and every one of our investigators and give them little notes/presents every time we meet them.

Funny stories: Today, I wore my purple skirt and shirt with purple patterns.  Sister Tsai started laughing this morning because she said I look like a grape. Just before we left to come email, I said in a loud voice, "GRAPE IS READY TO GO!!!"  HAHAHAHAHA Ok fine.  It was funny when it happened.  Anyway, the point is, I look like a grape, and I also am wearing earings made out of "longyan" seeds.  I made them myself!! I will send a picture of them in next week's email. 

-This week, we were basically chefs.  We made greek salad,  green curry (which ended up being super spicy, and we all ended up crying and drinking all the milk in the fridge...), pidan tofu, niu rou mian (beef noodle soup), and even JAM.  We are super creative all the time.  It's really fun and healthy!

- Sister Tsai always laughs at me because I look small but I eat like a man, run like a man, bike like a man, BUT when I want to, I can also eat like a mouse and fast forever.  I think I got that from Mom. haha

- We have the greatest time contacting people and giving them paper cranes.  The kids love us!

Out here on the mission, there are so many things that I have been able to see/do/develop.  I am so excited/happy to learn more and keep progressing.  I can't wait for all of us to share our experiences when we meet again! 

PS We had a baptism this week and I got to play Chen Mama's violin.  We played "Families are Forever".  Chen Mama is so wonderful. 

Alright, I love you all so much!! Is there anything you all want to know? Ask me questions! Sometimes I don't have time to write in my journal at night, so I forget what events have occured.  Is there anything I can do/include in my email for next week? Let me know.  Love you!

Sister Verina Chen



Dear Family and Friends!

This week was wonderful! I'll start out by introducing my awesome DUANCHUAN (Short-time missionary).  Her name is Sister Tsai!! She is SO CUTE and so cool! She's turning 21 this year, is from Sister Lai's home ward in Tainan, and she's a convert, the only member in her family! Anyway, she came at the perfect time because Sister Lai had go home again to do a ceremony for her Dad, so we took over Zuoying together and totally rocked!

This week, we contacted 200 people on the street! YEAH! We keep setting higher and higher goals so that we can really push ourselves to become the best we can be! The really awesome thing about Sister Tsai is that she loves the same music I do.  The first day together, we didn't really have time to get to know one another, but on the second, we got talking about music, and we found out that we both LOVE listening to Andrew Bird!!!  He's an awesome folk/indie feel artist! Anyway, not a lot of people know about him, so it was super refreshing to find someone with the same taste in music. 

Which reminds me: VICKY and JON JON, if you have time or want to check out some different sounds, look up Andrew Bird, Priscilla Ahn, A Fine Frenzy, Bon Iver, Animal Collective, Oren Lavie, Beirut, Coeur De Pirate.  They all have really unique sounds.  I can't remember all of what I listened to before the mission, but those are some of the bands/artists that I remember.

Our personalities are really similar as well!! We both like laughing and smiling a lot.  She has wonderful ideas and loves handing paper cranes out to everyone on the street!  I LOVE SISTER TSAI!  She's going to be with us for 28 days, so basically until the end of the transfer.

Anyway, back to this week's report: We now have TWO investigators on date for August 3rd!  We are working really hard with them to help them reach their goal and be welcomed into the ward.  We worked really hard this week on finding new investigators and contacted alot! I've realized how important it is to be ourselves!  People love you for who you are, and I've realized that we are all important and unique to the work. 

Yesterday, Chen Mama let me take her violin to go contacting!  She loves us missionaries so much, and because I'm the only missionary that can play the violin for her, she really wants me to take it back to America.  Every time, she begs me to take it home! I need to pray about it, but I really hope that future missionaries will be able to play it for her as well!!  It's a huge gift!  Anyway, we went contacting, and I played hymns by the MRT/night market.  We  gave out a lot of English class handouts and had two lessons on the street.  It was really fun and interesting to use a different way to contact people on the street!

Well, I hope everyone is doing well, and I'm sorry my email this week is a little boring.  haha I have a wonderful gift for Mom and will be shipping it this week.  :) I hope it gets to you all very soon!

Alright, remember God loves you! Time is going by too fast! I'm learning and finding myself more and more everyday, and I'm happy to see the change!

I love you all so much, and I know this church is true.  I know that you all can find that it is true as well!! Remember that God knows you and knows what you need.  In everything you do, have a good attitude, be grateful, and always look for opportunities to serve.  I am so touched by the sacrifice and selfless actions of people past and present.   I love God! I love life! I love my family! I love you!


Sister Verina Chen


Hello!!! NI HAO!!!!

Alright!! First, drumrooolllll.... Shoutout time!!!! (YEAAAAAAAAAA- The crowd goes wild!!!)

Thank you to MARY EVANS for the email this week!!! YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL, and I hope you're reading this!

Ok.  This week was carazy!

Sister Lai's dad passed away, and she unexpectedly had to go home.  It was a good thing we had a short-time missionary with us that week because she left, and I was still able to have a companion.

To make the long story short, I became senior companion and will be until Sister Lai comes back on Wednesday night! I've already have two short-time missionaries be my companions, and this week, I will have one more before Sister Lai comes back!

Anyway, taking over the area has been wonderful.  I have learned to trust in God and thank Him every day for all that He has already given me and still hasn't given me yet.  I know that our time here on Earth is limited, but we must live each moment to its fullest.


-We had a short-time missionary last week, so when Sister Lai had to go home, I had a companion.
-When the short-time missionary had to leave, I was able to find another!
-I've been able to get around/find places here in Zuoying without my trainer, and I've been learning LOADS.

Today we are making crepes with some members, less-actives, and people we met on the street.  :)  Then, we are visiting Chen Mama and I get to play violin for her on her porch. YAY! Then, we have two appointments with two less-active members at night.

Everyday, I learn so much. 

I've recently learned how important agency is.  Our actions don't just influence our own lives.  They influence all the lives of those we associate with!  So, act wisely!!

"BE WISE. WHAT MORE CAN I SAY?" - That's a scripture, I promise.  I just don't know where at the top of my head.

Also, here's a wonderful scripture of comfort and joy:

D&C 98:1-4

1. Verily I say unto you my friends, fear not,let your hearts be comforted; yea, rejoice evermore, and in everything GIVE THANKS;
2. Waiting patiently on the Lord, for your prayers have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded with this seal and testament--the Lord hath sworn and decreed that they shall be granted.
3. Therefore, he giveth this promise unto you, with an immutable covenant that they shall be fulfilled;l and all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name's glory, saith the Lord.
4. And now, verily I say unto you concerning the laws of the land, it is my will that my people should observe to do all things whatsoever I command them.

WHEW!! I LOVE that scripture. 

Alright, I know that this life is full of hardship, heartache, and tribulations, but it's also full of undescribable love, happiness, and charity!!  This week, we sung "Because I Have Been Given Much".  Before, I didn't realize how true and meaningful this hymn is.  Now, I know why giving and serving the Lord is so important.  He has already blessed us with so much, and the least we can do is serve Him and love/serve others.

So, here's my invitation to YOU:

This week, thank God every day for at least 10 things.  There's so much for us to be grateful for, and I know that when we are grateful, we are happy.  Our eyes are opened, and all we want to do is forgive, serve, and love others. 

This week, do all you can to stop negative judgement.  Don't judge based on the exterior.  Look on the heart, and treat everyone like God would treat them.  Treat them like you would like to be treated.

Yesterday, we came across a beggar.  Everyone just walked past her, but I had a feeling to stop and talk to her and just share the gospel with her.  As missionaries, we are to invite others to come unto Christ.  When I saw this woman, I couldn't help but think of what Christ would do. He would be her friend and tell her she is of great worth and value. Today, we are surrounded by so many people who are afraid and ignore the beggars and the homeless.  I have to remind myself each day that we are all of great woth and value.  So, I stopped and talked with her and told her she was a daughter of God.  I don't know her background and history.  I don't know what she's gone through, but I know that everyone deserves a chance to be a part of this gospel.  I know that everyone should be give the chance to come unto Christ, so as I talked with her, I gave her the opportunity to change her life! Although I will never know how she felt and what she  will do with what we shared, I am grateful to God for her humility and willingness to just listen.

That was another miracle, by the way!  She could only speak Taiwanese!! I normally don't understand any Taiwanese at all, but in that moment, I was able to understand everything she said, and she understood everything I said.  

Don't you love the gospel?! I KNOW this church is true, and I am so happy that I am on my mission right now.  

I love you all!! Keep your heads up, and sing!!

Sister Verina Chen 

PS Sorry no pictures!! I'll try sending some next week! :)

July 1, 2013


HEY!! HAPPY JULY!! ( haha... I just typed "Jappy July" and then changed it because the "J" is supposed to be an "H" - OKAY not that funny, but it was funny in the moment, k?!)
ALRIGHT!!! ANYWAY!! First things first:
Vicky! Thank you for those HILARIOUS stories you email me.  I LOVE that cup story so much.  Can you post that email on my blog for everyone to see or something?! - SUPER FUNNY.  I feel like our sense of humor is basically the best.  hahaha SOOOO FUNNYYYYY. I can just see you and Jon Jon laughing your faces off.  HAHAHA Best story ever.  SERIOUSLY.  And you are basically the coolest teacher in the MTC, I'm sure!!! Keep being the best.  I love you sooooooo much.  :) Package with lots of presents for you and Jon Jon coming in the mail very soon!!!!

(sidenote funny story: We were looking at some sample cups, and it looked like one of those cups with liquid inside it - as in contained IN the cup so you can't pour it out, but it was actually just water in the cup.  I turned the cup and like threw the water onto the floor and I was SO surprised - so was JON JON and we were laughing like CRAZY.  SO SURPRISED!!)

Ok, so this week was amazing.  We have a short-time missionary with us this week!! YAY!!!! I'm super excited for this week.  We're going to contact SO Many people.  We contacted many people this week and have re-established relationships with many former investigators.  Also, it's amazing how efficient it is to work with previous missionaries from this area.  They have given us so many opportunities to find and re-activate so many investigators, recent converts, and less-actives.  I love it.  The Lord provides so many ways for us to accomplish His work. 
This week, we had to drop a lot of our investigators, which was pretty hard, BUT as I just mentioned, God does not forsake us!! He provides His own way for us to keep working and planting seeds!!!! YES!
Plus, we have TWO awesome investigators who have the potential of being baptized this month.  Ok.  They are TOTALLY going to get baptized this month or next month.  It's just a matter of time!! KEEP PRAYING FOR THEM, please!!! Prayers work!!
Last Monday we literally found a lost boy.  We were biking to the computer place to email when Sister Lai and I passed this small boy walking on the sidewalk.  At first, I felt like I could just ride past him, but as I looked back, I saw his sad face and decided to stop to give him a paper crane.  So, I yelled, "SISTER LAI! WAIT A SECOND!!" - She stopped, biked back to where we were and recognized the little boy from our ward.  We gave him a paper crane and found out that he was lost and couldn't find his mom's work (His mom has a juice stand on the street).  Anyway, the picture is of us bringing him back to his mom.  He got to ride on the back of my bike! Yeah!  Anyway, when we arrived at the juice stand and explained the situation to his mom, his mom started crying and hugged us.  She later gave us free juice and cheese cake that week.  Gah.  Those little tender mercies of the Lord!!
I'll include the picture of that little boy on the back of my bike.  Anyway, the point of the story is that God ANSWERS PRAYERS!!!! There was a moment last week when I was completely exhausted, and I literally had to cry to the Lord because I felt so weak! He totally answered my prayers.  I HAVE found a way to be happy every single day!! JUST TRUST GOD.  
Another amazing story: There's an old cute widow in our ward that we visit every week.  We call her "Chen Mama".  Anyway, her husband passed away a while ago, and she keeps his old violin in her room.  It hasn't been played in years, literally.  Anyway, everyone knows I play the viola and the piano NOT the violin - BUT - You can probably guess what happened!!! - Sister Lai and I decided to experiment a little, and I took a shot and started to play the violin.  (THE VIOLIN IS SOOOOO BEAUTIFUL.) haha that's a shout-out to all the violin performance majors at BYU - You'd all be so proud of me!! - Anyway, I started picking out her favorite hymns and playing them on the violin for her.  She was absolutely delighted and started laughing and grinning from ear to ear!! I think it was probably the happiest moments of my mission.  The whole house was filled with music, and Sister Lai sang along with Chen Mama.  
I later found out that Sister Lai had been praying for a companion to be able to play the violin for Chen Mama since she misses her husband is very lonely.  WHAT A MIRACLE.  Now, we play for her every week, and we are planning to go to "Liancitang" (the lake) to play for her after we take a walk.  It's going to be a great contacting opportunity on P-Day.  
Well, on another note, Chen Mama gave her guitar to Sister Lai.  Sister Lai cannot play guitar, and neither can I.  BUT, we are learning together!!  Music is such a blessing! I am so grateful to the Lord for allowing me to use my abilites here on the mission!!!  
Alright, so many stories!! I'll include some pictures of me from today and last Monday!  
- Me and "Wang Hao Ping" riding back to his mother.  I LOVE THAT LOST BOY.  hahaha
- Me playing the guitar while waiting for our lunch to come
- Me and other short-time missionaries, one of our star investigators, and some members.
- Other random pictures.
LOVE YOU ALL!!! Hope you enjoy the warmth and the festivities! Write me letters!! MISSIONARIES LOVE LETTERS.  
Sister Verina Chen