HELLO HELLO HELLOOOOO!!!!
This week, I realized that in order to help others, I must help myself. I must personally be changed, happy, patient, loving, charitable, and hard working before I can actually help others. As missionaries, we don't EARN baptisms, lessons, referrals, ANYTHING. We don't have that right to say we earn anything. We can't say that just because we were strictly obedient, hard working, patient, loving, selfless, etc. that we deserve a baptism. We don't have that right to question the Lord for not giving us our desired results. Although that sounds harsh, I've learned that it's actually a happy realization. I've learned that God is in COMPLETE/ENTIRE control over what happens here in our lives. I learned that we can't make anyone do anything. We can't change other people's thoughts or actions. The only person we CAN change is ourselves.
Vicky shared with me something really cool in her email. She said that if we as missionaries aren't changing all the time, then we are doing something wrong. AMEN TO THAT. I love that change can ALWAYS be a positive thing. I HAVE changed as a missionary/person/daughter of God. The circumstances and situations we are placed in as missionaries are all for our profit and learning, and I find so much happiness/peace in that. I LOVE trials. In the moment, they are hard and they cause a lot of hurt/sadness, but in the end, we come out stronger, happier, closer to God. I PRAY for trials! :)
ANYWAY, this week was full of miracles!
This month, we had fasted for this recent convert little girl, Jiang Yi Hua, who did not show up for her confirmation. Her family just stopped coming to church, and we later learned that her father Brother Jiang "fandui"ed and was very antagonistic towards our church.
We had visited, called, left paper cranes, and wrote letters for this family every day without a single hint of response or acknowledgement. Last week, we were considering dropping this family because they haven't been answering our phones, letters, or visits for about a month. Yesterday night, I felt a prompting to go in a certain direction. It happened to be where this family lived, right across Costco! We biked over to their apartment, expecting the normal response (the family not letting us in); HOWEVER, when we got there and walked in to ask the doorman to help us call this family, we saw Brother Jiang! He was sitting in the lobby, smoking a cigarette. His response to us arriving was unexpected.
He invited us to talk with him and told us that his day hadn't been going very well. He had just come down to the first level for some air and time to himself when we walked in. It was a miracle. I know that the Lord answers our fast and prayers in His own time and way. Brother Jiang expressed how touched he was to see our perserverance in writing letters and making calls even though he didn't respond for days and days and DAYS (seriously, it was SO LONG). He even said that next time, we could teach his daughter how to make paper cranes!! YES!
It was amazing becuase I had been having some doubts in our prayers/fast for this family. We hadn't seen any immediate results from our efforts, and I was SO impatient. I've learned that God does answer our prayers. I am SO happy to actually know how to feel and act upon Spiritual promptings. Before, I was uncertain to what the Holy Ghost even felt like. Now, I feel it working in my life so clearly. I LOVE THE SPIRIT!
Anyway, there are countless miracles that happened this week, and I can't include them all in one email, so I just included the ones that had the most impact in my life.
Whenever I email Sister Ashley Smith or other missionaries, I am touched by their miracle stories. This is part of Sister Smith's email to me last week:
"Sister Peterson and I went to visit our fishing family again this past week. The mother was not able to be there but she said we could come teach her daughter and mother-in-law. When we showed up, the little girl -- Rin chan -- came up and attacked Sister Peterson and I with hugs and then proudly told us that 5 of her friends from school were coming to listen to us talk about Jesus. She is the sweetest 8 year old girl ever! It was unreal. There we were. 2 missionaries, surrounded by a hoard of 8 year old children begging us to tell them about Jesus and God and Joseph Smith. Things that are only dreamed about by most missionaries! We went inside the house and Rin immediately pulled out her Book of Mormon and notebook where she showed us how she had copied down Alma 37:37 -- a scripture we emailed to them this past week. Her eyes twinkled as she told us about how excited she was to learn more. We decided to show The Restoration DVD to these 6 children. Throughout the movie, something the kids would get a little loud, but as soon as the first vision began, they all went silent. Then, even though Rin had never heard the song "Joseph Smith's First Prayer," she began humming along to it as if she had known it her whole life. Sister Peterson and I sat in disbelief -- perhaps wondering if it was a figment of our imaginations. It was not. After the movie, she began humming it to herself again. We cannot explain how this happened, only that it did. She then proceeded to show the Book of Mormon to her friends. We gave away 3 copies. They have been well prepared by the Lord. How blessed Sister Peterson and I are to be able to teach this family. It's very humbling to be in a room with 6 children huddled around us and learning of the Savior and our Father in Heaven. They live 1 hour away by car from our apartment and one of the members is so kind to drive us there every week. It's the greatest drive out there and then so unreal to think about what happened in the lesson on the way back after we are done. We have another appointment with them on Thursday and we will probably teach about the Plan of Salvation. Very exciting.
ahhhh well, that was it. miracles! how's your miracle book going? mine is getting fuller! love you Verina Chen! take care this week and good luck!"
Isn't it wonderful that all these people are being helped/found in the world?! This week, we got a new investigator named Zhen Yi Lu. She is a member referral and has already read to 2 Nephi 4 in a week. She is amazing and has come to FHE, sacrament, and a baptism. She is so patient and so prepared. It reminded me of how I didn't do anything to deserve her! God is so merciful, and He really is in control of everything in our lives. It brings so much peace to know that!
Also, last week, we went to an awesome place to take pictures on P-Day. We walked with Chen Mama (A really old member in our ward) around Liancitang, the most beautiful lake, and sung hymns for her. Everyday, we associate with countless people, and we bring so much joy to their lives. I really have learned to be grateful for all the small and simple things I have here on the mission.
There are so many thing that I want to say and include in my emails, but it's really too much!! I love the mission. I'm incredibly happy, and everyday, I am developing more and more charity. I love the Lord. I have promised to serve Him all my life, and I know this church is true!!!!! Keep up the smiles, support, and LOVE.
HAVE A SPLENDID WEEK!!!
Do something good for someone else!
Sister Verina Chen