My dearest, most beautiful family,
Guess who I'm sitting next to right now?! - SISTER AMANDA BURR!!!!
BUT, she's NOT my companion. We're just together because we're waiting for our new companions to arrive at the Gaoshiung station. We decided to come email because we have time. :) Thank goodness!!
Anyway, move calls came. Sister Lai is going to a new area, and I am taking over Zuoying with another native Taiwanese sister from Taipei. Her name is Liu Jiemei. I've already met her and seen her around at zone conferences, so I already have an idea of who she is! :)
Here is the email I sent to President Blickenstaff this week:
"I am both so excited, nervous, and happy for this next move call. I have already met Sister Liu and feel so blessed to be serving with another Taiwanese sister. I know that my language and my understanding of the culture will improve greatly. I think the thing I've learned and developed is charity, patience, and humility. There are so many events that have helped me be shaped more and more into the person the Lord wants me to be.
This week was wonderful. On Saturday, our investigator Xu Nuo (now recent convert), was baptized!!! It was my first baptism here in Taiwan! It was a really interesting experience because it took five attempts before she was fully immersed in the water. We were all praying so hard for the Lord to help her have a great baptismal experience. At the end, our recent convert bore her testimony. The Spirit was so strong, and my eyes filled with tears. When she came down to sit with me, she saw me crying, and she started crying as well. Our recent convert Xu Nuo is amazing. She has the kindest heart and is so childlike. Regardless of my weaknesses and my mistakes as a missionary/person, she has been patient and willing to meet with us, to be baptized, and to cry with me when I cry. I feel like we are really connected at the heart, and although we cannot communicate through the language, we can communicate with the heart. How wonderful the Lord is! The baptism that seemed like a disaster soon turned into the best, indescribable experience for both missionary and investigator.
Sometimes, things like baptisms happen on the mission, and we don't know what we did or why we ever deserved to be a part of these wonderful people's lives. I am continually humbled and loved by the Lord. His love really is perfect. I'm learning to put my complete trust in Him. I know there will be trials and harships in the future, but I am so willing to be diligent in keeping His commandments and doing His will.
I know God loves us so much. I know it with all my heart."
SO, as you can see, WE HAD A BAPTISM. MY FIRST BAPTISM HERE IN TAIWAN.
I can't even express how humbled and grateful I am to the Lord for allowing me to be a part of Xu Nuo's conversion process. There are no words that can express the joy and the wonder that I felt when she was baptized and confirmed.
Xu Nuo is amazing. She is the only member in her family, and her relationship with her brother and parents is really bad. She isn't able to open up to us all the time because she doesn't want us to worry. There have been times when we've called her at just the right time. More than once, we've called her to find her crying and in tears. We would always sing hymns for her and share scriptures with her.
To me, Xu Nuo's baptism was a miracle. SHE is a miracle. The love I feel for these people is beyond what I can say. Sometimes I can't communicate or express my feelings in Chinese all the time, but there's something so much stronger that binds me to these people. I always think of Mom and Dad when someone here gets baptized. My heart swells every time I witness a tender mercy of the Lord.
Which reminds me (random note: Sister Burr is also staying in the area she was trained in and has a Taiwanese companion.) We are both nervous and excited, but we feel like we have both really grown more and more into what the Lord wants us to be.
I love how Elder Jeffrey Holland puts it: "Surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don't expect it and often feel they don't deserve it."
When I started my mission, I came to find my testimony. I came to find who I am, and as cliche as it is, I feel like I really have gained my own testimony, and I have realized that in order to lose myself in the work, I first have to find myself.
Finding who you are isn't always easy. Well... It's NEVER easy. I feel like God has truly humbled me with His love. There is so much in my life that I did nothing to deserve, but God gave so many blessings/things/events to let me grow anyway. I love the hymn "Count Your Many Blessings" so much. I know that God has blessed me with innumerable blessings, and I am working hard to serve Him to the very end.
I love how Vicky told me to be a happy missionary. Being happy involves so much more than just having a smile on your face. It means love. It means accepting and loving yourself as well as the people you serve. It means looking at your companions and other missionaries with a pure, Christlike love. Sometimes I look at my companions, and instead of looking at them from a stranger's view, I think of them as my own sisters. haha Vicky, I know you'll love this part. I start seeing my companions like I see Vicky. VICKY, my perfect sister. We people aren't perfect. We make mistakes. We may be impatient, prideful, short-tempered, hard-hearted, jealous, etc. but regardless of these weaknesses, sisters still love sisters. I'm not a perfect person, but for Vicky, I'm a perfect sister, and Vicky, to me, is my perfect sister. We love each other, and we want the best for one another.
I love what one missionary said before he left. He said to treat everyone like they were your perfect sibling. I'm starting to learn what charity feels like. It's always been a part of my life, but its really standing out in my life.
Anyway, we had a ton of adds this week. About 21? - Just from contacting on the streets. We also found these two young women from English class. They came to church on Sunday and have the desire to read the Book of Mormon by themselves. We found a mother and her two children. We found a girl and her boyfriend. We found SO many potential investigators, and I give all the credit to the Lord. Sometimes we do all we can, and we can't see the results. Sometimes we do nothing, and we see results. Regardless of what we do, the Lord always knows what He's doing. He knows what we can take. He knows us so well that His timing is perfect.
I love that our family is doing well. The millenium falcon died?! - That's outrageous!!
I will send pictures next week. I forgot to bring my camera cord. Today was a really crazy day since we had to clean and organize/pack, etc. for new missionaries leaving/going.
Next week, I will also email the picture of me, sis. Lai, and Xu Nuo to the mission blog. :) We also rescued a less-active last move call, so that will be up there hopefully as well.
I love you all. Remember God loves you for who you are. I do too.
Sister Verina Chen