October 28, 2013



HEY!  So, today we went up to Taichung to drop of Sister Cole at the mission office. Our RECENT CONVERT Chen Nai Qi totally accompanied us, and we had a blast.  Sister Cole and I were up really late last night trying to clean the apartment and pack her bags since she's going back home to Cali tomorrow.  I've loved our time together here in Yuanlin!  :)  

Then, I picked up my AWESOME junior companion Sister Anderson!!!  Sister Anderson just got finished being trained by Sister Ward (She's been out for two move calls.) - Anyway, she's the prettiest sister missionary in the mission!!!  She's from Bountiful, Utah, and apparently, she has the biggest girl crush on TORIA (AKA Vicky). Sister Anderson also has a twin brother who is also serving a mission right now in Ghana.  Also, she was ecstatic when she found out that I was the sister of THE Sister Chen MTC teacher.  She was telling me all about how she kept spying on Toria whenever she saw her in the hall. I was super excited to hear that Toria wears the cutest outfits ever. haha ;)  I can tell we are going to get along.  Plus, she's super optimistic and happy all the time.  I love her already.

The point is, I don't even know what I did to deserve such an amazing companion.  I'm so excited to continue serving with her here in Yuanlin.  I know that the ward and the members/investigators/etc. are going to love her!

Anyway, this past week went by so quickly.  We have another investigator, an 11-year old girl named Wu Qi Cun.  Her grandma is in the 1st ward here.  So, I first lesson yesterday while Sister Cole was busy faxing Chen Nai Qi's baptismal record/taking pictures for the last time with the ward.  Wu Qi Cun really wants to get baptized, and we have her baptismal date set for December 8th.  I'm pretty sure she's going to hit that date!

Since Sister Cole left today, a lot of members took us out to eat last week.  On Saturday, the day of Chen Nai Qi's baptism, we ate hot pot buffet "Ci dao bao!" (Eat until you're full) for lunch with Chen Nai Qi.  We ate SO MUCH hot pot and had like two cones of real ice cream to top it off.  Sister Cole and I both had the biggest food babies ever, and so we decided we'd probably not have any room to eat dinner.  That night, we had a lesson with Wu Qi Cun and her grandmother in Beidou (an hour away from Yuanlin).  Anyway, when we got there and were about to teach them, Sister Zheng (Wu Qi Cun's grandma) said that we were going to go out and eat first.  As you probably figured, Sister Cole and I weren't planning on eating dinner at all, so when we heard that Zheng Jiemei wanted to treat us out for dinner, we were really shocked.  However, we knew it would be a little impolite to refuse, so we just hopped in the car and decided to man-it-up.  When the car stopped, we were surprised/half-devastated to see ANOTHER hot pot buffet in front of us.  Sister Cole and I almost burst right then and there!! We were so full already, but we knew that we had to make most of the member's money, so we forced ourselves to eat more until Sister Cole's stomach hurt. haha

It was pretty much the funniest experience ever.  The whole time we were eating dinner, Zheng Jiemei kept asking us why we ate so little.  We had to explain to her like 100 times that we had already eaten hot pot buffet for lunch.  It was so "kua-zhang!" outrageous!!!

Anyway, that was a really cool day because Chen Nai Qi totally got baptized, and she got confirmed yesterday during sacrament meeting.  Since we sisters cover both the 1st and 2nd wards, Sister Cole and I had to run to and from all sorts of meetings up until like 4 pm.  It was pretty busy, but we totally did it! :)  

I could probably go on and on about how many times we got treated out for lunch and dinner last week, but they'd all end up sounding like the same stories.  The point is, the food here is irresistably delicious.  The people here in Yuanlin cook really well, and I'm always stuffed.  It's a good thing the area is as big as it is, or else I'd probably gain a frillion pounds.  

Here's a miracle: Last week, we had all of our appointments at night fall through, and after dinner, we were about to go home and just make phone calls when a less-active member called and asked us if we could go over to her house for a bit.  It was awesome, because we didn't have her planned in our schedule, but we were able to meet with her and have another lesson before going home to plan that night! :)  I know that the Lord really does bless us with full schedules when we plan well and do all that we can to organize and plan our best for the future.  GOD IS SO GOOD TO US CHILDREN!!!!

Okay, I know this email is super disorganized, but let's just go with it. haha  So last night, I was super happy because it was the first time I really had time to deep clean the apartment!! I really didn't know this about myself before the mission, but I've noticed now that I'm a little CLEAN-FREAK.  I really got down on those bathroom floors and everything.  The past sisters here in Yuanlin didn't mop like EVER, so I went to town on those tile floors.  I'm happy to say that the bathrooms are SUPER sanitary (even though they might not look it.)  Plus, our apartment is huge and has a lot of progress to make, but over the next few weeks, it'll be as good as new!! haha Today Sister Anderson told me that she's super clean as well, so I'm really relieved about that.  :)  HALLELUJAH! My life is perfect right now!

Something I've learned recently is that the mission is about everything BUT ourselves.  This mission work is all about the Lord and His will.  It isn't about us and our desires/wants.  The work is all about God and HIS glory, and it makes me happy to even be a part of it.  I know that He will use me for what He needs, and I take joy in that.

What a wonderful work this is! I pray every night that I can be humble enough to just let God influence me, that I may be worthy enough to hear the promptings of the Spirit and do what HE wants me to do.  The mission is ALL about doing His will, and it's sometimes hard to completely submit to what He wants.  We just have to realize that what He wants for us is the best thing for us individually.  Whenever we think too much about ourselves and our name, our dreams instead of thinking about God and His name, His goals and plan, we become unsatisfied with our lives, and consequently, we become unhappy.

Okay, now about the awesome English party we had last week:  Last week for the English party, we had a Halloween social!! We went crazy with the decorations.  The church was super beautiful because we put up the cutest Halloween-themed paper all over the church.  It was actually really hilarious because that day, the manager for all the churches in Taiwan happened to be there to check out our broken elevator.  Anyway, when he walked in, he was a little horrified at all the tape and all the streamers and "ghosts" that we had hanging from the ceiling.  When Sister Cole and I walked in, we didn't know who he was.  We just thought was a random guy.  Anyway, he was like staring at all the decorations with his mouth gaped open like he was either in awe or really horrified.  Unfortunately, he ended up being the second option: horrified at all the tape that was on the walls.  hhaha It was super funny, because Sister Cole and I totally thought he was in awe and super excited about all the Halloween decorations.

It ended up being totally fine because the tape didn't even affect the paint on the walls.  We cleaned every single decoration up after the party, and the church looks as good as new! :)  

Well, that's about all of the main events from last week.  I forgot to say this last week, and it's a little late, but HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Dad and Toria!!!!  I was super happy when I read how you both had wonderful birthdays.  It makes me glad when I hear about how you two went on bike rides and just had fun, quality time with your friends and family.  I'm sure you two had a wonderful, happy day, and I am excited to give you your birthday presents next year! :) Now you just have to wait!

Oh, I also forgot to mention the cute, recent convert, old couple in one of our wards.  Their last name is Chu.  We call them "Chu A-gon" and "Chu A-ma" (Grandpa and grandma Chu)  Anyway, they live on a farm, and they have these deer that they raise for their antlers.  When we went and visited them last week, they were super cute and just couldn't stop laughing.  They can't speak Mandarin at all, so they communicate with us through a translator that we bring with us.  Anyway, when they said the closing prayer, it was really funny because Chu A-ma kept interrupting Chu A-gon while he was offering the prayer.  Since the prayer was said in Taiwanese, it was super funny because they couldn't stop laughing at each other.  Chu A-ma would just keep saying things about Sister Cole going home, like, "Yeah, and bless Sister Cole to remember to write us when she gets to America." - or - "When Sister Cole gets to America, she can talk to her grandma"... stuff like that.  It was just super cute because Chu A-gon would just laugh and laugh at his wife's remarks.  haha

Totally made my day. 

Well, I think this email is probably the longest one I've written in weeks.  :) I really don't feel like senior companion at all.  Today when we took the train back to Yuanlin from Taichung, Sister Anderson and I had to walk home from the train station because Sister Anderson doesn't have her bike yet, and our member couldn't take us back home.  Anyway, it was hilarious because Sister Anderson's bag was super big, and its strap was broken, so we were walking with all her belongings, and her shoulders were super red from carrying her bulky baggage.  It was super "xinku" but we totally made it home really fast.  Sister Anderson is such a trooper.  We've already started laughing about pretty much everything.  I love her already!!

Alright, I'll attach some pictures from the baptism and stuff.  :)

The picture with Sister Anderson is one we just barely took before I started emailing.  Enjoy!!

Love you all,
Sister Verina Chen

October 20, 2013

10/14/13 Well, here's another one!!! WOO!!

I just have to start out by saying how much I LOVE SERVING THE MISSION!! I never ever ever want to go home. haha JK, but seirously.  That's how I feel here in Yuanlin.
The first day here was so crazy just because I wasn't sure how I would feel once I actually met all the people and started to get to know the area here with Sister Cole. However, my first week here has been a dream.  I feel so happy every day, and it's honestly the happiest I have ever been in such a long time. 
I know I've only been here for a week, but every single day, I felt closer and happier to the Lord, to the work, and to the people here that I am serving with.  Every day has helped me feel a little more comfortable, and I just love it because I really feel like I am meant to be here for such a wonderful reason that I don't know yet.  The feeling here in Yuanlin is just so beautiful.  It's a huge area that covers two wards, and Sister Cole and I have biked for two hours straight just to get from one appointment to another every day.  It's the best. haha Honestly, I feel like I've gained some pounds because I now have monster thighs.  haha Don't worry though, I'm not like an ogre now or anything like that.  Duh. haha Anyway, it's amazing because Sister Cole and I have so many similarities and so many things to talk about.  We both have a really retarded sense of dry humor that drives a lot of people crazy. haha
It's fun. Anyway, here are some of the entries from this past week:
I'm happy.  I'm really happy.
Today, Sister Cole and I did the following:
 - Ran at the school with the monks chanting in their corner, with the people dancing like gypsies (all the old people do that here in Taiwan), and watching the kung fu lady do her kung fu like an intense artist.
 - Coming back and talking with Sister Cole about her art and looking at her amazing illustrations
 - Visiting Lin Cuen Hua (The cutest old lady ever) who just lives a few blocks away from our home.
 -  Having my first district trainig meeting here in Yuanlin, and eating the hard cookies that my short-time missionary sent to me in the mail.  IT was hilarious because when we were munching on the hard chips, everyone started laughing because it was like a nacho libre moment where they're eating the toast and just say, "This is good toast" or something like that. 
 - Biking to Beidou and meeting a really talkative/hard to concentrate investigator who owns a drink shop.
 - Meeting with an eternal investigator Kiki and helping her to commit to get off coffee this week.
 - Calling the APR and being super awkward on the phone with all the people I haven't met yet.
 - Getting a member referral from Zhen JM (her granddaughter).
I think I'm in love with everything about my mission right now.  Sister Cole and I have had so much fun just exercising and talking this morning.  It was awesome, and I feel wonderful! :) I feel like today is going to be fantastic.  I'm excited to go serve and meet all these new people here in Yuanlin.  I just can't wait to keep learning to taking everything all in.  The good thing about Sister cole is that she's independent and is so nice, accepting, and patient with herself and others.  She is wonderful, and I can't wait for us to see Yuanlin  grow.  The members here are wonderful.  They just bring so much happiness and so much joy into my life! The places are beautiful, the people are beautiful, my companion is beautiful, and I love the pleasantly awkward moments of the mission.
I LOVE Sister Cole! Here are the events from today:
- Walking to and from the train station to pick up Lin Jiemei, eating breakfast, and then coming home for study.
- Meeting Daliao's recent convert Lin JM and biking with her to go visit all of our investigators/recent converts, etc. 
- Speaking Taiwanese with her while riding up ginormous hills.
- Having six lessons all over the place here in Yuanlin and loving the work-out from biking everywhere
-Playing violin for a kid's birthday party (our investigator's son)
- Smiling because the cute grandma and grandpa could only speak Taiwanese, and we had to have our member translate for us.
-Picking up a frog
- Feeling happy/confident about Chinese and the people/my companion.
- Making people stare as we spoke English at a red light.
- Making paper cranes for the kids
Today, my funnest companion and I did the following:
-Visited Lin Cuen Hua
-Had ward mission leader meeting
- Saw one of our members barf all over the bathroom floor... That was unfortunate...
- Eating so much
- Riding everywhere and not having time to write in my journal.
We watched general conference today.  It was amazing.  I have notes written in my journal about every single one of the talks.  They're all so inspired and so perfect for our times today.  One thing that stook out to me was how President Monson shared his love for his wife.  His love for his wife is unbearably, incomprehensibly so strong! I loved that Sister Monson never complained.  I, too have made it a goal to never complain.  I am happy that this gospel allows people like President Monson to be reunited with his beautiful wife, and I am so joyful for that plan of salvation. 
Another thing that stood out to me is the fact that only God knows the depth of our trials.  e alone can touch ur souls, comfort our hearts, give us rest, etc.  We must put our complete trust and faith in Him because He is perfect.  He loves us regardless of our trials, our weaknesses, etc.  GOD LIVES AND LOVES US.
Sunday was wonderful.  On our way to the morning session of general conference, we ran into a girl on the street riding her bike to church.  When I asked what church she was going to, she pointed to Sister Cole and said, "hers". haha It was surprising because I didn't know that she was one of our investigators.  Apparently, she was a member referral, and we haven't been able to set up a time to meet with her.  Anyway, the point is - it was awesome because when I saw her, I just got a really great feeling.  I feel like we're going to be great friends, and I can't wait to meet with her next week.  Her name is Chen Shi Yuen. She is 17/16 somewhere around there, and she's bright!! Isn't it cool that we ran into each other on Sunday?!
On Sunday night, we had FHE.  I cannot express how much fun and how happy I am when we played games with all the youth and the people who attended.  Everyone there started calling me "Nan gua Jiemei" (Sister Pumpkin) because I happened to be wearing my orange dress that day, and it's almost Halloween, so everyone thought I dressed/looked like a pumpkin.  It was really hilarious.  Anyway, we played capture the flag and then really got to get to know all the people that came.  Yuanlin is awesome.  It's beautiful!!!
Sister Cole and I went to Sun Moon Lake this afternoon with a member.  I took some pictures and will try to attach some right now.  It was really beautiful there, and I bought some gifts for the family.  
Well, I hope you all know and feel my love.  I am so overjoyed everytime I hear wonderful news about our family and friends.  It makes me happy to know that God is watching every one of us.  He really has set apart this time for me to serve him with all my heart, might, mind, and strength.  I know that He is perfect and aware of when/what I need to accomplish while I am here.
Time is short!! :) Use it wisely!
Love you all,
-Sister Verina Chen

10/7/13 Mini move call to YUANLING - My second area!!

Dear Family,
I got mini moved called to YUANLING with Sister Cole (my first not-native-to-Taiwan companion)!  Last Saturday night, we got a call from President who told Sister Liu and I that I would be moving to Yuanling and taking place of a sister who had close relatives in Yuanling.  She had to be moved really quick, so we came up to the mission office this morning and Sister Cole came up to get me.
Anyway, I'll tell you all a little about Yuanling.  Yuanling is a really beautiful place.  It's a lot bigger and greener than Zuoying! Yuanling has two wards that the missionaries are assigned.  The area is big, and I wouldn't say I'm very good with directions, but I'm doing my best to focus first on the members, investigators, recent converts, etc. because I know that I can get to know the directions later. Plus, God's on my side and He's totally in control.  About my companion, Sister Cole: She is so awesome!! She's got red, long hair and is so down-to-earth and easy-going.  She's an illustrator and is actually going home in three weeks.  So, I'm taking over the area and going "da tongban" (senior companion) in three weeks!!!  WAAH! Sister Liu is staying in Zuoying with a short-time missionary until the next real move call in three weeks.  I know she will do wonderfully!
It was really crazy because the news came as a surprise but I wasn't nervous or afraid at all.  I feel like God really prepared me for this mini move call, and now I'm in Yuanling! It's amazing how this gospel grants us peace and prepares us for all kinds of situations that we may or may not have expected.  I know that Sister Liu will take good care of the people in Zuoying. The members in Zuoying are wonderful.  They are courageous and wonderful examples of faith, love, and patience. 
Before I left, I went and talked to Chen Mama who was shocked I had to leave.  I know that she will continue loving all of the future missionaries. PS I still have her violin with me here in Yuanling, and I've already met two wonderful members here who picked us up and drove us back home from the mission office.  One of the members is Zhang Yi Ting, a young woman who is planning on going on a mission next year!! :) The other is Lin Xuen Jiemei.  She has a cute three-year-old daughter who is so smart and already plans on serving a mission when she turns 19. 
OH YEAH!!! I was so excited about moving to Yuanling that I forgot to express how happy and excited I am for Jeffrey and Kara's new baby SORREN!!! :)  When I saw the pictures, I seriously started tearing up.  Why is Sorren so big already?! Wasn't he just born like six days ago!? He looks like a super baby!!! Oh man, he's going to be a beast!!!  Plus, I'm pretty sure he has Kara's nose. What a cutie!!! That picture of Jeffrey and the baby taking a nap together is the cutest thing ever.  :)  I'm so happy for both of them, and I can't wait to hold that cutie!  I'm sure that Mom and Dad are just delighted!!! (Mom probably kept screaming for joy when she saw the baby, right?!) haha
Anyway, CONGRATULATIONS!! I am so, so happy.  Time really does fly by so fast.  Yesterday when I finished packing and preparing to leave Zuoying, I realized how sudden and strange I felt for leaving the area in which I first arrived.  I feel like I just got here in Taiwan, and I realized that my time is SO SHORT.  Realizing this and feeling this has really changed my perspective on the mission.  I am so determined to continue doing my very best and serving the Lord with all my heart, mind, might, and strength.  I know that God blesses those who serve Him with honest, contrite spirits and broken hearts.  I feel like on the mission, there are temptations and distractions that may stray us from fulfilling our true purposes.  That's the reason why we have rules and commandments in our lives!! God knows what we need.  He will always love us, but we must be willing to do what He wants us to do and not what WE want to do. 
I'm so excited to watch general conference next weekend!!  It's something I've been really praying and looking forward to this past month.  I'm positive that I will learn from all of the testimonies, experiences, hymns shared.  ;) General conference is like Christmas for missionaries.

Seriously, Taiwan is so beautiful.  I told myself this morning that my new goal is to make most of what I have NOW and really focus on the Lord's will and not my own.  The people that I have been able to associate with are so wonderful.  Everytime I meet someone new, I feel humbled that God would even allow me to be a part of His work.  I am definitely not a perfect tool. I don't think anyone is, but I know that He is merciful.  He has already prepared me to be here in Yuanling at this specific time, and I feel so blessed to know that.
The mission is wonderful place.  I feel like I'm continually changing. To be completely honest, there are times when I forget my purpose.  There are times when I just want to be "cool" and follow the crowd.  There are times when I am impatient and too proud to admit my wrongs, too prideful to trust completely in the Lord and His will.  Sometimes I get frustrated because I feel like a hypocrite or I feel like I have too many weaknesses. 
However, I feel like God really has given me these feelings and certain trials and experiences for my growth.  I've discovered so many new things about my relationship with God.  I know that God has given me time to grow.  He's listening when I pray, so whenever I have doubts, He will help me replace these negative feelings with FAITH, HOPE, etc.
Anyway, enough with my rantings, I just want all of you to know that this church IS true.  I know that God does love us and want us to return to Him.  I know that this IS the time for us to do missionary work.  I know that He has prepared a way for every one of us to conquer our fears and trials so we can become stronger and more capable of learning more and more.
I know that God has given me my wonderful, beautiful companion Sister Cole for a reason.  I haven't even been with her for more than two hours, but I have a marvelous, bright, refreshing feeling.  I know God is going to help me grow and learn so much from her!
I know you are doing well because God has a perfect plan and will give us the very best when we do our part.  I am sure that you are all doing your part and fighting on!  Keep serving, keep learning, keep loving. 
I love you all so much!
Sister Verina Chen


Hey family and friends!
Sister Liu and I were busy this morning, so we changed emailing time to now!  Anyway, shoutouts:
This week in Zuoying was wonderful.  As you know, Sister Liu and I went to see the humongous duck in Shizhong last week.  We took some pretty great pictures that I'll try to include in the email.  It was wonderful, but it was scorching hot, and we were sweating SO MUCH.  We had to buy some ice cream to eat because it was so crazy.  Anyway, there were so many people just taking pictures of the giant duck!  Here are some fun moments from that day:
-  Sister Liu got on the wrong bus to get down to the duck, so at a red light, the driver let us run from his bus to the correct bus that was right ahead of us.  We ran SO fast, and all the people on the bus thought we were crazy.  haha It was so fun.
-  While we were riding our bikes to Jane's house, there was a guy on a scooter that thought we were twins! haha Everyone over here thinks we're sisters or something. It's so outrageous.
-  When we were with Jane, I got to help her a little with her English homework.  She also helped me with my Chinese.  She's the best!
On Tuesday, Sister Liu said that I had slept-talked the night before.  When I asked her what happened, she said that she just kept hearing me laugh and then say a bunch of random things in Chinese.  So, now you all know that I am now dreaming in Chinese!! - I thought it was interesting because I couldn't even remember my dream.  I'm like an old man.  That day, I also translated for a native sister in our district while we were at DTM since all the meetings are in English.  It was really good practice. For dinner, Jane, Huang Jiemei (a less-active), Sister Liu, and I ate a whole costco pizza.  It was so big and so delicious.  Then, we went English proselyting.  While we were proselyting, I ran into a recent convert's non-member mother.  We had visited her a long time ago during the time I just arrived in Zuoying, but then she stopped answering our calls.  Anyway, she said that she knew me, and at first I didn't recognize her becuase she was wearing sunglasses.  Anyway, we got talking, and although she doesn't have time to meet with us, she was still given a little reminder of the church! YEAH! 
On Wednesday, we visited a mother in our ward.  Her name is Sister Song,.and although her three kids and herself are members, her husband isn't.  She was really worried about her oldest son going off to college on his own because there are so many bad influences in the world.  When I saw her worry and concern for her son, I was reminded of the love that my own parents have for me and my siblings.  The love that she has for her son and the love that my parents have for me are the same!  When we continued to visit with this sister, I expressed to her how much her example meant to me.  Sister Liu and I then told her that all she has done for her children is enough.  God will always do the rest if we do our very best.  Sometimes we don't know what our "very best" is, but we find out after we first try and DO.  I know that sometimes we fear the unexpected.  We don't know why or when certain events happened/will happen, but I believe that God has a plan for all of us.  Sometimes, the most complex fears and questions have the simplest answers: Trust in God.  Pray.
This week was sister exchanges!! This time, I went over to Sanmin with Sister Lisa Smith, and Sister Liu stayed in Zuoying with Sister Huang.  That Friday morning, I remember studying 3 Nephi 12.
vs. 1 and 2 really stood out to me.  Here's a quick cut: "More blessed are they who shall believe in your words because that ye shall testify that ye have seen me, and that ye know that I am... and come down in to the depths of humility and be baptized."
Sometimes we as members of the church have doubts.  Sometimes we feel like our testimonies aren't strong enough, that we don't have the right to say "we believe".  Coming out on my mission, I've really realized that we CAN say that we believe.  We DO have testimonies, and they don't have to be proven by physical evidence or outrageous experiences.  God didn't intend for everyone to have experience like Joseph Smith's.  He wanted us as latter-day saints to be able to have that trial of faith.  He testifies of this in the scriptures.  When I read over these verses from 3 Nephi, I was reminded once more that it's okay to believe without seeing.  That's what faith is!  We all just have our own time and own way of gaining testimonies, and it's wonderful!
Today, Amy ran into us this afternoon while we were running some errands.  Anyway, we got to spend a lot of time with her.  While Amy and I were talking, a cute six-year-old girl came up to us and just kept staring at us.  At first, I just ignored her and kept talking with Amy, but when she didn't leave, I decided to stop and give her a little cute card.  She took it and walked away for a while.  When she came back, she continued to keep listening and watching me and Amy talk with one another.  She was so cute, so I gave her two more pretty cards.  After a while, she felt comfortable enough to sit right next to me! I was so surprised at how friendly and open she was with me, and I decided to ask her why.  This is how our conversation went:
Me: "Hey, mei mei!  Weishenme ni dui women zenme hao, na?"
     (Hey, little sister, why are you so good to us?!)
Abby (that's her name): "Yinwei, wo xihuan ni!  Ni hen piao liang!"
    (Because I like you! You're pretty!)
After I heard her reason, Amy and I couldn't help but laugh and smile because of her simple and effortless answer.  I later told myself that if that little girl was the only one in the world who thought I was beautiful, that'd be enough for me!!!  The way she said it was so honest, so pure, so Christ-like that I almost shouted out for joy!!!  She was just so natural and cute in the way she associated with us, and I was reminded of how marvelous children really are!  She ended up drawing a really flowery picture of me and writing down her name in Chinese and English for me. 
Another story:
After a lesson one day, sister Liu and I stopped at a stand to buy some mochi.  While I was buying my mochi, the owner's son, who was about six or seven tugged at my skirt and with wide-eyes asked me if I wanted to have a piece of his fried chicken.  I was really shocked because I didn't know who this little child was.  To him, I was a stranger, but he still had the courage and so effortlessly treated me like I was his best friend.  Of course, I accepted his offer and ate a piece of his fried chicken. 
So, what's the point of sharing these stories, you ask?!
Point 1: To share with you some of the cute tender mercies and unforgettable moments that God has given to me this week.  Each one of these moments occured when I needed them most.  It was a testimony builder of how God truly is aware of us.
Point 2:  For all of us to work harder and become more pure, more kind, more honest, more happy, more delightful - just like these little children!!
Alright, so here's the invitation for this week (and the rest of our lives):  Let's work harder to be kinder, purer, and happier.
Something Amy shared with me earlier was how she experienced a change for the better in her life.  I asked her why she was so much happier/why she looked so much happier today than before.  She said that the answer was so simple that I might laugh.  This is the secret that isn't a secret at all:
Wake up early, excersize, and go to bed early. 
Sometimes the answers are here right in front of us, but we aren't willing to look.  The answers are simple.  I know that the scriptures include all the truths that we need to live our lives in the happiest way.  All we need to do is look and apply! 
I love you all so much,and I'm so blessed to know and have your influences in my life!! Sometimes I don't feel like I deserve so much good, but God still gives me these blessings.  All I know is that I'm trying to do my best.  I'm going to become a better person, and I'm working hard to continue my progression.  I know God lives and loves all of us.  His love is infinite and kind. 
Here's a quote from an efy song Amy shared with me earlier today:
"Love comes back when we take care of each other... When we look beyond ourselves, we find that we can help somebody else."
It's true!!
-Sister Verina Chen
I don't have too much time, so pictures will come next week.  Sorry!! I know Dad must have been excited to see the giant duck!!