October 20, 2013

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

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