October 20, 2013


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!!


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