November 17, 2013

PHTEVEN... Funniest ever. hahaha JK It's November 18, 2013

Dearest family,

Alright, so last week our zone rode up to the temple and did initiatories and endowments together.  It was really nice finally being able to go into the temple for the first time in a really long time.  I loved feeling the Spirit and having that time to really ponder and pray about my mission/life/etc.  Something that I notice and love about the temple is the fact that wherever you are, the temple feels the same.  I felt the same way I do when I was going to the Provo temple.  It's just like the gospel and the light it brings to our lives.  Regardless where you live, you can take part of the wonderful blessings and covenants contained in the gospel of Christ.  Isn't it wonderful?!

Anyway, Sister Anderson and I made some awesome peanut butter sandwiches for the bus.  I don't know why that's important for you all to know, but I just felt like it needed to be included in the email.  The point it is: the temple was so fun!! I'll include some pictures of our visit.

Here's an entry from my journal last Monday:

"The mission hasn't been better!  I feel great here, especially in Yuanlin.  Today, we got a lot done, and I was able to contact a ton of people.  :) It was absolutely wonderful!! Plus, I got time tonight to write in my journal!!  It's basically the best.  

Anyway, I was thinking, the best way to be is to be yourself, especially when you're teaching investigators/RCLA's in lessons.  God knows me and knows what I need.  All I need to do is put my complete trust in Him, forget myself, and go to work.  I love this place.  I've been growing stronger and stronger everyday, and I'm NOT afraid of anything.  

Something that I received in a letter this week reminded me of the guidance of our leaders: 'Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.'  With faith, we can do all things.

I'm pretty sure there's a law against having too much fun on a mission..."


Today we had English class.  K-9 (The name of the bishop's youngest 4 year-old son) wasn't being very good, so I didn't give him a star.  He started pouting and being really sad.  After class, he came and found me with his older 17 year-old sister because he thought I was angry with him.  hahaha (Sidenote: It's IMPOSSIBLE for me to be angry with him.  He's the cutest boy in the world.  I just have to be strict with him at English class because there are at least 15 other little kids running around, and there has to be some sort of order for me to get anything done!!  K-9 is really smart and really loud.  He likes to shout out in class and laugh at me because of my Chinese accent.)  Anyway, I explained to K-9 that I wasn't mad at him at all and that I loved him very much!! haha  It was just so cute seeing him trying to hide his smile after I gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek. :)


Personal study: 1 Nephi Chapter 3 (I have started re-reading the Book of Mormon because I finished it last week.  I've been reading it in Chinese characters now so I can learn Chinese!!! :) It's been going pretty well!)

This chapter is all about Nephi and his brothers Sam, Laban, and Lemuel going to retrieve the plates.  Here are some of the verses that stood out to me:

verse 5: "I have not required it of them, but it is a commandment of the Lord." - Basically Nephi saying he was willing to do the Lord's will and not his own.  
verse 7: "Go and do!!"

Although Nephi was chosen to go get the plates from Laban, and God has asked him to keep His commandments, completing the mission was anything BUT easy.  Sometimes in life, God gives us commandments/callings, etc. and sometimes we give up after we fail once or twice.  From the perseverance, endurance, and un-wavering faith found in Nephi, I have learned that sometimes, even the things we do right in life take effort, pain, and endurance.  We are being constantly tested, warned, and shaped to become more and more into what God wants us to be.

I've realized that sometimes, life is as simple as being determined to do and follow God's will and His plan for us.  God is merciful and allows for us to be constantly repenting and trying again and again.  Just like Nephi and his brothers tried twice before finally seeing success in retrieving the plates, we may run into trials and hardship before obtaining the right results.


1 Nephi 4:6 "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing before the things which I should do."

At this time, Nephi had NO IDEA what he was going to do when he went alone for the third time to retrieve the plates from Laban.  NHe only knew that he needed to go back and get them, so he put His trust in the Lord and acted without doubting.

Can we be like Nephi? When we know something is right - when we know that God wants us to accomplish something, will we be strong enough to act immediately without doubt, relying on nothing but the Spirit?  Are we faithful enough to be led by that Spirit that led Nephi?! - I HOPE SO!


Today, we had the stake fireside for helping the members have the desire to go to missionary work.  The Yuanlin missionaries were in charge of 1 hour of the fireside, so Sister Anderson and I had been preparing for the fireside with the elders all week.  It ended up being really great!

For our porting of the fireside, we split the 100 members into two groups of 50 and held separate discussions with them.  There were about 10 people to each missionary, and I was in charge of helping the members know how to add to their faith/help their faith grow.  For my section, I shared Alma 37:6-7, the scripture about how through small and simple things are great things brought to pass.  The members caught on quickly and realized that by doing small and simple things, we can be truly converted, and our faith will grow.

Sometimes, members are afraid when they hear the need for them to go out and do mission work.  The purpose of the fireside was to help them realize that doing mission work may just mean being firstly converted to the gospel yourself.  How can we help others come to Christ is we ourselves haven't been truly converted in the first place?! Through small and simple things like prayer, scripture study, and church attendance, our faith grows, and we develop those natural desires to share the gospel first with our loved ones/family, and then our friends.

Here in Taiwan, I see a lot of converts who are the only members of the church in their families.  They are strong and come to church every week.  Sometimes, when we invite them to do missionary work, they immediately think of talking to their co-workers or their friends/classmates.  The thing they fail to recognize or look-over is the importance and convenience of their families.  We must always remember to change ourselves first before changing others.

I know that great change can come through small and simple efforts.  

Something that President Blickenstaff shared at the fireside yesterday night was how his favorite missionary in the Book of Mormon was not Alma.  It wasn't Ammon, and it wasn't even King Mosiah.  It was ABINIDI.  Why?! - Abinidi the courageous and lifted his voice amidst a crowd of kings and priests who he knew were destined/determined to take his life away.  Abinidi died a painful/agonizing death without seeing even a sliver of hope/success from preaching the gospel and doing God's will.

Because of his courage and his faith, however, Abinidi spoke to the young heart of Alma the older, and from then on, we know what happened next!!

Isn't it amazing to see the effects one person can have on a whole nation?! - It just makes me be more and more determined to do my own part and stay true not only to myself but to the Lord.  Whenever I get confused or don't know what to do/say/act/etc, I always have to remind myself that God will take care of me if I stay faithful to Him and do His will.  All we need to do is to place our whole lives in His trust, and everything will be okay, regardless if we can see results now or in the after-life.

Alright, here are some small events that happened last week that I thought would be fun to include:

- One night after getting home from a really busy day, the elevator was taking forever to get to the 1st floor (we live on the 7th floor, and the elevator is SO SLOW) so, Sister Anderson just started running up the stairs.  haha I couldn't believe it!!! She just started running/dashing for the stairs, and I just had to follow.  It was really hilarious because we were like panting so hard by the time we got to the 7th floor.  HOWEVER, when we DID get to the 7th floor, Sister Anderson kept running all the way up to the roof.  haha Earlier that week, we had been talking about how we both wanted to go to the roof and see the view of Yuanlin from up there.  We thought it would have been really beautiful.  haha It surprised us when we opened a rusty door to the ugliest roof in the world. hahha We had run up 7 floors of stairs and were excited to run up one more set of stairs to see a beautiful view of Yuanlin when the roof wasn't even that beautiful at all. haha  BORING. 

Anyway, we got a good laugh out of it. haha

-We pass the fruit market every day when we go to the church for lessons, and it's especially busy in the mornings when all the mothers are buying groceries and food for their children/families that day.  Anyway, it's really fun getting through all the scooters/cars/bikes/pedestrians at the fruit market every day.  To say the least, Sister Anderson and I are seriously skilled.

- For the fireside, I was asked to play the piano, and it was really embarrassing because when I started to play the first hymn, no one started to sing... Turns out, I was playing the WRONG HYMN.  It was really awkward and hilarious because I just kind of stopped and said, "woops... Just kidding!" I then turned to the right page and started playing again.  hahaha Everyone now knows that I did NOT practice before I played that day, but at least I can sight-read any hymn on the spot...

- Sister Anderson, Elder Feigelson, Elder Barr, and I are singing in the mission tour conference this upcoming month.  It's funny because I have NO SINGING training whatsoever, but Sister Blickenstaff was like, "Yeah! Let's have Sister Chen sing soprano..." Yeah... I know. I'll tell you all about it after we perform.

-For the Christmas activity, the 1st ward assigned me to be the musical coordinator and put together some Christmas arrangements for flute, violin, and french horn.  They are performing at the train station on Christmas and then handing out fliers for free English.  Anyway, I spent a lot of time arranging the music yesterday during our practice, and transposing to French horn was NOT my favorite.  Anyway, the bishop wants me to play the violin as well, so I have to find time to figure something out. haha.... yeah.  I wish they could lug a piano to the train station.  That would have been easier for me.  Oh well.

Alright, I hope everyone over there is doing well and super healthy/happy!! 

I love you all! Remember your worth is great, be kind, and don't get too stressed!!! KEEP PRAYING!

Sister Verina Chen

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