Another week went by!! Can you believe it?! I was thinking about how long I've been out already, and I was surprised to realize that it's been TEN months since I left to the MTC. WHAAA?!?! Time really is a weird thing.
Anyway, other than being able to SKYPE all of my family next week on CHRISTMAS, (HOLLAHHHHH!!!!) I'm super excited because this week is the mission social at Sun Moon Lake!!! Since Mom is awesome and totally sent me the best Christmas arrangements for piano over the email, I have been able to practice and prepare my musical number. I'm performing "Oh Holy Night" this Thursday for the mission social. :) It'll hopefully go smoothly, since missionaries only have so much time to practice instruments. (Basically only P-Day, and whenever at the church waiting for lessons...) I'm gonna do some slow work and good, solid, cram practicing today. It won't be my best, but I'll work with it. :)
SO EXCITED TO SKYPE THE FAMILY! - Oh wait, I've said that like a frillion times already. Sorry. Just had to say that again!! Don't worry, Sister Anderson and I aren't letting our excitement get in the way of missionary work. We're just really happy that we get to see and hear our families again next week. It's been a long time, and I feel like everyone has changed a lot!!!
Alright, here's what happened this week:
-Met the new district at district training meeting
-Rode all the way up to Beidou to have lunch and chat with Kiki. We committed her to everyday prayer
-Taught a member lesson/RCLA lesson with Zhang Li Xue at Chu A-gon and A-ma's home in Yongjing.
Ok, on the side note, we have a total of SIX secondary areas. Yeah, that's how big our area is, so the amount of lessons we have everyday also depends on how far we have to ride to every lesson. We try to plan all of our lessons pretty close together in terms of destination, but there's only so much you can control with the time needs of all the people we teach and everything.
I've noticed that an important part of being an effective missionary is using your brain and planning efficient and SMART appointments. It takes practice, I can tell you!!
-After Chu A-gon and A-ma, we visited Chen Shu Yue and Chen Kai Rong, her daughter. We read part of the Strength of Youth with her as well as the Book of Mormon introduction. We were really happy because after we taught them, Chen Shu Yue expressed how much she really liked and appreciated how we stressed having high moral standards for the youth. Her daughter Kai Rong is 14 and it's around that time when parents have to start worrying about their kids. :) They're really progressing and everything. The only thing keeping them in the way of hitting their baptismal goal in March is the fact that the grandma is traditional Buddhist "baibai", and she doesn't want her children or grandchildren to change those traditional beliefs... WE'll keep praying!!
-When we got home, I made a lot of phone calls to set up all the appointments for the week. :) Happy to say that all of our plans were pretty much set up on Tuesday night!! :) There's no better way to start out a week than to have all plans and appointments already set up.
Sidenote: Apparently oreos with peanut butter are really good. That's what Sister Anderson has been telling me... I'll have to try it sometime, but I'm trying to watch the amount of sugar I eat. Maybe I'll let myself eat one on Christmas. :) hahaha
-Visited Ye Yi Rou, a less-active sister who lives in Yuanlin. We talked and invited her to come to the Christmas party this upcoming Saturday. She needs a priesthood blessing since she's been ill recently and her father has cancer.
- Li Zeng Ya Shan (the cool member with three crazy boys) called us up randomly before we left our apartment to invite us over to her home for lunch. Of course, we agreed to lunch at her home, and it was absolutely delicious. Holy Cow!!! We had a warm, chicken soup, FISH, broccoli, rice with a yam, green beans, pork, and a delicious scrambled egg dish. Having a home-cooked meal was HEAVEN. Seriously, it reminded me of all the meals that I had at home before the mission. Oh man, that was the best meal in a while!!!! The whole time, I was like, "It tastes just like what my Dad and Mom cook at home!!" I kept thanking her over and over again and still have to give her the thank you note I wrote to her this last week.
-We then visted Tina Ye. She's so amazing!! WOW. So, you know how we gave her a Book of Mormon two weeks ago?! I made a box and wrote her a really long letter to go with it. When we met with her, Tina said that her parents were really touched that I even made a box and wrote her a letter to go along with the Book of Mormon. The night she got it, her entire family read the Book of Mormon together for the FIRST time. Her parents have been less-active for YEARS, and it was just so refreshing and so touching to hear that they are finally making progress and reading the scriptures together for the first time!!!! WHAT A MIRACLE. Plus, Tina is only 11 and takes NOTES every time we visit her. She's amazing!!!
OKAY - SIDE NOTE AGAIN: The mission office just sent all of us an email that was subjected, "THE CHRISTMAS PARTY IS CANCELLED..." - And for a moment, Sister Anderson and I had a heart attack because we thought it really was, but turns out - it's not, and it was just a joke. haha
-We then had a member lesson with Chen Jian Ru and Huang Mei Hua. They are amazing!! I made a protective case for Chen Jian Ru's Book of Mormon. I had included a bunch of scriptures on the case and spent the lesson reading them and explaining to her why I included them on her case.
-So remember the two young men that we contacted last week after the elder's baptism on our way home?! - They totally came to English class and had a lesson with the elders!!!
-English class was a ball. Since the 2nd ward elders couldn't make it to class, we had a shortage of teachers, so I ended up teaching the little kids by myself. Sister Anderson was doorman, and the other Elders taught the other two classes by themselves. It actually didn't go that bad!!! :)
There were actually MORE people in the children's class than there have ever been. There were about 19 students (parents AND children) in my class, and although the kids were kind of rowdy, I was able to keep them under control, and the parents were all pretty happy. It was funny because the whole time, they kept snapping photos of me while I was teaching. Apparently, some of the parents are referrals from members and they posted the pictures they took of me on facebook. So, somewhere on facebook are the pictures of me teaching English to the little kids last week. :)
Okay, so I was thinking about what I want to do after my mission, and I realized that an awesome option that I would absolutely LOVE to do is become a kindergarten or 1st grade teacher... Well, at least something to do with 4-5 year old children. I don't know why, but I LOVE being around kids and teaching them. It's something that I'd like to go into after the mission. I'm sure I could mix teaching/performing piano into there somewhere. :)
-Thursday actually had a kind of oddly funny start to it. In the morning, Sister Anderson turned on her music which happened to be the Canadian Tenors. Yeah, if you don't know who they are, then look them up. The point is, they sing really touching music, and they sing with so much passion.
Anyway, I just had woke up and was lying in bed when the music started going on, and I just started tearing up!! hahaha I didn't even know why, but I started crying, and I'm pretty sure it's because of the music and the fact that I just woke up and was totally out of it. hahaha
Sister Anderson came in the room to check if I was awake and when she saw the tears, she was so worried!! haha Later, I told her that it was TOTALLY the Canadian Tenors that made my cry. hahaa Isn't that a funny way to start out a morning?! yeah, at least I thought so...
2 Nephi 4
When I read this chapter, I felt like I was receiving a lot of answers to my prayers. Here are some versus that I LOVE:
16-21;26-35 (Basically the whole chapter.) Just go and read it.
For the sake of happiness, I will just type out my favorite versus:
34-35: "O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever, I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm."
"I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me if I ask not amiss; I will lift up my voice unto thee, yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my voice shall forever ascend up unto thee, my rock and mine everlasting God. Amen."
We must always remember to put our trust in God and NOT man. Even in marriage, we must trust God and love God ABOVE ALL, and then love our spouses. When we do that, God will direct and allow those marriages/relationships to grow and exist in a deeper, more reliable environment. I know that God loves me, and I want and do put my complete trust in Him.
DON'T FORGET THAT!!!
Funny moment: When we visited Liu Wei Han at her hair salon Thursday, we were biking to Yongjing and we saw the FATTEST dog just chilling on the side of the road. It was hilarious because the fat rolls were ENCOMPASSING the entire road. Sister Anderson and I were both like being super careful about biking around him, and then he totally barked. It was probably the weirdest bark I have ever heard come out from a dog. Anyway, point is this: Taiwan has a really obese dog problem.
I'm NOT kidding at all. AT ALL. Oh, and I am NOT being sarcastic because everyone who knows me knows that I don't like to joke around.
... I hope you all got that.
Wait, I hope that you all DIDn'T get that.
- Thursday night, we went and visited Song Xiu Cuen, the woman who helped us find the Less active house that one night a month ago. We brought her a thank you card and sat down with her to begin teaching. She tried offering us some tea, and we had to tell her that we didn't drink it because of our church's standards. Anyway, she's great and she's totally willing to let us bring other members over and continue visiting her in the future. At the end of our meeting, she gave us some of her home-planted green beans and guava fruit!! SCORE!
In the morning, we had a member lesson with our awesome investigator Vilia. Remember her?! She's the member referral who teaching Russian, and she's looking for truth. Anyway, she had totally completed all the assignments we gave her last week, and she brought more questions. I actually shared the scripture about trusting God in 2 Nephi 4 with her. She had been asking us for ways to deal with a relationship that she has going on in her life, and we just told her that the only person who COULD and CAN tell her all the right answers to all her problems is GOD.
We encouraged her to continue reading scriptures, and I gave her an assignment to read 2 Nephi 32, the scripture about answers being given through the holy ghost. She also offered an awesome prayer at the end of the lesson, and it was SO GOOD. She's a star!!!
Later that day, Sister Anderson's stomach was really upset, so we ended up going home and cancelling all of our lessons so she could rest. I made phone calls and called APR while she was trying to rest up. Later that night, she totally made an extra effort to make it to ward correlation meeting. She just bought a soda and crackers, and headed out the door!! WHAT A TROOPER, eh?!
The next day, she felt all better. :)
I'm getting tired of typing, so I'll just share my favorite part of the day:
We taught a member lesson to Chen Shi Xuen. Ya Ting helped us "peike". We taught the plan of salvation, and gave her a pamphlet. At the end of the lesson, we encouraged her to flip to the back and answer/write out all the answers to the questions in the back. Yesterday after church, she showed me the back of the pamphlet and guess what?!
ALL THE ANSWERS WERE WRITTEN OUT. She had spent FOUR hours just filling out the back and finding out the answers to questions about the plan of salvation. Can you believe that?! I was so happy to see her desire and diligence to learn more about the gospel.
Isn't she amazing?!
I gave my talk in sacrament meeting in 2nd ward. It lasted about 15 minutes. I couldn't have done it without the help of Ya Ting, one of the sisters in the 2nd ward. She had helped me prepare it on Saturday afternoon after helping us accompany Chen Shi Xuen's lesson. :) I basically talked about the ways members can do mission work and how simple and small means can bring about great results.
Sometimes members get afraid of doing missionary work, but in reality, missionary work is NOT just tracting and contacting on the streets. It includes doing the small and simple things, including the personal study and personal growth/effort/time that you spend being truly converted to Christ. When you do yourself a service by reading scriptures and praying, you actually are doing missionary work!!!
Think about it.
We had a good THREE investigators at church on Sunday. Our goal WAS three, so it was perfect! The music rehearsal for the Christmas party on the 21st this Saturday went pretty well as well. Sister Anderson and her beautiful voice are going to be providing entertainment for the crowds to come on Saturday night. :) We are going to have a final rehearsal on Friday night. :) I'll tell you all about how it ends up going next week.
Oh, and last night, Sister Anderson pulled out her DELICIOUS YUMMY stuffing from her mom, and we totally ATE IT. : ) SOOO GOODD!!!
This morning, I studied in 2 Nephi 8 and 9, and it's all about the plan of salvation. I'm thinking about having Chen Shi Xuen read chapter 9 for her next reading assignment. :) It's awesome!!!!
Alright, today, Sister Anderson and I are probably gonna just chill and I am wanting to practice the musical number for this Thursday's social/party. :) It's gonna be fun!!
Sorry for no pictures this week. There may or may not be a lot of pictures next week from the Christmas party. :)
I love you all!! Keep your heads up!! thanks for all the support and love you all send me.
Remember God is merciful and NEVER forgets us.
How could he?!
Love,Sister Verina Chen