January 22, 2014


Alright, this week was so busy!  My new trainee/companion is Sister Madreno.  She was born in Mexico but moved to Provo, Utah when she was a kid, so she's pretty familiar with Utah, and she's been all the places I've been back at home.  Although I was sad to say good bye to Sister Anderson, I'm really excited and blessed to have Sister Madreno as my new companion.  She's seriously the cutest! I love her already, and we get along super well.

Honestly, this week has been super exhausting! The bags under my eyes seriously get bigger and blacker every day. We had a lot of traveling to do to and from meetings/move calls this week. So, I didn't have time/energy this week to write in my journal at all.  haha Regardless, I'm still really, really happy, and the work is really moving forward!! It's true!

Something that stood out to me after talking with and getting to know Sister Madreno is how graceful and dignified she is.  Both of her parents are converts to the church, and she really feels a burning gratitude and love for our God and His goodness.  I was really happy that we became companions.  I am STILL really really happy that we are companions.  She's so sincere, so nice, and so chill.  It just felt right when we were called to serve with one another.

On Sunday, Sister Madreno went up to bear her testimony/introduce herself to the wards.  On Saturday morning during studies, she prepared and wrote out her talk basically all by herself.  She's seriously so diligent and hard working, and I know that that attribute will really help her learn the language and help many souls out here in Taiwan.

Whenever I talk to Sister Madreno, she always says the greatest things.  When I asked what she was trying to get out from the mission, she told me that she just really wants God to change her.  She wants to really lose herself and do His work.  As I thought and talked about what she meant by what she said, I really felt a love and admiration for her determination and reason for coming out on this mission.

This morning, Sister Madreno asked me what the hardest part of the mission was for me.  I said that it was completely forgetting myself and getting to work.  Sometimes, the only way to really find ourselves is to first forget ourselves.  I related to her that the time on our missions isn't our time at all.  The time that I have here in Taiwan is GOD'S time.  I really am nothing when it comes to His work and His glory.  Sometimes I really have to take a step back to see if I am really doing things for God or for myself.  Coming on the mission, I have realized that in order to truly forget ourselves, we must unselfishly act in behalf of God.  It's easy to brag, to complain, to talk about all the things we have accomplished and/or wish/hope to accomplish on our missions.

One of the hardest things being a missionary is having faith.  When we have faith, we act.  We keep and observe mission standards and rules in order to receive blessings that aren't necessarily or immediately seen at once.  Remember when I mentioned Abinadi in one of my other emails?! I shared with Sister Madreno how we as missionaries should be like Abinadi.  Sometimes, we keep the rules and commandments, pray, fast, and sacrifice for our investigators, but while we are here in this area or here on our missions, we don't necessarily see the fruits of our labors.  Faith without works really is dead.  

Haha Sorry.  I'm like falling asleep as I type this, so I might just be jumping topics like crazy. 

This morning, Sister Madreno and I went hiking with our investigator Lisa.  It was absolutely beautiful.  There were flights and piles of wooden/stone/dirt stairs that we could climb all over this mountain.  The trees were extraordinarily luscious and green, and the air was fresh and clean.  It was breathless as we hiked up and down the mountain, taking in all of God's glorious creations.  

GAH!  There are so many things and places that I wish all of you could see.  Taiwan is one of the most absolutely beautiful/spectacular places in the world.  If I could hike the mountain that we hiked this morning every single day, I would totally live here the rest of my life.  It's THAT beautiful, and the camera definitely doesn't give it enough justice.

I've recently been doing the purification/consecration process.  This Sunday, I fasted and prayed again for a specific purpose.  I think I've probably said this once, but I just need to say it again.  Fasting on the mission seems ten times easier than it was before!  I don't know why, but every time I have fasted since I got on island, it's been a piece of cake!!! I love fasting not just because it's easy, but because it works.

My faith in God has grown a lot.  I yearn and pray for God to allow me the Spirit every day, and I know that He answers.  

Another change that occured this week was our new call to be over only the 2nd ward here in Yuanlin.  President doesn't want us to be going on splits anymore during church.  He doesn't want ANY of the missionaries to be going on splits at all from now on, so we are now the missionaries of the 2nd and not the 1st ward.  So, this weekend, we collected all our 1st ward investigators and recent converts, updated their records one last time, and organized/wrote information about these people for the 1st ward elders.  

I am actually really grateful and excited for this change.  The second ward really needs a push, and now that all of our time and efforts can be made towards the 2nd ward, I feel like the members and church here in Yuanlin will really grow.  

I know that the time I have here in Taiwan isn't mine to have in the first place.  This work, this glory, ALL of this is for God.  It's not for my friends.  It's not for my family.  It's not even for myself.  It's for GOD.  God did EVERYTHING for us.  He still does do everything for us.  His love is eternal, unconditional, perfect, whole...  

If you think about it, I really am just a small part of this work, a small bit of this world, but I know that my worth is great.  I know that God wants me to feel that my worth is great, and because of this knowledge, because of this truth, I will change.  I will grow to be who He has always wanted me to be.  I know that when we realize our worth, He testifies and makes it manifest unto us through the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost.  

My family, my friends, there's definitely a change in my heart.  

Can you feel it?

Can you feel that?!

Can you for once forget your carnal desires, your worldly hopes, your filthy wealth, your degrading fame and remember who you are?

Can you remember what kindness is?

Can you remember love?

Can you remember your God?!

If you can...NO - If you even in the slightest DESIRE to remember that great God, then I cry, I plead for you to repent - to change - to rise from the dust and grasp that rod of hope, to find and partake of that pure, everlasting fountain of Christ.

Do not listen to those who whisper in your ear and tell you that the world is right, that there is no hope, that you are filthy, that you are just an ugly duckling, a hopeless fool.  Don't let those voice take away your right - your potential to be a God and Goddess - a royal heir to God's kingdom. 

Here is the email that President Blickenstaff sent to all of us this week.  I wanted to share it with all of you because I KNOW it is true:

President Gordon B. Hinckley once said, “It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don’t worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will all work out. Put your trust in God, and move forward with faith and confidence in the future. The Lord will not forsake us. If we put our trust in Him, if we will pray to Him, if we will live worthy of His blessings, He will hear our prayers.”

Nephi faced many challenges and constant rejection from his own brothers. One of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon is 2 Nephi 22, containing “Nephi’s Psalm.” This is written just after the death of his father and at the time that he had to separate himself and his family from his brothers and their families. I can only imagine the feelings of his heart. I am sure that one of them was discouragement.

Nephi gave us a great example of what to do when we are discouraged:
•Read the scriptures (2Ne. 4:15).
•Delight in and ponder the things of the Lord (2Ne. 4:16).
•Trust the Lord and look to Him for support (2Ne. 4: 20-21, 34).
•Engage in mighty prayer (2Ne. 4: 24).
•Be industrious, work hard (2Ne. 5: 15, 17).

“Oh Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm. Yea, I know that God will give liberally to him that asketh. Yea, my God will give me, if I ask not amiss; therefore I will lift up my voice unto thee; yea, I will cry unto thee, my God, the rock of my righteousness. Behold, my vice shall forever ascend up to thee, my rock and mine everlasting God, Amen.” (2Ne. 4: 34-35)

Amen. Remember we need to ETTE and JIAYOU.

Sister Verina Chen

January 12, 2014


Alright everyone, so are you all ready to hear all the recent happenings/updates?!?!?  This Saturday night, President Blickenstaff called and told me that I am TRAINING this next move call. (Starting this FRIDAY.) I'm meeting my trainee this Friday at the mission office and I have to go to the trainer's meeting this Wednesday morning in Taichung.  I'll still be here in Yuanlin *(WAHOO!!!!).  It's really a bitter-sweet moment.  I'm super going to miss Sister Anderson because she's super RAD.  Seriously, we're like really really really really really great friends, and we've learned so much together.  I swear, we have so many inside jokes now.  Anyway, we don't know where she's going yet, but we'll find out this weekend.  She'll probably have to go live with the Zhanghua sisters on Friday up until next Monday when she'll go to her new area. 

So, since I'm staying here in Yuanlin, I think there are going to be a couple of changes that go on.  Because we have two wards that we've been covering for a while, we are always really busy, and we always have to split up for sacrament meetings (the wards meet at the same time, so we have to go on splits so one companion can cover one ward...) Anyway, we might just be covering the 1st ward or something.  I'll let you know next week for sure.  Changes are happening this week, and I'm super excited.  It's going to be great.

 Well anyway, I'll get right to the point this week.  This is what I was really reminded and was able to apply this week of my mission: REMEMBER, If you're not happy on your mission, that means that you can be doing something different.  Whenever I haven't been happy/whenever I've been trunky or a little down, it's because I wasn't focused.  I wasn't consecrated.  I wasn't truly purified and dedicated the Lord and His work.

Recently, our mission has invited us to truly consecrate ourselves to the Lord.  It's a project called "PROJECT PURIFICATION", and this is what we do: We write down a whole list of things that are "poking" at our Spirit - anything at all that is distracting us from our missions.  Then, for 40 days, we try to control our thoughts and our actions to avoid doing all these things that poke at our Spirits.  Anyway, the most important thing is this: ACCOUNTING TO THE LORD.  I know that God answers our prayers.  Sometimes we forget to do the small and simple things that we tell our investigators to do every day.  I have to always remind myself that in order to help others, I must help and change myself.  I know that when we are doing our part, then God will help us extend our arms to help others.  

So, today is DAY 6 of 40 of the purification process for me, and already, I have felt a huge change of heart.  :) I really did write all the things that distract me from my purpose or my efforts here in Taiwan as a missionary, and every week, I am now fasting for the mission work specifically here in Yuanlin. OH MAN, though!!! Can you talk about the Spirit of God?!?! I seriously have transformed! I'm happy ALL THE TIME.  I feel like there's a flame/fire constantly burning in my soul, and I'm always so determined to help our wards live and start moving forward with this work.  :)

Alright, so I wanted this email to be a POWER email, so this is the main portion of what I sent to President this week.  It really sums up this week in a nutshell, and so I wanted to share it with you all!!!

{This past week, I truly have felt a change not only in my mission work but in who I am as a person and individual. I have really found that I am happier when I put aside the things and the habits that really do poke away at my Spirit.

The call for me to be a trainer has really placed my mission work and my preparations into perspective. I have been preparing and am striving constantly to be a humble, faithful, and worthy servant of God. With the need for a new investigator pool here in Yuanlin, we have been working with individual ward leaders and members/members with missionary experience to help the work really progress. More than ever, I feel a fire burning within me now as I work with these members. I know that here in Yuanlin, we especially need to find more worthy priesthood holders. Sometimes, mission work is slow, and I am determined to keep this work going even if my companion and I have to do it ourselves.

With this new realization and this new fire burning within me, I have found a new love for contacting. I am no longer fearful of people on the roads/streets turning me down. I am actually happy even when they do refuse to listen. I know that when I need help, and when I need to find ways to help these people, I can always turn to the Lord. President, Yuanlin really is a blessed place. The members here are all amazing, and I KNOW we can bring this area to life. I know that with my whole heart, and I know that God is going to help me.}

Yeah!!! So, I hope that you can all kind of feel and get something from that first part, yeah?!  OKAY, so this week, we seriously had the BEST member visits in the world.  We visited members every single day of this week, and they ALL treated us out for dinner or lunch.  

I can't tell you all HOW awesome our members here are.  They are SO strong.  They are SO amazing, and they are more willing to help with the work than ever!!! All I have to do is ask them, meet with them, be real with them, and show my genuine appreciate for them via notes/cards, and they are BAM - THE BEST MEMBERS A MISSIONARY WOULD WISH FOR.

So, our pool of investigators really needs to be washed out.  There are seriously SO many eternal investigators that really need to be dropped, so I've been working on cleaning out the pool.  Yesterday during the ward counsel for first ward, I shared with the ward leaders the vision that our mission has, and the vision that I have as their missionary in helping pull and push the work as much as possible.  OH MAN!!! The fire started burning in every single one of the ward counsel, and they are working WITH us to really find and plant seeds here in Taiwan.  More than ever, we really need to find those who have been prepared by the Lord to help support and lead our wards here in Yuanlin.  

OH MAN, I wish all of you can feel how I feel now!! I'm so passionate for missionary work.  Every day, I account to the Lord and ask Him to keep a constant prayer in my heart because I KNOW without a doubt that HIS help and HIS hand is VITAL in everything that we do as missionaries and as His children.  

There is no way I could include every single event and tell you about every single member and their influence they have had on me because there are simply TOO MANY.  All you need to know is this: GOD IS REAL.  HE'S MERCIFUL, LOVING, AND KIND.  Because He is real, He has answered my prayers.  I love Him. I am grateful for Him.  I am indebted to Him.

This whole week, I felt like all of my prayers really had been answered.  I feel like my priorities in life have all been really found, and I am being purified more and more everyday.  I know that the world is full of temptations and sadness.  Our life has been polluted by the repulsive efforts of that pathetic Satan, but we CAN and we DO rise above that snake.  WE have been blessed with the power and Spirit of God to overcome and live above that PATHETIC devil!!

Can you feel my love for the Lord?! Can you feel that this church IS true?! Do you feel God's love?!  

If you don't, then I hope that you at least know that I CAN.  I feel God's love.  I KNOW of His love because He loves and answers my prayers.  I KNOW of His love because He has sent me angels in my life who love me and shape me and pick me up when my hands hang low.  I KNOW of His love because I feel the Spirit through living His gospel.  I KNOW of His love because my eyes are wet with tears whenever I think of His mercy and His greatness.  I KNOW of His love because I am His daughter.  We are His children, and He will never forsake us.

Here's a quote that I have shared with all of the people we have seen this week. It's a quote that is included on the first page of the Liahona this month: "Some of us may feel that we can't rise above the polluted pond, that our circumstances are too difficult, our trials too hard, our temptations too great... Remember, the stalk of the water lily grows in adversity, and as the stalk lifts the water lily, your faith will support and lift you." - Mary N. Cook.

I hope you got something out of reading that.  I know that if we have hope, we have faith, and faith really will allow us to be supported and lifted when we have no one else/no where else to turn.

Hhaha, I hope I'm not absolutely talking your ears off, because I totally am, but I just love all of you so much that I can't NOT share all this with you.  I just love the Spirit.  When I have the Spirit guiding God's lessons, God's work, when I have the Spirit guiding my life, then that is when I put my trust completely in God.  That's when He DOES carry the message/the truth to the heart's of others.

So, are you a success?!  Am I a success?!  I told myself that no matter who my companion is, no matter if my key indicators are zero's across the board, no matter if people don't listen to me, no matter if I have a zit on my face, no matter if my apartment falls apart, no matter if the world falls apart, I still can be a successful missionary.  Do you know why?!?! - It's because people like Abinadi are successful missionaries.  It's because I have seen with my own eyes what real success/real happiness in life is, and it does NOT come from the world.  None of the happiness/joy in life comes from any amount of silver, any amount of gold.  

SO, next time you talk to a person, I hope you're not judging them based on their outward appearance, the amount of money they make, the language they speak, the muscles, the fat, the clothes, the titles, anything that may or may not be flaunted on the exterior.  If there's anything that gets on my nerves, it is probably how superficial, how disrespectful, how shallow people are in their dealings with their fellow men.  

Didn't the prophets testify of all this corruption, all the hatred and the sins that would exist in these modern days?! - WELL, I'm here to tell you that WE really can be better than this.  WE CAN RISE ABOVE THE WORLD.  Oh, and if you don't think you can make a decent cent of an influence on anyone in this world, you're wrong!!!!

I know that I'm one person in this world, but it's not going to stop me from trying to lift you- YES YOU- up to a higher level.  So, let's raise our voices like angels and raise our standards.  We can do it!!!!!!

Alright, that's basically all that I have to say this week.  It really has been a great time in my mission.  I hope you can tell from my email.  :) I know this email is super overwhelming to some people, and it's super super cheesy, but I'm not going to apologize for all the cheese and all the intensity because I really do mean every single grinding-bit of this email.

2 Nephi 33:1 
{And now I, [Sister Verina Chen] cannot write all the things which were taught among my people; neither am I mighty in writing, like unto speaking; for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost, the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.}


Sister Verina Chen

PPS Last week, Sister Anderson and I took some really cool jumping pictures with some cool walls and stuff that we biked past last week.  They are kind of cool!!! We look like we're levitating and stuff!! SAVE THESE PICTURES!!! I WANT TO EDIT THEM AND STUFF WHEN I GET BACK HOME!! :) Thanks!! That's be cool if you put a picture on my blog every week as well if you want.

PPPS Sister Anderson and I are going bowling and going to eat at another cute restaurant.  We are so in love with all the cute Taiwan cafes and restaurants.  They are all so good and they taste divine!! :) We have been working super well with the members, and we have been treated out to the best places ever!! Oh man.  I love my mission so much.  Sometimes I don't ever want to leave Taiwan, but I'm also really looking forward to the future that every day brings.  :)

LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!! REMEMBER TO DO THE SMALL AND SIMPLE THINGS IN LIFE. Always prepare yourself to be worthy enough to serve as God's servant and be His tool when He needs leaders to raise and love those lamb who have gone astray and can't seem to find their way!!!!

Okay.  I'm finally done typing your eyes off.  I love you all .  I really really really really really really really love you all!!!!!!!!!

January 5, 2014


Hey everyone, 

Happy New Year's!!! I hope that you all had fun during the break and all the festivities going on!!! :)

I know I did!!

Well, I guess it's the new year already!! Time has really gone by, and it seems like everyone is going on missions, or coming back from missions, and the world just keeps turning and turning!!!

Can I just start out by saying thank you to all the friends and ward members who sent me Christmas cards, New Year's cards, and Birthday cards?! Oh my goodness.  I have like drawers and drawers filled with all these cute cards from all my friends and family. SO GOOD.

Alright, so I'm going to do something really cliche and share with you all my goals for this new year, and mainly for my mission.  I have five main resolutions:

1. Be consecrated entirely to the Lord - This includes seeing through the eyes of God, keeping His commandments, doing His will, and being worthy of His blessings.
2. Be refined - This includes being virtuous, lovely, honest, pure, charitable, kind, humble, grateful, patient, and classy!! 
3. Work hard and NOT be lazy - This includes being diligent and willing in all that I do.
4. Be healthy - This includes physical and spiritual health.
5. Get out and be spontaneous at least one time a week (AKA P-days on a mission) - I want to be able to do some fun and worthwhile, wholesome activities, especially while I am on my mission.  Time is limited, and I don't want to be inside all day writing letters home when I could be outside hiking and exploring and creating memories with my companions in TAIWAN.

I am so excited to be starting this new year and allowing the Lord to continually change me.  I know that preparing ourselves and being worthy to do His work is vital for our growth and happiness.  After writing down all my goals for this year in my journal, I wrote, "Remember: Faith without works is dead. Through small and simple things are great things brought to pass." I know that in order for me to accomplish all that I want to accomplish this year, I must have faith and work through small and simple things.  I know that life can get overwhelming sometimes - okay - it can get overwhelming a LOT of the time; however, if we take things one at a time and remember to do the little, kind, and simple things in life, we are blessed with greater blessings, and our eyes truly are opened to what the Lord wants us to see.

Alright, so since it took me a while to read all the birthday emails, I'll just share with you a journal entry/event that was definitely the highlight of my week. 

Here's the context: This last Friday, Sister Anderson and I went on exchanges with the Zhangua sisters.  (Sister Training leaders)  Sister Anderson stayed in Yuanlin this time with Sister Chord, and I went up to Zhanghua to serve with Sister Lin.

Here's my entry from January 4th (Saturday):

I woke up this morning and totally forgot it was my birthday!! haha 
Well, yesterday at 2:30, we met up with the sister training leaders at the Yuanlin train station.  We all said a prayer together, and then Sis. Lin and I took off to Zhanghua.  Arriving, we realized we had forgot to get Sis. Chord's bike key from her and had to make some changes to our plan.  Sister Chord told us that she had a spare key at their apartment in Zhanghua, so after saying a prayer, Sister Lin and I walked from the train station to theri apartment (abt. 20 min) to find the spare key.  The first place that Sis. Chord told us to look didn't have the key anywhere!!!  We finally said another prayer, called Sister hord again, and she told us to look in the box again. We looked again, and guess what happened?! - nothing.  So, we said a prayer again for the third time, called Sister Chord, and she told us to look in a desk drawer.  We looked, and Finally!! We found the key.

With the key now in hand, Sister Lin and I headed back to the Zhangua train station where they had parked their bikes.  We had to cancel a lesson because of time, but we got Sister Chord's bike lock unlocked and were on our way.  Just like that!!!  God does answer our prayers, but not after we do our part, and not always in the time we want Him to.  

Also, the time we were walking back and forth from the train station to the apartment, Sis. Lin and I had time to talk about our goals and our missions.  She kept asking me what I thought it meant o be a good leader.  I told her that leaders are those who serve by example, listen, ask inspired questions, LISTEN TO THE SPIRIT, and most importantly, those who trust in the Lord.

She invited me to start preparing now to be a great leader.  She then told me that the most successful missionaries are those who trust in the Lord.  I loved that advice and invitation that she gave me.  It reminded me to trust more in the Lord and not be afraid of what happens in the future.

Anyway, we had great lessons that day, and I loved biking around Zhanghua and teaching with Sister Lin.  She is a wonderful example to me!  

My determinations to be better and love more has increased ten fold recently!! I now know my potential nd the blessings that I may receive if I just rust in the Lord and allow Him to change me.  I know this because He allowed me to come and meet the people that I have met here on my mission.  I absolutely believe that God answers our prayers.  The God of all DOES love us.  He refines us.  He consecrates us.  He loves and weeps with us, and all we need to do is love Him back, serve Him, and endure to the end.  We must be patient, be honest, be sincere, and trust in Him.  We ARE His, and He will never leave us alone.

I feel a difference now when I saw my prayers.  Being on this mission has helped me feel a change in heart, and all I want to do is REJOICE IN THE MOST HIGH GOD.  All I want to do is proclaim His word and be HIS tool.  I believe that the greatest honor is to be a tool in the hands of God.  Sometimes I feel like a small - the tiniest, puniest, most insignificant, weak missionary.  I feel like a child going against a giant to battle.  I guess, a little like David and Goliath.  However, I know and believe that God does use the small/simple poepl/things to bring about His great purposes.  I know now with my entire heart, and all I want to do is love and love and LOVE God with all my life.

Oh man.  There are so many wonderful things that happen over here in Taiwan.  I am grateful and touched by all the tender mercies and blessings God allows me to be a part of every day.

For example, the morning of my birthday, Sister Lin made me breakfast, and then we went running at the college next to the apartment.  The sky was so so clear, and I felt so refreshed as we ran around the track.  Later that day, we passed fields and fields of wild flowers.  Sometimes, I wish I could just document everything that I feel and see over here.  There are times when the scenery we pass on our bikes is so beautiful and breathtaking - I feel like crying every time!!! God really is too good to me.  Sister Anderson and I both agree that we love this mission so much.  We don't ever want to leave!!!!!!!

Ah.  This email is so scatter-brained. haha Sorry.  I just have so much to share, and I'm really super happy all the time now.  Sister Anderson took New Year's and birthday pictures on her camera, so all of the pictures from this week are in her dropbox.

This afternoon, we had a lunch with our investigator liu Wei Han and our member friend Zhang Hui Jun.  We went to this awesome cat Italian restaurant.  They literally had like 6 cats running around.  We took some pictures and stuff.  Liu Wei Han is really progressing.  We all fasted for her this last fast sunday, and today when we met with her, she really had that desire to know more and see how she can progress with the church.  our member is amazing!!! OH MAN!!! TOO AMAZING!!!

Everyone I meet here is lovely.  I always wonder how it is possible for so many people to have so much love?!

I know God is loving.  He is merciful.  He is perfect.  He created us because He loves us just the way we are.

Live it up.

Sister Verina Chen 

January 2, 2014


Hi everyone!

Well, this week was amazing.  My favorite part of Christmas was definitely skyping the family.  Oh man!! It was SO good to see you all, and see a new face as well!! When Sorren floated onto the screen, I just about had a heart attack.  He's the cutest nephew ever!!! haha Perfect addition to the family.  My heart swells to hear of all the time and the fun that our family had together this Christmas season.  I'm especially grateful that Kara and Sorren feel welcome and loved because they are just as important to our family as everyone else!!!! :)  

Also, I'm really grateful that you all were so fun and kind to the people that wanted to see what my family looks like (AKA Trevor and Sis. Anderson)  I hadn't really ever realized how funny our family is and how sassy we all can be.  I love that our family all has the same sense of humor, but we're all super different at the same time.  

Alright, here's what happened this week (well, mostly the highlights)


During DTM, Our district leader Elder Taylor who went home on Christmas shared some last words/advice with our district.  I thought it was great and just wanted to share it with everyone.

So here it is:

How to be a happy missionary:

1. Success (No one likes to see failure)
2. Companionship Unity
3. Keeping your stress under control
4. Obedience
5. Feeling the Spirit
6. Strengthen your testimony
7.  Member relations

1. A lot of missionaries don't know what it is to be a successful missionary.  Some missionaries have this idea that success is only seen in the number of key indicators you hit every week.  Elder Taylor explained that success to the Lord is our willingness to work hard and do OUR best and give OUR all to Him.  Sometimes, we may be working our butts off and it may not show in any degree in our numbered reports.  Remember that.  Success is NOT defined by the numbers, the position of leadership you hold, and not even the number of baptisms you have.

2.  Companionship unity is important!! If everything else on your mission is going wrong, but your relationship with your companion is awesome, then the things going on are 10 times easier to overcome.  

3.  Stress management in every day mission life and life in general is vital to being a successful, and thus, a happy missionary!! The mission IS stressful.  That's just the plain truth!! There's no way to get around the stress on a mission.  It comes with the mission, but the mission is great because you learn how to DEAL with that stress.  Once you know how to handle it, then you're able to deal with everything.

4. Obedience. YES. A lot of people hate that word.  They hate every aspect of that word, but on the mission, if you're not obedient, you end up hurting yourself more than you hurt or help others.  The key to obedience is knowing the reason behind all the rules on the mission/life.  If we are obedient, we are qualified for the blessings that God WANTS to give us.  All we have to do is be obedient to His commandments and be sincere about His commandments and rules He gives to us.  

5. This is pretty self-explanatory.  THE SPIRIT IS MY BEST FRIEND.

6. When you do things on the mission to help strengthen your testimony, then you are a successful missionary.  Don't do those things that aren't adding or building your testimony.  If you are doing something that is hurting or breaking your testimony down, then find a different way to help build your testimony instead of allowing it to wither away.

7. I love member relations!!  Sometimes, we are sent to an area not necessarily just to help investigators and RCLA's, but maybe/also to help a member in the ward.  I believe that my mission was definitely shaped for me to help members and for members to help me.  I can honestly and happily say that some of my life-long friends are members who I have met here in Taiwan. I remember that when I was back in Zuoying, the members are the ones who kept me going.  When your relationship with the members is great, then mission work is that much easier!!!  I LOVE THE MEMBERS SO MUCH.  

I just can't stress how important it is for us to work and love the people we serve and serve with.  Sometimes, when you don't have an awesome companion like I do (cough cough - Sister Anderson), good relationships with members is VITAL.  If you don't have good relationships with anyone, then oh man!! ... That's something I don't ever want to go through, I guess.

Anyway, here's the invite that Elder Taylor gave us:


Do it.

Wednesday was Christmas, and it was wonderful!! :) After skyping the family, Sister Anderson and I went to this pizza place that we've been eyeing for a long time.  It's called 1985 Pizza, and we were super excited to try it out since we haven't had pizza in forever.  Anyway, we got the pizza, and yeah it was delicious and all, but the crust was basically as thin as a saltine cracker...

The good thing was they had tobasco sauce, and yes, I was the first customer to open the bottle.  I was outraged!! I basically drenched my pizza with that stuff.  I love spicy! haha The bad thing was the pizza didn't even fill us up, so we decided to go get 2nd Christmas lunch at a 7-11 where there is cheap food that will definitely fill you up.  Sister Anderson also used the phone there to call her twin brother who is serving in Africa, so while she was talking to her brother, I was stuffing my face full of rice and tofu.  Yes, I LOVE rice and tofu.  I've never realized this, but I think rice is my favorite food.  Surprised?! - Probably not.

After that, Sister Anderson and I went on over to a mental hospital to help this lady translate for her ABC niece who can't speak Chinese very well.  Anyway, this ABC is actually half-black, half-Asian, and I loved translating for her, even though I had to look up some terms that I have never used before.  (I was translating all this stuff about visa/passport work that they needed help with.)  Long story short, I was able to put two and two together, and everyone was happy in the end.  We are now going to be meeting regularly with the ABC girl! :)  She's awesome!  Remind me to tell you her story when I get back to America.  It's really interesting and kind of fun!

At night, we had English class, and the kids were OFF THE WALLS.  Oh my goodness.  I feel like English class gets crazier and crazier every week.  The kids just run around and scream and play tag all the time, and sometimes it drives me crazy!! I guess the mission really is preparation for a future family... haha

The rest of the week:

Yeah, this week was all really eventful.  I'm just kind of lazy, and it takes me a long time to type up every single thing that happens every day, so I'll just sum it up for your sakes as well.

I found myself really "bored hungry" all the time this week.  Yeah, so "bored hungry" means that you're not really hungry, but you just want to eat something, so you do because you want to have something delicious in your mouth.  Anyway, the point is, I just kept on eating a lot of candy and stuff that we got in our Christmas packages this week.  I've been pretty good at giving away some of the candy to kids in the ward and people who take us out to eat, but I mean, I still ate loads of stuff this week.  haha It's okay though because guess what we did this morning??!?

We went on a really long hike up this beautiful mountain with a member.  She drove us up to this beautiful mountain, and we hiked for about 3 hours up and down the mountain.  At the very top of the mountain, we walked a ways down the road to get free pineapple cakes.  It's at this place called "sunny hills".  It was delicious, and apparently the pineapple cakes are famous there.  We took a lot of fun pictures with the pineapples and top of some roofs and stuff.  (Don't worry, it was totally safe.)  Anyway, it was really fun, and I think I burned off some of those calories gained from being bored hungry this past week.

:) This morning, we also biked to the morning market and just walked around taking pictures of random stuff like Buddhist temples and then a pile of nice rocks.  It was fun.  Sister Anderson and I love to explore.

Oh, yesterday we had the baptism of Wu Qi Cun.  She is getting confirmed next week during church.  YEAH! Her non-member grandpa also came to attend her baptism.  Isn't that great?!

Well, I'll drop more pictures in dropbox today, but most of the better-looking pictures will be in Sister Anderson's dropbox because I accidentally dropped my camera on the hike today.  Don't worry.  Minor damaged, and I'm going to get it fixed.  If I need to buy another cheap one, I'll let you know next week!! :)

Love you all,
Oh, and Happy New Year's!! Next year is the year of the horse.  Yeah Dad and Vicky!!! Naaaayyy naaaaayyy (That's the noise a horse makes, btw.)

-Sister Verina Chen