February 27, 2014

February 26, 2014 It's Never too Early for Taipei

Dearest family and friends,

Sister Medrano and I are half-asleep and emailing again because today is TEMPLE DAY/P-DAY, and we are trying to get in as much of our emailing time today as possible, since most of the day will be commuting to and back from good ol', beautiful Taipei.

Funny story that happened just barely as we walked out of our apartment complex: In order to get out of some doors, there's a button that you have to press first before you pull the handle.  Anyway, Sister Medrano and I were attempting to get from our complex to the street and saw that we had to face one of these doors.  So, as a companionship, we worked hard together to push and then pull the door.  I pushed the button and watched as Sister Medrano tried pushing and then pulling the OTHER/WRONG door... I was about to let her allow her to continue pulling/pushing that door, but when I saw her get both hands out and brace herself to pull the door with all her might, I realized that the door she was trying to get out of was really the wrong door.  So, I took my other hand out from my pocket and decided to help.  With a little effort, I easily opened the door while pushing the button...

As we walked to the internet cafe, Sister Medrano and I suddenly bust up laughing at what had just happened... 

Another funny story that occurred this morning: When we were needing to leave the apartment, Sister Medrano was like, "Sister Chen, where are the keys?! ... What happened to them after we locked the church?!" ... Clearly it was too early for both of us because it took us a while to realize that in order to even get in the door of our apartment, we had to have had the keys with us, so the keys WEREN'T at the church.  They were indeed in the desk in our dear study room...

I don't know why, but we both found that hilarious and busted up laughing again this morning.

Things like this happen every day, and it's just the funniest thing in the world.  Sister Medrano and I always crack up at the silliest things, and we love it.  I love her a lot.  I really do.  She's the cutest trainee in the world.

Well, last week was power week.  To sum it up, power week is basically filled with a bunch of challenges, one challenge every day.  This time, if we accomplished the challenge given to us by our mission, we were allowed to call President Blickenstaff after 9:00 at night, tell him who we are, and then say, "Mission Accomplished".  

haha So, here are the challenges for all the days last week:

Challenge: Tract into two sit-down lessons 
Status: Mission accomplished

We started tracting right when the clock hit 6:00.  Sister Medrano and I knew that we would need early planning and God's help in order for us to accomplish this goal.  So, all that afternoon, we kept kneeling down in prayer, asking for direction and peace as we ventured out into the streets.  

Miracle: After saying a kneeling prayer as a companionship and asking Heavenly Father for an answer as where we could go to find those prepared to hear the gospel, I asked Sister Medrano what she felt.  She answered by saying she felt like we needed to go to a place that was "more humble".  I agreed and felt prompted to suggest where a member in our ward lives over here: "I was thinking around Cai Shu Hua's house."  Cai Shu Hua is a less-active over here who lives all alone in a really humble area.  Sister Medrano replied by saying, "YEAH! That's exactly where I was thinking!"

So, that night, we headed over to Sister Cai's home with one of our 18-year old members from the 1st ward Wu Jia Shan.  Immediately when we arrived, we saw this girl looking at us from her window of her little home.  We had just parked in front of her house, saw her looking at us, and then we started talking to her.  She let us teach her principles of the first lesson, and we even said a prayer with her.

After this miracle, the three of us walked over to a more peaceful street and said a prayer of gratitude.  We then asked God to help us again find the second family that night.  The next three doors we knocked on refused to allow us in, but when we tracted into the the fourth home, we were able to have a lesson with a little boy and his older sister.

Sister Medrano and I really gained a testimony of faith and prayer.  Prayers really are answered, and God is really an amazing, merciful God.  I really can't count how many times we prayed to Heavenly Father that day.  It seemed like we were praying ALL DAY, and it was the best feeling ever.

"And now, all these things did [Sister Verina Chen] and her fellow laborers do who were over the church, walking in all diligence, teaching the word of God, in all things, suffering all manner of afflictions, being persecuted by all those who did not belong to the church of God."

"And then they did admonish their [companions]; and they were also admonished, every one by the world of God, according to his sins, or the sins which [they] had committed, being commanded of God to PRAY WITHOUT CEASING and TO GIVE THANKS IN ALL THINGS."

-Alma 26:28-29

Challenge: Hand out 13 copies of the Book of Mormon
Status: Mission Accomplished!

Journal entry from Tuesday night: "We did it! we handed out not just 13, but 14 copies of the Book of Mormon, and it was PRIME.  We had so many miracles today!
1.  When we finished saying our out-of-the-door prayer, Zhang Jiemei called and we ended up going over to her home with a member and having a miracle lesson.  We were able to give her the first copy of the Book of Mormon right away.
2. We had another miracle lesson with a less active sister who called us after DTM.
3. We contacted at the train station, and there were so many people who rejected us; however, everytime we prayed, we were led to the people who were prepared to receive our invitations.  We met at least six people who accepted the Book of Mormon and expressed interest in continue to meet with the missionaries.
4. We were able to go back to the families that we tracted into last night and give these young people personalized copies of the Book of Mormon.  
5. After saying a prayer and asking God to help us find another prepared soul at the train station, we immediately were met by an older couple sitting on the bench right next to us.  Sister Medrano and I approached them to say hello!  They immediately recognized that we were missionaries.  In the hand of the man, he was actually holding some fliers from another Christian church that he had JUST received from someone on the train.  That's when we approached them.  The man saw that we were holding copies of the Book of Mormon and asked for a copy himself.  We found out that he was currently looking for a church, he has studied in America before, and he has a member friend from work.  Can you say WOW?!  

God is real.

Challenge: 2 hours contacting - add 20 people
Status: Not accomplished

Wednesday was suddenly cold, windy, and rainy.  Sister Medrano and I worked hard to contact as many people as we could on the streets, but finding no success and feeling bitter cold and wet in the rain, we tried the train station.

At the train station, we found one girl who gave us her information and was willing to meet with us. - A miracle!

As we continued contacting, we found that most people were weary and unwilling to listen to us.  It might have been the weather as well... Anyway, just as we were about to leave, we said another prayer and went to the Subway next to the station.  There, I contacted two young students who were willing to listen to us.  They even looked me up on facebook.  I texted them yesterday, and they are going to find time to come to church together.

Challenge: Invite and have five people on-date for 4 weeks from now.
Status: Not accomplished

Thursday was really a blur.  We had to commute up to Jiayi for a follow up "trainer/trainee meeting", so we were in a hurry taking the train to and from Jiayi, which is an hour away.  We did, however, meet a really golden investigator on the train ride back to Yuanlin.  We got her contact information and were able to refer to her to the sisters in Tainan.

When we got back to Yuanlin, we had a dinner with a member.  It was so awesome.  Then, we had a scripture class!! :)


Challenge: Confirm 15 people for church (less actives, investigators, recent converts)
Status: Mission Accomplished!

Peace of cake.  All I had to do was pick up the phone, make some calls, make some invitations, and bingo!  We called President Blickenstaff that night, no problemo!

Challenge: Contact 20 families and teach them about how the gospel blesses families
Status: Mission accomplished!

We did it!  We contacted 20 families and taught them about how the gospel blesses them.  There's a lantern festival going on over here, so the people line up by the train station to take buses up to the lights.  There were like a million families all lined up on that sunny day, so Sister Medrano and I were able to contact 20 families and hand out even more fliers super quick.

Challenge: Get 4 investigators to attend church
Status: Mission accomplished!

It was really funny.  That day, we had at least two investigators: Tina Ye and Chen Shi Xuan who were already at the church before we got there.  That's how golden they are!!! (PS We had a power lesson with Chen Shi Xuan the other day.  She is making plans to talk to her parents about getting baptized, and she's even allowing us to befriend her older sister and invite her to church.)  

Later in the meeting, Huang Ren Mei, our recent convert, accepted our invitation to invite one of her non-member friends.  He ended up coming, and then right as I thought we weren't going to have a fourth investigator come to church, Kiki, our eternigator walked into the meeting.  It was amazing!


Happy Happy Sister Chen.

Later that day, we had a mission conference.  Bishop Gary E. Stevenson came to Taichung to give a talk to all of us missionaries.  His son actually came on island when Sister Medrano did, so this assignment was really actually perfect.  He was the previous mission president of the Japan Nagoya mission, and we were all inspired and enriched by the talk he gave.

One great part of his talk was when he talked to us about the story in the Bible about Peter and Cornelius found in Acts Chapter 10.

He said this, "Each and everyone of us has a Cornelius that is waiting for us, and if we aren't prepared, sanctified, and consecrated, we might not be there for them.  This is why we do all these things, is so we can receive blessings - finding, teaching, and baptizing.  It's not the easiest thing to do, but it's worth it!"

2 Nephi chapter 2, 11, and 31.  READ THEM.


Well, there's really so much I could talk about, and I only included a summary of what has been going on recently.  One thing I am so grateful for is my companion Sister Medrano.

I seriously wouldn't able to anything if I didn't have such a supportive, optimistic, sweet, and cute companion with me right now.  Sister Medrano is so sweet.  She always writes me cute cards.  Sometimes I think we are the same person.  We have the same sense of humor, the same personality, and we're even the same height.

I'm so blessed to have her in my life, and I can't thank God enough for blessing me with the opportunity to serve another transfer with her.

PS We are getting another set of sister missionaries here in Yuanlin (as we expected.)  So, our apartment will now be housing four sisters.  We are having them move in sometime this weekend, so preparations will be made ASAP.

It's so amazing.  The work here is progressing.  Although our bishop is still in China, we now have a ward missionary leader who is worthy, active, and holds the Melichizedek priesthood.  When I first got here, we didn't have any order or function in the ward.  Now, we have a great ward missionary leader who is more than willing to make things happen.  His name is Qiu dixiong.  We already established a great relationship with him and his family before he was called to be the leader.  Things are really progressing over here.  I am happy.

Well, I'll include some pictures of me and Sister Medrano.  Last night, we decided to do facial masks and hair masks.  We have to be looking best for the temple today, you know!! So, temple pictures will be next week.  This week, you get funny pictures of our last night's adventures.

Love you all so much.  The church is true, you know?!

Sister Verina Chen
PS The shirt is from Yang Chen Shu Hui, the member who cooked for us on Friday night.  She is an RM from Taipei. 
PPS I love sweet potatoes and had to take a picture with one.  They are seriously the best, healthiest snack in the world.
PPS I looked in the mirror the other day and noticed how round my face is getting from all the food over here.  haha I just had to take a picture for you all.  I promise I'm keeping things 

February 16, 2014

February 17, 2014 Yoga in Shetou

This morning, Lisa took Sister Medrano and me to a yoga place down in Shetou.  We met at her home in the morning to ride our bikes to a beautiful yoga house up in the mountains thirty minutes away.  Wu Jia Shan, one of the twins also came.  The session was only 20 NT, and it was absolutely one of neatest things I've done over here.

Lisa is amazing.  She's one of our investigators who is super athletic and healthy.  She's all about the whole body/mind thing, and she has studied various forms of religious practices in her life.  Today, she led us in our yoga session and then treated us out to some noodles, soup, and baked sweet potatoes.  

The first few times we met with her, we found out that she's looking for sincere, kind people.  Her heart is so soft, and although she doesn't know it yet, she really really just needs the gospel.  She's been divorced in the past and has two children right now who are both in school.  When we meet with her, she likes to make flower tea for us.  It's amazing how open and quick she is to accept the gospel.  

Although I'm not fully sure how to continue helping her progress in the gospel, I know God is.  He has always provided a way for us to share a little scripture and allow her to feel the Spirit in our lessons with her.  

This week, Wu Jia Shan and Wu Jia Yun accompanied us basically everywhere we went!! They are the twins from the 1st ward and want to go on missions when they get a little older.  The wonderful thing is that they've never actually been out with the missionaries before.  The other week, Jia Shan said that I was the first missionary that she's actually been so good/close with.  

Most of the time, members aren't really up for riding their bikes basically all the day going from lesson to lesson with the missionaries; however, Jia Shan and Jia Yun were more than willing!  It was amazing to see them so eager and willing to ride their almost broken-down bikes with us.  Seriously, their bikes have the hardest seats, and there are no gears for them to change.  It's alright, though because I'm pretty sure I'm going to give Jia Shan my bike when I leave for home.  

Serving with the twins was amazing.  This last week was break for them, and the fact that they decided to use their break with us just melted my heart.  Before they were super shy and didn't hardly share/say anything at church.  However, by the end of the week, they were sharing the most appropriate and Spiritually guided testimonies with our investigators.  I know that we wouldn't have been able to get 13 member lessons and 5 investigators to church this week if it wasn't for God and His influence on them.

On Friday, Sister Medrano and I went on exchanges with the sister training leaders! :)  Sister Medrano went to Zhanghua to serve with Sister Anderson (not the one that I just served with...) and Sister Lin came over to Yuanlin to serve with me.

So here's a miracle: On Saturday, Sister Lin and I got to have lunch with EIGHT of Wu Jia Shan's non-member friends.  It was an amazing opportunity for us to just plant these small seeds and get to know all her friends.  The amazing thing was that all of this happened so naturally.  After the miracle lunch, all of Jia Shan's friends actually went to the chapel to hear me perform my Liszt Rigoletto Paraphrase.  (Everyone over here knows that I can play the piano... surprise!)  ha  Anyway, we reeled them in with my piece, and then we handed out hymn books and sung 5 hymns with them.  When we sung the hymns, we would introduce the meaning behind each and every one, and then sing it with them.

All of Jia Shan's were really impressed and felt the Spirit.  When we asked them what they thought was the purpose of life, we got various answers from each one of them.  Sister Lin, Jia Shan, and I bore our testimonies of God's plan for us and our purpose in life.  Then, we were able to commit many of them to come back to our church in the future.  Because school started up again this Monday, a lot of them said that it'd probably be a little bit before they'd have an opportunity to come back.

One thing that I felt and learned when I was on exchanges with Sister Lin was the power and the Spirit that is available to us when we work together as a unified companionship.  With each lesson, Sister Lin and I were able to commit our investigators to Read, pray, and come to church.  When both missionaries have the same purpose and goal, the same Spirit and love for the investigator/less-active/recent-convert/member, then God is the one who is leading the lesson, and you can witness miracles.

This week was full of miracles.  Although our bishop is gone to China for a while, and we don't have a ward mission leader, the work here has been able to progress and improve.  Sister Medrano and I have been praying every day and really consecrating ourselves to the work.  I know that we wouldn't have been able to hit all the mission standards if it weren't for the small efforts that we made this week to pray and fast for our area.

Yesterday was the last day of the 40-day purification process that I've been living.  The funny thing is that although it's over, I just have this desire to continue living it for the rest of my life!! Seriously,  the purification process has helped me to take a step back and see what God wants me to see.  It has helped me to concentrate not on myself but on His work and His glory.  I've become happier.  I feel more peaceful, and I feel prompted by the Spirit all the time.

Isn't it amazing?! We had FIVE investigators show up for sacrament yesterday.  Tina, the ten-year-old daughter of a less-active couple in our ward, loved church so much that she convinced her parents to come with her next Sunday.  

We had one of the last lessons with Tina this week, and her baptismal date is this coming March.  Although she's not certain about her date, she does like the church.  I know with faith, we can help her reach her baptismal goal.  
Chen Kai Rou and Chen Shu Yue, a daughter and mother who own a drink shop came to church!  They haven't been to church for literally years.  They always come to English class, but they haven't come to sacrament meeting for a long time.  Although they only stayed for sacrament hour, it seemed like they had a pretty good experience.  

Chen Shi Xuan: Oh man, she is the most golden investigator a missionary could ever want.  She's getting baptized in June because she needs time for her parents to agree.  She has already read to the book of Mosiah and a little more.  Every time we meet with her, she feels the Spirit testify of the truth of this gospel, and she tells us every time that she wants to get baptized.  We've been helping her make a plan to help her family agree to her getting baptized.  Every time I meet with her, I am just touched by how soft her heart is.  She is so willing and so humble to learn about the gospel.  We finished teaching her all four lessons this week, but we will continue meeting with her to help her with her scripture study.  She's even been going to seminary on her own.  I have been fasting and praying for her parents to agree to her being baptized recently.

Iris, the 11 year old girl from a while ago suddenly showed up to church this Sunday.  She was able to befriend Tina, and it was so perfect! :) Iris' parents don't agree to her getting baptized right now, but she is so bright, and she loves coming to church on her own.  I know that God will definitely prepare a way for her to keep His commandments.

During sacrament meeting, everyone was so surprised to see so many of our investigators come to church.  I was busy running around and finding members to accompany our investigators, and on top of that, they needed me to play the hymns.  It was a little hectic because I was trying to do a lot all at once.  I ended up mixing up the last two hymns, but it was alright because all the ward members are super understanding, and we all just laughed.

Something that I've realized is that the active members are just as important as our investigators.  This week, many members who had invited us to dinner were able to listen to us missionaries share Spiritual shares and our testimonies about the gospel.  I ended up sharing Mom's conversion story with a Qiu Family.  They were so touched and so inspired by her story that even the the little kids stopped playing their games to listen.  :)  The Spirit was so strong, and after sharing my testimony, all the members of this family - their expressions - were lightened up, and they kept telling me how they really felt the Spirit when we came over.  

The work here is really moving forward, and it's because we do the small and simple things.  It's because of the prayers, fasting, and our eagerness and willingness/obedience to do the invitations of our leaders.

I know God is merciful.  I feel His love more and more every day, and all I want is to continue proclaiming His gospel for the rest of my life.

This life is short.  There are so many people who need to hear this wonderful message of God, of us as His children, and of Eternal progression and happiness.  I know that each one of us plays a major role in God's work and glory.  We ARE His tools in His hands, and we CAN make a difference.

I know that when we have hope and faith in the Lord, we really can do all things.  We can be confident in what we say.  If we trust in the Lord, He really does provide a way for us to bring so many of His children to His fold.  I know that through small and simple things, great things are brought to pass.

To end this email, I just wanted to share this journal entry that I made yesterday:

1:02 p.m.
I did it!  It's day 40, and I'm seriously feeling the happiest I have ever felt on my mission! 

I do things - small and simple things - for my companion, my investigators, and the wards.  I also notice the small and simple miracles that God blesses me with.  It's the most beautiful thing in the world! 

I know that when we keep the commandments of the Lord, He does bless us with His tender, merciful guidance and Spirit.  

I've decided that if the Lord, if God wants me to stay and serve here in Yuanlin for the rest of my mission, then I surely accept.  I would be MORE THAN WILLING to serve and continue accounting/consecrating my work to the Lord.  I want to continue serving and helping these people progress.

And here's the miracle, highlight scripture that I want all of you to take a part of this week (It really helped me out with my investigators as well as myself):

Doctrine and Covenants 6:22-23

Verily, verily I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things.

Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter?  What greater witness can you have than from God?

verses 34-36

Therefore, fear not little flock, do good; let earth, and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail. 

Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you.

Look unto me in every thought, doubt not, fear not.

My dearest family and my dearest friends,

Will you have faith and trust in the Lord?!  If you don't right now, then I plead for you - I pray for you every night - that you may understand and partake of this everlasting, this perfect, this merciful gospel.  It's done so much for me.  IT's saved my soul and it's saved the souls and lives of the ones I love so much.  I cannot even comprehend the impact that this gospel has taken/had in my life, and I KNOW if God could be so merciful to me, He can surely be that merciful and more to you.

Just remember Mosiah 2:41.

Love you so much,

Let's repent and have faith in God.

Sister Verina Chen

PS If you have time, read these scriptures:

2 Ne 1:21, 25, 27
Alma 19:6
Mosiah 3:19
2 Ne 9:27
2 Ne 2:21
Alma 34:31-35
Joshua 24:14-15

They're all golden scriptures that I studied and thought were amazing during my personal study this week.  

February 9, 2014

2/9/2014 Rain in Yuanlin

Dearest family and friends:

I bet you can guess from my heading that it's been raining a little bit over here!! It's been warming up, but it's still a little chilly from the wind and rain. :) It's actually kind of nice.  The rain makes everything look hazy and beautiful, so riding through the streets feels more like a tour than a service. 

This week was really busy with appointments and plans... Well, every week is busy with appointments and plans, but this week was especially crazy!! Most of my journal-writing time was spent making phone calls and updating records, so I wasn't able to record as much; however, I was able to learn a lot this week, and I am excited to share it with you all!!

Yesterday, I was asked to give the spiritual share for family home evening.  I had been wondering/worrying about what I was going to share because I wanted to share something that would actually help the youth.  Sometimes, it's easy to make the spiritual share into just a scripture reading without too much individual feel or meaning.  I didn't want my share to be like that!!!

So, after praying for God to help me share something that would be special and meaningful to all the youth that night, I decided to gather in all the scriptures that had especially helped me through the week to feel God's love and keep going.

I spent language study finding and copying the scriptures on little cards for every single one of the youth.  It took me a while, but it was totally worth it!

Sometimes, we feel like God has forgotten us.  It's hard for us to feel His presence, His acceptance, or even His love.  One morning during personal study, I found myself searching for more peace in knowing that I am acceptable and worthy for this mission.

I found three scriptures that really helped me feel God's love:

Romans 8:28, 31, 38, 39

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose."
"What shall we then say to these things?  If God be for us, who can be against us?"
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

The morning that I found this scripture, I was able to share it with our first appointment that morning.  This sister is less-active and usually doesn't really open up that much to other people.  After I shared this scripture, however, she immediately started to cry.  She told us that the daughter of a close friend of hers had passed away, and she had recently been praying to God to help her feel peace.  When she heard the scripture, she felt like God had answered her prayers, and she knew that she had to share the scripture with her friend. It was amazing because God provided her with an opportunity to share the gospel and the plan of salvation through the sharing of such a small and simple scripture.  Earlier that day, I felt prompted to write that scripture down on a card.  I left the house not knowing who to give it away to, but after visiting this less-active, I knew I needed to leave the card with her.  She said that she would give it to her friend.  The next day, we visited her again and left a couple of pamphlets that explained the plan of salvation and God's plan for her to use if she ever needs.

I know God answered more than one prayer that day.  Sometimes, He allows certain events to take place in your life so that you can receive revelation for not only yourself but for others.  Life is full of unexpected events and feelings.  In the moment of that event or that feeling, you may wonder why God allows negative or depressing thoughts or events into your life; however, when the moment passes, and God reveals an answer, your eyes are opened, and you feel a better and greater love for the Savior.

Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

 I believe that my whole mission has been a struggle to be strong and courageous and to just completely put my trust in the Lord.  Sometimes, we doubt our circumstances and our work.  I know that God is there for us no matter what.  I am so grateful for all the experiences that He has given me, all the people that I have met, all the people I associate with.

I know that through small and simple things are great things brought to pass.  Writing those cards for that less active and all the youth of our ward was a small and tedious thing for me to do; however, it had the chance of helping or picking up another one who is in need.

The world needs more sincere, pure, and honest people.  I am trying to be one of them!! I know that I don't have the strength in myself to do anything, but that's why we have the Lord.  When we realize this, we become His humble tools, and He uses us to bring that pure love of Christ - that charity - to soften the hearts of thousands of people.

The people that we have in our life - they have their agency... Sometimes we love them with all we have only to be turned away or rejected. No matter the outcome, we must continue to love.  We must continue to serve.  We must continue with this pure desire and concern to extend helping and loving hands to those around us.  We must forgive.  We must repent.  We CAN forgive.  We CAN repent, and we CAN love.  

Christ loved every single one of us.  He still loves us with a love that extends beyond our comprehension.  If I came out here on my mission to love, then I know that it was worth it.  I know that unconditional love is something hard to acquire, but when we strive to have that unconditional love for our family, our friends, I know that we take one step closer to becoming more like our Heavenly Father.

My dear family and friends, I love you!  You don't have to love me back.  I don't expect you to, but I know one thing: I will always, always love you!!!!

This gospel is everything to me!! It's everything to us.  When I look back and see how merciful God has been to me, I just am overcome with such an overwhelming feeling of God's mercy and love.  

Let's reach out to those who stand in need of our help, who stand in need of God.  

Love you,
Sister Verina Chen

February 2, 2014


Dearest family and friends,

Happy Chinese New Year 2014 - year of the horse!!! :)  


So, when Sister Medrano and I were coming in to email today, there was a guy that came up to us and started talking to us about us missionaries.  He started asking me questions about why I'm here and what we do.  He's run into missionaries before, but he's never actually investigated the church. 

Anyway, I spent a lot of time talking to him and getting his information because he seems like He's been prepared by the Lord.  When I sat down to email, I had to keep talking to him over my shoulder and explaining all about our church as I read all this week's emails from friends and family.

His name is Jian Xianshen, and he's about 25-30 yrs. old.  He's actually sitting behind us and reading from the Book of Mormon.  (He picked it up himself so he could read about it.)  Really cool, eh?! 

Alright, so I'll just jump right in the bits and pieces of this week's events.

Monday night:

Sister Medrano and I spent the day window shopping with Miranda.  We were able to walk and talk to her about her life.  Miranda is so incredible. She is probably the calmest, sweetest girl in the world.  We really love her.  Before we split up for the night, we took pictures with her and then left her with a scripture (Mosiah 2:41).  She put the scripture with the ashes of her grandfather... Yes.  You heard me right.  The ashes of her grandfather.  haha... We thought it was the best thing ever.


Personal study:

Mosiah 4:2-3

2. "And [Sister Chen] had viewed [herself] in her own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth.  And [she] cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ, that [I] may receive forgiveness of [my] sins, and [my heart] may be purified; for [I] believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men."
3. And it came to pass that after [she] had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon [her], and [she was] filled with joy, having received a remission of [her] sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which [she] had in Jesus Christ who should come, according to the words which [the prophets] had spoken unto [her].

When I began reading this chapter in Mosiah and came across these verses, I found myself judging the people - the multitude of people gathered to hear King Benjamin's words.  In the first verse, King Benjamin concludes a portion of his words, looks out upon the vast crowd, and sees that they have all fallen to the earth in fear of the Lord.  While picturing these multitudes of people fallen on the ground, my mind immediately suggested that these people were cowards - they had to be reminded to fear God before actually repenting.

However, as I took a step back to examine my brief judgement, I realized that I am no better, nor am I so different than those of the multitude gathered to hear King Benjamin's words.  When I "likened" and placed myself in the place of the congregation, I realized that I, too am less than the dust of the earth.  I, too, have been brought to my knees in pleading with my Heavenly Father to forgive me of my sins.

Whenever I think of the Atonement, I am reminded of a scene from "The Testament" where the adulteress is brought before Christ to be judged.  When Christ asks the crowd that had gathered and taken her to him for anyone who had not sinned to cast the first stone, the crowd disperses, and the woman is left weeping at Christ's feet.  None had condemned her for sinning because they were all imperfect and had sinned as well.  Christ neither condemned her, but instead invited/commanded her to go and sin no more.  

The power of the Atonement is indescribable.  No matter how heavy the burden - how serious the sin - how guilty and ashamed - how filthy and condemned you may be and feel from making that wayward/staggering step, Christ's Atonement is enough for you to come back.  There is HOPE, and sometimes the only thing keeping you from the infinite blessings and redemption that the Atonement brings is yourself.

Will yourself to change.  Will yourself with self-worthy, hope, and patience.  When we truly love and understand Christ and His Atonement, we naturally allow ourselves to change, to repent, to hope, and to be saved.

The process of repentance is hard.  It wasn't meant/supposed/understood to be easy.  At one time or another, we are bound to make mistakes, to sin, to step off the correct path, but we must not allow such downfalls to prevent us from stepping back on the right path.

I know that Christ is merciful.  He really DOES love us.  He has faith in us.  He believes and sacrifices for us.  Let us show Him our love by using the power of the Atonement to be cleansed and purified from our sins.

"If the knowledge of the goodness of God at this time has awakened you to a sense of your nothingness, and your worthless and fallen state - "

"I say unto you, if ye have come to a knowledge of the goodness of God, and his matchless power, and his wisdom, and his patience, and his long-suffering towards the children of men; and also, the atonement which has been prepared from the foundation of the world, that thereby salvation might come to him that should PUT HIS TRUST IN THE LORD, and should BE DILIGENT IN KEEPING HIS COMMANDMENTS and CONTINUE IN THE FAITH even unto the end of this life, I mean the life of the mortal body -"

"I say, that this is the man who receiveth salvation, through the Atonement which was prepared from the foundation of the world for all mankind, which ever were since the fall of Adam, or who are, or who ever shall be, even unto the end of the world."

-Mosiah 4:5-7


And do this:

"Believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerety of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things, SEE THAT YE DO THEM."


I honestly could go on and on about these verses in chapter 4 of Mosiah.  However, I know that everything I say won't mean a thing unless you - yes YOU - make that effort to go read and understand these scriptures, Christ's Atonement, your own salvation for yourself.

So here's my challenge for you:

Pray, read, ponder, and pray again.  Apply these scriptures in your life.  The atonement is really the most ESSENTIAL power and part of our lives.  Only through Christ's Atonement can we be saved in the kingdom of God.  Don't you want that?! - I do!  If you really take these words to heart, then I think you would want that for yourselves as well.

I really really love this gospel.  I wouldn't trade it for all the fame or fortune the world contains.  I wouldn't even trade it for the cool platform shoes that I saw the other day that cost like 2000 NT.  haha (don't worry.  I won't buy them.)  ... And that's seriously saying a lot.  haha The point is this: We're all sinners - we all have weaknesses.  We all have distractions.  We can become better.  WE can overcome these weaknesses.  We can control ourselves and our actions when we understand and trust in the Lord/His Atonement.  Let's all just become better people together.  

haha Ok. Sorry for getting all cheesy again... That's one of my tendencies.  IT's okay though because this stuff really IS important.  

Alright.  Sister Medrano and I are doing so well together.  There have been moments when she's doubted her own abilities and strengths, but we are always able to face every trial and problem/set new goals with one another.  I love her so much, and she always makes the cutest comments in the world.

Here are some of the random/funny events that happened this week:

Thursday journal entry:

[So, last night, at 12 am, there were suddenly these firecrackers and fireworks and crazy Buddha bands and songs that disrupted our sleep.  It's the 30th!  I guess that's what goes on in Taiwan to celebrate Chinese New Year's! But seriously, they have the fireworks and firecrackers going off at every corner over here.  It's 6:41 a.m.  They've been going off all night, so we haven't gotten much sleep.]

As you can tell, Chinese New Year's is super crazy!! There were so many festivities going on over here, and the sky was like all purple and pink from all the people worshipping with incense and then putting off all the firecrackers - pretty insane.  Anyway, it was really fun.  My first Chinese New Years in Taiwan was definitely an awesome experience, and oh man - I think I gained like 100000 pounds from all the members treating us out to eat.  I could fast for the rest of my life. haha

When we were at dinner with a family, Elder Avarette was trying to say "Brigham Young University" which is "Yangbaihan Da xue" in Chinese, but instead he said "Yabolahan Da Xue" which is "Abraham University".  I know it doesn't sound that funny, but it was seriously the funniest thing ever, and I could not - I tell you - COULD NOT - stop cracking up.  My stomach hurt for a long time after he made that comment.

Sister Medrano taught me this Spanish phrase when we were at the church, and the church door was locked.  "Yo Quiero Las Llaves."  (I want the keys.)

I'm so pro.  

FRIDAY night journal entry:

So, my really ancient Chinese opera music from Chen Mama came on, and so it sounds like a maniac going crazy in the kitchen... Anyway, Sister Medrano she totally just looked up from writing her journal and sad, "oooohh... Oh man.  I just feel like... dancing!" Then she said, "This is so cool!" "I'm so jealous!"  "This is so beautiful!" "Isn't it like amazing?!"

OMG.  She just kept saying stuff like that about this funny music, and it seriously cracked me up.  She kept saying she loved it so much and stuff like, "how have people not like used this before?!"  "OMG.  This is going to be cool.  We'll just like make listening to THIS a fashion.  "Isn't it so cool?"  "Like, I don't think you realize how cool this is. " "One day, you're goin to be driving down the streets of Provo, and you'll roll down your window and see me, and I'll be like, 'SISTER CHEN'.  And you'll be like, 'this is so cool' I stole your music!!" 

AHAHA Sister Medrano is flippin' hilarious.  I just don't understand how God blessed me with such a cute, awesome daughter. haha

I think you'd have to hear the Chinese opera music for all that entry to be funny... It's ok.  There is still time.  


Today, I was opening up my bike box and then was surprised to see a HOUSE MOUSE up on his hind legs, peering over the sides... I was so confused at how it even got in my box.  Anyway, you can only imagine my confusion. 

It was even more surprising to discover there were two more mice hiding in the pile of the church fliers at the bottom of my box.  Sister Medrano and I were like freaking out because we were so outraged at this discovery. 

Anyway, long story short, it ended up being the elders...

Surprise surprise...

We're taking care of the mice situation today. Don't worry.

ALRIGHT, I know there is so much more to say and tell, but I am short on time, and I know that you all are dying because of how long and boring this email already is.

I love you all!!


Sister Verina Chen

PS I realized the other day that I only have 7 months left here... LIVING IT UP!