“The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility.”
February 2, 2014
2/2/2014 CHINESE OPERA AND NEW YEAR'S!!!
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.
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.
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."
JUST SOAK THAT ALL IN.
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."
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...
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!!
HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!!!!!
Sister Verina Chen
PS I realized the other day that I only have 7 months left here... LIVING IT UP!