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.
"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.
Sister Verina Chen