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.  

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