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 

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