March 30, 2014

3/31/14 Music Works

To start, I'd just like to include this awesome portion of Meagan's email.  It's kind of like Inception (a quote within a quote...):
"I love this quote: "God does not begin by asking us our ability, only about our availability, if we then prove our dependability, He will increase our capability." -Elder Maxwell"

WOW.  I love that so much.  Anyway, this is what I've been learning for a while:  (Elder Weiyi Le forwards his email to everyone every week, and I caught a glimpse of it, so I decided to share my favorite part:

Life is hard. There is no doubt about that. However, the trials we face are not punishments, as we so often perceive. Behind every obstacle is an outpouring of blessings, if we have the eyes to see. The heartaches we feel make us human, and truly, they define us. What do the scriptures say? There must be an opposition in all things. I'm grateful for the turmoil I've had to endure. It's given me a capacity for that Christ-like compassion mentioned so often in the scriptures. In the same way, I'm also grateful for the trials and hardships in others' lives. I know that because of the difficulties we endure, we learn how to love. With that gratitude, however, comes an indescribable pain -- to see the suffering that plagues the lives of those I love. At times, I implode, because I see the things happening around me and I'm helpless to do anything about it. In the end, the only relief I can have is from our Savior. Though we may be powerless, the Savior has all power to comfort us and bring light again into our lives. I trust Him with my life and the lives of those I love, because He has already died for them. 

Revelations 21:4
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nocrying, neither shall therbe any more pain, for the former things are passed away.)

 It's true.

This is also very true:

"When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives." -Ezra Taft Benson

I couldn't say it any better.

I feel like this email is just going to be a compilation of quotes from prophets and scriptures... So, I guess I now know what I'm going to write about.  haha

So, since we get to watch general conference soon, I thought it'd be appropriate to write a little about how important prophets are.  I've recently been working diligently on teaching simply and clearly with short/powerful statements.  I'm really grateful for God and His way of helping me grow.  He has helped me improve every day by providing me with great members who are supportive, who pray for missionary work, and who are willing to sacrifice time to serve their fellow brothers/sisters in the world.  Every day this week, members were calling us over to the church because they had brought their friends - REFERRALS - to the church to listen to the first lessons.  

This week, we saw MIRACLES.  We had five member referrals who we helped teach simply/clearly and who have seeds already planted in their hearts.  Due to schedules and time constraints, we may not have many opportunities to meet with these people again, but they all expressed their willingness to come back with their member friends when opportunities arise.  :)  

Okay, back to the topic of choice: PROPHETS.  Why is it so important for us to read the "Liahona"? Why is it so important for us to listen to the general broadcast of general conference twice a year?!  Who are the prophets?! What do they do?!

Prophets are representatives of Christ.  They are chosen of God to preach/share/teach with the children of men, the revelations and truths that God Himself reveals to them.  Prophets are chosen authorities who lead and guide the children of men throughout the dispensations of time.  Through prophets and the revelation/guidance they receive directly from God, we, too, may receive personal revelation and guidance in our lives today.  

Because the ultimate goal in our lives is to prepare ourselves spiritually (and naturally, physically) to return to live with our Eternal Father in Heaven, we listen and pay heed to the words of the prophets.  The words they speak are guidelines, are ways for us to reach our full potential of becoming who our loving, perfect Father in Heaven would have us become.

Sister Medrano and I have been spending a lot of time in the Liahonas from February and March this past week.  Every day, we find interesting talks that apply not only to the church, but also to the general population today.  One of the talks that we have really been taking to heart is the one titled "Living a Life of Peace, Joy, and Purpose" by Richard G. Scott.  I invite you to look it up and read it together or personally during this week.  Set some goals, and make some changes. 

There is nothing better than making those little decisions, pushing yourself more and more every day, and then feeling like you accomplished and overcame your natural, lazy tendencies.  For example, deciding to go out for a run/walk or deciding to serve others instead of staying inside all day on the computer, watching t.v., or texting can make a huge impact on your life.

I think a really big part of being on the mission has helped me realize and work hard to develop the skills of self-mastery, patience, hard work, and optimism.

Every day, we have the decision to either be dragged down by the polluted world and the "ideals" that it tries to impress upon our lives, or we can rise to a higher plane and be freed of negative/self-destructive thoughts and weakness.  WE are the ones who choose our destiny.  We have this opportunity to pay heed to the words of our dearly beloved prophets and make changes to permit success and long-lasting, eternal glory.

This week is the fifth week if the move call.  Sister Amanda Oaks is over here in Taiwan, and we really are going to be putting together a musical fireside with other professional instrumentalists here in Yuanlin.  We had to make sure that if I do move next move call, I will be able to have permission to come back to Yuanlin for the fireside (probably on the 27 of April).  If it really does happen, then oh man!!! We are going to be opening a lot of hearts to the gospel over here!

The family that we tracted into last week invited us over for lunch this Saturday.  When we went over, we met the wife and the oldest son. He's 14 years old and plays the violin.  Since he was pretty good, I asked if he wanted to come and perform during the musical fireside we have coming up.  He said he'd love to, and he's going to invite one of his friends to play "How Great Thou Art" (the violin duet) with us.


Alright, so I'm really excited about general conference.  I'll be looking out for Aunt Sean and other ward members who are in the tabernacle choir!!! :) hehe.  I'm sure everyone at home is going to be super excited and happy to be home and just watch the broadcast comfortably in our family room.

Hope you are all happy and healthy. 

After all, we are an eternal family, and what better joy could we have than knowing the truths of this restored gospel?!?!

Love you all,

Let's keep being converted over and over again to our dear Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son Jesus Christ.

-Sister Verina Chen

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