March 26, 2014

March 24, 2014 - Cleanse and Purify

Dearest Family,

I got the surprise package full of vitamins, granola bars, chocolate, letters, etc.

This week, Sister Medrano and I worked REALLY HARD. We are stressed much of the time, but I think it is definitely a manageable and healthy kind of stress. We use the stress resources daily and are calm/at peace because we know God will bless us for our efforts, and all we need to do is our best.

Sister Medrano and I have been working very hard with the ward. There is a wonderful family in our ward who is very involved and on-top of missionary work. Brother Yang Rong Yu and his family have been praying for us and our investigators every day for months, and we visit them at least once every two weeks. Last week, they gave us a challenge to contact and get the information of 70 solid investigators/referrals in one week. Guess what, President?! - Sister Medrano and I did it! We tracted, contacted, and prayed with faith every day this last week and saw so many miracles.

I thought that this was a perfect scripture to describe what I have most recently realized in my life/mission work:

"But no man is possessor of all things except he be PURIFIED and CLEANSED from all sin. And if ye are PURIFIED and CLEANSED from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done."
-D&C 50:28-29

I ran into that scripture one morning during scripture study and was just blown away because, I mean, just look at it!!!!  All we need to do right now is to be PURIFIED and CLEANSED from ALL sin.  It's as simple as that, yet, it is probably one of the hardest things in life that man can do.

Working with the Yang family has been such a blessing.  We went over there for dinner because they had promised to treat us out if we hit our goal of 70 referrals.  After dinner, Yang dx and jm wanted to role-play with us, so Sister Medrano and I practiced teaching them lessons 1 and 2 with them.

Guess what happened?!

When we were role-playing, the Yang family totally knew what to ask us to get us up on our toes.  I was pretty much relying on the Spirit the whole time.  After we role-played, there was a thought that just kept running through my head: "Man, I've been out for a year, and my teaching skills ... yeah, I'll just use this word once... SUCK."

Anyway, long story short, my lessons 1 and 2 were torn apart, and Yang dixiong helped me see my faults. However, it was EXACTLY what I needed.  I almost felt like he turned into Dr. Irene Peery-Fox and was critiquing my work, like she critiques my piano performance.  Although it was a little painful, and I felt a little hopeless for a millisecond, I grew and learned so much from it.

I left their home feeling determined, feeling more determined than I ever have, to go home, work in faith and diligence, and just figure things out.  This morning for personal study, I created a diagram of the lessons, drew the whole lesson plan out on paper, found supporting scriptures for each principle, and figured out a better, simpler, easier, concise way to teach my investigators.

I'm actually really excited right now to just go home and show you all what I figured out last night/this morning.  I'm so blessed to be here in Yuanlin.  I feel like I was definitely sent here to be trained by this ward family.  I was sent here to meet certain people, but mostly to improve and grow myself.

Miracle: You know Chen Shi Xuan, the girl who I ran into the first Sunday I was here in Yuanlin on the way to church?!!?

Well, she was originally going to get baptized in July, but now she's a week C, getting baptized in two weeks on the 13'th of April.  

So, here's the story:

The first time I ran into here was when Sister Cole and I were waiting a train track for the train to pass.  Shi Xuan was just on her bike, and I had never met her before.  To me, she was just another random investigator girl on the street.  That day, I had a prompting to talk to this girl.  So, I did.  When I asked her where she was headed, Shi Xuan said that she was going to our church!!! I was shocked and asked her what church she was going to.  Then, she was like, "YOURS!" As we rode back to the church, I just kept having this thought in my head pop up over and over again: "You need to help this girl get baptized." Anyway, we found out that she had already been coming to church for a while because of a member friend, but she hadn't really been taking the lessons.

So, we started REALLY meeting with her after Sister Cole went home from her mission.  We've been meeting with her every week since then for six months.  It's been really interesting because her parents were really weary at first and didn't want her to get baptized until she was 20.  However, we've been really helping her strengthen her faith and build her testimony to have that desire to get baptized and follow God's commandments.

We've been fasting and praying for her every week for a while, and for the first time yesterday after church, Sister Medrano and I were able to go meet her parents for the first time.  

Shi Xuan knows that I might be moving at the end of this move call, so she wanted to bump her baptismal date up to the 13th of April, the Sunday before I may/probably have to move.  

Anyway, we rode to her house after church yesterday and met her Mom at the door.  She let us in and treated us to an awesome lunch (that's where I ate the duck liver, Dad) (BEST HOMEMADE TRADITIONAL LUNCH EVER).  During lunch, Shi Xuan just whipped out her question and asked her mom if she could get baptized on April 13th.  Surprisingly, her Mom was understanding.  Her opinions totally had changed, and she said if Shi Xuan wanted to get baptized that bad, that she could.

It was a MIRACLE amongst many others.

So, before I leave Yuanlin, I will be able to see Shi Xuan get baptized.  I know that that is just one example of God's tender mercies and love for us.

This week, Sister Medrano and I really did spend a lot of time tracting and contacting.  It was tiring and hard, but with prayer and faith, diligence, and perseverance, we were able to see much success.  This week, we found 7 new investigators.

Here's a good tracting story:

We were tracting this afternoon in this little area in Dacun, near Daya Da Xua (Daye College).  That day, we left knowing we had to head towards the college.  On our way, I felt a prompting to make a left.  Not knowing why, but trusting that God had someone prepared where I turned, I followed the prompting and made a turn into a little neighborhood.  

We started tracting, got rejected by a few old people who couldn't speak Mandarin and weren't interested in "Jidu Jiao".  Anyway, we said a prayer and then tracted into this young father.  He took our number and said that he was interested but might not have a lot of time.  His name was Andy.  

Anyway, after we left, we kept tracting, got turned down a few more times, said a few more prayers, and then tracted into this couple.

Their last name is "Li".  Anyway, once they saw us, they immediately let us in to sit down with them.  They had elders tract into them before, but they didn't really listen to the elders a couple of years ago.  When they saw us, they let us in and talked to us about our missions.  They felt pretty moved, liked us, and then invited us to go with them to their golf course right next to the college just up the street.  So, taking advantage of this golden opportunity, Sister Medrano and I jumped into their car and left with this cute couple to the golf course where they had free access to golf carts and everything.

We watched them golf, they took us through the course in a golf cart, and we were able to talk to them about the gospel.  After it was all over, they treated us out to dinner at a little family restaurant.  Since they new the restaurant's owners, we were able to get the restaurant family's contact information as well.  

It was a huge miracle, and this week, Sister Medrano and I are going to go find the Li couple up in Dacun again.  That day, they were super surprised.  They're not usually home at the time of day that we were tracting; However, it just happened that they were off work that day, so they took it as a kind of sign.

Cool story, eh?!

Another miracle:  Sister Medrano and I went to visit Chu Agon/Ama on Saturday, but they weren't home.  Since we were in Yongjing already, we decided to do some tracting.  We said a prayer and headed off.  We had no idea where we were going/what we were doing, but we decide we should just go and do anyway.

The first house we ran into, we didn't find much success.  The place we were in was pretty agricultural, and there were just these old people working in their rice fields and stuff.  The first person we tried talking to was an old A-ma who didn't understand a single thing I was saying.  It wasn't a surprise that she didn't understand my broken Taiwanese either... Anyway, it was a good experience just laughing and trying to communicate with her.  At least she knows that I think she's cute and happy.

Anyway, that was that, and we moved on.  Sister Medrano suddenly needed to pee really bad, and man, there was no 7-11 or station any where in sight.  So, I felt like the best bet was just to ask someone to let us in to use their bathroom.

The next house we biked into, I stopped and saw a man standing outside, talking on the phone.  After he finished his conversation, I asked if we could use his bathroom.  He wasn't actually the owner of the house, but he was good friends to the owner and let us in to use the bathroom.  His name was Tu Xian sheng.  

Sister Medrano was able to go to the bathroom, AND we were invited to sit down with Tu Xian Sheng and the owner of this fairly large house, his name was Gu Xian Sheng.  Don't worry.  Gu Xian Sheng had a kid there, and his cute mother was present as well, so it was kind of a family situation here.

Anyway, they gave us some water and just talked to us.  They knew that we were missionaries from the start because they've both been to Utah.  Turns out their English was pretty good, and they thought it was great that we were out here on our missions.  We were able to share a lot about our church with them, invited them to English class, and then shared with them a little about ourselves.

When they heard that I was a piano performance major, they wanted to hear me play, and it was great because Gu has two little boys who are musicians.  They listened to my play my Liszt Hungarian Fantasy, were impressed, and wanted us to come over and teach their kids English.

It's a great opportunity, and Sister Medrano and I are blessed to have these doors open to us in such remarkable ways.  

Another miracle: We have a family here visiting Yuanlin/Taiwan from Utah.  YES, they are from Utah, and yes, they are related to Jenny Oaks Baker.  YES, this sister's name is Amanda Baker, and she is amazing at the viola. YES, we have correlated with them to hold a musical fireside on the 12th of April.  YES, we have the music, I am performing, and we have plans to invite the top musicians here in Yuanlin and the zone.  YES, there were promising potential investigators and families who will come to this musical fireside, and YES, this is a miracle.

The work with the ward has been amazing.  The new investigators that we met this week - They are all so GOLDEN, and they are totally going to progress, especially after I master teaching them the first lesson.

GAH.  It's like miracle after miracle after miracle, and it's all because of God.  It's because we're keeping His commandments, and it's totally worth it.  Right now, I feel like I have so much potential, so much room to improve, and so much hope to look forward to.  All I need to do is work, work, work, trust in the Lord, pray, have faith, work more, and there... MIRACLES.

Anyone can do it, and what better day to start than TODAY?!

I know that the way we serve our missions now will really determine what kind of person/what kind of a life we will live for the rest of our lives. I have that desire to serve God, be continually repenting, praying, and work, work, work, work 'til I drop if I have to. Salvation wasn't meant to be easy, and we're definitely sweating over here.

Love you all so mucho, you know that!

Sister Verina Chen

PS Sorry no pictures... You know the rules: No camera whatsoever on any day BUT P-day.

That means yes, I CAN take pictures today, but if I did, it'd probably be of me emailing, shopping, and PREPARING for this week... Yeah, not very interesting.  

Plus, I don't like looking at pictures that I've taken myself anymore.  It seems a little narcissistic to me... but that doesn't mean you can't.  It's just a random change of opinion.

So, just picture me serving out here with all my heart, might, mind, and strength, and that'll be enough.  That's better than any picture I could send back home, right?!

PPS I have such great friends!! I sent that consecration email out to everyone last week, and all my friends are super supportive of my consecration efforts.  :) I definitely feel a lot better now that I'm spending my full email time emailing family and investigators/RCLA's instead of thinking about friends back at home or on missions that I will definitely see again after my mission.

Alright. :)  Talk to you soon! 



PPPS Maybe if I become a facebook missionary, I will learn how to type Chinese characters really fast into the computer.  haha ㄅㄆㄇㄈ ㄉㄊㄋㄌㄍㄎㄏㄐ...

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