April 14, 2014

April 14, 2014 Taichung North, Dakung (Sister Training Leader)

Dearest Family (and Friends):

Alright, here we go:  Today, I'm moving to the Taichung North Zone.  I'm in the very HEART of our mission (yes, mission office and everything)... Dakeng ward!  I'll be serving as a sister training leader with a Taiwanese sister Sister Shih.  Sister Shih is a stellar, diligent missionary, and she truly works with and through the Spirit.  I am so humbled and honored to be serving with her in Dakeng, and I know that I will be even more humbled as I learn from this calling.

Being called as a sister training leader comes with a few responsibilities that I will need to adjust to.  1. I will be exchanging with other sisters in our zone every week. 2. I will be using facebook, so don't be surprised if you see my pop up on your news feed...

I don't really know how to react right now, especially since I feel completely inadequate for such a calling, but from listening to the talks from general conference, I know that God will strengthen me in my callings if I just put my trust in Him. (Elder Bednar's talk)  

This week was a little crazy.  On Monday night, there was a huge spider in our apartment.  It was literally the size of a baseball, and man... it was MEATY.  Sister Medrano was the one who spotted it first, but when I heard her squeal, I thought it was just another one of those little cockroaches that easily frighten her...  I was dead wrong.

After hearing Sister Parkinson and Sister Burton comment on the size of the spider, I finally made my way out of my study chair to take a look at what they said was an apparently "gigantic" spider.  (I usually don't like wasting my time on little bugs, especially when there are things to do, but this one was a different story (thus I am writing about it in my precious email home)).  

Anyway, so this huge spider is like in our dressing room, and we don't want to smash it because it might be a pregnant spider, and who knows?! It's babies would probably all just start crawling out if we hit it... Yes, we thought about this possibility.  And naturally, we didn't have the guts to catch it in a container because it was humongous, and we were terribly frightened that it might just jump off the wall, land on our heads, and bite us, resulting in having to be sent home... Heaven forbid, so let's move on.  This is what happened:  Sister Parkinson and I knew that we had some "Raid" in the apartment, so we started shouting, "RAID! RAID!".  Sister Burton, being the more courageous one, grabbed the raid, put on its long nose and started spraying it at the beast.

The spider spun and squirmed as it fell slowly onto a chair... Meanwhile, Sister Parkinson and I were yelling, "KILL IT! KILL IT! FASTER! FASTER!!" as Sister Burton sprayed the spider down.  It felt like she sprayed it for 30 seconds at LEAST.

Soon after we slayed the spider, we all felt seriously ill...  All of us felt like vomiting... all of us except for little Sister Medrano who was waiting outside of the room in fear while this was all going on.

Turns out, we hadn't thought of one important factor before we started spraying that "Raid".  We had forgotten to protect ourselves from that spray, and in the excitement of the event, Sister Burton, Sister Parkinson, and I had inhaled much of those poisonous fumes.

Apparently, bug spray over here in Taiwan is a lot more toxic than the ones in America... hmmm... I wonder why...

Maybe because spiders and cockroaches over here are like GARGANTUAN!!!  Holy cow!

Alright, so that night, it was super "xinku" because all three of us sisters took turns vomiting in our feverish stomach flu.  The next morning, we were all obviously un-rested... Sister Medrano was also un-rested as she didn't sleep very well due hearing us use the bathroom so many times...  So, we all slept in a little more, tried to drink more fluids because we were all dehydrated, and then rest more.

It sounds awful, and it was, but it really was actually kind of hilarious, the whole thing... It really only lasted Monday andTuesday.  We ended up having to run Sister Parkinson and Sister Burton to the hospital.  I was good by then, so I didn't have to be checked it.  President and Sister Blickenstaff had been down here in Yuanlin earlier for a zone training meeting, so they came down to see Sister Parkinson and Sister Burton in the hospital.  It was really a miracle that everything was alright in the end. :)

After Tuesday, we had our English party on Wednesday night.  It was an Easter party, and it was pretty great! We had an Easter egg hunt, and a lot of new people came to our English class!! Earlier that day, I had a rehearsal with Sister Oaks.  We managed to get a cello for her husband, and we planned out all the program for the musical fireside.  It was wonderful!

This Friday, Sister Burton had to come be companions with Sister Medrano and me because Sister Parkinson was training and her new trainee Sister Price came in that morning.  It was great being in a threesome for a couple of days, and we all got along really well.  Since Sister Price was new, we all decided to try making her think I was a native Taiwanese missionary sister, so that night, I only spoke Chinese to her.  Sister Medrano and Sister Burton were pretty good at keeping it together, but in the end, our acting was super bad (I repeat... our ACTING was super bad... Not my Chinese... Although, now that I think about it, that probably wasn't the best either...)  and Sister Price wasn't buying any of it.

Anyway, we watched general conference in Saturday/Sunday, and I learned SO MUCH.  I loved every single one of the talks, especially Elder Bednar's and President Thomas S. Monson's.  

Elder Bednar's talk was about carrying the load (demands, opportunities, stresses, etc.).  I loved what he said about being weary of hauling too many of those nice but meaningless things.  It reminded me of the idea of just completely consecrating ourselves to the Lord and following Him.  I really felt the Spirit of Comfort as he explained how the Lord truly does strengthen us so that we can have increased capacity to carry our loads.  We truly CAN be agents who ACT.  We don't need to be agents who are acted upon.

President Monson's talk was all about CHARITY and LOVE.  Man, I admire President Monson so much.  He is truly an example of Christlike love and compassion.  In our lives, it is so easy to be negative and discouraging, but if we truly understand Christ and His Atonement, we will make love the center of our gospel and the center of our lives.  We will forgive others. We will appreciate others, encourage others, be sensitive to others' needs.  We will be patient and kind, allowing the atonement to heal our lives and the lives of our loved ones.

Saying good bye to everyone here in Yuanlin was not really what I expected it to be.  It truly was a bitter-sweet moment.  It was important to remember that the endings in our lives aren't really endings at all.  They are just "eternal beginnings"... just those "forever beginnings"...  I loved that Elder Uchtdorf is always able to encourage us to keep that eternal perspective in mind.  I know that this move call is just another beginning to a whole new transformation to my heart and just another start to a new testimony. 

I trust in the Lord with all my heart.  Sometimes, I don't understand why He allows certain things to happen, why He calls me to the places and positions I in which I serve, why He allows me so many blessings and mercy, why He loves me so much... I do know, however, that if I put my trust in Him, He will guide and strengthen me.  I AM weak.  I AM small, but He will make me into who He would like me to become if I but allow Him to.

I know that this is the Lord's work.  We are all important tools and indicators of the truth of this gospel.  I know that the small and simple things we do every day truly can influence the world to become a happier, better place.  It all depends on the way we look at life, the way we hope, the way we act, and the way we choose to be obedient to the commandments of the Lord.

Let us continue repenting every day.  Let us choose to respect ourselves as God and Christ have respected and loved us.  Let us treat our lives kindly as we prize our opportunities here as His children.  Let us work together in unity and determination as we pull this work.  Let us humbly serve the Lord in an attitude of rejoicing and meekness.  Let us work to overcome the natural man, to overcome the tendencies of our lazy desires.  Let us be virtuous and true to the covenants we make with the Lord, waiting with patience, enduring with refined dignity for the blessings and fruits of our labors to be received in the eternities.

I love my Heavenly Father.

I love my Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ.

I love this work and glory.  

I love serving the Lord and proclaiming His truths.

I love my family, my friends, and my leaders.

I know that this church is good.  It could only come from something good, and I believe that that good is God.

Love you all so much.  

Let us become who God wants us to become.

Sister Verina Chen

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