May 26, 2014


It's move call, so Sister Shih and I have only an hour to email.  My new companion is Sister Packard.  She came on island with me and is super cute.  Her name is Ashley Packard.  Anyway, we are going to be serving together here in Dakeng as sister training leaders.

Also, change in facebook missionaries!! - None of the leaders of our mission are using facebook anymore.  So, Sister Shih will maintain my facebook.  Right now, our mission is doing a bunch of experimentation because they want to find the most efficient/effective use of facebook.  SO, it's not a punishment that we don't get to use facebook anymore.  It's a test, and they might change in the future.

I've only got 3 months anyway, though, so I'll get to use it to do mission work when I get back for sure!!

Sister Packard is hilarious and the cutest sister in the world.  Guess what?! - I finally have a companion that is actually shorter than me now!!  

We just barely got back from eating lunch at Zongyoubaihuo, the mall right across from the mission office.  I had a coldstone ice cream for the first time here in Taiwan, and although it was expensive, it was a great experience! haha So delicious.  Here's an interesting fact/funny thing about Sister Packard - her tooth broke while eating a french fry last move call... Pretty hilarious, if you ask me!

Anyway, while we were having lunch, we had time to chat and just talk about our new area, etc.  Sister Packard is on FIRE, and I am too!! It's going to be awesome just being able to serve together and get our whole zone to get fired up for missionary work! YES.

It's Sister Packard's first time moving up north, but she's super humble and super ready!  She's already figured out pretty much everything about being a sister training leader, and she's ready to take on anything!

Alright, so about the miracles that I need to tell you all about:

Last week, Sister Shih and I were eating at the mall with one of Sister Shih's recent converts.  We decided to sit next to this family of five kids.  As we finished our meal and were just chatting, I felt prompted to talk to this family, but I had no idea what I was actually going to say (how I was going to start a conversation with them).  Anyway, the scripture in D&C about just opening our mouths and our mouths being filled popped into my head, and so that's what I did - I opened my mouth and started talking to this family about their kids.  I asked them if all five of the kids were their children.  The parents actually were very friendly and started asking me questions about my family.  I brought my picture out to show them and told them that their family reminded me of mine!  (When I saw the five kids, I thought about our family, also five kids.)  

As we continued to chat, I decided to give the kids a little gift, so I made paper cranes for each one of them!  Here's another small little miracle: when I gave the first child a paper crane, the Mom commented on how it was coincidentally that child's birthday!  (God's tender mercies!)  I finished making four more paper cranes and told them about how I had learned how to make them:  I told them that when I was little, Dad would always be so patient with me.  Whenever I forgot how to make the cranes, I would ask him to teach me, and he WOULD.  When the parents heard that story, they loved it!  I heard the wife say to the husband, "See?!  That's what you need to learn to be! - PATIENT!"  haha

  Our mission has also come out with these cool, green, free pens with a family quote on it.  So, I gave all the kids one of the pens.  They were ecstatic and LOVED them!  The family continued to ask us more questions about our service as missionaries and said that we were welcome to their home in Lugang.  They don't like in our area, but they were willing to give us their phone number and address.  Since Sister Shih is going home this week, she will be able to keep in touch with this family and maybe pay them a visit!  :)  Isn't that a sweet little miracle?!

Before we left the family, I decided to buy some frozen yogurt for the kids.  They had been looking at the yogurt stand longingly and had asked their Dad if they could get some yogurt, but he said it was too expensive.  I knew how much the kids would love it if I got them a little yogurt, so while the parents were busy talking to Sister Shih/taking their kids to the bathroom, I took the rest of the kids to the stand to get some yogurt for their whole family!

When the parents noticed, it was already too late! I had bought the yogurt, and all the kids were laughing and smiling!  :) It was really the highlight/miracle of my week!  We were able to give this family more information about our church and invite them to our free English class.  

When I was with those kids, I felt a special love towards them - I felt like I understood a little about how Christ loves and feels towards each one of us!  We ARE little children, and God wants to give us EVERYTHING.  Just like parents want to give their children everything, and I wanted to give those children everything, I know that our Heavenly Father also wants to bless us with innumerable blessings and gifts!  When we have that love for one another, we truly become Christ's disciples, and we show our love for Him.  When I was buying yogurt for those kids, it made me happy when they shared with one another.  Some of the kids would fight and pout, and that would make me sad; but, when they saw that not sharing made me sad, they all started sharing and treating one another with respect!

I know that this may seem like a silly, small story, but I really feel like it's one of my favorite stories/events/experiences on my mission!  :)  I love how God always lets me learn the best lesson from the small and simple experiences!

Last week, we were also able to go on exchanges with the Daya sisters.  Sister Ting came to Dakeng with Sister Shih, and I went over to Daya to serve with Sister Grigg.  While we were in Daya, Sister Grigg and I decided to go contacting with the baptismal tracts.  Before we began, we decided to set a goal and say a prayer.  We only had about half-an-hour before we had to get ready to go home for planning, so we decided to get at least 2 adds.  Right before saying the prayer, a family walked out of the nearby family mart, and I decided to contact them.  Guess what happened?! - They turned us down...

So, then, we decided to pray, and after the prayer we saw this guy smoking and getting off his scooter.  We decided to talk to him, and guess what happened?! - He wrote down his information and said it was okay if the missionaries called him! :)  

Moral of the story: Prayer works.

As we continued street contacting, we found not only one more, but three more potential investigators who were willing to meet with us!  As we finished up our contacting, we rode back to the family mart to make some phone calls.  Earlier that day, we had done some English proselyting and had run into some really nice people.  On our way to the family mart, we ran into one of those really nice people who started talking to us.  This person was a 50 year old retired woman who had reacted very positively to us earlier that day.

She was also headed to family mart and treated Sister Grigg and me out to anything we wanted to buy!  Sister Grigg and I decided to get two drinks because we were full from dinner, but afterwards, we were able to sit down with the woman and get to know here.  Apparently, she has always been interested in our church, but she has always been afraid to talk to the missionaries because they were all elders.  Whenever she was on the roads, she would see the missionaries contacting people, and she was intrigued at how such young people can do the things we do now!

She then started telling us about how she's always wanted to know if God really exists and what our purpose of life is/where we go after we die. She's a really intelligent lady who NEEDS the gospel!  

After chatting with her about our church, she wrote down her number and told us to call her later!  :)  

So, what do we learn from these miracles?! - If we have faith and pray, and then work diligently, God will allow us to do His work and His will in His way.  Sister Grigg and I had no idea that we would meet such a prepared soul that day, but when we least expected it (When we were just finishing up with our contacting), the golden investigator arrived!

Well, next week, our zone is holding a geneaology/family history activity in Daya, so we were asked to perform musical numbers for the intermission.  It's been a great tool for us to use on the streets as we are contacting.  When we invite people to learn more about their ancestors and to start doing their own geneaology, I definitely think it sparks in them a desire to learn more about our church!!!

I love missionary work!! I love Sister Packard, and I'm so excited to get this work moving even more this move call!

I love you all!

Sister Verina Chen

May 14, 2014

5/14/2014 Surprise!! I have one more hour today to email!

Hey everyone!!

Surprise!!!  You didn't think I would be emailing again this week did you?! - Well, I am.  Why?! - Because today is our P-DAY, and we got back from the temple early, so we get to make up an hour of email.
Today, we went to the Taipei temple, and guess who I ran into?! - Sister Valerie Chao! - She's currently serving as the Taipei temple sister, just like Vicky did when she was serving her mission.  Anyway, we had just got out from doing endowments when we ran into them crossing the street.  They were carrying a box of heavy books, probably copies of the Book of Mormon.  

Anyway, it was really weird/cool to run into her.  She looked really great and apparently is going to be home in early August, so we'll see one another on campus all the time.

This morning, we woke up at 4:30 a.m. to get to the Daya church in time for the bus.  Our zone all rode up to the temple to do some endowments, but guess what?! - Sister Blickenstaff came with us, and several of us sisters were able to do all of the following: baptisms for the dead, initiatories, and endowments.  It was really really cool because missionaries don't typically get to do baptisms for the dead.  Anyway, we were running from station to station because we had to make it on time to all the sessions.  All in all, it was a wonderful experience.

I also ran into the temple matron and President!  They both asked about how Mom was doing!  I'm surprised they recognized me.  Funny story: We were walking to our endowment room when our dear temple matron stopped me, asked me if I was "Verina", and then asked me to stay back for a second.  After everyone else left, she came back and said, "Your dress is on backwards.  The zipper is supposed to be on the back." hahahaha

I thought it was absolutely hilarious, especially because that is definitely not the first time that has happened to me in the temple.  I quickly went back and changed so that I could catch up to our group.  

Right before I left the temple, I ran into the temple President, and he recognized me as well/asked how I was doing/where I have served/when I am going home.  I was just really touched that out of all the thousands of missionaries that go to the temple every time, he and his wife are still able to know and recognize the individual!

Also, President Blickenstaff approved my request to go home in August to make it in time for fall semester, so I guess that we will be working together to get my ecclesiastical endorsement so that I will be able to enroll for fall semester classes...  He said he'll keep working with me on that, so I guess I'll just wait for the call.  :) I also reminded him about it in my email to himon Monday, so we've got that covered.  

Recently in our mission, we have been keeping track of all he miracles we see every day.  At the end of the day, along with our other key indicators, we total the number of miracles we saw that day.  Here's a little miracle that I told my district about yesterday (Tuesday):  It was super scorching hot in the morning, so when Sister Shih and I were out biking, we were seriously sweating cats and dogs from the heat.  It was so hot, that when I said a prayer before going into a lesson, I prayed that it wouldn't be so hot... Immediately after we said that prayer, it started RAINING.  So, instead of scorching heat, we had LOTS OF RAIN, and lo and behold, it WAS cooler.  Anyway, DTM was later that day, so when we showed up, everyone was soaking wet from the rain.  After I told them my miracle story that had happened just a few hours previous to the meeting, all of our district was like, "OOHHHH, so YOU were the one..."

It was pretty funny, but I still count it as an awesome miracle.  I actually LOVE the rain, even though it can be a little inconvenient for contacting sometimes.  

Today's miracle: This morning, Sister Shih and I had followed the Beitun sisters to the Daya church because we have never ridden there ourselves.  We've always taken the bus since Sister Shih doesn't really like to bike more than 20 minutes.  Anyway, for the trip back, the Beitun sisters had to stay in Daya, so here's the miracle: Sister Shih and I were able to make it back to Dakeng/Beitun without getting lost, but that's not the end of the story.  At two stop lights, I was able to get the numbers of two awesome street contacts, neither of whom live in our area, but missionary work is missionary work, and they were some awesome referrals for the sisters in Wufeng and Beitun!


Well, I think time's about up, so that'll be about it.  Overall, I'm really am just so grateful to be here and to be blessed with so many opportunities to serve.  I'm working hard to be HAPPY AND EXCITED and also to have sincere prayers.  That's something that I've really been trying to work on recently - saying sincere prayers.

I know that God is there for us, and He DOES listen to our prayers, even if we don't think He is there, HE IS, and all of our efforts right now really will be worth it in the end.  All we must do is ENDURE!!!!

Love you all so much,
Sister Verina Chen

May 12, 2014


Alright, so I only have like 15 minutes left.  I was busy emailing my weekly report to President/plugging in key indicators/etc.  So, I'll probably email more next week, but here was the highlight of this past week:

Baptism of our investigator on Saturday night. (Su Xue Mei).  She was the last one in her family to get baptized, so they are going to start getting ready to go to the temple next year to be sealed!! It's the best/happiest thing to see a family get baptized.  What a blessing!

This week, we went on exchanges with the Beitun and the Fengjia sisters.  They are all doing so well and are all my examples.  I learn different things everytime I go on exchanges.

Time flies!!!

I'll see you all soon!

But until then, I'll be over here getting really tan from contacting in the TAIWAN SUMMER HEAT.  haha

Love you,
Sister Verina Chen

May 5, 2014

May 5, 2014 HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY ... And Laser Tag

I'd like to start out by sharing with all of you with what I feel mission work here in Taiwan compares: LASER TAG.

I know.  You were expecting something more serious, more moving, more touching, more grave and deep and thoughtful... Let me explain:

Laser tag is a game.  It's fun.  It's intense.  You don't actually die... The worst thing that could happen would probably just getting lost or scared of the dark...  But that's a different story.  You play laser tag with your BEST FRIENDS.  You get to run around "laser-ing" everyone with a ... laser, and then you get points!!! Plus, you represent your team and get to see how many points you got in the end!!!

So why is mission work over here similar to laser tag?!?

Everyday, I get to bike around wearing pretty dresses with my best friend.  We not only get to bike around on the coolest bikes, but we also get to talk to EVERYONE - young people, cute kids, cute grandmas... you name it!!! Literally, we get to meet people from all different kinds of backgrounds and lifestyles.  It's exciting.  It's thrilling... WHAT IS IT?!?!

IT'S CONTACTING!!!!!  It's basically playing laser tag, but instead of using lasers, we use tracts; instead of representing fake teams, we get to represent GOD'S TEAM; instead of fake points, we get REAL blessings in HEAVEN!!!!!  AND, it's fun!!!

I don't know why, but I've been super happy about contacting recently... It's something that I honestly would have dreaded saying at the start of my mission, but you know what?! - God is really a God of miracles, and He's definitely changed me into someone I never thought I'd become.

So, yes. I guess you could say that I AM having fun over here. After all, it's an awesome game of laser tag, and what IS the worst thing that could happen?! - NOTHING.  Seriously, maybe I get stressed here and there because I want to get more points, but in the end, all that really matters is my efforts and my change!

Okay, so I may be stretching that analogy a little bit, but for now, I'd say that's pretty good.  

This week is Mother's Day!!! I am so excited to skype you all again! Holy cow!! I feel like we just skyped the other day.  Seriously, weeks are like seconds over here.  Sister Shih and I have been so happy.  The work is perfect.  It's definitely filled with stresses, with things to be done constantly; however, once you get a little organized and efficient, everything just kind of simply falls into place.  Voila!  Perfect.

On Tuesday/Friday, we went on exchanges with the sisters from Shalu/Tanzi.  I went over to Shalu with Sister FUNK (sweetest sister ever). Yeah, we were together for a day, but by the end of the exchange, we felt like we had been friends forever, and we WILL.  Love her.  Friday, Sister Ko came over to Dakeng, and we had a ton of miracles tracting.  Here's one: We tracted into this Indonesian lady who said she has met the missionaries more than once.  She is willing to meet with us again.  When we said a prayer with her, she started crying and asked us to call her FOR SURE so that we could find her in the future.  She's definitely been prepared by the Lord.

Exchanges have been going great! It's amazing how amazing all the sisters in our zone all are! They are filled with faith, hope, and charity towards not only their companions but also their investigators/rcla's, etc.  They are all teaching me so much, and I'm over here, just taking it all in.  What wonderful opportunities God has blessed me with.  

We also had Mission Leadership Counsel for the first time this month.  It was great!! I finally got Doctrine and Covenants 121:24-46 memorized in time for the meeting. By the way, that scripture has seriously become my favorite scripture!! Read it together as a family.  IT will change your attitude and perspective on life/everything.  

MLC was on President Blickenstaff's birthday, so everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to him that day!!! He's seriously such a humble and inspiring man.  We all sustain and love him in his calling.  One highlight of MLC was when he shared with us an awesome quote: 


He also said it in a British accent, so that made it like 1000 times better.  Sister Shih and I get 15 minutes after the Taichung North Zone Training Meeting this Tuesday to share something with the zone.  We decided to talk to the zone about using the missionary stress handbook everyday in their companionships and to BE HAPPY.  Why?!

When you are truly happy, that means you have faith in the Lord, and what does that lead to?! - SUCCESS!!!! --> WE ALL BECOME SUCCESSFUL MISSIONARIES!!! yes yes yes!  

So, we have this great presentation planned out for ZTM, and it's going to be great.  It includes "huangse xiao ya" little yellow duck post it notes.  IT's going to be incredible!!!!

Man, there are so many wonderful things that have been going on in my mission life.  Everyday, we see little and big miracles.  Overall, I have never every felt so much love and so much happiness for God and this work than I do now in my mission work here!!!

This Saturday, our golden investigator Shu Xue Mei is getting baptized.  She is the one who's son is our recent convert.  Her husband will be baptizing her.  After she is baptized, they will continue preparing to be sealed in the temple next year! SO HAPPY!

Here's an awesome quote that I read this morning during personal study.  It's really helped me realize why we have trials in our lives.  IT's also helped me know how to help those who are struggling or who may be going through hard things in their lives: 

"Life is full of difficulties, some minor and others of a more serious nature.  There seems to be an unending supply of challenges for one and all.  Our problem is that we often expect instantaneous solutions to such challenges, forgetting that frequently the heavenly virtue of patience is required." - President Thomas S. Monson

PATIENCE! I see it all the time over here.  People get baptized, but after a little while, they leave the church because they didn't immediately see/feel the blessings that God grants us when we are faithful.  If we search for truth and knowledge with patience, looking forward with diligence and faithfulness for as long as God allows, we will truly see the fruits of our labors.  God is there for us.  He is listening, and He does have a plan for all of us to succeed.  IT is up to US to determine whether or not WE will allow ourselves the blessings of Heaven.

Here's another awesome quote that I have been recently obsessed with:

"I have often said one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work! If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; and if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people, and he will be happy.  There will be no home-sickness, no worrying about families, for all time and talents and interest are centered on the work of the ministry.  Work, work, work - there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work." - President Ezra Taft Benson.

Having a hard time with life?! Feeling depressed or discouraged?! - Here's the answer to all your problems: WORK, SERVICE, FORGETTING YOURSELF!!!  I know with all my heart that when we give our all - when we consecrate ourselves entirely to the Lord and His work, He does bless us with happiness - REAL happiness... Not the happiness that goes away after a day or two, or even a couple of hours/minutes/seconds.  And if you don't agree with me... if any fiber of your being is telling you that what President Benson said is not true - that it's too cliche, then here's my invite to you: TRY IT OUT.  

See for yourself if what they have said is not true!!!  It's that simple; yet, where do we find most people?! - Stuck in their pride.  People are naturally lazy.  They don't want to budge.  They don't want to get off their couches, they don't want to get out of their comfort zones.  Alone, we are weak.  God knows that.  He knows that Satan works in innumerable ways to lead away the hearts of the children of men to destruction.  Satan doesn't want us to become like our Heavenly Father.  The only purpose and goals he has in life is to drag us down to Hell, and he does that through making us feel depressed, sad, forlorn, forgotten.

ANY sort of those negative feelings come from Satan?! - So, who will be there to fight against him?! - You can either be for or against God, and we've all been given the choice. We have to choose NOW.

It's true! Trials and tribulations in our lives can bring us down, but they can also pull us up.  It's all about your attitude and perspective.  Let those trials and tribulations become your blessings and your strengths.  I know that when we do that, we become sons and daughters of God.

I know these truths with all my heart!!  I love this gospel.  I am thankful for the restoration of God's eternal truths here on the earth.  I never want to settle for less, and I hope that none of you would settle for anything other than the best!!!!

God can be with us forever and always!!!

I love you all!!! See you on Sunday!! :)


Sister Verina Chen