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:
"ONE'S LIFE CANNOT BE BOTH FAITH-FILLED AND STRESS-FREE."
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