June 10, 2014


Alright, this week was another jam-packed week!! Sister Packard and I are getting so much done over here, and it's crazy.  We're really taking the purification process to the extreme!! - Purifying not only ourselves, but also our companionship, our district, our zone, our ward, etc.  It's been a really exhausting process, but it feels SOOO GOODD!!  It's like taking a long run and feeling like you're dying, but when it's all over, you feel like you're flying above the clouds!!! :)

We've kind of coordinated all the weeks of this transfer and our vision with the days of the creation.  This week was getting all the nitty gritty done.  We cleaned our pool of investigators, established whether or not our members we were visiting were really less actives or were just members that the missionaries just counted in the past.  We also gave our ward an updated version of the map, and we work with the relief society president regularly to update that visiting teaching!! It's a lot of tedious work, but we're doing it!

PLUS, we have a new pool of investigators.  Every day, we saw miracles!!! Even when we went on exchanges with the Fengyuan and the Donghai sisters, we saw miracles in our area!! On Tuesday and Friday, I served in Dakeng with Sister Eliason and Sister Chang.  They are both wonderful sisters who served with me to find a lot of great new investigators!

We found a family!!! :)  Actually, the sisters found this mother a while back, and they've kept in touch with her, but this mother (let's call her Selena) has never been available til now.  Sister Packard were able to pick her back up and teach her four children.  She has an 11 year old daughter and a set of triplets, all just turned 8 this year.  It's been such a blessing working with the family.  They are already Christian, but the triplets haven't been baptized.  Next Sunday will be the first time Selena will be coming to our church.  She has always wanted to come but has never had the time!!!

I'll talk more about the miracles if I have more time, but here's the core/what I really realized/learned this week:

There is something that I have been thinking about lately, and this is it: REAL LOVE and our DUTY.

Sometimes we think that loving someone just means pampering them or being nice to them and letting them do what they want all the time, but being with my new companion Sister Packard has really helped me see things from a new view.  When we truly love someone, we aren't afraid of telling them what they need to hear.  We aren't afraid of letting them go so that they can grow and take care of themselves!!!  It's like how mother birds help their baby birds to fly.  Some mother birds carry their baby birds on their backs and fly really high.  When they get really high, they drop their baby birds, and the baby birds FALL.  Of course they fall!!! But what happens when they almost hit the ground?!  The mother bird ALWAYS saves the baby bird, and lets them try again.  It's like us in life!! We know that our friends and our family loves us, but when they leave or tell us to change, or let us go sometimes, we FALL.  We fall maybe more than once, but what happens when we have faith in them and just really TRY?! - WE START TO FLY.

THAT is real love,and that is why we sometimes do the things we do as missionaries.  

Our duty is to serve one another.  Let's be real.  When we have a duty in mind, we are able to understand why we have rules and why we must be obedient.  I know that when we recognize and fully understand our duty, we no longer grudgingly serve the Lord and obey His commandments.  We will completely transform!! God will bless us for our sacrifices and our RIGHTEOUS decisions.  It's not always easy to be good all the time.  People mock you.  They don't understand you. They may tease you and mock you, but that's when you can turn to the scriptures and the prophets for comfort and direction.

My greatest example in my life is my Savior Jesus Christ, and because He has atoned for my sins, I am here today, and I DO choose to be happy.  Being happy doesn't always mean you have to be having fun and smiling/laughing like crazy all the time.  I've found that the happiness that our gospel brings is much deeper and much more than the world makes us believe.

This morning, I read a talk given by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin in his talk "Learn you Duty"(October 1980 general conference).  Here are some cool quotes that really got me thinking:

"Most of us don't mind doing what we OUGHT to do when it doesn't interfere with what we WANT to do, but it takes discipline and maturity to do what we ought to do whether we want to or not.  Duty is too often what one expects from others and not what one does.  What people think and believe and plan are all very important, but what they DO is the thing that counts most.  It is a call to throw out selfishness and to think of the common good of all.

We must always remember that duty reminds us we are stewards of all that our Creator has entrusted to us.  When we accept duties willingly and faithfully, we find happiness.  THOSE WHO MAKE HAPPINESS THE CHIEF OBJECTIVE OF LIFE ARE BOUND TO FAIL, for happiness is a by-product rather than an end in itself.  Happiness comes from doing one's duty and knowing that his life is in harmony with God and His commandments..."

Man, such a good talk!!! Reading his talk was really an answer to my prayers.  I've been thinking a lot about who I am and what kind of missionary I want to be.  I know that the mission rules and the commandments that God gives us are for our protection.  From the first day of my mission, I knew that my testimony of obedience and the whole idea of my calling would grow.  IT TRULY HAS GROWN.  I know that it's easy to get caught up in the world, especially when missionaries return home from their missions or even while they are on their missions when they surround themselves with the wrong things.  

In life, we will be called to serve in positions of various leadership.  We are given these opportunities to grow and to learn.  When we truly understand and "learn our duty" as mothers, as daughters, as missionaries, as fathers, as priesthood holders, as youth... we are allowed to experience what Christ experienced.  We are granted these opportunities to really grasp the essence of Christ and His Atonement, and we no longer find it annoying or tedious to do the things we are asked.  

Learning to serve and fulfill our duty and our calling in a Christlike manner is anything but easy.  It IS hard.  It IS exhausting.  It IS tiresome, and sometimes you do are filled with doubt and you may be frustrated.  However, we can always find comfort in knowing that having these feelings are sometimes essential in the process of our growth.  In order for us to reach our potentials and to really become something great, we must experience and overcome the hard, tiresome, and exhausting events/happenings that fill our lives.

So, are we willing to take to heart all the words of the prophets?! Are we willing to withstand temptations, to withstand the mocking scorn of the world?!  Are we willing to give everything we have to give just to follow the Savior's footsteps?!  Are we willing to sacrifice? Are we willing to stand up for what we believe even when we are the only few?!

I hope we are... and I hope I am!!!  My mission is just the beginning to a new and better future.  It's the preparation/door to a new period in my life.  What the Lord has in store for me, I don't know, but I do know that if I serve Him and do His will, and give EVERYTHING I have to Him right now, He will lift me up.

I love my Savior, Jesus Christ.  I know that He suffered the pains that we all suffer now.  I know that He truly has overcome the world, and in that, I have hope.  Because of Him, I have faith, and I am NEVER alone.  

I love this gospel!!! I love you all!! Keep the commandments.  Learn your duty.  Endure to the end!

Sister Verina Chen

June 2, 2014


Yes.  This week WAS another week full of miracles!! - SO MANY.  Seriously, it must be my companion Sister Packard or something, because everything we do together somehow just turns into miracles!  This week was wonderfully full of experiences and adventures that I wouldn't exchange for the world! 

At the beginning of the week, we were able to sit down together to set some really solid goals and to set our solid vision for this move call.  Sister Packard and I are excited for this wonderful adventure and this time to serve with one another here in Dakeng.  We felt it this first few days and again just this morning a really special feeling: The feeling that this move call is going to be amazing - that this move call, we are going to do/accomplish something extraordinary, and it's not US.  It's going to be GOD and FAITH and PRAYER.

Man, there are so many feelings that I have had this week that cannot be expressed with words!!!  Here is part of our vision that we decided to set this transfer:

1. Be happy
2. Be good communicators
3. Be 50/50
4. Be Humble
5. Be unified (with love)
6. Be charitable
7. Be fun (especially on P-days!)
8. Hit the mission standards
9. Follow the Spirit
10. Be diligent


-Pray A LOT
-Be obedient
-Be worthy
-Be purified (Project Purification!!!)
-Read/apply the stress handbook
-Treat your companion like she's your sister
-Talk to everyone
-Ask for referrals
-Go to bed on time and wake up on time
-Eat healthy
-Have the faith to obey
-Love the members
-REALLY find
-Be grateful
-Listen to the Spirit

So, the really big thing we want to work on with our zone this: to cleanse and purify ourselves!

Sister Packard and have already started fasting every week, and throughout the week, we pray like CRAZY!!  Seriously, I feel like we're praying every time we go anywhere and see anyone and make any changes in our plans.

Anyway, we got three new investigators this week, and they were all definitely miracles that really came at the most unexpected moments!  Everything we do is for God, and we are working so hard to truly just do His will and not our own - a LOT easier said than done. 

I think the biggest thing I've been trying to work on lately is overcoming my natural man.  Sister Packard is out of this world, and I feel like she's on a whole different plant/level from the rest of us.  Everything she says and does is holy, and it's a really humbling experience being her companion.  I know that God put us together so that I could learn from her and become more Christ-like and more refined.

However, I'm mostly grateful that God allows me to be part of the lives of all these wonderful people here.

Here's a fun story: but, first some background: Dakeng is famous for its mountains, okay?! - So, the missionaries before us haven't really venture out for more than 20 minutes up Dongshan road, which goes up and up forever and ever, basically.  Anyway, Sister Packard and I are a different story.  We LOVE running and we LOVE exercising, and we LOVE challenges.  So, this week, we have several promptings that have come from all sorts of different sources to go visit this family that lives in the very farthest part of our area.  They live in the mountains, and where in the mountains?!  At the very top of the mountains, so yes, that means we have to bike uphill for an hour AT LEAST in order to get to our destination.  So anyway, Sister Packard and I have never been up to this family's home, and we tried getting there yesterday right after church.  On top of that, yesterday was a super hot day, and we were fasting, so riding up that road was not the most delightful thing ever.  Anyway, we were out for about an hour when we decided that we must have missed something because we ended up on a wrong road.  Of course, we decided to stop and say a prayer.  Guess what happened after the prayer?! - NOTHING.  Right, so this was a little different miracle story.  We were out of breath, but we still had pretty good humor and were laughing at ourselves, especially because both of our faces were bright red, and we looked like we had just hopped out of a pool.  haha.  For a while, we tried flagging some of the passing cars so that we could ask for directions, and guess what happened when we did that? - NOTHING.  No one stopped.  No one even slowed down to see what we were up to... They must have thought we were some crazy foreigners.

Anyway, after we got lost, we decided to go back down because we had an appointment later that day.  So, we headed back down like lightning fast because it was ALL down hill from our point of no return. haha  

SO, what's the point of me telling you this story if there really wasn't something substantially miraculous about it?! 

The point is this: This story, as miserable and lame as it sounds, is actually a ginormous miracle.  IT's a Miracle in disguise!

Why?! - Just think about it.  Remember the story of Abraham and Isaac?!  Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his son.  So, Abraham, as sad and reluctant to sacrifice his only one and precious son, still made preparations to sacrifice Isaac.  What happened in the end?! - God sent an angel to tell Abraham to stop making the sacrifice, and Abraham ends up not killing his son Isaac.

So, why did God do that?!  Why did God let two little sister missionaries ride up a humongous mountain in scorching weather on a fast Sunday in a city all the way over in Taiwan?! - Maybe He did it to test our faith.  Maybe He did it to see if we would obey Him.  Maybe He's seeing if He can grant us with more responsibility in the future - maybe He's testing our faith and seeing if we really can rely and trust in Him no matter what.  

I think I learned more from this miracle than I have from other miracles that would seem outwardly more successful.  

This week, we had plenty of miracles.  We found a family that we were praying for, we tracted into many miracle lessons, our investigators started reading the scriptures on their own, etc.

So, why did I choose to share with you all the one and only miracle that seemed like a weakness - that seemed like a failure?! - Because I know this: I know that God is aware of each and every one of us.  He makes our weaknesses become strong, and all we need to do is to rely on Him and serve Him with all our efforts.

I love this gospel so much, and I love you all!!!  

Keep up that faith, you hear?!
-Sister Verina Chen