July 1, 2014

June 23, 2014 INTEGRITY

Sister Packard and I are getting along better and better every day!!  We have finally found that perfect balance in our companionship that allows the Spirit to unify and testify of Christ and His teachings.  I am humbled every day to realized how blessed I am to have this time to serve with her right now!!!

On Wednesday, Sister Packard and I went on our second to last exchange with the Beitun sisters.  I went with Sister Hsu to Beitun.  It was an unusual exchange because we actually exchanged right after exercising in the morning until the next morning.  During the exchange, Sister Hsu and I spent most of the time heart attacking and delivering gifts and little messages to the members of the Beitun ward.  It was pretty xinku, but it was totally worth it.  

Since the Beitun sisters live in the same apartment as we do, we decided to change things up a little and stay with each other for English class as well!! 

The Beitun ward meets at the church in Daya, so it was super fun to see Sister Ting and Sister Grigg during English class.  Since the children's class is outrageously crazy, and kids are always bouncing off the walls during the whole hour, Sister Ting and I decided to team up and teach the kids that drive Sister Grigg and Sister Hsu crazy! haha It was fun to work with Sister Ting again.  Our hour and an a half with the kids went pretty smoothly, and everyone ended up being all smiles! :)

Our mission has really been emphasizing the work between missionaries and members at this time.  The expectations that President Blickenstaff has for all of us missionaries has also changed in a wonderful way!! RCLA's now don't count unless there is a member present at the lesson.  We are expected to visit three active members every week.  

Basically, everything about the way we count key indicators has been changed, and it's the best thing ever!!  We're really able to focus on working effectively to bring about God's eternal work and purposes.  Sister Packard and I spent a good amount of time this week finding new investigators.  We tracted hours this week and contacted EVERYONE.  The whole feel about the Taichung mission has really stepped onto a higher level.  

Although the work is tiring we are HAPPY.  So happy that when we look back at each day, we don't have any regrets!! Sister Packard and I both agree that the way we look at things and our ATTITUDE about the work really does determine whether or not we are successful missionaries.  

We are on FIRE!! DAKENG IS ON FIRE!!! I can honestly say that I love this work more than ever now, and I have really placed my trust ENTIRELY on the Lord.  

I feel like I've really been able to understand the real meaning of integrity recently.  Just think about!! In the world we live in today, it's almost become the norm for people to worry so much about what the world thinks.  We find ourselves engulfed by negative, self-destructive thoughts that can enter into our minds by any kind of source: the internet, a classmate, a friend, a family member, PEOPLE...  When the only one that we really should be worrying about is GOD and our relationship with Him!

When we find ourselves doing certain things for the praise of man, we can be assured that the result/reward is NOT as we perceived.  

Everything we do and say should be for and in behalf of GOD.  The way we choose to live in this life will determine who we are going to be and how far we will be able to go in the after-life.  

I'm determined that there is NOTHING that this world can offer in which I would exchange my testimony.  There is nothing that can phase the work of our Almighty God and our Eternal Heavenly Father!!  Yet, even with the truths that we have from this gospel, we often find ourselves in a sea of despair and sin.  

On Sunday during relief society, a sister asked us an inspired question.  She asked us who we thought Satan targets...  Some sisters replied that Satan especially targets the weak.  The answer that came instead was one that shocked some of the class.  Satan doesn't target the weak!! He targets the strong.  He tries to pull down those who can be or who are God's greatest warriors.  He targets YOU.  He targets me!!  He targets anyone who is on or merely NEAR that straight and narrow path.

So, what do we do when we hit a block in the road, a trial that we could never have fathomed, a doubt that blinds our view?!  - We press forward.  We keep walking.  We keep praying.  We pray UNCEASINGLY.  We KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS, and above all, we are true and worthy of the covenants we make when we are baptized or when we enter into the temple.

When we do those things, and when we have PATIENCE, then God really will come off conqueror.  What are the fruits of the Spirit?! - Gentleness, meekness, love-unfeigned, long-suffering, kindness, etc.

Notice that sometimes, we are required to pass through a period of long-suffering.  We are meant to be tested, and this life is meant to be hard!! 

We cannot, however, make EXCUSES.  When we make excuses for ourselves, that's when Satan REALLY starts working at our hearts.  He makes us believe that we can justify our sin, that God is a God that is lazy and comfortable (See Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's talk "The Cost and Blessings of Discipleship).  

When in reality, we must not tolerate ANY degree of sin.  (Read 2 Nephi 28)

I love each and everyone of you, and that's WHY I share with you all these things.  My invite?! - Study the words and the messages from our prophets given to us this past general conference.  Read and ponder the scriptures, and remember the words given to us in 2 Nephi 31: 20 "Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.  Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life."

Let us build our foundations on the rock of Christ.  Let us live not for the praise of man, but for the will of God.  Let us be chosen of God to humbly accept the callings in this life and fight for the things that REALLY matter. - Because let's face it - Being popular in this world cannot buy you Celestial glory.  Living a Christlike life is not always going to be popular.  In fact, with the world it is the way now, it never IS popular.  

But, knowing all of this, we must never lose sight of our divine significance and our divine integrity, our identification.  

"Behold, I say unto you that it is my will that you should go forth and not tarry, neither be idle but labor with your might -"
"Lifting up your voices as with the sound of a trump, proclaiming the truth according to the revelations and commandments which I have given you."
"And thus, if ye are faithful, ye shall be laden with many sheaves and crowned wit honor, and glory, and immortality, and eternal life."

-Doctrine and Covenants 75:3-5

I know that if we continue placing our trust in the Savior and in His Atonement, we will really feel the Spirit enter into our lives.  We will remember our covenants we made when we were baptized.  We will have numberless opportunities to serve individually but ultimately TOGETHER to serve God and fulfill the prophecies that have been made!!  :) Never lose sight of the eternal perspective.  We are ALL spiritual beings that have the potential and equal opportunity and AGENCY to become spiritual GIANTS.

When you have doubts, when you have questions - turn to God.  Read the scriptures for yourselves.  Abide by the commandments and taste the blessings.  God is not an easy God.  He IS a merciful God, but He is in no means a lenient, lazy-loving God.  Always remember to defend your faith.  

Sister Verina Chen

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