August 28, 2014

I'm not what you say I'm supposed to be.

I've been back about a week.

What have I learned?!

At the start, I was so used to hearing people ask me how I was "adjusting".

The word "adjust" is definitely NOT the right way of describing how I truly feel about being home from my mission.

I don't believe in "adjusting".  I only believe in "progressing" and "continuing".

When you return from serving a mission, you find yourself in a lot of uncomfortable circumstances.  You come home to the world you left 18-24 months ago.

Your siblings have grown.  Your parents may have changed.  Your friends have moved on. However, I believe the greatest difference is the change you find in yourself.

Within a few days of arriving home, I attended a wedding reception of one of my closest friends.  She and another group of my best friends were present.  I was overjoyed to see all of their faces, but at the same time, I was shocked by the fact that most of my friends got married while I was on my mission.

I didn't want to dance.

I didn't want to hear the music.

I didn't want to talk to anyone of the opposite gender...

I'm basically the stereotypical returned missionary.  I know there are things I need to get used to, but there should definitely NOT be any compromise to my standards.

Another side to coming back from the mission:  You get to see how your fellow missionary friends get back into the gist of things.  Some of them seem to go back to the way they were before the mission, as if the mission hadn't changed them a bit.

Some believe that they have to "adjust", that somehow, it is normal and expected of them to lower their standards, start dating, and forget all the standards they set for themselves while serving.

It seems as if the world has been prompting me to just "adjust" back to the way I was, but in all honesty, THAT is exactly what I know is NOT the thing to do.

I firmly believe that God intended us to be on a continual progression.

Just because I don't have my name tag, a white handbook, and a companion telling me what the best choices are and what I need to do, it doesn't mean that I can just lower my standards for some "ego" or some "name".

I guess this is what I'm trying to say: I don't believe in "adjusting".  I believe in PROGRESSION, IMPROVEMENT, GROWTH...

NOT decrease, not digression.

Think about it.

August 23, 2014


2014.8.20  Boarding the plane was hard.

I'm pretty sure my eyes were swollen from crying that whole day.

I cried when I left Taiwan, and in Japan, and in Portland, and when I arrived at home - engulfed in mixed emotions...

I promised myself I would never forget.  I'd never go back to the way I was.

Yet, it has been three days since being here, and can already feel myself slowly slipping into the old habits, the old ways.

I guess it's inevitable.

Yesterday, my oldest brother Jeffrey left me a voicemail.  In the voicemail, he recited a whole list of "hopes".  He hoped for my happiness.  He hoped for my peace.  He hoped for my safety. He hoped for me, and because of that, I realized my faith.

I'm determined, and I'm ready.  You know, change can bring about the best in people.

I'm working hard, and most importantly, I'm remembering the covenants I made with my Savior...

Let's learn. Let's love.  Let's hope:

August 11, 2014

2014.8.11 Tanzi :) We're going to the temple!

So, this Wednesday we are going to the Taipei temple, and we will have another hour to email that day.  

Things have been going really smoothly.  Sister ko and I are still really best friends, and are finding like crazy over here.

One of our golden investigators Sister Jian met with us for the second time last week and she is already almost done reading the Book of Mormon!! We gave her a copy of the scriptures only the week previous, and she's ON FIRE!!!

Sister Jian also said that she wants to bring her 25 year old son and her husband to our church!!! SO, it's a super miracle, and she's definitely going to get baptized one day!!! :)  She's super active and is treating sister Ko and me out to dinner this week before I get back to the states.

OUR WARD IS AWESOME!!! The ward is really progressing especially with all the activities being held recently.  This Sunday night, the senior couple missionary from our ward is also being released, so our ward is holding a little activity to send us all home.

This week, Sister Packard came on exchanges with me while Sister Ko when to Dakeng.  It was super awesome just being able to follow up and catch up with Sister Packard.  We were able to talk more about what we are going to do to prepare ourselves to be the best member missionaries when we get home!! We made a plan and  we are going to follow up once every month when I get back home! :)


This week we have a bunch of members who are treating us out to eat and stuff, and we'll be doing a lot of finding as always


-Sister Verina Chen

August 8, 2014 - Tanzi Time Travel

With there only being two weeks left on my mission, I have had to make a lot of plans and set goals for the coming weeks!!! Time has gone by so fast, and it is just going by faster and faster!

We were asked to prepare a "reflection talk" for ZTM tomorrow, so here's a bit of mine that I prepared this morning during personal study:

"Pure gold does not fear the refiner's fire."

That's a quote that my brother sent in an email home while on his mission in Australia.  It has been a constant reminder to me throughout my mission.

(Here is where I do a demonstration with my companion... You all will be able to see it when I get home.)

From the very beginning of my mission, I have learned how to set goals and make plans.  I learned my purpose and started adapting to the regular schedules and appointments of a Taiwan Taichung missionary.

I'll be honest.  I wasn't expecting the mission to be the way it is.  I came out wanting to experience what my older siblings had experienced on their missions.  I wanted to "grow up".  Unknowingly, what I was really looking for was to gain knowledge.  I was searching for my own testimony, truths, and understanding.

So, did I get what I was looking for? - I did.  I got everything I was searching for and more!

Some may think that being released as a missionary means coming to an end... For me, it's just a beginning!  The mission allows young people like us to gain a better, more disciplined understanding of our purposes.  It prepares us for the future and allows us to find ourselves through selfless service and being refined in accordance with the Lord's will.

In my interview with President Blickenstaff last week, he told me about the four kinds of faith we must develop as missionaries and even afterwards as disciples of Christ:

1. Faith in the Savior (Jesus Christ)
2. Faith in our companion
3. Faith in our area
4. Faith in ourselves

There are so many things that I could/want to share with you, but everyone is different, and God has prepared different things for your own experience!

I remember skyping my family for the first time.  I had just got on island, and my sister had just returned home from her mission (also in Taiwan).  When I asked for some advice, she replied by saying, "Just be a happy missionary!!"

It's taken me a while to really understand what it means to be a happy missionary, but after one and a half years of making mistakes and learning from them, I think I've got a good list of things that make me really happy:

1. Love God and trust in Him.  He knows what's going on, and He will never forsake you.
2. Read, ponder, study, and apply the scriptures to your life!
3. Charity never faileth!!  Love everyone, including yourself.
4. Be yourself!!  You discover and develop your talents constantly!
5. Companions are important.  Learn with and from them all.  Be humble!! Judge not that ye be not judged!
6. Work with ward members.  It makes the work ten times easier!
7. All the answers to your questions are found in Preach My Gospel.  Listen to the words of the prophets and follow the guidance of your leaders.

Everyone's mission is different because we are all different people.  We are placed in different situations for different reasons!!  We may be lost for some time, exhausted, tired, emotion - we may even have times where we want to give up - when we feel like going home!

Here's the truth - ALL those feelings are normal!!!  God gives us weaknesses so that we can recognize our faults and improve - change - REPENT!

Don't forget that missions also bring feelings of the Spirit - truth, happiness, joy, and strengthened testimony!  Be grateful for your mission.  Be yourself.  We are all given talents.  Find them, develop them, be happy as you use your own unique way to build the kingdom of God.  Keep the eternal perspective in mind, and never lose sight of your worth!

God sent us here to learn.  Are we learning?! - Yes! - Everyday we are learning new things.  You may think you are hopeless, helpless, and small, but remember that God knows you.  He has provided us with the atonement that we may become better - that we may be freed from our sins and weaknesses!

We are small, but by small/simple things are great things brought to pass!! God is real.  He exists.  We are His children.  The power of the Atonement is sufficient for us all.  Have faith.  I know that this is God's work, and it is so much bigger than we are!!  We are all being refined by the Lord's hand!! Trust Him and believe in Him!! I know that He will bless you. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ amen!

There you have it!!! hahaha YES.  I'm so happy that I finally figured out what I want to say.  I have been praying about that talk for a while, but this morning, everything just seemed to come together!!

Oh, and PS there is a brother in our ward who is going to serve a mission in Australia.  He is leaving for the MTC around August and might need our family to pick him up from the airport to take him to the Provo MTC around August 25...  I gave him Mom's number so the MTC may or may not be calling you sometime.

Family, guess what?! - I have already started making plans for what I'm going to do when I get back home.  (That's the only way that has allowed me to NOT be nervous about going home.) There are so many things that just made me super nervous, so I had to write down a plan and make goals to keep me on-track and busy!!!!! :)

I'm so excited for this next week.  Sister Ko and I are going to find three new investigators (The whole mission has set a goal for every companionship to find three new investigators each!) Wooooohhhh!!! haha We already have some super golden investigators set up to meet with us from last week's proselyting/referrals!

I'm so grateful for this time I have to serve with Sister Ko in Tanzi.  Our ward is planning a musical fireside on the 17th, the Sunday night before I leave.  I'm really excited to be correlating with our wonderful ward to hold this activity that night! :)

Keep praying!  I'll keep praying for you too!

Sister Verina Chen