August 11, 2014

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

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