Monday, February 23, 2015

ZaiJian, Georgia! NiHao, Taiwan!

Sister Barrett and I hiking Kennesaw mountain :)

Hey everyone!

This is going to be a quick email. We have little to no time today with all of the packing we have to get done. Poor Sister Barrett got the flu last night and we haven't been feeling too well on our last day together. So we're going down to Peach Tree City tonight to meet up with the other sisters who were also granted their visas and we'll stay the night with them. We will head down to the airport at around 3am and our flight leaves at 6am. Good thing I'll have around 30 hrs of travel time to catch up on some sleep. :)

Well, this week basically consisted of many, sad goodbyes. I'm so lucky to have been in this area. I will miss these people but I have high hopes for the incredible friendships and experiences I have ahead of me! I am so blessed to have been able to meet such great people. I love the Lost Mountain Ward! And I love Georgia! I know that because of the gospel, I have been able to find such great happiness. Happiness that I didn't know existed. This gospel is true! Jesus Christ lives and He is our Savior. Have a great week, everyone!!

Sister Hendricks

 Latoya and her cute kids. I will miss them!
 Sister Helsing is the sweetest lady ever. I will miss coming over on Sunday evenings to read the Book of Mormon with her. We sang "Abide with me tis eventide" and she recorded it on her iPad. She was so honored, that we did that and got so emotional. I love her!
 Sister Barrett is the best companion I will ever have! She leads by example, and puts everyone before her. She is so humble and is always ready to work. I will miss her and our laughs and trying to teach her things in Chinese, but she is going to do great things with her new and wonderful companion as a Sister Training Leader. I love her!
 I will miss Markeitha SO MUCH! She is so smart and just absorbs everything we teach her like a sponge. I'm so grateful that she is part of my life. I will never forget her!
 Sweet Sister 
 I LOVE this family! We went to say goodbye to them and I walked in and they had this hanging up in their kitchen. 

The Douglas Family! Brother Douglas is our ward mission leader.
 The Owen's! Brother Owen is in chiropractic school, so we got a couple adjustments from him this week. That is literally all I've wanted for the past 5 months. I miss those!
 Saying goodbye to Brandon and Michelle!

 Literally the best district I will ever be in. Lost Mountain Legends! Me, S. Barrett, S. Bourne, S. Alofipo, E. Metivier, E. Ferney, E. McDonald-Smith, E. Dennis. It was so hard saying goodbye to these missionaries. We have all had so much fun together! They will all do such great things.
 Happy Millcreek Sister Appreciation Day!!

 This is how Sister Barrett is going to look when we say goodbye
 I love this family! Ruth,Tracy, Angel, and Bill. Bill is still on date for baptism.  I love these people so much!
Saying goodbye to this sweet Sister. She is from Brazil and has the cutest accent ever. It is been so fun meeting with her!
Saying good bye to Sister Diamond! She is so awesome, and has like 4 cats. It's so fun going to her house.
 Say "Yesu Jidu!" (instead of cheese. Hence the funny faces) I love the Johnson family. They were baptized over a year ago and are the strongest members I know. They're going to the temple in the next few months, and we are so excited for them! I'll definitely miss them!
Lost Mountain Missionaries! I love these missionaries so much! Elder Ferney is still waiting for his visa to go to Sydney, Australia. Elder Metivier started his mission in Africa, but after health issues he came to Georgia. So really, Sister Barret was the only one actually called to Georgia originally, haha.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!

Nimen Hao!

This week seriously flew by. Sister Barrett and I made some Valentine gifts for some members this week, and doorbell ditched them on Valentine's Day. We seriously love our members. We got caught a few times. One member actually caught us on camera. I'm going to send the link because it's so funny. 

It was a fast week, and very tiring. We had the opportunity to attend the temple again! Our Mission President even gave us the option to do baptisms if we brought names, so we asked around to the members and got some names to do baptisms for. It was really cool. I think the last time I did baptisms was in -12 degree weather in Rexburg.

We have a few investigators on date for baptisms. Bill O'Connor, Melissa Sanchez, and Magali Zazuetta. S. Barrett met Melissa back in November and had a very spiritual experience with her on her doorstep, but we haven't been able to see her again until last week. Her son is into heavy drugs, and she says it's too dangerous to come over. But she has called/texted us several times expressing her need for God in her life, so we finally insisted on coming over with a few members to give her a blessing. We had a good meeting with her, and she accepted the invitation to be baptized, but she's bailed on us since then. She's supposed to be baptized on February 28th, but we'll probably have to push it back if she's still on board. Her biggest struggle is her lack of faith. We'll just have to keep up the persistence with her. 

Bill O'Conner's wife and daughter are members, they were baptized about a year ago. His mother-in-law was baptized in December, and his niece is getting baptized at the end of this month. Needless to say, he has had a lot of support. His biggest obstacle to overcome has been his smoking. He's about 63 years old and has been smoking since he was 9. But he has read the Book of Mormon cover to cover twice, and he can't deny that it's true. Now, he's taking the steps necessary to be baptized on March 28th. We have seen the biggest change of heart in him overtime. He's a completely different person from when I first met him. He's quite cynical and sarcastic, but I can't tell you how much I have seen him smile lately. He got a blessing to overcome his smoking, and he went from smoking about 3 packs a day, to only having 8 cigarettes in the past 4 days. He is so incredible! He's just a living example of how to use the Atonement, and how to rely on Christ. We are so excited for him!

Magali is just so great. We taught her the Plan of Salvation in a member's home the other day and it couldn't have been a better lesson. She is just searching for her answer. She finally started reading the Book of Mormon and has expressed her desire to know if it's the path she should take. But she won't come to church! She always has some excuse. And since we had that lesson with her on Tuesday, she hasn't got back to us. It's starting to worry us in some ways, but at the same time I know we have done everything we can to help her. I feel confident in that. Now I feel like it's completely up to her agency. I read this scripture in the book of Jacob 1 the other day:

19 And we did magnify our office unto the Lord, taking upon us the responsibility, answering the sins of the people upon our own heads if we did not teach them the word of God with all diligence; wherefore, by laboring with our might their blood might not come upon our garments; otherwise their blood would come upon our garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day.

I felt the urgency to teach people with all diligence. It feels good knowing that I have done my very best with her. She is still on date for March 7th, but it's up to her to work towards that date. We can only do so much as to encourage her along the way. 

Well folks, it is bittersweet for me to announce that I will be arriving in Taiwan on February 25th. 10 of us got our visas, according to my mission president. I don't know what my itinerary is, or what day I'm leaving exactly.. but I will be there by the transfer date!
I don't think I've really registered the fact that I'm leaving Georgia... 
I'm leaving Georgia and going to Taiwan...
I'm going to Taiwan...
I'm going to Taiwan!!!!

Sister Hendricks
He Jie Mei

Lost Mountain Sisters Appreciation Day!
​The biggest of the many spiders we have killed in out apartment. (Don't mind the mess in the back, those are treats for the young women.)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Now have we not reason to rejoice?

 Helping out at YW New Beginnings


This week has been so fantastic! And when I say that, I don't mean we met all of our goals, or that we were 100% successful in all of our efforts, or that every appointment was spiritual and uplifting and no appointments fell through, or that the weather was perfect and we got more than enough sleep and felt full of energy every day. Not in the slightest, actually. In fact, this week was probably the opposite of that. But nonetheless, it was a blessing waking up every morning to a new day, to new experiences. 

We did have an incredible lesson with Magali though. It was definitely the highlight of the week. We always struggle meeting with her because something always comes up when we want to meet with her. But when we do see her, it's so great. So on Thursday, there was a mix-up with our plans and we were apparently supposed to meet Magali at 4pm instead of her coming to a relief society activity at 7pm. She texted us right at 4 and said, "Hey sorry I'm going to be late, can you meet at my house at 4:30?" Luckily, we were just going to knock on some doors at that time, so we of course said we'd meet her. While we drove to her house, we prayed to know what to teach her, and we both felt we needed  to focus on faith with her since she's had some struggles with finding an answer to her prayers, but she hasn't picked up the Book of Mormon yet. She has some issues with believing in a modern day prophet, and she loves how she feels at her church, and doesn't want to leave. But she also feels really good when she meets with us, and she met Michelle last week and loved hearing her experience about how it too was hard for her to leave her church. But look at where she is now! Anyways, these were all some concerns she had previously voiced to us and we felt inspired to focus on faith, specifically the faith cycle. It teaches us that in order for us to receive any witness or answer, it requires faith on our part. It was a very uplifting meeting with her, and we invited her to be baptized for the 4th time since Sister Barrett started meeting with her, and she finally accepted! She's getting baptized on February 21st! I hope I'm still here for it. 

I just cannot comprehend the love and happiness I feel for everyone in this area. It's undeniably the most wonderful feeling being privileged to work with such great people. With the death of both of Sister Barrett's grandfathers, we knew there was something amazing around the corner. We had our District Meeting on Tuesday, and we walked in to a room full of balloons, streamers, and our fellow missionaries with smiles on their faces, shouting "surprise!" and taking pictures. I immediately thought they were surprising Sister Barrett as a means to cheer her up (even though she already knows how to face every situation fearlessly), but then we both realized it was for the both of us. On the chalk board, it said "Lost Mountain Sisters Appreciation Day". I guess this is something they do every once in a while. I later found out that it was Sister Barrett's idea to do it for me, and she arranged the whole thing while we were on exchanges last week. But then the rest of the missionaries decided to make her a part of it as well. 

My heart is just so full. How could I be so lucky to be surrounded by such amazing people? I have been so so blessed. This entire week, I felt just so grateful for.. everything, really. The people I'm surrounded by that truly mend all homesickness, the people we teach that strengthen my faith and assure my understanding of why we need the gospel, the members that take so much time to get to know us and serve us, and really just the gospel in it's entirety. 

There are so many things I wish I could share every single week. If only I had the time and the means to do so. All I've heard about my visa is that the process has been speeding up, and they should be arriving soon. But they didn't give me a specific time frame. We'll see! Also, I left my camera at a member's house so I've been trying to get it back and have been unsuccessful in my efforts, so I apologize for not having pictures this week. But I'll send them next week!

Sister Hendricks

Monday, February 2, 2015

February 2, 2015

I love Georgia!!!!!!!!!!

Wow, i just want to start off by saying I have never been so exhausted in my life. I think I'm missing out on about half of everyday because I am just so tired. Every morning when the alarm goes off at 6:15 am, I go through a series of denial that the morning has come yet again, and I groan when Sister Barrett turns on the light. Then I always fall out of bed in attempt to kneel at my bedside for a prayer. And Sister Barrett always laughs at me for walking around like a zombie for the first 10 or 15 minutes. Good thing she's already mastered charity and patience.

But once the day gets rolling it's full of finding people, experiencing rejection, experiencing miracles, and full of work. This week was pretty hard in some ways. Still being fairly new, I am still getting used to the sadness of witnessing these people reject this divine happiness. We have worked very, very hard (hence the extreme exhaustion) and have seen some cool miracles. We found a really cool family the other day just from knocking on doors. Her name is Amber and she has two kids. We prayed with them and got to know them, and they all agreed to let us teach them. The next day we called her to confirm our appt. and she dropped us. She said she talked to her mom and heard some "weird things" about the church and said she didn't want to meet with us. 

It's so hard hearing that. It's happened a couple times now. With Felicia too, and another woman named Regina. It's so hard because I know that the message we share is true. I know it will bless these peoples' lives. But there has to be opposition in all things. And it's because the gospel of Jesus Christ is the true restored gospel on the earth that so many are so against it. That's why there's so much hate towards Latter-Day Saints. Satan is just working so hard on these people that are so so so close to opening their hearts and their minds to the truth. But they let these little things stop them from experiencing a fullness of joy. It breaks my heart. I don't let it get to me personally, and I rarely feel offended when people reject our message. I don't feel it's necessary to question my worth as a missionary, because I know that at the end of every night when I do my accounting with the Lord, I can honestly say that I've done my very best.  Maybe with Felicia, I could have done something different with my teaching skills or what not. But I did everything I could to testify, and to help these people recognize the spirit. And I know that's what's most important.

But that's also what makes it so sad. How can I know if "it's not their time", or that "I planted a seed"? It's hard thinking that sometimes the best I can do isn't enough for that person. I wish I could just bring everyone to the happiness this gospel brings. But I can't just tell these people what to do. They need faith. And they need to seek for the Lord's guidance. I can only pray for those individuals.

Anyways, Sister Barrett said these things happen all the time. I guess it's just still so new to me. On a happier note, we found a chinese family!  I don't know how interested they are, but it was so fun speaking with them. And I'm hoping they know of more Chinese people in our area. Gotta do whatchya gotta do. 

Love you all!
Sister Hendricks

 Exchanges with Sister Domgaard in Ensign! We had a great day. We met this guy named Aikim (goes by K). We walked up to his house in the dark hours of the night and heard a dog barking and a man cussing very violently. We knocked anyways and Aikim answered. He was very surprisingly friendly and was very touched by our prayer. Sister Domgaard said he's a new investigator as well as his family and girlfriend. Never be afraid, and don't judge people when you don't know them! 

 Kind of a funny picture - We've been teaching this guy Sir James who works at a barber shop. The other day we were there, and his co-workers were making hot dogs and chicken right outside their shop. 

Sister Obuba took us out to eat!
Us with Lexi, Ethan, and Isabella!