Monday, March 30, 2015

Week 5 in Taiwan!

 "And now the cause of these our embarrassments, or the cause why they did not send more strength unto us, we knew not; therefore we were grieved and also filled with fear, lest by any means the judgments of God should come upon our land, to our overthrow and utter destruction.

 Therefore we did pour out our souls in prayer to God,that he would strengthen us and deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, yea, and also give us strength that we might retain our cities, and our lands, and our possessions, for the support of our people.

 Yea, and it came to pass that the Lord our God did visit us with assurances that he would deliver us; yea,insomuch that he did speak peace to our souls, and did grant unto us great faith, and did cause us that we should hope for our deliverance in him.

 And we did take courage with our small force which we had received, and were fixed with a determination to conquer our enemies, and to maintain our lands, and our possessions, and our wives, and our children, and the cause of our liberty."

~Alma 58:9-12

These verses were very helpful to me this week. I've learned that the only way to overcome my weaknesses or the things I've been struggling with, then I need to put my trust in the Lord. I need to give him everything - my time, my thoughts, wants... everything. All I needed to do was experiment on His promises, and I have been blessed with so much comfort, as well as confidence in myself, in our area, in my companion, and true happiness. He has given me assurance, and spoke peace to my soul, and my faith has definitely grown. I've learned the importance of seeing things from an eternal perspective. God really does have a plan laid out for us.

I loved this week! Again, I am just shocked at how fast time has flown by. I used to mark off each day on the calender on my wall, and I glanced over at it this morning and realized that I hadn't touched it for two weeks. Things are looking up! 
English Boarding! Passing out english class flyers, and showing people 'Because He Lives'
We've put so much effort into finding new investigators, since we still only have Samantha and Vincent. We do have like 5 others, but they are hard to get a hold of, and I haven't met them yet. It's not like Georgia at all, where you could get a new investigator every day. But I do believe that the people we do talk to are uplifted in one way or another regardless of whether we get a return appointment with them or not. We taught about 12 other lessons this week which was really amazing, and obviously had nothing to do with us but rather the Lord guiding us. Our average per week has been about 3 or 4 other lessons, so we felt really good about that. And even though we only got one new investigator from the process, we know that the others felt something, and will come around in their own time.

As for Vincent and Samantha, they're doing great! They're both on date for baptism. They've been investigators for a long time. I've noticed that here in Taiwan, that people will investigate the church for months, even years before being baptized. Another thing I've noticed, is that people here don't necessarily believe there's "one truth". We'll teach them about Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon, and they'll believe us, but then they still claim that Buddhism is correct. It's interesting. But anyways, So we planned on inviting Samantha do be baptized at the end of April, but she said she's done waiting and she knows she needs to be baptized now, so she committed to April 5th. She's so awesome, it's been hard getting her on board, because she's always late to church and to our meetings, and has bailed a lot since I've been here. But we finally met with her last week and she voiced some personal issues she's had, and she's overcoming them. She's definitely ready, and we're so excited for her!  Vincent is doing well, too. He's still working towards baptism as well.
Anyways, good week overall! Miss you all!
Sister Hendricks
 All geared up for the rain! Haha

Sushi with some members!
Lunch Time!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Letter for Blog

Note from Zoe's mom:  Zoe wanted me to include this hand-written letter to her blog, however, I cannot figure out how to get it on here!  So I'm typing it.

March 16, 2015

Dear Family,

By the time you get this letter, it will probably be like two weeks later.  But I'll just send it anyways.  I'm sorry for the last letter I sent.  I kind of had a panic attack these first couple of weeks. Being on a mission in the states is hard, but I obviously needed to face a very difficult challenge to learn and grow and change. I'm learning how to better use the Atonement.  We had a zone training last week, and they invited us to fast to know what we need to change in order to be better consecrated missionaries and then once we learned what those things were, we decided to "fast" from those things for 40 days.  The day we started, I carried a sticky note around with me and wrote down all the things I wanted to change about myself that I noticed throughout the day.  Things that negatively influenced me such as negative thoughts..thinking that there's no way I'll ever learn Chinese, or getting mad and frustrated every time we have a lesson and I walk out of the room feeling like I just missed out on an entire lesson, or allowing my weaknesses to overtake my strengths, etc. Whatever it was, I found a lot of things I needed to change.  And that's when I realized what we use the Atonement for.  These next 40 days will consist of a lot of trial and error, a lot of mistakes, a lot of "fresh new starts", and a lot of prayer.  When you make a goal, and you mess up, it doesn't mean that you can't ever achieve it.  It just means you need to work that much harder, and rely that much more on the Lord.  He will comfort you.  He will guide you.  According to His time.  Ever since realizing this and forgetting about myself - I have grown a lot and seen an immense difference in myself in one weeks' time.  This is not my mission, nor my time.  Everything I do and say has to be for God, and His work, and His children.  I have to sacrifice all selfish wants and desires.

I know that it is only through Christ and His Atonement that we can find joy in the journey, and the strength to change and become who He wants us to become - which is our true best self.

~Sister Hendricks

Monday, March 23, 2015

Week 4 in Taiwan!

Nimen Hao!

I can't believe today is already p-day. This week just flew by. Most likely as a result of going on exchanges, and doing splits with the girls in our ward. I went to the area Xin'An for a day with Sister Branch and then Sister Stevens stayed in SongShan. Then one night, we had two sisters come do splits with us. I've been worrying a little bit lately about when I'm done training that it's
Sister Branch & I
very possible I'll be taking over the area. I know I still have about 8 weeks, but that will just fly by and I want to be prepared. So going on splits was great preparation for that. They're both preparing to serve missions so it was really exciting for them. I remember in Georgia, we were going to do splits once since we had two appointments set up at the same time. It never happened because one of the appointments cancelled, but I remember being so scared being separated from my companion and taking charge for a couple hours. I laughed at that memory as it suddenly hit me that I would be without Sister Stevens for the night, and I could no longer rely on her if I didn't understand what the person said to me. The girl that came with me was Karen (YingJie). She is so sweet and she's done a mini mission before but was still super nervous. I knew I had to just find the courage to do the things that Sister Stevens has taught me, and I was surprised at how much I was able to say and do. I felt like Karen really enjoyed her time and we were able to learn from each other. I realized that it doesn't matter how well I say the message (though, it wouldn't hurt to be understood the first time), but it's so much more important to just remember what my purpose is in walking up to someone, and remembering the reason I want people to hear this message. It's so much more important to listen with love. It was a cool experience.

We had a few other awesome things happen this week. We had a really good lesson with Vincent this week, and we got him set on date again for baptism! Sister Stevens said she's invited him several times to be baptized and every time, he sits and thinks and hesitates before saying yes or no. But this time, we invited him to be baptized on April 19th, and his whole face lit up and without any hesitation he said "hui!" (will - or in other words, yes!). I felt so happy to see him so willing. We're just going to do our best to follow up with him every day on his smoking addiction and his Book of Mormon reading. We're so excited for him!

The other day, we were going to meet with a recent convert at the train station, and when we got there she called us and said she'd be 10 minutes late. So we were trying to think of what the best use of our time would be in those short 10 minutes, and we decided we both felt that we could teach a lesson to someone. So we said a prayer and then the first person I saw when I opened my eyes, I walked up to and started talking to her. She was so friendly and actually stopped and talked with us. Most people are in a rush, or will just pretend like they can't hear us or that we're non-existent. But she actually listened to us and we found out she was also a Christian. We shared a little bit about the Book of Mormon, and gave her one. She doesn't live in our area but said she'd be willing to meet with the missionaries over her area. It was a really cool experience.

Overall, it was a great week. Hope all is well! Miss you all!

Sister Hendricks

View outside member's home
Biking in the rain this morning!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Visit from a Friend!!

You can't touch sister missionaries!

Zoe teaching English
Dallin's visit was a surprise!  He was one of the first people she met while at BYUI.  So thankful for kind, thoughtful people!  He is originally from Taiwan.  He sent us these pictures as well as a video.  So thoughtful!  

Monday, March 16, 2015

Week 3 in Taiwan!

Nimen Hao!

I wish I had more time to write, because there's just so much to say! We have been so productive this week and went by so fast. We woke up this morning to go for a run and while we were running Sister Stevens asked me what I was most excited to email my family about today, and I completely forgot it was P-Day. I guess that's a result of forgetting about yourself and not having so many pity parties.
Sister Stevens and I
To answer a lot of your questions, my companion has been on island for about 8 months. She can speak Chinese very well. She's not "fluent", but the fact that she can ask for directions in the city of Taipei and understand where to go from there is pretty impressive. It's hard navigating around on a bike, but she's helping me learn how to and I've done a lot of navigating this week to help me practice for our exchanges coming up and also for the future possibility of me taking over the area after I'm done training. Sister Stevens is comfortable with talking to everyone too which is awesome. She's such a great trainer. She wants to do the right thing and go where the Spirit guides her and she is very very bold and will talk to anyone in our path. I've learned a lot from her in these few short weeks.
Rice & Fruit :)
We have a few investigators but none are progressing. Vincent and Samantha (lots of Taiwanese people have English names) have both been on date for baptism but Vincent is getting over his smoking addiction, and Samantha is very hard to get a hold of her. We have very inconsistent meetings with her, but she wants to be baptized. It'll just take more effort on their part. We have around 3 or 4 other investigators that are also hard to get a hold of. It's so different from Georgia. But it just makes it so much more rewarding when we find someone who will listen to us.

I made a commitment the other day that I would talk to everyone that came in my path and I was so determined to go through with it. It doesn't seem very difficult, but when you start talking to someone, and they respond in some language that doesn't sound like anything you've been studying for the past 5 months, and your companion just sits there silently, then it's difficult. But soo rewarding! I've seen so much improvement in myself this week once I put my worries on the shelf and really prayed for the courage to work hard.

We contact people in several different ways. We use Facebook everyday for an hour usually to contact members and do a daily post. I can only be friends with my companion, our ward members, and investigators in our area. We do a lot of street contacting and use a lot of fliers to start conversations. We have an English Class flier, a Restoration flier, and one about families. We have so many others, but those are the main ones we use. We also knock on doors, which is so different to Georgia. I haven't seen a single house here (probably how it is in the city) so we go to buildings that are like 5-11 stories high and we ring the doorbell at the bottom and either they'll just unlock the door for us to come up, or they'll speak to us through a microphone where we try to say something that will get their attention before they say "xie xie, xie xie, xie xie bu yong" (thanks, no need) and then hang up, or "xie xie, xie xie, xie xie, mei you kong" (thanks, no time). And then of course, there's the classic stoplight contact where we pull up to someone on a motor scooter next to us and according to how much time is left on the light (sometimes it's around 90 seconds), we'll try to teach a lesson or give a flier. That's super hard too, because Sister Stevens and I will go to two different people. So it's just you and some Taiwanese person, and one language. But it works out!

Our ward is awesome. It's one of the best according to other missionaries. The members LOVE the missionaries, and since Sister Stevens and I are both pretty new to the area, we've spent a lot of time getting to know the members. Wu Mama is a member that has a dinner at her house every Sunday night and it's just the best food I've ever had. They don't really eat dessert in Taiwan, instead they just have fruit after every meal. They also don't really have drinks during meals, which has been weird to get used to. usually they'll have the course with rice, and then once your bowl is empty, you have soup or broth which is kind of your drink, and then you have fruit. The members are always willing to feed us, but we mostly just eat out since it's like a dollar for a meal. We'll eat breakfast at the apartment though - usually just eggs, fruit, or oatmeal.

English class is awesome! The class I teach is GaoJi Ban which is Advanced English Class. So my students are really good at speaking English. We do a lesson for an hour, and then we do a spiritual share for 30 minutes using the Book of Mormon. It's so great giving them the opportunity to feel the Spirit and learn from the Book of Mormon once a week. A lot of investigators come from English Class. We met a really cool lady last week who stayed after with us and we had a lesson with her. It was a super cool experience.
Sister Trouble took us out for lunch!

This week was just black and white to last week. Not that last week was necessarily bad, but to be honest it was super difficult to adjust. But I have never felt the power of the Atonement in my life so strong. I have completely changed my perspective. The language is so hard, and I've found myself on my knees more than a lot this week. But I've decided to let this experience change me. I feel so much more determined to learn Chinese and I have found so much more faith and confidence in myself. I've learned that it's not at all about learning to speak fluently. It's about being able to communicate the things that these people need to hear, at the time they need it most.  

Neither take ye thought before and what ye shall say; but treasure 
up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every 
~D&C 84:85

Miss you all!

~Sister Hendricks
Special Needs Service!
 Dinner with Bao Jiating!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Week 2 in Taiwan!

Taipei Temple at night :)
Nimen Hao!

It's all so thrilling and exciting being on the island of Taiwan! I love experiencing this new culture.  I love the weather so much. We get a way better exercise in the mornings here too, which is so awesome. We either go running, or biking on a road called 
Rainbow Road. I love being a biking missionary. Even though it's the most terrifying thing biking in the city of Taiwan, I love the thrill! It is so tiring though. Especially because this week, it just happened to work out that we had appointments very far apart in distance with like 10 minutes in between each. We had to use our time very wisely and then just book it to our next appointment. That's how basically everyday was this week. Needless to say, my legs feel like jello at the end of every night.

Sister Stevens and I with our Hot Pots!

Also, I'm pretty sure all of the traffic laws in Taiwan are just suggestions. I should start counting how many cars drive through red lights. You just have to go with the flow though. It's an adventure for sure.                

SongShan is so incredible! I love the people here so much. Sister Stevens is pretty new to the area as well so we are trying to get to know the members together since the last transfer she was here, her
and her companion spent most of their time doing office work since her companion had some disabilities. So we're getting to know the area together!

We have English Class every Wednesday night at the church, and I was in charge of teaching GaoJiBan which is the highest level, so I only speak English to them. It was such an incredible experience, and it made me think about being a teacher again. I love our students!

View outside my apartment 

A lot of things come to mind that I want to write about and explain this experience to be like, but all that my mind wanders back to is how humbling this is. There is nothing more difficult than the feeling of not being able to be yourself. It's a challenge finding the faith to believe in myself and that I will be able to be an effective instrument in the Lord's hands.  But that is why we have the Savior to guide us.

Sister Hendricks

My "babysitter" on our first night proselyting the streets of Taiwan!
These Buddhist temples are everywhere. Most often in the middle of a very busy part of the city. We always see people walking past it, and dropping everything to stop and turn to the temple and bow. The people here are very very dedicated.

My temporary companion, Sister Haacke for the first couple days

Monday, March 2, 2015

First Week in Taiwan!

Nieman Hao!

Flying over Japan!
I don't even know where to begin! This week has been so fantastic. I feel so blessed to be here in Taiwan to serve the Lord and His children. I'm still in the process of overcoming jet lag, and getting used to a new way of living, a new mission, as well as trying to understand the language of CHINESE, etc... But I cannot express how much I love Taiwan! I never want to leave this place! I'm so glad I am finally in the place that the Lord called me to be. I learned a lot from my experience in Georgia, and now I'm prepared for what this new experience has to offer me. It is so crazy to think that I am in Taiwan... but I'm here!

Our first few days were at the Mission Home across the street from the temple. We had lots of orientation, training, transfer meeting, etc. Our first morning, all the new missionaries, the Mission President, and the assistants all went running to the Cheng Kai Shek Memorial. The weather is perfect for running, and I LOVE humidity despite what it does to my already bushy hair.

Transfer meeting was so fun. I'm pretty sure we are the best mission in the world because I don't know who else would do this, but basically we have transfer mtg not in the chapel so we can clap and cheer. They call up the new missionaries one by one and talk about them and their interests etc., with a big picture blown up of their face on the wall and then they do the drum roll to see who their trainer would be. Haha, it was a lot different than I expected. It just feels like we are all family though. My companion is Sister Stevens, and she's from Idaho. She is so awesome, I'm so excited to be her companion! Her group was the last to arrive in Taiwan before the visas started having problems. Our area is in the Central Zone of Taipei in a place called Song Shan, which is right in the middle of the city.

It's so different from Georgia in so many ways. I'm so much more exhausted at the end of the day after biking around in the rain and humidity, rather than taking a couple 5 minute naps in a car where I can control the temperature to my liking. I can't understand what people say to me about 99% of the time. It's like the MTC all over again except it's not a role-play so every time I mess up in a lesson, it's not like it's just my teacher pretending to be an investigator. It's an actual person who needs to hear what we have to say. I went from feeling confident in walking up to people or knocking on their doors and teaching them, to being so afraid to even open my mouth.

My mind has taken me back to the time I was filling out my mission papers about 10 months ago and I had a feeling come over me that I would be learning a hard language. At the time, it seemed so little of a challenge. I had no idea it would affect my work as a missionary this much. I've felt like I can't even be myself because I can't say what I actually want to say to these people. That's been the hardest part - not feeling like I can be myself. Not feeling like I'm actually helpful in anyway.

Luckily, I have the most patient and loving companion. Sister Stevens has been so helpful in my transition and I'm so grateful for her. She told me about a time she was having similar struggles, and she felt like all she needed to do was learn to love these people. Of course still study the language diligently, and work hard, but really focus on loving these people. And don't get discouraged, just let the Lord help you and learn to rely on Him to know what to say. It's so interesting. I feel like I need to learn just that. I need to learn how to rely on the Lord so much more. He needs to guide me in everything I do - all the way from which door to knock on, down to helping me speak. After having a small panic attack, and talking to Di Jie Mei (Sister Stevens) I felt so much better.

The one thing that wasn't different from Georgia was the feeling I felt at church. I felt a better understanding of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints being a universal church. The gospel is the same everywhere. The bishop invited me to share my testimony. Initially I was terrified but then I realized that I know how to bare my testimony. It didn't require me to listen to anyone else. It was refreshing and it definitely boosted my self confidence.
I am so happy to be here. I am so excited to serve these people. I know that we need to have charity before anything else. We need to love. And I feel so blessed that I can show my love to these people and serve them. I am so grateful for this opportunity!
Sister Hendricks