Tuesday, April 28, 2015

好久不見 !

 POURING rain storm last week. We bought rain ponchos from a 7-11 since we were very ill prepared. I just laughed the whole night at how ridiculous the rain here is, and how far apart all of our appointments were.
This is one of the less busy days. As you can see, eating has to be last priority..
 That's a mango, even though it looks like a potato. Last week, a member took us out to get ManGuoBing in celebration of Mango season starting!
Sushi Express! I love this place. You pay by the plate, so you take off the ones you want and then just add up the plates. Soo good.

Hello! Wow, what a long week. But so much good has happened! Today we get to go to the temple so we didn't have studies this morning. So, we woke up at and went with the elders and some members in our ward to hike MiZhiShan and watch the sunrise. It was by far the best morning I've had on my mission and I loved every second of it. We rarely get to do things like that, so it was an awesome opportunity!

Didn't see much of a sunrise because of the fog... But still super awesome view

We had the opportunity to hear from Elder Gong last week. There is something so incredible about hearing from a general authority. There's so much power and truth that illuminates his countenance. I've been so excited to take and apply the many things he taught us, and be more spiritually bold in our finding efforts. That day was super busy. We had his training in the morning, and then had a Fireside that night from him. In between, we went on splits with missionaries in other zones. Since our area was close, some came to our area. I actually had the opportunity to have Sister Kirkham come with me to our area for a few hours. It really put a perspective on the fact that Sister Kirkham and I were in the MTC together just over 6 months ago. It was a fun experience, and good to catch up with her. The Fireside was very beautiful. The whole night was focused on Christ. I feel it was good to reflect on my clear and firm testimony of the reality that He lives. I liked picturing Him there with us that night. What would He say? How would everyone act? How would we feel?

Our work this week has been busy as ever! We've spent a lot of time finding Less-Actives that we haven't met and finding around their homes, as well as members' homes. I have really grown an appreciation for this type of finding. We found a really cool lady who lives in the same apartment building as two other members. Finding around areas of strength is very key, I've found. I also really love finding through formers. We met a really cool lady that was taught the lessons back in 2009. She was more than excited to see us and said she missed when the missionaries came over and didn't know why they stopped coming. She said she's willing to give it all another try, but is hesitant about changing her lifestyle at the moment, because she feels like she's too old to change. But I feel like that is why members are so important. There are so many ladies in our ward who would really be able to relate to her.

This week I really wanted to focus on how I can better understand the people I talk with. And not just their Chinese - but I want to be better at really putting myself in others' shoes. I want to look at these incredible people in the eyes and feel God's love for them. I want to do more than just give them a tract and compliment their shoes. I want every person I talk to, to feel better than they were before. I want them to be uplifted in someway, or enlightened. Sister Stevens helped me see how I can do so. By "standing in the midst" (3 Nephi) of the people I talk to. I never want to leave the impression that I am on some high pedestal, or that I'm better than them in anyway. I want to stand in the midst of them, and learn and grow with them.

 NanGang park!
 Taichi :)

Sister Hendricks

Monday, April 20, 2015


Hello! Another week another dollar. First week of my 4th transfer is over, now onto another week! We get to go to the temple next week as a mission and I'm so excited! I feel like I haven't been in so long. Our mission only does temple trips on P-days, and since it's on a Wednesday, we're not having a P-day for a week and a half. So that will be the reason for no weekly update from me next Monday

This week was so fun. Sister Stevens and I are staying in SongShan! (at least for this transfer) She keeps teasing me that I'll be taking over the area and be a trainer when I finish training, because that's what happened to her. Let's hope not, haha. So, on Tuesday we had a Temple Tour Training with all of the sisters in the mission, except for the sisters in the South Zones because they're like 4 hours away. So I didn't see Sister Oviatt or Sister Good, but I saw everyone else, plus the new missionaries that came in at the transfer! They also waited two transfers for their visas, so they were all so stoked to get here. After the training, we literally had a spontaneous exchange with our Sister Training Leaders (they informed us the night before) and Sister Wu came to SongShan with me, and Sister Stevens went to Xin'An with Sister Branch. I was so nervous. It was my first time being in SongShan without Sister Stevens' help. Sister Wu is so awesome though. She is from Taiwan and converted to the church I think 3 years ago? Her family was Buddhist growing up, and she said her mom always told her to run away from guys on bikes with name-tags. But a friend of her's introduced her to the missionaries and long story short, now she's here!

But anyways, the exchange went really well. We had a lesson with one of our investigators. It was so hard to know what to teach him, because he hasn't kept any commitments....he's still smoking, he won't read the Book of Mormon, but he still has a desire to be baptized. I didn't know how to go about this lesson without Sister Stevens because I think she understands his situation better since she can understand him, and I never can. It's so hard to understand a person through my companion translating for me. But we really tried hard to prepare a good lesson for him. We offered several prayers before I felt like we should encourage him to rely on Christ rather than himself since he feels like he doesn't have the strength to overcome his smoking. So we planned to share Alma 26 with him and really focus on finding strength through Christ. We called a member to come with us and we met with her before his lesson to talk about what we were going to teach him. We prepared really well for this lesson and I was so excited to lead a lesson for the first time, and I really felt like it would go well.  I'm a little sad to say that this lesson was probably the worst lesson I have ever had on my mission.  The member went off on tangents, and the investigator got frustrated, I couldn't understand what was happening, I didn't know what to say....I talked with Sister Wu after the lesson. I just felt so confused. How could it really have gone that bad? I knew I wasn't a perfect teacher, but it felt like a slap in the face that I have so many imperfections.

But besides the fact that I'm only human, I really tried so hard to just put my trust in the Lord. Essentially, we did everything in our power to have a lesson that would help him. I knew that I couldn't do it on my own especially because my Chinese is nothing that can be relied on, and Sister Wu had never met him.

However, that realization somehow gave me a very peaceful feeling. I had done my part. I had no control over what the member was saying, nor did I have control over the fact that I have only 6 months experience worth of Chinese. But I did everything in my power to have a good lesson.

It's weird how this exchange made me feel better about taking over the area in the future, but it did because I know that my role as a missionary isn't to be perfect. It's much more about my commitment to do my best and rely on the Lord.

Well, that's all for this week folks. Until next Wednesday, I wish you all a happy Monday!

Sister Hendricks

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dinner with Li Jaiting!

Another great week has gone by! I can't believe I've completed my first transfer on island. As well as the first 6 and a half months of my mission. Time is just flying by. Every time Monday rolls around, I'm just so blown away that it's another start to another new week. It's a good feeling, but it also really makes me want to make sure I'm doing every thing I can to use this time wisely. Every day, every hour, every minute, every second. It's all the Lord's time, and I'm starting to realize that I really will never have another experience like this. I want to gain everything that there is to gain from a mission and just soak it all up!

Samantha is doing so great and we are so proud of her in her growth. She is fitting in with 松山 ward so well. It's incredible seeing all of the members reach out to her and befriend her. She's really just a walking miracle that she has been doing so well. 

We've also been working super hard with another investigator. It's really tested my patience because he is just SO close to being clean and worthy for his baptism, but he's lacking in the simple things such as reading the Book of Mormon and praying daily. It's been really frustrating to me because in every lesson we have with him, he seems so on board with everything, and commits to quitting his smoking, and reading the Book of Mormon every day, and praying, and he tells us he believes in himself that he can do it. But then we follow up with him the next day, and nothing has changed. The other night, we had a lesson with him at the church after 讀經班 (Book of Mormon study) on Friday night, and he gave us his cigarettes and both lighters and we pushed back his interview to next week but he recommitted himself. We were so excited and felt so good about it, and then the next day, we stopped by his work since he didn't answer the phone, and he could barely look at us. He smoked the night before and that morning, and he had a Book of Mormon with him but said he wasn't reading it. My heart just sank. Sister Stevens and I have put so much effort into praying and studying for him, and doing everything in our power to help him. I felt a pit in my stomach and didn't know what to say. Sister Stevens talked to him for a bit and asked him if he'd give us the cigarettes he has and he said no, so we said we'd pray with him and let him get back to work. I felt tears roll down my face as I said a prayer for him. I just want so badly for him to know of the happiness he can have and how all of the guilt and burden that he has on his shoulders can be lifted through Christ. After the prayer was said, Sister Stevens asked him again if he wants to give us his cigarettes, but that it's his choice. He sat there silently for a while before opening up the Book of Mormon. He started flipping through the pages and reading. After waiting about 5 minutes, he reached into his pocket and pulled out his cigarettes and lighter. He told us he had more at home but was going to throw them away. We called him that night, and he said he still hasn't smoked since we saw him that afternoon, and he threw away the rest of his cigarettes. It was a very touching moment. I really believe he can make it. The power of prayer is so real, and I know so many people are praying for him. 

This week was just really awesome. We also really focused on getting in contact with less-actives that we haven't been able to get a hold of through the phone and we met a lady named Fu Hui Yu who was baptized a long time ago. It was really a miracle that we met her because she's basically a new investigator and hardly knows anything about the Book of Mormon or why we even have it. So we are excited to get to know her better.

I noticed something really awesome this week. Passing off phase one has been so stressful because we haven't had a full hour of language study every day because of special circumstances such as needing to travel in the morning to go to the mission home for a variety of reasons, also having a tripanionship (with Sister Howell - so cute!) for a day before 
transfer meeting because somehow this sister didn't get assigned a temporary companion while her companion went to a training meeting for a day. But anyways, as a result, we haven't had as much time for language study as I would like for the past couple weeks and it's been stressing me out. And I think it's stressed out my companion as well since we haven't been getting our training done either. But this week I stopped focusing so much on the language and my own worries, and focused more on our investigators and the Lord's work in general. And then this weekend when we went to General Conference, I realized I hadn't even thought about the language and how hard it is, or felt sorry for myself, or let myself get discouraged, for at least a week. I realized that when I talked to people, key words started to click and a lot of conversations I had with people were more than just me smiling and pretending like I understood what they were saying. I realized I was actually comprehending what they were communicating to me. I know I still have such a long way to go, and I still have to turn to my companion for help a lot, but the important thing that I learned was that the Lord was really helping me. I was finally seeing progress.

"Nevertheless, after much tribulation, the Lord did hear my cries, and did answer my prayers, and has made me an instrument in his hands in bringing so many of you to a knowledge of his truth.
"Nevertheless, in this I do not glory, for I am unworthy to glory of myself." ~Mosiah 23:10-11

Also, General Conference was a success as always. I have so much to say about it, but for the sake of time, I just want to simply say that I was very touched by the testimonies of our modern day prophet and apostles. Especially after listening to Elder Holland's talk, I felt such a strong feeling that there isn't a single doubt that I've ever had or ever will have that will ever be enough to deny the divine truths of the pure and perfect doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This life is more than just enduring and trying to find happiness in a dark world. There's a plan. There is a destination that contains everlasting happiness. And our perfect Father in Heaven has provided the path to reach that destination~

Sister Hendricks

Lunch with Xu Jie 

I love these girls!

Monday, April 6, 2015

復活節快樂 !

Best Easter dinner ever! I love Shen Jiating!

Happy Easter!

There is no better way to end such a great week, than by celebrating the birth of our Savior. Even though we didn't get to watch conference, it was still a wonderful week. This weekend, we will be able to watch it since it will have been translated into Chinese. But I'm still going to watch it in English, haha.

This week was so awesome! We were on Jin Hua Jie for most of the week. That's the street that the mission home and the temple are on. We went there on Pday after we emailed to get ManGuoBing (Mango ice cream) and to walk around the most popular tourist shops in Taipei. It was really fun.

Then we went back for a training meeting. It was crazy seeing everyone from the MTC. The girls I roomed with there all have native companions, so their Chinese is already so good. It was difficult trying not to compare myself. We have a language study plan here in Taiwan. Phase one, two and three. Phase one focuses on teaching. You have to pass off vocabulary, teaching phrases, scriptures, grammar, and practice teaching lessons, etc. It's super hard, but if you're diligent, you can finish it while training. I've been super overwhelmed this week because we haven't had an hour of language study everyday since we've had to leave the apt early to go to these meetings. I was feeling super stressed out that I wouldn't be able to finish by the time I'm done training. My companion is super helpful though, and she's encouraged me and picked me back up on my feet. I'm really grateful for her help.

The highlight of this week would definitely be Samantha's baptism! Her baptism in itself was a pure miracle. She's been seeing the missionaries
since October, but it has been hard for her to progress because she's late to lessons and church so had never been to sacrament meeting. She has a lot of personal challenges in her life that have been difficult to deal with. When I first got here, it was kind of the same situation, so we directed our focus to other people for a while, because it almost felt like all of our effort was being wasted. But then a few weeks ago, she just showed up at sacrament meeting for the first time, and stayed all three hours, and then asked us to meet with her again. Since then, we've been meeting with her, and she comes on time. We invited her to be baptized, and she basically picked her own date. April 5th was the soonest she could be baptized assuming everything went according to plans, and we were able to meet with her and teach her everything by then. It was a leap of faith, really to just believe that suddenly Samantha would be reliable to make these plans for. But really it is her decision in the end, so we just had faith in her and it was really incredible to see everything go as planned. We taught her everything in two weeks, she passed her interview, and she even moved to SongShan (she didn't live in our area before-hand) and she was able to be baptized yesterday. It was such a happy feeling - knowing that our effort wasn't wasted, and the missionaries that found her and tried teaching her for so long - their effort wasn't wasted at all. It was a really happy, rewarding feeling.

I really feel so grateful to be here. I've just been so overwhelmed this week with so much and with working on Phase One, and getting the flu for a couple days. But I've been so blessed! I have such an incredible trainer who is always willing to help me, we are in the greatest ward in Taiwan, I was able 
to go on exchanges with the Temple Sisters (They're like assistants, but sisters - they're in charge of Temple Tours), we were able to do Temple Tours this week as well and we've really seen Vincent start to progress and work harder at quitting his smoking. Things are just going so well! AND we got a new investigator from English Class and her English name is Zoe! If that's not God's plan, I don't know what is.

Miss you all!

Sister Hendricks

 Cool art on  JinHuaJie

My name tag finally came!