Sunday, May 31, 2015

Preparing for the most humid summer of my life...

 I'm going to miss Sister Stevens seriously so much. I learned more from this transfer than I thought I could learn! She helped me learn the beauty of hard work and finding joy in the journey. Because of this transfer, I can never doubt in God's ability to change peoples' hearts. She helped me have faith every single day despite the weather, or how many appointments cancelled, despite the rejection. She is one incredible missionary and I love her so much!
 Cute Shen YingJie (Karen). I will miss her so much! I love SongShan ward!


This week, we showed up to every appointment completely drenched. But not because of the rain. I asked Sister Peng if this is the hottest it gets and she just laughed at me. I apparently haven't seen anything yet. But I love it! I feel so exhausted everyday. The weather is so humid, and our area has a bunch of hills which makes biking a bit more difficult. But there's something so exciting to me about biking from place to place, out of breath, drenched in sweat, occasional unexpected rainstorms with no rain jacket with us, etc. It adds a thrill to the journey.

This week has been a bit difficult. Sister Peng and I struggle to communicate well with the language barrier, but I'm learning a lot of patience and humility. She is a very incredible missionary but I know she's struggling with a lot right now and we have to have patience with each other.

I was reading in Alma 37 this week and it helped me see the importance of "Finding Joy in the Journey". It can apply to more than just missionaries. Just the concept of continuing on in faith.

First, we need to do every little thing in our power to be better each day.
"6 Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.
7 And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls."

Then, we need to remember our purpose, and what we want to teach the people we meet on the streets.

"32 And now, my son, remember the words which I have spoken unto you; trust not those secret plans unto this people, but teach them an everlasting hatred against sin and iniquity.
33 Preach unto them repentance, and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ; teach them to humble themselves and to be meek and lowly in heart; teach them to withstand every temptation of the devil, with their faith on the Lord Jesus Christ.
34 Teach them to never be weary of good works, but to be meek and lowly in heart; for such shall find rest to their souls.
35 O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth; yea, learn in thy youth to keep the commandments of God."

Of course, we can't rely on ourselves. So we need to put our trust in God, and constantly pray to him. And when days are still hard, remember the blessings He has poured upon us in the past, and trust that they will still come.

"36 Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, let all thy thoughts be directed unto the Lord; yea, let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.
37 Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day."

This life wasn't meant to be easy. It was never easy for Christ. It can't be easy for us. If there were no challenges, there would be no growth. We wouldn't be able to experience joy if we didn't know the feeling of pain. Therefore, we have to press forward and be faithful and diligent.

"41 Nevertheless, because those miracles were worked by small means it did show unto them marvelous works.They were slothful, and forgot to exercise their faith and diligence and then those marvelous works ceased, and they did not progress in their journey;
42 Therefore, they tarried in the wilderness, or did not travel a direct course, and were afflicted with hunger and thirst, because of their transgressions.

44 For behold, it is as easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land.
46 O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way; for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever.
47 And now, my son, see that ye take care of these sacred things, yea, see that ye look to God and live. Go unto this people and declare the word, and be sober."

I miss you all! Hope you have a great week :)

Sister Hendricks
 The day before transfers, I got to spend the day with Sister Good and Sister Cardon in SongShan since all of our companions were at the trainer meeting! Super fun being companions with my MTC buddy for another day.
 Welcome to XiZhi!
 XiZhi has so many mountains~ SongShan had none. It's been a beautiful view everyday :)
Sister Peng and I! :)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Hello from XiZhi! Transfer 5~

Last Pday with Sister Stevens! We went to Taipei main station :)


Well, I said my Goodbyes to SongShan this week! Sister Stevens is training again, and I've been moved to the city next door in XiZhi. Still in the same district which is a little unusual, but it feels like I'm on the other side of the world. The rain here in XiZhi is basically never ending. It's interesting how big of a difference the weather is, even though it's only a few train stops away.

My new companion is Sister Peng! She's from Taichung, and doesn't speak very much English at all, so we only speak Chinese together. It's a little challenging, but also really cool. I think back to being in the MTC when our teachers only spoke Chinese with us and I couldn't understand a single thing they were saying. Now I can see that I actually have improved. I still have to ask her to repeat a lot, but it comes. It's such a weird thing.. I'm just sitting here, thinking about the fact that for the past 4 days I've only been communicating in Chinese. When I was with Sister Stevens, we'd still speak in English together most of the time. But now I feel completely immersed. It's a little bit of a lonely feeling, with the language barrier..but I'm learning how to have a good relationship with my companion and show her that I love her even though it's hard to express it vocally sometimes. I really feel so blessed to have this opportunity.

I'm really excited to be here in XiZhi. Sister Peng is a very loving missionary. I know she wants to share this message with everyone and I'm so excited to work with her and learn from her. I hope I can continue to grow, and not take any steps backwards. 

Transfer meeting was crazy. So many people went home this week! About 10% to be exact. But in the next few transfers, we are getting a lot of new missionaries and a new mission president! Lots of changes going on, but the work is still going. 

Something I loved from transfer meeting, was when an elder was sharing his testimony before going home. He shared a quote that changed him on his mission: "God is easy to please, but He's hard to satisfy".

I know that God is pleased with the work here in XiZhi. But I want Him to be satisfied. I'm excited for this new challenge, this new change.

Love you all!
Sister Hendricks

Mango smoothies and a tiny drink that came with our meal.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Transfers are this Week!

 We went on splits with our favorite members for the last time maybe! I love these girls. I really don't want to leave Song Shan ward!!

I really don't even know how to start this email.. Looking back at this week, I'm just in complete awe at all of the incredible experiences we had. From the second P-day ended Monday at 6 pm, we saw miracles hour after hour. Teaching lessons on the street, and exceeding our daily goals, finding a ridiculous amount of prepared people, teaching people how to pray, inviting people to be baptized, seeing peoples' hearts change, and the list goes on. It really has been an incredible, incredible week. I can't stop smiling, thinking about all of the people we met.. all of the conversations we had with people that were more than just small talk. It was such a happy week!

Sister Stevens and I talked a lot about what we thought the difference might be. What changed? When I first got on the island and was introduced to Song Shan, Sister Stevens and I committed to leave this area better than we found it, and to really build up this area by finding all the prepared people to share the gospel with. She was fairly new to the area as well, and I remember starting out feeling like I would never be able to speak a word of Chinese, or have a decent contact. I remember wondering how one could really serve for 18 months without seeing any progression first hand from so much hard work and effort. I remember wondering if we'd ever find a new progressing investigator.. I remember doubting that I'd be able to make a difference in this area at all. Weeks later, and here I am. I can't get this smile of my face, and this warm feeling to leave my heart.

One of the many experiences we had this week was during the last hour of the night after we had a lesson at the church. We had already done our 2 hours of finding, and were out of Books of Mormon and made our goals for the day, so we were feeling pretty good. We were going to decided whether we should go home and makes some calls to set up with people, or keep finding without Books of Mormon. But while we were at the church, there was a Book of Mormon sitting on a table, and we knew we needed to give it to someone tonight. We went to a park to keep finding, and met a guy named            . He was not interested. He said religion appeals to him in no way. Trying to determine whether we should move on to talk to someone else or not, I felt we needed to keep talking to him. After getting to know him and talking with him a bit, he said he'd pray with us. By the end of the contact, his whole countenance had changed. Sister Stevens said another prayer before we left and during the prayer, I could hear him breathing quicker and heavier, as if he was feeling something he'd never felt before...He said he'd be baptized if he knew the Book of Mormon was true. Looking back, I don't think our contact was that great. But the spirit was present. And it undoubtedly touched his heart.. 

I don't know why I have ever doubted. Everyday this week strengthened my faith more than ever. Our new investigators all really seem to be searching for these truths. After almost every person we talked with, Sister Stevens and I would just look at each other in complete awe. We'd return to our apartment every night with so much gratitude in our hearts, and smiles on our faces.

I've learned so much from these two transfers. Sister Stevens and I know we are so imperfect and weak, and I finally learned that those weaknesses are what built up our companionship and our area. Week after week, we made goals and focused on specific areas that we needed to improve on rather than feeling overwhelmed by every single thing we do wrong. We focused on having faith. We sincerely prayed for guidance to know who to talk to. We did our best to rely on God. 

Transfers are this week! We have no idea which one of us will be leaving. We find out this week, and then the transfer meeting is on Friday. I'm hoping neither of us will leave, but usually after training, then you get a "breaker" which is basically the companion you have that "breaks" you into missionary life. It's normally not your trainer, but you never know. We'll see! I'm a little nervous about not being Sister Stevens companion anymore. I've just loved being her companion so much and I have learned so much from her. Serving with her these past two transfers will undoubtedly shape the rest of my mission for good.

I was reading this morning in Alma 26:
 11 But Ammon said unto him: I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God.

 12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea,behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.

 13 Behold, how many thousands of our brethren has he loosed from the pains of hell; and they are brought to sing redeeming love, and this because of the power of his word which is in us, therefore have we not great reason to rejoice?

This chapter has taken a whole new meaning to me.
The success we've seen this week is all from God. I just feel so lucky to be apart of his work and to do my best to be an instrument in his hands. No matter who my new companion is, I know that God qualifies those that are called to serve him.

Sister Hendricks

 ​This was the funnest FHE I've ever been to. Being with a group of ladies from Song Shan ward. Seriously there's nothing better than these people.
 Got my essentials. Books of mormon, english class books, bug spray, helmet and contacting tracts.
​Taipei 101 in my hands.

Monday, May 11, 2015


Skyping with the Family!

This week has been so incredible in so many ways. I've been offered so many opportunities to grow and change and I feel very humbled and blessed. It all started with a decision. It's hitting me now more than ever the importance of soaking up my time here in Taiwan, and being here. Not just physically, but in my mind and heart as well. These past 7 months have passed by impossibly fast. The lessons I've learned in this time have been so necessary to my growth, and I want to enjoy all of it while I'm still here. And that's the decision I made - to be fully engaged in this work. I've seen from my time here so far that that is truly the only way I can change for the better, as well as feel content with life as it changes every day. Sometimes the unexpected happens when things are going so well. But I'm learning to find happiness in those situations. I feel I can finally say without a doubt that I trust in God's plan for me. I have no reason to doubt or fear for the unknown. It's a beautiful feeling.

This week we saw so much growth in our area in a matter of days. Sister Stevens and I have prayerfully searched for people to teach seeing that for so long, we only had 2 investigators to focus on. Since then, one has been baptized, and the other still needs time. It's been a challenge to not feel discouraged at times, or to feel like our effort was being wasted. But our hard work, and prayers continued. This week was a turning point. We had about an hour at the end of the night to find, so we did so in faith. We started talking to a guy that was getting into his car. He said his name was 何先生, which is the same last name as mine in Chinese. It didn't take him very long to say that he remembers meeting me on his motor scooter at a stoplight a while ago. The memory sprang into my mind and I realized that I remember talking to him after having a battle in my head whether I should or not. We started talking to him, and really got to know him. The whole conversation we had with him, I was filled with the Spirit. I was so touched that everything worked out as such. If I hadn't talked to him at that stoplight, I don't know how different that conversation would have been. But I feel like it was the perfect way to start talking with him and testifying of God's plan for him. Ever since that experience, we just saw miracles one right after another. The next day we had a few hours of finding. It was a little bit of a rough start, but we kept going and met this amazing family, 黃家庭. Then we went to English class and met this other guy that we met outside of our apartment while we were late getting to an appointment. But we talked to him quickly and got his number. At English class he expressed his desire to learn more and set an appointment with us. That wouldn't have happened if we weren't running late and met him and got his number. And following him, we've met several other people from various sources that want to meet with us. I've never had so many people to prepare for on my mission so far. Needless to say, we have been given such an incredible opportunity to really help these people.

I just know without a doubt in my mind that everything always works out to God's plan. I didn't realize that right away, but I feel so blessed that this week we were able to see so much progress in our area from little efforts that came from listening to the Spirit. I want to always feel like I'm doing my best, so the success from this week was followed by many goals. I feel like Sister Stevens and I were very blessed to witness so many blessings, and at the same time I have been so humbled. These people are so precious and their understanding of the gospel and helping them have an uplifting experience is on our shoulders at the moment. Not to mention that there are only 2 weeks left in the transfer where anything could happen. I just want to make sure I'm prepared to help these people even if Sister Stevens isn't my companion. But I know with the Lord's help, it will all go according to God's plan.

"Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God." Moroni 10:32

Also, Happy Mother's Day! Skyping with the family was so awesome!! I hope all of you with family members who are on missions enjoyed skyping them today :) 

Sister Hendricks

Monday, May 4, 2015

Seven Months Already!?

I think I forgot to send this last week. Super pretty garden where we  went English Boarding!

Man, weeks already go by so fast, but this week especially since we subtracted a few days. So many good things happened though. Going to the temple was so refreshing. I've really missed going frequently. I don't know what I'd do without the peace we can feel in the temple, which I felt like I really needed that day. But luckily, I get to feel a different kind of joy and peace daily - that I'm in the place I need to be, and even though I'm not perfect by any means, I'm learning and doing my best.

This week we went to a neighborhood that I was thinking about for a long time to go to, but it never fit into our schedule until now. We had our studies,  and then we had our weekly planning session, so between then we decided to have lunch and do some finding in that neighborhood. Right after our studies, we headed over there and gave ourselves about an hour with the goal of having two lessons and finding two new investigators. We had a lot of faith and started finding. About 45 minutes passed by, and we had spoken with and gave a few pass-along items to a few people that didn't have any interest and rejected us in one way or another. Eventually the whole hour passed by and we didn't have any lessons or find anyone that had any interest. It was a little strange to me because we both felt prompted to go to that road. Nevertheless, we decided to just say a prayer of gratitude and hope that the people we did talk to would be some sort of seed planted, and someday, someone else can be put in their path. We finished praying, and by then we were pretty hungry, but we saw a lady getting into her house across the street and we started talking to her. She was Buddhist, but listened to us, and found a lot of interest in our Family History program. I felt good after that contact. Then we went back to our bikes and this lady and her son were pulling into the house next to us on their bikes, and we recognized her little 8 or 9 year old son because we saw him and his nanny last week on the street and talked to him and gave him a few pass-along things to give to his family. This time he was with his mom and we started talking to them. His mom said their family was Buddhist and very traditional, but her and her husband are very interested in Christianity. They just fear that their family will disapprove if they change. She said one day she wants to change and raise her children in the Christian faith.

I've learned a lot about how little value immediate gratification has. There are so many tender mercies that the Lord gives us daily. That was just one simple example of continuing in faith and gratitude, despite the fact that we didn't get lunch that day. I don't know what will happen to all the people that we talked to in that time frame, but I hope that something good comes of it.

We hadn't heard from one of our investigators in particular for a while, so we headed over to his work just to see how he's been lately. We talked to him, and not much has changed. He's apparently been a little offended by some of the members which is why he hasn't been coming to church or other activities. We tried to help him see that the gospel has nothing to do with the members. Our relationship with Christ is between us and Him. He said he still wants to be baptized, but he wants to be ready and right now he doesn't feel ready. But we can still be there for him, and encourage him the best we can.
Classic night in Taiwan - except no rain tonight!

After that, we had about an hour of finding and we went to a park across the street from his work and went over to a neighborhood to knock on some doors. We saw this guy and started talking with him, and immediately it started pouring rain - literally out of nowhere. He offered to run inside and get us an umbrella. So we started teaching him, and he actually speaks like perfect English so we were talking in English the whole time, and I'm sad to say that I have retained zero teaching skills from using English. But the spirit was present, which is the most important thing. He's super awesome. He seems to have quite a bit of interest which is awesome! We're meeting with him at a member's house, so we'll see how it goes.

This week went by fast, but also pretty slow. I struggled a bit this week, but we had interviews with the Mission President yesterday and that helped me out a lot. President Day really knows the needs of us missionaries, and he gave me some good advice.

Anyways, all is well on the island of Taiwan. 

Sister Hendricks
Sunday dinner at Wu Ma's! I love these people.
I'm pretty sure we got fed three dinners in a row that night. I don't know how that happened. I love the Taiwanese so much!
We love Wu Ma! We missed her while she was in America for so long, and we've hung out with her on like every Pday since then haha. This was a couple weeks ago I think. 
AiFei is the cutest child I have ever seen. She's Wu Ma's granddaughter.
 More pictures from hike last week....