Sunday, June 28, 2015


 I love the Xie's! They're the senior couple in SongShan. I miss them!
 Even though Sister Peng and I aren't moving, every companionship went to the transfer meeting to say goodbye to President and Sister Day. 
Sister Good! 好久不見!

This week... man this week was great. Our short 5 week transfer came to an end, and surprisingly Sister Peng and I are continuing our service here in 汐止! These past 5 weeks have changed a lot about how I view my mission. I have never been so humbled, even to the dust of humility. I have never been so aware of all the things I need to change. At the same time, I've never been so determined to change. I feel so completely reliant and dependent on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Sister Peng has always got a new companion at every transfer, so we were both pretty surprised that we'll be together again. I feel so blessed that God is giving me another chance to be a better companion. I feel at peace that for these next 7 weeks, I can apply the things I've learned, and start fresh.

The week started out with Sister Peng getting a terrible cold/fever that she is still recovering from. Obviously, getting sick is never a positive thing....except in this instance. Lately, I have been really praying for my companion. I have been praying that she can feel God's love for her and find the testimony that she truly does possess. I've been praying that God will give her an experience that will change her heart. I've been praying that someone can help her - whether it be me, a member, another missionary, I didn't know. Just, someone..

The day she got sick, I called Sister Day (mission president's wife) as well as our Sister Training Leaders to let them know we were staying in for the day. Later that day our STLs called us back and said that they had a huge impression to come spend the day in 汐止 with us. So Sister Branch could go out with me to our appointments and then Sister Wu could stay and take care of Sister Peng. Later that night, the elders in our ward came over to give Sister Peng a priesthood blessing. The blessing was presented and the Spirit filled the room. It was a very powerful blessing that I knew was straight from our Father in Heaven. Especially because everything Elder Andelin said in the blessing was exactly what Sister Peng has been questioning - things that he didn't know about her. I know this experience was what I was praying for. I know Sister Wu was the person who needed to help my companion. She was able to talk with her and help her in ways that I wouldn't be able to. It's just amazing how God truly knows what we need. Through this experience, Sister Peng has been changed and really come to feel God's love. 

I truly believe in the power of prayer. God does hear and answer every prayer. God truly lives and loves each of us. Sometimes, we may not feel like He is listening. Sometimes it may seem like such a long time has gone by since feeling God's love.. but I feel like we can all follow Sister Peng's example and never give up. Never give up on prayer. Her example is evidence to me that God really loves each one of us. 

She's feeling better this week, and we both feel very excited for another transfer together and for this opportunity to help 汐止 grow with a fresh new start! 

Sister Hendricks

 Rice dumplings for the Mid Summer festival!

So good!
Hot Pot with Sister Branch!

I passed off Phase I!!!!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Transfer 5 is coming to a quick end!

Sister Branch and I and Elder Mansell - Great Pday!!

This week was great. We saw a lot of improvement here in XiZhi. Sister Peng and I have been really praying for opportunities to meet the prepared. We know we are not perfect, in fact we both have so many things to work on individually and as a companionship. We've really worked on the power of the Atonement and really humbled ourselves.

I remember one night this week while I was saying my nightly prayers, I felt so vulnerable and inadequate. I felt like I was failing in so many areas. I didn't feel like I was making a difference in XiZhi. I didn't feel like I was qualified to understand and uplift my struggling companion. I didn't feel like I was really doing what God expects of me during this transfer. For a while, my prayers have been directed towards praying that next transfer, I would be put with a companion and in an area that would help me and uplift me, rather than make me feel so inadequate and insecure. 

But then I realized I needed to change my prayers.. I know my companion is still struggling. I'm starting to realize that I need to help her before I help myself. I started praying that whatever happens next transfer, will be appropriate for Sister Peng. I pray that whoever she is with and wherever she is sent, she will be able to feel God's love for her. That her companion will be able to help her, love her, and encourage her. That she can find happiness wherever she is sent. That she will be able to change the things she's been wanting to change for so long. That she will be able to have an experience that will strengthen her testimony. 

I really want the best for her. I have endless faith is God's plan. I know He will provide for Sister Peng. I know He will help her develop a testimony through the help of others, and through her own hard work and experience. 

I wanted to share a really cool miracle we had this week. After being rejected for what seemed like weeks on end, we were out finding one morning before lunchtime, and met a really awesome new investigator. He was intrigued by the Book of Mormon, and had a pretty open schedule, willing to meet up with us and be baptized on July 18th. It was really awesome. Then, with only 10 minutes left before lunch, we walked passed a guy sitting on a bench, but he had his headphones in, so we kept walking. After about 10 seconds, we both turned around and started talking to him. His name's Jeff, and he's a super nice guy from Canada. His parents are from Taiwan so he's just here visiting for a couple months, and his first language is English but he also speaks really good Chinese. Turns out, his mother was an active Christian when he was young and he remembers going to church with her, but then their family just got too busy with things. But we started talking with him. We asked him if he believes in God, and he said he believes in a greater being, but he hasn't pondered on the concept of a God for a while. Then he stopped and thought for a second and then said "...I think I want to know more about God. Is there any way I can meet with you and learn more?" By that point I was speechless. I was speaking English, I could actually understand him, and on top of that he was a very prepared person that God had placed in our paths that day. 

Definitely a tender mercy that I didn't deserve. If I've learned one thing this transfer, it's that God gave me these past 5 weeks to show me every little thing I needed to change. I have seen a side to me that I've never seen before. A side that I never want to see again. But because of this, I have truly experienced the cleansing and purifying power of the Atonement. I have truly discovered and recognized that there is nothing I have done personally that has brought "success" as a missionary. It has all been from my Father in Heaven. This week we have transfer meeting, and we find out on Wednesday if we are moving or not. I finally feel content that God knows where we need to be and who we need to be with. I'll go where He wants me to go.

Sister Hendricks

 Sister Peng & I
 I love YingJie!! I miss SongShan ward members!
I love this zone so much!
Ice Skating with our district and WanDa district!!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Had the best Zone Conference with our amazing President and Sister Day! It was our last Zone Conference with them before they go home. Our whole mission will really miss them so much. Here, they did a roleplay for us, acting out a day in the life of a missionary. Haha, they will be missed so so much.

I've been reminded of a lesson I learned while at the MTC several months ago. The experiences we have in this life that test our faith are like an hour glass. We gain experience, learn, grow, achieve and become something more everyday, like a waterfall of sand. The sand falls and creates a foundation and over time it builds up into mounds that represent our continual growth. The mounds form into pyramid like figures, until they "collapse" to widen the foundation. Without the "collapse" the sand has no foundation to build upon. Without the "collapse", there is no room for growth. 

These "collapses" are necessary. The experiences we have in this life that test our faith are necessary for our growth. I too often forget that life has to be hard. A mission has to be hard. We have to be tested beyond our limits and comfort zone. We need to embrace challenges with open arms, eager to change, fully relying on the one who made it all possible. It IS the only way. There is absolutely no room to rely on ourselves. We are too weak. We need the cleansing power of the Atonement.

My mission has not failed to humble me to the dust of humility. It has brought me to a knowledge of every imperfection I possess of and all the goodness I lack in. My weaknesses have become a constant reminder to me that I do need the Savior's atonement. I know my mission is hard, but the lessons I have learned thus far, the changes I've seen in myself and in so many others, the tender mercies of the Lord that are showered upon us daily.. all these things outweigh the days when I'm not feeling my best. When all I hear is Chinese, rather than the thoughts and feelings of my companion or investigators. The days when all I hear is "bu yong" (Chinese for 'no use', which means 'I don't need to hear your message'). The days when the discouragement and exhaustion seem too severe..

But the knowledge I have gained that Christ truly IS my Savior, and that I undoubtedly know that this gospel is true has brought me to a new light. This life-long pursuit of becoming truly converted to my Savior is definitely the hardest and most humiliating, yet happiest and most rewarding pursuit a person can take. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything.

Sister Hendricks
Huang Jie Mei, a member from SongShan came to XiZhi ward yesterday! The people I've met here in Taiwan are all so special. I love them so much!

Monday, June 8, 2015


Sister Peng & I

Another week full of challenges. Another week full of growth. It's been a pretty difficult transition into this new area. But this week.. I really felt the power of the Atonement.

I've been trying to find the big difference between my experience in SongShan and XiZhi. Why does it seem like the work here is so much more difficult? Why can't we find anyone to listen to us? Why does it feel like all my effort is going to waste? What are we lacking in? What can I improve? Of course there's the language barrier that's been difficult between my companion and I. But I haven't been able to find out why my companion and I lack so much in unity. It makes it difficult to help this area progress if we aren't on the same page.

My companion has been struggling with her testimony for a long time. She  often wonders why she's on her mission and struggles to feel God's love and guidance of the spirit..But this week, I saw everything turn around. It was amazing. Throughout the week, I looked for things I needed to change to help my companion and I. I stopped getting frustrated when I didn't understand her Chinese. I abandoned the mindset that my companion's way of doing things wasn't as great as "my way". I started listening to her. I started loving her. Truly loving her. Being not only her companion, but her friend. 

One night after a long, tiring day of rejection and not much success, I asked her how she was doing and what I could do for her, and she completely opened up to me. The really amazing thing was that she was speaking in complete Chinese, and I truly understood every word. I know I was able to understand her because I was really listening with love. I think this was the first, most powerful time I have truly felt the power of the gift of interpretation since being on my mission. I felt like I finally understood her. After we talked, I felt very humbled. I really learned to swallow up my pride.

We had exchanges with our incredible sister training sisters this week and Sister Wu really helped me see things from a bigger perspective. I know that God puts us into our companionships and in our areas for a specific reason. Whether it be to prepare us for future family relations, or to learn a specific gospel principle. Whatever it is, it is all according to God's plan. I am learning so much from Sister Peng this transfer. Ever since I really stopped thinking that "my way" was better, and I really let myself be open to new ideas, and really work as a unit - everything has changed. I've focused more on loving her and encouraging her. I've really taken the advice she's given me as an opportunity to change and be a better companion.
Me and my favorite STL in the whole world! Sister Wu!!

I've seen such a change in Sister Peng this week... nothing is happening suddenly. But gradually, I can see her exercising more and more faith. I can see her efforts in really using the power of prayer and relying on God to change and find her relationship with him. She has really set an example to me of a righteous missionary. It reminds me of this quote by Hugh Nibley that I can't remember perfectly.. but basically he says that anybody who is repenting is a righteous man. Anyone using the Atonement of Jesus Christ to change is a truly righteous man. 

Sister Peng has set that example for me. I know that because of Jesus Christ, we can change. All it takes is faith, and a lot of prayer. Sister Peng has proved to me that anyone can change through our Savior. I am so grateful I have been blessed with this challenge. Challenges really do bring blessings when we humbly accept that we need to change. When challenges arrive, I truly know that it's because God is giving us the opportunity to change.

I love my companion. I love this area. I love being God's missionary.

Sister Hendricks
We met some friends!

 A little taste of XiZhi rain!