Monday, August 31, 2015

20 years old????

This was the haircut that should have happened when summer started. Not right when the weather starts to cool down. Oh well, change is nice!
Another great week here in MuZha! I love this area more and more every day. I feel so blessed to be part of such an amazing ward, have the two greatest companions, and meet new people every day to share the gospel with. Sister Haupt and I didn't blow up MuZha while Sister Luo was gone either, so that's good news. I also noticed a huge difference in my health this week after receiving a blessing from President Jergensen. I realized that a lot of it has to do with faith, and focusing more on the things I can do, rather than the things I can't. I had to have faith in the blessing that was given to me, and I also made the decision to change my focus and change my thoughts. Being a missionary leaves very little time to think about myself, and I realized once I focused less on my stomach pains and more on my calling, our task at hand, the needs of the people we talk to, etc. I saw a huge difference. I know that faith, hard work, love, and service have made a difference in my physical health and as a result, we saw so many miracles this week!

It was so exciting meeting with Qiu Jiating this week! They are so awesome, and really have a desire to feel the truthfulness of this message. They were both willing to set a baptismal date for Oct. 3rd! Their only concern right now is they are busy and don't see a reason in setting up a time for us to meet with them. But we have a lot of faith in them! And then Wang Jiating is also doing so well. They've been investigators for a while. Zhui JieMei (the wife) is so prepared to be baptized and has wanted to for a long time, but wants to wait for her husband so they can be baptized together. But yesterday we met with them after church and encouraged her to follow that prompting instead of waiting for her husband to be baptized. In our Gospel Principles class, we were discussing missionary work and they asked us missionaries why we were willing to serve a mission and I shared my testimony of being exactly where the Lord wants me to be and trusting in His plan for me. Zhui JieMei said she wants to do the same and knows that this is God's plan for her. She's going to be baptized on Sept. 12th! We are so excited for her! I know her husband will come around on his own time, and will see her example for their family. 

Having my birthday as a missionary was a lot different than I expected. In fact, I wasn't expecting anything to happen out of the ordinary. But I guess when you're born in an area as wonderful as 松山 SongShan, you get visited by your favorite members at church! Sister Trouble and YingJie both came to 木柵 MuZha ward yesterday to surprise me for my birthday! And not to mention the members here in 木柵 MuZha that brought me gifts as well. It was so fun spending my birthday on the island of Taiwan, with the people that I love so much. Of course I miss my family and friends back home, but I couldn't be more grateful for the people I am with now. These people have changed my life and influenced me in so many ways. I love love love love love LOVE Taiwan and the Taiwanese. There isn't any where I'd rather be than here because I know this is where I need to be. I know my mission is teaching me the things I need to learn. I know God is placing people in my life everyday. I love this mission more than anything and I wouldn't trade this experience for the world. There is nothing more amazing than this experience. As I type, I'm struggling finding words to adequately describe my love for my mission but I can't describe it. Partly because my English is getting worse every day and I think more in Chinese than I do in English. But mostly because there is no way to describe how incredible, how influential, how rewarding, how fulfilling it is to be a missionary.

My heart is so full!
Sister Hendricks

View of MuZha from Taipei 101!
I finally went to Taipei 101! It is so incredible!
They are all members of the church! What are the chances of seeing them in the middle of Taiwan?

Us inside the worlds fastest elevator to the top of Taipei 101!
This proves that YuYis really do work. I accidentally wore the one that was ripped in half, resulting in a very wet skirt
​I can't get enough of this temple!
Celebrating Elder Alder's birthday with the district and our cute member, Lin JieMei! August 28th! (Sister Luo is next on 9/4 and then Sister Haupt on 9/27)
Elder Alder, Elder Roe, Sister Luo, Sister Haupt, me, Lin JieMei
Sister Trouble and Karen! I LOVE THEM!
They brought me a cake! Ahh I love them.
Our investigator family, Wang JiaTing's son, MaoMao and I! This cute little guy and I share the same birthday! He turned 2 yesterday :)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Tripanionship of Power!

Sister Good is so crazy! These are all the sisters in the mission at the temple tour training except for the ones that were on the east coast.
This week was so amazing! Yesterday was probably one of the most exciting and fulfilling days of my mission so far. I've been on my mission for almost 11 months (in Taiwan about 6), and I still haven't had the challenge of taking over an area, other than when going on an exchange for about 24 hours. But today after we email, our companion Sister Luo (and several other missionaries) was invited by the President to participate in a "Taipei Mission Tsunami". Basically they get a bunch of missionaries from different areas together and send them to an area that really needs help for a whole week to build up the area. So for the next week, it will be Sister Haupt and I in MuZha. I'm only one transfer ahead of Sister Haupt, so it will be great practice for both of us to take over the area. I've always been a little scared to do so, but after yesterday, I have a lot of confidence in God's work, no matter what missionary is in charge of the area. 

So, yesterday. There's this neighborhood up in the mountains in our area that has a bunch of people, including a LOT of less active members. It takes a lot of time to ride our bikes there, and taking the bus there is pretty expensive. Basically, missionaries seldom go there because it's super inconvenient. But we had this awesome member drive us there yesterday to visit less-active members. And since we are so blessed to have 3 of us, we went on splits to double the work. So Sister Luo went with our member, and then Sister Haupt and I went knocking on doors in the neighborhood. At first, there wasn't much success. We walked passed this lane and I had a feeling to go there but we just kept walking. About 15 seconds later, Sister Haupt said "what are you feeling?" and I immediately turned and pointed at the lane and said "there" haha and we started knocking doors and then this lady walked out of the apartment building that we were knocking doors on, so we started talking with her. We asked her if we could say a prayer with her and she said she'd love to and then it immediately started pouring rain, so we stepped inside the doorway of the apartment building. Then Sister Haupt started to say the prayer and then the lady's husband suddenly steps out of the elevator and the lady (her name is Zhou), starts talking to him all excited that these two missionaries from America were helping her say a prayer. So we invited him to pray with us too, and he looked so amused/confused. Then Zhou invited us to come inside because of the rain and at first I said "Oh no it's okay, we don't want to interrupt your afternoon" and right after those words from Satan left my mouth, a small voice told me 'Sister Hendricks, Sharing the gospel is not something to be sorry about. Be a little bold.' and I quickly said "Actually if we could just have 15 minutes of your time, we'd love to share this message that will bless your family" and they agreed and let us up to their home. Just like that. We sat down, introduced ourselves and shared a simple but powerful overview of the Restoration of the gospel, completely lead by the spirit. These people are INCREDIBLE. The father, Qiu, said he has so many friends who are Christian or Buddhist and they are very dedicated and guided by their religion and he envies that because he's never had a true "feeling" towards any religion or belief in anything. 

The amazing thing was that the whole time, I didn't think once about what I needed to say, or how to say anything in Chinese. I truly understood everything they said to us, and I truly felt the Spirit working through Sister Haupt and I as we taught and testified. The reason I say that this day was the most exciting and fulfilling day of my mission thus far is because I truly felt and experienced the power of the Spirit guiding us. Telling me where to go, telling Sister Haupt to talk to this lady, telling us what to say at just the right time. I seriously get chills as I think of the promised blessing in D&C 84:85 "Neither take ye thought beforehand 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 man." I can truly testify with all my heart that I KNOW this is true. I absolutely know that God guided my companion and I to these people.

Our companionship has been so so blessed. We were a little discouraged starting out our week with several visits to the doctor, taking us away from proselyting time, but I really know that God is guiding our companionship. We've received a crazy amount of member referrals and had the opportunity to do splits yesterday. I know that God won't stop His work in MuZha just because of a sickness that I can't control. We all have faith in this area, and are looking forward to a week of miracles ahead!

Sister Hendricks

Sister Oviatt, Sister Good and Me together again :)
Sister Good, Me, and Sister Haacke

Monday, August 17, 2015

Welcome to 木柵!

I'm going to miss this district more than anything. I LOVE SongShan and XiZhi missionaries!!
It's the start of a new transfer already!? I feel like after every transfer ends, they just get quicker and quicker. My time in XiZhi felt so long, yet so short. I can't even begin to think about all the changes that came from my time there. I feel like a completely different person. I feel like my mission is like a marathon with a bunch
I love Sister Stevens so much!!
of hills, and my time in XiZhi was a constant sprint up the steepest, longest hill in the race. The time where I have to work the hardest and sweat the most, but also have the most patience because it's not until I reach the top of the hill that I feel like I've accomplished anything at all. The amazing thing is, I feel I made it to the top of the hill, and now that I've caught my breath, I can look back and see what I've done. During that sprint, there were times that I tripped and felt there was no way to stand up and keep going. I know I'm not a perfect person, and I definitely wasn't a perfect companion. But the biggest lesson I learned was how to truly rely on Jesus Christ. I know that it was only through Him that I could get back up on my feet. The
My cute Sister Peng!! I will miss her so much. I'm so grateful for my time with her and all that she taught me. She's going to be such a great trainer!!
Atonement of Jesus Christ is real. I feel like it wasn't until I served in XiZhi that I truly learned the reality that Christ REALLY atoned for our sins. Being the imperfect person I am, I know that I need Him in order to change at all. Because of the atonement, I now feel prepared to continue on in this marathon. No matter how many hills are ahead.

That's Taipei 101 behind us!

Transfer day came, and I'm now in the beautiful city of 木柵 MuZha! This transfer is going to be a little special. I've been put into the only tripanionship in the mission with Sister Luo and Sister Haupt! Yes, I have TWO companions. To be honest, we were all pretty nervous at first. I've never been in a trio before. But I have been so impressed with how quickly we developed good communication, and love right from the start. There's still a whole transfer ahead of us, but I feel very confident that we can do this.

​XieYiLing's baptism!
Sister Luo and her last companion, Sister Knapp taught this investigator XieYiLing, and she got baptized yesterday! It was exciting to see her baptism. After the baptism, we returned home to drop off some things and planned to go finding for the last hour of the night. But we were so tired, seriously the biggest wave of exhaustion
Our member, Kenna Ling at XieYiLing's baptism!
overcame us all, and we were so tempted to just stay in for the night. But the voice in my head told me to say a prayer and ask for the energy to go out and work for that last hour. So we agreed that was the best thing to do and we said a prayer and went out to work. It was incredible how quickly I felt energized and ready to go. I can seriously testify that Satan will do everything he can to stop us from sharing the gospel, because the very first person we talked to was so prepared and we had such a spiritual lesson with her right on the side of the road. Her name is ZhangReiHan and she is our new investigator! 
I am so grateful for my time in XiZhi that really broke me down and humbled me. And I'm also very excited to be here in MuZha! I just have to say, I am loving my mission more and more everyday, despite the hills, the sprinting, and the tripping. I know that God gives us every experience for our benefit. It's up to us to decide how to learn from it.

Sister Hendricks
My cute companionS Sister Haupt and Sister Luo!
More familiar faces! Temple Tours Training day is the best. I love Sister Gabbitas and Sister Knapp!
Had Temple Tour Training this week and saw some familiar faces! :)
Sister Good, Sister Oviatt, me, Sister Haacke, and Sister Lindsay!
A couple weeks ago, we went to do TaiChi with Sister Jergensen and her daughter Maddie while we were on exchanges! Wow I'm seriously going to miss Central Zone so soo much!
The view from our apartment! I love this place!
Our new apartment!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Yes. We survived!

A nice visit from the biggest typhoon in the last 20 years was exciting. It lasted about a day and a half and hit every city in Taiwan. Our apartment, being on the 22nd floor, was shaking back and forth for days. It was super scary at some points, but really cool. This is what our President emailed us this week:

"We enjoyed witnessing the typhoon last weekend. We were so amazed with the gale force winds and the torrential rain Saturday. In Taipei, huge trees were uprooted. Branches, limbs, and other debris was scattered on the roads. I heard from a member that it was one of the biggest typhoons in 20 years. Crazy!
We are so excited to report that all missionaries are safe. The only problems I heard were some minor apartment flooding and that two apartments lost electricity. We feel that our mission was greatly blessed and protected.

I received a call early Saturday morning from our In-Field Representative to get an update on you missionaries due to the storm. President Uchtdorf wanted to know if all missionaries were safe in our mission. I told him all missionaries were accounted for and safe. I am grateful for the love and concern from the First Presidency for each of you missionaries.

Typhoon day activities!
By the way, we sent out two mass emails to your parents and we posted information on the website to update parents regarding your safety before and during the storm."

So yeah, pretty cool. All is well.

Lots of changes this week! We have transfers Friday, and just like every transfer day so far, I am always so surprised at what will happen. I thought FOR SURE I would be staying in XiZhi, but Sister Peng got a call from the Assistants Saturday night to be a Trainer in XiZhi! I'm so excited for her! But I'm also so so sad to be leaving XiZhi. I have grown seriously so much in this area and have learned to truly LOVE this area, ward, our investigators, and my companion. It will be hard to leave, but I know that God is in charge of His work and I know that where ever I'm sent this transfer will be exactly where I need to be.

I have learned a lot these past two transfers, but I think the biggest thing I've learned is that my mission is not about me. I have really learned the importance of being motivated by love. I have learned the importance of forgetting about myself. I am growing from my mission, and I have seen others grow along the way. It's the most incredible experience I could ever ask for and I never want it to end!

Sister Hendricks
Cute Jian Yi Ting cooked us the best meal ever. Love these people!
We went to NeiHu on Pday to eat at our member's restaurant! They cooked it for us and it was soooo good. 

Sister Peng & I

​Ahhh I am going to miss my cute 本地人! I love Sister Peng so much! She's going to be the best Mama ever!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Wow I love being a Missionary!

Cute member from XinAn! Ou Jie Mei~
Sister Branch and I with Ou Jie Mei! 

It doesn't matter how much I've already learned, because every single day there's a new lesson to learn. Recognizing and accepting weaknesses has truly compelled me to learn and it's really strengthened me.

I can't choose one highlight of my week, because it was all great!  Great English Class, lots of new investigators, Temple Tours, spontaneous exchange with our sister training leaders, Father's Day activity with our members (this week is Father's Day in Taiwan), and an amazing Fireside last night.    
Temple Tours
But if I had to choose, I really feel like our exchange this week taught me a lot. So I went to XinAn with Sister Branch, and then Sister Aldous came to XiZhi with Sister Peng. We planned on taking the train and meeting them at the MRT transfer station at 5 pm. Sister Peng and Sister Aldous had a lesson at 6 pm, but our STLs told us they were going to be late, and then our phone stopped working and we were getting pretty stressed because we had no way of calling our investigator to tell him they'd be late. And then once we finally exchanged, I realized I forgot to give Sister Aldous my bike key. Basically, it was a stressful start. It was so interesting that in that short amount of time, it felt like the end of the world. Nonetheless, we had an incredible exchange. And I learned quickly that things always always work out! The stress is never worth it.

Recently, a problem I've been dealing with is having confidence. I learned a lot from Sister Branch and felt very uplifted. I've been wondering why I've been feeling this way lately, and I thought back to when I was serving in Georgia where I felt very confident in myself but most importantly my calling, and who I represent. I've been pondering lately on what has changed, and I thought back to the day when I started filling out my mission papers and felt the impression that I would be sent to a place where I would learn a very difficult language. I remember feeling so clearly that I needed to learn a language because there was a big lesson to be learned from it. 

There are many reasons why I'm in Taiwan, learning Chinese to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But this week, I feel I learned at least one reason why I've been given the challenge to learn Mandarin Chinese. I realized that something holding me back and making it difficult for me to have full and complete confidence is this language. Despite the dramatic change I've seen in my language skills since having a native companion, I've noticed that there's a voice in the back of my head telling me I can't do it. I've almost started to believe that for the rest of my mission, I will only be able to speak enough "to get by", instead of fulfilling the vision I have for myself. 

However, coming to this realization has done a lot more than motivate me. It's really helped me remember that "I can do all things through Christ". I have full and complete confidence in Him. I learned this week that if I have confidence in God, then that's enough. It all starts with humility, then prayer, and then getting up off your knees and going to work. I know I will learn this language. I know I will be able to make a difference. I have so much confidence in God's plan for me.

Long email this week, sorry. Last thing. Yesterday, after 3 weeks of having no investigators attend church, we had 2 attend. TWO. And they are both incredible!! One is our cute investigator that's been out of town for a couple weeks, Xie Wen Yun. And the other is named Wang Jun Fu. We met him sometime last week, and it was really a miracle. We were praying the night before, deciding where we needed to go to find a new investigator. This random image came into my mind of a 7-11 on the side of a not very busy road. So, we went. We started finding around that area at night and it started raining, but we didn't have umbrellas and we hadn't talked to anyone with potential for 25 or so minutes. So we started walking back to our bikes, and then the image of the 7-11 came back into my head. I looked at the building, and saw no one around, but we started towards the 7-11 anyways and then literally right outside the front door of this tiny convenient store, a father and his daughter walked passed us to enter. We immediately started talking to him. He was in a rush, so we just wrote down his phone number, and then Sister Peng suddenly asked him if we could set a time to meet up with him and he did. It was probably a total of 25 seconds that we talked with him. But while we were on exchanges, Sister Peng met with him and he set a baptismal date for August 29th. He came to our Father's Day activity and the Fireside. Such a miracle. 

Well, that's all for this week. I know I know I know this work is true! I know that no matter what the challenge is, if you push through with faith, I KNOW the blessings will come. Those blessings and the lessons learned along the way are worth more than anything I could ever ask for. 

Sister Hendricks

Hot Pot! Probably my favorite meal in Taiwan. You pick the ingredients you want and cook it yourself. 
Buy your companion ICE CREAM day! It's incredible how much my taste buds have changed.. I could hardly finish.
Our investigator Xie Wen Yun gave us the cutest gifts from GaoSheng!  

Some good lookin' missionaries!