Monday, September 28, 2015

中秋節快樂 !

I Hungry , , , Just Do Eat!
Happy Mid-Autumn festival! Taiwan's special holiday :) Lots of 月餅 moon cakes, 柚子 oriental grapefruits, and 烤肉 barbecue. It was Sister Haupt's birthday and so fun to celebrate! Poor Taiwan got a lot of rain though, so outdoor barbecue was a bit of a challenge. It certainly didn't stop them from enjoying the holiday though. I love this culture!

So plot twist... transfers were pushed back a week because most of the new missionaries were waiting on visas. But they're arriving this week and transfers will be Thursday! I'm pretty sure we're going to break a record of the longest tripanionship together in the mission. 7 weeks haha. I'm actually super grateful we have been given one more week together. It would have been a bummer ending the transfer after being sick with the flu for a whole week. I definitely wasn't my best self, so I'm really grateful we were able to have a good week together. And now that the flu has passed me by, and I went to the doctor for the last time this week, I feel so much better. I really learned a lot from this experience. I realized that this set back really affected me for the worse. But now that it's over, I can see how all it took was patience, perseverance, and faith. I can see that God gave me this small trial for my benefit. It's given me a new perspective to keep my chin up when things are hard

This week was seriously so awesome. I loved every day! We went on splits with members almost every day to double the work, and really take advantage of being in a trio while we can. We also had such an incredible opportunity to go to the temple with Zhui JieMei for her first time!! She is so incredible. It was a really cool experience watching someone enter into the temple for the first time. The elders in our ward are still teaching her husband and he just passed his baptismal interview yesterday and will be baptized on Saturday! Ah, I'm so so happy for their family. 

I learned a really cool lesson this week. We were finding one day this week and we had so much hope to find new investigators. After about 2 1/2 hours, we couldn't get a single person to even give us their phone number, let alone share our testimonies with them. We didn't let it discourage us, as we were really looking forward to finding new people to teach. The next day, we went on splits with a member and I was with Sister Luo. We met this college student, Chen, and at first he didn't seem to have any interest in talking with us, but he was at least willing to listen, and then eventually we were able to teach him how to pray, and we heard him say his first prayer. After the prayer, he said he wanted to know more. He lives in Taichong, so we referred him to the missionaries there. 

I was talking with my companions afterwards, and we decided that having a small spiritual experience (no matter whether or not it will actually "count" as a key indicator) really outweighs every rejection we've ever faced. The thing is, it was so simple. In fact, I've had similar experiences throughout my entire mission. But that night it was a different feeling because I recognized it as a miracle. No matter how simple the contact was, we were able to hear someone sincerely speak with God for the first time. Having just one experience of testifying to someone about God, and really helping them to feel that He lives... it makes it all worth it. I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything.

I am so grateful to be a missionary. It really does have it's ups and downs, but it's really taught me to never give up. And I don't ever want to leave this area, but I know I need to be okay with where ever I get sent and whoever I'm with because God knows what we need to learn more than we do.

Sister Hendricks
Taking care of my little Taiwanese companion!

Sister Luo doesn't know why we say "raining cats and dogs" so she says "raining pigs and cows"

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Another transfer coming to an end...

What do you get with 5 missionaries and 1 stop light?

Wow the transfer is already coming to an end. I really learned a lot this transfer. I've learned that the hardest times teach us the biggest lessons. I'll be honest, it hasn't been my best week. I think the most difficult part of this transfer has been being sick. It's been difficult trying to figure out how to deal with it all as a missionary. I've been feeling nauseous, weak, and throwing up all week. Luckily, we have so many members that are more than willing to go on splits so there's still work getting done in our area, but we are going to see the doctor after emailing to get the problem fixed. I just want more than anything to be healthy again. 
​This is called Gua Sha. Our stake president's wife took care of me yesterday and this is what she did. Some sort of Chinese Medicine. You rub oil on the back of your neck and then take this tool to softly scratch your neck, and if it turns red that means you're sick. She scraped my neck and it immediately turned red. But then it made me feel much better!
Gosh, I hope I don't leave this area. Moving calls are Wednesday night! I really hope I stay in MuZha.  This is our apt building.
But something I've really learned from all of this is that there is always a lesson to be learned. Something I've noticed these past few weeks as I write in my journal at the end of the night, is that whenever there's something difficult that day that I write about, a thought pops into my head that Christ understands. For the past week or so, I've been pondering on how persecuted and misunderstood Christ was. He was the perfect being. He did no wrong to anyone. Yet every small, practically microscopic, problem I hold is one among thousands of others that He carries. I am beyond imperfect, and sometimes I catch myself complaining about being sick, or something. But then I have to quickly remind myself that it's not the end of the world. Christ didn't ever murmur a complaint or anything during His atoning sacrifice. In fact, His last words as He hung on the cross were "Father, forgive them. For they know not what they do."

The fact that He can so easily love and forgive others.. it is so moving to me. How can I be like that? How can I push aside every pain and trouble I face and turn outward? I've grown such a strong desire to love others the way Christ loved. I'm really determined to turn this situation around. I know I'm not perfect, but the way the Gospel of Jesus Christ is set up, is so that we can always start fresh. If we have a broken heart and a contrite spirit and humbly seek for guidance, then the Atonement can really make a difference in our lives. I know I need to change and become more Christ-like.

Sister Hendricks

We all need  comfort and hugs :)
Dinner with Du JieMei and Xie Yi Ling!
Splits with members! SO much fun!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Yang Ming Shan!! 

Family and friends~

It's still really hard to see our recent convert, Xie Yi Ling fall away so quickly. She hasn't been to church once since her baptism, and it's hard setting up times to meet with her. No matter how hard we try, she still has her agency. Of course we have to respect that as our Father in Heaven does to all of His children, but it just breaks my heart. She says she's noticed it's really hard for her to feel the spirit since her baptism, and things just don't seem to be going well. We try helping her understand that she needs to obey God's commandments in order to receive the blessings He promises to us. She knows what she needs to do. The hard part is watching her do her own thing that isn't bringing her the happiness she needs. I pray she can have a change of heart.

On the other hand, we were able to attend the most amazing baptism of our investigator, Zhui JieMei on Saturday! They are such an amazing family. She's wanted to be baptized for a long time but has waited for her husband to be ready to be baptized with her. But last week, we invited her to be baptized when SHE'S ready, and accepted the date of September 12th. We promised her that her family would follow her example. God really blesses those that are faithful and believe in him. This week her husband, Wand DiXiong had an incredible experience through prayer that was a turning point in his personal conversion. On his own, he decided he needed to quit smoking and set a baptismal date! Even though he won't be baptized until Oct. 3rd, it was still the most amazing baptism - seeing this cute family make their first big step to unite as an eternal family. Zhui JieMei is seriously so full of faith and has made the biggest impact on her family, and will continue to as they all continue to prepare to be sealed together in the temple. I'm so so excited for them!

Man, I really learned a lot this week. I'm so so so lucky to be a missionary. I've learned so much and continue to learn everyday. I've noticed that I go into every transfer with high hopes and a lot of confidence, and a short week after every transfer meeting, I'm very humbled and realize so quickly that with every new transfer comes God's creative way of showing me what I need to improve. This time it's through having two companions. There's definitely a reason trios usually only last a few weeks or so. We're the only trio in the mission that's been together for a whole transfer. All I'm gonna say is Heavenly Father really loves us so he's just testing us to see how long we can go haha. I love my companions though. Even though we all have different ideas and sometimes don't all agree on one idea, I've learned that we are all here with the same intentions to serve God and to do good. None of us is "better" than the others, and none of us have terrible ideas. We're all the same in God's eyes, and we're all doing our best to build up our companionship and area despite the weaknesses we all obtain. 

We had an Outdoor Zone Conference this week and it was the BEST day of my life. We went HIKING up Yang Ming Shan, the most beautiful place in the universe. I LOVE Taiwan. It was so nice to shake things up a bit and receive personal revelation through hiking up a steep mountain to a very peaceful place where feeling the Spirit was so easy. Something that I really learned specifically is that I need to stop being a perfectionist. I focus so much on my weaknesses and the things I do wrong, that it makes me unhappy with myself and my performance. Instead of focusing so much on the things I need to change to the point where I stress myself out, I've realized I need to focus more on repentance. Because we are imperfect, God gave us His Son. If I'm not using His atonement to repent daily and actively choose to change, then I'm taking the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for granted. His sacrifice should give us hope. I know who I am because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ - I'm an imperfect being with too many flaws to count. But I'm one who is always looking up.

Sister Hendricks

Splits with Sister Li! (Carol Lee)
I found a lizard!
Hey I'm Sister Hendricks. Yes, I live in this beautiful country known as Taiwan to be a missionary of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And, YES I am the happiest person to walk the face of the earth!

South Zone Sisters!!
The famous TRIO!
Ahh - too beautiful!

This was the best ward activity ever. Our Ward Mission Leader put together this activity to have a bunch of members come finding with us in a part of our HUGE area that takes a lot of time to travel to. We split up and got with our "companions" and went finding! It was so incredible to see so many members attend, so excited to be apart of missionary work. I really am in the best ward ever. 
My first time seeing a monkey!
Our last day together as a district! Celebrating at Juicy Buns. Elder Roe got a call the other day and he's being emergency transferred today to be Zone Leader somewhere. I'm going to miss our tiny district!!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Awesome week!

Monthly Fireside! It was so fun seeing members from good old SongShan again :) I love Sister Chen!

I can't even explain how much I LOVED this week! I feel like I was really inspired this week to make some changes. As we always should be doing! But hitting my 11 month mark this week really put a perspective on things. From the beginning, I've worked so hard to become who God wants me to be through this experience, but I feel like I still have a really long way to go and have often been discouraged by not meeting my personal goals, or seeing immediate improvement as often as I'd like. However, having Zone Conference, and going on exchanges were definitely the highlight of my week, because I feel like it gave me so much motivation to start fresh again. 
We had a last minute exchange with our STLs this week! Sister VanTonder came to MuZha with me, and then Sister Haupt and Sister Luo went to ShuangHe with Sister Wood. It was one of the best exchanges I've ever been on. I learned so much from Sister VanTonder. The first thing I noticed about her is her burning desire to share the gospel. When I told her we had finding planned for the rest of the night, she got so excited. And she wasn't faking it, I could really feel that every part of her wanted to share the gospel with everyone she talked to. During dinner, she talked about how being on her mission is truly the happiest she's ever been. I asked her how she maintains that happiness, and she told me that it wasn't until she understood the Atonement of Jesus Christ that she came to feel this way. Finding with her was so exciting because she gave me the perspective I sometimes forget to have, which is really sharing with people the things I know to be true.

I thought about what she shared with me, as well as her firm testimony and we had an amazing exchange as we pretty much ran to every person we saw to talk with them, turned around on our bikes if we had a feeling to, stopping whatever we were doing to say a prayer to see if we were going the right way, etc. and in that short 24 hours, I felt that indescribable joy that comes from truly testifying of Christ. Sister VanTonder really helped me remember what is truly most important. I felt such a fire within me! Seeing her example gave me the motivation to have this fire for the rest of my mission. I can't waste a minute of my time thinking about myself. This week was such an exciting turning point for me. I have never wanted time to slow down so badly in my life. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is really what brings this happiness. Accepting our weaknesses as ways to come closer to Jesus Christ is what has given me this perspective. I don't have to "fake it til I make it" or just "put a smile on my face". This happiness is real, and everyone needs to feel it!

Sister Hendricks
My cute companions
Happy 20th Birthday, Sister Luo!!
This was a book shelf we found with books up for grabs. Why not add the Book of Mormon 摩爾門經 to it's collection??
I love these sisters!
I love seeing SongShan members everywhere I go! Huang JM and Sandy :)
Me and cute Sister VanTonder :)