Sunday, November 29, 2015

So. much. good.

Cute house that is almost as short as me!
Yet another amazing week has passed by that was just filled with happiness! We basically weren't even in our area for half of the week because we went to Taipei.  On Tuesday, we went to hear from the new apostle, Elder Stevenson. It was such a cool experience, and really such a blessing that us East Coast missionaries were able to attend. I loved being in the chapel with all the missionaries in our mission. There is so much unity in gathering to hear from an apostle of the Lord. Then we were blessed to attend the temple afterwards. Then on Friday, we came back to Taipei for a leadership meeting. Lots and lots of travel. And it was very very tiring. But it was seriously so so worth it. I have never felt so spiritually fed!

​SUPER windy day! This is from the roof of the
 mission home! I love Taiwan :)

But yeah! This week was so good. Thanksgiving was a very very memorable day. We had a lesson with one of our investigators. She's a single mom with two daughters and she's so amazing. Her husband used to beat her, so she took her daughters and they ran away to HuaLien. She is really prepared to accept the gospel, and right now her baptismal date is for Christmas! Yeah! But her only problem is she can't come to church because she works on Saturday and Sunday to provide for her family. But we taught her about the Plan of Salvation and it was one of the most spiritual lessons I've ever had. Just watching her face the whole time just touched me. As I sat in that lesson, I just felt so grateful.. 

I know that this gospel and everything we share is true. I can't even explain the joy of it and the witness I've received that it's all so true. The more I feel that and think about it, the more I want to just GIVE this feeling to others. As we talk to people on the street, I think about all of the misconceptions people have to start off with that cause them to reject us from the start - or even when they actually feel it - and I just think... if they could just FEEL this. If they could just open their eyes and their ears and just really open their hearts, it would LITERALLY change their lives. These people can find peace, they can find guidance, they can grow closer to their families, they can learn to love themselves and to love others, they can know how to deal with rejection or pain or suffering. The teachings of Jesus Christ help us to know that there is a way through this life that is more than just sticking it out and holding our breath til the end. There's a way to ENJOY this life.

And the thing is, it's so hard to just TELL people these things. Our testimonies are such a small part of God's work. When the people we teach actually ACT and say their first prayer, or when they actually talk to their boss about getting work off on Sundays to attend church, or when they make the difficult changes necessary to follow the commandments, that's when they can feel it too. This indescribable feeling that truly witnesses that these things are true is reachable when we act.

Well, that's about all. Actually I could keep going, but time restrictions are a thing. I am just so grateful beyond all measure! I hope you all have a wonderful week!
Sister Hendricks
Our Thanksgiving Dinner
 We are pretty limited on kitchen supplies. This is our mashed potato in a pitcher haha
We had the best Thanksgiving dinner ever. One I will never forget. Sister Griffin's mom sent her instant potates, boxed stuffing, gravy, and canned turkey. Then our member just surprised us and got us rice and noodles. We were very thankful haha.
MLC with Sister Good!!
Sister Kunzler and I! (and Sister Facer photo bombing)
​A random man on his motorscooter stopped us while we were biking to give us these gummies... I seriously love the Taiwanese.

Happy Pre-Christmas package!

 Thank you so much mom! It looks and smells so good! My roommates are very grateful :)

 doing our pingu (evaluation) after the exchange!
​My first exchange staying in my area and I get to be with Sister Kirkham!! Seriously It was so much fun. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to learn from so many sisters.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

(last week) my exchange with sister Lindsay! I love this sister so much!
Seriously, I don't even know how to write about this week because I learned so much and I just can't take it all in and put it in one email! I think the biggest lesson I've learned this week is: "神的安排" (ShenDeAnPai) Which literally translates to "God's arrangement", or in other words "God's plan". Since coming to this area in HuaLien, I have never experienced so much the joy of just following God's plan by listening to the spirit. Every time an appointment cancelled, there was somewhere else we needed to go. Every road we had a feeling to stop and knock doors on, there was someone we needed to meet. Every time we had a terrible contact, there was a lesson that needed to be learned. I seriously found myself saying "神的安排" over and over again. I really came to see that God is really in charge of it all.

There was one night this week where I was laying in bed just smiling because I've never felt so happy in my life. I thought about riding our bikes in this breathtaking area, just looking at everyone, looking down every street, listening so hard for the spirit to tell us where to go and just following it. And when we do, we really find these incredible people who need this message. I don't know why I've ever complained about going outside in the heat or the rain to knock doors or to go tracting. There's nothing happier than the message we share, whether people accept it or not! Whether we're yelled at, kicked out of houses, rejected or mocked in any way it doesn't matter. Because, "神的安排"! It's all His work! I don't even do anything, really. Well, I attempt to do the things God wants done and He just takes care of it. The motto that is now hanging up on our wall in our apartment is "Heavenly Father is taking care of us, so we don't need to worry". Right next to our "Hakkuna Matata" quote :). I've never felt so grateful that I get to just watch God make all these miracles and just bless me so much when I don't even deserve it.

Learning all of this really helped me this week. I think a lot of the responsibilities of being a Sister Training Leader, preparing to take over this area in just 4 weeks - (which I have still never done before), getting to know this area and actually believing that I can help this ward that is really struggling, being a good leader and example to all the sisters in our zone as well as Taidong's zone, and so many more things have all given me a little bit of stress this week. But remembering that it really is 神的安排, has given me the faith and the courage that Heavenly Father is really taking over the area, not me. I just have to trust in Him and the calling He has given me. 

There's a story in the Pearl of Great Price that I've never even heard of in my life until my companion introduced it to me this morning about the prophet Enoch. God gave him this calling that was far beyond anything Enoch could do, but God completely magnifies Him and gives Enoch the power He needs to do the things he was commanded to do:

"31 And when Enoch had heard these words, he bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying: Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight,and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant? (I, too, am just a wee little lad, a lot of people hate us, and I am very slow to speak Chinese)
32 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good.
33 Say unto this people: Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you.
34 Behold my Spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify; and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me."

(Moses 6:31-34)
This was the cutest couple that let us into their home to teach them the plan of salvation. It took us a while to realize they hardly speak Chinese - Mostly Taiwanese haha, but it was still a really cool experience. They were very very loving people.
I know there is no way God would call me to this area with this calling if there was NO WAY for me to do it. I have to continue to trust in Him.

So, I'm so grateful I get to be a part of this work. A part of 神的安排. A part of seeing peoples' lives changing, and growing in ways I didn't think possible. I love you all! Have a great week!

Sister Hendricks

Dinner With Lai JiaTing, the elders, and our investigator Chen Yu Cheng!
Sister Griffin and I with Sister Lai!
We are ALWAYS eating apples.
Our cute member Sister Shi!
Dinner with the sisters at the Night Market!
Seriously look at where I live...
Sister Kunzler and I bought these on our exchange. Probably the grossest thing I've ever eaten.

You can't really tell, but it started POURING rain after church yesterday. and it was coldddd rain. Winter has come, my friends!  (But not really because it is really hot today..)
 We heart attacked some members this week :)
This is Sister Cheng. We do service for her every week because she is just so lonely. She is probably my favorite person in the whole world. We went and sang songs for her and bought her some fruit. She makes me so happy!
Night Markets

The cutest Asian baby!

Our bike ride to church

Monday, November 16, 2015

Doesn't feel like November down here!

Greetings from the East Coast!

Sister Stevens & I
I have just got to say I am really loving this area! It is so beautiful and the mountains remind me so much of Utah. I've decided that Taiwan is like a mini Utah and HuaLien is like St. George. It's a smaller town, very warm, very beautiful, and most people here are tourists, older people, or families that are visiting their grandparents. So when we meet people that live here, it's so exciting. Also, we had our first two exchanges this week and I went to TaiDong which is 2 1/2 hours south of our area by train and it is SO BEAUTIFUL and SO SO HOT. It's the area that's the most South of our mission. We have 3 sets of sisters down there. My first exchange was with (drum roll...) Sister Stevens!!! It was so much fun doing missionary work with her again! It's so cool to see how much both of us have changed for the better over the past 6 months. It really was so fun and I learned a lot. The next exchange was with Sister Lindsay!! She's in my generation and we actually served in Georgia together while waiting for our visas. They live in the most deserted area in the whole mission. It is the area that struggles the most because it literally feels like you're in the middle of nowhere and it's as hot as a desert. But we had the faith to find these amazing prepared people. We were biking down this long, empty road and it was just silence. Seriously, it's like being in a complete opposite mission to Taipei. And every time we saw someone, we'd bike after them and talk with them. We got 2 people to accept baptismal dates which is so so good for their area! It was really fun.

This week just FLEW by. Every time we have exchanges, it just makes weeks go by faster. But we're expected to do 2 every week if possible. It's pretty tiring but it's a lot of fun. We have to wake up
at 4:30am to get to the train station by 5:30am and then travel and then work all day, and then do the same thing the next day, and do that whole process twice! It's the most tiring thing I've ever done but I just love it. I know that God has put me here to challenge me and to give me a chance to grow.

I can't count how many apples we eat/day
I don't think I've ever been so excited about missionary work every morning when I wake up. Sister Griffin and I share the same love and passion for what we do and I know that the faith we have in this area has made a big difference. It's been really cool to see that God has stepped in when we did
Apples & colored bread?!
everything we could. I can't even count how many times in my prayers I would say "please give me the strength and energy that I don't have at the moment", and He really has helped us. I think I've experienced at least 3 time warps this week. The craziest time warp was when Sister Lindsay and I were biking to the train station to make the 6:25am train (our expensive tickets already paid for with no way of being refunded, and no way of getting back to HuaLien for hours if we missed it) in literally 5 minutes and booking it through the platform as the bell was ringing indicating the departure of our train and jumping on the train with seriously 10 seconds to spare. I have never biked so fast and ran so fast in my life. We collapsed onto our seats and all of the older Taiwanese people just laughed and clapped for us. It was one of those moments that I really know I did not do that on my own. haha it just makes me laugh thinking about it.

Sister Griffin & I - that's me in the back
Sister Griffin and I had some finding time together this week, and we just met so many people that were so lonely, or disabled and my heart was just softened. We have a recent convert in our ward that is half paralyzed and has constant, terrible stomach aches and is just so lonely. We take her out for walks on her wheel chair and buy her fruit and sing for her, and it's probably my favorite part of every week. I have just realized that there are so many people that live these hard lives that I will never have to experience. It's been really moving to me this week and has really made me so grateful for the life I live, the health I have, and that I get to spend so much more time serving people and so much less time on myself.

Well, all I can say is I'm just so happy. There is nothing more amazing than the experience I'm having. I feel like this transfer has been nothing like anything I've experienced my whole mission. I've grown such a love for this work. I've never looked forward to going out and working so hard in my whole life. And it's because I know it is so true. I know the work we do is changing lives and it's changing mine. 

Hope you all have the best week ever! Love you all!

Sister Hendricks
 Train ride to and from Taidong

Monday, November 9, 2015

Hello! Hello! Hello!

View from our apartment!

This was where we had our morning run!
The news we've all been waiting for.. after 8 months of service in the city of Taipei, I have been transferred 3 hours away to the East Coast in HuaLian!!! It is by far the most beautiful area in the mission (yes, I do say that about every area. but please reference to the pictures for proof). This was probably the craziest transfer meeting. Although I am so sad to leave MuZha, I know I'm exactly where I need to be. I'm serving as a Sister Training Leader with Sister Griffin! We are white washing the area (which means basically giving it a fresh new start) because all the wards down here just got split, and all of the investigators we had were given to other missionaries. There's one church in all of HuaLien that has three different areas who share the same building. Our ward has about 15 active members. There were about 5 people in relief society (guess who's been invited to play the piano??). It is a very, very small ward that has a LOT of work to be done. If it was any sooner than now, the calling I have been given would give me a heart attack. But I can really see how God has prepared me for this transfer. I can't even express how lucky I am to be with Sister Griffin. She is literally everything I need in a companion. We have SO MUCH FAITH in this area and have already seen so many miracles in just a few days together. Since the East Coast is so far away, and there's not very many missionaries that go there, Sister Griffin and I are also in charge of the sisters in Taidong and YuLi which are about another 2 hours away. And guess who is in TaiDong that I get to go on exchanges with? My trainer, SISTER STEVENS! I'm so happy I'll be able to work closer to her on her last transfer on island! It is seriously going to be so much work. And I know that God really does work through the weak and the simple because I'll have to take over the area when Sister Griffin dies, and I'm a very weak and simple missionary. But this area is going to grow so much. And I know I will too.

I wanted to share something I learned at Zone Meeting this week before transfer meeting. We were talking about what it means to be "unspotted from the world" as referenced in the scriptures. We talked about what "spots" do, and discussed how animals have spots to blend in and hide from their prey. And so if we're wearing "spots", it's kind of like putting our light under a bushel and hiding our light. But God wants us to let our light shine. We don't want to blend in with the world, we want to stand out and shine the Light of Christ we have within us. I loved that reference. Our Zone Leader, Elder Pincock also gave a cool insight about that. He mentioned the book "You Are Special" (about the wood-people that get dot and star stickers stuck on them according to other peoples' thoughts towards them). He said that the Atonement is the way to let the stickers fall off. When we partake of the sacrament and rely on Christ to be forgiven and to change, that's when the stickers fall off. When we're not so concerned about the ratings or the "stickers" that others give us. What's most important is what God thinks of us, and the type of person we are becoming. And when the stickers fall off, that's when we are truly happy. That's when our light shines. 

I testify that we can shine our light brighter than ever before through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I KNOW God lives. He loves us so much. I have literally felt his existence and His love for each of us. I am so grateful to be where I am and share the message that I'm sharing!!

Have a great week!

Sister Hendricks

PS - I received my "Death Date" of April 23rd!

 Haha I was packing at 5 am and we have to be in the same room as our companion, but Sister Haupt refused to wake up that early. So this is the conclusion we came up with.
Sister Good and I at transfer meeting! She just got called as Sister Training Leader in Central Zone! I love her!

 Kenna came to say goodbye!! I will miss MuZha members...
Waiting for our 3 hour train ride to the East Coast with my temporary companion Sister Beeston!

 Seriously too happy for words. Reunited with my Mama (Sister Stevens) was the happiest moment of my whole mission. 

​Last minute picture of my companion and I and the Internet Cafe!!
Welcome to HuaLien!