Sunday, December 27, 2015

Hey everyone!

Merry Christmas!

I don't have a lot of time, but let me just tell you Christmas in Taiwan was way better than anything I had expected. And I wasn't with my family and friends, or taking the day off, or eating some nice chocolate or something like that. In fact, we didn't have any appointments set up for the entire day. All we did was go outside from house to house, talk to everyone on the streets, and testify of Jesus Christ.

It was a lot different, and definitely a lot more tiring and exhausting than any Christmas I've ever had in my life, for obvious reasons. But I would be crazy for enjoying every second if there wasn't a reason for it. And the reason behind all of it was that I wanted everyone to know and feel of the reality that God does live. He loves us. He literally created us and gave us a life on earth to learn and to grow. Because we are naturally all imperfect, He gave us the most precious gift of all. And that is His son Jesus Christ. Through Him we can be cleansed from sin. Going out and sharing this message has never been more special to me than on a day of the year where naturally I would want to relax and focus on myself. It was definitely a holiday I will never forget.

I hope all of you enjoyed your Christmas this year!  And I hope you all remember what it is all about :)  Sister Hendricks

The sun was so bright! Merry Christmas Eve from HuaLien :)
This is what happens when you live on the East Coast. You have to be a pack mule every time you go to Taipei and bring back all the things we are in need of. And then add Christmas presents on top of it haha.

The roomies on Christmas Eve!
Pancakes for breakfast on Christmas morning!
Zone lunch on Christmas!
Best Christmas EVER. I love my companion!!
this is funny. It's so strange in Taiwan - it's impossible to find the doorbell on every house. But this one was very clear. They even wrote in English that it was a doorbell. I was so thankful. :)
Best zone photo ever
 Traveling to Taipei for a Christmas conference with the whole mission~
And behold, HuaLien Zone preforming "White Christmas". There was a talent show at the conference, and we were the first to preform. Hahaha so much fun.

I Love Sister Giles!
We got all of the sisters that were re-assigned to Georgia together for a group photo!​

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Here's some news for ya....

Hello! Guess who my new companion is?

Sister Haupt!!! WE'VE BEEN REUNITED!​

I seriously couldn't believe it! We can't attend the transfer meetings on the East Coast, so all I got was a phone call telling me who my new companion was. And I have seriously never been more excited. It has been so much fun being companions again after a transfer long break haha. I have never heard of this kind of thing happening, but I'm not even questioning it! It's really amazing because we've already worked together before so being companions again has helped me see how much growth just one transfer brings. Sister Haupt was like already so amazing, and now she's just grown so much. It's so hard for us to see our own personal growth, but wow it is really really cool being her companion again to see that growth first hand. 

Also, basically everyone on the East Coast got some sort of change, so we have a bunch of new missionaries to get to know! Including Sister Peng!! She's serving in YuLi so I will get to go on exchanges with her :) I have been so blessed to work with all of my companions more than once. Maybe Sister Luo will come down to the East Coast and I'll be able to work with her again one more time.

Anyways, it has been such an amazing week! Super crazy with having Sister Griffin go home, and then taking over the area and what not. But I just feel so happy. I've been studying a lot about faith lately and I've realized that I have lacked a little bit in faith for a big part of my mission. At least "unshakable faith". I've been working harder on that, and as I've really studied that this week and applied the things I've learned, I've been so much less stressed, I laugh more, I enjoy the work more, and I just feel so much more content with everything. Once I literally grasped the fact that I can trust in God, it changed everything. I don't have to worry about what to say in lessons if I've prepared. And that goes the same with preparing to go on exchanges with the sisters, or preparing to take over an area, etc. All the little things we do as missionaries don't have to be stressful or even boring if we just trust that God has it all taken care of. This is His work, and we are just the instruments.

Sister Haupt and I talked a lot about that this week and we feel like together, we have the faith sufficient to really help this area. Our desire to do this work has also really grown since we were last companions. I've never been so excited to talk to everyone every day, because I know with all my heart that these things will bless them. I know they need it.

Well, I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas!! We got to go to a hospital and sing Christmas songs in English as a zone this week, and it was so much fun. They don't really celebrate Christmas in Taiwan like at all, but the members here make a pretty big deal about it. Even though it's still like 60-70 degrees every day, and I'm away from home and family, I'm still so grateful for the opportunity I have to spend Christmas on this island of Taiwan, sharing the message of our Savior's birth. There's not anything I'd rather do!

Sister Hendricks
Elder Unity :)
I love Taiwan!
Our stake did a nativity play and it was so so good!!
Singing the mission song on our last District Meeting!
last zone picture!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Last email of the transfer!

​This was the funnest thing I've ever done.

​I just want to be an 阿媽 so bad. 

Best purchase I've made all mission!
Ahhhh I can't believe I'm writing my last email of the transfer! It went by soo fast. This will also be the first time that I don't get to attend the transfer meeting because I live so far away. I'm so sad because there are over 15 sisters and 15 elders all going home this week. Including my companion and my trainer, and so many more sisters that I've grown to love so much while I've served with them. But we get over 10 new sisters coming in this week! I'm also pretty sure every single sister companionship on the east coast will have some sort of change, so I'll have the pleasure of getting to know all of them this transfer!! Our moving calls are tonight so we'll see what happens.

This city of HuaLien!
So this week started out a little rough. We went to go meet our investigator, Sun's family this week to get their written approval that he can be baptized since he's only 19. His parents don't seem to care either way, but the dad's mother is a very very very very devout Buddhist and is completely against Sun being baptized. Sun's parents don't want to cause issues within their family so they basically said once the grandmother dies, he can be baptized. It was one of the saddest things I've ever witnessed. Sun just cried. He said his reason for wanting to be baptized is because he wants his family to be closer together. It was hard for all of us. Lots of missionaries have been involved in teaching him, and we were all really looking forward to it. But we helped him see that God has a plan for him, and he's giving him a little trial to test his faith. We told him not to give up and as he continues to do everything in his power to come closer to God, He would then provide a way for him to be baptized.

But the week went on, and we really made it the best week ever. It is Sister Griffin's last week as a missionary so you can imagine how crazy it's been haha. But this week was seriously SO COOL because I'm not going to lie, I really messed up a lot and wasn't really myself. It's stressed me out that I need to take over the area really soon, so I lost my patience a couple times. But the last thing I wanted was for my companion to have a difficult last week as a missionary because of my pride. So I just made the decision that I wasn't going to be this impatient, stressed out companion, and really prayed for help to change that. And instead, I'd do everything to give my companion the best last week of her mission ever. And then everything turned around! We had SO MUCH FUN and (I know I say this every week, but) I've never felt happier!! I just let go of all the things stressing me out like the language, the teaching skills, being unfamiliar with the area, etc. and I just put everything in God's hands. Then the biggest miracle and greatest blessing was on Sunday.... we had 5 investigators come to sacrament mtg! All transfer we have struggled so hard with that. It was so amazing.

I just learned so much this week. I really grew from this whole transfer actually. I feel like every transfer, Heavenly Father thinks of a new way to humble me. And it hurts every time. But the joy that follows is too joyful for words.

I think Alma describes it best:
"18 Now, as my mind caught hold upon this thought, I cried within my heart: O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me, who am in the gall of bitterness, and am encircled about by the everlasting chains of death.
19 And now, behold, when I thought this, I could remember my pains no more; yea, I was harrowed up by the memory of my sins no more.
20 And oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain!
21 Yea, I say unto you, my son, that there could be nothing so exquisite and so bitter as were my pains. Yea, and again I say unto you, my son, that on the other hand,there can be nothing so exquisite and sweet as was my joy."

(Alma 36:18-21)

This experience has given me so much more reason to love my mission and to love what I do. We are all human and we all sin. We all make mistakes because we are imperfect. But the pain that our mistakes cause can be literally washed away. Jesus Christ is literally our Savior and He knows the pains we've felt. He knows the pains we've caused to others. We have to rely on Him to be forgiven and to be saved from ourselves.

I love you all and hope you have an incredible week!! Keep enjoying the Christmas holiday and eat lots of oranges and gingerbread for me!!

Sister Hendricks
Surprise visit from Sister Branch!! I love her so much!
Our English class Christmas party! Sister Branch came and visited us! She was my STL for the first 6 months of my mission -she went home 2 months ago but is already back in Taiwan to sight see :)
We acted out the Nativity for the spiritual share
Such a fun night!

Our elders made cookies and hot chocolate for the english party! Seriously they are so much fun
Weekly dinner with the elders and Brother Huang!
Taiwan dessert>American dessert red bean soup!!

​Not sure what this celebration was for, but it's all over HuaLien!!
We had lunch with some members, the elders, and Sun! 
These girls are my favorite members! Clover and Buffy :) The Taiwanese always have the best English names. 
​Brother and Sister Ou! Sister Griffin gave them CTR rings for Christmas :)