Thursday, April 28, 2016

I'm Home!

Anxiously awaiting her arrival!
Oh my gosh, there she is!

 Zoe reunited with her brothers :)

 Grandpa Eliason and Zoe
Grandpa Hendricks and Zoe
The fam!
Happy Day!

Monday, April 18, 2016

The crime scene from my stolen bike.
 Haha I couldn't stop laughing
Hello everyone!

Well, I must say I never thought this day would come. My last week here has been quite the experience. I was just barely telling myself that I went my entire mission without any bike problems, or anything too serious and that's about all I said before my bike got stolen that night haha. Then the next day I lost my umbrella and the sole of my shoe came off. My companion keeps telling me I'm too old and it's time for me to retire, haha. But other than the fact that my mission comes to an end this week and all my possessions are falling apart, this last week has been full of joy and experiences that I wouldn't trade for anything. I was feeling a little bit nervous this week about going home and having some feelings of anxiety, but I've done my best to take things one day and one step at a time and it's amazing the miracles we've seen this week as a result. Just like any other week :)
​These shoes have done me well throughout
 my mission.

One special experience I wanted to share is that we were street contacting the other night, and I just tried focusing on my purpose for that hour of time and I committed to just put all my heart and energy into sharing this message with people- not thinking about how many days I have left or whatever. But just focusing on the moment. And then we met this lady, LiaoTingYu. She was waiting for the bus stop and we started talking with her about our free english class and then she asked what we do as missionaries, so we talked about how we come here to share about Jesus Christ and His restored gospel and she started asking a bunch of questions about the difference between our church and other churches and that she's been to so many other churches before and they all claim to have truth but they're all a little different for some reason. She said it's so confusing so she's kinda given up. So we shared with her about how after Christ was crucified, many people began creating churches according to their thoughts of His teachings and the Bible and over time His true doctrine was corrupted and lost. But, the gospel was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith who sought for truth and prayed to the Father to know which church to join. We shared with her that God the Father and His son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith, and they restored God's church again on the earth today. We gave her a Book of Mormon and explained that she can read it and ponder it for herself and directly ask God as Jospeh did whether or not it's true, instead of asking other peoples' opinions, or searching the internet. But she could literally ask God, the creator of us all, the one who knows all things. As she held the book in her hands, her eyes were filled with wonder, and she was staring at it as if it were pure gold. "I can really know?" she asked us. My heart was filled with this feeling of pure joy. Throughout my whole mission I have testified of the truthfulness of this, and as I was standing there on the side of the street at this bus stop looking into her eyes, the spirit testified to me once again that it is true. It is absolutely true. I smiled and told through her prayer and true desire, she could know for herself. We taught her how to pray, and then asked if she would like to try. She was so nervous, but she did and she said a very heartfelt prayer - asking Heavenly Father where she could find His truth. I know with all my heart that God will answer her prayer.

That's why I am here in Taiwan. My heart breaks as it comes to an end so soon. I will miss it more than anything. I know it's true. A lot of people we meet on the street always say "你們很辛苦!" (NiMenHenXinKu!) Which basically means "wow, you guys have it pretty bad". But I almost always reply "我們很幸福!" (WoMenHenXingFu!) Which means "we are really blessed". And it's true. Of course it's a tiring work. If it wasn't true, I wouldn't do it. But because it's true, there's nothing I'd rather do. :)

I am so grateful for this experience to serve God's children in the Taiwan, Taipei Mission. I feel so blessed and overwhelmed with joy to have spent the last 18 months of my life testifying of a loving Heavenly Father that truly lives and truly has given us the way to enjoy and endure this life, and the way to return to Him through His restored gospel. I know He lives. I wouldn't trade the experiences I've had here for anything - not even the days when it feels like rejection after rejection, or when it's pouring rain and I'm covered in mosquito bites or I'm just dead tired and just want to sleep. I wouldn't trade any of it because I can see now how it has all been for my own good. I know this church is true and I love the people of Taiwan with all my heart!

I'll be seeing you all soon! For those who want to attend, my Homecoming talk will be this Sunday April 24th. Have a great week!

Sister Zoe Hendricks
And then it got worse haha. These shoes mean so much to me because of all the hard
work they represent. I love my mission!
This dog was hilarious. You can't really tell, but he was clapping haha.
I will miss these days~
Last time doing temple tours!
We went on exchanges again this week and played frisbee with the ShuangHe missionaries!
My companion and I :)
My last exchange as a missionary! I love these sisters!
​I love sister Beeston! Such a good exchange. I will forever be grateful for her influence in my life!
 Our ward gave us treats after church since it was my last Sunday! No matter what ward I serve in, no matter how long I'm there for, they never fail to make me feel at home. I will miss these people!!
​Elder Robbins, Elder Robinson, me and Sister Lee. Yay for XinBan ward!
In my last District Meeting, the elders preformed "God Be With You Til We Meet Again" haha. 
Our District photo! What a great bunch.
Biking home!
Rice ball for breakfast! Yes, I just woke up in this photo haha.
​Just another day in Taiwan :)

Monday, April 11, 2016

These are my favorite flowers in Taiwan! I've seen them everywhere recently.

Hey everyone!

The highlight of the week was definitely General Conference. This was my 4th time watching General Conference on my mission, and with every session I feel more and more sure that our Apostles and Prophet are truly called of God. I felt so inspired and really touched by the spirit. I really feel like God teaches us the things we need to know if we have an open heart and a humble desire to learn. That's really all it takes, and then the spirit will really testify of truth. I believe that's true with all my heart.
​We made pancakes for our members after General Conference
and then we all shared our favorite parts. The spirit was really
strong as we all bore testimony together. I love this ward!

This week was so cool. As Sister Lee and I have focused on loving people, we've seen so many miracles. We met these really cool new investigators, ChenZhaoWen and HuangPeiHua. We met them on the same night one right after another. It was really cool! Chen was just walking towards us and we started talking to her and she had a lot of interest in English! She teaches art to little children and she said that one of her students used to go to our English Class and has talked about us before. She said that if it wasn't for her student, she probably wouldn't have talked to us. It was even better that as we started talking with her, she said that her biggest desire in life is to always improve and to become better every day. The spirit really guided us as we were able to testify of God's love for us and that His plan is to help us learn and grow and to enjoy our life on earth.

I've learned a lot about the power of prayer this transfer, and it's caused me to ponder - especially with one of the talks I heard this weekend that we should be humble before being compelled to be humble. The prayers I've said these past few weeks have truly brought me closer to my Father in Heaven. At first, it was because I felt so weak at the start of this transfer that I needed God's help, so naturally I felt more inclined to pour out my heart to God. But then I wondered why I don't say more meaningful and sincere prayers when everything is going well? I've noticed that as I've had sincere and real conversation with God everyday rather than only doing so when I feel I need it, I've developed so much more faith and have felt Him guiding me. I feel like I've come to better understand what our relationship with God should actually be like, and what kind of difference that makes in our lives. We are His children and He loves us. That truth is so simple and so powerful. The power of prayer is so real. We literally can communicate with the one who created us all, no matter where we are. I'm so grateful for the simple guidance we've been given to just humbly seek for Him and to open our hearts, and for the agency He's given us to just choose to do so. He doesn't force us to have a relationship with Him. But when we seek Him, the relationship we can develop with Him is more precious than anything we could ever imagine.

I hope you all have a great week!

Sister Hendricks
 On our way to Zone Meeting!
 This is the kind of food we eat almost everyday. 
Waiting for the MRT~ I love public transportation in Taiwan!
Lunch with the best family ever - Guo Jiating!! They took us to a super
traditional Taiwanese restaurant right before General Conference. These
people really make you feel like family. I feel so blessed with the people I have in my life.
Dinner with Sister Huang (taking photo) and Brother Kong!

Do you see the black cat? He sees us.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Hey everyone!

 ​YanZiJuan's Baptism!
​Yan Zi Juan and her baby! Her baptism was so beautiful :)
I learned so much this week, and I know it's because it didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped it would. Getting an area running is a lot harder than I had anticipated. Lot's of our new investigators lived in other areas, stopped answering calls, etc. So we're just starting fresh again! It's been really difficult for us to find new investigators and a lot of our leaders have been following up with us and giving advice and what not, and I've just been so confused as to why we can't find new people to teach and why are the new investigators we are meeting gone so soon?

This week I was talking with my companion and realized there's a lot she's still trying to figure out how to do. She expressed the concern of not knowing how to get people to talk to her on the street because she feels like the Taiwanese don't care about Taiwanese. They only stop to talk to other missionaries because they're from America. She also said it's really hard for her to know what to say and how to listen to the Spirit in contacts, etc. She said all she wants is to have a happy mission, but all she feels when we go out to talk to people is super tired and doesn't feel like it's fulfilling in any way. So I was pondering and praying about it throughout the day and then when we finished our dinner one night, we had a full night of finding planned. Literally my theme for this transfer has been to pray for the guidance of the spirit in everything I do and say to positively influence my companion. So when we went out to find I felt impressed to first talk with her. I told her that tonight was going to be a night that we would never forget, and I suggested that during our finding time, we wouldn't focus on key indicators or what we needed to say or what time it was or anything. We were only going to focus on looking at people through God's eyes and see them as our brothers and sisters. It was one of the most spiritual experiences I've had on the street as a missionary. I can't explain it, but people just stopped and talked to us. Very few people rejected us that night. And while we were talking to people, the Spirit was present. My companion didn't seem nervous or anxious or anything, we just talked to them with love.

By the end of the night my companion told me she felt like she actually made a difference tonight. She said it's so easy to forget the purpose of why we're here and what we're doing when we're so focused on all the little things we have to do. But when we remember that we are a family of God and we are all brothers and sisters, then there's nothing happier than being a missionary! 

It's been a wonderful week. And not because we got a thousand new investigators or anything, but because we loved the people and shared the message of the Savior with them.

Sister Hendricks
 Congratulations to my best friend getting married this week!!
I love Taiwan!

"耶穌愛你" (YeSuAiNi) Jesus loves you :)
Celebrating my 18 month mark with pasta!
I love my companion!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Family and Friends,

Man so much happened this week! First of all - it stopped raining! It's been raining every single day this transfer until a few days ago. I didn't realize how warm it was on the East Coast until I came back to Taipei. But it's warming up again, and there's nothing that makes me more naturally energetic and happy than sunlight after weeks of rain. And not only in the weather, but we saw some really cool miracles this week in our area. We went from literally no one, to 5 progressing investigators! One of them is actually getting baptized this Saturday! Her name is Yan Zi Juan. She is in the 新浦XinPu ward, and we are in the 新板XinBan ward. But there are no sisters serving in the XinPu ward, and Yan's husband won't let her meet with elders, so we are helping her finish the lessons! She is so sweet. Sister Kitchens (my roommate from HuaLien) was actually the one who started teaching her. I'm so excited to tell her she'll be baptized! Then we have some really amazing member referrals, and new investigators from English Class! It's been really cool to see things pick up again. And It's made me so happy to see Sister Lee expect miracles every day :)

This transfer has been exactly what I have needed. I can just see so clearly how well every experience I've had on my mission and in my life has lead up to being here. Being in HuaLien really helped me learn faith, patience, and diligence in picking an area back up, and I'm doing my best to apply those principles here in 板橋BanQiao. I also feel like Heavenly Father is giving me another chance at being more understanding and putting myself in my companion's shoes. I think that's the biggest thing this transfer is testing me on. Obviously Sister Lee and I are in two very different situations, her being a bit older and a native is a lot different than what I'm experiencing, not to mention she's only been on her mission for about 3-4 months. I've had to remind myself that we need to be open and understanding to each other. It's been really amazing for me to learn how to communicate in love and patience and offer good advice rather than being condescending. For example, helping her understand that we have to keep dinner appointments to only an hour, or when we are contacting on the street we have to be a little more bold and personal, or helping her understand how to plan well for lessons, etc. I've learned that as I use compassion and love when approaching those kinds of situations, rather than assuming the worst in her decisions or actions, it always works. 

I feel so much hope and faith in her and in this area! I know things will only go up from here!

Sister Hendricks

Sister Lee and I went ice skating last Pday :)

Shi JiaTing!
Sister Lee and I :)
​Guo JiaTing! We get fed a lot in this ward haha
Guo JiaTing again
Lin JiaTing!
This is the street we live on.
Beautiful day in ZhongHe! We had exchanges the other day and we went finding at this beautiful park with so many cute families and little kids. It was a day of miracles.
"No success can compensate for failure in the home."
These stickers are on almost every member's mailboxes.