Sunday, February 28, 2016

We will all fail! :)

The classic temple photo every MLC. I will 
never get sick of this view.

I love the Beach!!
Hey family and friends,

We got to go up to Taipei again for MLC this week. I learn so much every time. President Jergensen is so inspired and I really believe his faith has made a deep difference in our mission, and to each missionary individually. It's crazy seeing the change in the last couple months with how many people have been baptized. It would be so hard to understand how it all works without faith. MLC was what I needed this week. President Jergensen shared a story from 1 Nephi 3-4 and talked about how simple faith is. Sometimes we think too hard about whether or not we have enough faith, or when someone doesn't listen to us, maybe I didn't focus hard enough on believing in them, or whatever it is - he said having faith is simply believing, being obedient and action. When God commanded Nephi to get the plates, he did it. And he failed - twice actually. But he believed that God would provide a way, and he worked hard to try again instead of giving up. When he failed, he acted by coming up with a new plan. 

One of the coolest lessons I learned from this is that the most important thing is how we respond to the tasks God gives us, with failure and all. Whether it's to get the plates from Laban, or to find a new investigator in the next 30 minutes, or to serve a mission, or apply to college, or apply for a new job. We will all fail in this life. God wouldn't put us into a perfect world with no challenge or trial to face. How would we ever experience joy without them? How would we ever grow? I think it's easy to feel like my failures have outweighed my successes as a missionary when I'm focused so much on the things I've messed up on. But I'm learning how to respond in faith. I could just give up, and see myself as a failure and take the easy way out. Or, I can trust that God will provide a way, and keep trying.

It's been the perfect lesson to learn as we've experienced many cancelled appointments and investigators not showing up to lessons all week. It's pretty tough when we go out to work really hard every day and our hopes are high for the people who set up with us, and then they don't show up to the appointments we set. But I'm glad there's a better way out of it than getting resentful! You just keep going, and hope for the best and be happy with what you can do. Sister Haupt and I have decided that our biggest strength is companion and teaching unity. We're working hard to get even better at it, because there's nothing better than doing what you do well to get your hopes up!

And the good news is, Li Chong Wei is still preparing for baptism!! He's still working on quitting smoking, but he's doing so much to overcome it. He told all of his friends and co-workers that he's quitting so that they wouldn't offer him anymore cigarettes, and is even looking for a new job that has a better environment. We asked him what has been the biggest help for him to quit smoking and he said prayer has helped him more than anything. He said it's amazing feeling like there's another person there to love you and remind you when you're tempted and want to give in. I'm so happy for him! He can't get baptized this week since he smoked once last week, so we moved it back to the 12th to give him enough time to be free from smoking for a good amount of time. But he went to a baptismal service the other day with us and he said after going, he knows for sure this is what he wants. I hope I don't move next week, but either way, I am so happy that I've been blessed to see these changes he's made in his life.

Have a great week!
Sister Hendricks
Sometimes I forget that I live on an island until I take a second to look at all the
 palm trees. I'm so lucky to be here.
Beautiful day last Pday!

We had some fun last Pday. I love Sister Haupt!
Sister Haupt and I in front of a statue of MaZu媽祖, a sea goddess.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

楊明芳 Yang Ming Fang was baptized!!!

Isn't she just glowing?
Yang Ming Fang was baptized!!! It was probably the happiest day of my life. This week, we met with her and she said she had the most amazing experience through prayer. She told us she invites her family to church every week but they never come, and she was really nervous to invite them to her baptism because she really wanted them to come, but didn't want them to say no. She didn't know what to do, so she said a prayer and then their family sat down for dinner and her husband asked her if they could attend her baptism. She was just glowing with joy as she told us this story. She said she really feels like God answered her prayers. 

Her baptism was so beautiful. As she stepped into the font, I wish I could just capture the moment. There's really nothing as special as watching someone make all these steps to return to God. I just felt so overwhelmed with joy and gratitude that I could see the gradual change in her life over the past month. 

The best part was her family came to church the next day to see her confirmation! And Li Chong Wei got back from Taipei so he came, too! It was the best Sunday ever. After sacrament meeting, Yang asked our Bishop (he gave her the confirmation) how he knew all of her struggles and weaknesses that he mentioned in the blessing, and he told her that the blessing wasn't from him, it was from God and God knows her perfectly. She was just so touched.
This is us with Yang Ming Fang and her family!

That night, we met with Li Chong Wei to go over the baptismal interview questions with him to see if there's anything we needed to review before he gets baptized. I was a little nervous because he's been gone for 2 weeks, so I wasn't sure if he still wanted to be or not. But it went so great. And guess which member accompanied us? Yang Ming Fang! It was the perfect lesson. We set a goal with him to quit smoking by this last Saturday so that he could have 2 weeks of no smoking before his baptism on March 5th. I was so happy when he said he was following it and didn't smoke at all on Saturday or Sunday! We went through all of the questions, and he didn't have any problems with any of them. He had some questions about other churches, and still didn't understand what other churches believe in comparison to ours, but he believes that Joseph Smith restored the priesthood authority to the earth and he can feel that the Book of Mormon is true. Everything that Yang said was what he needed to hear, too. She said that the Spirit will testify of truth. Watching her in this lesson was amazing. It's like she's known these things her whole life. By the end, he just stopped and he said "I just really feel that this church... it's true." The spirit was so strong. It was so cool watching Yang and Li share their testimonies with each other. It was just the best day of my life.

It was a great week! I'm so excited for more miracles to come :)
Sister Hendricks

Monday, February 15, 2016

It's been an incredible Chinese New Year!

Such a beautiful day! We sat there staring at the ocean for like an hour and a half. So serene.

First GuoNian dinner!

It's been an incredible Chinese New Year! It was different than I expected, but in a good way. I arrived in Taiwan a week after Chinese New Year last year so this was my first one. A lot of missionaries that were here for the holiday last year told me all about how Taipei turns into ghost town and the streets are just empty for a whole week long and the only interaction you get with people is when you eat dinner at member's homes and they invite their relatives and stuff you with food and don't let you leave until all the food is gone... Good thing Chinese New Year on the East Coast is a completely different experience! It was really lively all week because everyone came from Taipei to HuaLien to visit grandparents. We didn't find many people that lived in our area, but it was a really fun week. I was afraid we'd be walking the streets all day with no one to talk to, but we had the coolest experience the other night. We met this guy from China, and shared about the Book of Mormon with him. He was just SO interested and had so many questions to ask. He was only here for travel and when he goes back to China, there weren't going to be any missionaries for us to refer him to. We meet SO many people from China here in HuaLien, and the more I talk to, the more excited I get for China to allow missionaries to go and proselyte. More than half of the people we talk to that are from China want to keep meeting with us. Anyways, so we gave him a Book of Mormon and taught him how to pray because that was the most we could do for him. Then we kept talking to other people and we met this other guy named Lin, and taught him about baptism and showed him a picture of Christ being baptized. His eyes were so fixed on the picture and he was so eager to meet with us again. Then his sister walked out of the 7-11 and we started teaching her too at the same time. And then the guy from China came back and started talking to Sister Haupt again to ask more questions! It was amazing. There we were in the middle of Chinese New Year talking to three people at the same time. As we shared our testimonies with these people, my heart was so warm. I felt like I could stay in that moment forever.

So beautiful!
The night just kept getting better, as we talked to a lady from TaoYuan shortly after. Her name was Chen. We asked if we could pray for her and she said of course. So we prayed and shared about Jesus Christ and then invited her to say her own prayer. She said she was Christian a long time ago and hasn't been to church or prayed in a long time, so she was really nervous to do it again. Nonetheless she decided to do so right then and there (outside of the 7-11 once again). As she closed her prayer I looked up to see a look of worry on her face, and I heard the words come out of my mouth asking if she was doing alright, and she began to cry. We sat there for about 3 minutes as she cried. Sister Haupt shared a simple sweet testimony that God loves her and knows her worries, and then Chen hugged us both and that same warm feeling in my heart grew so strong. I still don't know what was troubling her, or what she was feeling. But it was such a tender moment for Sister Haupt and I. It really reminded me that the things we do really can influence peoples' lives.

Skyping w/ Li Chong Wei!
So Sister Haupt and I have been working on developing more faith in our area, in our members, and in helping people to be baptized. We wanted to prayerfully set a goal of how many people we need to help be baptized in this area next month. After fasting and praying about it, we set the goal for 4 people to be baptized next month. At our zone meetings this week, we talked a lot about making inspired goals. If it is truly inspired of God that we help 4 people be baptized next month, we really believe we can do it under His direction. It was AMAZING seeing how God is already making it happen for us. Li Chong Wei has been gone for Chinese New Year, so we moved his date back to the beginning of March. And we've set many many baptismal dates in the last week and not to mention we got the best referral, Wang Yong Xiang. He was found by the other missionaries and he came to church yesterday and is so prepared to be baptized. I don't know why I haven't had faith my whole mission! It's so true that there are people being prepared in our areas. It's going to take a lot of diligence, faith, and love to make this goal.

Me, Yang Ming Fang, Sister Haupt, Sister Yao and Sister Li.
Yang Ming Fang is making so many friends already!
All the members love her so much :)
The best part of the week was Yang Ming Fang passed her first baptismal interview yesterday!! She gets baptized this Saturday! Seeing her progress towards baptism has been the most joyful part of my mission. I'm so excited for her. I just have to testify that faith can change lives. Faith and love is literally what has made the difference in this area. I'm so happy to be a missionary!

Sister Hendricks

Perfect day at the beach!
We were just enjoying a beautiful sunny day at the beach and these travelers became our friends!
Last P-day!  This is a 5-minute ride from our house! 
This has been the weather all week. You can actually see the sky~
​At Yang JiaTing's
This is our area's boundary line. Pretty fancy boundary line, right?
Our Bishop and his family!
Li JiaTing's vegetables and fish!
​All you can eat Hot Pot!
Sister Chen fed us curry :)

​This is what it looks like when you see someone you want to talk to, but there's awkwardly a bush blocking your path from sharing the gospel
 Some guy gave this to us on the street! My very first HongBao紅包~
I love my companion!
I forgot all about Valentine's Day until our roommates did this!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Chinese New Year celebration has commenced!

​Giving Yang Ming Fang 紅包 (HongBao: "money wrapped in red as a gift" :) ). We just put a note in it. This is very traditional during Chinese New year to give and accept Hong Bao. 
Yang Ming Fang fed us dinner last night! This food was more traditional from China rather than Taiwan. I ate some weird stuff..

I'm so excited. We have members feeding us every day this week for lunch and dinner. The Taiwanese take this holiday very seriously. Most people don't want to meet during this holiday. It's like Christmas but to the extreme and it lasts 7 days and there's fireworks going off all night every night. I love it!
Lunch at MLC with Sister Guan!

Yang Ming Fang is still doing amazing! We taught her the word of wisdom this week. She loves drinking tea, but we kept teaching her and then she committed to follow it before we even invited her, haha. She also loved church yesterday. It was her first very spiritual experience at church. It was fast and testimony meeting and almost our whole Bishopric stood up to share. They all share very sincere and deep testimonies of God and that He lives. She said she loves that at church, she can feel that they are all imperfect people trying to be better in their lives. It was a great experience for her.

Li Chong Wei went to Taipei for Chinese New Year, but we've talked with him on the phone, and yesterday he said he didn't smoke at all!! He said it was mostly because he just didn't have the time to. But it also made him feel very good. He's so awesome!

Traveling to Taipei
So yeah, this week was good. We went up to Taipei again for MLC. We learned a lot about emulating Christ in the work that we do. Specifically in letting the Holy Ghost work through us. It seems so simple, but it makes so much sense. I can become a literal barrier between an investigator and them feeling the Spirit if it isn't able to work through me. Perhaps due to a lack of faith, diligence, obedience, etc. But if I am always emulating Christ in what I do, the Spirit will be able to work through me. It kind of humbled me as I realized that I'm here to represent Christ, but I am so far from emulating His character. As I sat in sacrament meeting yesterday, I thought about how much I need to change to be like Him. A part of me felt a little discouraged, but I was studying in preach my gospel and it promises that we can develop His character because of the Atonement. It's so simple. As I think more about it, it actually gives me more faith that I can actually become more like Him.

Happy New Year!
Sister Hendricks
Our first 請客 (Qing Ke: "dinner party") of Chinese New Year!
Doing some service, and getting some new English Class students from it!
Sister Haupt and I
All the Zone and Sister Training Leaders!