Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Hi family!!!

I'm sorry I didn't give you the heads up last week for the transfers, but this week is transfers, so I wasn't able to email till today.  I'll hopefully remember next time we have p-day moved.  In our zone, we usually have temple day right after transfers, so next week I may not email till wednesday.  Last transfer I didn't get a "great harvester" which tells us all the dates for all the different p-days and stuff, so hopefully Elder bellingham brings one for me today.  :D

Well last week was a crazy week.  EFY here is really bad for the missionaries because all the fellowship leaves to take care of all their kids and stuff.  So last week, we didn't think we would be able to get any member fellowship.  Thankfully God provided a way for us to have member presents all last week.  We, once again, smashed this areas record of member present lessons taught this week thanks to His merciful hand in everything we do.  We had two wonderful members who decided not to go to EFY.  Amulek, and Brandy!  Amulek is the Taiwanese RM who just got home and is taking really good care of us.  Brandy is a really faithful recent convert from Vietnam who really wants to serve a mission soon! she is such a fireball missionary already.  She introduced us to her friend who is now one of our most solid investigators.  But both of them were able to help us teach lessons all last week so we met our goals! It sounds weird but I have definitely gained a testimony about goal setting and planning!

Something cool about this area is that we have a lot of different english schools that help foreign students with their english.  What missionaries do is offer an extra hour of conversation with native speakers to improve their english.  When I came to this area, they had one student attending the class.  Now we have seven or eight students that come!! What a miracle.  We're teaching all of them now!  They keep bringing friends and then their friends are willing to meet with us, and then we teach them in chinese or vietnamese, or korean or japanese, and in one case spanish.  We have to get the right fellowship though.  I still can't speak any of those languages :P hahaha.  I can contact people on the streets in those languages, but I can't teach full lessons.  mmm :P hahahaha.  Last week, we had a sister from Taiwan, one from Korea, one from Vietnam, one from Thailand, a brother from Columbia, and two brothers from Taiwan.  hahaha.  Crazy huh?  It's really good because though they can't speak each others' languages, they get along really well. :)  Of those students, three of them have baptismal dates set and the others have been invited, one accepted, but her parents didn't want her to get involved with the church.  She still wants to meet with us though... I'm praying for their hearts to be softened, or maybe for vicky to find them in taiwan and then baptize them :D either way works. yep

Well, we got transfer calls on sunday night and Elder Tito is leaving our area, everybody else is staying.  So our district is the youngest one in the mission! hahaha.  It's just a bunch of new missionaries, but we're catching up to the other areas in baptisms and stuff.  So I think President wants to use the greeny excitement to make this area catch fire.  Inspired.  :D  We decided to go play rugby in the rain in the morning so that is our district before transfers.  It's really warm here so even when it's raining we get really hot.  it was so much fun because we decided to split up into teams according to Islander or not hahahaha.  When I got onto the non-islander team, the islanders all yelled: "Oi!!!! Falegi!!!!!! Fah a Mika!!!!! What are you doing over there? Get your islander mooleh over here!!!!" hahaha.  mooleh means bottom in Samoan.  hahaha, so I guess I'm an islander.  I've gained 20 pounds, eat like them too!  Which reminds me!

We had our last meal together as a district at our flat.  We had all the people in those pictures at our flat.  and so we had to prepare enough food for them... hahaha.   Islanders eat a lot.  Well, halfway through, we discovered that we didn't have enough utensils for all of them and so we just ate with our hands. hahahahaha.  that sounds really bad, but you'll understand.  When we went to a meal at one of the members houses, he had absolutely NO utensils.  He grew up in an Island in Samoa and has the philosophy: "I grew up without spoons and forks.  I'm still the same person.  Why buy spoons and forks". In the missionary handbook of blessings, it tells us that we should follow the head of the household in proper use of utensils.  So we followed the head of that household in the proprer use of utensils.  it was really weird at first, but you get used to it.  Hopefully it doesn't become a habit.  I learned how to use your fingers like a shovel so you can put more food in your mouth faster... ok, I promise the mission is teaching me good things.  When we were eating, one of the elders was like: use a spoon you neanderthal! before he grabbed a chicken leg and just ate the whole thing... in one bite... Islanders are incredible!  And I'm becoming one!!! hahahaha oh no.

Anyway, we had our final feed where we had a lot of food and Taro! and soemthing they call cocoa Samoa!  It's really good.  I don't know if you can get it in america, but it's delicious... mmm.  unfortunately it's not the most healthy of drinks but it's ok.  It tastes really really really good. hahaha, I need to lose weight.

Another funny experience that brought joy to the souls of all the missionaries involves my companion.  Elder Tsai's english is very good, but if you put him with someone with a very strong accent of any kind other than American he gets really confused.  The other day, I was correcting an english paper of one of our english students so I asked him to make some phone calls to set up lessons with some of our investigators.  One of our investigators, Ethan is fresh off the boat from korea.  hahaha.  I was listening to Elder Tsai talk to him and this is how this end of the conversation went: "hello? This is Elder Tsai... Can you say that again?...What?... please repeat... Elder Chen, what does "biw it were" mean?... ok... bye!" bahahahahaha.   When Elder Tsai hung up, he was So confused! hahahaha, I couldn't stop laughing for a while.  So I called him and he just told us that he was busy with work ahhahaha...  it was funny in the moment.  anyway, we're working on Elder Tsai's english.  President has put me with two natives from China and Taiwan because none of hte other missionaries can really understand them and need a little more work on their chinese.  Chinese is really hard to learn here because there aren't too many chinese people here.

I promise we really are doing some missinoary work now.  We had one of the biggest miracles ever this week.  There was a brother who came from a catholic family in columbia who walked into church on Sunday.  he told us that when he went to church in the catholic religion, he always felt like something was missing and that there was something wrong.  This year, his new years resolution was to figure it out and go to church more often.  He had walked to the city every day he was here and had passed the temple.  So he decided to come into it one day.  He met with the senior couple there and they talked to him about it.  When we talked to him later, he said that in the temple, by the church or even within the boundaries of the temple, he felt like he was completely separated from the world.  He always says that he forgets the world when he's there and loves the peaceful feeling he gets every time he meets with the missionaries.  One day, after the lesson, he asked if he could go to the garden and pray for a while.  We told him that he could so he went and prayed for nearly half an hour! he came back and said that he knew this church was true.  He bore his testimony to us and our other investigator that we were teaching.  He already has invited all his housemates to come to church with him and his family is hopefully going to get involved!

What a miracle he is! he has helped me grow!  I've learned that we share with our investigators knowledge, and they help build our testimony! It seems strange, but Every time I've met with an investigator, my testimony was strengthened!  They come looking for something that they feel like is missing in their lives, and when they find it in the church, it absolutely builds your testimony.  I know that God has prepared people for the truth.  His hand is in everybody's life and we just have to see it.  Recognize it. This work is the greatest work I have ever helped in. It is being done even when missionaries aren't around!  I know that the book of Mormon holds answers to every question in our life.  It has helped me so much and I've seen it help so many people!  I know that prophets ARE sent of God.  That they guide us in a world of ever-changing values.  I've had to use the word Ensign so much here.  The prophet is an ensign.  God will always communicate to him and we can always trust that his word is God's word.

Thank you so much for all the support that you've given me! I feel so loved out here in the mission field.  I love hearing about all the exciting things going on in your lives!  Just watch for God's hand in everything and you'll be much happier.  That's something I've learned out here.  There's no reason to be sad at all.  This work is fun!

Well, My time is up unfortunately, technology here is really slow for some reason.  I spent the first seven minutes of my time logging in and opening an internet browser :( hahahaha

I love you all, miss you all!


Elder Chen

ps. It's been raining for the past few days again.. hahah, brisbane might flood, but don't worry, the area that I live in is right next to the temple, and so I'm safe :D hahahaha. plus it gives us plenty of opportunities to serve! I love this area!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!