Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Second Letter from MTC

December 28, 2009

Dearest jianting!

It has been so good to hear from you and to read your letters--yes, father, we can receive and read mail any day of the week but only have 30 minutes using emails on our p-day. And, dad, thank you so much for your words, they really are wonderful and are some things that I really appreciated reading. Thank you. I love getting mail throughout the week, but emails are just fine dad. The only thing is that i would only be able to read them once a week so i don't have as much time to respond back.

The language is progressing. I mean, it's actually quite funny and i know that I have plenty to catch up on and much to learn, but it is gradually coming. But, dad, what you say is true, the language is only a small part of what I need to be working on because it's the language of the Spirit that is the most important part of teaching. Speaking of which...we had our first experience in the TA, which used to be called the TRC. We didn't have any volunteers that day because it was the day after christmas, but we did have some more experienced missionaries here that acted as investigators who we contacted and then gave a lesson to. It was so amazing! As we gave the lesson, I felt the spirit so strongly and like I've never experienced when trying to teach. There's something about being set apart and being called to preach the gospel that gives you an extra ability and receptiveness to the spirit, I'm positive. When I've practiced lessons other times it has not at all compared to the experience on Saturday. When we went into that room and she told us about herself and situation I had some sort of over-whelming love and concern for her that I can't describe. I wanted to just hug her and tell her that her Tianfu(Heavenly Father) loved her. I've never had the spirit prompt me to say things the way it did in that room. It was an amazing experience. There would be questions that she would present to us and initially I had no idea how to address it, and I would hope one of my companions would answer--but then, it would just come to me. Maybe not exactly what i needed to say, but the idea would come to me and the desire to open my mouth was overpowering. I knew what I was saying was true and I felt the spirit telling her the same. Wow, family, it was just an amazing experience and so wonderful.

We had a wonderful Christmas--do not worry about me. Of course I missed you all incredibly and the meals did not compare at all to a couple of Grandma's rolls :) But it was really great, and Elder Perry and Greg Olsen, the artist, came and talked to us those days. They spoke of course, about Christ, but put Him in a different light that I hadn't thought of before and it was really interesting to listen to.

Wow, there is so much that i want to tell you but I am limited by time....Oh! one thing i want to let you know is that the power of prayer is so strong. Prayer is amazing and it's power is just, wow. I've never said so many prayers in my life, and you know what, I kind of like it :) If you want an immediate presence of the spirit-pray for it. I hadn't realized the importance of prayer before I was here. It really is powerful and helps me feel so much closer to my Heavenly Father and my Savior.

Mom, you took some wonderful notes from my stake presidency--if I remember correctly the Stake President also talked about Nephi and Nephi 3:7. But, don't worry, I did write things down in my journal after that day. Oh yes, the journal writing has been very productive the past week, even though I don't usually have time to write down everything, there is still an entry every day (that's almost 7x more a week than I used to! :) ). Oh! Something rather funny, i'm still learning how to dress and act like a missionary--so I still feel a 'phantom cell-phone' every once in a while and start searching for it :) And, I'm also not used to having a watch all the time-but i love it now! love it so much in fact, that I wore it in the shower :) haha, it ok now though.

Mom, Austin, Madi, thank you so much for your Christmas letter! It was very sweet and I thoroughly enjoyed every one. Especially Austin's letter, I wasn't expecting you to write me a letter, but I kind of like it.... :) So, uh,... now that i'm used to it, will you write me again? Send me a letter with your address in provo and I'll write you a longer letter address personally to Austin C. Ko :)

Family, ( wo de jianting) I love you all very much and can't wait to hear from you again soon--thank you so much for your prayers and your letters. Don't stop, please. :) It is getting more manageable, but I still strongly need your help and prayers. Thank you so much though! This church is true and atoning power of the Savior is real, not just for our sins, but for our weaknesses, our trials, and our sorrows. He loves us and wants us to come unto Him, because then He can come unto us. Also, if you have a chance read the Ensign articles from December, they are fabulous. Especially "Home for Christmas" (ironic, right:), we all liked it nevertheless), and "Prince of Peace." Also, some of my favorite scriptures from this week have been Nephi's Psalm (2Nephi4) and Alma 5.Have a fabulous Christmas Break family! Enjoy it before school starts up again!-loves!Sister Ko (Gao Jiamie)

First Letter from MTC

December 21, 2009

Dear Family!

Merry Christmas!How are you? Ne hou!? :) Haha, life is great--I love the MTC! Preparation days are on Monday so I will be able to check my mail for 30 minutes every week. So.... you can write me emails but I will only be able to read them and respond back in that whole time frame. :) I love letters....So, I have two companions, Ma jiame (Sister Malmorse, or something along those lines) and Ka jiame (Sister Colleyer). They are honestly fantastic and perfect companions for me. I was so worried about companions but it has been so wonderful and so great to have companions who understand the language and still are so sweet. Ma jiame has taken a couple years of Chinese in college so she knows a lot and has fabulous pronounciation. I am finding that pronounciation is hard, but I am able to hear it and make the sounds--the hardest part is the pinyin! It's the romanized version of Mandarin and is really helpful, but is so hard to know what sounds each different letter makes. For example, whenever a word is written and starts with the letter c, you say it with a -ts sound. :) Cool, huh? I also have NOT had dessert at all, well, except for every night when we come back to our su she and eat the brownies and cookies :) hehe, Ka jiame already mentioned that she wouldn't be able to take naps because she was wired on the cookies and treats I kept feeding her.

But, do you know what is really fantastic about this place? The spirit! I can't get over how wonderful it is and how strongly the spirit is here. Constantly! I guess when you pray all the time and ask for it, it will be here--but honestly, yes, it is so fabulous. I've never had this kind of experience before where I can feel the spirit all day long and feel strengthened by it. I love it. Oh! By the way, I learned how to pray in Mandarin yesterday! I am still very much at a very elemental level of praying, but I am trying. The hard part is that as much as I practice it and can prununciate it when i practice, I fall all over my words and can't remember how to say things when i get to it. Please pray for me. Family, I really need your help at this time. I am having difficulties with the language and remembering what I have learned.

I am very thankful for my wonderful teachers though. They are really amazing. I don't think I've ever met such understanding and patient people which makes learning so much nicer. They are also so concerned with each of us and our progress. I am so thankful for them and their efforts with me, and also my companions. Wow, oh yeah, they are so wonderful! I can't believe how supportive and how complimentary they are with my chinese no matter how much I forget or how I can't pronounce anything :) Haha, I can't believe how fantastic they are.

The hard thing is that, I know that I need more time to study but I can't find as much time as I feel I need. Before, in school I would be able to stay up later or study on weekends to get caught up with others or to do studying, but all my time is already scheduled out :) So, it's hard for me right now. I love you all so much--you are fantastic! I am going to miss you all this week and especially Friday, but I want you to know that I love you and that I love this gospel. As often as I get frustrated with the language and don't know what to do, I have those wonderful moments during personal study or companion study that are so great. My companions and I have been talking about it, and have found that here in the MTC and with the spirit here we've been able to read the Book of Mormon in a different light and have so many more ah-ha moments :) We have a goal to read the Book of Mormon by the time we leave the MTC. We are on track so far! But, I just want to tell you that I know this gospel is true, and the spirit really has been a comforter for me these past couple days. It's a little overwhelming, but it has been wonderful. Thank you so much for your support and I love you all!-Sister Ko