Monday, January 25, 2010

1-25-10 Letter

Dearest Jiating!
My wonderful family, how are you!? Somethings I learned this week in companion study was when we were reading church talks. Wow. "Beware of Pride" by Ezra Taft Benson is so fabulous, and was so humbling, wow, he has a way with words and way of still making things so inspiring. I loved how he mentioned that it is all about our MOTIVES for doing things. It was really good.
Also, one thing that Sister Smith (the MTC President's wife) said in Relief Society last week was that she hoped we had become "best friends with the spirit." She said it in jest, but I wrote it down and thought it was really interesting. It will be such a benefit to us and such a help if we could do that. For one thing, it is through the spirit that we gain our testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel. I always love Alma 5:45-46. Because, like Dad was saying, it's all about the spirit, not about the missionary. The language of the spirit is the method of conversion. Oh my goodness, I have realized the truthfulness of that this week. Wow.
On Sat we had our first chinese lesson! All chinese. No english. Teaching. Dui, shi zhenshi de. It was so nerve-racking, but you know what, I have fantastic companions. It's weird how, you don't understand everything that is being said or don't even realize if you are saying what you want or saying it correctly, but you know what you are saying is true. And because you know it is true, and because you are testifying of Chirst's church, the spirit is there. It is so amazing. I can't describe what a miracle it. President Hinckley gave a fantastic talk on the "miracle of faith." Because every testimony is a miracle. A beautiful miracle. A miracle that we all can experience through the power of the Spirit. And, just think how lucky we are as members of the church to be blessed with the constant companionship of that comforter, that testifier of truth. Wow.
Ok dearest family, I shall leave you here today and I will let you know more next week--but thank you so much for your prayers and your love, I love you.
With much love,Sister Ko

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

1/18/10 Letter

Dearest Jiating!
What I really want to mention is that I have been really impressed with the missionaries. I can't imagine what it would be like to go right after high school to leave your family for 2 years and try to learn a language. Wow, they really are amazing. And, many people warned me about the elders and how they were so immature, but honestly, they are such examples to me. Of course, they are 19, but wow, they sure are grown-up 19 year olds most of the time. I am constantly amazed at their insights into the gospel and their willingness to work and strive to be better. I love those elders, it makes me feel like I am fulfilling my role as sister, even though I can't be there with you.
Oh my goodness, guess what!? We teach in all chinese on Sat! Wow, this is so fast. Haha, remember how we thought I would be a week ahead? :) I was actually a week behind. I haven't been here a month yet, but we are on Week #6, in MTC time. And, week 6: teaching in zhongwen!
Oh, so I had my first experience with cracked wheat and grits. Love them. I don't know why I didn't discover this warm, delicious treat before. I love a bowl of cracked wheat and raisins in the morning along with my fruit and yogurt. So good. Have we ever had cracked wheat before?
Ok, this week we wrote our sacrament meeting talks on the Atonement which was so wonderful. It was so wonderful to study the Savior's Atonement and think about it the whole day and throughout sacrament meeting (shengcan juhui). I just want to share a couple of my favorite scriptures with you: D&C 19:16-19, Mosiah 3:7, 3Nephi 27:13-16, **Alma 36:19-21, and ***John 16:33. Wow, the Atonement is truely amazing and it has such power for all of us. Not just so that we can be cleansed of sin, but we can become better saints and disciples of Christ through the Atonement.
A lot of the time we get to practice teaching each other and get to be investigators for each other. A couple days ago I was an investigator and I thought of something that is really crucial for investigators. Investigators or anyone who wants to know NEEDS to KEEP Commitments! You can't know the truth of Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon without reading it, and you definitely can't know without prayer. It takes action on our part. Of course, there are some people who can feel the spirit very strongly in the first lesson and know of its truthfullness right away. But, even if you know then, you NEED to read the Book of Mormon for yourself and pray. If you don't the Book of Mormon will be just another book and Joseph Smith will be just another guy who told us some cool things. You have to gain a testimony for yourself through action, through desire, through prayer and fasting to know for yourself. I know that Joseph Smith restored this church and that he did see God the Father and Jesus Christ. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that by following the words of the prophets we are following our Heavenly Father. We have a prophet on this earth today. His name is Thomas S. Monson and I know he is a prophet of God and receives revelation. Shi zhenshi de. Wo ai nimen, he yao nimen you kuaile.

Loves!Sister Ko

Monday, January 11, 2010

Saying Good-bye

1/11/2010 Letter from MTC

Dearest jiating!
I am so sorry I can't see your pictures! Could you print them out and send them to me in an email? I would love it--I will send you pictures later, but we haven't been able to get to the bookstore when the computer there is working. There are so many missionaries wanting to print out pictures so the computer breaks down multiple times each day.
Well, I wanted to first of all thank you so much for your words and inspirations to me, wo ai nimen. I've loved the spiritual experiences this weekend, and I think that it might have been mostly because during the week was hard. It was a hard week for me. But, I had some wonderful, inspiring feelings this Sunday and today. It was such a blessing to be able to partake of the sacrament(lingshou shengcan) and we had some of the most fabulous talks that I really needed to hear. Sister Elaine Dalton came for Relief Society yesterday, she is such a sweet lady and a wonderful speaker. Also, we were able to meet her after and she is such a personable person. She really speaks from her heart and is such a wonderful, inspired person. She talked about the new young women value: virtue. And, mom, you'll be excited to hear that my companions and I are taking that virtue packet and are going to complete it before we leave the MTC. We might not get the Book of Mormon read by then, but we have already completed #3. Alma 5, a marvelous chapter of good missionary questions.
At our large group meeting last week we learned about miracles and how they work according to our faith. Dilligence and action is also required with that. A scripture I really enjoyed from that were D&C 97:8. Also, when we went to the health center I saw a plague that said this: " a missionary is someone who leaves their family for a short time so that other families can be together for eternity." I know that is true and I think about that whenever we talk about our purpose. It will be such a blessing to be able to bring families to the gospel and see it bless their lives.
Also, I needed to work a lot on patience this week, so there were some really interesting things I found from Preach My Gospel and the scriptures. Some good ones were in Alma 34:40,41, and Romans 8:24, 25, but especially in Romans 15:1-7. I loved verse 5. God tells us how He is patient, but he grants us the ability to become as such. That is so wonderful and is so inspiring for me. I have been praying a lot for patience this week. And the week before. Haha, I think it will be my personal aspiration for many many weeks :)
The language is coming! I love to bear my testimony in zhongwen and I now have the 1st vision memorized! Also, we played this game called bendiren (native speaker), and I was totally the bendiren on Friday. That means I didn't speak any English. at all. It was super hard, but I did it! :) I could speak English after I said the zhongwen first so I was still able to communicate, but it was hard. And, I saw Sister Ressa Casperson, did you know her? Although after she waited in the lunch line with me and had to wait a couple minutes for me to respond to any of her questions I'm pretty sure she was done talking to me and that's why she doesn't ask me questions anymore :)
Oh! Mom, you would be so excited, the volleyball is fun here! Sometimes it is hard to play, but there are a couple elders who have played beach or at least know how to set and serve and it has been a lot of fun to play during our gym time. I love playing here because a lot of people are good, but there are so humble about their skills and are nice! It is so wonderful.
Ok! You wanted to know about daily life, wake up is at 6:30, we get ready and are out the door and in our classrooms at 7am. Not going to lie, we sometimes run the last hallway to make it on time, but we've been working hard to try to be obedient so we've been on time the past week and a half. Then there is usually personal study and companion study, each for an hour. Then there is class time or Missionary Directed Time. With time for gym and meals that is pretty much it. Planning at 9pm and bed by 10:30. Between 9:30 and 10:30 we can iron clothes, shower, read, write in our journals, and get ready for bed.
Oh--do you remember in track, the twins from Skyline that always ran cross country? Well, one is my teacher! I also had physical science with them freshman year, but one still remembered me. He is a really fantastic teacher and has great lessons that I really enjoy. I love how we have language classes but also spiritually inspiring lessons that really help us see the purpose of what we are doing and help us to hopefully become better missionaries. Li laoshi is from China and she is a convert to the church. She's helping us so much with the language, and sometimes it is very difficult to hear what she is saying, but it will be so helpful when we are out in the field and people actually talk like that :)
Ok! You also wanted to hear more about the elders in my district. Li zhanglao (Elder Li) is from Hong Kong! He is our district leader, and He reminds me of our cousing Bebe, before he lost a lot of weight. He has the cutest face and Asian eyes and is truely the sweetest elder. Very sincere and very nice.
Ah-ya! I have to go, but I will explain more about our district later. I really have been impressed with the elders. Many people told me they would be immature and little, but I feel that many have really applied the call to their lives and they really are wonderful. They are very hard workers and i appreciate them in our district.
I love you all so much!
-Sister Ko

1/4/2010 Letter from MTC

Dearest Jiating! You are fantastic!
Ah! There is so much to tell you! I will probably write you a letter as well so that you can have all the info that I'm not able to type out today. Of course you can add my letters home to the blog--I am not able to upload pictures onto computers here in the MTC so I will send you a letter with pictures in it.
Michael, dearest cousin, if you are able to read this--I saw Chris Ah Su a couple days ago and thought of you! Also, I met Brother Hancock who was in the same mission as you--he said he remembered you and liked you a lot, and that he had seen you volunteer before at the TRC. You are fabulous-good luck with school!
To my daddio- Oh dad, I love you! Thank you so much for your letter and your words to me. I am so thankful for the opportunity you have to teach and especially to teach quiet kids :) You can use the skills you learn from your "how to make friends and influence people" book! You will do great, and I more then excited to hear that you are enjoying your church meetings and enjoying the spirit there.
Haha, dad you'll love this little bit of information: so, my wonderful tongban Ma jiemei is so fabulous about working out. Lately, about every other day we do this workout that we like to call Ab-Ripper-X! It's so good and it's a whole bunch of ab exercises so don't worry too much about me getting bigger! My skirts still fit :) for now....... Haha, and another reason I love it is because she'll let me count and my zhongwen counting has improved tremendously! Also, we get a better workout because I won't let us come down from holding the pose or continue until I remember the next number so we actually are working out more than we used to :)
Today we got to go to the temple! The temple is such a wonderful place, I love it so much and I love the opportunity to go. It's been so long since I've gone to the temple-the last two p-days the temple has been closed. Wow, I just love being there and being able to experience all that goes on there. The spirit is so strong and the whole time you are there, there is just an overpowering sense of love. I don't even understand how wonderful and supreme our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are to have so much love for each of us individually.
So, in one of our devotionals that past week we heard from one of the administrators who shared Alma 29 and 3 Nephi 28:9 which were such great examples of missionary work and what it means to have joy from serving. They mention that joy comes not from helping people repent, but from just the opportunity to do so. You don't have to be baptizing people every week or have a ton of investigators to be successful.
If you have time this week read Elder Holland's "The Best is Yet to Be" so good. My favorite part is near the end when he says that God doesn't care as much about where you have been as where you are and where you are willing to go with His help. Wow. That is so awesome. He will forget the mistakes you make when you repent of them and change. He just wants you to be the best that you can be and to be willing to continually strive to be your best self.
Ok jiating, here is an assignment for you at FHE tonight--really quick too, page 8 Preach My Gospel, Message of the Restoration activity. do it. :) Report back to me next week and I'll tell you the funniest/best answer ever that our teacher shared with us.
Also, one thing that really stuck out to me this week was the realization of my purpose. I was at first separating my language study and my personal study, and everything else. I was just compartmentalizing them in my head and separating them all out. But, it's not separate. Everything we do here is for one purpose: To bring people closer to Christ. Through whatever means of preparation we need to do such, is what we need to do. Even when we were making a language study plan, it's all focused around our investigator, what do we need to learn to be able to communicate with them about our Heavenly Father's love, about the restoration....Also, we are able to learn languages without special teachers because we are learning the Lord's way. That is why it works. Learning zhongwen will help me communicate with the Taiwanese peole.

Ah! have to go! love you! I'll write! allison