Tuesday, March 30, 2010

3/22/10 Letter

Dearest Jiating!

I just wrote you an e-mail but I also wanted to write you a letter--hopefully it won't take too long to get to you :) I just love sharing and writing on this sushi-nary; hehehe...ah! How are my sushi friends mi-shi and his cute little wife? Do you still go there often?

The food here is amazing--I love it too much-but also the members love giving us little snacks and a whole bunch of bale (guava)-have you ever eaten a guava fruit? I don't think I had until I came here--but they are fantastic and you eat the whole thing-seeds and all! And actually the middle is becoming my favorite part! We eat one every day for breakfast :) Sooo good!

Also, I realized I didn't finish telling you about Huang xiao jie. It was so great to be able to meet with her--so receptive and so willing to pray and read. Also, the second time we saw her she brought her children! Her little girl is 9 and her son is 6 and they are adorable. All chinese children are adorable and so hen ke ai! But what was really special was when we sang "Families Can Be Together Forever" as an opening song to our lesson and when she turned to that page she read it, looked up at me, and had the most suprised, excited, happy face ever! It was so exciting and so fabulous! Wow, just the excitement in her face made my day--and she is so ready for the gospel. I want her whole family to be baptized! I am so excited to meet with her again.

So, how are things going? I hope you are all doing well and learning a lot at school, work, and from church. The gospel is true!

Sister Ko

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bruised Legs from Bike Riding

Sisters Ko and Norman

MTC Volleyball Buddies

3/28/10 Letter

Dearest family, my dear jiaren,

Mom, I really loved what you said Sister Kezele said that her son wrote. I need to remember that and remind myself about that sometimes. Sometimes I get frustrated with myself and that I can't say anything I want to, but I need to remember that it's not about me or what I can and can't do. This is the Lord's work, so it will progress. When I contact people, I'm pretty sure they don't understand what I'm saying--you don't have to say much--but people will listen and hopefully something from the way we say it and the way the spirit testifies of it's truthfullness that will persuade them to listen and set up with us.

You asked about contacting--when we do contacting it's mostly whenever we are traveling, as we ride our bikes, whenever we are stopped at a light we contact. We have these awesome pamplet things that are called tracts and we give them out like candy. No, better than candy :) It has everything about the church and a whole section on the Restoration, lately, that has been my favorite place to turn to if we have enough time. It takes us a little longer to get to places, but it's an awesome way to meet people. I still haven't done any tracting, and my companion says that we really don't do much of it, she's only done it once. Yes, we also have a lot of single women in their 20's that are intested, it does seem to be the most common age group, but I really want to find a family so bad. It's so weird though--families are always the ones who are the least interested and the ones who are the quickest to wave us away and say, oh, bu yong bu yong, bu yao.

The wards we have are fabulous though--and they are so willing to give referrals. That is such a better way to do missionary work, through the members. If they are being referred by a friend, people are so much more willing to listen. The single's ward especially here--they do such a good job at fellowshipping people in and making everyone feel welcome. That's something that I wish I had done more. Every week when we have investigators come, everyone is so nice and welcoming. It is so awesome!

You mentioned the youth ate some of those crickets! Did you try some?! That sounds so fun. I love trying things here--there were some things even with dad that I didn't try because I just didn't know how to eat them--but today I ventured outside that relm and ate some duck neck...then some fish jaw :) I guess that's what it was and I really didn't know how to eat it, but a member took us out to eat today with her friend. We were able to teach her about prayer and set up another appointment with her, but before that the member kept bringing back other dishes for us to try. Not going to lie, it was fabulous! And I tried some sushi and it was, oh my goodness, I can't describe how creamy and delicious it was...

I'm sending some picutures from the MTC, my volleyball friends, and from Taiwan, I love you all and wish the best of you all!

-Sister Ko

Monday, March 22, 2010

3/21/10 Letter

Hello dear family! It's so good to hear from you! Don't worry about printing off letters and sending them, every once in a while a letter would be nice, but we get an hour here so I have plenty of time to write and read your letters. Also, it is so good to hear about people back home--I had totally forgotten how much time had gone by and how people were getting married and off in college.

So, we had our second baptism on Tuesday and since move-calls start on Monday we had the first baptism of the move call in the whole mission :) She is so sweet and has a cute little daughter with an english name of Apple. Some people's 'english' names are so funny here. It was a little nerve-racking because the ward mission leader totally forgot about it and we had to rush around and make a ton of phone calls to get some other missionaries to come over and baptize her. But, as crazy as it was, when we got started it was so beautiful and such a spiritual experience. I don't think she knew her baptism had been forgotten and it was so wonderful. The spirit was there and it was so exciting to see. We also challenged one of our investigators to be baptized this coming Sat so we might have another shortly.

My companion, Sister Norman is so amazing--she is helping me so much and is so patient and hard-working. I really love it and really love working with her. I really still don't understand so much of what everyone is saying. But, I know it's coming....I am progressing. I really appreciated Sister Norman's help, especially when she wasn't able to be with me. We have three wards that we are missionaries for, so for two of the wards we had to split up and I took an investigator to sunday school and relief society while Sister Norman went to Sacrament mtg. Oh my goodness that was an adventure--I felt like I learned so much though, and got to hear so much chinese, it was fantastic! But, I really hated not being able to explain about church or get to know her more. I know it will come with time and work.

Dad, thank you so much for your wonderful letters, you are so sweet and they mean so much to me! You'll love this: we always show pictures of my family and whenever I show people they always comment on how shui my family is. Especially you dad, they always say you are super shui and you look like a movie star. Every once in a while they say that about Austin too, but mostly you. You really are super shui.

Also, oh my goodness, I love the food here--it is so good. Everything, and I always love trying new things. The newest thing I've had is the blood cake, which dad could explain to you, but it's not bad, has a different type of texture. The only thing is that a lot of the food has a lot of oil and grease, so I'm trying to be more careful about what I eat. But, dad, remember those pastries I love :) everywhere. and every 7-11 has them. There are 7-11's on every street corner, it's hilarious, but it's really convienent because we can make copies and get cash there.

Haha, also my bike is fantastic. Although, I've been having some problems getting used to it. You know how graceful I am, right? How balanceful I am, uhhmm, yeah, riding a bike is sometimes hard :) And I keep needing to be somewhere quickly or hop on really fast so I end up banging up my legs, I have bruises all up my calves and the other day I cut my ankle...haha, but it's mostly just funny now.

OH! But I really want to tell you about this lady we found this week. Her name is Huang, Mrs. Huang, and she is so fantastic. It was so fun to meet her and talk with her. I found her around our church and she was so willing to talk with us and even after she wrote down her information and the light had turned red again she still wanted to talk to me. Haha, I couldn't say much but I asked about her family and learned that she had two kids. When she came for her first lesson she was so fantastic and I love the spirit that is there, and especially when she prayed. I love listening to people the first time they pray and am so amazed at the spirit they bring. It's so great to hear them pray and to think about how different it is but what a wonderful experience they will have and how learning about pray can help them so much.

Yeah, contacting is funny now because I still don't know what people are saying. BUt I always ask them if they've ever been to church and then even if I don't know what they are responding with I share the gospel anyway! :) haha, and if they let me get they're information, my companion comes and helps me set up a time to meet with them. What did you do to understand people more?

Yeah, it's funny because people always look at me and can't figure out where I'm from. Even when I talk and tell them I'm from the US and they hear my accent, they still don't believe me. Because I don't look fully Taiwanese but not really american either. I puzzle everyone

Ok, I have to head out now, but I just want to let you know that this church is true. I know that Jesus Christ and God appeared to Joseph Smith and that through him they restored their gospel. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer and that this is His church. ONly through HIs gospel and through His Atonement can we be cleansed of our sins and be able to return to God's presence and live as families forever. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that the truths in it are precious. They help us to become better people and to find happiness. I love you all and hope all is well! Have a fantastic week!

Loves! Sister Ko

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

First Pictures From Taichung

Lunch with President and Sister Hoer

First Companion, Sister Norman

March 14, 2010

Dearest Jiating! How are you all?! Nimen hao! I love you all so much and am so excited to be here!
Oh, my goodness, I dont' even know where to start! It's all so wonderful! I have a fabulous companion--I have a picture attached and hopefully will be able to send more, but for now this is her: Sister Norman! She is so wonderful and such a blessing to me. I was so sad to leave my companions at the MTC and so worried about this change to Taiwan, but it is so much better than I could have ever imagined. She is so patient with me and is always so willing to help or answer my questions. She has been here for almost a year and still feels unadequate as a trainer, but I reassure her that she is the best thing for me here. It is so fantastic to be a missionary! I still love contacting! Wow, it's so tough though--most of the time, I don't know what people are saying. I can usually get across what I want to say, but I have no idea what they are responding with. haha, but I want to share the message of the gospel no matter what they say :) so I guess it's all good.
The first night I got here it was 11pm and by the time we got to the mission home and slept it was 2am, so the first couple days I was really tired, and I've never had such bad jet lag before. When we arrived at the mission home I wanted to ask them if we were in the middle of a small earthquake that very moment because I honestly felt like that :) Haha, but i'm all good now---President and Sister Hoer are the neatest people I've ever met. Their strong testimonies of the gospel and their passion for missionary work is amazing. I loved being with them--and since there was no one else in my group it was pretty much one on one with them for most of the time and training. For some of Thursday and Friday I was with Sister Peterson. She got here two weeks ago but was supposed to be here a transfer earlier, but her visa got delayed. WE also got a quick tour of the area and got some great pictures with Buddha that I hope I can send you soon.
WE had a great experience Thursday night with my first taste of preaching :) I think you're getting something that explains a little bit about it and I don't want to tell too much because I think it's supossed to be a surprise for missionaries when they get here. I was totally surprised. I thought they were kidding and I didn't believe them until we reached the night market--but I started contacting right then. We got to be with a seasoned missionary to help us, but wow, that was hard. It was actually very overwhelming, not going to lie. I hate not being able to talk to people. YOu know how much I love to talk with people and get to know them, right? I can't do that yet. But, I do know important things and I know how to explain the gospel, which will help them more than 'getting to know them' skills, at this point.
On Friday I met my trainer and we headed off to lessons! Haha, yep! WE had some lessons planned for the day and I was able to help teach--and then we had a meeting with a very special girl. Rui min, she is so cute and just glows with her testimony. It was exciting to meet with her because the next day.....she got baptized! Yes indeed! I've been on island for not a week yet, but I got to see my first baptism yesterday..and we have another scheduled for tomorrow! I know! Honestly, this work is so wonderful, and it's true, therefore miracles happen. That's all there is to it.
Also, I know I've only been here a couple days, but I'm already so excited for this new investigator. We met her for the first time and went over first lesson principles with her yesterday--and then we invited her to church, and she came!!!! Oh my goodness, I can't explain how excited I was that she was so willing and excited to come-- She is a cute 21 year old college student (Ling xiao jie--I'm not sure of her first name, but xiao jie is similar to Ms.). I hope so much that she stays interested, in her prayer with us on sat, she mentioned she was thankful for the comfortable feeling she had as she was with us. I soooo hope that she remembers that. Especially since she will be going home this week and won't be able to meet with us for another week.
But, oh yes! Church! Yesterday I was the new missionary in our wards so I was able to go up and bear testimony, and the missionaries in our district also gave a musical number. Haha, I know... don't worry, I've found that a lot of Chinese people, like me, are tone deaf, so even though I can't sing, I think they are still appreciative of our efforts :) Also, it's so funny when people meet me--Sister Norman says, this is my new companion and people say: "Ah huanyin! Gao jiemei, ah! dui-ya! Ni hen gao! Oh--ni hen piao liang!" Translation:"Welcome, Sister Ko, oh yes, you are so tall :) So pretty." The Chinese people are so sweet and tell me I'm so pretty. We even had one lady at one of the places we ate at, tell me that she wanted to introduce me to some people, but my companion let her know :) Haha, it's so wonderful to have my companion who knows chinese, because sometimes I feel like I just smile and nod at everything and I have no idea what I'm saying sometimes :)
Haha, but I know that I am improving--chinese people are so sweet, even though I speak slowly I am working hard at pronouncing my tones so that people can at least understand what I do say. People are telling me that they can already see improvements and I love how they are so willing to help me, and so many of them know english so I can ask them chinese words for so many things. Haha, and one time, when I was practicing teaching the 1st lesson with my companion at dinner, one of the sweet older ladies walked by and told me my chinese was "standard" I'm not really sure what that means, but my companion says that's good :) I ting bu dong so much though (hear but don't understand). But I know I am improving so much.
One thing I really love about this mission is that here--we baptize. This IS a baptizing mission. It's so fabulous, and right when you contact people, we bring up baptism. Baptism and the restoration. It's true and it's message works miracles. We commit people to baptism at the first contact and that is why it is so successful here. It's so exciting to have talked to so many people in a day and not have any success, and then, right at the end of the day have someone who is so willing to meet with you--wow, I can't describe the feeling. Like yesterday, we were right outside our apartment building, five feet away and there was this girl walking. It was the end of the day and would have been so much easier to go inside, but I really wanted to talk to her--and we're meeting with her this week! Miracles, beautiful miracles!
Family, I love you all so much, thank you so much for your prayers and your love. Please continue to pray for me, pray for our investigators and our new members. Also pray for my language, please pray for me to understand not just what people are saying, but to understand what they need to hear. Thank you so much, I love you all and hope you are doing well--please let me know about your spiritual experiences back home and how missionary work is going there.
Sister Ko

Monday, March 8, 2010

3/8/10 MTC Letter

Dearest wonderful family,
I love you all so much, thank you for your love and support!
I have loved my time at the MTC. So wonderful, every week has been such a blessing and such an opportunity for growth. Every week I can feel my testimony growing and I can tell that I am progressing in the language. haha, although, I had always thought that when people left the MTC they would be ready to speak and say almost anything, would know every lesson by heart, and shenme shenme shenme... But, wow, maybe those other missionaries know what people are saying, but I still can only pick up on 60% of my teacher's sentences sometimes :) But, you know what, I really want to leave. I know there is still so much I need to learn, but I feel that I can do so, so much more quickly there in Taiwan. I WANT to be out there and teaching people. I so badly need to go and show them what this gospel means to me. I also, can't describe this feeling, but I just don't want to hold back. I want to be out there and share my testimony, share what I know to be true with those beautiful people of Taiwan. This really is weird, I've never wanted to go do something I didn't feel completly prepared for, but you know what, I know that God will help me in my weaknesses.
Something we read about this week as a companionship was the enabling power of the Atonement, and grace. I love the definition in the bible dictionary and about how it gives us the power to do things we would otherwise not be able to. And, in Romans 3-5, especially chapter 4 it talks about how our faith allows us to use grace.
I know that this church is true, I know that this is the fullness of God's church restored to the earth and that Joseph Smith did, indeed, see God the Father, and Jesus Christ. Through the power of God, Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon that is the most true and beautiful book, tangible evidence of God's love. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and I know that His Atonement is real.

Thank you so much, you are fantastic, tomorrow will be so exciting! Love you!
-Sister Ko

Monday, March 1, 2010

3/1/10 Letter from MTC

Dearest Family,
Oh my goodness, I can't believe the time to leave the MTC has already come. Wow! Zhende ma! It has gone by so fast, I have learned so much about the language, but also so much about myself and about the gospel. And, most importantly, I feel that I've grown so much closer to my Savior and have developed a deeper relationship with my Heavenly Father. Somedays I feel that I can understand the language, but, haha, then there are other days that I really know why you need to use the spirit, because I'm not sure if people will be able to understand my words :)
We got our flight plans, and yes, I'll be leaving next Tuesday and have a layover in LA from 12:19-3:50, and I'm not sure exactly how it will all work out, but I guess we do get to call you, I just don't know how yet...but I guess we'll find out and I'll email you next week and let you know more details. Also, we leave at 3:50pm from LA and arrive the next day...at 10:30pm :) Haha, so I guess I'll be in the air for a day and half :)
I just love being here at the MTC, and, ok, the food IS getting a little old at this point, but I Love it. The atmosphere, the people, the work, it's all fantastic. One thing that I've really started developing a love for is bearing testimony. I always have enjoyed bearing testimony but never did it as often as I should have. But here I just love doing it and I relish the moments in lessons where I get the opportunity. Or CONTACTING! Oh my goodness, I love contacting. I don't know why, the idea of it scares me to death, but whenever we practice I don't know what happens. Yes, I do understand that people in the real world won't be as attentive to listening and won't be so willing to meet with you, so maybe my opinion of it will change--but i hope not :) Whenever I get scared I think of Romans 1:16, because honestly, this gospel is true, what do I have to be afraid of when I share it? This Friday our district decided to make it our "missionary day" so the whole day was spent as if we were in the mission field. We filled the day with personal study, companion study, language study, and then taught lessons, contacted, or tracted. It was really fun, I loved it! And, it was so good to really learn how important it is to plan time and especially plan time to travel to different places :) haha, we kindof forgot about that and ended up running quite a few times.
Yesterday we were able to hear from Sister Ann Dibb in Relief Society, what I really loved about her talk was that she brought two young women and asked us what advice we would give to girls like that about living virtuously in a world like this. And, you know what, this is what I thought about. I would tell them that being a teenager is already so overwhelming and awkward that you really need to have something that is constant and something you can depend on. A testimony is what you need. If you don't have one right now, that's ok. But don't dwell in that situtation, you need to find out for yourself. Your testimony can be such a strength and will give you what you need to stay strong in a world such as this. Once you KNOW certain things, you know that you will BE ABLE to conquer certain things and handle all situations. And, then today I read Trials and Testimony in the Ensign. Oh yes, fabulous talk! Please read that, it is so great.
Ok, I love you all but have to go, continue to pray always Love Sister Ko