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.