Sunday, April 25, 2010

Life in Taiwan Pictures

"Composting and recycling plastic bottles! I love taiwan :) they love to recycle....need i say more"

"Our shopping excursion last week."

4/18/10 Email

Dearest family!
It was so good to hear from you and hear how you all are doing--
Yes, thank you for your words on prayer, I am so thankful for the opportunities for prayer and to be able to communicate with my Heavenly Father. There are many nights that I just need to talk to someone who understands me and understands what has happenend throughout the whole day and someone who can help me to overcome my weaknesses. And, one thing that i was reminded of yesterday when I met with one of our investigators was about how it really helps you recognize your blessings. My companion was still finishing up with another lesson, so I started asking her about her prayers and she is so fabulous. Her name is Hui jun and she is from china. For some reason I have really connected with her and felt a bond with her and I loved talking to her about prayer and how it has blessed me. And she shared that she liked the 'we thank thee for...' part of prayer. that it really helped her realize things she was grateful for. And really helped her to be happier when she realized her blessings. I loved that! She really is seeing the blessings of prayer, and the blessings from gratitude. She really is awesome, and she knows God is her Heavenly Father and that Joseph Smith's experience is real. We heard that she worked for a binglan shop ;) Which is kind of like tobacco, but worse and more gross, but she doesn't anymore, so we are excited to see her continue to progress--she is so awesome!
I'm not quite sure how the phone call will work, but when it get's closer I'll let you know :)
Oh! Do you remember that one girl i told you about that came after conference and was willing to be baptized? (anqi) Well, the next time I write you she will be baptized! She is so ready, it was so great to call her every day and she would already have read the sections we had given her the day before. She goes to school at 8 and gets home at 9pm and still finds time to read the scriptures! Everyone here is so dilligent and xingku, but their example of faithfulness is inspiring. She'll be baptized next week after the church meeting, and it is so exciting to have seen someone who is ready. That's the only word i could use to describe her: ready. She knows it's true so quickly and understands the importances and blessings of baptism. Wow, it is such a miracle, and speaking of miracles, there were 11 people who came to church! It really is amazing, what is going on here in Taiwan, thank you so much for your prayers and your love. I only have a couple minutes and I want to send you some pictures :) so I shall respond more next week. I love you all!
-Sister Ko

Monday, April 12, 2010

Visit to Taoist Temple

Graveyard Sweeping Service Project

4/11/10 Email

Hello my wonderful family! How is everyone?
I have officially been on island for one month :) It's so exciting to be here and be involved in the Lord's work, so many miracles at work here. Last week was a harder one for us, but it was such a good learning experience and really helped us see where we needed to improve and how we need to really be meeting with our investigators more often and really putting forth more of an effort to contact them. But yesterday we saw this awesome miracle :) There was a girl who had I guess been riding a scooter with her friend and the elders contacted her friend. As a second-thought they invited her to church. Her friend had no interest but she ended up coming to church all on her own. She just showed up and the wonderful members graciously welcomed her in and she felt so welcome and at home, and as we were inviting her to be baptized she was so willing that she even asked, ok, so do I just show up or should I call you when I get here for the xilihui? She thought we weren't going to see her again before her baptism and was still willing! :) My companion reasurred her that we would be in daily contact with her and help her prepare--She is so cute and so ready, its another miracle.
Another miracle we have seen is in finding a family! We found a family to teach! I have been praying for a family since the MTC and it is the most wonderful experience to be able to teach a family. I can't describe the special spirit that was there. There is something special with teaching a family. The dad is extreamly humble, and at first was really reluctant to pray but the second time we came we could tell he had practiced because he was so much more willing and just awesome. The mom is from Vietnam and came here 7 years ago and has learned chinese from just listening to people, so hardworking and awesome. They have the most beautiful children, a boy and a girl. As we were teaching, I just felt so gandong, so moved, because I knew that this lesson was special because we were teaching a family how to strengthen their relationship, how to become more loving. This is gospel is all about families and blesses our families so much, and i really felt that as we were teaching. This is why we need the gospel we all want to go to the Celestial Kingdom to be with our families forever. We also had amazing peike's, the Ding family came with us and looking at their family and seeing how the gospel has truely blessed their live was really moving. This gospel truely is amazing and if we apply the principles in it we can create stonger family bonds and become better.
That was one thing that they really stressed in Conference. We listened to conference this week, it's a week later because we wait for the translated version. I really loved conference this year, and what I especially loved was that as a missionary, I still felt everything applied to me and everything was important. Listening to conference really once again strengthened my testimony of the importance of families and the family unit. Wow, parenthood is one of the most important and rewarding experiences. I really loved what Elder Bednar said about teaching our children to act and about the importance of spontaneous testimony bearing. Those moments are so special and really are the strongest. I really loved Brother Foster's remarks and nurturing and motherhood. Our mothers have been on this path before and know what it's like because they've experienced it before.
I also really enjoyed Brother Calson's talk on why we don't keep commandments, it really reminded me of some of our investigators and really strengthened the importance of faithful obedience to me. Because selective obedience is disobedience.
And, I was really inspired by Pres Uchtdorf's talk, when he talked about not letting ourselves judge others, but remember that everyone is a child of God. Everyone is of worth and we are not able to measure the worth of another soul. It really made me re-evaluate how I treat others and that I need to be more kind to everyone, and also that I need to be more courageous with talking with everyone because: everyone. Everyone on the street, in this room,in this world is a child of God and needs to hear the gospel.
Haha, ok, here are some fun cultural aspects of Taiwan that I've already come to love. So, everyday you hear music on the street from a certain truck. These trucks go around everyday helping the community. Guess what they are.....garbage trucks! The garbage trucks play music! It's fantasic, and it's a really nice tune too, they did a really good job chosing something that wasn't annoying :) Also, all the bread here is amazing, there is always some sort of dongxi in the middle, there is cream, meat, pudding, something or other, it's always a surprise! a yummy delicious surprise :)
Haha, oh yeah, this week I was exposed to my first dose of Taiwan rain. It was great because I luckily bought a raincoat(a fantasticly blue plastic raincoat :)) last week so I had it in my box as we were traveling to appointments. It started sprinkling and I was so excited because it felt so good and already had been a hot week. But then, my companion all of a sudden stopped on the side of the road and quickly pulled out her raincoat and told me to hurry and get my on. I thought she was being funny, but as we started getting our raincoat on it started pouring! I kid you not, it was awesome. I am of course taller than the average person, and much more so than the little Taiwanese people--and I also made the mistake of getting the regular person-sized raincoat so by the time we got to our appointment my skirt from my knees down was soaked:) haha, but I love riding in the rain, it's the most amazing feeling and so fun to go through puddles. I bought water shoes which are pretty much just shoes with lots of holes so that the water goes in and out. My shoes right now are fabulous but i don't wear them when it rains. :) They will be awesome during winter though--but I'm finding that I don't need really great shoes because we do a lot more biking than walking.
--Sister Ko

Monday, April 5, 2010

4/4/10 Email

Dear family, it is so good to hear from you all,

Right now I am in an area called Nantun. We are the only girls in the district so our area is a couple different areas, but I like having a big area. Then, when you contact people they are more likely to be in your area :) I really have no idea about directions but I think it's south of the Mission home, it takes about 30 minutes for us to bike there for zone conferences or companion exchanges. Oh my goodness we had my first companion exchange and it was so fabulous! I was companions with Sister Crane and it was so great, she loves food so much, just like I do so we had lots of fun buying different foods and sharing and she even had me call people on my own. Haha, that's an experience, I've been doing it by myself again this week and wow, I have no idea what people are saying so much of the time. It's kind of hilarious, people hang up on my a lot but it's getting better. I set up a couple appointments by myself :) Hehe, and a funny language story: while I was on companion exchanges we went to this one lady's house and I was telling her that my dad was from hong kong so that was why I looked asian, and then she evidently asked me that since my mom was american, she wondered if I could speak english! I didn't understand her, but my companion helped me out. So, I guess I can say a couple things well enough without people thinking i'm foreign, but once they realize i ting bu dong (hear but don't understand) what they are saying they figure it out :)

I like what you [Dad] said about patience, because yes, we need to actively be doing our part, but the things we need answered will be, in due time. One thing too I noticed was in Preach my gospel, on hope...not just hoping for things but EXPECTing them to come. Expecting myself to be able to understand things in time. It will come, I just need to work hard and exercise patience.

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences in the mission field, I never really knew much about your experiences and have always been curious. Was it hard being a new convert? One thing I've noticed though, is that the new converts may not know much about the gospel but they know the most important things and they know it is true, that's really all you need to know.

Today we went grave sweeping! It was so much fun! sao mu! It was such a great experience and was such a good way for others to see us and see the church serving the community. The graves are so important to chinese people, and it was fun. Not going to lie though, I am so tired, and I think after we finish buying fruit for the week we'll go back home and have a good sleep :)

Love you!

-Sister Ko