Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July 5 Email

Hello dearest family!

I don't have as much time today but it was a fantastic fun filled adventure :) Whew, I can't wait to show you the pictures, but I think pictures will have to wait until next week because they take a little longer to send. Ok, no time, but long story short: went hiking, which means we biked a long time to go hiking for an hour--but it was great. I am not in shape. I thought I was, but I am not. But I feel very accomplished because we biked up a mountain except for the last km where someone gave us a ride (but we did end up running back down to our bikes after) All together our member friend who went with us said it was total 50km from our house, up the mountain and back :) Whew, I am tired. Uphill is hard. I'm not so sure anymore that I can do triathalons with dad and austin....

But, the most exciting event this week was on Sat, our baptism! That was one of the most spiritual baptisms I have ever attended. Haha, first of all we were a little late getting to the church that day, but when we rushed into the church there were are cute little soon to be members sitting all together on the couches, anxiously awaiting their baptism :) Yang mama, whose real name is lin xing zi (every woman uses their own name but if you want to mention someone's wife or mom you use the dad's family name) she had the most wonderful experience and was so moved at the end of her baptism that while she was giving her share at the end she said she was just so thankful for all of us and kept hugging and kissing us during and after her baptism, she is such a cutie and such a gem. She also talked about how she had felt dead for the past 20 years and through the gospel, through the change that has taken place, the gospel means so much to her. The twins also got baptized that day, remember them :) Wow, they are amazing. They were so nervous about the baptism and so nervous about having to do it twice :) but they were fantastic and it was just the most wonderful experience to hear their testimonies after and hear their experiences with the Book of Mormon and see how much they have changed over the past weeks. Both of them had different experiences where they prayed and read the Book of Mormon and found their answer that they needed to be baptized. They were so gan dong, I don't know how to say it in english....moved? so moved? yes, but the most wonderful thing is that they are really converted and have a testimony of the Book of Mormon and this gospel, and that will help them get through the good times and the not so good times. I just can't say this enough times, a testimony of the Book of Mormon is far beyond essential. Nothing beats a personal witness from reading the Book of Mormon, members included. We all need to continue to read and to continue to pray about.

Ok, but honestly, did you all have a special missionary fast, or have been praying for missionarys 24-7? Wow, there are so many blessings and so many beautiful miracles we have been able to see the past couple weeks and miracles that are to come. It really is such a blessing to be here. During the middle of the twins' share at their baptism I had a moment where I just sat that and felt the spirit from their testimonies and was so thankful for the opportunity to be a missionary. This is why everything is worth it. Every long day, or hard day, the day you get rejected more times than you think you can handle---it's all worth it. I am able to help people be baptized and be able to live with their Heavenly Father again, these girls know about their Heavenly Father and their Savior. They will be happier because of the gospel, not just now, but forever. I wish you could be here and see their faces, watch the change that takes place. Nothing compares.

Yes, baptism is fantastic, and language, yes it is coming along. I know i am improving, but it's funny because people keep telling me how much i have improved and how they can actually understand me now so i wonder what i sounded like before :) love you!

Thank you so much for your prayers, let everyone know they really are felt and really are causing so much success in this area.

I love you so much!

-Sister Allison Ko

June 27 Email

Dearest family,

Thank you so much for that fabulous package! Wow, that was so exciting! So many fabulous goodies and surprises :) I saw meimei on sunday and we will go visit her and her mom sometime this week and I'll give her that book, she should like it :) And, those rings are perfect for the 11-year we are going to start teaching, and probably our recent converts would love them as well--this week we will have 3 baptisms! Two are friends who are so cute, they are the most different people but the best of friends. THey are just the kind of friends everyone should be to each other, and they have been each other's biggest support as they have investigated the gospel. Jiayi was the first to really feel like she was starting to develop faith when she prayed. And, jiayu had a fabulous experience with prayer and having the scriptures answer her prayers. And, I love having lessons with them and looking at their faces and knowing that they are feeling the spirit and knowing that they know it is true. At a couple points they were worried about being baptized and not being able to follow all of the commandments all the time. And yes, sometimes things seem like we don't want to live with the fear of making mistakes, but that is what the Savior suffered for. We will make mistakes and we aren't perfect, but the Savior is, and we can become perfect through His Atonement. They are so obedient and stiving to be faithful members. I know that they will keep doing so and will continue to develop faith and will endure. Yes! Endure to the end! Even though they are so different our district leader calls them the twins because they are always together. At church, at lessons, everything--even though they live in different areas, one will call and change the time so that they both can be together to have lessons. They have always been together :) I am so excited for them, they are the sweetest people--and they made me this photo-card for my birthday. Pictures of me and my companion and them and all of us together and it is the cutest thing ever, I'll send a picture next week.
The other is an amah! A grandma :) She is the cutest little thing ever, but really spunky. Her daughter is a member and she is ready, at her baptismal interview this week our district leader told us that she said she should have been baptized a long time ago. She saw the change it made in her daughter and son-in-law's lives and should have joined the church right then. She is so cute and will be an amazing member. She was so funny when we explained commandments because she would say, oh...tea, alcohol....that's going to be hard....hmmm.. yes... hm.. no, no...keyi, keyi I can do that yes, i can do that, no problem :) She is great.
This move call has been really exciting because I really wanted a high baptismal goal this move and we are going to accomplish it! It is such a miracle area and people are ready to hear the gospel. This is the truth. The fulness of the truth. There is only one Plan and the only way the Plan is possible is through Jesus Christ. I love this gospel and know this is God's truth. I love you all!
Good luck on the river! Be safe! I forget...who else are you going with? That should be so much fun!
Love you!
-Sister Allison Ko


An MTC Picture with friend Sister Kristin Peters

Lin yu chen and us the last Monday afternoon before Sister Norman left

My wonderful companion and I drinking amazing wintermelon tea with added milk....wow...so good. Have I told you about how I have never drunk so much tea as on my mission. They have flower teas, wintermelon, and this amazing carmel milk tea that you can also add these little mochi balls called zhenzhu and it is fantastic.....

June 20 Email

The retreat sounds so great! I'm glad they were all well-behaved and had fun. I really like what Bishop Traveller said, and Murray's brother. That's a really good thing to think about and to have as a constant reminder that each day is a new day and each day I can dedicate fully to the Lord. Not going to lie, somedays it is very hard to get out of bed, but then again, the time to get back into bed comes very very quickly. Time goes by too fast. But it is amazing what happens in the time that passes. Lin yu chen is getting baptized tonight! I am so excited about her--she was the very first person that Sister Norman and i started teaching together. She went to Thailand for a week and disappeared and then we were worried about her for a really long time, but got back in touch with her a month ago, and wow, she is going to be great. She just graduated from college and is the cutest girl ever.

I'm so excited for the people we are teaching right now, one is a grandma whose daughter is a member and she has so easily be willing to keep commandments and really agrees with the principles behind them as well. Such a cute spunky little lady--yang mama. And those two friends who are students, jia yi and jia yu, they are going to have their baptismal interview this week! They still might have family fandui, family protest issues, but hopefully they can ask soon and get a positive answer. But one of the most exciting things is that we have just started teaching two moms! They bring their children to our appointments and they are so great and so willing to learn.

This sat there was a yw/ym missionary activity. Those kids are fantastic--they really have the missionary spirit and are excited to be missionaries. It is so exciting to see them go out and be willing to share. There is this one 15 year old girl that was with me for a little while and she was inspiring. Not afraid to open her mouth and share. That is fantastic and that is what it takes, because people can't feel the spirit of your words if you aren't saying anything. The first step is to open your mouth. She says she already knows she wants to be a missionary and I know that she will be a great missionary one day. There is another boy in the ward who is really inspiring. He is in high school but helps the elders with their lessons all the time, it is amazing. Him and his sister joined the church a few years ago and their parents aren't members but they come every week and he passes the sacrament. It's really amazing and inspiring to see the members of these wards and how the gospel really influences how they live their lives.

I had a fantastic birthday! A member had the day off and wanted to spend the day with us so we had a peike at all of our sit-down lessons. I don't know how people found out, but I guess my companion told some people last week because a sweet member took us out for lunch and our investigators kept telling me happy birthday :) Because we were with a fabulous member who knows all about taiwan food, we explored some new places and I tried some new noodle dish with oysters and....pig intestine :) not bad, but something I ate that day did not go well with my stomach because the next couple days have been interesting. haha, we had fun and I also received a couple happy birthday cards, but other than happy birthday and sister ko I don't really know what they say :)

haha, love you all! have a fabulous week!

-Sister Ko

June 13 Email

Family! Love you all!

Yeah, it happens sometimes when people have the desire to be baptized but there is parent or spouse fandui...uhm,..protest i think is the english word. It's also different here in taiwan where if they are under 20 they need written permission and if they still live with their parents they need verbal approval. A lot of people actually live with their parents and it seems like it's what everyone does unless they go to school far away, until they get married. But almost every weekend they still go home so sometimes it's hard to get people to church consequetively.
Yes! Zone conferences are once a transfer and we also have combined district training meetings once a transfer. Our combined district training meetings are what I think are normally called zone conferences because they are with all the districts in our zone and our zone leaders are in charge of it until President Hoer comes at the end and shares. After we have mission president interviews. Zone conferences are with two zones and it's mostly talks and training by President Hoer, Sister Hoer, and the assistants. We have one tomorrow and I'm so excited for it and also so sad because this will be the last time to see the Hoers. Mission conferences are twice a year (one is always at Christmas) and the whole mission will get together--our new mission president, President Bishop will be here by July and we will have a mission conference the week after. I really love all the opportunities to hear from the mission presidents and our leaders. I have a testimony that as they tell us to do things and as we follow our investigators are blessed and are more receptive to progressing towards baptism. I always remember those first couple days of being on island and it just re-energizes me to go out there and be a better missionary.
We are teaching some great people right now--two are classmates that love coming to church. They are so receptive and so open to learning and to pray and read. He jia yi and liang jia yu, they are so cute and I am so excited to be able to keep seeing them progress. Our xu j.m. won't be able to get baptized soon because her husband won't let her, but she is still coming to church and ever since we talked about sabbath and wearing skirts she loves dressing up and wearing dresses to church :) We also had another member referral who is now progressing. Honestly, it just takes them reading the Book of Mormon and start to apply it to their lives. She is amazing, she came to church yesterday with her sister and stayed for all three hours. Then, she actually came to us to set up the next time to meet with her--she has concerns with the word of wisdom, but wow, really is progressing so much--her name is ma xin jie, such a cute little taiwanese girl.
Ok, i'm going to write to madi now, but I love you all and thank you for the birthday wishes--I will gladly eat a piece of cake for each of you :) haha, love you and wish you all a great week!
-Sister Allison Ko

More Pictures

Me and my wonderful companion, Sister Crane

the rain :) it is so much fun, it just comes down and comes down like none other. The best part is that I get to wear a beautifully pink raincoat as we chuan the jiao (do missionary work) Cool, huh? :)

These are some of the most awesome members in the world. Wu pei rong has longer hair and is a new member but has such a beautiful testimony and will be leaving on a mission soon. The other is hong xiu ying and they both are so helpful with us in lessons or just welcoming our investigators. I love them and they are such great examples of what member missionary work is all about. They have beautiful conversion stories.

The Baptism of Cai Ying Xuan