Monday, November 22, 2010

11/21/10 Email

Oh! I moved! I'm in Jiayi, a little bit south of where I was before. A little hotter, but I think it will be perfect for the coming winter (which is still fantasticly hot by the way. I hear it gets cold but I have a hard time believing it at this point). And, new companion! Sweet little Sister Lai! She is the cutest thing ever and is going to be the biggest help for me in getting to know this new area. I am so excited to be here and be with her. She had a fabulous trainer so I am very excited to be working with her and so excited to meet our investigators and new members. The language is coming, I am so nervous about it, but Sister Lin was telling me that it doesn't matter if I don't completely understand, the language of the spirit is the most important. And Sister Lai can help me with language issues :) She is from Taibei and seems to know a lot of english so it should be a big help. Honestly, I don't know if I'll ever be completely comfortable speaking chinese, it's tough. When I would read Michael's letters and hear him after a year say that he felt he was getting the language down i used to think, wow, that long?, what about the gift of tongues? But, hmmm, I don't think I will feel that way very soon. Everyone does get the gift of tongues, but it's a lot harder to develop and doesn't quite come as quickly and you would sometimes like--But every month is getting better :) I was telling marcus I love listening to conversations and hearing things that I just studied and knowing that last week I would not have know what it meant. But, yes, keep praying for me and for my investigators, especially this week. I really want to learn the area quickly and be able to help our investigators. Please specifically pray that we can know how to help them and know how to help them progress and make commitments.

Last week was a little hard, we dropped some long-time investigators, but were able to add some new ones and start meeting with some really golden investigators. Especially this one girl I contacted on the street, came with us to church last week and really reads scriptures and understands. She is really awesome and I'm excited to hear what happens with her. Really smart and hard-working student, really great personality.

My time in Nantou went by really really quickly. I felt like I was barely there and now I'm in a new area. It just feels like every transfer gets shorter and shorter. And it's weird how much you love the people you serve and your new members but you always know you are going to move eventually. It was actually a little hard for some of our new members. I think they don't realize that change happens where missionaries are concerned. Some of our new members were a little upset, but they will be fine, and Sister Gurr is coming in and I know that she loves people with all her heart and will really take care of the members in Nantou. I am really going to miss them. Momo was especially sad, and came to see us this morning and give us a present :) I love her, I love those people, but I am so excited to be here in Jia yi. Back in the city! There are so many stop-lights here I'm not really sure what to do anymore, and so many tall buildings. It's a little weird, but I love it and I'm excited to be able to talk to more people. I love the country and how green Nantou is but it's hard to find people sometimes.

Love you all, thank you for your letter!

-sister ko

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

11/14 Email

Hello dearest family!
Last week we had zone conference, I saw Elder Ammon Chung! He is doing great, and his chinese is fantastic. We mentioned how we both haven't heard from Jarom in a couple months so we speculate some sort of wedding announcement shortly :) During the conference we talked about setting goals and making plans and particularly in relation to our our daily goals and weekly planning sessions. Setting goals is something that I want to be better at and keep doing when I return home. I love how the assistants mentioned that there is a different feeling when you are around someone who sets and accomplishes their goals. I want to be that kind of person. But I am still learning, and in particular setting attainable goals....but it's coming along. It really does feel like the most amazing thing when you accomplish goals.
Remember how I talked about how it's funny when there are spurts in the mission when you are teaching the same type of investigators-- well, before we taught all young women, now we are teaching all amahs, grandmas. We have about 4 70-80year old investigators :) They are really cute and sweet but we are having some problems with memories and commitment issues sometimes. It's hard to determine if forgetting things is a legitimate excuse :) And sometimes these ladies can be very fickle at deciding what they want to do with their time or where they want to go to church....still working with them....
But one, who is not an old lady, is Iris. She is really cool and really smart. Really thinks about things and likes to ponder the scriptures. She is about early 30's and divorced. Loves to talk, but last week really opened up about her feelings and her divorce. Came to church for the second time yesterday and really loves it, and our members are doing so great and welcoming her in.
Oh my goodness yes, it seems to be going by way too quickly. I can't believe it. It seemed like the half-way mark took a little while but now that it is already past it feels like it's really going downhill. My trainer goes home in one week so next week all my previous companions will be in america. Sister Lin has until about February, but she might talk with President Bishop because the chinese new year is right around then and for taiwanese sisters, the year and a half mark falls in-between move-calls so her family is wanting her to come home the transfer before.
Have you been able to get a hold of your old converts?
Typical day...every day is a little different, one a week is district training meeting where our district meets and there are shares and practice of some sort. I always love those oppotunities to learn. Most of the time we only see members of our district, and with the new changes in meetings we are having less bigger combined meetings so we really don't get to see others very often, maybe every other month. And, wednesday nights we have english class. Fridays are weekly planning sessions where we stay in for a couple hours and plan for the week and set weekly goals and plans. Other than that it's all outside. If we have lessons a lot of time is spent getting to those lessons and then having them. On the way to lessons at stoplights we talk to everyone and try to find more people to....have lessons with. :) In between those times we use phones and call our progressing investigators, referrals, recent converts, or call old records or people we met but weren't able to set up with. Oh, and we eat. Can't forget that part :) I love eating. You asked what kind of things we eat. I think I can sum it up in a question that Sister Norman would ask me before every meal: "Rice or noodles?" :) There is a lot a rice and a lot of noodles. Hehe, but it's all so good! Fried rice is good, but also a lot of white rice with sauces and different vegetables and meat. Also I really love biandang's. Rice with some sort of meat and then you have a few choices for what kind of vegetables or side dish. I'll try and get some pictures for you.

-sister allison ko

Nov. Pictures

The banfa sign :) This is our mission motto, dad can explain what it means, mostly a lot of people say meiyou banfa, there is no way they can go to church or read scriptures or keep commandments, but we can learn to say you banfa, there is a way.

Me and sister swim, love that girl, we went on companion exchanges last week together and had a blast, we did the peace signs because all the taiwanese love doing this. it makes you look skinnier :)

Momo! Her baptism!

Our district visited a Buddhist temple

I couldn't help, it ----- this is the picture of the toilets and how to use them :) Hehe, it's actually very sanitary, no icky toilet seats to touch

11/7/10 Email

Hello dearest family!
I just have to start out and tell you about yesterday. It was probably the most fantastic Sunday I've experienced here in Nantou. Sometimes it has been hard getting the ward involved with welcoming our investigators or new members. But yesterday was just wonderful. Before church started there was one of the elder's new members sitting by himself in the front and I saw two members go up and talk to him and congratulate him on his baptism. Then, there were fantastic testimonies on service and then great lessons on the importance of family and gratitude. Momo received the Holy Ghost and of course, if you knew her you would understand, but she said she didn't feel anything special during her confirmation. But, during every single hour of church she said she was so moved and really felt something special. And, she loves learning and every week she learns more, and she loves to serve, she just fits perfectly into the ward. There were so many people who went to talk to her after sacrament meeting, but what I loved was when relief society started there were people who came in and specifically went out of their way to talk to her and just chat with her. Then, another investigator came and Momo got an opportunity to sit by her during the gospel principles class, and during relief society the peike from last week's lesson was ready and sat down by her and introduced her during announcements in rs. :) :) :) And, one of our new members is pretty shy and gets akward around so many people but she's hilarious, (zhang ren zhi, she got baptized with her daughter a few months ago). And we'll still been trying to find ways to get her more involved with members--after church the relief society president went up to talk to her and told her how she has always wanted to talk to her but didn't know how. Told her pretty much that she wanted to be friends and get to know her more and one day we could all sit down together and just talk. And! The bishop's wife was talking with our investigator after church as well and was working really hard to confirm her for church the next week, talking about the good aspects of church and how much they wanted her to come. I got to tell you, it really was the most fabulous church experience ever. It's really cool to see how much change my wonderful companion has brought to this ward and this area. She's a miracle worker and it really has been amazing to watch this progression.
We also have a cute little amah, grandma we are teaching. She has such a hard time remembering things, but on Sat when we were having a lesson with her it was the cutest thing--she finally sang with us. We sing the same song every time we go over and she finally was recognizing the tune and words and started singing along with us! She is so cute, almost 80, and the sweetest thing ever.
And, I love you all so much! Have a fabulous week, hope you enjoy the pictures...sorry, it's been a while without any, but here they are :)
-sister ko

Monday, November 15, 2010

11/1/10 Email

Hello dearest family!
This week we were able to see Momo (that's her english name), Liu bo tao get baptized! It was wonderful! She got baptized yesterday after church. Ok, it was actually pretty funny to start off with because I guess the baptismal font water wasn't quite turned off all the way so it just kept filling up and all of a sudden the bishop's wife runs into the sunday school room and tells us the xili water is all over the floor :) It was a funny experience and with help from the fantastic bishopric and other missionaries we were able to get it all taken care of. Luckily that day the ward was going to eat together so we ushered everyone in the gym to eat and had the baptism after everyone ate. It was so good too, because all the members except one, who had helped us teach with her, was there at her baptism. She is the cutest lady ever and her baptism was amazing. When we were walking with her to the baptismal font she was so moved and she got really emotional and said she was just so happy and excited! Yes! She is one of the investigators who doesn't really feel she has had any big feelings regarding the church but yesterday was just perfect for her, and we reminded her to write down her feelings of her baptism so she won't forget.
That's mostly the bulk of the exciting events. Yesterday we also had a mom and her two boys come! That was awesome, I met her on the street one day and when I asked her if we could share more about our church she invited us over for dinner. Her family is very much buddhist and Sister Lin thinks that her husband's job has something to do with Buddhism, but she is really nice...and most of all, came to church! Her two boys are the cutest things ever and they are really smart too. She reads the Book of Mormon and is willing to pray, but I think we need to follow up with that a little more to see if she is actually doing it every day. But, with all the baptismal font water excitement we weren't able to see them after church so I hope they are ok.
And! That cute taiyu-speaking grandma is progressing! She is saying prayers on her own and comes to church on her own. She really is so sweet and the humblest old lady you ever met. She is one of those ladies who doesn't like to sit around, her husband has money and they live in a pretty decent place, but she loves to go outside and collect trash and recyclables for money. But, it does make it hard to get a hold of her most days, but we have recently figured that nights we can usually find her at home. The only thing is, she lives in Nantou, at the top of the mountain, so it takes a long time to even see if she is at home :) But, it's worth it.
Oh, Costco cakes, how I miss them.... I hope you enjoyed Dad's cooking and the chocolate cake--dad really does have an amazing talent. It's weird how food is so cheap here that most people rarely cook for themselves. Even some mothers here in the wards don't really cook all that often.
With the computer at home and everything in the garage I hope it is more convenient to do the billing. Good luck with all that!
Oh! I teach english class and they like having topics they can prepare ahead of time and share with the class. It's the highest class so it's all in english--what do you suggest for topics they can prepare on? The past couple topics have been: animals, family traditions, food, holidays....
Wow, that really must have been a treat to listen to Sister Meyerhoffer, her mom really is amazing and an inspiration. I think we all take some things for granted and sometimes forget how everyone has different difficulties. And sometimes there are things that are hard, but we do them.

Love you all, good luck this week!
-Sister Ko

10/27/10 Email

Dearest family!
Yeah, somedays you really don't know why you are doing something, but you do it anyway because you feel it's the right thing to be doing right then. Sometimes we also get discouraged because we know our young women can't get baptized right now, or we have new members who are already starting to go inactive. But our mission president gave us a great reminder and promise concerning these things. During our last combined district training meeting he let us know that all of our efforts are not wasted. The teaching we do now will be remembered and just because right now they can't be baptized or people are not going to church does not mean that they never will. Just keep doing our best and letting them know what they need to do for the Lord's blessings. It was a really great comfort to me to hear that and we can only do our best.
One thing I have loved the past week is learning from our investigators. That one investigator I mentioned before, Momo, (the one who liked the idea that in order to be baptized you needed to live to a certain standard)-- We met with her last week she said something that really made me think. She mentioned how she really feels like commandments are a good thing because it makes so much sense. Commandments are also not just for us individually, but for everyone. Keeping the sabbath day holy lets everyone have a rest and everyone go to church. That's why we don't buy things on sunday--we spent time resting, going to church, and being with our families. I always say those words but I never realized how much it makes sense and every commandment makes sense.
And, then with another investigator, she is a Christian and from what I understand she is pretty much inactive because she doesn't like how hypocritical the church members are. While we were at her house explaining the plan of salvation she stopped us and said, " you know, the difference between your church and our church is that we believe we are sinners and that we should fear God because we sin. We are not worthy to be in His presence. But you teach that He is loving and will easily forgive us." And it is. We know about a loving Heavenly Father who wants us to repent and to return to His presence so we don't have to fear because His son, Jesus Christ, already paid for our sins and when we repent we receive remission of our sins. I am so thankful for the restored gospel that brings all the truth so that we are not confused on who God is and what he expects of us.
We also have a fantastic new family we found while we were putting flyers in mailboxes for English class. She was so funny and she had actually been visited by missionaries before and had a Book of Mormon but hadn't really read it. She has the cutest little daughter that we think is a little special but is the sweetest thing ever. She plays with my hair during the lesson and loves hugs. When we met her and knocked on her door she was so sweet and welcoming and was just the most chatty person you ever did meet. We didn't get too far into any sort of lesson but set up to meet with her the next day and gave her a part to read in the Book of Mormon. That book is a book of miracles. Miracles, conversion, and changes. Yesterday when we met with her she was so excited to share what she thought was great in the verses she read and she listened so intently and has such a desire to learn about the truth. Really wants to find truth. And, desire to know how to help her family. So great... more to come :)

Yes! We got to go to the temple! It was amazing. And I love being able to go as a missionary and every time I realize that there are so many people around the world praying for us and for missionary work. Transfers will be in the last week of november. I'm pretty sure I will move because Sister Lin and I will be together for over 2 move calls :) Thank you so much for your encouragement and words of love, I am always so thankful for them and they are always the perfect things I need to hear. I love hearing about the family happenings and what is going on.
Love you!
-sister ko