Sunday, April 3, 2011

3/6/11 Email

Well, it rained like none other this morning, but right now it is good. The rainy season was more in august but every one in while there should still be a good couple rainy days coming up in April and June. Yes, it wasn't really that cold, but if it's not cold it'll be hot soon. The hot hot I'm not too thrilled for, but it'll come regardless ;)

This week was a really interesting one, a couple disappointments. Jia hui didn't get baptized yesterday. She has a testimony, knows she needs to get baptized but it might also be her emotional state this week. She does have emotional phases and this just might be one of them but basically she doesn't want to feel alone and she feels like Heavenly Father hasn't answered her prayers because she isn't married and doesn't have her own family. She said she read about baptism and knows that is what she needs to do, but doesn't feel happy right now so she doesn't want to get baptized. We talked a bit about how the church really really supports family and establishing family relationships but that still isn't the thing that is going to get her happy. We have some wonderful suggestions from our leaders and she says she will still come to church so we can still keep working with her.

But, that cute little you jia, she didn't pass her baptismal interview because of the last question. She thinks she's not ready because she doesn't have an unshakable testimony. On Sunday we fasted for her, jia hui, and guo jing yi, who all have a testimony and have felt the power of the Spirit testifying to them, but still don't feel like its strong enough to want to be baptized. Other investigators, especially zheng pei xiang, wow, moving right along and is just so wonderful. Has a really good friend, another less active who has started coming back to church again. :) and they are cute together. They strengthen each other.

And we recently were able to meet with a cute wu jing min. She and her boyfriend started coming a couple weeks ago and last week she had been for the second time. Her boyfriend lives in Huwei and goes home on weekends so we have called the Huwei elders and yesterday they both heard about the word of wisdom. She is such a prepared soul. On first hearing about the word of wisdom she was really shocked that tea was bad. She loves tea. But all we had to do was read the promised blessings together. I asked her what was her favorite blessing, asked her why she wanted it, and she said: Because i want to be healthy, I want to live long and healthy and if I keep this commandment I can have health. (yes, yes you can.) She pretty much finished the lesson herself. Family, she loves tea, but she is going to start today so that she can have the promised blessings. She is fabulous.

So we started meeting with Debbie, Karen's daughter. She is just in such a perfect place and is just so open to the message of the gospel I know that as she reads and prays and starts to follow the commandments she will know it is true and what she needs. I sent some pictures, one is of Teddy. He got baptized, and we invited Debbie to the baptism. It was so good. He gave a fantastic share, and Debbie cried! She cried during the baptism and we were able to sit down with her after. She said when he talked about how today was his new start, she just loved it. She feels like she is in the same position and this is her opportunity for a new start. She also came to church yesterday. Her mom is a member so she is familiar with commandments. We set a baptismal goal with her and she said, well, I love coffee and I love tea. But we know it won't be a problem once you know the church is true and realize the blessings that come from keeping the commandments. I'm excited to watch her develop her testimony and progress.

And, there were more less-actives at church yesterday! It was so fantastic, there is this one that we've been visiting lately that wants to but just can't seem to get up in the morning, miracle! She came! And, because our 3 children investigators have a very inactive mom we invited the whole family to come to church. The one son is so fantastic and he has cram school but was so sad all of sat night that his mom said, fine, I'll take you guys to church :) She came and her three kids came! She came to church! And there were fantastic shares today, I really hope they feel the spirit and are able to realize what they have been missing.

Lately, when reading the Book of Mormon I have loved how different things pop out to me when I look for the Savior. I love my blue pencil. It picks up everything about the Savior and how He treats us, how He shows His love for us. While reading 2 Nephi 26 I learned so much more about charity. How it really is the pure love of Christ. And that chapter talks about how the pure love of Christ doesn't discriminate and His gospel is for everyone. Not just for everyone, but he wants, welcomes everyone to partake of the free gift of salvation. I love the testimonies of prophets and reading the words of the Savior.

And,....I love you all! Have a wonderful week!

-sister ko

2/28/11 Email

Dearest Family!
I love you all so much! I hope you had a fabulous week--this week was too good to talk about. So many wonderful experiences!
Do you remember that wonderful jiahui, the one who has read the entire book of mormon, is getting baptized next week! And the coolest part is that she wanted her baptism during the day, and even more perfect, wanted it right after church so her family can see and come to church to. During her baptismal interview she told Elder Webb that helping her family meet the gospel will help her conversion and staying strong in the church. :) Perfect; member family referrals, and this really is something that has changed her and she wants to share with her family. And, today we went with the ward on a hike to Al li shan, and she came too. Loved it and had a great opportunity to meet so many new members. I am so excited for her, she has changed so much! On the way up and back I was talking with one of our new members who was with us the first time we met her. She says she has changed so much and is so much happier than she was before. Smiles so much more and is so willing to meet and do the things she needs to.
And one of our investigators, it was awesome, we ended up meeting with two different investigators at the same time and it was almost like having a peike. The one investigator was that zheng pei xiang (invited her on the road and it answered her prayers), and she pretty much talked about why she loves church and her testimony of already keeping the word of wisdom(she learned that one the first day she came to church). And, when our other investigator (a young student named Ru), said she couldn't come to church until 12--church is over by then--pei xiang said,"no no no, you can't do that, you need to come earlier than that. where do you live? I'll take you." It was really cute and so exciting! They both came and loved it. It is so cool, Ru has had the Book of Mormon for less than a week and has read into Alma. And pei xiang, we are hoping she can keep making commitments and prepare to be baptized in two weeks--but she wants to read the whole book of mormon first (I told her she better read fast :) ). She is so cute, past 2 Nephi, but still has a little bit to read.... But, she really is the cutest thing ever, she is a petite, really fashionable girl with big crimped hair and she washes and cuts dog hair for a living. She has such good questions during lessons and has such a desire to learn so much. I've never seen anyone so excited to find out that she didn't need to give us back the Book of Mormon. She could keep it and write in it. She was so excited and went out and bought little stickers that she could put by her favorite verses :)
And, you jia, the shy student came to church! I couldn't believe it! She got out of work for an hour so she could come to sacrament meeting. She really has such a desire, I've never seen such a desire to obey commandments and come to church as with her. We've also been praying with her for over a week to find a way to come to church--it worked!
Thank you for your sweet letters last week and your update this week. Wow, more weddings and babies and all sorts of excitement! Congrats to David, I also heard from Grandma that his girlfriend was really cute and sweet, I'm excited to meet her this summer.
You all are so fantastic, keep smiling!
-sister ko

2/20 Baptism Pictures

Baptism pictures!
Yuting! and some friends
and, the elders also were baptizing their new convert's mom so she was there too, she a really cute mom that doesn't speak chinese so we speak with her in english :)

And, she wore a skirt! (first one she has worn in 4 years!) I'm a horrible person. When she went into the bathroom to change we took her jeans out and swapped it for a couple skirts. But the whole relief society was extremely happy and thought she looked fabulous :)

2/20/11 Email

This week was fantastic. Yu ting got baptized! She was the most nervous thing ever, I have never seen anyone so scared and excited, but it all worked out and she gave a fantastic share. Oh my goodness she has waited so long. And it was awesome, the first sister that taught her just got done with her mission so she was able to come down and see the baptism. And, I also loved how one of our new members who is her best friend, pei yi, also had an opportunity to share and they both shared about how their friendship and the gospel really helped them through each of their tough times. That is the power of friendship in the gospel! I think this is the conversion that I can pretty much safely say I didn't help at all, but it is one of the ones that I will be the most proud to have witnessed. She is what I hope all my new members can be. Strong in her testimony of Christ, her testimony of church, of commandments, and strong in her ability to help others realize their testimony and allow friends to help her. I love yuting.

The cute student you jia--well, she got a job and can't come to church on Sunday. When we met we didn't have enough time to get out the commandment of sabbath but explained about why the sacrament is important in relation to the doctrine of Christ. She was really intested in that part. Not just that you can get baptized, but when you come to church every week it's like being baptized again. We are praying with her every day this week so that she can find a way to come to church. But we really just need to get the commandment out there and let her know that another reason we come to church is because it is a commandment of God.

And, we have a cute guo jing yi investigator. She is an english class investigator. She is special. The first time we met with her she was one of those people who clarified expectations with us right up front. Told us the elder made her say a prayer during english and she felt pressured into doing it and she really didn't like it. Told us didn't believe in God and wouldn't pray. Didn't want a Book of Mormon because she wasn't going to read it. Our peike was good and told her to take it anyway. We completely changed the lesson. I have never had a lesson like that before, but we pretty much just let her know why we let everyone know about the church and how it can help her. I still invited her to say the prayer at the end and let her know that we wanted her to pray because that was how she would know about God, but still ended up saying it myself. I honestly thought she was not ever going to come back. She did. And, it was so weird, she kept letting us know when her phone number changed and she was still willing to meet with us a couple weeks after that. She has had a couple experiences and just some wonderful feelings but she has a testimony of God. Not just that He exists but that He IS her loving Heavenly Father. It's really miraculous. I don't know how to explain it but now she loves to pray, loves to read the Book of Mormon, and came to church yesterday and thought it was amazing. She is a very simple girl and is always confused after church or after lessons. But she says that even though she feels confused she still has such a peaceful and comforting feeling and she knows it's good. Even if it all doesn't make sense, she knows it's good. We are trying to help her focus on that feeling. Sometimes everything doesn't make sense, but we know it is of God. There is also this member from the english class with her that has a crush on her. He is so cute and he'll call us or talk to us almost every day to see how she is doing and how she is progressing. It's really cute. And the other day when we were talking as we were leaving the lesson she said, you know, I think I would like serving a mission. It seems like something I would like to do. :) She's great.

And, a zheng pei xiang. She is so awesome. Met her two weeks ago on the street, she came to church, knows this is God's answer to her prayers and is reading, praying, and loves church. She can't get enough of it. I loved her reaction yesterday. She came a little late and when we walked down the hall to greet her she pretty much walked right past us and say--Hello! I'm going to Relief Society right now! Cutest thing ever. We need to find a way to meet with her more often or teach a little more simple to get her taught everything she needs to know. She's just so prepared! She told us about her experience last week--she was talking to her friend and mentioning that she wanted to find a church, wanted to find God's church, and the next day I met her on the road and invited her to church! :)

And, our new members wore skirts! I know this shouldn't be that big of a thing--but it is. That is one of the barriers stopping our new members from going to the temple, but they have kefu-ed and there is a temple trip this sat that one of the new members will be going to. They are preparing for the blessings of the temple! This is what the church is all about. We don't just want them to get baptized. We need them to become active and temple-going members of the church. We are so excited this week to tell them more about the blessings and opportunities of the temple to help them prepare.

I am loving the Book of Mormon activity. I have actually started taking my Book of Mormon with me and sharing from it. I let them know what we are doing and how it has helped me realize more than ever that the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ. When people had certain questions I used to turn them to the questions from the tract and have them read from there. Sometimes I still do, but now I most often will turn them right to the first page and have them start there. Because, I know from personal experience that even in the very beginning they will see references to Jesus Christ and they will learn about His attributes no matter where they turn. I am confident that they WILL learn about Christ because of what I have found and learned as I have read. Yes, I am a slow reader, I'm not quite at the page I need to be but I am definitely reading every day and I am definitely finding things that will help our investigators.

-Sister ko

Saturday, April 2, 2011

2/14/11 Pictures

New Year pictures from our apartment complex--it was better than Christmas, and at night it was so pretty! with all sorts of lights up

This is us with our pretty pineapples we bought everyone because we thought they were so cute and festive. Little did we know they are bai bai pineapples: people worship them when they worship their ancestors. Yes. We didn't have enough money and everything else was closed when we realized so we gave our wonderful bishopric baibai pineapples. They were really nice about it :) The elders thought we were really funny.

So, dearest madeline, here is Jared Zhang and his family :) I love sister zhang, and they took us out to eat lunch last monday. She is writing you back soon :)

We also met with our cute new member pei yi and our almost new member(baptized this sat) yu ting and took pictures and drank watermelon-milk drinks (soooo good, sound weird, taste fantastic.)

Taiwanese people make me laugh sometimes...dogs need glasses, who knew?!

Us and our bikes :)

Eating! This is one of our favorite places to go to---choose what you want and pay accordingly, soooo good!

2/14/11 Email

Dearest family,
Oh my goodness, that was a blast! It was so tiring, I've never been so tired in my life, but we were able to see so many blessings and so many miracles.
Oh my goodness, you talk about me coming home. I'm never coming home--I barely got here and oh my goodness, I love it here. Move call results: we are still here, me and Sister Peterson in Jiayi. I am so thankful--and we are going to see so many wonderful souls being baptized in the next couple weeks. These last weeks have been hard, but there really are going to be some great baptisms in the next couple weeks.
This week was full of miracles! There were so many people that were willing to come to church and came! Remember that one girl that wanted a miracle even after she read the whole Book of Mormon? She is our week B right now, she has anxiety problems that require medication, so sometimes it is hard to get a hold of her, but she loves church. Loves the members, and loves what a strong emphasis on families the church has. We need to quickly meet with her a lot to get her ready, but she knows that being here is the right step for her. She said she has been trying to change for 19 years and hasn't been successful, but we told her that before maybe didn't work but we through Jesus Christ and through God's methods can have success. Because their ways are perfect. With her I've also learned the importance of really good peike. Whenever she has questions it just happens to be our peike that has had the same question or concern and has faced it. She has had different peike's for most lessons and I am amazed each time as each one shares personal experiences and it is just what she needs to hear. She also really needs a friend support system and she loves how everyone is so friendly and loving in the ward.
We also have the cutest little student, cai you jia, who came to church yesterday and the young women were so wonderful. One of them has been helping us peike and when she came last week(but had to leave before sacrament meeting) they were a little bit distant, but this week the whole young womens group sat with her during sacrament meeting. And there were other new people there that I was sitting down and talking with so I wasn't able to guanxin her as much as I would have liked to. I was a little nervous because she is really shy, but no invitation from missionaries, the whole young women's group just sits down with her! love it. I love following up with her and going over her reading. She really applies them to herself. She has already taken the steps to stop drinking tea and she is so cute, and even called back later in the day to see if cooking things with alcohol was ok :) She's so awesome. It's so amazing to see her change, she is the most shy person ever, but is happier and talks more each time we meet with her.
And, our wonderful yu ting, waited 7 months to be baptized--is getting baptized on sat! I love this girl. I sent some pictures of us and her and pei yi, they are the best of friends and help each other stay active in the church. So golden. So excited for her baptism sat!
Such a beautiful miracle: One in-active member, we met with her before christmas and invited her whole family to come, they didn't come, but a couple weeks ago the bishop pulls us aside and says: Hey, this sister says her daughter wants to learn about the gospel. Yes. And she also has two sons too, so we are teaching them right now and trying to help the mom get back into the habit of coming to church and remembering the blessings of the gospel. She hasn't been to church in a while and doesn't feel like the church has anything to offer her so it might take a bit, but we are excited to meet with them. Also, there are some concerns with some of our new members, but we talked with our zone leaders today and got some great suggestions. One of the solutions is to help them reach the highest level in the celestial kingdom :) We are going to help our investigators start dating and think about the eternal perspective of things.
Oh my goodness, yesterday we had 10 people come to church! There were a couple people I met on the road a week ago and a couple days ago that said they were willing to come to church. They came and were so golden--before I even asked them they already said they were going to come back next week and were so willing to set up a next time so we could tell them more about the church. One of them even had read some anti-mormon literature online(there is plenty of it out there let me tell you....) but said she has a friend who is a member and still came anyway and said it's not like the internet said. She is really willing to learn and keep coming. She seems really genuine and awesome. And the other ones were this mom and son, so cute! Already christian and were really interested in the Book of Mormon, didn't have a lot of time on sunday after church, but really wanted to know more about it.
Sister Gan update: We got a hold of her! She didn't entirely disappear, but i think she has been really down lately because she still hasn't been able to entirely get rid of smoking. She smokes 5 a day now (instead of 2 packs a day) and I was so excited for her and we gave her a lot of face--but we will still need to visit and help her some more so she can progress completely give it up.
Yesterday at karen's house: Oh wow, the most amazing lesson. Remember the member who wanted me to make bread and then needed the waffle recipie? Well, we went over last night and made waffles and ate dinner at their house. Afterwards I was a little nervous to approach her daughter and ask her if we could share more about the gospel. She got really defensive when we asked her to read the scriptures. But, the zone leaders were with us because they were also going to meet the elders. They started sharing and just brought the spirit in, shared a personal experience with how the gospel of Christ had changed their lives and we mentioned how knowing the gospel will not make our trials any less, but they will help us know how to face them, and help us live the most happy. She agreed to meet with us. And, we wanted to teach her how to pray and to read scriptures and you know what she said---"I already know how to pray. My mom taught me. She doesn't know but I pray every once in a while." I just want to say to anyone who thinks their efforts are wasted--they are not. Karen had taught her daughter to pray over 15 years ago when she joined the church. Her daughter (now 32ish) committed to praying everyday and when we left we asked her to say a closing prayer. It was the most simple but afterwards karen started crying and said that was the first time she had ever heard her daughter pray. I know that no effort in teaching our family and friends is ever wasted. And I know that the gospel changes lives.
thank you so much for all your prayers, you are helping the work progress and helping us see miracles!
-sister ko

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

2/6 Email

Dearest family,
Whew, this week was the Lunar New Year. Oh dear goodness I have never eaten so much in my life. Think about Christmas dinner. Then think about that for lunch as well. Now, remember the whole week is like that. And, since we have two wards that we are over we had lots of fun this last week eating at members' houses. In the past 3 days we had 7 meals at members' houses. Yes, I did not miscount that. It is not possible to not go to a dinner invitation. We've had doubles of meals and I feel like I'm going to burst. But, we probably won't need to eat for a long long time. :) But I really love chinese food, it really is so delicious. My poor companion almost died though, poor girl loves american food and just won't eat some things. But if you stop eating they will fill your bowl for you :) She has been working really hard on eating what she has been given, I'm so proud of her.
Wow, this week has been really fun, yesterday jia hui came to church. She's the one who read the whole Book of Mormon but wants a miracle. She loved church. She is so bu yi ding, so she won't set up another time to meet with us, she is so non-commital, but wants to come to church next week. She really felt like church was something special, and I think it will still take her a few weeks, but I think she will be baptized.
And, we met this really awesome 17-year old last week. After we had done leadership training I learned better ways to contact people, as I was trying it out on this girl she was really uninterested at first but after I explained more about the doctrine of Christ and how we can use it to change she also changed. Her reaction to the message changed. The doctrine of christ has power that I had not realized. When you study the first lesson too, it's not just the restoration. It's the Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Christ. The restoration is important because it restored the full truth. Before she was too busy, but after that she set up a time for the next day. I told Sister Peterson that I met someone who was either really interested in hearing or would fang us and we would never see her again. She didn't answer when we called and she wasn't there, but she called us back after. She came! And she is the most shy thing ever, and you really have to be patient and wait for her to say things, but when she answers, it's awesome. She is so receptive and reads and prays. Hasn't immediately felt that Joseph Smith is a prophet, but is willing to keep reading and praying to know. So shy, but we helped her meet friends before Sunday so that she knew people when she came, and the young women's knew she was coming and knew she was shy so it was just perfect. She wasn't able to stay for the whole meeting, but will come next week. We even lent her a skirt and I really think she had a good experience. Sometimes I think it is so hard for them, so many new experiences all at once, but she was such a sport and the ward members are so wonderful. I love the ward and how willing they are to take care of new people.
This week is POWER WEEK! :) So we shall leave an hour early, have no language study time and eat all meals on the go--adding investigators, teaching lessons, and baptizing like crazy :) It will be fun, it will be a good experience to bounce back from guo nian with less people in town. There were so many people on the streets that said they coudn't meet until this week so it will be a good opportunity to get a hold of them and set up times with them. Hehe, pray for us and the Taizhong mission this week :)
Oh! And, we, as a mission are doing this new activity. We all have new Book of Mormons and are going to read as a mission and highlight different colors for 1)every reference to the Savior, ex. names 2) his attributes, 3) the words he says 4) the gospel of christ (faith, repent, bapt....) Oh my goodness, I'm already blown away at how different studying the book of mormon is. It's a different attitude and a different feeling. I suggest everyone should do it as well. We are going to finish it in 3 months, I think President Bishop said that would be about 6 pages a day.
Ok, love you all!
-Sister ko

1/30 Email

I'm sorry, there isn't too much to tell about this week. A couple things just came up all at the same time, and it got a little stressful, but I think the only important thing you need to know is that prayer is the most powerful thing ever. It has an indescribeable strength that can help the weakest person find direction, strength, and comfort. The words from our leaders, now and ancient prophets is the word of God and will tell us what we need to do. This week, prayer and the Book of Mormon have just been the biggest sources of comfort to me. And, because I know that Book of Mormon is true and is the word of God, I know that the promises it contains are real. It really tells us what we need to do to have peace and happiness in this life. But, this week was also a really good experience with being taught by the spirit. We had a really fabulous leadership training meeting this week and it was full of practicing and training, and wow, so good. I learned how I really need to change a lot and change my focus, really focus more on our purpose when we teach. And, I also just loved the spirit there. As much as you can be taught by leaders, the best teaching is by the spirit. They really established an environment of the spirit which gave me a really good opportunity to learn other very important things as well.

Wonderful Sister Gan is improving, only 3 cigarettes a day! But we went to training for two days in Gaoxiong and then didn't get to see her for 4 days...she didn't come to church either. I'm nervous about it and hope she's ok. The family is also leaving for the chinese new year but I forgot when. Oh! By the way, Happy New Year! It's better than Christmas here :) so many lights and red paper.

And, we met this new girl the other week, Lin yu jing. She was an old investigator from over a year ago and really easily set up with us. I don't know what happened a year ago, because this girl is golden. She reads every day, prays every day. And, when I say, hey do you think you can read a whole chapter tonight and we can talk about it tomorrow she says she probably can...then the next day she'll say... ohhhh, I didn't read that chapter, I read all the way to chapter 5 (smiling Sister Ko). She's great. And, it always makes me laugh, but right before we are starting to wrap up she will say: So, when is the next time we can meet? Don't you guys want to set up our next lesson? She is only 17 so parental fandui might be an issue, but we shall see. She asked us if she really needed her parent's permission to be baptized--she wants to be baptized but she is scared at what her parents will say. I'll let you know about her, she is really awesome.

Ok, that'll probably be good for today, I hope you all have fabulous weeks!

-sister ko

1/23 Email

Well, not going to lie, with a taiwanese companion you spend a lot of time resting indoors, but I really liked being able to get things done and get letters written. But with Sister Lin, the last couple weeks we had a lot of district and zone activities too so we went outside quite a bit--but to be honest she really didn't like the temples or places we went to and always wanted to leave quickly, so it will be fun with Sister Peterson to see what she wants to do. The weird thing is we are pretty much in the city so there aren't too many things other than shopping to do, but her card is still having problems so we haven't gone shopping yet. We want to visit some street markets when she has money. So, typical day: leave, go email, buy things, eat, run errands (go to a bookstore to buy supplies, print pictures...), buy food, and come back home. Sorry, it's not too exciting, and I'm such a horribly boring companion right now, I always love spending time organizing or finishing up laundry so I love at least an hour at home to finish writing letters or organizing things. Temple days are scheduled once every other transfer and usually with two zones, but since we are too far south we won't be able to go, if I move back up north I will but, I might not be able to go again until the end of my mission.
So, concerning our wonderful investigators: Remember that Sister Gan from last week? She is doing great, her motorcycle broke down right before she was going to leave on Sunday and it is getting fixed right now. She couldn't come yesterday because (she is more poor than I thought), she had to go to certain meetings to get money from the government. I'm not too sure what it is, but she really wants to go to church . Every time we visit them they have improved. It's hard to keep 4 kids distracted and happy, but each time they pay attention for longer and always, with the closing prayer they are fantastically reverent. Sister Gan has problems with the word of wisdom but is so willing to stop. She does everything, tea, coffee, alcohol, binglan, and cigarettes. Everything else she can stop right now, and we set plans to help her quit smoking, she smokes 2 packs a day. We set a plan with her so that when she wants to smoke she can do something else. She said she wanted to read the Book of Mormon. So whenever she feels like smoking she will open her scriptures and read. And, then we helped her make plans over the next couple weeks to give up smoking. We went to visit her again on Sat to follow up and keep teaching. It was one of the happiest moments on my mission. However, I'm still kicking myself for doing such a poor job. We went right into the lesson and didn't really reveiw her last week's reading and didn't ask her about the word of wisdom right away. But as we were finishing up and asking her how she was doing she got really excited and said: "While i was reading I read this part, and I know Joseph Smith is a prophet." :) She was reading a section at the beginning where the three witnesses were testifying of the Book of Mormon and as she read it she said she had a special feeling and knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet. And!.... she has been reading more because every time she wants to smoke she will open the Book of Mormon and read! For the past two days she was still on the same pack of cigarrettes! She loves learning about the gospel and she is already repenting and loves it. I love visiting them and hearing about her experiences and how she is using the gospel to change. She says her husband has noticed her change as well. It is such a beautiful thing to watch. I love visiting them. Every time it is so worth it, I love being with her. During lessons you can just tell she is just soaking up the doctrine and loving it. Really using it in her life to change. Oh, how I love that family!
We also had some really awesome first lessons this week and really makes me excited to see the progressing investigators we can tell you more about next week.
Oh! Also, haha, that bread activity! (Oh, by the way, could you let me know what temperature you would cook pizza at? And, do you have a recipie for waffles/pancakes? They loved the bread and want more :)) This week we had an activity at the church and were able to get in contact with so many new members and some investigators. Remember how I accidently told one of the members I knew how to make bread? :) Well, the activity was scheduled and Sat I taught how to make bread. I was hesistant at first because bread takes a long time and isn't too interesting--but it was a hit! The member brought her daughter who was able to meet more members, and come to see the church. Then, our other long time investigator was able to keep meeting other members, and we had a new investigator attend. I met someone on the street and she was really interested in coming and making bread with us-- the other members were so good at guanxin-ing her and talking with her. And three new members came, one of them was a member that more or less active, so it was so good to be able to see her as well. And! One of our new members, jing yi, also brought her friend! We started meeting with her and she is one of the most prepared people ever, she has such a strong desire to know about her Heavenly Father and about how to be happy.
This place is so amazing. I love being here and I love being a missionary.
Thank you so much for your support and love! Have a wonderful week!
-sister ko

1/23 Pictures

So, I did it! I ate snake! All the members, and especially our new members are so curious at what we eat and what we want to eat. I told them dad said I needed to eat snake before I left, so they went and bought some for me. Went home, cooked it up, and ate it :)
Lots of bones.....not bad, kind of fishy texture...

here is Brother Lai and his cute grand-daughter. She is adorable! They are also really cute together, he used to be our ward mission leader and he loves missionary work. He wants his whole family to join the church so he introduces us to everyone :) She came to church yesterday and loved it, likes singing and read scriptures with her grandpa today. We went to go see them this morning and have a quick lesson with them in the park so we were able to get a picture with them. So cute! (dad, this is you and your cute little sunnu in 15 years) :)

1/16 Email

First things first, Sister Zhang (She might have written it chang) wants me to ask you if you received her letter--she sent Madeline a letter a couple weeks ago and wanted to know if she got it :) It's probably something to the effect of: I think you are so cute and you should meet my son, he is the same age as you :) I love her. She is the most fantastic member missionary ever. She gives us everyone's name. She'll go out to eat and make friends with the owner so that the next time she comes she will bring us and introduce us to the owners :) She's hilarious.
Wow. I really do love being a missionary. Not going to lie, it wasn't always like this, but we are able to teach people about Christ's gospel, the plan of happiness! We get to meet wonderful members of the church and get to help people and be with people as they grow in their testimony of the gospel. Everyday I just have moments, whether it's during church mtgs, riding bikes or talking with people, but I love being a missionary, and especially a missionary in Taiwan. I love Taiwan and I love Taiwanese people. I love being around them, love talking to them. It's like I can't get enough of being around them. This might also be because I'm in Jiayi. This is the most perfect place ever, if I stay the rest of my mission here I would only be the happiest missionary ever. It's weird, we don't even have that many progressing investigators right now, but every day is still the best day ever. Every lesson, every place we go to is worth it.
We have been teaching this really amazing mom, sister gan, she met missionaries 8 years ago and then moved here and lost contact with the missionaries. She now is married and has 4 kids under the age of 6. Yeah, she has a handful :) But she is so sweet and loves when we come over and loves hearing more about the gospel. She loves her family to hear too, they are so little that it is hard and sometimes by the end they are outside playing but she so wants them to learn about church and Jesus Christ. We just gave them the little kid Book of Mormon with pictures and they loved it. They would point to each picture and say, sister, who is this? Is this Jesus? :) I love them, they are aboriginies so they have beautiful big eyes and dark skin and the most genuine smiles you ever did see. When i say aboriginies they still live in a house, drive motorcyles and cars and everything, but they just have a little bit different heritage.
More and more, I have fallen in love with the scriptures. I know that they contain revelation from prophets called of God. The Book of Mormon is for us and when we study it we can receive from heaven type comfort and knowledge. We can know about the purpose of life and how to have a happier, more fulfilling one. How to get through trials, we can find answers to the questions of our soul. One of the investigators we met with last week, jia hui, she said she had started reading already (coolest story ever, her landlord from 10 years ago gave her a book of mormon and she found it two months ago while she was cleaning her apartment. Started reading it and then just happened to come to english class last week, it took a bit but she finally allowed us to meet with her) She had so many soul-searching questions that were so good and showed that she had been really been thinking about these things for a long time and really had a desire to know. And, it's amazing how beautiful the scriptures are. Every single one of her question had her answer in the Book of Mormon. All she has to do is read it, pray about it, and she will know the answers from the scriptures are from God.
Also, I loved calling one of our investigators last week and following up with her on her reading. I asked how it had been and asked her if she had a favorite part in what she read and she said, yes! of course I do-- I found my answer! (insert smiling Sister Ko here). She had done her part by reading and really pondering the scriptures so she had found her answer. She shared with me a couple verses that had given her an answer and it helped her strengthen her testimony so much. It is so good when they do their part soon and quickly realize the power of the scriptures. I can't say how many times a testimony of the Book of Mormon is essential for conversion. I love that book. It truely is the word of God.
I love you all!
-sister ko

1/16 Pictures

So, we have boxes on the back of our bikes so we can carry Books of Mormon, ward lists, talks, more tracts.... Old box next to the new one(#3) :)

This is the dried meat stand by our house, I thought it was hilarious, asked if I could take a picture and they came out with samples :)

This is the lunch place. I love ya rou (duck). The laoban, the owner, came out and talked with us for a little bit. He loved that we were taking pictures and he put the duck and the pig's head in the front so we could get a better picture. Then I asked him if we could get his picture. He's so awesome,...and it was so good! I bought two sauage links :) spicy ones. Sooo good!

Eating the duck...

This stand has these little pancake things that are so good! You can have pretty much anything inside it: red bean, taro, milk butter cream sauce, sweet potato, chocolate...this one is peanut.

1/9/11 Pictures

Me and the companion! outside our apartment with our bikes :)

By the miao that is close to our house.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

1/9/10 Email

Dearest family,
I love you! This week was a little stressful, not going to lie. But there were still plenty of miracles to be had. Sister Peterson is amazing, she is contacting by herself now and if they are talking for a while I will go and help. She's a magnet for prepared souls, it's really fantastic :) But this week was also interesting in that a lot of investigators disappeared. One is a very interesting situation. Haha, it's really not funny at all but I can't help laughing at how weird of a situation it is. But, we had this one investigator that we found from old records and started meeting with her a week ago. She obviously has some sort of problem, maybe ADD or something, but we still think that she knows enough to make decisions and she wants to keep commandments, was willing to start keeping the word of wisdom, etc... Then, after we met her on Tuesday night we got a phone call from her on wednesday morning and she was really upset talking really fast and couldn't really understand her at all. But then it got a little quiet and I could hear people in the background saying, this is the police, this is the hospital, we are here to help you. And then the phone went off and it hasn't come back on since then. Yeah.... I'm not really sure what to think about it, but it was a great experience for my little new companion and I hope that Sister Hu is getting the help she needs and later we can help her progress in the gospel.
Another miracle! We had this investigator, Ru miao, and her daughters. They love church and love meeting with us. Was so willing to learn and keep meeting. But right before Sister Lai left she didn't show up to her appointment and didn't answer our phones after that. I was really sad about that. She was a slowly progressing investigator but was willing and progressing. Then she just disappeared and there was nothing we could do about it. But Sunday, heading back to the church from an appointment I saw her on the side of the road buying things(yes, yes, yesterday was Sunday, we have not taught sabbath yet). We stopped and talked with her and I told how we were worried and Sister Lai had moved but had really wanted to see her before she moved. And, she actually asked us to pick up a picture scripture book for her daughters that I told her we had. Evidently she went to Gaoxiong and left her phone there! She gave us her daughter's cell-phone number and set up for Sat. Wow. I know I'm not in the big city of Taizhong, but Jiayi is no small town. That is no accident we saw her yesterday. I'll tell you how it goes.
I have to tell you about yu ting, she is the most golden investigator you ever did meet. She invites her own peikes. When we set up times with her she invites other members to come with us :) And haha, she actually knows more about the gospel than some of our new members. Well, she has been an investigator for over 6 months now, she is waiting to turn 20. She came to stake conference yesterday and it was the most amazing thing to see her going through the rows of members and talking with everyone. The ward members love her and she is such good friends with the Bishop and his family, and all the other single members of the ward. Her and the other single women in the ward have been such a good support system for our new member jing yi. It is so much easier and you don't worry when you have wards like this. The members will take care of people. I don't know how to say how much I love the Bishop and his family. They are the most sacrificing, humble, and dilligent people I have ever met. So willing to take new members to church, attend baptisms, schedule interviews, welcome members. They are so humble, very humble, but so willing to give everything in service of the church. They are a beautiful example to me. There is more and more I am learning on my mission about how to be a better member and better diciple of Christ. I love the members here and want to be more like them.
And, yesterday I had another really great experience. I don't know how to say how much I love teaching lessons. Our purpose is to be teachers. Yes, we need to have activities that help us find in order to teach, but teaching is my favorite thing. Lessons are what helps people feel the spirit and know what they need to do to follow Christ and what commitments they need to make. When we don't have lessons scheduled we go find people to teach. It's all about helping other people come unto Christ. One person we have been visiting about once a week is an inactive member who has a beautiful testimony of Christ and the gospel but has a lot of resentment against Heavenly Father because of some of the trials she has been through. She even has told us that she wanted to develop her testimony more. We are starting small, little by little to help her do the things that will bring her closer to Christ. Last April Conference, Elder Scott gave a talk about how we can develop a testimony of the Atonement: of course, the small things are the most important: prayer, scripture study, and temple attendance. We are helping her do these things. And yesterday was able to talk to her some more about what she can do to help her testimony and help her get back to the point she was 3 years ago. It was a really spiritual lesson and we shared different scriptures. I'm not sure how to describe the feeling there, but the spirit was there and with the testimony of the scriptures and testimony of a loving Heavenly Father stopped her for a minute. She was silent for a bit and then looked directly at me and said, "Sister Ko, I know why Heavenly Father sent you to Jiayi at this time." I know that we as missionaries are weak little people who don't know much but I do know that each of us are sent to the areas and the people that need us. We have a work to perform and miracles to be seen. We don't know much be we know enough, we know the gospel is true, and we have the opportunity to help others become reconciled to Christ. I know this is God's work and I am so proud to be a part of it.
I love you all and hope you have fantastic weeks!
-sister ko

1/2 Pictures

This is us riding down the cute pathway in the middle of the sidewalk :)

And, this is the church building and the stone that every building has when it is first built.