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.

1/2/11 Email

Dearest family!

Yes, it is getting cold, I have been so cold lately and our apartment is so cold I bundle up in blankets and layers and mittens, but then step outside and take off the mittens :) the middle of the day gets nice but mornings and evenings are really cold. But I know it is nothing compared to the snows of Idaho or the ice of Alaska :) Xingku nimen.
Yes, I've been writing Christmas letters to my new members and friends and sending that picture collage with it. And yes, by been writing' that means I have also inherited the Ko family tradition of sending christmas letters weeks after it has already occured :) Oh well, chinese takes me a little longer to write than english so some of these people will have to wait a bit.
Oh so much has happened this past week and I still don't have enough time to tell it all. First of all, I miss Sister Lai so much more than I could possibly imagine. I loved being with her and the miracles we saw together. And I miss eating pig feet, squid, bian dang, and all sorts of different desserts with her. She had the most amazing personal stories that helped our investigators so much, and she was so helpful and the best de-stresser I have ever met. She is one of the most patient people ever. I just wrote a letter to her family thanking them and I was able to talk to her today to get her new address and send her luggage to her. I miss her. Could you also send a letter to her sometime soon? She is a convert and doesn't have too much support from home, just address the letter: Sister Lai (Taiping Sister) and it will get to her.
But! Big changes and big miracles to come! On Friday we went to the mission home to pick up my new companion: Sister Peterson! She is straight from the MTC and full of testimony and optimism. She is actually a convert from Alabama and joined the church when she was in high school. And, (you'll love this) she is pretty much the tallest person in the mission :) She stands at almost 6'1'' and people on the street love looking at her. She has gorgeous curly blonde hair that I'm sure many a taiwanese has not seen before. She has a quiet voice and a big heart and a willingness to share during lessons or go talk to people. When I need to go make phone calls I'll ask to go and talk with people and she will give me the biggest smile and say yes, I can. She is so brave. I was so nervous to do that on my first week. Not understanding people is hard. But we have already seen miracles and seen so many people come to church this week, so many new investigators. She is finding new investigators all over the place. It's a little hard, not going to lie, you need to remember everything and now I don't have a wonderful Taiwanese companion to help me when i don't understand. But, it's ok, I'm not too bu hao yisi to tell people I don't understand. It's better to stop and ask than assume incorrectly. :) And, this is so good because I really need to rely on the spirit. Lately I have been needing to be more humble and this experience is really helping me. It is really humbling to know that so much goes on around you and there is so much to do but you can't do it alone. This is the Lord's work. We need to ask for His help. We really aren't doing much. We are doing our best, but it is His work and when you exercise faith and do all that you can, it is up to Him to help. No matter my weaknesses and insecurities, if I put my trust in Heavenly Father He will help.
I love you all! Pray for us!
-sister ko

Lotsa Pictures

Christmas activity: at the big buddhua with my companion,
and these are all the sisters that have served in jiayi in the past 6 months :) All taiwanese + 1 malaysian + 1 1/2 chinese :)

beautiful companion sister lin

Elder Chung!

Sister Gurr and Sister Lew and Sister Ko, the BYU, mostly Chinese Taichung sister missionaries, (I knew them before the mission at school). All combined we are at least one complete chinese person :)

Our District

With President and Sister Bishop!

Inside the temple.

This is Elder and Sister Greene, the senior couple here, who are the sweetest people you ever did meet.

coolest temple you ever did see...


These are the traditional cakes, people eat them a lot during holidays and especially guonian...the chinese new year... so delicious.


Madi's present.

Us trying out our new presents.... :)

Food, Baptism

They give you a little plastic glove to eat the chicken! How convenient! :)

Guo xiu rong got baptized!

Monday, January 17, 2011

12/19/10 Email

Oh my goodness, it has been a year, hasn't it?! It really is going by too fast. Every day I think my brain goes through a cycle; in the morning I realize that there is still so much time and so many people I haven't met, and then when we come home at night and suan numbers I think about how fast the day went and how time is going to be up so soon. This move-call has been so quick. Sister Lai and I have really had a wonderful time together. We are different but yet so similar, and I love being with her. I think that is why it has seemed so quick, we have been so busy and love working together so it really has been a blast. And so many miracles!
Guo j.m. was baptized this week and confirmed yesterday! There was a fantastic spirit at her baptism and I am so thankful for such a well-put together ward mission council that will get things done and have everything ready so things run so much smoother. She gave a fantastic share, she has really gained a testimony of these things and it was her time to get baptized. We didn't do much, she was ready. She is going to be an amazing member and will continue to grow and learn, she loves the book of mormon and will continue to find answers to her prayers from it.
Our investigator jing yi, she is the one who will get baptized on christmas. Ok, the craziest thing happened! Yesterday morning, before church we were dialing phones, and getting things ready for church. We say some people across the street and someone sitting on the ground on the road. There was a motorcycle that looked like it had slid all the way to the shop across the street and there were pieces of it scattered over the road. The person looked kind of familiar and then we saw the helmet and knew who it was. It was Jing yi! We ran over and talked with her and the people around the accident site. She was on her way to church and got hit by a car! But, oh my goodness, family, she was so protected. If you could have seen her motorcycle, she should have been hurt way worse. An ambulance came and picked her up and we went to visit her last night after she got home from the hospital. She's beat up pretty bad, has some road-burn rashes on her face and she doesn't have front teeth anymore but she's ok. We still shared with her about baptism and Jesus and when we talked about moving her baptismal date to next week she freaked out. She said she didn't want to wait. Christmas is the day she wants to get baptized.
The only problem was, that since she went to the hospital she didn't come to church. In our mission you need to come to church 3 times before you can be baptized. So yesterday I called President Bishop to get permission to still allow her to be baptized. When I called him he laughed at me. :) I guess some other missionaries also had christmas baptismal dates that their investigators won't be able to hit because they didn't come to church today. And President Bishop has really helped us put a strong emphasis in needing to build up the kingdom of God with new investigators that will endure to the end. But, he still let me talk and tell about our investigator, when he heard about it and heard that she was right outside the church when she got hit he said that was a real legitimate excuse, and he gave permission! Unheard of! We needed to get the Bishop's approval, but he is so you ban fa it was easy, so jing yi can still be baptized on Sat!

-Sister Ko

12/12/10 Email

Dearest family,

Guo xiu rong is getting baptized on Sat! She set the time and has someone to baptize her so it will happen this Sat. And jing yi came to church again yesterday and is right on track to be baptized on the 25th. Christmas! :) I think she's really excited about that, and it will be really fun because all the missionary companionships in our chapel will have a Christmas baptism. It's a white christmas :) hehe, white baptismal clothes mean a white christmas for taichung missionaries.
This is what I wrote to dad and thought you might also enjoy: Yes, I am so thankful for each my companions and what they have done for me. I was thinking about it the other day, and every companionship has it's easy-breezy aspects and it's really hard things. But it is so important to love them for who they are and for who they can become. I learn so much from each one and learn so much more about the kind of person I want to be. I have also noticed how much more important it is to have the spirit. You need the spirit. There is no other way to have a lesson. The past couple weeks I have been so grateful for the presence of the spirit in our lessons and so thankful for it's tixing...umhh... it's guidance ba. My brain thinks in chin-glish so sometimes I really don't know what I want to say in english. But there are so many times that I honestly don't know what to do say or don't know how to answer, and all of a sudden, the answer is in my mind and i'm explaining something I wouldn't even know how to answer in english. It's a very humbling experience. and of course I've also had lessons where I don't feel the spirit as strongly. There is a difference. And with the spirit is the only way the gospel of Jesus Christ can be taught.
But, to be honest the past couple days were a little hard for me. That one mom I was telling you about, I don't remember how much I told you but she, ying chen, has word of wisdom problems but loves the book of mormon and knows that it is true. I'm not sure what it is about that really made me connect with her, but I love her so much that I didn't know what to do when I called her on Friday and it was a totally different person. Didn't want to meet with us, didn't want to come to church, said she was too busy to meet with us. I don't think I would even know how to explain it, but I know that she knows the church is true and I know that Jesus Christ and His church is the answer to her life's questions. She knows it's when she meets with us and reads the Book of Mormon that she's happier. I had a really hard time understanding and getting through that. We went to visit her yesterday and were able to understand more. The hardest part is that she wants to keep learning and wants church but has so much family pressure. It is still her own decision and I know that she will keep reading and praying but we won't be able to keep meeting with her. I don't know how to describe it, I felt like my heart was wretched out, I had done everything I could possibly think of and it wasn't enough. I've been on the mission a while, I've dropped people before, but ying chen is different. I felt like I really understood her and for sure I knew what the gospel could do for her life and I know this is what she needs. And, to see her change and fall in love with reading the Book of Mormon was one of the most exciting and happiest moments. Sister Lai and i were talking about how there are just some investigators you get excited to see because you know they appreciate what you are teaching and are willing to apply. She was one of those. I know one day she will get another chance and but right now it still hurts.
But, of course, you have to move on. Teach those who will listen and accept the message and keep commitments so that they can receive baptism. Life goes on, the mission work will still keep going because the gospel is still true. And no matter what happens it still is Christ's church. Through Joseph Smith, the fulness of God's truth is on the earth so we don't have to be confused about why we are here or what we are doing. We all have a loving Heavenly Father who lets us know about the Plan of Salvation, and through the power of Christ's Atonement we all can return to live in His presence with our families.
I love you family!
-sister ko

12/5 Pictures

The man is dishing up dong hua. I'm not quite sure what it is but they eat it a lot here, The translation is bean flower, it's kind of like jello made out of beans....and you add other things.

This is bian dang, you choose what you want and then pay for how much you dish up. Eat with rice, enjoy! :)

cool! hoh!?

This is where you go to buy meat :) haha

Me and Momo!
and Sister Lin

Eating at the japanese rice-patty hamburger place: MosBurger
:) They are earth friendly :)