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.