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