Friday, December 31, 2010

December 27, 2010

Dear Friends and Fmaily,

First off, GREAT TO TALK TO YOU ON CHRISTMAS! I Love you so much! And it was a really, really fantastic Christmas here for us in Taidong!

First off, we were on Companion exchanges form Christmas eve and Christmas day, so Sister Lin and Sister Sun came down and spent Christmas with us! On Christmas eve we read the Christmas story in Luke 2 and then in the morning we noticed Santa came and put a bunch of gifts out and stockings by the heater because there is not a fireplace. Or a tree. But still, he made it anyways! I just don't know how he got in! ;)

Then in the afternoon Tracy got baptized! What a happy day! Seriously! It was so cute, her little son was so mad that he couldn't get baptized too! And when she got baptized she stood up out of the water and they said, "Your good" and She smiled and Said, "YES!!" Wow! That is what I am talking about! It was such a happy day!

In the evening we had a Christmas program and it was amazing! Seriously. All the people in both branches had a bunch of performances and there was singing and dancing and we even got to do a little part of it, which was fun. Then I was so touched because the son of our new member who was baptized in October, Hu Huina, played the angel that proclaimed good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people and her daughter was a sheep and it was just beautiful! These peoples lives have changed! And Tracy too! I just love this season!

Also, one really fun picture. Tracy's son really likes us a lot. He is four years old and he wanted to draw us a Christmas card. He drew me and sister Wynder. Guess who is who? I will give you a hint...I am wearing glasses. :) Seriously, this is the funniest most precious thing I have gotten on my mission so far.

I just love this work! I love Jesus Christ! I love everything about this place. I feel like my life has changed so dramatically because of my mission. This is the absolute best decision I have ever made in my life. I know that some people say it is hard to be away for a year and a half, but they are wrong. There are hard times, but it is the happiest most rewarding experience I have ever had. I have learned things I could not have learned otherwise (for instance...Chinese. ;0)) and I know that I am making a difference. The work is hard, but the reward is a millions times as good. For anyone who is debating whether you want to go on a mission or not, please, just go. The only regret you have will be that one day you have to go home and leave it all behind. But this place - beautiful Taiwan - will always be a party of me. It is here that I have truly come to know the savior, and I am grateful.

I love you all and hope all is well! MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

December 20, 2010

Dear Friends and Family,

Wow! To say that this was the craziest week of my mission would be correct, but somehow too much of an understatement to really describe.

On Monday a member took us up to see monkeys in Donghe. It was pretty cool. It was also hilarious for two reasons - one, Chen Weiting's children were SCARED TO DEATH of the Monkeys! Seriously. I must admit, I was a little scared too. Those things are mean! The second reason - you shouldn't smile around them because it looks threatening. Well, not smiling was proving to be a challenge for us all! It was a really great day!

Then on Tuesday we went on exchanges to Hualian with the sisters. It was a blast. I always love going to Hualian, but it is also a relief to come back home again. There's no place like Taidong! On the train ride home from Hualian we called one of our investigators - Sister Hong. She was in having her baby like RIGHT at that moment!! We were seriously like panicking and so excited! That night after English class we went and saw her beautiful baby boy. It is such a blessing to be able to be here and see her baby be born! I just feel like I am home because Rebecca and Lisa just had their babies, and Sister Hong after the baby was born and we went and visited her said, "Yes! Auntie Wang and Auntie Ke (that is me) are here!" Ah! Melt my heart! I love it here!

Now, you may be wondering, "WHERE ARE THE PICTURES?!" WEll, the first day I forgot my camera, and I have been sick every day since then so I don't dare go visit her while I am sick! So no pictures of the little baby boy yet, but I promise that there will be as soon as this stinking cough and headache go away! Today it is already much better!

Then, also, another investigator's grandma died. It was a little unreal to hear. We used to sit down with her every once in a while, and now she is gone. So unexpectedly. It is just crazy. I am so glad we all know the plan of salvation because although this can be a very trying time, when we know what god has planned for us in the future, death doesn't seem so scary anymore. It is just a temporary separation. I know that although the pain of not seeing her again while on this earth is very real, the knowledge of the plan of salvation is even more real. Families are forever. This is the truth that we get to share with the world.

The rest of the week had been pretty busy. WE had to cancel a few appointments because they just live too far away and I just cannot ride my bike that far while I am not feeling well, but I am quickly recovering so we can once again go visit our friends!

Also, yesterday TRACY PASSED HER BAPTISMAL INTERVIEW!!! She is getting baptized on Christmas day! I seriously cannot think of anything happier than this. She is so ready, so wonderful. I just love her so much! Really. I just know that she is one of those people I promised to come and find. She is so wonderful!

Last night we went caroling with the single adults in the branches. It was a lot of fun! Caroling here is a lot different than in the states. It is an all night event and at every house you carol at, they give you food! Yes, there is no carrying any jams or caramels to give away - you show up and they feed you all night long. The event started at 5 and I think it was planned to go until about 11. I love it. WE had to leave early because we have to be home at 9, but it was great while it lasted!

That is about it for the week! I love you all and hope all continues to be well! Don't forget to always pray and read your scriptures. and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Sister Collyer

December 13, 2010

Dear Friends and family,

Well, we really continue to see miracles here in Taiwan! I LOVE Taidong so much it just sucks the energy out of me everyday, and then I am so excited to get up the next day and just continue loving it!

This week we have been preparing our fabulous investigator Stacy for baptism and she is great. We told her she could not get baptized until she came to sacrament meeting the next couple weeks, and then yesterday she was so worried about it that she arrived 10 minutes early! Wow! Every time I call her on the phone her little kids answer. They are two and four and they are always so excited to talk to us! The always shout, "It is Sister Ke! It is sister Ke!" They are seriously the cutest children in the world. It always takes like five minutes to convince them to give the phone to mom. Then when we go and visit them they like to grab the Hymn books and open then and start singing, "I love mom and dad and little sister and Sister Ke!" Seriously, I think I am in heaven! I love this family so much!

We are also working with these two 17 year old friends and they are amazing! They read and pray every day together and then they got in a scooter accident and they were not hurt at all and they were so touched that they prayed and thanked God that all was ok. Wow! That is pretty amazing for 17 year olds! I really love them.

There are also two children we are teaching. Terrence and Jingru. Terrence is a little boy and he just loves church and is crazily spiritually in tune. His mom meets with us too but doesn't have that much interest until this week because she brought him to sacrament meeting and a family of five kids gave the presentation. All five kids, aged 5 to 12, told a story of Jesus and the mom and dad tole about how the gospel has changed their lives and she was super touched so things are looking good! and Jingru is super excited to be baptized. We just hope that we can get her mom on board as well!

Other than that, (Which I realize is actually a ton) things continue to be pretty stable. We are really busy trying to meet with all these people and this coming week we are going to Hualian for two days and it is all crazy bu things are great!

This week I read something that really touched my heart. In Ture to the Faith it says about love: "Our love for those around us increases when we remember that we are all children of God, 葉 that we are spirit brothers and sisters. The love that results from this realization has the power to transcend all boundaries of nation, creed, and color."

I know that God loves us all, so he sent his son to die for us. Jesus Christ is the savior if us all, not just a few. We all need his help and guidance. This holiday season I want to invite you all to think about those you love. And always remember Jesus Christ. Jesus is the perfect example of perfect love. I know as we all try to be more like the saviour, walls will come down, boundaries will be crossed, and we will find what the angels proclaimed at the saviors first appearance in the stable long, long ago, "Peace on earth, good will to men." Let us all try this Christmas season to be a little more like that little baby born over two thousand years ago.

I love you all and hope all is well!

Sister Collyer

December 6, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello again from wonderful Taidong! This week we really saw some great miracles!

First off, TRACY is so excited to be baptized on Christmas day! And so is Stacy! Yes, the both speak ok English so they have English names, which makes it much easier on all of you. ;) I am so excited for them! Especially Tracy. She was so excited when we went and visited her this week. She said, "Can God answer your prayers from movies?" We said, "Of course!!" She then pulled out a piece of paper covered in writing front and back and said, "I know you can't watch movies, so I wrote it down word for word so you could see how God answered my prayers!!!" It was just plain amazing! She was telling her whole family about it! I am so grateful for a God that knows exactly what people need and how to reach them. I love God!

And Stacy is just amazing! She met with missionaries a while ago but at that time she worked on Sundays. Now, she had read the entire Book of Mormon and knows that it is true and doesn't work on Sunday and is so excited to get baptized on Christmas as well. This is going to be the greatest Christmas ever!

Also, there are three other amazing people preparing for baptism that are super excited about it and will probably be baptized on the 1 of January (1/1/11 - how auspicious). Terrence - a 9 year old boy whose parents are not christian but fully support him coming to church and reading scriptures and praying. Wow! And then there is Guo Jingru who is also nine years old. Her older brother who is in the military is a member but the rest of her family is not. She was so excited to get her own Book of Mormon that the next day she told us, "I already read 4 pages!!" She is so looking forward to being baptized! And lastly Wang Yi Ting. She is still developing faith and is doing a great job. She reads and prays every day. She hasn't come to Church lately because she plays volleyball at college and had tournaments on Sunday, but we are working with her on that.

Lastly, there is also a girl names Chen Shuhui that is GREAT! we met her last week and she is already almost done reading 1st Nephi. She came to a ward activity and liked it and things are going great with her. We are very excited here!

Other than that the work continues to go on! I love everything about being here in Taiwan! Last PDay we went shrimping and then cooked and ate the shrimp that we caught. It was really great! I have never done that before and it was really cool. The weird thing is that you catch them and they are still alive and then you put salt on them and they are still alive and then you put them on the skewer and they are still alive and then you put them in the fire and THEY ARE STILL ALIVE!! Wow, I felt a little violent, but boy, when they were finally dead and cooked, they were stinking tasty!

Well, I love you all and hope all is well!

Sister Collyer

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

November 29, 2010

Dear Friends and Family,

WOW! It sounds like it was a big week back home for my family! Both of my sisters gave birth within 6 days of eachother, over doubling the population of munchkins that currently call me "auntie." I love you all so much! Callianna, Maya and Lilly, just know that your aunt is in Taiwan praying for you and can't wait to see you next year!

This week was also and AWESOME week here in Taiwan. I know I keep saying this, but I cannot imagine being any happier than I am right now! We just keep seeing miracles! It is really fantastic! My new companion, Sister Wynder, is so stinking great! I just love her! And this week we found a ton of great people who want to hear the gospel. I am so grateful for her diligence and her motivation and her excitement! It is just the greatest thing in the world to be here in Taidong serving the Lord. The pictures today are of two things - one is we painted Sister Wynder's bike. We all paint out bikes in an effor tto prevent them from getting stolen. I think her bike is pretty dang good looking! The other pictures are of us going out to exercise this morning, We rode to the beach and also saw a bird sitting on this ox and we both thought, "Wow, that is cool! Lets take a picture!"

This week was special because a couple of our best new investigators are children with really supportive parents. There is Guo Jingru (9 years old) whose older brother is already a member and her and her mom recently moved back from Gaoxiong and started going to church again. Mom is not a member but she is interested and Jingru really wants to be baptized. And then there is Terrance (8 years old) who loves church becasue it is a place where he has friends and he also loves Jesus and told his mom he wouldn't BaiBai with her becaue Jesus wouldn't like it. He is great and his mom is really supportive and excited to see her son find a place where he can fit in! She is also looking into the church, but her son also really wants to be baptized! Wow! We are going to need some more Children's book of Momons...I love teaching children! I think it is my favorite part of missionary work. They just have this natural love for Jesus Christ that leads them to do the right thing. I just love it!

I went up to Taibei again this week for a special training meeting and that was good. It is really weird to be in Taibei where ther are just so many other missionaries compared to down here where there are only four others. I like it better down here. :) I know that some day I will leave, but I am just gonna love it while it lasts!

Also, I would like to draw everyone's attention to Psalms 144:7. Check out the foot note. The truth is out there. ;)

I love you all very much and hope that you all have a fantastic week! I pray for you and I know that as we all continue to pray for the work of the Lord to move forward, MIRACLES WILL HAPPEN!

Sister Collyer

November 22, 2010

Dear Family and friends:

First off, WOW, MY SISTER HAD HER TWINS!!!! That was unexpected and happy news. I love you Maya and Lilly and Addison and Hannah and Bart and Rebecca! You are so blessed and I pray for all of you to be healthy and strong and happy and all of the above blessings that we all desire.I only have three words to say now - Lisa, You're next!!!

This week has been quite the adventure, that is for sure!! It started off as a normal week and then it went crazy because on Wednesday night we got a special phone call from the Assistants. We were to head up to Hualian the nest evening and then up to Taipei on Friday because I am getting a new companion and she just arrives on the island.

So amongst tears that come from reluctance to give up a good thing, but also excitement for a brand new adventure, Sister Howell and I headed up to Taipei. On Friday 11/19 I met my new companion - Sister Wynder. Which means, Ironically from Washington. She is half Taiwanese and Half american and already fluent in both languages. Yes! My chinese has already improved! Sister Howell is opening a new area which is really exciting.

One of the pictures has a lot of meaning - The one with Sister Wynder and I and then a girl names Lavender Lin. Sister Lin was my trainer's trainer, so it is like a cute little four generation picture without grandma in it. :) I love being on a mission

Sister Wynder is fantastic. She is full of fire and energy and she likes eating just about as much as I do (I don't know if that last thing is particularly good) :). She is from Washington but lived in Taiwan for the first 12 years of her life, has three Sisters and one brother, and is one of the happiest most energetic people I know. I have never seen a smile so big! She is great! We have a good time. It has been a great last couple of days, but it was kind of a bummer to be out of our area for so long! We left on Thursday and did not get back until Saturday eveing right before the activity so we hurried over to the activity and did out performance and it was a big hit! I am working on getting a video to show you, but to say the least we had quite the cheering crowd before the skit was over.

I am so excited about the babies that I am finding it hard to concentrate on what I want to say and especially since we have been in Taipei for most of the week there is just not that much to talk about! I love you all and I hope all is well!

I Love you!

Sister Collyer

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

November 15, 2010‏

Dear Friends and Family,

Hello again from paradise. This week was AMAZING because my dear friend Lan Wanling Got baptized!!!! What a happy day! We have been meeting with her for a few months now and it was such a happy day and the spirit that was there was fantastic. I love seeing people taking the first step to eternal life. The hardest part is yet to come - enduring to the end - but as the old proverb says, "The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step." Baptism is truly that one step that gets us on the straight and narrow path that can lead us to exaltation. We just have to keep going! Never surrender! Never Give in! We all will have trials that will make us doubt ourselves, our faith and our testimony, but the most important thing to remember is Jesus Christ. As Helaman told his sons:

"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

Helaman 5:12

I just love this gospel! I love being on a mission. I know this is where we need to be. To all of my friends who are thinking about going on a mission but are not sure, I have three words for you - JUST DO IT!!! Seriously. These experiences are ones I will always remember. These people are people I will never forget. But most importantly, I have learned lessons that would have otherwise taken a lifetime. A mission is a miracle, one day at a time.

In other news, this week we went up to Guanshan as a district and rode bikes. My companion and I rode the tandem bike and it was a blast. Talk about a real test of unity! We really discovered that to have real success you both need to know when we are going to start, where we are going, which way we are going to turn and when we are going to stop. Hey, that is just like it is in lessons too! The better plan you have the better everything goes. Wow! It is just too true that you can make a good parable out of anything.

Well, I love you all very much and I hope all is well!


Sister Collyer

November 8, 2010

Dear Friends and Family,

Yes! Lan Wanling is going to be baptized this coming Saturday!!!!!!!! We are so happy and excited and I just cannot even tell you how much I stinking love that girl! We met her when I first moved to Taidong and have been working with her ever since July. We are so, so, SOOO happy she is going to take this step into the waters of repentance and eternal life!

We actually spent a good chunck of time this week in Hualian - which is a three hour train ride away. Ouch. We went out there Wednesday for Zone conference, which was great and I learned a ton and I am super grateful for our leader's guidance. We seriously have the best leaders in the mission! If I could use only once sentence to describe president Grimley, it would be this - He is a Man of God. That is it. He received revelation that will help us become better misisonaries, and every time I apply what he teaches us we see miracles. I love it!

On Friday and Saturday we went on companion exchanges to Hualian. Because the train ride is so long, when we exchange one companionship travels to the other area and we all just proselyte there. Last week we went to Hualian and it was a good experience. I went on exchanges with Sister Lai and we really had a great time. Hualian is a great place! It is so...what is the word...urban! Wow! we ate lunch in a MALL!! Wow! We con't have anything like that here in Taidong. I forgot what it was like to live in a place with so many people outside! It was a great experience, and super easy to contact people. I am grateful for that. But by the time the exchange was over I really missed the rice fields and bike trails of Taidong. It is good to be back home!

On November 20 we are going to have a big Thanksgiving day activity and the branches are going to cook Turkey and everything! They also want us misisonaruies to act out the Thanksgiving story as midgets. Yes, that was a very specific request straight from both branch presidents. How, you ask, will we do this? Well, just look at the pictures I have attached to find out! I will give you a hint - those are not my companion's hands...

WEll, other than that this week has no exciting things to report! I love you all and hope you are all well! Don't forget to read and pray and go to church! These things are super important!!!


Sister Collyer

November 1, 2010

Dear Family and friends,

This morning was another adventure in the apartment. Luckily no bookshelves collapsed, but wow! This morning's adventure was a LOT louder!

They seem to be doing road work here in Taodong more than even Utah has. :) Today they decided to start at about 8 in the morning ripping out the ground right outside our window. And when I say ground I mean foot thick cement. Yes, this picture was literally taken at our window. Sometimes the crane passed so close to our window I thought for sure it was gonna hit! and It was so NOISY!!!!! Durring personal study concentrating was impossible, and durring companion study we had to shout to even hear eachother! Yes, it lasted even until we left the house. I think it is still going on, but it is much quieter here in the computer lab.

Other than that, this week was a pretty great one. We got stood up a lot this week, but every time we did, we really saw miracles! It was great! One night all three of our lessons cancelled so we went outside contacting. We stepped outside the chapel, said a prayer, and then decided we were going to go over the bridge and take the first left and then the first right and spend the evening there. Well, in an hour and a half we taught FIVE lessons! Wow! THat was a real testimony to me that God is leading this work, and as long as we are out trying out best to do good, he will bless us. He is truly preparing people to hear this gospel. What a blessing missionary work is!

We also had four people at chruch which was really awesome because it was not the four people we thought would come. It was a great day and the branch is really excited about them. One girl that came was someone we actually never met before. Her name is Wang YiTing and a missionary from Taipei contacted her and sent us her information and we called her and invited her to church and she actually came and stayed the whole time! And she LOVED it! She is a college student here and she is awesome. Also, she has exactly the same name as a branch member, so her and the entire Wang family were immediately friends and she went with us to eat dinner with them last night and it could not have been better. I love this work!

Other than that, nothing special to report. It is always a great adventure here in Taidong! Every day something happend that I feel like would only happen in fairytales. For example, the other day I was riding my bike near the old train station that is majestically abandoned and a group of fireflies surrounded me and started flying with me. Wow, I felt like fairy tale barbie! And then sometimes there are groups of birds on the track where we run in the mornings and as we run they take off and fly into the blue blue sky as the cool breeze blows. This This morning all the worms came out and made crazy cool looking lines all along the track and the track was really shiny and it looked like it has a magis spell on it or something. Of course having to dodge a bunch of worms while running is not ideal, but is just still felt like a dream. I love it here in Taidong! Despite the monster truck eating the sidewalk outside or window, I never want to leave!

I hope all is well! I love you all!

Sister Collyer

Thursday, October 28, 2010

October 25, 2010‏

Dear Fmaily and Friends,

Hello again from paradise! A little weather update - except for raining a couple days, Taidong was not affected at all by last weeks typhoon. We are on the farthest south easy part of the island and the typhoon conveniently passed us by. I am really grateful because this weekend was awesome.

First off, we had five people at church! (Seven if you count small children)! Apparently all you really have to do to get people to church is beat the issue over the head with a metal mallet, grind it to powder and the burn it in blue flames. ;) Really, we put our every effort into getting people to church this week. We called our investigators almost every day and reminded them, we sent postcards on which we wrote the blessings of church in broken Chinese. We had members talk to the people,and even arranged for members to take a few people to chruch, and finally we had a breakthrough!!! It was seriously a miracle. Getting people to come experience the blessings of chruch is harder than convincing them to have optional invasive surgery, but this week the spirit blessed our efforts, and they came!

So we did have a little adventure this week. One morning after our alarm had just woken us up and we merrily hopped out of bed to go to the bathroom to prepare for exercise, there was suddenly a very loud crash in the front room. I tough my companion had something terrible happen to her. I shouted and sped out of the bathroom, well, my companion was safe in her bathroom at the time. She though something had happened to me! WE both walked to the front room to see what made the aweful noise, and out six foot something bookshelf had collapsed and everything on it was spread across the apartment. It was a disaster! On top of that, we have been preparing to paint our apartment, so the furniture is already everywhere and really, it looks like a tornado had been through there! Luckily, today we will get the painting done and clean it. The only thing we are not sure is what ot do with the demolished bookshelf. Somehow, trying to take six foot boards that snapped in some places with screws sticking out everywhere to the dump on our bicycles doesn't seem really probable. :) For now we will see!

On Saturday was a branch member - Wang Yi Shu's - Wedding reception. It was fantastic! The two branches relief societies worked together to decorate and cook and it was truly a sight to behold! I have never seen such a beautiful sight! And the place was packed with members and non members and it was a great experience. The program was great and really focused on eternal families and misisonary work and It was a great place for people to introduce their friends to the gospel. I love the branches down here! Any event at all becomes a missionary activity!

I also LOVE the children here. This little girl is Chen WeiTing's child. Che is a ward member who got baptized last year and I just adore her children so much! A lot of the time I get to help keep them quiet in sacrament meeting and I love it. I just love children so much!

Last night we went to the Lin Family's for dinner and it was so wonderful. We took our investigator Tracy with us and it was the best enviromnment ever. There is so much peace and happiness in a gospel centered home that the spirit is so strong. As we ate and afterwards discussed the gospel and sang hymns, I couln't help but think, "This is the message we are sharing! This is the peace we are bringing! This is the feeling God wants us to all have!" Please, offer your homes to have the missionaries to teach in. It was the most amazing experience and nothing me or my companion could have ever done would have had the same impact as simply being in a members home and feeling that peace.

That is about it for the week! I lov eyou all and hope all is well!

Sister Collyer

Monday, October 18, 2010

October 18, 2010‏

Dear Friends and Family,

BAPTISM! This is one of the happiest weeks of my life. This weekend I got to see three people whom I dare about more than anything take the first step that can lead to eternal happiness. Hu HuiNa her son Zhou ChenYan, and Wu PeiFen (Izzie). And to ad to the miracles that were there, over 60 people attended to see it. That is pretty much the entire branch and then some. The service was absolutely beautiful.

What is Baptism? The service started out with Izzie's friend, Chen WenRu, answering this question. She talked about how baptism is a blessing - it is truly a way to show our commitment to God and to receive his blessings. I particularly like a scripture in the Book of Mormon Explaining the meaning of baptism. In Mosiah 18:8-11, a prophet named Alma is explaining to a group of faithful people what it means to be baptized and what commitments we make. It reads:

8. And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
9. Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
10. Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?
11. And now when the people had heard these words, they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts.

I know that as we commit to help and support each other, to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all places, and to keep the commandments, we truly take upon ourselves the name of Christ and are worthy to have the spirit of God as a constant guide. As I have spent my life trying to do this, I have felt not only the support of those around me, but the support of a higher power - a power that is greater than I would have ever imagined. As I have put in all my effort to learn Chinese so I can spread this happy message to my brothers and sisters in Taiwan, I have understood words that I have never learned, used words i have never heard, and felt love that I have never felt before. The lord is truly guiding this work, and there is nothing on earth than can stop it.

As Hu HuiNa's son was being baptized, she stood at the edge of the font and watched. She started to cry and said, "I have never been so touched." The spirit of the lord truly testifies of truth and righteousness, and baptism is the Lord's true way to the path of righteousness. This truly is the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

13 Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.
14 And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the bcross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—
15 And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.
16 And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.

All who repent and humble themselves before the Father and are baptized will be able to stand one day at the feet of the Savior and say, "I know I am not perfect, but I have done my best." As Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:7 "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."

Baptism is truly the way of eternal life. "Be not afraid, Only believe." (Mark 5:36)
I know that this Gospel is true! I know because I can feel it in all of my heart and soul. I feel it as I talk to people at stoplights in a language that I have only been learning for 9 months. I feel it as I open the scriptures and receive revelation for not only myself, but for those who I an trying to help come to know our savior Jesus Christ. I know that Jesus is the Christ. He is our savior. Through him we can overcome anything...Anything. No obstacle is too great, no path too long for the lord to help us overcome. To all of my friends who have not yet come to this knowledge, I encourage you to pray as I have prayed. Come to know for yourself. Pray to feel the healing waters of the Savior. Pray for courage and strength and knowledge. This gospel is true. It is time to find out for yourself.

I love you all and I hope as you each face challenges in life, you too can remember that through the grace of our redeemer Jesus Christ, we all can overcome the biggest obstacle of all - sin - and return to live in eternal happiness in the presence of God. I tell you these things, which I know are true, in the name of Him who saves us, even Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sister Amy Collyer

Monday, October 11, 2010

October 11, 2010

Dear Family and friends,
Well, for the first time since I have been on my mission I am staying in the same place with the same companion for another transfer! I am really excited about it! I love Sister Howell, and I love Taidong. Miracles await us! One of the Elders is training in our district - Elder You. His new Companion is Elder Wen. They are both Taiwan people, and awesome! I am sad that Elder Brunson will leave, but it is ok.
Can I just say how much I LOVED general conference this year! Wow! Talk about a feast of spiritual enlightenment and encouragement and instruction. I seriously loved it. I especially liked Richard C. Edgley's talk about choosing to believe. It was truly inspiring for me. I have recently been reading the new testament and supplementing my reading with Jesus the Christ, and I have learned a ton about faith. Faith really is the answer to anything. Any sin, any vice, any fault we have, no matter how small, can be overcome as we increase our faith in Jesus Christ. But it is truly our CHOICE. Bishop Edgley said, "Yes, faith is a choice, and it must be sought after and developed. Thus, we are responsible for our own faith. We are also responsible for our lack of faith. The choice is yours."
Faith is a gift of the spirit, and like all spiritual gifts it must be earnestly sought after. We first have to give place in our hearts for the word of God, and do ad Alma directs in Alma 32:27 "But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words." A desire is good enough. Do you want to believe that God has more truth that he wants to give us? Do you want to believe that he has once again given us the power to perform miracles on the earth? Then this is good enough. Choose to believe! Pray about it. GOD ANSWERS SINCERE PRAYERS. There is no doubt in my mind about this. Desire to believe, ask in faith, and our loving heavenly father will answer. It really is that simple.
But be careful. If you have already decided that some spiritual truth is impossible - if you have already decided that living prophets are impossible and that miracles are not real - you will not receive an answer. You have already decided to walk the road of faithlessness and doubt. There is nothing that God can do to change the mind and heart of someone who has already decided they do not want to believe.
Anyways, yeah, I LOVED his talk. I think I really got a lot out of conference this year because I have spent the last two weeks getting people excited about it. Telling people, "Hey! a Living prophet is going to speak to us! Don't you wanna come hear?!" Getting other people excited really, really got me excited, and so I loved it.
In other news, we are going to have a baptism this weekend. Two or three in fact! Hu HuiNa and her son are getting baptized on Saturday. They both passed their interview and are ready to go! Izzie will most likely be baptized too, but her interview is tomorrow, so only time will tell! We are really excited about it.
Well, I hope all is well! I love you all!
Sister Collyer
PS - Sorry no pictures. I forgot my camera chord.

Monday, October 4, 2010

October 4, 2010‏

Dear Family and friends,

Wow, is it really already October? I can't believe it. I feel like I just arrived in Taiwan and it has been over seven months! Wow! That is crazy!

Things are going great over here in Paradise. I mean Taidong. Sorry, sometimes I get the two places confused. :) Our branches are super excited about the upcoming baptisms and have goals about how many more people the want baptized in the coming months and how many people they will get at each baptism and the branch president is really encouraging referrals to help reach the goals. I love righteous church leaders!

And we really saw miracles this week! First of all, a less active member who hasn't come to church in YEARS - Xiao Mama - came for the second time in a row! The sisters have been visiting her every week and every week she refuses to come to church. Lately the mission president has encouraged us that if less actives are not progressing, we need to drop them and find new investigators. So for the past three months we have only been visiting her once a month, and I think it was exactly what needed to happen! She started to hunger for more spiritual experiences and so she came to church! I was so happy and shocked to see her! It really has been YEARS! and from the first time she came she has already changed a ton! She smiles more and seems genuinely happy and prays more and is really rebuilding faith. MIRACLE!!!!!

Also, we have another less active, Sister Ho, who hasn't been able to come to church for a long time because of some issues with her husband. Well, guess who was at church on Sunday? HER HUSBAND!!! She couldn't come, but the elders visited her husband last Saturday night and he came to church with their daughter. We visited Sister Ho that night and she was so thrilled she couldn't stop talking about it! Wow! It was a great thing for her to see her husband and daughter come to church! MIRACLE!!!!

Also, we have been teaching the Mayor of Fugang, Zhen A Fen for about two months now, and she hadn't come to church yet. She was an investigator a few years ago and didn't come to church ever then so the sisters back then had to drop her. But miracles happen, and after a simple phone call reminder, guess who showed up on Sunday. THE MAYOR OF FUGANG! It was awesome! We were so stoked to see her!

Our other investigators are of course doing great. We have Izzie's baptismal interview scheduled and the branch is just so excited. We are excited too! She is a branch member's referral, so what a happy day! Hu HuiNa and her also should be right on track as well and Lan Wanling is talking to her family this week, so hopefully all will go well! We are really excited to see these people draw closer to the Lord through baptism!

Last Monday was probably my most favorite preparation day EVER! We went to the Taidong Forrest park and just rode our bikes around and explored. We ended up at a YuanZhuMin activity center - Makapahay. It was just about the coolest place ever! We took a ton of pictures and I couldn't help but thinking - life really couldn't get any better. I am here watching people change their lives and find eternal salvation through the only one who can offer this gift - Jesus Christ. My district has the most faithful and loving - and funny - Elders in the whole mission, my companion is my best friend, and I am in the most beautiful place in the world. I love being a missionary!

I hope all is well back home. Just remember to Rely on the lord. I want to quote a talk by Elder Uchdorf from November 2008 Ensign Entitled "The infinite Power of Hope." He says:
"The Lord has given us a reassuring message of hope: “Fear not, little flock.”God will wait with “open arms to receive” those who give away their sins and continue in faith, hope, and charity.

And to all who suffer—to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely—I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in.

Never surrender.

Never allow despair to overcome your spirit.

Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart.

Of this I testify and leave you my blessing in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

I want to add my testimony that Hope through the infinite atonement of Christ really has this power. It can overcome all obstacles and lift every burden. I know this is true. I have seen the Lord lift the burdens of those whose burdens are to heavy to bear. I have felt his arms lifting me in times of discouragement and doubt. The atonement and the power of Christ is real. Through Christ we can overcome all of our sins and weaknesses and feel the hope of eternal life and happiness. I testify of this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Love, Sister Collyer

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

September 27, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,
Hello again from the miracle island of Taiwan!
I love it here! Every week is a new adventure. There is one thing for sure - missionary work is never boring! I have another funny story I want to share with you.
Here in Taiwan the garbage trucks sing. Just like the ice cream man. Yes, it is true. Every time I hear the music I can't help but think, "Ah! I could really go for a Popsicle!" Well, that would certainly be one interesting Popsicle! :)
Anyways, last Monday we were taking the garbage out, but we were running a little late, and when we got outside the garbage truck was a few houses away already. Well, we had a lot of garbage, so we REALLY needed to get rid of it that day, so with six bags and a bow of garbage in my hands I started running after the garbage truck. I can only imagine how funny I looked running after that truck in my skirt! It was hilarious!
This week on Wednesday was the Moon festival! It was fantastic. No one was willing to tell me the legend behind it even though I asked quite a few people about it, but basically everyone barbecues that day and eats Yozi. Yozi is kind of like a grapefruit. Sort of. Anyway, on Tuesday some of our friends gave us 8 of these fruit. They are HUGE! we had quite an adventure trying to get eight gigantic fruits home on our bicycles, but somehow we managed!
On Wednesday we went to a barbecue with a family in the ward - the Wang Family. It was great. The food was so delicious and they invited some of their friends and we may have some new investigators from it. And the moon that night was fantastic! I love the moon festival!
We also had a really great ward activity on Saturday night. We went to a family in the branch's house and ate delicious dinner and had a little family home evening and it really felt like home! I loved it. Also, I ate snail.These snails are just everywhere here, so I am pretty sure they just gathered a million snails from the rice fields and cooked them up. They tasted pretty good, but I only ate one. Even if it does taste good, it feels pretty weird to eat a snail right out of the shell!
Our investigators are doing fantastic. We have really seen some great miracles lately. We will have four people baptized on October 16 if everything goes as planned! I am really excited and humbled to be part of this miracle. I love the work! There is nothing more fulfilling than seeing people coming to know the Lord Jesus Christ and learning of the peace that comes from being forgiven through the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.
This week I read an article in the Liahona magazine that I really liked. A woman told of her experience of bringing Christ into her home by helping her family memorize, "The Living Christ." She tells about how it had the power to calm her children down when they were being grumpy or restless, and how when they saw certain pictures of Jesus they would remember passages from "The Living Christ" and quote them. Wow! That is powerful! I decided it is about time that I start working on that. So officially this week I have started memorizing it... "As we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millenia ago we offer our testimony of his matchless life and the infinite virtue of his great atoning sacrifice." That is all I got so far, but it is a start! I really am excited to see the blessings focusing more on Christ brings.
I love you all very much and hope that all is well!
Sister Collyer

Monday, September 20, 2010

September 20, 2010‏

Hello Friends and Family -

Wow! This week is full of more and more miracles! But first, I will share the funny things that happened recently because I don't want to forget!

First off, teaching is always a lot of fun with Sister Howell. We are pretty much always on the same page, which is so nice! But on top of that, because Chinese is both of our second languages, we have some pretty hilarious slip ups that make every appointment just that much better. This week, we were teaching about heaven and how there are three kingdoms of glory. I has just explained about the Celestial kingdom, and Sister Howell started explaining about the Terrestrial kingdom. Well, Sister Howell was trying to say "If you don't go to the Celestial kingdom you go to the Terrestrial kingdom," Only she got her words mixed up and said, "If you don't go to the Celestial Kingdom, you go to China." We all were laughing pretty hard! I love this work, and I love Chinese!

Also, one of our investigators is so funny! She is cruising at reading the Book of Mormon - already in Alma! We asked her what her favorite part is, and she said, "I like Jacob. I think he is really handsome/attractive/cute." (Sorry - I don't know quite how to translate, but that is essentially the meaning!) It was all I could do to not bust out laughing right there! Sister Howell and I still laugh about it!

Yesterday we couldn't leave our house because there was a typhoon. Pretty much just a lot of rain and wind and not that exciting, but it was good to get a little extra rest! We spent most of the day making cards to give to investigators and friends. When you don't really read Chinese, writing it is quite the adventure, and it takes forever!

Just a little side note - I think the biggest miracle this week was how many times we got fed. Every single day this week someone bought or made us a meal. Sometimes it was members, sometimes it was investigators, but it seriously happened every day! Even when the typhoon came and everyone was stuck indoors we had several members call and ask us if we needed any food! Of course we said no, but it was amazing! I think all those times mom feeds the missionaries is really paying off for me! :)

Now, as for a little update on our investigators:

Hu HuiNa and her son (10/9) - Amazing! The mom has a definite testimony already. She told us she has seen an amazing change in her children and has noticed at times when she would get frustrated or upset or stressed she can feel God is helping her so those feelings go away. We briefly taught about the temple and she said, "Oh, I get it! The temple is our goal!" WOW! It doesn't get much better than that.

Zhen Ah Fen (10/30) The mayor of FuGang. We ate dinner at the stake president's house with her this past week and it was really good and really powerful. Also, She took us out to eat at a place with a bunch of little Elephant decorations, and it is awesome! I love it!! It is called DaNinXiang, and it is vegetarian. As a matter of fact, the best places to eat her in Taidong are all vegetarian, so Sister Howell and I are thinking about going vegetarian!

Cheng PeiXuan (10/30) She is the one that told us Jacob is really attractive. Also, she is an artist and has some awesome paintings and stuff! She gave me some recommendations on some really neat books that I just might buy and send home for you to look at! She is progressing really well. She wanted to come to church this week, but it was cancelled because of the typhoon.

Li BiJun (Wendy) - (10/2) - Lives in paradise. Seriously. We visited her house this week. It is in Taimali and she came and picked us up and took us there. She lives on a mountain that overlooks the most beautiful beach in the world with no one around and a little garden and oh my, I really thought I had died and gone to paradise when we visited them! She also gave us a mini tour of good places to eat in Taidong, so we have some great suggestions for the future! She and her husband are amazing!

Lan Wanling (10/16) - She is amazing! She is our age and is seriously great! Sometimes she waked up and runs with us at the local track. She is reading and praying and has a testimony and is coming to Church and all is looking great for her! I love her!

Wu PeiFen (Izzie) (10/16) - She is this weeks miracle! a member brought her to church this past week and she wants to be baptized really bad! She is so excited about it that we set up every appointment we would need from now until her baptism date to make it on time! Wow! Member referrals are the best!

That is about it for the week! I love you all and hope you continue to read ans pray. This gospel brings blessings that could never come in any other way!

Sister Collyer