Tuesday, February 23, 2010

February 22, 2010

Dear Friends and Family,

Nimen Hao! Once again, another great week at the MTC. Chinese is going great! I met a woman at the temple today that was from Taiwan and we talked to her for a little bit, and I could understand what she was saying, which was a miracle!

Also, Our teacher wrote a message in Chinese on the board for us, (not the romanized, the characters) and I could totally read it! Ok, so maybe it only used four different characters, but it is a start! I know I still have a really long way to go, but just seeing how much God has already blessed me in the the language is really encouraging. I know that he has brought me this far, and I know that with Him, I truly can do anything! I just feel like Ammon when he says, "Who can glory too much in the Lord?...I cannot say the smallest part which I feel" (Alma 26:16). I just cannot describe how grateful I am for this opportunity to serve the Lord, and my heart is so full I truly cannot say the smallest part of what I feel!

As of right now, I don't know exactly when I am leaving yet, but I am pretty sure it will be March 9. I will most likely know on Thursday because that is when we are expecting our travel plans! I am pretty excited. I am still loving the MTC, but I am also getting really excited about going out to Taiwan.

This past Sunday Janice Kapp Perry was our Relief Society Teacher. For those of you who do not know who that is, she wrote a ton of the Primary songs, including "A Child's Prayer," "I'm trying to be like Jesus", and "I see my Mother Kneeling." She Also Wrote, "As Sisters in Zion." Pretty cool! She gave a great message about how the music of the church can bring the spirit so strong, and we even got the chance to sing a medley she wrote of some of her songs. It was really powerful. I love the hymns, and I love primary songs! They really do bring the spirit so strong. And my companions are very musically gifted, which is wonderful. They are such a blessing to me.

It is great to hear from all of you! Thank you so much for your amazing support, prayers, and love.

Wo ai nimen,
Ke Jiemei

P.S. I forgot to tell you all a funny story. I set a physical goal to go 11.00 miles on the stationary bicycle in thirty minutes at gym time. For the last two months I have been trying every way possible to get there, but I only ever made 10.80 miles! So close! Every single day, no matter how hard I rode, it was always the same. Every single day!

Then I started thinking to myself, "Every single day? That is a little suspicious. I wonder if it is on a timer and not counting my effort, just my time?"

The next day I went half as fast as normal, and Behold! 10.80! They are timed how ironic! The good news is I am probably in the best shape of anyone going off to a biking mission because I can't imagine a better way to get in shape that to try and beat a machine that can't be beat!

Monday, February 15, 2010

February 15, 2010‏

Dear Family,

Nimen Hao! Another great week at the MTC! Today I want to share with you the fun and funny little things that I enjoy daily.

1. The Language. I love learning Chinese! It is really comming along, but the braver I get with speaking, the more funny mistakes I make. This week, My Laoshi asked me what I ate for lunch. I wanted to say "Bread" Which is "Mianbao" but I accidentally said "bianmiao" which means "A Flirty Cat." Yup, Chinese is great.

2. The Missionary handbook. It has a lot of great rules, but a couple that I especially like: "Do not do anything that is inappropriate or offensive, like chewing gum in public" and, "If you are involved in an accident, refer to the 'What to do if you have an accident' pamphlet." Yeah, that book is so great.

3. Xin nian, kuaile! Happy Chinese new year! The sisters all had a little party in the Dorm last night and ate a TON of chocolate and candy. I loved it! It was a great cultural and bonding experience for all of us. The best news - for the first time there is no extra candy in our dorm. PLEASE don't send anymore. It was so great to have and eat, but my waistline can't take it. :)

4. My district. They are just so much fun! This week we acted out Book of Mormon stories in Chinese and it was hilarious. The highlight was probably when one of my companions played a sheep in the Ammon Story. We really did learn a lot from this activity. I promise.

Ok, that is my list for now. I just love being a missionary. I am getting more and more excited to head out to Taiwan. I just know that God is preparing people for me to teach, and I can't wait to be an instrument in His hands over there.

This week, the biggest thing I learned was the importance of service. I really focused on trying to develop Charity, and in doing so found myself serving people a lot. I can truly testify that no matter how small the act is, anytime you serve your love for the person you are serving sill increase dramatically. For example, this week I helped someone find a particular chapter in our grammar book, and I feel so close to this sister now! It is unbelievable! I am so grateful for every opportunity I had to serve this week.

I also learned a lot about covenants. In Mosiah 24:13-14 God is talking to his people who are in bondage and promises that that BECAUSE they kept their covenants, he will support them and make their burdens light. I know that this is true. When we make two-way promises with the Lord, as long as we keep our end, he will always keep his. What a blessing this is! Literally, we choose how many blessings we get through our obedience. This realization helped me recommit to really focus on keeping the covenants I have made with the Lord.

Well, I hope all is well! Wo ai nimen!

Ke Jiemei
Sister Collyer

Friday, February 12, 2010

February 8, 2010‏

Dear Family and Friends,

First off, thank you so much for the updates about the mud slides. It is good to know that no one got hurt, but sad that so many homes were destroyed. I know that these things can be really hard to pull through, but with the Lord, we truly can do anything (Alma 26:12).

It is great to hear that a bunch of members of the church were able to help out in this disaster. Service truly is what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is all about. I know that the service everyone gave is exactly what God wanted because "when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God" (Mosiah 2:17).

Please keep me updated on the relief effort. I pray everyday for our community's safety. God bless you all.

Here at the MTC things have been gong great. We got the new missionaries in, and I am so happy! They are wonderful! A lot of them already know a ton of Chinese, which is great becasue I can practice with them. Also, We got 7 new Jiemeimen! Sisters Lew, Hamilton, Gurr, Lai, Lau, Howell, and Stenquist. They are all so amazing! I feel so blessed to have them here. They bring the spirit so strong, and they strive so hard to be obedient and valiant. Each time I see their diligence, I feel inspired.

And Yes, Sister Lew=Jessica Lew. It is great! Her testimony is so strong and her companions are amazing! Much of their district will potentially leave early since a lot of them already know Chinese, so that is really exciting.

This week I learned a lot about the gifts if the spirit, and I can truly testify that whom the Lord calls, he qualifies. This week I got a chance to do a small portion of the new missionary training, and I can honestly say that what I taught were not my words - they were Gods. The spirit was so strong. That day, God instructed me as well as them. It was a huge blessing.

Also, Yesterday was fast and testimony meeting. I had no intention of bearing my testimony because I did not feel my Chinese was good enough. But right in the beginning of the meeting, I knew I had to. I got up. My testimony was short and simple, but for me, very powerful. I know that the gift of tongues is real. I know that God knows and loves each of us. He knows our names. I know that He knows our names. I also know that Christ lives, and through him we can have eternal happiness. There is no greater knowledge. I am so blessed to bring this message to the people of Taiwan.

This week I have been compiling a list of inspiring scriptures just in case I ever get discourages as a missionary. I just want to share one today - D&C 84:88. Angels truly do uphold us in this work. I know that this is true, and I am grateful for the mercy God gives us. In ourselves we are weak, but with his spirit, we can touch the hearts of many and change the world.

I love you all and pray for those that have been hurt by the recent disasters. God bless you all.

Wo ai nimen,
Ke Jiemei (Sister Collyer)

Monday, February 1, 2010

February 1, 2010‏

Dear Jiating and Pengyou,

Nimen Hao! I know I start every letter with "Nimen Hao" but that is because I like it. :)

It was another busy but great week. The old jiemeimen (sisters) left, which was sad, but I am so excited they are out there in the field! They will be great missionaries! Also, I am so excited that we are getting the new missionaries in this week!

One of the biggest hardships since the older missionaries left is that there is pretty much no musical talent among the missionaries that are left. Sounds harsh, but we all know it is true! Sunday, getting people to play the piano was an adventure. We had to use two different missionaries for accompaniment and one of the songs they could only play the right hand! It was an adventure.

The intermediate musical number was the best part though. My companions are the new music coordinators, and we decided it would be a great idea if our whole district sang "A Child's Prayer" for the musical number. I want to quote my journal from this experience:

"I would say, on a scale of 1-10, the musical talent in our district is about a 2. So we sang. It sounded absolutely awful; but it felt amazing. I felt the spirit so strong! It testified that God truly does hear our prayers. His love truly does surround us. He truly loves the children.

It occurred to me that as bad as our singing ability was today, my ability to communicate in Chinese is even worse, but it doesn't matter. The spirit testifies of the same truth no matter where I lie on a scale of 1-10. That is something I learn every time I teach in Chinese, but I have never felt it quite so strong as I did when my humble little district testified in song that God does hear our prayers, and that He loves us."

Now, truthfully, I may have been one of the few people that was really edified by the experience. Our branch presidencies wives tried to hide the pain they were feeling for us, and a few of the Elders were suppressing laughs as hard as they could. But it doesn't matter. It was hilariously awesome, and that is the important thing.

The rest of the week was great as well. I am really growing to be great friends with my district. I am kind of sad that not a single one of them is going to my mission! But that is ok. We are all going where God needs us, and that is much more important than anything else.

This week I decided on a theme scripture for my whole mission. It is in D&C 6:32-37. I really like it a lot. I don't have time to type it out, but basically it says something like "where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I. fear not to do good. Let earth and hell combine against you." Now certainly, right now I don't feel like earth and hell are combining against me, but I know that there will be difficult things on my mission, and I really feel that this scripture can get me through anything.

Wo ai nimen! You are all so amazing!

Ke Jiemei
(Sister Collyer)