Monday, April 26, 2010

April 26,2010

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello again from the beautiful island! But this time from a different city - Xinzhu! That is right, move calls came this past weekend and I am not longer in Danshui! It was a really hard move for me. Parting with my wonderful trainer Sister Ackerson was so hard! I learned so much from her and I had a lot of fun too! I feel so blessed to have been with her for the short time that I was! Another hard part about leaving is that I didn't get to say goodbye to all the people who have become so dear to me over the last six weeks, but I know that God really does need me here!
Xinzhu is much further south on the island. Xinzhu is really different from Danshui. I have only been here for a couple hours, but the biggest difference is that there is so much more space here! Danshui is really crowded, and Xinzhu is still a big city, but it doesn't have people piled on top of each other like Danshui does. I am really looking forward to the experience here. It should be fantastic! My new companion is Sister Mac Isaac. She seems great! This is her first transfer as a senior companion, so it should be a great adventure for us both. She is from Fresno California, so it is nice to have someone form the home front as a companion! I think this will be a great transfer!

This past week was a great one, but also pretty rough. Sister Ackerson and I had seven appointments this week that fell through or stood us up, which was bad! But we got some good contacting in, which was great. We even went "English Boarding" this week, which basically means that we took a poster advertising our free English Class and handed out pamphlets. It was wildly successful! While most of the time people avoid our eyes, with the English board people were chasing us down! It was great!

When we found out I was moving, we made sure to hit up our favorite places to eat and work really hard the last few days we had left! It was a great experience! Abnd we had some great miracles this week. We had three investigators at church, which was really exciting!
Although I am really going to miss Danshui, I am really looking forward to it here. I get to ride my bicycle! And my companion seems really nice and motivated and a great example of a great missionary. Her Chinese is really good, so she will help me out a ton! Also, Todd D Christopherson is coming to Taiwan, and he is headed right here for Xinzhu! What a great blessing! I will get to see him next week, which will be great!

Also, another success I had this week - I wrote a letter in Chinese! It took a really long time! I am really proud. I don't think I have ever concentrated so hard on something in my life, but I feel great about it!

I love you all very much!

Sister Collyer

Monday, April 19, 2010

April 19, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

Nimen hao! Another Great week in Taiwan! It was really busy, but really fantastic!

Last Preparation day we met up with another set of sisters that serve in the Taipei area to eat some lunch. The two sisters we met up with were Sister Hintze, who was in the MTC with me and is amazing, and Sister Ho, who is my friend Ivan Ho's sister. Mom, if you forget who Ivan is he is the chatty one that has come over a few times and is great on the piano. Anyways, it was awesome. We went to eat at a place near the mission home called "California Grill" and it was so delicious! I swear, everything tastes better in Taiwan, even, ironically, the burgers! Wow!
Speaking of food, there is some food here that I simply cannot get enough of. For breakfast, Zhuabing and Danbing. I don't really know how to describe them - egg deliciousness. A Zhuabing is basically a kind of pizza crusty egg and cheese thing, and a Danbing is kind of a tortilla egg cheese and bacon thing. Yeah, I don't know what else to say except "Yum!" Also, noodles. How to describe this blessing I simply do not know. The noodle soup here has these thick noodles that the use this huge knife to cut right off a huge hunk of dough. They are so tasty!
And then there is the curry, and the Fried Chicken, and everything else! Wow, the food here is so good!There are, however, a couple of food items here in Taiwan I would not recommend. First off, Stinky Tofu. You can smell it cooking on the streets everywhere, and lets just say that there is a reason it is called stinky Tofu - because it is really stinky! Still, it tastes much better than is smells, but is not my favorite treat, but It was great to have the opportunity to eat one of the Taiwanese delicacies! Also, recently I had the opportunity to try some Chicken foot. It tastes about as good as it sounds like it would taste. It took me about ten minutes to have the courage to even take a bite, and afterwards I really wished I hadn't had the courage at all! Luckily, the member who gave it to me also brought the most fantastic cake to eat that day, so the foot taste was soon drowned out in yummy cake taste. Good thing the members are looking out for me!

Anyways, the week was really fantastic! On Tuesday to Wednesday I went on Exchanges to Jilong again, this time with sister Andreasen. She is from Boston and is a really great missionary. We get to ride bikes in Jilong, which is fantastic! We taught a couple really good lessons and then exchanged back. On Friday we went down to Taipei again to do Tours of the chapel near the temple, and it was pretty busy day! We had a really great family come in to do a tour and got their information to give to the missionaries in their area, so that was fantastic.

We also had a major triumph this week - we finally conquered the phone system! Because we sisters cover such a large area, we have a lot of missionaries contacting people and then sending information to us over the phone system. Our area is huge, so we get tons of these referrals every day and we always are behind in contacting them! But this week we called every single number, and I even made a couple phone calls! It was terrifying, and the first few calls were rough, but my companion helped me out so much! She is great like that. So we conquered the phone system together, and it felt really good!

Also, this Friday we get move calls! The transfer is up! I am really hoping Sister Ackerson and I both stay here in Danshui because I would hate to leave our investigators, since most of their baptismal dates are for next transfer! Still, whatever happens, I know the Lord's hand is in it, and he knows better than me what needs to happen among His children.

I love you all and hope all is well!

Ke Jiemei
Sister Collyer

Monday, April 12, 2010

March 12, 2010

Dear family and friends,
Nimen hao again! This week, once gain, was fantastic! On Wednesday I attended my first Zone Conference, and it was great, except for the part at lunch when I found a fish head swimming around in the soup I was drinking for lunch! :) Really though, except for that minor incident, zone conference was fantastic. We received a lot of good instruction about how to use the Book of Mormon in contacting people! Wow, it was so helpful! I am still not so good at contacting yet, but I am working on it.
The lessons we taught our investigators this week were absolutely fantastic. They are working towards baptism, and I couldn't be more excited! I am only scared because all of our investigators baptismal dates are not in this transfer, and if I move I won't get to see them be baptized! I know that in the Lord's plan doesn't require me to be at their baptisms, but I just love them all so much and I want to be part of that happy day for them! I want to see them make their first covenant with the Lord that will bless the rest of their lives! Still, whatever happens, I know that the Lord's hand is in it, and all is for the best.
We got to listen to General Conference this past weekend, and it was fantastic. Here were some of my favorite things about this conference:
President Monson started talking about his wife and said with his little grin, "I know Francis is thinking, 'Please don't say anymore!' but I am going to say more anyway." (the little grin starts about 6 min 25 seconds into talk - Note by Rebecca)

Elder Nelson's wink was amazing! (the wink is about 1 min 25 seconds into the talk, and it is amazing - Note by Rebecca)

Elder Holland talking about the movie stars that slink around the screen, and how they try to convince women by their actions that a woman's only power is in seduction, which is not true! Really, his talk was so bold and so direct! Wow! I loved it.
Elder Koichi's talk was so inspiring to me! I could just feel his feelings. He must have been so nervous trying to talk in front of the whole church in a second language! His courage really inspired me.

Elder Uchtdorf's talk about us needing to welcome people into the Church no matter what. This was one of my favorite talks. I loved when he said something like, "When the savior reaches out his hands, those he touches are stronger. We are his hands!" It really touched me. It is so important that we welcome everyone into the gospel of Jesus Christ, no matter what their circumstances. We can truly strengthen each other!
Yeah, general conference was absolutely fantastic.

Also, I just want to share a little thing I learned in Scripture study today. I was reading in 3 Nephi 2:1. It talks about how people saw so many signs and wonders that they stopped being amazed by them. I just gotta say that my companion is the perfect example of how NOT to do this! Every day, every little thing that happens, she turns to me, puts her hands up in the air and says, "Miracles!" It is so inspiring, and so true! We see so many miracles every day, we just need to take the time to recognize them. God truly has a hand in our lives, especially in the lives of those who are trying their best to serve Him. He really gives us miracles! I am so grateful that Sister Askerson never lets me forget this special gift.

I wanted to end on a funnier note. This week I wrote a verse to the song "Follow the Prophets." I just really felt there were some prophets who really did not get enough credit, and one of them is captain Moroni. This particular verse is about Alma 44:

Moroni was a prophet,
A rogue servant he found.
Scalped poor Zarahemna,
waved the hair around.
Tried to tell the armies
fighting was no fun,
but they disagreed,
so He killed everyone!

I hope all is well! I love you all!

Sister Collyer

Thursday, April 8, 2010

April 5, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,
Nimen hao! This week was absolutely fantastic!
Last Monday my whole district hiked Bali Shan for Preparation day. Hiking here in Taiwan is a little different than in the states -along every hiking trail they build a staircase! So hiking=climbing stairs for an hour or so. It sounds kind of intense, but it was wonderful! It was the most beautiful day ever - the sun was shining, but not too hot, and you could see for miles. We could see so far out in the ocean that you could see the curve of the earth! Wow! And inland you could see all of Taipei Shi with the rivers cutting through it. We could also see our whole area - Beitou down to Shilin. It was huge and so amazing! We were even able to find out high rise apartment complex, which was fun to see.
Also, I just want to say that my district is fantastic! I don't remember what I wrote last week about them, so sorry if this is a repeat! Our district leader is Elder Moreno. He is a great leader and is really helpful. Every week I get to teach him a practice lesson in Chinese, and he gives really great suggestions and feedback. He has so much faith! I am really grateful for his leadership and optimism.
His companion is Elder Knight. Elder Night was in the MTC with me, but in the group ahead. He is fantastic. He is a little bit more reserved of a fellow, but he is so good at putting himself out there and tailing to people, even if he doesn't understand their responses! He really inspires me to have more courage to open my mouth.
Then there are the Elder Smiths. Yes, there is a companionship where both of the Elders are named Elder Smith. We tell them apart by calling one "Piano Smith" and the other simply "Elder Smith." Piano Smith is fantastic. He is always joking and has such a great personality, but is also really serious about missionary work. He is so committed to baptizing! It is great. Elder Smith is on his very last transfer, and is really hilarious as well. He is super organized and responsible, and is so helpful in keeping us sisters updated! The Smith Elders are really quite an amazing pair.
And then there is me and Sister Ackerson. I love Sister Ackerson! She really is amazing. This week she came down with a nasty cold, and yet she still goes on with work as if nothing is wrong! Also, since I don't speak Chinese very well, she is still doing most of the talking and teaching and everything. Wow. She is just amazing! Her faith is so strong, and she is so committed to serving the Lord with all that we have! It is great! Also, we always have a lot of fun, which is one of the things I really appreciate about her leadership. I could easily be really stressed here, not knowing the language and everything, but she is just great at dispelling any overwhelming feelings and keeping faith. It is wonderful.
Anyways, on to the rest of the week! It was fantastic. I got my bike and helmet this week, which for me was a real treat! We also painted it to make it look uglier so it won't get stolen. I really like the bike. It is special delivered from a company and it says,"No Success can compensate for failure in the home" on the side. Pretty cool. I also put my Chinese name on it with some help from Sister Ackerson and Also some masking tape.
On Tuesday we had exchanges and I went to Jilong with Sister Olsen for a day. Sister Olsen is a great missionary, and I got to ride my bike, which was awesome! Also, we got to do a little hiking trail in the morning for exercise, which was awesome. I love Taiwan because everything is so beautiful!
On Thursday we had Temple tours. Basically, twice a transfer every companionship in the Taipei Shi area goes to the temple chapel and gives tours. It was fun. We always meet some interesting people. This week we met a man named Pony Ma who was really interesting. He told us that both the God of the East and the God of the West hate him because he is a research scientist and kills rats for a living. He also told us that he has read the Book of Mormon several times, and the hardest thing for him to believe is that Lehi and his family sailed across the ocean. He told us they would need a military cruiser to make is successfully. The image of Nephi and Lehi in a military cruiser sailing the ocean has not left me since the conversation. :)
Friday we taught lessons as usual, and Saturday was the same. Overall it as a great week!
Just wanted to tell you about a little miracle that happened this week. We set a goal to add two investigators with baptismal dates this week. The two people we wanted to add both cancelled their appointments, but don't worry, the Lord has his ways! Two of our more long time investigators both called us up and set dates! It was a real testimony to me that God blesses our efforts is ways we don't always expect.
Well, I love you all!
Ke jiemei
Sister Collyer