Tuesday, June 29, 2010

June 28, 2010

Note from Rebecca: I thought I had posted this before I left on vacation, but apparently I didn't. So sorry for the late post.
Dear Family and Friends,

Hello again from Taipei! It was onother great week!

This past monday we went back up to Danshui to do some shopping on old street. It was really fun for Sister Allen and me because Danshui was both of our first areas. And old street is great! I probably spent more money than I should, but boy was it fun! and I got the chance to meet the infamous Turkish IceCream man. I don't really know how to describe his icecream stand - he puts the ice cream on a stick and dances it around and tries to prevent you from catching it, and he is REALLY good at it! He always has a crowd!

The rest of the week we really saw some miracles. We were showered with Golden investigators! One woman came to the church and said, "I know the Book of Mormon is True and Joseph Smith is a prophet." She apparently met with missionaries before because she had an old translation of the book of mormon. Wow! Then, we had a girl from English class come to churhc today and she just LOVED it! She wrote down evey activity that was announced and fully plans on attending them all! Then, a mother and daughter attended church together and the LOVED it! Apparently their relative was in our ward but moved to Canada. Seriously, they loved church, and the 24 year old daugher even came to tht evening's Single Adult Activity, and she loved that too! One of our investigators - Eve - came as well, and she just can't get enough! Lastly, our investigator Sister Fan came as well, and she could only stay for sacrament meeting, but the topic in Sacrament weeting was overcoming trials and it was just perfect for her because she has a lot of really big trials in her life right now and the speakers really said exactly what she needed to hear.

I am overwhelmingly grateful right now for the ward members. The people in our two wards are beyond amazing - they are just plain inspiring. They were so excited to have people at church, and our investigators felt so at home because of their fellowshipping that they were all participating in the lessons just like they were already members. It was truly a miracle. It made me realize how important members realy are. Missionaries can to all they can, but in the end it is the members that really make the difference. I am so, so grateful for our members! When members and missionaries work together, that is when real miracles occur. We need eachother! So my advice to all the missionaries that may read this - look out for your members! And to all you members out there - take care of your missionaries! I promise if you do this, you WILL see miracles.

On a funnier note, I read a scripture this morning that really reminded me of California. 1 Nephi 21:11 says "And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted." I was thinking, yep that happened in California! The mountains really were burned and washed away to the point where the highways were more beautiful than the mountains! I hope the mountains are getting greener over there at home! Ihave not been there for six months, so I don't know really what the situation is, but I just thought I would share my funny little observation with you today!

I love you all and really appreciate your letters! Thanks for being amazing! God bless you!

Sister Collyer

These are my pictures,

One si a picture of me and Sister jian - we went on exchanges together. Also, the sign cracked me up, so I had to share it! I love you! The last picture (if it attaches) is my trainer - Sister Ackerson - and her new Companion - Sister Hintze (who was in teh MTC with me). They came to do a temple tour with one of the investigators I met in Danshui, and Me and sister Allen were on Tours that day! It was great to see them! We got to go out to eat lunch with them, which was fantastic!

I love you! Please send these on to Rebeca so she can post them on the Blog!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

June 21, 2010‏

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello again from Taipei! I don't have much time to write this week, so sorry if this email is a little short!

This week was fantastic. We went on splits on Wednesday with the Temple Tour sisters. Basically, they are kind of like the sisters that help the president out and do Temple tours once a week. So I did Temple tours with Sister Chen, and MAN! She is an awesome missionary. We saw some great miracles! We found some people who were really interested in what our message is, and it was awesome!

Also, our investigators are doing great. One of our investigators, Eve, is just amazing! Every time we explain a principle of the gospel to her she always says, " and this is possible through Jesus Christ and repentance, right?" And All I can think is, "MAN! She has got a better grasp on the gospel than I do!" Really! She is overcoming a lot for the gospel, but the change in her is truly amazing. When I first met her she was sad and uncomfortable and not very hopeful and simply did not understand what life was about. Now, in two short weeks, her focus is completely on Christ, her mind centered on becoming better, and she is so hopeful about the future, and so , so HAPPY! This is truly a gospel of happiness. I am so grateful to God that this miracle is happening. It truly is amazing.

One of our other investigators is experiencing a lot of opposition in her efforts to follow the gospel, so we are pretty concerned about it! Her testimony is solid, but it is really hard to face the opposition she is facing! She is still meeting with us, so pray for us to be able to straighten her and help her see that any sacrifice is worth it for Jesus Christ. God will always support his faithful followers. I know this is true. Mosiah 24:14 tells us that God will ease the burdens on our back that we may be able to bear them. We will still have trials, but God is with us.
This Saturday we also had a really awesome ward activity where we went on splits with the ward members and did missionary work. It was great. I went out with Sister Ge who is a returned Missionary from Salt Lake Temple Square and sister Lin who just got baptized last month. They are fantastic missionaries! Their testimonies are so pure and so strong! Also, we had a really funny experience. We were visiting an Indonesian woman who said we should come by, and she ended up not being very interested, but the woman she works for invited us in to visit her. She is really, really old and can't hear very well. In fact, she reminds me a lot of Grandpa Timms. In the course of our half hour visit she told us about every five minutes, "You skin is so beautiful!" It was great. It was a really fun experience. We spent the rest of the afternoon contacting in a park and we found some really awesome people! Unfortunately, the people we found live in other areas, so we won't get the chance to teach them, but the missionaries in those areas are going to have some great new investigators this week!
The thing I really liked about the activity is that it was really a great opportunity to get to know the ward members. At the end of the day the whole ward came together and ate dinner and it was great to meet a lot of them and get to know them. I really think it was a worthwhile experience.

I love this work! I am so grateful for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ! It is true, and miracles are happening every day!

I love you all!

Sister Collyer

PS - The first picture is our almost-trio - me, Sister Allen, and Sister Lin. The other picture is one of the Elders investigators drew and gave to me. Pretty cool!

Monday, June 14, 2010

June 14, 2010‏

Dear Friends and Family,
Hello from right smack in the center of the great sity of Taipei! Wow, where to even begin? What a great week it has been!
First off, I would like to thank you all for your prayers about my safety...traffic is a nightmare! Ah! We went out the other night and it was raining and it was hard to see and the traffic was so scary and we were riding our bikes in and out of cars and buses and scooters and it is just plain crazy! Seriously, I think Eric petting the Cheetah is safer that riding a bike in Taipei Traffic! Don't worry - I am an extremely cautious rider, and I know God protects His missionaries, so nothing bad will happen. Just thought I would let you know, it is a jungle out there! Sometimes I feel like I am a living Nintendo game - like Frogger or something. And my companion is FAST on her bicycle! I am sure I will get used to it, but it has certainly been an adventure so far!
This week was absolutely crazy for some strange reasons! First, last Monday we moved to a new apartment - the assistant's old apartment, in fact. It is super big and super nice and we have a life-size painting of Jesus on the wall of our bedroom, not to mention about six other really nice, really big paintings decorating the house. But moving has really been a pain! Then, on Wednesday we found out we were getting a third companion - Sister Lin! There is an odd number of Sisters in the mission right now, and there was a member that was willing to be a "duanchuan" (meaning a short term missionary) for the first week, but she had to go home ad they couldn't find another Duanchuan, so in moved Sister Lin on Saturday! On Sunday all of her stuff finally arrived, and then this morning, wouldn't you know it - they found another Duanchuan for the next five weeks, so out moved Sister Lin! So for a total of two and a half days I was in a tri-panionship. It was a great couple days. I love sister Lin! She is a native to Taiwan, so she helped my Chinese A LOT in those couple days! Ah! I will miss her.
Also, the other crazy thing I noticed this week - every companion I have had so far was in the MTC together, and this is their last transfer, so they are all going home! Yep! Sister Ackerson, Sister Mac Isaac and Sister Allen all only have five weeks left, and then I officially don't really know any of the other sisters in the mission! :) The good thing is that since Sister Allen is going home next transfer I will almost definitely stick around in the area for at least one more transfer, so I get to make myself right at home. It is nice to know that I will probably stay here longer than six weeks!
Things are completely different from my other two areas in so many ways! First of all, our Chapel is the one right next to the Temple and the Mission office, so we see so many missionaries all the time! Every day there is a different set of Sister Missionaries doing tours of the chapel, so I have met a lot of the sisters in the mission right now, and we really do have awesome sisters here! Also, this area is huge on finding people! In my last two areas we had a lot of people to teach so we did not spend hardly any time trying to find. I have really only been tracting three times before here, but now it is an almost daily thing! And you know what? I really like trying to find new people to teach! People here are really great. Most of them are completely uninterested, but they are still willing to listen and talk and give their information out to the missionaries. It has been a week full of meeting about a hundred new people a day! Wow!
Also, we do have a couple really great investigators. Eve is a Taiwanese Aborigine, and she is awesome! The last time we talked to her on the phone she was so excited to tell us the new things she learned from the Book of Mormon! Wow! and Sister Fan is so excited to join the church and get baptized! We are hoping both of them will be able to be baptized next month before Sister Allen has to leave. We will just have to wait and see how everything plays out! We have a few other investigators that I have high hopes for. Things are really looking good here!
Well, I love you all very much! I hope all is well! God bless you!
Sister Collyer
PS - I forgot my camera chord this week, so sorry there are no pictures! Look forward to next week!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

June 7, 2010

Dear Friends and Family,

Hello from.......TAIPEI!!! That is right. I moved again. This time I am right up in Taipei - Chin hua Street! AKA The chapel that is across the street form the mission office and right smack next to the temple. Moroni is looking down on me right now. I can't believe I moved! Ah! It went so fast! I am really going to miss Xinzhu and Sister Mac Isaac, but I am really excited for the new adventures that are to come here! I really did not expect to move, and I never would have guessed I would come up to this area, but it seems like it is going to be great! My new companion is Sister Allen, and she seems awesome. I am really excited to work with her!

My last week in Xinzhu was fantastic. We met with Hong Raeyin (Ranae) again, and I am really going to miss her a lot. I don't know how to tell you how fantastic she is. When we met with her, she had made a case for her scriptures and had little post it markers in her book of Mormon and we asked her when she had marked and she said, "When you share a scripture is a lesson, I like to mark it." When we asked her where she was in reading the Book of Mormon, she has already finished 1 Nephi, and when we asked what her favorite scripture so far was, she said 1 Nephi 19:9, "And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men." Holy cow! Her faith in Christ is amazing, especially for someone without a Christian background. It really reminds me of Ammon speaking to King Lamoni's wife when he said, "Blessed art thou because of thy exceeding faith; I say unto thee, woman, there has not been such great faith among all the people of the Nephites" (Alma 19:10). I have never been so blown away before. God truly has prepared some amazing people in Taiwan to join the saints here! The only thing that is a little concerning right now is that Ranae's mom at this point opposed baptism. Here in Taiwan, the legal age for signing documents is 20, so if her mom does not give permission she has to wait two years to get permission. Please keep her in your prayers!

We also had this amazing miracle - on Friday we went to an appointment set up with the Fan family. We had never met them before, but the Elders set them up for us. Ok, they are AMAZING! It is a mom and her four daughters and one little son, and they are absolutely inspiring. We went to visit them and the were watching TV and we asked them if they would turn it off to talk to us, and they ALL agreed - even the younger daughters! Then we taught them about prayer and how the gospel blesses families and challenged them to all pray together every night, and they all said ok! Then we kneeled to pray and one of the daughters offered her first prayer ever and it was so special and I could almost feel God's presence there. It was amazing. Afterwards, the mother thanked us for bringing her the gospel. Wow! It was a real miracle. I have never been so shocked and edified before. I love families!
Sunday was a happy and sad day. Happy because it was fast Sunday and it was fantastic, but sad because it was my last day! I got to see everyone for the last time and it just about broke my heart to leave. Sister Wang and her daughter. A couple of ward members I will especially miss - Sister Chen (The one in front of the white board) has been so amazing at helping us teach Ranae. I don't know how we would ever get along without her!
And MaoMei (Madasse) (the one with the mask) - she just turned 21 and is hoping to go on a mission! and her brother MaoDi (Jasper) just turned 18 and is going to do the military for one year and then go on a mission after that. Wow. They are just so amazing.
Also, Ranae gave me a really touching letter (I can only read about 1/4 of it since it is in Chinese, but I am working on translating it) and drew me this picture of Jesus and I though I was gonna cry I was so touched! Sister Chen also gave me a letter and she read it out loud to me since it was in Chinese too and it was so touching and I just am so sad to leave them! Ah! Still, I know that this is where God needs me, and I am really excited to work with Sister Allen.

We took a picture as a district with Jasper and Madasse and Ranae and I just love both of these pictures! My district leader - Elder Cui - is form Korea. He is the one accidentally making the really funny face in one of the pictures. Ah! I am going to miss all of them! Elder Yeh and Elder Vanwagoner are the Zone leaders, Elder Li and Elder CHumway are awesome, and Elder Cui and Elder Raskey are some of the happiest people I have ever met. They were a really wonderful district!

Lastly, I also saw this gigantic snail, and I just had to take another picture. :)

I love you all so much and I hope you have a fantastic week! Thank you all for the wonderful birthday greetings!

Sister Collyer

Thursday, June 3, 2010

May 31, 2010‏

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello! Another very exciting week here in Taiwan! For starters, I would like to say that I have truly learned that some Internet cafes are better than others. I prefer the ones that do NOT play English music, because then if the music is dirty or anything, at least I can't understand it! Anyways, this weeks emailing environment is definitely better than last weeks, so we are off to a great start!

This week was CRAZY AWESOME! First off, there is a totally authentic taco stand in our area, so we got to eat tacos this week. Real Mexican food. I never would have thought it was possible, but it was GOOD. It is right near this fish pond with stepping stones, so we ate there and it was really nice. The only problem is the mosquitoes! My legs were covered in bites the next day! Actually, mosquitoes are just generally a nasty problem. In my last area I would wake up with seven or eight new ones a day! Here there are not as many, but the mosquitoes here are MONSTERS! They are black with spots and when they bite, it is really, really nasty! I can't decide what I prefer yet - a lot of little bites or a few huge nasty bites. Neither is particularly fun, but such is the life of a missionary in Taiwan!
(Note from Rebecca. This is a TENNIS BALL sized snail...the bugs really are monsters!)

Also, this week was one of our investigator's birthday. Hong Raeyin (Ranae) turned 18! Yeah! We had a birthday party for her and baked a cake and everything! It was really fun. It was just a short little get together before English class, but she really liked it. She has never had a birthday party before, so she really, really appreciated it. Wow. I really adore her. Also, she set a baptismal date for July and we are all really excited! She is such a strong, spiritual person. She just knows that God is there and that he is looking our for her and that he answers prayers, and she didn't even grow up with any religion at all! I am always really impressed when people can believe something they never thought of before. That is the power of the Holy Ghost. It truly has the power to turn the hearts of men and change us, if we will only listen to the promptings! I am so grateful for the opportunity I have had to watch the spirit work miracles through Raeyin. It makes me really want to be a better missionary and bring more people this same joy!

Also, this week the other sisters in our Zone found out that one of them - Sister Weng - is training next transfer! Her trainee arrived on Thursday, which means that Sister Dowdle - who was in the MTC with me - is moving! Ah! I am so sad that she is going to move! Every time I go on splits with her we see miracles. I really think she motivates me to be the best missionary I can be. This week we went on splits and I went over to ZhuBei and got to be with Sister Dowdle and the new trainee - Sister Li. Sister Li is American Born Chinese (ABC) and her Chinese is already perfect and her Taiwanese is also pretty dang good. I really like her a lot! She has such a cute personality, and is really motivated to do the work of the Lord. Anyways, while out on splits we were trying to find an inactive member's house and we were kind of lost and we stopped to look at an address on a wall when a man came out of his house to smoke, and we taught him a lesson right there and he was so excited and we gave him a Book of Mormon and he said, "I will diligently read!" (Ok, the translation into English is a little awkward, but that is what he said!) and then he told us that all of these houses right there are his brothers and pretty much gave us them as referrals. WOW!!! We got his information and gave him to the Elders and it was great. MIRACLES! They are so real!
Then on Saturday, BAPTISM! Yes, the Wang Family are now members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and they are absolutely fantastic! The Mom - Wang ZheXuan - is going to be such an asset to the ward. She really is inspiring. She is so touched spiritually and I have never met someone who wanted so badly to do good! She is just great! Her 13 year old son, ShaoJun, is also fantastic. He really is so solid. He is moving to China to live with his dad this summer, and he is going to be strong. His testimony is solid. He is really going to be an amazing leader in the church some day. At only 13, his testimony and charisma and sincerity is already more mature that a lot of the returned missionaries I have met in college. I am serious. He is going to be one powerful priesthood leader that is going to bless the lives of many, many people. And then the 9 year old daughter, ShaoYun. She is such a character. She is so full of love and playfulness. She is always smiling and helpful and service-oriented. She is going to be an amazing daughter in Zion! I am just so happy for their examples of faith and willingness to serve the lord. It is truly great.

The spirit at their baptism was so, so strong. Really. Everyone could feel it. It was practically palpable. Especially at the closing song - Families can be Together Forever. I was leading the music and I was doing all I could to keep it together! The truth is, Families really can be Together Forever. Through God's great plan of Salvation - His plan of happiness - we can live with our loved ones FOREVER. I know this is true. This is our message to the world! Through the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, God had revealed His merciful plan that can bring us happiness in this life and salvation with all of our loved ones in the world to come! It is true. I know it is true. I have felt the spirit testify in my heart that this is true. These feelings are undeniable. I know it is true. Everyone can know for themselves it is true if we will just humble ourselves before God and ask. If we ask with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will, through the power of the holy ghost, tell us that these things are true. (See Moroni 10:4-5).

Well, everyone, I love you all so much! I pray for you all and I hope you can continue to develop your own faith in the Savior Jesus Christ and the Power of God. He lives!

Sister Collyer