Tuesday, July 27, 2010

July 26, 2010‏

Dear Friends and Family,

First off, before I forget, I want you all to google mormonmissionarybiz. It is a business report about our mission in Taiwan! And when you see the gigantic life-sized picture of Jesus on the wall of the apartment, that is MY apartment! At least it was last transfer. Ah, this mission is the best. Also, in the latest liahona - the one with the crazy tree of life on the front, there is an article that takes place in Shilin - which is part of my first area in Danshui. Wow!

Anyways, there is seriously no way I could possibly describe all the amazing and miraculous things that happened this week in one email, but I will do my best!

I just want to start by saying how much I absolutely LOVE my companion, Sister Lin. She is fantastic! Doing the work with her is so much fun! We are always laughing and having a good time, and of course bringing people unto Christ. :) I am so happy to have her as a companion! I feel so blessed!

Anyways, on with the miracles. The line comes to mind "I have a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore." Taidong is so different from Taibei! But despite differences, even for this area we still saw unbelievable miracles. This week we found a total of 13 new investigators! 13!!! What?!! In my last areas we were lucky to find 1 or 2! God is seriously guiding the work because there is no way we did anything to help this happen. The story behind our finding each new investigator is as crazy as the next! I will just share a couple.

First off, one day both of our afternoon appointments canceled so we found ourselves with a lot of time on our hands. Just as we hung up the phone with the person who cancelled, a woman rode up on her scooter. Xie MaMa was someone who had met Sister Lin last transfer but never set up to meet. We asked her if she had time right then and she said yes, so we started heading for the church to sit down. Then, on our way there she said, "It would actually be better if we met at that Family Mart. Can you wait there for me for ten minutes while I grab something from home?" So we did. In those 10 minutes we met a man named Zeng sitting at a table who really had no interest at first. But then Xie MaMa came back and right after the opening prayer the man joined us and they both loved it and came to church together! Woa!

Then we found two more new investigators because one of our current investigators called and said, "I have two friends right now over at my house that want to meet you." So we went, and both of the friends set baptismal dates right then and there! It was a miracle!

Then one night we were riding off to go knock doors in a different area and we passed by a family barbecue. We passed by, but then sister Lin said, "I think we should turn around and talk to those people outside." So we turned around and it turns out one of their friends is a member and they already knew about Joseph Smith and had plans to attend church on Sunday with their friend!!! Wow! I am so grateful for Sister Lin and her example of following the spirit.

Last one that I have time to share - we were riding over to visit a less active in our branch when we saw a mother sitting outside watching her three young boys. We didn't stop then, but the member was not home, so on or way back, we stopped to talk to the mom. She is awesome! We have already met with her three times and she is reading the Book of Mormon and praying and really has a lot of faith in the hope that Christ brings!

This week I have felt particularly grateful and humbled to be a part of these miracles. I honestly never thought it was possible. My faith was so small. But Elder Bednar once said something to the effect of, "Do your best, and then get out of the way!" Gods ways are truly above our own. He has a plan, and if we are doing our best we can be blessed to be a part of it. It reminds me of a scripture in 2 Nephi 25:23, "It is by grace we are saved, after all we can do." I know that "all we can do" is so pathetically small compared to the grace that God can give us. We seriously did not do anything particularly special this week - just did the best we could to be good missionaries. But despite our weaknesses, God blessed us. God's plan is GREAT!!!! So much greater that anyone could ever imagine!

This Gospel is so true! I am so grateful to have it in my life! I love you all and hope you can each continue to read and pray and develop your own testimonies of Jesus Christ. And when you do develop your own Testimony, for crying out loud get out there and SHARE IT! There is no greater joy than seeing someone else's life lit by the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Sister Collyer

PS - This is a picture of one of the nicer places that we get to contact in. Man, this place is full of crusty homes and tons of humble people! I love it!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

July 19, 2010‏

Dear Friends and family,
Hello from...TAIDONG! Yes, I have moved again, and this one was a really, really big majorly huge surprise. In my last presidents interview he told me to, "unpack my bags and get comfortable because you are staying here for a long time." Well, I guess God had other plans. So far I am the only missionary I know of that has moved every single transfer. Most sister missionaries only have about three areas their whole mission, and here I am on my fourth already!
It was really, REALLY hard to leave Xinan and Wanda wards. we really just started to get things really picked up. We are having a baptism next week that I now won't get to see, and we met a GOLDEN family of four people who are so excited about the gospel it blows my mind! Them on top of our other investigators, members, district and everyone else I have come to love really made it hard to leave. Also, they closed our area. Eight sisters are going home but only one came in this transfer, so they had to close four areas, and mine was one of them. I am so sad! But I know that God has a hand in all that happens in the mission, and the Elders that are in the wards are fantastic and I know they will take care of or investigators and baptism just fine.
I attached a picture of my district in Taipei. I am really going to miss them a lot! We were the only district with two sets of sisters, and I really came to love them a lot. I almost felt like I had three companions! Sister Beus and Sister Chen are amazing missionaries, and amazing friends. I will really miss them along with the elders.
On the plus side, I am in Taidong! look it up on the Internet and you will see exactly why I am so excited about it - it is the farthest south city in out mission right along the east coast, and it is beautiful! It is the only area far enough from Taibei in the mission that we had to take a plane to get here! And it is known as one of the most beautiful places on the island. It is true - I don't think I have ever been anywhere more beautiful in my life! I feel so blessed.
Basically, if you could imagine a place that is the exact opposite of Taibei, it is Taidong. Taibei is so crowded that you can't take two steps without running into five hundred people. Basically the best contacting place in the world. Taidong has way fewer people - seriously. It is like a hick town compared to Taibei! There is no air pollution here and everything is so, so green and amazing. I just love it! We cover two branches down here, and I just am so excited I get this opportunity. Most of the missionaries were pretty jealous when they found out I was coming here, and now I know why. It is beautiful!
Also, my new companion is Taiwanese! She is fantastic. Her name is Sister Lin and she seems great. Her English is really non-existent, so it is time to really pray for the gift of tongues! So far things are great. We have a few appointments tonight that should be great. I am super excited to have a native companion! It is likely that I will have mostly native companions from now on because most of the rest of the American sisters are going home next transfer. Bring it on!
Last p-day we went to the zoo with one of our new members- Lin YiXiu. It was so much fun! I loved it! I have a CD of pictures I will send you.
I love you all so much!
Sister Collyer

Friday, July 9, 2010

July 5, 2010

Dear Friends and Family,

Happy 4th of July! It really doesn't mean anything here, but I dreamed of fireworks and hot dogs last night, so all was fantastic.

This week has been quite fantastic! A couple really funny experiences happened to me that I really want to share.
First, the WORM! We were writing a note to an investigator and we were standing outside her house when suddenly something fell out of the sky and bounced off the paper we were writing on and hit the ground. We looked down to see what on earth fell, and it was a worm! And it was tied in a knot! I have no idea where it fell from - there was nothing above us at all. A bird must have accidentally dropped it, but it was crazy! It spent the next five minutes trying to untie itself. I don't really know why this worm made such a big impression on me, but it did. :) So that was the WORM.

Next, we were meeting with one of our recent converts and sharing scriptures. We shared 2 Nephi 4: 20-21 where Nephi is saying that God has been his support and has filled him with love "even unto the consuming of my flesh." Our new member was really confused. Then it occurred to us all - the Chinese translation for "consuming" is "burning." She was like, "why would you want your flesh to burn!?" We had a good laugh about it, and since the word "consuming" is hard to define even in English, let alone trying to make some kind of translation in Chinese, we moved on to another scripture. I though it was hilarious. :)

Last night we had a new member fireside for all of Taibei, so I got to see a ton of people from my first area and it was so much fun! I loved it! I saw my old companion Sister Ackerson and a couple people that were with me in the MTC and it was so great to see some of the members from Danshui again. I love firesides! Apparently they are every month here, so I will get to see a lot of them. :)

Well, unfortunately I do not have a lot of time this week, but I truly love you all so much! I have such a strong testimony that when we try to do what is right, God will magnify our efforts. When things get hard, that is when God can truly show his power, so keep going strong! The Lord is always with us. He is not standing around to mock us when we fall, but rather he is standing by us to lift us, guide us, and help us. I know this is true because I have seen it so many times already. This gospel - the Gospel of Jesus Christ - is truly a gospel of love and hope. God lives! Christ is our Savior! Prophets are back!

Sister Collyer

The pictures are: first, our investigator Eve. She is awesome! And then our investigator Venus. She is great too! and, of course, the WORM!