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

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

September 13, 2010‏

Dear Friends and Family,

It was definitely a good week. We have been super blessed this week with finding a lot of really prepared people who want to hear the gospel. Some of them have been referrals, some of them are previous investigators, some are people that the Elders found for us, and some are just people that we ran into on the street. But all in all, it has been really fantastic! We have 10 people who have baptismal dates right now! What a miracle!

There is Hu HuiNa and her son, Shan YiWa, Chen Yuling, Cheng PeiXuan, Li Bijun, Lan Wanling, Huang YaJun, Zhen AhFen, and Shuang ZiXuan. We are really working on helping them all work towards baptism. Each of them have their own trials and challenges to overcome as they work on drawing closer to the Lord, but they are all so wonderful. I feel so blessed to have met all of them. I love this work!

This week we had some fun experiences - one of which was the first time I ate sugar cane! It was really juicy and tasty and also a lot of fun to eat.

Also, Did I mention how beautiful it is here in Taidong? I love it!

I am so grateful for this gospel. I am so grateful for the son of God, our Savior Jesus Christ. I know that through his infinite and atoning sacrifice we can have eternal life. As we strive to follow the example of Jesus Christ, and so all we can to improve our lives each day, we can receive forgiveness for our sins, God knows us, he loves us. he knows our cares, our worries, and our weaknesses. He can give us comfort in time of need. I am so grateful for the knowledge of my Savior, Jesus Christ, I know he lives. I know that because he lives, we will all one day live again. We will have the opportunity to live with our loving Heavenly Father and our families in eternal happiness. I know that Christ truly is our savior and redeemer, "And he hath brought to pass the redemption of the world, whereby he that is found guiltless before him at the judgment day hath it given unto him to dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end" (Mormon 7:7).

I love you all very much and and so grateful for your love, support and prayers.

Sister Collyer

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

September 6, 2010

Dear Friends and Family,

Hello again from paradise! I love it here! The people here are so fantastic, and I am loving working with Sister Howell. We are seeing miracles! For example, this week a person I have never met - an investigator from a long time ago apparently - called us up and said, "Hey, can you come teach me the gospel?" Where else would that happen but Taidong?! It was amazing! I love miracles.

This week Monday was pretty relaxed because we just got Sister Howell moved in and wrote letters and stuff like that. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, there were three Typhoons headed this way, so the rain was really big and so was the wind, but thanks to your prayers the weather never got bad enough to have to stay inside! And then all three of them just blew away and the hot Taidong weather is back! It is a miracle! Unfortunately, because of all the rain several appointments were cancelled and it was hard to proselyte when everyone is preparing to stay indoors for a week and think you are crazy for being outside at all! But still, it was definitely a good week.

On Thursday we had a special training meeting up in Hualian. The mission has really been re-emphasizing focusing on the DOCTRINE OF CHRIST - Faith, Repentance, Baptism and the Holy Ghost. It really was a great training. We do a lot of role plays and each time I really learn a lot about how to face different obstacles and whatnot. I love inspired leaders! I am so glad we have apostles and prophets to lead and guide us.

As far as our investigators go, things are going really well! Lan Wanling came to church for the third time this week and continues to prepare for her baptism. She is awesome! This week she found out that we sisters go running every morning at 6:30 and she lives in the neighboring dalou so she went running with us this morning and we talked a lot about faith in God and it was great and so comfortable! I love her. Wendy set a baptismal date and her family is supportive, so we hope one day her husband will also join and they can have an eternal family! Also, Hu HuiNa and her so set baptismal dates, which is awesome! Yes! We are really seeing miracles down here! It is fantastic to see people willing to change and draw closer to Christ. I love the power that comes from knowing Jesus!

As for this weeks' attached pictures, one is on the train ride to Hualian, and the other has a story behind it. There are men that live about a block away from the church and we ride our bikes by their house frequently. They always stop us Sisters and give us fruit. This week it was a TON - 21 Bananas, 4 limes and 2 other fruit I have never seen before. But how do you carry that much fruit when you have to ride a bicycle?! It was tricky! But we managed to get all 21 bananas and the rest of it home safely. I also count that as a miracle. We have so much fruit we will probably never have to buy food again! I am grateful!

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

Sister Collyer

Thursday, September 2, 2010

August 30, 2010

Dear Friends and Family,

Hello again from Taidong! I finally managed to stay in one place for two transfers! Unfortunately, I still have yet to keep a companion for that long. Yes, I have a new companion...Sister Howell! She was in the MTC at the same time as me but one transfer behind me. Not gonna lie, it was one of the most surprising/nerve wracking move calls of my mission so far because now I have officially been in Taiwan longer than my companion! It is kind of scary to think about, but I know that God is guiding the work and he is going to help us a lot! But, of course, your prayers are always a welcome support.

I am really, really, REALLY going to miss Sister Lin a LOT. I just felt so at home with her. I should have known it was too good to last. She has been such a good support and blessing while I have been in Taidong. This morning we ate our last SiJia (Sweet Apples) together. It is a famous fruit here in Taidong. IT is DELICIOUS! but extremely hard to transport, so pretty much Taidong is the only place in the world that has them. I feel lucky. It was good to be with Sister Lin!
Sister Howell is so awesome too! I am really excited to work with her. She is very hard worker and such a loving person and really funny, so we should have no problem at all working together here. I just hope we have an added measure of the gift of tongues! We are really going to need it!
Our investigators are doing great! WE this week had two people set baptism dates...yeah! They are great. One of them - Lan Wanling - is serisouly golden. Sister Lin contacted her while riding her scooter at a stop light and she had already come to church twice and loves it all! I really love her. This week in Sacrament when sister Lin was giving her goodbye testimony I started to cry and Lan Wanling put her arm around me and it was so great to have her there. She is going to be an awesome member.

The Liao family also came to church and they are great too! They live about a 1 hour drive away, but the Mom, Wendy is willing to drive up to meet with us every week to learn about the Gospel. I am so grateful for her example. Her husband and little boy are also great!

The Hu family also came to church. A mom and one little boy and a little girl. They are also great! They came to church last week in normal clothes and saw that most people dressed up so this week they came in church clothes and the kids were so stinking cute! They love the church! The amazing thing is how fast the gospel has changed their family. The mom told us that only one week after meeting us her two kids are much more noticeably more behaved, and they remind her every night and before every meal that they need to pray. WOW! The father has also seen the change and is super supportive. What a miracle! It is so true that the gospel has the power to change people.

WE also met a few other people this week who have a lot of interest in the gospel. The work here in Taidong is certainly full of miracles! Keep up those prayers of faith---they are working!
I love you all very much!

Sister Collyer