Thursday, October 28, 2010

October 25, 2010‏

Dear Fmaily and Friends,

Hello again from paradise! A little weather update - except for raining a couple days, Taidong was not affected at all by last weeks typhoon. We are on the farthest south easy part of the island and the typhoon conveniently passed us by. I am really grateful because this weekend was awesome.

First off, we had five people at church! (Seven if you count small children)! Apparently all you really have to do to get people to church is beat the issue over the head with a metal mallet, grind it to powder and the burn it in blue flames. ;) Really, we put our every effort into getting people to church this week. We called our investigators almost every day and reminded them, we sent postcards on which we wrote the blessings of church in broken Chinese. We had members talk to the people,and even arranged for members to take a few people to chruch, and finally we had a breakthrough!!! It was seriously a miracle. Getting people to come experience the blessings of chruch is harder than convincing them to have optional invasive surgery, but this week the spirit blessed our efforts, and they came!

So we did have a little adventure this week. One morning after our alarm had just woken us up and we merrily hopped out of bed to go to the bathroom to prepare for exercise, there was suddenly a very loud crash in the front room. I tough my companion had something terrible happen to her. I shouted and sped out of the bathroom, well, my companion was safe in her bathroom at the time. She though something had happened to me! WE both walked to the front room to see what made the aweful noise, and out six foot something bookshelf had collapsed and everything on it was spread across the apartment. It was a disaster! On top of that, we have been preparing to paint our apartment, so the furniture is already everywhere and really, it looks like a tornado had been through there! Luckily, today we will get the painting done and clean it. The only thing we are not sure is what ot do with the demolished bookshelf. Somehow, trying to take six foot boards that snapped in some places with screws sticking out everywhere to the dump on our bicycles doesn't seem really probable. :) For now we will see!

On Saturday was a branch member - Wang Yi Shu's - Wedding reception. It was fantastic! The two branches relief societies worked together to decorate and cook and it was truly a sight to behold! I have never seen such a beautiful sight! And the place was packed with members and non members and it was a great experience. The program was great and really focused on eternal families and misisonary work and It was a great place for people to introduce their friends to the gospel. I love the branches down here! Any event at all becomes a missionary activity!

I also LOVE the children here. This little girl is Chen WeiTing's child. Che is a ward member who got baptized last year and I just adore her children so much! A lot of the time I get to help keep them quiet in sacrament meeting and I love it. I just love children so much!

Last night we went to the Lin Family's for dinner and it was so wonderful. We took our investigator Tracy with us and it was the best enviromnment ever. There is so much peace and happiness in a gospel centered home that the spirit is so strong. As we ate and afterwards discussed the gospel and sang hymns, I couln't help but think, "This is the message we are sharing! This is the peace we are bringing! This is the feeling God wants us to all have!" Please, offer your homes to have the missionaries to teach in. It was the most amazing experience and nothing me or my companion could have ever done would have had the same impact as simply being in a members home and feeling that peace.

That is about it for the week! I lov eyou all and hope all is well!

Sister Collyer

Monday, October 18, 2010

October 18, 2010‏

Dear Friends and Family,

BAPTISM! This is one of the happiest weeks of my life. This weekend I got to see three people whom I dare about more than anything take the first step that can lead to eternal happiness. Hu HuiNa her son Zhou ChenYan, and Wu PeiFen (Izzie). And to ad to the miracles that were there, over 60 people attended to see it. That is pretty much the entire branch and then some. The service was absolutely beautiful.

What is Baptism? The service started out with Izzie's friend, Chen WenRu, answering this question. She talked about how baptism is a blessing - it is truly a way to show our commitment to God and to receive his blessings. I particularly like a scripture in the Book of Mormon Explaining the meaning of baptism. In Mosiah 18:8-11, a prophet named Alma is explaining to a group of faithful people what it means to be baptized and what commitments we make. It reads:

8. And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
9. Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
10. Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?
11. And now when the people had heard these words, they clapped their hands for joy, and exclaimed: This is the desire of our hearts.

I know that as we commit to help and support each other, to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all places, and to keep the commandments, we truly take upon ourselves the name of Christ and are worthy to have the spirit of God as a constant guide. As I have spent my life trying to do this, I have felt not only the support of those around me, but the support of a higher power - a power that is greater than I would have ever imagined. As I have put in all my effort to learn Chinese so I can spread this happy message to my brothers and sisters in Taiwan, I have understood words that I have never learned, used words i have never heard, and felt love that I have never felt before. The lord is truly guiding this work, and there is nothing on earth than can stop it.

As Hu HuiNa's son was being baptized, she stood at the edge of the font and watched. She started to cry and said, "I have never been so touched." The spirit of the lord truly testifies of truth and righteousness, and baptism is the Lord's true way to the path of righteousness. This truly is the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

13 Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.
14 And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the bcross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil—
15 And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will draw all men unto me, that they may be judged according to their works.
16 And it shall come to pass, that whoso repenteth and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end, behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall stand to judge the world.

All who repent and humble themselves before the Father and are baptized will be able to stand one day at the feet of the Savior and say, "I know I am not perfect, but I have done my best." As Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:7 "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."

Baptism is truly the way of eternal life. "Be not afraid, Only believe." (Mark 5:36)
I know that this Gospel is true! I know because I can feel it in all of my heart and soul. I feel it as I talk to people at stoplights in a language that I have only been learning for 9 months. I feel it as I open the scriptures and receive revelation for not only myself, but for those who I an trying to help come to know our savior Jesus Christ. I know that Jesus is the Christ. He is our savior. Through him we can overcome anything...Anything. No obstacle is too great, no path too long for the lord to help us overcome. To all of my friends who have not yet come to this knowledge, I encourage you to pray as I have prayed. Come to know for yourself. Pray to feel the healing waters of the Savior. Pray for courage and strength and knowledge. This gospel is true. It is time to find out for yourself.

I love you all and I hope as you each face challenges in life, you too can remember that through the grace of our redeemer Jesus Christ, we all can overcome the biggest obstacle of all - sin - and return to live in eternal happiness in the presence of God. I tell you these things, which I know are true, in the name of Him who saves us, even Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sister Amy Collyer

Monday, October 11, 2010

October 11, 2010

Dear Family and friends,
Well, for the first time since I have been on my mission I am staying in the same place with the same companion for another transfer! I am really excited about it! I love Sister Howell, and I love Taidong. Miracles await us! One of the Elders is training in our district - Elder You. His new Companion is Elder Wen. They are both Taiwan people, and awesome! I am sad that Elder Brunson will leave, but it is ok.
Can I just say how much I LOVED general conference this year! Wow! Talk about a feast of spiritual enlightenment and encouragement and instruction. I seriously loved it. I especially liked Richard C. Edgley's talk about choosing to believe. It was truly inspiring for me. I have recently been reading the new testament and supplementing my reading with Jesus the Christ, and I have learned a ton about faith. Faith really is the answer to anything. Any sin, any vice, any fault we have, no matter how small, can be overcome as we increase our faith in Jesus Christ. But it is truly our CHOICE. Bishop Edgley said, "Yes, faith is a choice, and it must be sought after and developed. Thus, we are responsible for our own faith. We are also responsible for our lack of faith. The choice is yours."
Faith is a gift of the spirit, and like all spiritual gifts it must be earnestly sought after. We first have to give place in our hearts for the word of God, and do ad Alma directs in Alma 32:27 "But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words." A desire is good enough. Do you want to believe that God has more truth that he wants to give us? Do you want to believe that he has once again given us the power to perform miracles on the earth? Then this is good enough. Choose to believe! Pray about it. GOD ANSWERS SINCERE PRAYERS. There is no doubt in my mind about this. Desire to believe, ask in faith, and our loving heavenly father will answer. It really is that simple.
But be careful. If you have already decided that some spiritual truth is impossible - if you have already decided that living prophets are impossible and that miracles are not real - you will not receive an answer. You have already decided to walk the road of faithlessness and doubt. There is nothing that God can do to change the mind and heart of someone who has already decided they do not want to believe.
Anyways, yeah, I LOVED his talk. I think I really got a lot out of conference this year because I have spent the last two weeks getting people excited about it. Telling people, "Hey! a Living prophet is going to speak to us! Don't you wanna come hear?!" Getting other people excited really, really got me excited, and so I loved it.
In other news, we are going to have a baptism this weekend. Two or three in fact! Hu HuiNa and her son are getting baptized on Saturday. They both passed their interview and are ready to go! Izzie will most likely be baptized too, but her interview is tomorrow, so only time will tell! We are really excited about it.
Well, I hope all is well! I love you all!
Sister Collyer
PS - Sorry no pictures. I forgot my camera chord.

Monday, October 4, 2010

October 4, 2010‏

Dear Family and friends,

Wow, is it really already October? I can't believe it. I feel like I just arrived in Taiwan and it has been over seven months! Wow! That is crazy!

Things are going great over here in Paradise. I mean Taidong. Sorry, sometimes I get the two places confused. :) Our branches are super excited about the upcoming baptisms and have goals about how many more people the want baptized in the coming months and how many people they will get at each baptism and the branch president is really encouraging referrals to help reach the goals. I love righteous church leaders!

And we really saw miracles this week! First of all, a less active member who hasn't come to church in YEARS - Xiao Mama - came for the second time in a row! The sisters have been visiting her every week and every week she refuses to come to church. Lately the mission president has encouraged us that if less actives are not progressing, we need to drop them and find new investigators. So for the past three months we have only been visiting her once a month, and I think it was exactly what needed to happen! She started to hunger for more spiritual experiences and so she came to church! I was so happy and shocked to see her! It really has been YEARS! and from the first time she came she has already changed a ton! She smiles more and seems genuinely happy and prays more and is really rebuilding faith. MIRACLE!!!!!

Also, we have another less active, Sister Ho, who hasn't been able to come to church for a long time because of some issues with her husband. Well, guess who was at church on Sunday? HER HUSBAND!!! She couldn't come, but the elders visited her husband last Saturday night and he came to church with their daughter. We visited Sister Ho that night and she was so thrilled she couldn't stop talking about it! Wow! It was a great thing for her to see her husband and daughter come to church! MIRACLE!!!!

Also, we have been teaching the Mayor of Fugang, Zhen A Fen for about two months now, and she hadn't come to church yet. She was an investigator a few years ago and didn't come to church ever then so the sisters back then had to drop her. But miracles happen, and after a simple phone call reminder, guess who showed up on Sunday. THE MAYOR OF FUGANG! It was awesome! We were so stoked to see her!

Our other investigators are of course doing great. We have Izzie's baptismal interview scheduled and the branch is just so excited. We are excited too! She is a branch member's referral, so what a happy day! Hu HuiNa and her also should be right on track as well and Lan Wanling is talking to her family this week, so hopefully all will go well! We are really excited to see these people draw closer to the Lord through baptism!

Last Monday was probably my most favorite preparation day EVER! We went to the Taidong Forrest park and just rode our bikes around and explored. We ended up at a YuanZhuMin activity center - Makapahay. It was just about the coolest place ever! We took a ton of pictures and I couldn't help but thinking - life really couldn't get any better. I am here watching people change their lives and find eternal salvation through the only one who can offer this gift - Jesus Christ. My district has the most faithful and loving - and funny - Elders in the whole mission, my companion is my best friend, and I am in the most beautiful place in the world. I love being a missionary!

I hope all is well back home. Just remember to Rely on the lord. I want to quote a talk by Elder Uchdorf from November 2008 Ensign Entitled "The infinite Power of Hope." He says:
"The Lord has given us a reassuring message of hope: “Fear not, little flock.”God will wait with “open arms to receive” those who give away their sins and continue in faith, hope, and charity.

And to all who suffer—to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely—I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in.

Never surrender.

Never allow despair to overcome your spirit.

Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart.

Of this I testify and leave you my blessing in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

I want to add my testimony that Hope through the infinite atonement of Christ really has this power. It can overcome all obstacles and lift every burden. I know this is true. I have seen the Lord lift the burdens of those whose burdens are to heavy to bear. I have felt his arms lifting me in times of discouragement and doubt. The atonement and the power of Christ is real. Through Christ we can overcome all of our sins and weaknesses and feel the hope of eternal life and happiness. I testify of this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Love, Sister Collyer