Friday, December 31, 2010

December 27, 2010

Dear Friends and Fmaily,

First off, GREAT TO TALK TO YOU ON CHRISTMAS! I Love you so much! And it was a really, really fantastic Christmas here for us in Taidong!

First off, we were on Companion exchanges form Christmas eve and Christmas day, so Sister Lin and Sister Sun came down and spent Christmas with us! On Christmas eve we read the Christmas story in Luke 2 and then in the morning we noticed Santa came and put a bunch of gifts out and stockings by the heater because there is not a fireplace. Or a tree. But still, he made it anyways! I just don't know how he got in! ;)

Then in the afternoon Tracy got baptized! What a happy day! Seriously! It was so cute, her little son was so mad that he couldn't get baptized too! And when she got baptized she stood up out of the water and they said, "Your good" and She smiled and Said, "YES!!" Wow! That is what I am talking about! It was such a happy day!

In the evening we had a Christmas program and it was amazing! Seriously. All the people in both branches had a bunch of performances and there was singing and dancing and we even got to do a little part of it, which was fun. Then I was so touched because the son of our new member who was baptized in October, Hu Huina, played the angel that proclaimed good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people and her daughter was a sheep and it was just beautiful! These peoples lives have changed! And Tracy too! I just love this season!

Also, one really fun picture. Tracy's son really likes us a lot. He is four years old and he wanted to draw us a Christmas card. He drew me and sister Wynder. Guess who is who? I will give you a hint...I am wearing glasses. :) Seriously, this is the funniest most precious thing I have gotten on my mission so far.

I just love this work! I love Jesus Christ! I love everything about this place. I feel like my life has changed so dramatically because of my mission. This is the absolute best decision I have ever made in my life. I know that some people say it is hard to be away for a year and a half, but they are wrong. There are hard times, but it is the happiest most rewarding experience I have ever had. I have learned things I could not have learned otherwise (for instance...Chinese. ;0)) and I know that I am making a difference. The work is hard, but the reward is a millions times as good. For anyone who is debating whether you want to go on a mission or not, please, just go. The only regret you have will be that one day you have to go home and leave it all behind. But this place - beautiful Taiwan - will always be a party of me. It is here that I have truly come to know the savior, and I am grateful.

I love you all and hope all is well! MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

December 20, 2010

Dear Friends and Family,

Wow! To say that this was the craziest week of my mission would be correct, but somehow too much of an understatement to really describe.

On Monday a member took us up to see monkeys in Donghe. It was pretty cool. It was also hilarious for two reasons - one, Chen Weiting's children were SCARED TO DEATH of the Monkeys! Seriously. I must admit, I was a little scared too. Those things are mean! The second reason - you shouldn't smile around them because it looks threatening. Well, not smiling was proving to be a challenge for us all! It was a really great day!

Then on Tuesday we went on exchanges to Hualian with the sisters. It was a blast. I always love going to Hualian, but it is also a relief to come back home again. There's no place like Taidong! On the train ride home from Hualian we called one of our investigators - Sister Hong. She was in having her baby like RIGHT at that moment!! We were seriously like panicking and so excited! That night after English class we went and saw her beautiful baby boy. It is such a blessing to be able to be here and see her baby be born! I just feel like I am home because Rebecca and Lisa just had their babies, and Sister Hong after the baby was born and we went and visited her said, "Yes! Auntie Wang and Auntie Ke (that is me) are here!" Ah! Melt my heart! I love it here!

Now, you may be wondering, "WHERE ARE THE PICTURES?!" WEll, the first day I forgot my camera, and I have been sick every day since then so I don't dare go visit her while I am sick! So no pictures of the little baby boy yet, but I promise that there will be as soon as this stinking cough and headache go away! Today it is already much better!

Then, also, another investigator's grandma died. It was a little unreal to hear. We used to sit down with her every once in a while, and now she is gone. So unexpectedly. It is just crazy. I am so glad we all know the plan of salvation because although this can be a very trying time, when we know what god has planned for us in the future, death doesn't seem so scary anymore. It is just a temporary separation. I know that although the pain of not seeing her again while on this earth is very real, the knowledge of the plan of salvation is even more real. Families are forever. This is the truth that we get to share with the world.

The rest of the week had been pretty busy. WE had to cancel a few appointments because they just live too far away and I just cannot ride my bike that far while I am not feeling well, but I am quickly recovering so we can once again go visit our friends!

Also, yesterday TRACY PASSED HER BAPTISMAL INTERVIEW!!! She is getting baptized on Christmas day! I seriously cannot think of anything happier than this. She is so ready, so wonderful. I just love her so much! Really. I just know that she is one of those people I promised to come and find. She is so wonderful!

Last night we went caroling with the single adults in the branches. It was a lot of fun! Caroling here is a lot different than in the states. It is an all night event and at every house you carol at, they give you food! Yes, there is no carrying any jams or caramels to give away - you show up and they feed you all night long. The event started at 5 and I think it was planned to go until about 11. I love it. WE had to leave early because we have to be home at 9, but it was great while it lasted!

That is about it for the week! I love you all and hope all continues to be well! Don't forget to always pray and read your scriptures. and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Sister Collyer

December 13, 2010

Dear Friends and family,

Well, we really continue to see miracles here in Taiwan! I LOVE Taidong so much it just sucks the energy out of me everyday, and then I am so excited to get up the next day and just continue loving it!

This week we have been preparing our fabulous investigator Stacy for baptism and she is great. We told her she could not get baptized until she came to sacrament meeting the next couple weeks, and then yesterday she was so worried about it that she arrived 10 minutes early! Wow! Every time I call her on the phone her little kids answer. They are two and four and they are always so excited to talk to us! The always shout, "It is Sister Ke! It is sister Ke!" They are seriously the cutest children in the world. It always takes like five minutes to convince them to give the phone to mom. Then when we go and visit them they like to grab the Hymn books and open then and start singing, "I love mom and dad and little sister and Sister Ke!" Seriously, I think I am in heaven! I love this family so much!

We are also working with these two 17 year old friends and they are amazing! They read and pray every day together and then they got in a scooter accident and they were not hurt at all and they were so touched that they prayed and thanked God that all was ok. Wow! That is pretty amazing for 17 year olds! I really love them.

There are also two children we are teaching. Terrence and Jingru. Terrence is a little boy and he just loves church and is crazily spiritually in tune. His mom meets with us too but doesn't have that much interest until this week because she brought him to sacrament meeting and a family of five kids gave the presentation. All five kids, aged 5 to 12, told a story of Jesus and the mom and dad tole about how the gospel has changed their lives and she was super touched so things are looking good! and Jingru is super excited to be baptized. We just hope that we can get her mom on board as well!

Other than that, (Which I realize is actually a ton) things continue to be pretty stable. We are really busy trying to meet with all these people and this coming week we are going to Hualian for two days and it is all crazy bu things are great!

This week I read something that really touched my heart. In Ture to the Faith it says about love: "Our love for those around us increases when we remember that we are all children of God, 葉 that we are spirit brothers and sisters. The love that results from this realization has the power to transcend all boundaries of nation, creed, and color."

I know that God loves us all, so he sent his son to die for us. Jesus Christ is the savior if us all, not just a few. We all need his help and guidance. This holiday season I want to invite you all to think about those you love. And always remember Jesus Christ. Jesus is the perfect example of perfect love. I know as we all try to be more like the saviour, walls will come down, boundaries will be crossed, and we will find what the angels proclaimed at the saviors first appearance in the stable long, long ago, "Peace on earth, good will to men." Let us all try this Christmas season to be a little more like that little baby born over two thousand years ago.

I love you all and hope all is well!

Sister Collyer

December 6, 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello again from wonderful Taidong! This week we really saw some great miracles!

First off, TRACY is so excited to be baptized on Christmas day! And so is Stacy! Yes, the both speak ok English so they have English names, which makes it much easier on all of you. ;) I am so excited for them! Especially Tracy. She was so excited when we went and visited her this week. She said, "Can God answer your prayers from movies?" We said, "Of course!!" She then pulled out a piece of paper covered in writing front and back and said, "I know you can't watch movies, so I wrote it down word for word so you could see how God answered my prayers!!!" It was just plain amazing! She was telling her whole family about it! I am so grateful for a God that knows exactly what people need and how to reach them. I love God!

And Stacy is just amazing! She met with missionaries a while ago but at that time she worked on Sundays. Now, she had read the entire Book of Mormon and knows that it is true and doesn't work on Sunday and is so excited to get baptized on Christmas as well. This is going to be the greatest Christmas ever!

Also, there are three other amazing people preparing for baptism that are super excited about it and will probably be baptized on the 1 of January (1/1/11 - how auspicious). Terrence - a 9 year old boy whose parents are not christian but fully support him coming to church and reading scriptures and praying. Wow! And then there is Guo Jingru who is also nine years old. Her older brother who is in the military is a member but the rest of her family is not. She was so excited to get her own Book of Mormon that the next day she told us, "I already read 4 pages!!" She is so looking forward to being baptized! And lastly Wang Yi Ting. She is still developing faith and is doing a great job. She reads and prays every day. She hasn't come to Church lately because she plays volleyball at college and had tournaments on Sunday, but we are working with her on that.

Lastly, there is also a girl names Chen Shuhui that is GREAT! we met her last week and she is already almost done reading 1st Nephi. She came to a ward activity and liked it and things are going great with her. We are very excited here!

Other than that the work continues to go on! I love everything about being here in Taiwan! Last PDay we went shrimping and then cooked and ate the shrimp that we caught. It was really great! I have never done that before and it was really cool. The weird thing is that you catch them and they are still alive and then you put salt on them and they are still alive and then you put them on the skewer and they are still alive and then you put them in the fire and THEY ARE STILL ALIVE!! Wow, I felt a little violent, but boy, when they were finally dead and cooked, they were stinking tasty!

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

Sister Collyer

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

November 29, 2010

Dear Friends and Family,

WOW! It sounds like it was a big week back home for my family! Both of my sisters gave birth within 6 days of eachother, over doubling the population of munchkins that currently call me "auntie." I love you all so much! Callianna, Maya and Lilly, just know that your aunt is in Taiwan praying for you and can't wait to see you next year!

This week was also and AWESOME week here in Taiwan. I know I keep saying this, but I cannot imagine being any happier than I am right now! We just keep seeing miracles! It is really fantastic! My new companion, Sister Wynder, is so stinking great! I just love her! And this week we found a ton of great people who want to hear the gospel. I am so grateful for her diligence and her motivation and her excitement! It is just the greatest thing in the world to be here in Taidong serving the Lord. The pictures today are of two things - one is we painted Sister Wynder's bike. We all paint out bikes in an effor tto prevent them from getting stolen. I think her bike is pretty dang good looking! The other pictures are of us going out to exercise this morning, We rode to the beach and also saw a bird sitting on this ox and we both thought, "Wow, that is cool! Lets take a picture!"

This week was special because a couple of our best new investigators are children with really supportive parents. There is Guo Jingru (9 years old) whose older brother is already a member and her and her mom recently moved back from Gaoxiong and started going to church again. Mom is not a member but she is interested and Jingru really wants to be baptized. And then there is Terrance (8 years old) who loves church becasue it is a place where he has friends and he also loves Jesus and told his mom he wouldn't BaiBai with her becaue Jesus wouldn't like it. He is great and his mom is really supportive and excited to see her son find a place where he can fit in! She is also looking into the church, but her son also really wants to be baptized! Wow! We are going to need some more Children's book of Momons...I love teaching children! I think it is my favorite part of missionary work. They just have this natural love for Jesus Christ that leads them to do the right thing. I just love it!

I went up to Taibei again this week for a special training meeting and that was good. It is really weird to be in Taibei where ther are just so many other missionaries compared to down here where there are only four others. I like it better down here. :) I know that some day I will leave, but I am just gonna love it while it lasts!

Also, I would like to draw everyone's attention to Psalms 144:7. Check out the foot note. The truth is out there. ;)

I love you all very much and hope that you all have a fantastic week! I pray for you and I know that as we all continue to pray for the work of the Lord to move forward, MIRACLES WILL HAPPEN!

Sister Collyer

November 22, 2010

Dear Family and friends:

First off, WOW, MY SISTER HAD HER TWINS!!!! That was unexpected and happy news. I love you Maya and Lilly and Addison and Hannah and Bart and Rebecca! You are so blessed and I pray for all of you to be healthy and strong and happy and all of the above blessings that we all desire.I only have three words to say now - Lisa, You're next!!!

This week has been quite the adventure, that is for sure!! It started off as a normal week and then it went crazy because on Wednesday night we got a special phone call from the Assistants. We were to head up to Hualian the nest evening and then up to Taipei on Friday because I am getting a new companion and she just arrives on the island.

So amongst tears that come from reluctance to give up a good thing, but also excitement for a brand new adventure, Sister Howell and I headed up to Taipei. On Friday 11/19 I met my new companion - Sister Wynder. Which means, Ironically from Washington. She is half Taiwanese and Half american and already fluent in both languages. Yes! My chinese has already improved! Sister Howell is opening a new area which is really exciting.

One of the pictures has a lot of meaning - The one with Sister Wynder and I and then a girl names Lavender Lin. Sister Lin was my trainer's trainer, so it is like a cute little four generation picture without grandma in it. :) I love being on a mission

Sister Wynder is fantastic. She is full of fire and energy and she likes eating just about as much as I do (I don't know if that last thing is particularly good) :). She is from Washington but lived in Taiwan for the first 12 years of her life, has three Sisters and one brother, and is one of the happiest most energetic people I know. I have never seen a smile so big! She is great! We have a good time. It has been a great last couple of days, but it was kind of a bummer to be out of our area for so long! We left on Thursday and did not get back until Saturday eveing right before the activity so we hurried over to the activity and did out performance and it was a big hit! I am working on getting a video to show you, but to say the least we had quite the cheering crowd before the skit was over.

I am so excited about the babies that I am finding it hard to concentrate on what I want to say and especially since we have been in Taipei for most of the week there is just not that much to talk about! I love you all and I hope all is well!

I Love you!

Sister Collyer