Sunday, November 14, 2010

One Year Mark!!!!!

Well, this week hasn't been crazy eventful...Thursday was my 1 year on my mission mark though. That's soooo crazy to think I've been out that long. It's made me ponder a lot about what's happened in the past year. I've loved it. Maybe I didn't love EVERY minute of it, but I love even looking back at the hard times and seeing how much it helped me and how much I needed that growing time. I love looking back at the MTC and remembering my fun district and teachers (even though in all, I hated the MTC). Then it's soooo cool that I got to serve in South Salt Lake and especially that I got to teach Brewy. Then my first transfer was hard with the transition from SLC and it was rough, but I love Zhubei and the people I met there. My second transfer with Sister Weng was such a blast and so fun and I really loved her a lot. 2nd and 3rd transfers in Taoyuan were soooo much fun with Sister Messenger and I really loved the members and investigators there. I love that part of the country. My companion taught me a lot and I learned to let my hair down and relax in a positive way. Then last transfer with Sister Stenquist was a growing transfer as I got to know Banqiao and learned some humility. This past transfer was a BLAST and soooo wonderful with Sister Bready. We have SO much companionship unity. It's so great because we can just focus on our teaching skills and personal progression instead of working out what lacks in companionship teaching and stuff. It's so good. When we share scriptures or plan for lessons, we have the same references and plans come to mind. It's soooo nice. I'm starting to love Banqiao and the members as I know them and the area better. It's just been a good mission so far. I'm excited for what more lies ahead...although I'll be very sad if I move or Sister Bready gets transfered next week. I don't know if I've been the best missionary ever...there are still things I wish I could do or have done better...but in all, I've really loved my mission experiences so far.
Any how...on my year mark on Thursday we didn't do anything too different... but during our morning exercise time we ran to the Carrefour and bought some pancake mixings and made berry pancakes. So good! Then for dinner we ate tacos. Pretty good!
I love biking. I think it's so much fun. Last preparation day we biking to Shulin, a neighboring city and biked up a HUGE mountain, which, I'm pretty proud of. Before Taiwan, I would have been panting like crazy to just go up a slight incline, but we conquered a huge mountain with only a few stops. There were some HUGE graves and Buddhas and temples that we got some good pictures of. It was sooo fun. But it really destroyed my knees for a few days. I need to be careful. I never knew why the "old" missionaries always complained about their knees, but now I'm understanding...after biking so much for so long they really start wearing down. After biking up that mountain my knees are starting to pop and creak and hurt when I run. But it's been feeling better the past few days. After we biked the mountain we went to a "chi dao bao" which literally means "eat until you're full." Aka, all you can eat. It was all you can eat barbeque and hotpot. Soooo good. They bring out little barbeque grills and propaine burners with pots of soup to your table. Then they just keep bringing out plates of meat and you can either boil it in your hotpot or grill it on your burner. And they just keep bringing out the meat. Sooooo goooooood. Today for Pday we are going to Danshui, which is north by the coast. Apparently it's cool but I have no idea...we're just going to explore. Sister Bready also did ILP in China so she and I have similar views on sightseeing, which is, "it's better if you don't know where you going and you get lost."
Anyway, I really love you all! Thank you always for your letters and emails! Sorry writing back is always a slow process. :S
Love you! Coley

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Swiss Miss(ionary) Addictions

Hello Family!

Wow, crazy!! This Thursday is my official 1 year anniversary of being a missionary. Can't believe it. It really has flown by. It makes me sad, mostly...I'm not really trunky. I think some days, like Monday nights after PDay ends, I think too much about life after my mission, but I'm mostly just incredulous that the end is so near. It's been very motivating. I feel a stronger drive to be a better contacter, teacher, finder, and listener of the Spirit. It's been such a good couple weeks as I've just focused more and dedicated myself more than I did in the past. These past couple weeks were actually kind of rough in some ways. I have an AWESOME companion, and we have SO much fun together. We are SO similar. But we've just had such a hard time finding people to teach, and all our investigators are just falling off the teaching vine. We worked really hard but were seeing no fruits. It was so stressful. BUT! It was all for a good cause because in the end, we saw some really neat miracles!

We saw such an awesome miracle this past weekend! So, we were waiting to cross a street and there was a woman standing next to me. I said hi and introduced myself. She was nice, but didn't make any crazy gesture that she was interested. We crossed the street together and I taught her a tiny bit from the pamphlet and testified that I knew it was true. But I had a very special, strong feeling in my chest and I knew that she was going good. She wrote down her phone number and walked away. I told Sister Bready about the experience. Then the next day we went to our investigator, Sister Ye's home, to read the Book of Mormon with her. Then her friend walked in and looked at us with shock. I didn't recognize her at first, but it was the same woman from the night before! She sat down with us and we gave her a Book of Mormon. Her name is Sister Li and she is Christian. She asked me, "I have a problem that's really been bothering me recently. Why does God only love the Jews? Why doesn't or didn't he speak to the Taiwanese or Chinese? Why are the Jews the only ones with a record?" We got so excited and opened up *I think* (I don't have my scriptures with me) it was 2 Nephi 4:11-13 and told her God DOES love all His children and He spoke to everyone. There are records from the Nephites because He loved them. And I told her that very long time ago the Chinese also must have had the truth and have their own record but it hasn't been found yet. She just said, "really? He spoke to them too? What about my ancestors and my father who passed away? They never had a chance to hear about Jesus Christ. Are they lost forever and won't be saved?" Our cute investigator just said, "No, they have that answer too. They have beautiful buildings called temples were you can be baptized for your ancestors." It was soo cool. So we are meeting with Li Jiemei tomorrow to teach her the Plan of Salvation. Such a miracle!!

Sister Bready and I have an ADDICTION to Swiss Miss hot chocolate!! Our amazing Ward Mission Leader Brother Gu took us to Costco last week so we each have our own tub of powder, then an employee of Swiss Miss in Taiwan donated a bunch of almost expired Swiss Miss to all the missionaries. We drink cups and cups and cups!! It's soooo bad!! I pick out the crusty marshmallows or just eat the powder plain. I put it in my Costco frozen berries too. SOOO good. We are trying so hard to cut back. Sister Bready put a sticky note on the containers that says "Don't offend your spirit." Haha. Mmmm...so when we went to Costco we also bought hamburger meat, taco seasoning, chips and salsa. So every so often we make the most amazing Mexican nacho feast. Sooooo good. I don't know what it is, but whenever I'm out of the country, I just want Mexican food. This week we were also treated for dinner a couple times by members, which was nice. Sister Chen made hot pot, which was soooo good. Some day, we should have a family hot pot dinner. You just get a couple little portable stoves (plug in, or whatever) with boiling water in huge pots. Then you have bowls and platters full of all sorts of stuff you just throw in the pot to cook and pick out at your pleasure. You can put in raw meats, vegetables, tofu, all sorts of strange little processed balls they make...so good. When you chopstick your food out of the pot, you either put it on rice, or straight onto your soy sauce mixture and eat it. It's hard to describe, but it's soooo good. Dado, if you go to Da Zhong in Salt Lake, I'm sure they have hotpot mix-ins. When I get home in a long time...

Well, that's about it! Oh, except that I found out that the people I helped teach that got baptize are all active still! That made me sooo happy. It's the biggest worry so it's soo good when you know they are doing okay.

Anyway, love you all so much!!
Coley

Monday, November 1, 2010

Stiletto shoe malfunctions

Hi! Sorry this letter is a little later than usual. We went out to lunch with our Bishop which took longer than expected. Now half of PDay is over and we haven't done anything. :S
How was everyone's Halloween??? I hope it was good!!! What was everyone and what did you do? Send pictures!!! We dressed up as pioneers for Halloween. We wore really ugly, long gray skirts, button up shirts and wooly scarves...but wait, that's what we ALWAYS wear. Harhar.
So this week was good! On Tuesday I went to a Trainer's meeting with other trainers and the district leaders and the mission president. We just had some good training about what Heavenly Father wants us to learn for our investigators and stuff. It was soooo good. Before, District Leaders and stuff could just make up whatever he wanted to train people in his district at district meeting, but now the entire meeting has a set topic and agenda. So everything comes straight from President Monson. So cool. What "the top" is wanting us to learn is how to receive personal revelation through prayer and the Book of Mormon. Sooooo good. We watched Elder Holland's talk "Safety For the Soul" (look it up on mormon.org) and it got the fire going! So we've started reading the Book of Mormon more with our investigators and have felt the power coming from it. The Book of Mormon really is so amazing. We felt like we shouldn't address the messy investigator's messiness, so we only talked to her about the scriptures...but it was one of the most powerful lessons we've ever taught. We just read the Book of Mormon and testified with all the energy we had and it actually seemed to penetrate her. Read the Book of Mormon! Get kids to love it! It's really such a miracle we have such an ancient record with so many practical life's answers in it.
While we were walking to the metro from the meeting, I heard a ripping noise and saw that the strap on my shoe totally ripped off. I hobbled on, then suddenly I heard ANOTHER ripping noise and the strap on the other shoe ripped off! So I looked like I was crippled because I had to drag my feet to keep my shoes on. The straps were flopping all over the place. When we got on the metro we had a few people giving me advice, like "tie them back on with a rubber band" or "cut off the straps and make them into inside slippers" or "throw them away and buy new ones". The unfortunate part is that a while back my other pair of shoes did the same thing so after those shoes ripped I had NO shoes to wear. Fortunately I found a shoe repair shop where I got both pairs fixed so all is well, but until then, I biked and tracted for a day and a half in flowery orange $3 stiletto heels I'd luckily bought the day before. It was so very painful and embarrassing.
On Wednesday I challenged my whole beginning English class to be baptized and one woman said yes! She's a very interesting woman. She reminds me of a Chinese version of Mammy's little helper girl on Gone with the Wind "I's scared! I's scared!" She's a fun woman, haha.
I can't believe it's NOVEMBER!! I'll have been on my mission for ONE YEAR on the 11th. SO crazy!! Time has passed by SO quickly!!
Love you all! Coley

Monday, October 25, 2010

"The LAZY eye!"

Hi Family!!
Happy Halloween next week! You'll have to send me pictures of all of your fun costumes and tell me what you did! Be safe! It's Satan's day! :D I had to add that in...it's my job as a missionary to be Churchy. :)
This week was good! It's been a good week for learning. I've been learning alot from my companion. She's been so good. We both pray every day that we'll spend the holidays together. This week has just been a week of very good learning!
1) Remember a while ago when I said that everyone we were teaching had Word of Wisdom problems and I realized Heavenly Father also wanted ME to obey it (therefore, try my best to eat gluten free)? Well, I'm feeling a similar teaching moment from Heavenly Father via our investigator. We have this investigator that is nice as can be, but that lives in filth. She is wonderful, but her house smells like there is a sewer on the floor. She hasn't mopped in ages and there are mounds of junk ALL over the place. When she opens the door, we are HIT with a powerful odor that makes us gag for hours after we leave. We can't even eat. We can't feel the Spirit at her teaching appointments and it's absolutely no wonder she's making no progress. One can't feel the Spirit in a mire. She has all sorts of family problems and it's totally because of the laziness and dirtiness. As missionaries, we have this obligation to call people to repentance, so we are going to try to bring up this sensitive topic to her. But I realized, that if I am going to call her to repent in this area, I should too. Okay, yes, I am a slob. But in my defense, it's been getting better. Haha, BUT I vow to turn over a new leaf and be TOTALLY clean. I cleaned my desk and organized my shelf and washed everything. I will NEVER be a slob again. Every time I look at my area, I think to myself, is this REALLY clean? Then I ask myself, do you want to become like Sister So and so? Then I frantically scour my area again. I will never have a stinky house! I refuse.
2) My companion and I had some really good companionship studies where we discussed gifts of the Spirit and gifts our Patriarchal Blessings talk about and stuff (obviously done with tact and not READING or telling eachother everything). But what's neat, is that we both have very similar gifts. We are VERY similar to eachother. Then I've just been noticing all around EVERYONE'S spiritual gifts. People in the scriptures, missionaries, investigators and members. I've even thought about some of you and your spiritual gifts. It's really amazing and beautiful that everyone has their own that help them bless and touch others. I never thought of it as I do now, but I really think our "quest" in life needs to be FINDING what that spiritual gift is, then completely honing in on it for the benefit of yourself and others. We can find out our spiritual gifts through prayers and our patriarchal blessings. I remember an Elder in our mission saying that his blessing told him he had a gift to "teach the word of wisdom". So he would stop people on the street and tell them, "you shouldn't smoke, it'll hurt yourself." And people would be impressed by what he said and stop smoking. These gifts give us great POWER in the Lord's work and kingdom. It's soooo neat. So I challenge you all to pull out your Patriarchal Blessings and find any passage that says something about the "gift of ...." or the "ability" or "power" of something. Then when the Holy Ghost had told you your spiritual gift, pray and study about that gift. It's so neat. I feel like Heavenly Father has suddenly unlocked a huge mystery of my PB, and it's suddenly all coming together.
3) Make goals! I ALWAYS forgot to make goals, and then everything falls through and we come home with nothing. But the days we remember to make goals, even when things fall through, serious miracles fall in our laps to help us accomplish our goals.
Anyway, on a lighter note. I have found my joy in life. It's "Milk ice". And seriously, I WILL open a little shack in Provo and make bank selling it. It's ice cream times 20. It's just shaved milk with sweetened condensed milk and flavored syrup over the top. It's HEAVEN!! It's so light and creamy. It's creamy but not heavy like ice cream. But it's more flavorful than a snow cone. SOOO good. Robert, you know business! Help me open a Milk Ice shop in Provo. :D hush hush, mustn't leak the secret!
Speaking of eating things. I think Sister Bready and I got some sort of food poisoning. We've had gas, stomach pain, and crazy "runs" that kept us inside yesterday. Fun!
Anyway, I love you! Keep the commandments. Pray. Have fun.
Love you!!
Coley

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New Sister Missionary Dress Code!!!

Hello!
This week has been good. It's really fun to train a new missionary. She's very sincere and trying her best. Our personalities are very suited for each other and we really have a good time. We've worked really hard this week as well and seen some good miracles. One day, we contacted a lot in the morning and were rejected WAY more than usual. We both were a little discouraged but separately made inner decisions to not let it bother us and to have joy and continue anyway. Then the next half of the day, we were very blessed. We talked to some good people. Then we were at a subway station (me making phone calls and Sister Bready contacting) and a girl told Sister Bready after she testified, "Thank you! I NEED that feeling in my heart right now." Then she came to church the next day! At the same time Sister Bready was talking to that girl, a man came up to me and said, "you're Mormon! What's the difference between your church and Christian churches?" I shared with him and he ALSO came to church the next day. Pretty neat! Then we were at an activity last night with the ward and a BEAUTIFUL family with the light of Christ beaming from their eyes just walked into the church and asked if they could know what we were all about. So we sat down with them and taught them! Sooooo neat.
Sadly, my favorite investigator, Li Dai Li, called out of the blue and said, "I'm not ready, I am afraid I can't keep all the commandments." And said she didn't want to meet with us anymore. SOOOO sad!!! She had a baptismal date and everything, then in one day she is gone. I feel like this has been a bit of a sore spot on my mission for me. I find my favorite people I build up a lot of hope for but they disappear right when you least expect it. But I KNOW they will someday get another chance and come back. I'm just sad they delay the blessings and that I can't see them be baptized.
So CRAZY. The Church is changing the dress code standards for Sister missionaries. This should be motivating for the girls who hesitate to serve because they fear becoming frumpy. The new standard is anti-frumpy, pretty much. The new standard is pretty much bright colors, skirts can go as short as below the knee, encourage jewelry, etc. It's really interesting. They want us to not look like a bunch of "polygamist wives" (this is apparently from the mouth of Elder Oaks). They want us to show the message we have to share, which is "happy", "fun", "cheerful", "bright", "hopeful", etc. etc. etc. Haha, too bad this message comes to some of us mid-mission, who already look like polygamist wives in our hand-me-down missionary clothes and dark somber colors. Anyway, I thought that was very interesting. No more sweater vests! No more Jody dresses! No more scary jumpers! Sister missionaries will be cute! Haha.
One thing that is probably not very good about having a new companion, is she is "up on the times" where I've been totally clueless. She told me the health care bill passed???? Are you kidding me?? I was sooooo angry I had to pray to get the Spirit back. Seriously, do people know what Socialized health care does? It leads to SLOPPY or incompetent doctors. Health Care in Taiwan and China stinks because of that. When people get cut here, they don't come away with nice, clean little scars, but with huge Frankenstein looking things. People wait for DAYS or at least HOURS to see a doctor or dentist that looks at you, rips a tooth out in under 30 seconds or shoves an IV of "I hope this works" medicine. Ugh, seriously??
Coley

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Training a Greenie!!!

Herro!!

Hello my wonderful Family!! I hope you're all doing sooo good! With watching General Conference this week, I've thought about you all! I love you!!

This week has been crazy!! We hardly did anything in our area and hardly ate because we never had time. I lost 6 pounds this last transfer. Eek. Anyway, we just had a crazy week. We did temple tours on Tuesday and it was DEAD, there was NO ONE who came so we just sat around studying Chinese and making phone calls. Then Wednesday we had District Meeting and English which ate up the day.

Then Thursday we had our weekly planning session and went to Taibei to "babysit" the new greenies that came in. So when new missionaries come in, they go out for a few hours that night with a missionary in the area and just contact and tract to get over their fears and just jump into it. So I went with a new missionary Sister Bready from American Fork. She was soooo much fun! We saw some really good things happen and shared our testimonies with some people that gave us their information to meet with missionaries in the future. It was such a good night. She was so much fun and will be an amazing missionary! Then, that night, I got a phone call from the Assistants to the President that I would be TRAINING one of the new greenies!! SCARY!! I hardly slept that night and had such anxiety through that next morning and all throughout training meeting. It was terrifying. I was afraid I would train a tall intimidating girl who would eat me alive. It's intimidating to train someone fresh from the MTC because they have all sorts of oddities and idealistic ideas of what a mission is. It's GREAT, because they have so much faith, but sometimes they can be very critical of their trainers. I heard it myself from the mouth of my MTC teachers, "Don't trust your trainer. You show them what's what!" Funny, because how the heck does the trainee know what's what?? So I came out of the MTC being totally self-righteous and wanting to put my trainer in her place yadda yadda. So anyway, I was terrified. But lo! Who was I to train? Sister Bready!!! We were sooooo excited!! She's SUCH a good sister!! She's already so brave and fearlessly contacts and shares in lessons and has good Chinese. She did ILP in China too so we have so much fun swapping ILP stories. She's just one of those personalities I LOVE!! So exciting!! It's been so good!! Training so far (as in...the 3 days I've been doing it...) is good because it feels like a fresh start. I can start doing things a little bit better, as if it's the start of MY mission. Plus it's good to have someone you can just serve a lot. I can try to help her do and be and have what I wish I'd done and become and had when I started out. It's soooo good. There's a lot of team work because she's not stuck in "her own way" of doing things because she doesn't HAVE her own way yet. So we can just do alot of learning together. It's fun so far. And she's so humble and so good. I'm so excited!

Conference was soooo amazing!! I loved President Monson's talk about Gratitude and Elder Holland's "Thank you" talk. I nearly bawled my eyes out through his whole talk. Everything just made me want to bawl.
So in honor of those talks, I want to say what I'M grateful for!

My mission so far.
For ALL of the things I've learned from every single companion.
For the investigators I can learn and love and teach.
For the Eastdell ward who got me on my mission!!
For FAMILY that helped me out financially, spiritually and emotionally!
For everyone who booted me out the door to go in the first place. Haha
For all the girls I've loved before. Who've wandered in and out my door. I'm glad they came along, I dedicate this song...to all the girls I've loved before...
For Jesus Christ and the Atonement that makes me so happy!
For a living Prophet who has all the power of Noah and Moses and Joseph!
For the Book of Mormon with revelations and personal revelation eeking off of every page.
For an awesome bike!
For an amazingly fun childhood!
For goodly parents that taught me right from wrong and didn't let me go on sleepovers.
For homeschooling! That was FUN!!
For the internet and email!!
For every letter I've ever received.
For delicious food including but not limitted to: steak, hot pot, spicy cucumbers, cot bread, Dad's chili, Mom's chowder, Jessica's cake, Michael's pancakes, and Rachel's cinnamon rolls.
For dressing up in ancient clothing and parading about pretending like you're from "the South".
For painting and beautiful music!
For poetry and the cello and the violin.
For movies I love like Fiddler on the Roof and Robin Hood.
For good friends that make awesome memories!
For travelling to distant lands and having insane and dangerous experiences.
For learning to master oneself and the power of the Savior to rip my weaknesses out by my toes.
For facebook...it's annoying but convenient for keeping in touch with people...obviously not on my mission.
For the convenience of a cell phone.
For a drivers license...a long time coming but still appreciated.
For every minute of my life.
For trials and heartache that help me become what God wants me to be!

And the list goes on! Send me your list!! Love you all, Coley

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pray for China

Hi Family!!

Sorry, today's email may be a little short...

This week we had a baptism!!! YEAH! Tang Mama was baptized and so happy. She is about 60 years old and a member's mother. She was soooo happy she couldn't stop smiling all through her baptism and church the next day. She looked like a new person. SO cute! It's neat to see people change.
We are teaching the cutest woman named Li Dai Li who I LOVE!! She moves like the squirrels from Sword and the Stone. I wish I could record her and mail her home. Jessica would get the biggest kick out of this woman. She's so absent minded but the kindest, socialable woman! She's getting baptized on Halloween.

This week the Church changed the vocabulary to a ton of church words so the translation would be more fitting for Mainland China. PRAY that China will open!!!!!! I'm going crazy I want to help open China SOO bad!!

Anyway, I'm out of time already!! Sorry, I love you guys so much!!
COley

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Moon Festival and allergies

Hello Family!!

I hope everyone is doing well! Thank you again for your letters and emails!! I love you all so much!!

Mission life is good! I'm learning ALOT this transfer. A lot about communication. My companion and I bother eachother sometimes have to commicate with eachother about it. I like my companion and she's a good person and we have fun, which makes it easier to talk about things when we need to clear things up. It's been such a good growing experience. We're growing together as a companionship and things are going so well. This week we've done ALOT of teaching (instead a lot of aimless tracting) than last week, which is sooooo nice. We taught SO much!!

I think the major thing that I learned this week, is that you can work your rear off and not have any success, but then Heavenly Father comes in a blesses you like crazy. I think He waits for us to see the LACK of success, just so that we KNOW where the success really came from. It didn't come from us, but from the Lord helping us. We had so many miracles this week. We did "Taibei Temple Square tours" on Saturday and got 24 referrals! The Spirit was really there in our tours. Our companionship is also starting to teach in unity and we're seeing some good things happen in lessons. It all comes from Heavenly Father because it's nothing really different we are doing. AT ALL. It just fell into our laps.

This Wednesday was the "Moon Festival" and everyone was out of town. People were barbecueing on little grills outside their doors and it smelled SOOOO GOOD. No one would set up with us so we spent the whole day riding around delivering cards and tracting. It was murder to smell such deliciousness ALL day then have to eat cabbage and peanuts. Haha. OH!! So guess what?? I THINK I might be allergic to EGGS! I started eating eggs alot last transfer and that's when I started getting the gross gooey rash on my hands and inner elbows that I did as a kid. But I stopped eating eggs this week and the rash is slowly fading away! And since my diet consists of peanuts as well, maybe I have a problem with those too...ba?

We have a baptism coming up in a week! A member's mother, "Tang Mama". Time is up! gotta run!

Coley

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Service and a Typhoon

Hey Family!!

This week has been interesting...we've worked pretty hard...I've knocked on more doors and talked to more people on the streets than I have my whole mission. Unfortunately, it came with little to no success. This week was our lowest weeks as far as numbers go. SOOO low. But that's okay. We had some doors slammed in our faces and some Jehovah's Witnesses say that didn't want to hear our about our Mormon Book, but for the most part, people are really really nice, even if they reject you. We mostly always get a little message in and testify. The Spirit is really strong and I know these people will have another chance someday.

On Friday, our mission went to some big "protect the environment" thingy in Taibei and we volunteered to pick up cigarette butts and scrape gum and betelnut off the streets. So gross, but it was cool. Then we walked by the street we just cleaned and saw people chuck their cigarettes on the ground and I was soooo bugged. Haha. Grrr.

Sunday we had a typhoon! I was so excited to see it...and it wasn't that cool. I would actually say some of Sandy's wind storms are comparable in strength to that typhoon. But we were told to stay inside the whole day, which was nice. We got to do some stuff that really needed to be done. We called all of our Former Investigators and people we'd contacted on the street and got 7 people set up for this week, which was pretty cool! Not bad! We also get a few hours of studying Chinese and writing to investigators and converts.

Anyway, I'm already out of internet time. But I just want to say that I love this gospel. It's so wonderful and it's so good to see it change people's lives. You can truly tell if a person has been reading the book of mormon that week. They are more happy and peaceful. I love it. Keep praying! Go to Church and love it!! :)

Love you all!
Coley

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Weird food and great teaching

Hi Family!!

This week has been really good! We've had a lot of good things happen. I've been really blessed these past couple weeks to finally have the courage to really contact and talk to people. It's been great. But there seems to be a trend, that everyone that stops and listens are all MEN. So frustrating because we personally can't teach men. But it's cool, as long as they get taught, right? We taught a man a first lesson on the street a week ago and now he's meeting with the Elders and has alot of potential. I had a neat experience the other day while doing our morning exercise. We usually run to a huge track stadium (did Taiwan ever host the Olympics...?) and run around and stretch and all that stuff. Well, while I was stretching I met this man who just LOVES English. His name is Nico and when I said my name was Nicole I thought he was going to pass out he was so happy that our names were so similar. He's a little skinny middle aged guy. He was baptized into another Christian church, so I told him about the Restoration as we ran around the track. Then we invited him to church the next day and he came! And he shared his feelings and his hopes in class at church and everything. It's so neat that Heavenly Father just brings people like this to us. We've been having a hard time finding women to teach though...I don't know why!

So we had a couple other neat experiences. We teach this woman who has 3 little girls. She is the sweetest mother and works so hard for her kids. Her husband isn't very supportive and might be a little abusive(?) and doesn't like us missionaries. So when we meet with her we have to teach her in her kids little play room and the husband sulks in his bedroom. He won't let her go to church or be baptized. Grrrr...meany. She has been losing hope and seems so down and stressed. But this week was good! She prayed and read the Book of Mormon and it perfectly answered her questions. She read 2Nephi 2 and said, "I get it! I always wondered WHY God would create the snake in the first place. But it says here, that the snake was the devil and it was the DEVIL'S choice to become evil and the snake. Wow, the Book of Mormon really helps us understand the Bible." It was so neat to see her testimony and hear someone bear their testimony. We taught her about teaching her children truth and gave her a little kid Book of Mormon with pictures and she said, "Oh sisters, I will keep praying, and someday, I will have success [over my husband]!" So awesome.

This week has been good with our companionship. We've been getting used to eachother's way of doing things and personalities so things are really good. We're becoming good pals, which is nice. Haha, so both having been homeschooled, we have had the weirdest conversations. About Civil War reenacting, Shakespe-uh, Classic Literatooore, musicals of the 1950s, and who was the most dishy actor of the black and white era. Haha. We've had the music from "Camelot" stuck in our heads for the past week. "Do you recall the other night when I distinctly said you might sit beside me at the next town fair..."

Eating gluten free has been rough recently. I haven't adjusted to this area's eating choices yet, so I've lost some weight. Which being a girl, I could never complain about...but I'm really getting sick of my diet, which consists of milk peanut soup in a can, Dad's Root Beer, and mandarin orange yogurt. I may occasionally cook french fries in the toaster oven or when we eat out I'll have tomato eggs and cabbage on rice. Yep, that's about it. Sadly, I don't know what is being contaminated though, because that long lost horrible rash I used to get on my hands as a child is coming back.

I went to Church the other day and was having the hardest time staying awake. My head was bobbing like crazy then I didn't find out until the end of the meeting that my mission president had come to our ward and was sitting right behind me! Mortifying.

I'm sure there were other great things that have happened, but my time is up! I love you all so much!!

Coley

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A symbolic dream during a hard week

Hi Family!!

So this week was really good! It was actually REALLY hard. But because of that, I learned alot and have so much to be grateful for. So first off, the night before I left Taoyuan, I had a good little experience while praying. I was REALLY tired so I dozed off during my prayer. I dreamt there was a row of ancient Chinese soldiers, all using different weapons; staff, ax, sword, spear, etc. There was one "enemy" who was using a sword. When the enemy attacked, all the weapons made the same counter-attack. I thought to myself "why would they use the same move? If they wanted to fulfill their potential they would move how they were made to." Then I woke up and pondered for a second and wondered why I had such a little dream. But then I had this thought that it was a lesson from Heavenly Father and that it could be compared to missionaries. As missionaries or people in general, we have all have totally different talents, strengths and personalities, so Heavenly Father will use us the further his work in different ways. In essense, we are all his "secret weapon." We all have our different ways and strengths. It wouldn't make sense for an ax to think, "I'm just not as cool as the sword. Maybe I'll try to do all the moves the sword does" because the ax is NOT the sword. The ax has it's own moves and ways. That little impression and dream has meant ALOT to me this week. I've had to just keep in mind, "I can't be someone else. I can't be just like that super awesome sister so and so because her gifts are different than mine. She's a spear...I'm a staff." I don't know, I hope that makes sense. But it's helped me a lot. When I'm tempted to be stressed because I don't think I'm doing things right, I just have to think, "Heavenly Father brought me HERE, NOW, for a reason, because of my own personal strengths and things I have learned." It's been such a strength.

More than anything, this week has been a major kick to the pride. Every day I've felt like I've been kicked in the booty a million times. My companion is really awesome and amazing and knows the area and the investigators and has had super amazing companions before me and yadda yadda and I know NOTHING. But I had it in my mind that "I'm senior, I shouldn't be the one who is clueless." So I spent a lot of time being angry and frustrated and misunderstanding my companion and being super arrogant or whatever. Every day was a mighty prayer that never ended. But the miracle in all of it, is that my heart has been changing. If it hadn't been for Heavenly Father, I would be a nervous, bitter wreck right now, but Heavenly Father has let me just let go and change my way of seeing things. Things are just getting better and better. I am starting to understand things about leadership and missionary work and humility. I'm still a dodo, but Heavenly Father helped me see how to do better. Our companionship is getting better and working better together and things are going to be really good. Sister Stenquist is soooo good. She understands some things about teaching that I have yet to grasp. Things are going well.

One thing that has been really good about this week, is that I've turned over a new leaf in contacting. We have done more contacting and tracting the past week than probably my whole mission. Which isn't necessarily saying we've spent our time more effectively...tracting doesn't have a lot of results...but I feel like I've been able to finally just talk to people without thinking too much. If you think to much you think yourself out of contacting someone. But it's been going really well. We've contacted alot and it's been really exhilirating.

Anyway, life is good! The Church is true! Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I'm so happy to have this gospel!! Sometimes I just marvel that we have so many wonderful blessings. The Book of Mormon is so awesome, I just can't believe what a miracle it is to be reading it. The temple is beautiful and like a little Celestial Kingdom on earth. How is it that we are blessed so much? Share it with everyone! Members have so much more missionary power then missionaries. Every single person I've helped baptize has been a member referral. Share this gospel! Help everyone have the opportunity to feel that cozy thrill when reading the Conference Ensign. Ah, the Church is so good.

Love you all my wonderful family!!
Coley

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Transfers, hiking, and goat milk

Hi Family!!

Taiwan is good! I was actually transfered to a new area today. I'm now in a suburb of Taibei County called BanQiao [ban-chow]. It seems I'm moving closer and closer to Taibei. Yikes, scary! It's really clean and nice from what I've seen of it. My new companion is Sister Stenquist from Kaysville. She was actually homeschooled too! Haha! This is her 4th transfer on island so I am the senior companion. She took Chinese for a couple years at BYU so her Chinese is pretty much better than mine, so we're a good pair. This will be a good transfer, but a little rough. I'm terrified, honestly. I was in PEC (priesthood executive committee) yesterday and discussed the needs of one of our investigators --I thought I said it completely clearly but the bishop just blinked and said "I don't understand you." Haha. This will be a humbling transfer. Our apartment is a studio apartment so we study, eat and sleep in one room, but it's super new and nice. Things will be good.

I'm really sad to leave the people of Taoyuan. My companion Sister Messenger is training a new missionary so we were in a 3some for a few days. She was my 3rd Sister Peterson I've served with. I'll miss the investigators we had there. We had a golden investigator Li Jia Lin who is wonderful and has the cutest little boys ever. The little boys were so sad that I was leaving. I LOVE those little boys so much!! My heart hurts for leaving. We were also teaching a boy named Jian, who was a really endearing kid. He has a twitch. He is a former investigator and HE called US out of no where because "he had a feeling." He's humble and wants to be baptized but his parents oppose. He's so great. Then we were teaching a cute 19 year old girl named Kiki who is a lot of fun. Our leadership was good too. It's so sad to leave!! We were getting really close to these people...which is probably why it's good to leave. It's good for people not to get attached to missionaries.

On Saturday we went hiking with our ward and investigators. It was really nice. We all fed goats and drank goat milk at the very end. It was a funny finale to the ward activity. I can't see the highlight of a ward outting in the US being drinking goat milk. But it was good. Church was good on Sunday. We had 10 investigators come to church, which NEVER happens. Plus 5 people just walked in off the street because they felt like it was a good place to be. FIVE! That's so crazy.

Spiritual Thought of the Day:
2 Nephi 29:7 "
Know ye not that there are more anations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the bisles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the cearth beneath; and I bring forth my dword unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?"
Heavenly Father loves ALL of His children on the earth. Interesting, I've heard ALOT of non members say when they visit Taibei temple square or church "I like this place. I feel like I've come home." It's neat that our spirit remembers living with God and when we go to the house of the Lord, we remember how it feels to live with Him.

Anyway, I love you all! If Dad, Danny, Robert and Michael have any tips about how to be a Sr Comp, let me know. I feel like I forgot how to be a missionary overnight. After moving to a new place, I feel like I'm on ILP again.

Love you!!
Coley

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Youth Conference and cockroaches

Hey Family!!

My email will be a little short today. We're going to that theme park again. Liu Fu Cun! This is the last week of the transfer, so we're not sure where we'll be in a week so we're using our season passes to the best fullest. :D

This Thursday was pretty cool. There was a mission-wide youth conference/efy thing near Taizhong that we got to sing at. The mission president of the Taizhong mission (who is apparently very well off...) donated a TON of handcarts to the event and the kids had a little pioneer trek through the jungley hills. Their leaders put chunks of ice in a pond they had to pull through so it would be like the Willy Martin handcart company. Then they threw flour on them as if it were "snow". Haha. So cute. They pulled ALL day in 90 degree CRAZY humid mosquito infested hills. They were beat. That night they had a presentation conducted by President Grimley (our mission president) that showed the "pioneers" of Taiwan. The first Taiwanese missionary, the first couple white missionaries to serve in Taiwan, and some of the first members of Taiwan were there. Then us missionaries sang a couple songs and the kids were all encouraged to serve missions. Pres Grimley kept saying "boys are COMMANDED to go, and girls, you're great and if you WANT you can come along too." But the funny thing is, that in sacrament meeting the next day all the girls bore their testimonies and said "I definitely will serve a mission!" Then flooded us after church and asked when they can knock doors with us. They all wore their "future missionary" tags and stuff. But the boys got up and their testimonies were pretty much "the trek was pretty cool...I'm not sure if I'll serve a mission yet, but it made me think a little bit..." haha.

I hope the pictures I attached to this email work...the first is of my companion playing pool with a broom handle and a cockroach. We keep finding HUGE cockroaches in our kitchen. It's soooo gross!! I found one the other day on the floor about an inch and a half long that looked like it was on it's back and dead. So I picked it up with a tissue and put it in the trash then it jumped up and started running around!! I'm sure the whole apartment complex heard me scream. Yuck. The second picture is of Shandi and Katie and Ryan's baptism last week! They are soooo great!!
The ward is really neat here in Taoyuan. They translated all the ingredients I can't eat into Chinese and the women in the ward all tell me that before they feed us they pray for a long time to figure out something to make that doesn't have soy sauce. Then the bishopric personally took it upon themselves to buy me rice crackers for sacrament meeting. It's sooo nice!

Our investigator Li Jia Lin is still doing well. She has her baptismal interview on Wednesday. She's inviting 4 friends to a church activity this Saturday and is giving away Book of Mormons and pamphlets and teaching her friends to pray and turns on Church DVDs in her drink shop and everything. She is SO incredible. I LOVE her little boys!! I'll have to take a picture of them. They all went to church this week and will keep coming with their mom, which is exciting. I've decided that if there is one thing that I will do better when I get back, is that if there is EVER any Less Active or Investigator that comes to church, I will welcome them and sit with them and be their friend. Nothing makes a missionary swear more than when an investigator goes to church and the members don't really understand that they have to take special care of the new-comer and the investigator feels awkard. Fortunately, recently returned missionaries have often saved the day. I want to be like that when I get back.

Anyways, life is good! I'm trying to remember if anything else interesting happened this week...I can't remember. Anyway, love you all!!!

Coley

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A temple trip and a strange religion

Hi my Wonderful Family!

Our P-Day is Wednesday this week because we get to make a Temple Trip to Taibei today. I'm excited! I'm not that excited to take the train to Taibei though...we've gone to Taibei 4+ times in the past week and it's 2 hours each way. Anyway, this week has been good!

*Last Thursday we went to Taibei and attended the Endowment and Sealing session for 2 families Sister Messenger helped baptize at the beginning of her mission. It was really neat! The session was in Chinese and I was surprised at how much I understood. The sealing was so neat! When the little kids were brought in the room it gave me goosebumps. These little families are so cute. Sister Messenger was sealed to her parents as a kid, so it was special for her. I really love the temple. It's so beautiful and going is the best feeling in the world.

*Sunday was really awesome too. Do you remember Shandi, Katie and Ryan in Bade? They were baptized!! It was sooo awesome! I have prayed for them so many times and it was so happy to see them be baptized and confirmed. The baptism was so good! I'm so excited for those little kids to serve missions and stuff. Haha, Katie was so funny. She's 10 years old, so after she was baptized, she wouldn't get out of the font and was swimming in it. We were trying not to laugh so she would get out, but it was so funny.

*We're still teaching Li Jia Lin, who is AMAZING! We taught her last night and she told us all sorts of spiritual experiences she's had recently that we didn't know about. She said she prayed about Tithing because she didn't know if she could afford it or something (?...I don't understand what she says sometimes...she talks really fast) and felt the Spirit tell her to call her friend and something something, now she's willing to pay tithing! Then prayed to know if God exists and felt like she "was being hugged". Then she was having a sad day and decided to pray and she only got as far as saying "Dear Heavenly..." and she was already "peaceful and happy". She really has some sort of gift of the Spirit because she very easily recognizes the Spirit. It's really cool. She knows everything is true because she knows exactly when she's feeling the Spirit. Other people of a ton of different religions keep coming to her and telling her not to get baptized but she's very bold and says "don't worry about it, I know what's true and I'm getting baptized." And the other day Sister Messenger and I went tracting and were rejected at every door (not unusual) and she felt so sad for us that when we saw her last night, she said, "Okay Sisters, don't go tracting anymore. I will find you people to teach. I've already taught a couple friends how to pray and they are coming to church with me on Sunday. And there are a couple that will also come to English class on Wednesday." She's so awesome. She also has 3 of the cutest little boys ever born. They are 10, 11, and 12. They want to learn the gospel really bad and to "become Christian" like mom. They are adorable and hilarious. Jia Lin asked what she should do with her little Buddhist idols in her home and the member at our lesson said, "give it to someone" and the little boy yelled "SELL it to someone!" Hahahahaha, it was so funny!

*We had a kind of strange experience this week involving that strange religion I've mentioned before. Li Jia Lin's friend invited us to a vegetarian food activity with all her friends so we could "teach them how to pray." We thought it sounded cool, but a little fishy. Haha, no one says that! Then later Jia Lin called us and basically said "I'm worried my friends will do some weird voodoo on you to try to covert you to their religion." So she came with us to try to "protect us". The people at this little activity were really nice and good people...but it was a little strange. We got there and they set up chair around us and said, "come upstairs and teach us how to pray!" We didn't know why they wanted us to go upstairs, so we declined. This is how it went:
"But upstairs, there is a light. You can pray to the light."
Us: "Oh, no...that's okay...we can pray down here."
"But the light is like God! Come upstairs and teach us!"
"Let's just pray downstairs..."
"We worship all gods. We will go worship your God too."
"I see."
"But there is only one true cross. And as you go upstairs, you will see there are 3 treasures. And 5 code words."
"Interesting...oh look at the time, we gotta run!"
Li Jia Lin later said she thought we were very wise for not going upstairs. There was an eery feeling and she felt it too. Strange.

So many great things are happening. I'm seeing how MANY people there are who are ready for the gospel. Or people who are ALMOST ready...who are hungering for righteousness but don't yet see clearly but with a little time will accept. It's really faith building.

I love you all so much!! I hope everything is wonderful!!

Coley

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Taiwanese Father's Day

Happy Father's Day!!

Yesterday was 8.8 which in Chinese is "BaBa" which is also Baba, so it's the chinese father's day! :)

This week was good. We found out some of our investigators, Shandi and Ryan and Katie (the mother with the kids that hate primary) are getting baptized next Sunday!! It's soooo good!! I have a dream that the little boy will serve a mission.

This week has been interesting for other reasons...I decided to study "trials" and "afflictions" for personal study for a couple days. It's really interesting...people have some really rough lives. I used to think Taiwan was full of sweet, cute, innocent people who are so sweet and lovey...but I've found there are a lot of misconceptions when you don't understand. The more I'm understanding the language, the more I'm learning things are just as hard here as anywhere, and people actually have really difficult lives. I've learned (as I bike down the street and have to turn my eyes from certain pictures, places, and people) that pornography and other vices are just as strong here. There is a rash of DVD and dirty stores very near our apartment. Ugh. There is a lot of corruption in other ways as well. Outside of our old apartment building, there was an eye sore of a concrete structure; half-built and abandoned. Apparently people will have people invest in the building of an apartment building, then the contractor or company will split with the money before the project is over with millions of dollars in their pockets. We've had a lot of people share their hard stories with us just this week and it's been sad. People whose spouses have been unfaithful or have had thousands of dollars stolen from them, etc. It's just sad. I'm not bashing Taiwan by ANY means, it's just that I know now that Satan's hand of mischief and destruction is just as strong here than anywhere else. And it hurts a lot of really good people (member and non-member). But it's amazing how Heavenly Father uses the sorrow people experience for their greater good. These people suffer because of the choices of others, but it's ultimately for their benefit because it brings them (hopefully) to their knees and brings them to Christ. We've been trying to help some people with real doozies and it all ultimately comes back to Christ. Anything can be overcome through the Atonement. Through Christ, we find the strength the forgive. We also can find the comfort and healing we need. I love the talk "Come What May and Love It" by Elder Wirthlin, especially the part about the principle of compensation. All the sorrow we experience will be compensated 100fold if we are faithful in following Christ. There's another talk "Broken Things to Mend" by Elder Holland that talks about that.

Anyway. All in all though, this week has been really good. I love you all!! I pray for you all!!

Coley

Monday, August 2, 2010

Investigators and Growth

Hey Family!!

This week was a good week. We went to Liu Fu Cun theme park last Monday and had a great time. I got way motion sick. There was a really intense rollercoaster that thrusts you up then pulls you upside down and backwards. I think I damaged my vocal cords from screaming. I couldn't sing most of this week and my laughs came out as little Winnie the Pooh like chuckles. We had a good time. Our ward's awesome counselor in the Bishopric Liu Fuzhujiao took us and bought us a bunch of chocolate peanutes and stuff. He is such a great member.This week has actually been pretty emotional...mostly hormonal, I'm sure. Haha. But still, we've had a lot of stress trying to get the ward's work going here. We've had a lot of miracles though, actually!! I'll start out with the disappointments, and end with the miracles...so Saturday we met with Li Zhi Zhong, the coffee shop man with the dead wife. We took along the Bishop Jian and Liu Fuzhujiao. I have been praying for this investigator like crazy this whole week and all that day, and I figured miracles were going to happen since we had 2 members of the bishopric with us. It turns out the investigator wouldn't really let us teach but just talked to the bishopric forever about he didn't like missionary's "pattern" of coming in, praying, singing, teaching. He just wants to see what makes missionaries and members "tick" without any specific interest. I was deeply disappointed. But when it was time to go I felt the Spirit really really strong and testified and got choked up. Li Zhi Zhong wouldn't look at us in the face and when we left it was just awkward and he wouldn't look us in the eye. I don't know. I cared alot about this investigator so I pretty much bawled my eyes out all that night. I felt really sorry for myself and was so sad that so many investigators I've loved have disappeared and that I can't speak Chinese and blah blah blah. I read 1 Nephi 16 the next day and felt sufficiently chastened. But it was still a pretty sad night for me. I just want to find people who are ready to be baptized. But as long as they feel a little closer to Christ, that's all that matters.

The miracles! We have an awesome member who felt the Spirit tell him to go into a health food cafe. He went in and said "dish me up something healthy because I'm getting fit for a mission!" He's kind of an interesting kid, but I have a lot of respect for him. The woman asked him alot of questions and she asked if she could meet with us. We taught her the first lesson and she came to church. She's really wonderful. She has a strong testimony of Christ because every encounter she's had with something or someone Christian, she is moved to tears. Then I went on exchanges with Sister Howell in Zhongli. Both of us haven't been out very long, so it's interesting teaching a lesson. But miracle of miracles, we taught 2 women who said "of course I will be baptized!" and one of them started bawling during her closing prayer because she was so touched by the Spirit. We also got 11 referrals this week, which was a miracle too. Things are going so well here, but they are little by little, so they are sometimes hard to see right away. Haha, we have this phone referral system where missionaries send referrals of people they contacted who are in your area...we have over 100 in our phone!! It's crazy...we have alot of calls to make and for once I'm grateful for all my call center experience because it's not so bad calling dozens of people over and over.

In all, this week, I've just grown in love for the gospel. It was no even in particular that brought about this love...maybe prayer. I just decided I wanted to have more of a testimony and appreciation for the Atonement, Restoration and the Book of Mormon. So I started praying for it this week and really I've just felt closer to Jesus Christ. I've also appreciated how amazing it is that we have the Book of Mormon. I can't believe that we have this amazing ancient record that is so perfect in it's guidance and doctrine. The Book of Mormon is so perfect, it could only have been written by inspired men. I love it. I know that if we pray to know, even when we already DO know, Heavenly Father WILL answer. He will let us know and help us appreciate these things. It's like He opened my eyes to see how cool it all is. I love this gospel!

Anyway, life is great. Draining, but good! Oh yeah, I can't remember if I already told you guys, but go to youtube and search lds missionary biz taiwan or something like that.

I love you my family!! You all mean so much to me!! I hope life is so wonderful and this summer is going so well! Remember to pray every day and read your scriptures.

Love, Coley

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Death by soy sauce

Herro Family!

I'm writing a little early today. Today for preparation day we are going to...LIU FU CUN!!! It's some sort of Taiwanese DisneyLand...except with Monkeys named "Happy" and "Honey" instead of "Mickey" and "Mini". Apparently it's pretty sweet. And since a season pass is cheaper than one day, we will likely go more than once this transfer. Woohoo!! We're actually going with an investigator, Kiki, who is 19 years old and the Bishopric's teenage girls. It'll be sooo fun. We're excited.

This week was our first week in JUST Tao 2 Ward being the only missionaries here. The ward is trying to be good about it...but some are still wondering why their ward is so "picked on" to not have Elders. But they've been very supportive and are helping us alot with the transition. I actually LOVE this new change. It's amazing to live SO close to the church and the ward and not have to bike a .5-1hours to get places. On the flip side, I will get fat here. The ward is really great and feeds us every night. The RS Pres made an announcement in RS about how they need to be really careful when feeding me because I will "die if I eat flour and soy sauce." I really hope this new arrangement stays for a while. However, it's been hard for other reasons...we've both been a little overwhelmed with the pressure that comes from being the only ward missionaries. Sister Messenger and I are trying to be the best we can, and both of our "bests" are different and we're both stressed. I love my companion. She and I get along really well and we have a lot of good laughs together. It's been a growing week for us. We've had a good time as we work through getting used to things here.

We've had some really neat things happen this week!! Kiki, has been an investigator for a long time. Sis Messenger prayed to find someone like her, then found her a few transfers ago. But because of past experiences with missionaries, she's been afraid to push Kiki. But this week we finally tried to just lay a baptismal commitment on the table. She didn't commit but we found out that she does believe that God has lead her to missionaries time and time again. Sister Messenger cried because she knows she was lead to her. It was a powerful lesson. We will start to teach her commandments to try to help her develop her faith.

THEN!! The coooolest thing of the week! We started teaching our first MAN! So Friday I was just frustrated because we both didn't know where to go, what to do. I think much of my mission I've been falling back into the whole thought that *I* have to make something out of my mission instead of just being God's instrument. God WANTS to put people in our path, He's not tapping His foot and saying, "I'll only give you investigators when you're WORTHY of them!" Anyway, so Friday I just prayed and said "We really don't know what we're doing, we REALLY need Your help. Help us find someone today." We went and tried to visit a recent convert and while we were stopped and looking at our map, I happened to look across the street to see a man in a pink shirt watching us. I smiled, he smiled. Then he went into the coffee shop. But he still was looking at us through the window. So I waved, and he waved back. Then he came back outside and I walked across the street and gave him a tract. Turns out he had taken the missionary lessons 10 years ago at 23 yrs old and invited us into his coffee shop (he owns it) to teach him! He offered us coffee and we said we didn't believe in drinking it and he said "now there's NO way I can accept!" Haha. But he was really kind. We taught him the Restoration and he had some really deep great questions. It was soooo good!! And as miracles would have it, we didn't have an extra BoM to give him, but we had borrowed a triple from the chapel and let him borrow it. So we gave him Alma 32 and D&C 89 (Word of Wisdom chapter) to read as homework. THEN, we out of chance ran into him on the road and he was with his adorable 2 year old daughter. So we found out he has a family. Then last night we stopped by his shop to set up an appointment for tonight with him and his wife and found out his wife DIED last year of ovarian cancer! It was so like a movie...humble, nice dude running a coffee shop with his 2 year old daughter playing with her dead mother's high heels and talking to customers, Nora Jones playing on the radio...We both almost cried. We feel like this man is ready. So we will came back tonight with a member and teach the Plan of Salvation. Pray for us and him! His name is Charles Li, or Li Zhi Zhong.

Anyway, life is great! Hope everything is going so well with all of you! Sorry I didn't get a chance to write back to any individual emails today. :( We have less time today because the Bishop is picking us up soon. I LOVE YOU ALL!!

Coley

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Yucky Elder Apartment

Hi Family!!

This week was pretty good. We had lunch with a member, Qiu Shi Ting. Both me and Sister Messenger had back aches/headaches so she brought her crazy Chinese healing instruments and did some crazy voodoo on our backs. Basically she pulled out this little gun thing with little suction cups. Then she would stick the cups on our back and suck the living heck out of our flesh and move it all around our backs. It hurt like CRAZY. It causes crazy hicky like bruises...she said the more pain or the more aches you have, the darker your bruises will be. She said something like it helps the "air" flow through our sore muscles...? I did feel more relaxed and my muscles felt good, but my skin hurt like nothing else.
Friday was transfers/move calls. The missionaries in Taiwan are getting less and less. So the mission ended up doing alot of changing in Taoyuan. There used to be a set of Elders in Taoyuan 2nd Ward and a set in the Bade ward, then Sisters who would be over both wards. But this Friday they completely closed down the Tao 2 Elders and now Sister Messenger and I will be the sole missionaries over Tao 2 and will not be working in Bade anymore. It makes me SO sad because our favorite investigators were in Bade. But it'll be a good opportunity. Honestly, I don't think the Tao 2 ward thinks it's a good opportunity. A ward member told us that alot of people were thinking it was as if there weren't ANY missionaries in the ward anymore. HEY! We resent that! But I can see their concern...the 2 Taiwanese Elders were booted and replaced by a set of short foreign sisters with really bad Chinese. Haha. Yikes. It will be strange as well since we will now start teaching MEN as well. CRAZY!! So awkward. The Elders introduced some of their investigators to us since we'd start teaching them and these guys were really awkward and wouldn't leave us alone. They kept trying to practice their English and stuff and it was really annoying. Haha. But it'll be a really good opportunity. It'll be nice to not have to work in 2 wards a million years apart from eachother. It'll also be nice to not be a respecter of persons when it comes to contacting...we will teach all genders. So interesting. Most of all, I just want the ward to trust me/us. I'm not the most outspoken person, so they don't look at me and think, "wow, she knows what she's doing." If any of you have any suggestions on how to better work with ward leaders, PLEASE let me know!

Because of the new arrangement, we have to move into the Elders apartment. I almost cried. It was SO disgusting!!! We walked in this morning and were overwhelmed with a "pee the bed" smell, and garbage ALL over the floor. The fridge was full of moldy food and the bathroom and kitchen floors haven't been mopped in MONTHS. They were brown and grimey. The pillows we inherited have yellow stains all over them. I can't use it...I just can't. We're going to buy new pillows for the apartment today. We were so overwhelmed that we came to do email first...so I foresee a good 5 hours of cleaning ahead of me today. Grrr...those boys. I even told them for 2 days to CLEAN and they kept telling me, "trust me, our apartment is pretty clean." MY EYE!

I was chased down by a dog the other day! I was riding and suddenly saw a dog chasing me! I even saw his jaws open and heard the CHOMP CHOMP as he kept trying to bite my ankle! It was so creepy! I should have kicked him in the face but I wasn't thinking about it. Next time.

Life is so good! The gospel is true. I love being a missionary. I have the Best Two Years stuck in my head all the time. Keep the faith! The gospel makes us so happy. It's ALWAYS worth it to live the gospel. Even if it takes change. Sometimes I've felt that change is painful, but as long as we're moving closer to Heavenly Father, it will have beautiful and happy results.

Love you my wonderful family!!

Coley

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Elder Uchtdorf's Visit

Hello from the Island of Formosa!! :D

I hope everyone is having a really fun summer so far!! Sounds like you've been doing some fun activities!! I hope you are all safe and having a good time!

This week has been very nice. On Monday we went to Yingge and made clay pots on a potters wheel for PDay. It was sooooo fun!!!! I vow that someday I WILL have a potters wheel and make my own pottery! It was a blast.

On Tuesday we went to Zone Conference which was back in good old Zhubei. It was so good to see Sister Weng again. I love her so much!! She is having a rough time there. After transfers, all our investigators died and they have spent 5-6 hours a day just tracting and doing finding activities. They work so hard and she pretty much cried all zone conference. I feel so sad for her!! Zhubei was a hard area and I'm so sad she's having a rough time.

Wednesday we got to teach all of our favorite investigators. Heidi is 28 and the golden investigator. She has the most loving family and when they found out that she was going to get baptized they were opposed. She wasn't sure if she should still get baptized or not, but we taught her about faith then after she went to the Taiwan meeting with President Uchtdorf, she decided she wants to sneak and be baptized. Then we met with the little Wu girls. They are still doing well. Yu Wen, the 15 year old, got work off on Sundays and Pei Yi, the 12 year old, wont' have to watch her grandmother next Sunday so they will go to church. And their adorable little sister Jia Long (6 yrs) will come with! They are SO cute!! Their dad is a taxi driver and really nice. He doesn't oppose to them being baptize as long as he feels like they understand what they are getting baptized into. So they have a date for the first weekend in August. Then we taught Shandi and her two kids. She is doing great, and has a lot of desire. She reads and prays every day, which is amazing since not long ago she would go the Buddhist temple and "bai bai" daily. So amazing. She bought Sunday clothes too. But her kids HATE primary. :( So she didn't go to church yesterday...we're trying to figure out what to do about that. If any of you have any suggestions on how to get these little kids to like primary...let me know. They are 10 and 11 years old.Thursday we did "temple tours" in Taibei, but not a single person came for a visitors center tour. Sad! Oh well, it was a thursday. On Friday we taught a Vietnamese woman. We showed her the Restoration movie in Vietnamese and I decided never to complain about Chinese again. Vietnamese is reeeeally ugly. But it was pretty cool to teach someone from another background.

Sunday was sooooo goood!!!!! All missionaries were bussed to a church in Taibei for mission conference with President Uchtdorf! We all got to shake his hand! He was very dignified and sweet and looked a little bit older in person than on TV. It was soooo neat. His talk to us was so good and needed. His sweet wife Harriet was also amazing. She's so cute and her German accent is adorable. She sounds like she came straight from the Sound of Music or from the 3 little bear's house or something. She talked about how she gets a yearly Christmas card from her missionaries who converted her. Then she told us to keep our apartments clean, be obedient, forget our girl/boyfriends, feel good about ourselves, not leave the apartment angry at our companion, etc. She was so great.

Here's some of the things I LOVED about President Uchtdorf:
-He said the language of the Celestial Kingdom is German so we better all start learning now. Haha
-He told about how he was called to be in the Quorum of the 70. He said he was just on vacation in Utah and out of no where President Monson called his hotel room and called them in to his office. He said he was planning on golfing and skiing but met with a prophet instead.
-He said at many times we will feel very inadequate (which I do) but not to be discouraged because we "are the foundation of something wonderful to happen in this part of the world." Isn't that so cool??? China??
-The process of study and learning new things is:
1) write down question in a book
2) study it in the scriptures
3) pray about it
-As missionaries, we get to learn some pretty neat things because we get to teach the same lessons of the gospel over and over and over and over and over and over again. I thought that was cool because I realized that the other day when we were teaching a 1st lesson (for the billionth time in my mission). The member said something about the Book of Mormon that made me realize that the Restoration could NOT have succeeded without the BOM. Without the BoM, Joseph Smith was just another arguing Minister of the time. But I only realized that after I'd taught that lesson a ton.
-Then he commented that we shouldn't be afraid of talking to people because in Taiwan, you are very "sweetly rejected." He said pretty much we have it lucky here and we can be "sweetly bold" and have a lot of success. It's really true. The Taiwanese NEVER yell at you or say you're evil or hurt you or whatever. The worst I've had is someone pretend I'm not there when I try to talk to them. That's pretty good. Pres Uchtdorf said it's pretty nice of the Taiwanese that they are well mannered enough to not scooter off with our pens and planners when we try to get their information. Yeah, we ARE pretty lucky here. After he said that, I just felt alot of love for the people here. They really are precious little lambs. They have problems like the rest of the world, but they are very sweet people. He said something that made me feel better about rejection too. He PROMISED us that someday in THIS life or the life to come, everyone we have talked to on our mission will remember us and say "yes, I will accept, and when you were testifying to me, I DID feel something." They will thank us and generations to come will praise our name. He was very emotional when he said it. I hugged Sister Weng after the conference and told her he was talking to her and she cried a lot. It's hard not to see fruit from your constant testifying. Sometimes you just put your whole heart into testifying to that person on the scooter and you just don't know how they still chuck your pamphlet in their scooter cup holder and ride away. What he said increased my desire and motivation a lot.
-He told us to be our first and strongest convert.
-Then! So cool!! He gave us an "Apostolic Blessing" and promised if we worked hard and did our best that we would receive "physical, emotional, mental and spiritual blessings beyond comprehension. That our families at home will be blessed, even things we worry about. That family problems will find satisfactory solutions." So cool.

Wow, his talk was just so good. So amazing. It's interesting, Elder Christofferson had a lot of power when we listened to him last month, but there is something special about being in the office of the First Presidency. President Uchtdorf spoke with A LOT of power. That night he spoke to member of all of Taiwan in a huge auditorium. He told them something similar, that they would be "praised by future generations for establishing the kingdom in this part of the world." They were laying the foundation, etc. He said great things were coming for future generations. It was neat because as he said that, I looked around at the rows of members above me and there were a ton of really old people who I recognized as temple workers and Stake Patriarchs. They were the originals when the Church first came to Taiwan. It was so touching and amazing! They are the pioneers. Several of those people are in our wards that we serve in so I am going to try to muster out a letter to them and thank them for being so cool basically.

Anyway, life is so good. Today we're hopefully going to rest a little bit, go to a chocolate factory (haha) and eat dinner at a little restaurant called "Nicole's Naked Coffee". Haha. (The name is deceiving....there is nothing naked and they have much more than coffee). It's actually a really pretty place with pretty gardens and stuff. And it's called Nicole's! :DI love you my wonderful family!!! I really do!! I miss you and can't wait to see you again and play games and make delicious food with you and go on walks and all sorts of stuff!! Love you!!!

Coley

Nicole's Companion

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Saving Dogs

HiFamily!

Thank you all for your emails!! I was so happy to get them!

Taoyuan is still good! We are teaching an amazing girl named Heidi. She's 28 and speaks English really well. She is pretty much the golden investigator. She already knows half the ward because she tutored their kids in English. She promised she would go to church every week, and she bought a skirt because she felt like she should dress nice when she meets us. She said every time she prays, reads the Book of Mormon and goes to church, she has a special feeling. We explained that was the Spirit. Then we taught her about repentance and baptism and how we commit to keep the commandments. She said "Yes, you've told me about commandments. Can you just teach them all to me? I don't know what I'm doing wrong until you teach me. I will do everything you ask me to do." My companion and I joked that never again in our life will we ever have someone tell us they will do everything we ask them to. She's really amazing. She set a baptismal date for August 7. She has quit coffee. She's sooooo good!!

We are also teaching a little family, Shandi and her 2 kids Ryan and Katie. Heavenly Father loves us because she also speaks really good English. Haha. She is really neat. She was doubting the need for another God because she is VERY religiously Buddhist. But this week she's been saying she doesn't like going to the Buddhist temple because she feels guilty like she's betraying God. And she said whenever she goes to the temple to "bai bai" it doesn't work, but praying works, and works fast! She's really neat and really a good person. We're excited for her.

This week was a little stressful. I don't know...there are a lot of sisters going home next transfer and there aren't many other sisters over me, so people keep saying there's a possibility me and others me "age" will go senior next transfer or the transfer afterwards. That would be fun and all, but being senior is so much more stressful than being junior. I've been so paranoid this week about how I'm doing as a missionary because I feel like I have to know everything now. We'll see.

So we had a really funny experience yesterday! We were biking to a teaching appointment at the church when I saw a stray dog trying to claw his way out of a little irrigation ditch. The ditches have little concreted walls that rise about a foot and a half about the water (which is about a foot deep.) There's no incline for the dog to use to climb out. He started barking frantically when we biked fast, so I was pretty sure he was stuck and couldn't get out. We didn't have time and I didn't want to get clawed to death helping him out [see Lady Hawke] so I just said a prayer in my head that the poor dog would get out somehow. About an hour and a half later, we were biking back the other way and I glanced at the ditch to make sure he'd gotten out. The poor dog was just standing there in the ditch, his pitiful white head and top of his back showing above the BLACK disgusting water. I felt so bad, we stopped and tried to cheer the dog on to jump out. We encouraged him to jump up the side and he just gave us this look like "don't you know I've tried that already?" He looked so sad, defeated and hopeless. It was so hot he probably had heat exhaustion. So we said a little prayer and my companion knelt down and lifted his belly out of the water and I grabbed his front paws and we yanked him out of the canal. Half his body was dyed black from the grime and he had leaches all over him. He pitifully hobbled away, without any thanks at all. But we were glad we saved his life. Haha. But I learned that sometimes we pray and think "Heavenly Father, please help such and such will go well." But just because you prayed for it, he won't take away dirty work you don't want to do. For instance, I REALLY wanted the dog out of that ditch, but I REALLY didn't want to touch him or the water, so I prayed A LOT. But I don't think God will answer prayers that we make only because we're lazy or don't want to do something ourselves. Haha.

I saw a spider the size of my hand the other day. So gross!!! They are fast too.

I love you all! The Church is true! Keep living the gospel and you'll have peace and joy and life really will have more purpose. I love this gospel!

Wuv, Poohface

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Monsoon Season

Hello!

Thank you all for the emails!! That made me soooo happy!!

This week was fun. Much different from what I expected, missions have their own "culture". A part of that strange culture, is "move calls" and all the talk that is included with that. My last district had what's called "Move Call Madness" where everyone guesses where the missionaries in the district will move to. Then for the first time I heard the phrase "Transfer Trunky" which means exactly what it sounds like...being really anxious and lazy for the coming move call. So strange, but I find myself getting sucked into this funny, strange culture too. So much of your little experience as a missionary depends on your area and your companion. It's really interesting. Anyway, so we had our interviews with the President this week. It pretty much led to my companion and I guessing WAY too much about move calls in a couple weeks. It's interesting, this mission is getting LESS and LESS missionaries. Makes me so sad! Next transfer 8 sisters and a bunch more Elders are going home and the ONLY missionary coming in, is 1 sister! Sad! This is leading to areas being closed, or areas having less missionaries, etc. Anyway, from interviews, we know that something will change in Taoyuan next transfer...either our area will close, the Elder's area will close, we'll serve over 4 wards instead of 2 wards...it's all unnecessary to think and guess about, but the change will be interesting, that's all. Not only that, but with so many older sisters going out, us newbies will go senior sooner. NO!! My stress-free days are soon coming to an end. Fun ends when you're senior, I feel. Anyway, unimportant, unimportant.

There was a monsoon yesterday!! And apparently there will be one everyday this week. Pretty much, it gets super hot in the day then when it approaches evening, the heavens open and we are DUMPED on! Last night the water was so high in some places that we were biking through WAVES created by cars. The lakes in the intersections were almost halfway up our bike tires. SO wet!! I'll take a picture next time.

We're teaching some really cute little girls. Yu Wen is 15 and Pei Yi, her little sister, is 12. They also bring their little 6 year old sister Jia Long. SO CUTE!! They all go home and read the Book of Mormon and the 3 of them pray together. The 2 older sisters set a baptismal date but their dad said it was too quick. Which is fine, I can understand that. I'm excited. They are really sweet. Oh yeah, and I contacted a dude on a motor cycle at a stop light the other day and he's been going to church and meeting with the elders! Maybe this is an obvious dream, but I've always wanted to contact someone on the street that was eventually a super strong member. So cool.

So I never wanted to serve a visitor's center mission, but I get the opportunity a couple days a month and it's not too bad! All the sisters in the mission who live close enough to Taibei take turns giving people "temple tours". They give them little tours using paintings and videos in the chapel next to the Taibei temple, the give them a little intro to temples. I was pretty nervous at first, but they are actually kind of fun. And there's a lot of Spirit when it's a one time encounter. It has kind of a Temple Square feeling, which is pretty special.

This week I've been called to repentance a little bit. We are teaching about 6 people who ALL have concerns with the Word of Wisdom when we taught them this week. I kind of get frustrated when people "disappear" after we teach WOW and wonder why something so small as something you drink would scare someone away from the church. But then I realized one day, as I was eating a bagel, that I am a hypocrite! Haha. Why is it SO hard for me to stay gluten free for longer than a month?? I get soooo tempted by delicious bready things! Then I feel like GARBAGE and can't feel the spirit (which is why we follow the word of wisdom anyway, right?) and am treating my precious gift of a body badly. So I realized, the higher law of the word of wisdom is to protect your body and keep it healthy. But the thing with that, is that all our bodies are different. Mine gives me horrible stinky farts and a fat gut when I eat wheat...haha. So I decided that I will be better and obey my own little word of wisdom and I made a promise to Heavenly Father that I will not intentionally eat gluten the rest of my mission. I think that if I'M better about this, it will help investigators too. Haha, really funny though. We were "qing-ed chi" for lunch the other day by a member "Su Mama". She was all "Oh, you can eat just a little! Like little kids with Mango allergies will be itchy for a little bit, but if you keep forcing them to eat it, they grow out of it!" (all the while I'm feeling so sad for her children.) I insisted that I couldn't. I felt SO sick after lunch and I'm thinking she told the waiter to put a little soy sauce in the food to "ease" me into it. Then afterwards she bought me this little bread thing made mostly of rice flour but partly of wheat flour. She lectured me again then I finally just ate it to make her stop. I was way sick. Then yesterday she asked my companion at church how I felt after eating it and my companion (so Su Mama didn't feel bad) said "oh she felt fine!" and Su mama said "I knew it! Next time, I'll have her eat noodles!" Grr...I'm never eating with her again. Haha, she'll sneak poison in my food! Really, she was the funniest sweetest lady. But eating with her was dangerous. Haha.

I can't remember if I told you about our name. One time in Zhubei I told a little kid my name was sister Dowdle and he said "Doedoe?" Which means "zit". So now I have a few people calling me Sister DoeDoe. It's funny.

Anyway, I really love you all!!

Coley

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Killer Railroads

Hi Family!

I hope everything is good with everyone. How's school, work, etc? When is school out for the summer for all the chillins? Any fun vacations planned? How's looking for jobs and all your current jobs and all that fun good stuff? Let me know how you all are doing!! I'm sorry I'm not very good at personal letters. I'll try to do better.

This week has been really good. I'm used to Taoyuan and Bade and really like it now. Sister Messenger and I have a good time. We had some miracles. It's interesting, I think this area is a little more open to the gospel than Zhubei. I heard Zhubei was a "rough area" but never believed it while I was there because it was my first area and stuff. But now being in Taoyuan, I believe it. I feel like everyone is ready for the gospel here. We had a neat little miracle the other day. We wanted to find a former investigator who seemed to be pretty good back when she was being taught, but the missionaries stopped visiting because her husband opposed. So we were expecting her to be pretty good still. But when we got there she was kind of rude and said she didn't need it and don't stumble on the way out pretty much. But we figured Heavenly Father put us in her neighborhood to find someone else. So little miracles and inspiration got us inside this apartment building. We didn't have much time because we had an appointment so Sister Messenger just pushed the elevator button for the 3rd floor and we knocked on the first door. It was a pregnant woman whose family was Catholic and husband is Jehovah's Witness but doesn't know what church is true. We taught her a first lesson and she seems like she really wants to know what's true. It was really perfect. It was the first and only door we knocked on and it was totally inspiration. Really neat. We also were given a referral for a 15 year old girl who was interested in the church. She came to the first lesson with her 12 year old sister and the second lesson with the cutest, squishiest little 6 year old Sister. She was SOOO cute!!! Those girls are sooo sweet. They have already prayed and read and want to be baptized but their Dad said they have to wait until they are more sure.

Hahaha, so one really fun thing about my companionship with Sister Messenger is that our Chinese is probably very close in ability. It's good because it helps motivate us both and we've learned some stuff together, which is always fun. I've always wanted to learn Chinese WITH my companion. So the fun thing is, that sometimes we make really hilarious little mistakes. I have to tell you about a little language error in a lesson the other day. We were teaching the Word of Wisdom and used a little "parable" or whatever with a paper crane. In the little parable, one companion with give an awesome little paper crane to the other with the charge that they should protect it and take care of it (like our bodies). Then the other person will show the crane to everyone and say, "look! Look at my little bird! It's special. God gave it to me. etc." So the word for "bird" in Chinese is "niao", but the word for "brain" is "nao" which is easily confused. So Sister Messenger ended up saying in the lesson, "Look! Look at my little brain! It's special. God gave it to me." The little kids we were teaching were laughing so hard. It was hilarious!!

This week the rain went away, which is nice. But it was replaced by intense HEAT. It's SO hot!!! Not to mention SO humid!! So with it being like a million degrees and 100% humidity I feel like I'm getting boiled alive. It wouldn't be so bad if we didn't bike so much. We end up being wet where our backpacks were, so we have a "sweat backpack". It's gross. Then we take our helmets off and look like wilted rats. I need to drink A LOT of water. It's easy to feel light headed and nauseated and get headaches and stuff. Yesterday was "xinku" or rough. We had to go back and forth between the two wards we oversee, and the two chapels are an hour apart. Ugh. It was soooo hot too. It was bad too because the ride is so long that we accidentally stood up one of our appointments! She reset up, but still. It's so hot, and apparently it will only get hotter.

Oh! Something kind of creepy happened the other day! We were all in district meeting when this loud siren went off outside. It was an air raid siren! No one was hitting the ground, so I tried not to freak out, but I was way scared! It was just a drill, so it was nothing. But still! Creepy!! It reminded me off Iron Giant or something. "When that bomb comes down...everyone will die." "You are who you choose to be." "SoooooperMaaaaaaan." Haha. But I guess the mayor just decides when they have those little drills and stuff.

The other day I got really creeped out while I was biking. You know that music that plays in horror movies when someone is behind someone with knife or something? It's like shrill violins and goes "dun! dun! dun! dun! dun!" Well, I all of the sudden heard THAT music, really loud! A car and a few scooters were nearby so I almost peed my pants. I thought they were playing the music and going to kill me or something. But it ended up being the railroad crossing alarm. Haha!! I was SO scared!! Hahahaha.

We are teaching (or trying to teach) a couple really cute South African kids. Their mom is from South Africa but married a Taiwanese man and has lived in Taiwan for 20 years. Her name is Dorothy. She divorced the Taiwanese man so she really wants to move back to Africa. She's a member, but less active. The ward loves her so we're trying to get her back to church and get her little kids baptized. The kids are SOO cute!! They are like a bunch of little Tiger Woods all over the place (get it? Asian/African...that's so racist.) They have the most precious curly hair and their beautiful dark eyes are a little slanty. They're adorable.

So there is definitely a plus with Taoyuan by the way...they aren't jerky to me about my Chinese. I have gotten more compliments on my Chinese in the past week than I did in 2 transfers in Zhubei. It certainly is confidence building. Maybe I don't stink that bad after all?

So our plans for preparation day today is to go to a CHOCOLATE FACTORY! Haha. We're so excited. We want to see real-live oompa loompas.

My spiritual thought for the day comes from the Book of Acts. I found this today and thought it was hilarious!! It's pretty much saying what happens when someone works unworthily or without proper authority in the name of Jesus Christ:
Acts 19:13-16
"13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, 'We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.'
14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chieft of the priests, which did so.
15 And the evil spirit answered and said, '[Wait a second], JESUS I know, and PAUL I know; but who are YE?'
16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded."

I don't know why, I think it's kind of funny.

Anyway, I love you!! I hope everything is going great at home! I always pray for you all!

Nicole

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Wet Rat Sisters

Hi Family!!

Things in Taoyuan are good! I love my companion Sister Messenger. She's a lot of fun and has a cute little laugh. She comes from a very interesting background and I really respect her a lot. This is her first time being Senior companion, so we're figuring things out together. She's awesome. I wonder how I've been so lucky with companions...sometimes I worry...my day is coming in which I will get the crazy companion. Haha. Maybe I'M the crazy companion!! Haha. Anyway, Sister Messenger is from Washington and is also 23. She's alot of fun. When I moved, my bike came a day late, so we got around Taoyuan with me sitting on the metal thing on the back of her bike. It was so funny!! It bruised my bum like crazy and Sister Messenger had to pedal a heavy 120 lbs+ load but it was sooooo fun!! We got a big kick out of it. I'm sure the Taiwanese did too. I could only get on the bike by making a running jump onto it while it was moving. So when we came to an intersection, the people waiting for the red light saw 2 foreigner missionaries --1 of them pedaling like crazy with another one running after her, making a leaping jump onto her bike. It was so funny. She got a flat tire later in the week...too much stress on the tire I'm sure.

It's been raining like CRAZY!! I HATE rain! Actually, I like it, but I just hate being a missionary in the rain. Wearing a skirt and biking in a total downpour is pure misery. And I have a lot of pride so I hate wearing the "yoo-ees" they have here and it's too hot to wear my raincoat. Yoo ees are big rain ponchos. I HATE them. They always ride up so your skirt gets soaked anyway and they are hot so you sweat and get just as wet on the inside. But everyone is telling me the acid rain is going to make my hair fall out and give me skin rashes if I don't start wearing them. Ugh. There are some better yoo ees that are more like windbreakers with pants that I can stuff my skirt into, but I don't have the money. The yoo ee I have smells like fish. Haha. I need to wash it. I came to church wearing pants because I would rather ride an hour in soaking pants then change into a dry skirt for sacrament than sit in sacrament in a sopping wet skirt. Some member women were mortified to see a Sister Missionary in pants when I walked in. Hahahaha.

So we've had some really good times in Yaoyuan, but it's been a little hard too. I've heard it's hard for a lot of missionaries to leave their first area. You just finally get over culture shock and love your first area, then you're quickly booted out. Whenever I feel out of my element, my old enemy perfectionism comes back with full force. Then I learn to overcome and it's all good. There is a trend, it seems, that every transfer when a new missionary comes in, current investigators in that area "die" or stop meeting with you. So right now we don't have a whole ton of people to teach. On top of that, the Elders are supposed to give women to the Sisters to teach and we give them men, but I guess in this area the Elders don't like to do that. So we don't get many female referrals. I've been praying a lot for us to find people to teach. We've been contacting at every light and I've been going crazy wondering WHAT I'm doing so wrong that makes it so hard to find people. I was having a REALLY hard couple days just not knowing what it takes to bring people unto Christ. But I think Heavenly Father isn't such a harsh being as to let us go crazy without helping us. For example, after those hard couple days, I had a cool experience at a stop light. All I said was "Hello, I'm Sister Dowdle. I have a message about the gospel of Jesus Christ" then the kid on the scooter said "Mormon??" I said, "yeah!" then he pulled over and gave me his name and number and said he'd come to church. I called him the next day and he said "yes yes!! I really want to meet! When?" I said that night and he said yes, he was even willing to drive an hour. He actually ended up having his grandparents come in town unexpectedly so he had to change times. But then I asked him if he knew anything about our church and he said, "oh yes! I just went to Mormon.org, the website on the pamphlet!" This guy is really awesome and genuine. It's a miracle! It's cool because my contacting approach kind of stunk but when someone is prepared to receive the gospel, it doesn't really matter what you say.

Like I said, this past week has been really hard. I just feel like a bad missionary sometimes. Then I wonder if I'm good enough to be out here and wonder what Heavenly Father feels about my work and me. Does He really love me? Even when I make mistakes, like lose an opportunity to talk to someone, don't go to bed exactly on time, get mad at jerky people, fall asleep in sacrament, etc. I was just feeling unworthy and frustrated this morning and prayed before personal study that I would study something that would help me and someone else. I decided that I'd read Moses that day, since I've actually never read the Pearl of Great Price. I really LOVE it! I really feel like it was an answer to my prayer. I read Chapter 1 of Moses. In Moses 1, God is talking with Moses face to face. Over and over, he tells Moses who Moses is. It's so beautiful and loving. God calls him "His son" (vs 4, 6, 7) and says that Moses is "in the similitude of mine Only Begotten" (v 6) or in other words, he is created after the image of a Perfect, Glorified, Wonderful Being. So in this rare opportunity Moses has to talk to God, God just tells him his infinite worth --a Son of God who was created in the same mold as a God. Then in verse 9 God leaves Moses and he (Moses) has no strength because he is "left unto himself" --a weak being who is the heir of and child of a God but inherited weaknesses of the flesh. Then he realizes that he himself had to be changed to a more glorified state to be able to behold the presence of God. Then! Satan comes. And the FIRST thing he says is: "Moses, thou Son of Man." So God just built Moses up, saying, "hey! You're the actual Son of a God and you're in the image of Jesus!" then Satan comes and says, "hey, you weak son of man." Then Moses is awesome and says "Who are YOU? I'M a Son of GOD, in the similitude of the Only Begotten." Then Moses tells Satan, "wait a second, God was SO full of glory, I had to be literally CHANGED to not wither and die in his presence. But I can talk to you like you were any old schmoe. Where is YOUR glory?" Then in verse 15 he says "I'm not as full of glory as God, BUT I have enough of the Spirit with me to know that you have NO glory. In fact, you are DARKNESS to me." Then Satan basically starts going crazy and gnashing his teeth and Moses gets really scared. But because Moses gets scared, his faith is slipping. Then AFTER his faith slips a little he sees "the bitterness of hell." But he then calls on God, receives strength and commands Satan to leave. WOW!! This whole chapter was amazing to me. This is what I take from it:

1. God will tell us who we are, and who we are is His children. We are the children of a GOD! We have GREAT potential, beyond more than we can EVER imagine.(1 Corinthians 2:9)

2. We are after the image of GOD.

3. Thoughts that bring light and hope are from God. These thoughts will generally be uplifting, encouraging, full of hope and a desire to be the best we can be. They are also thoughts that help us feel loved by God.

4. Satan will tear us down with the idea that we are WEAK and NOTHING and FAR from God.

5. Satan's enticements and temptations will give us a DARK feeling. We will feel like a "no one" with no potential and no way to change.

6. If we begin to doubt what God has told us (WHO we are) we will lose our faith and Satan will have more power over us and we will "see the bitterness of hell."

7. No matter what BAD situation we are in, like standing face to face with Satan, if we call on God, he will give us the strength to withstand and be successful against the devil.
SOOOO AMAZING! I encourage you all to read it. So amazing.

Anyway, everything is so good. It's raining right now, of course. But we are going to have a good preparation day. A member is taking us to a "Chi Dao Bao" or "Eat Until Full" restaurant (basically, all you can eat buffet). Yes, I'm trying to eat gluten free still. It gets hard sometimes though. Like last night we went to a ward Young Single Adult FHE with an investigator and the hostess made noodles. I told her no thank you, I was allergic. She told me not to worry, and she came out with specially-made-for-me breaded french fries. Ugh. Ha, oh well. The Chinese food is still so good.

Anyway, I love you all!! Email me when you get the chance! I always love hearing from you! Thank you for letters and emails!!

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