Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Family! I love you all so much! Can't wait to talk to you. Thank you for all your efforts to make things special in the mission field and for all your love and support. It really made the difference this week for me and my companion. I finally had time to put up the door Christmas tree. It was more than wonderful and makes me smile every time I see it. I think it is the best Christmas tree I have ever had. Everytime I see it it is a wonderful reminder of Christ and of all the loved ones at home supporting me and all the other missionaries.
I am a tiny bit sad because we still don't have speakers for my CD player so we haven't got to enjoy the CDs but it's ok... I will still listen to the Christmas ones after Christmas. Taiwan really doesn't celebrate it much.. even my companion. Her family doesn't really... I think it is so easy to lose the real meaning of Christmas. They compare it to Chinese New Years, but there is really nothing that can compare to Christmas. I know it is because the spirit is so strong during this holiday as we celebrate Christ's birth.
We had a zone conference, a Christmas activity in my ward, and caroling in my ward. All of these activities were so focused on Christ People don't even really know about Santa, but the connector between cultures is Christ. No matter who celebrates what we can all honor Christ and His wonderful birth. It really helped me have so much peace and joy this Christmas season. This Christmas I am so happy to be showing the lord that I really am giving Him the best gift I could. I am giving Him my hands, my will, and my heart. I am a tool in His hands everyday. This isn't something that we can just do on missions though. I would encourage everyone (if they haven't already) Find a special gift you can give to Christ. I know for me there were many things I loved that I gave up to be here. What are you willing to give up for Christ?
This week my companion and I played a game with some members. She had pictures of different things like water, food, scriptures, clothes, electronics, family, etc. She would lay down two and they had to choose what was more important. They were usually always left with family. Then she would put down a picture of the savior. It was interesting to see what people would choose. Many chose their family. I can testify, just as my companion did that all those things are important, but Christ is most important. If we choose Him we cannot go wrong. He gave us all those things. The great thing is that if we choose Him he is more able to bless us with all the other things. I know I have seen that since being on a mission. In a very realistic sense I chose my savior above all else. I feel so blessed and I know you have all seen many blessings in your lives that I think are a direct result of our service. The lord loves all of His children and I am grateful I can share just a bit of that love with everyone else. My goal is to be able to share a bit of the saviors love with the Taiwanese people because I will be like Him. I hope we can all work towards this goal! Merry Christmas everyone. My heart is with you today and while you are spending time in all the fun of Christmas remember your missionaries all over the world. This Christmas I will be teaching two different families about the savior, I will be contacting and tracting to teach people how to pray, what the Book of Mormon means in my life. This is the best Christmas I could every ask for! What greater gift could we give than the gospel that so blesses all our families! Jia you :) wo ai nimen!!!
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
|Sara and MTC Companion arrived in Taipei on Dec 13!|
We got a call from her to say she arrived safely!
We were able to talk to her from SLC airport before she flew out
and during a layover in Seattle. Happy Day!!
|A quick tour of the city!|
|New Taipei Missionaries with the Mission President|
6 Natives and 6 from the USA
|Sara welcomed by a sister missionary |
from our neighborhood
who had been there since April
Sorry mom I literally have two minutes left :(
Time went by so quickly, but I just want to tell you all I am doing great. I am in the Neihu area. It is named after the two great lakes that are here. It is really beautiful and fairly warm here still. I am about 45 min away from the temple and mission office. It is great. My companion is a native from Taichung. She is so great. This is her first time training and 3rd time with a foreign companion. She has taken such great care of me though I can tell this is a very different experience for her. I was so exhausted mentally from translating all day, but it is definitely getting better. The Lord has been helping me so so much!!! I am so glad to be here. My companion is named sister T.. and she is great!
I meant to send the first part earlier today, but my time cut out on the computer... I had to buy another hour. I just wanted to let ya know that though we have an hour now we have to use that time to write our branch pres too, so I don't really have any more time at all and for some reason I had a bunch of email updates from other missionaries. I can't email them back, but anyways I will figure out how to use my hour better next time... My companion and I agreed it was better to send something today then wait a whole week cuz I knew you would be worried. Oh I also wanted to ask you to email before 4pm on Sunday too because I will be getting on email really early in the morning on P-day. If I hadn't got back on I wouldn't have received your emails. We can also set up times to call 12-? our time on the 25th or same time on the 26th. I forwarded the email on that said the times I think. Let me know when you would prefer with the time changes and everything and I will try and work something out with my companion.
|Wen Jie mei in front of the Church in her new area|
|Her companion, investigator, and |
some members at a nativity activity.
Sorry I can't write more... my email time is already over :( but I will definitely have a letter on it's way to you and Matthew too :)
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Good Morning family!!!
Well, the fortune cookies were a hit with my entire district. We all ate them together and read each other our fortunes. The back also has Chinese words, so that was fun! Elder Riff has never actually had a fortune cookie before so he was really excited. I gave him the extra one. He is from France and I guess they don't really have them in his town of Straussberg. Ha ha anyways the decorations are also great! I am saving them for Taiwan though and I'm bringing the paper and stuff too just in case. The quotes you have been sending me are on a quote wall in our classroom. Everyone loves them! I am leaving them in the MTC for future generations to enjoy. The CD's came at the perfect time!!! We have been listening to them in our classroom and it has really helped us have the Christmas cheer! Sooo great :) Everyone loves your packages because they know not only will I get great stuff, but they will probably get to enjoy some as well. I have a lot of room in my bags currently so I'm planning on bringing the heat blanket, but I'm sending a lot of stuff home! I hope that's ok!
Mom you are so great - thank you for all the advice. Cool story of the week. So I also have a testimony of these specific prayers. I know as we have prayed for specific things it has really helped us receive revelation and obtain blessings. I guess we hadn't communicated this to our investigators well yet though. One of them told us he didn't know how he could see God blessing his life. Immediately your words popped into my head. I encouraged him to pray for more specific things. That allowed him to more be able to see the blessings and the Lord to bless his family with more specific things like peace, or patience.... It was a cool experience. I'm not positive yet, but I think he will have seen a lot more specific blessings in his life. Kneeling, audible prayers are also so much more powerful, so thank you for the advice!
Dad I love you as always and I hope all is well at home. Let me know how everything at work is going!!! I love you and I appreciate all your letters and words of wisdom. I can't wait for the day we can all share mission stories. It makes me realize I wish I would have asked you and grandpa more about your missions! You should try and share that more with Daniel and Bryanna. It is kind of funny what we find interesting and funny, but I can't wait to hear more about them!
Woot woot on my way to Taiwan tomorrow. Can't wait to hear your voices. I will try and speak some Chinese to you. I actually had to give a talk in sacrament meeting yesterday about "chishou daodi"(Enduring to the End) It was only 5 min. It was pretty great though I enjoyed it... though my grammar went out the window! ha ha anyways the BYU men's chorus also sang to us and I saw Aaron Bush and Tyler Marlar, so you can give a shout out to them for me! I wished I could have said hi, but the choir was soo great! I also saw Jackie Dizon and Marc Malari and Jory Hanes- Lane, John, Keala and Hawaii friends from freshman year would appreciate that. Shez Hanneman is also here which steph and liz would appreciate that. Thanks for the updates on friends too btw! I loved it so so much!!! Oh and Steve Wade is also a Korean teacher here and I see him like everyday. Sooo crazy and cool! Anyways gotta go, but I love you all!
Wen Jie Mei (Sara)
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
It sings because it has a song.
Well, I first need to warn you that I don't have much time to write about my week here or in my letter home. Today is our last P-day before we leave, so we are trying to accomplish a lot of things to start preparing us for Taiwan. It is a little scary, but very exciting! We officially got our travel plans and will be leaving Next Tues. Morning at 5am. We have a 3 hour layover in Seattle around 9:45am-12:50pm I will try and give you a call sometime in that 3 hour span. I'm guessing maybe 10:30ish. I'm so excited that I will be able to talk with you! I hope you can work things out so I can talk to a few of you. I may also have time in the morning, but I'm not sure. If I do, it will be around 6 or 6:30 I believe.
So for a quick update on this week. This week was a difficult one. We had two of our elders leave for their missions the past two days. We have all come to think of each other as family, so it was a little sad. I am so excited for them to serve and it makes everything a bit more real for us now too. It was hard for our class though. They were stressed with packing and everyone was a bit unfocused. I definitely tried my hardest, but progression wasn't as great as some weeks have been. I have noticed a cool little shift though. I think in Chinese a lot more often now and when I talk about spiritual things, the Chinese words often comes to my mind first. It is kind of a cool experience. Sometimes it is so strange to me that I am actually speaking Chinese. I am just starting to look into characters though, so I have a very long way to go!
I also decided that the two day goal of SYL(speak your language) wasn't quite great enough, so I am going to personally try and do it tomorrow, Thurs , and Friday and Saturday It is going to be a bit tricky because we have an Thai sister with us a lot and we have to speak to each other in English. BTW you should tell Bobby and his wife to volunteer at TRC! Last week no one showed up to help the new Thai speakers practice so it was a bit sad for them. There are 5 of them right now and I'm sure they would love it! There's is on Saturdays at 3 or 4 o'clock. Also I think the new Japanese speakers may be having their first TRC this week... not positive, but probably. Anyways things are great in the MTC. It is such a cheerful atmosphere here and I can't even believe how much I have grown. I am so happy to be here and to be learning so much.
1 more week and Taiwan here I come!!! ^_^y
Wo ai nimen!!!
Sister Sara Gummow
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
God will help those who help themselves.Hey Family!
Sorry I didn't have time to write before 2 :( We ended up going to the temple and having lunch so it changed our schedule a bit. Two of our Elders are headed to France and Montreal this week, so we have been trying to spend time with them today on their last P-day in the MTC. It is going to be a sad last week in the MTC with only 4 of us left. We truly have become a little family and I am so glad that I was put in the district I was. I know the Lord definitely has a hand in organizing our districts and I feel so blessed every day.
This week has been great. It seems like ever since we had our little break through we have been planning and teaching so much better. My teachers even made the comment to my leaders how much my language has improved. I can attribute it to none other than the quickening power of the spirit. I have actually physically been able to feel it strengthening me. Remember how my setting apart said that it would be like I had the gift of tongues because I would be able to listen. I have seen that multiple times over the past few weeks. It is a strange sensation, but when there is something I NEED to hear to help them it is almost like there is a tunnel between us. Somehow I understand them perfectly and I know my Chinese is not good enough for that. Especially because they are speaking quickly and expressing feelings of their heart. It has been amazing!
Something else I just started this week is I have designated two SYL days a week where I only speak Chinese all day (unless there is some class thing we need to do in English). My days are on Monday and Thursday. I know I could use some extra help on those days for sure. Yesterday went really well and I helped my whole district SYL more because they will usually respond back to me in Chinese as well. It was a neat experience though I know there is Soooo much more I still need to learn. I can bear my testimony with confidence in Mandarin and that makes a huge difference!
Thanksgiving in the MTC was also great. Probably the only one I will spend with an apostle. Elder Holland came and spoke to us. He and his wife and family gave our devotional. They told us all that they adopted us for that day. It was very sweet. I was so touched by all of their testimonies and love of the gospel. I must admit... not the best food ever on that day, but I was definitely giving lots of thanks. Sorry I don't have a ton of pictures to send home... the excitement of taking pictures of all the same people I am always with is not quite there, so we don't take pictures quite as much anymore. We do have some fun ones of us on Thanksgiving night. We all got popcorn and were able to watch 17 miracles. It was really fun and a good change of pace. I must admit I love teaching so much now that it is hard for me to give up my teaching days for P-day and Holiday's, but I also realize that sometimes I am a bit of an extremist... ha ha I really am so grateful for the opportunity to serve a mission! I realize more and more everyday how special this opportunity is and how much I needed to change and become more like Christ. I know this experience isn't just for me though and that is why I am so excited to be heading to Taiwan in 2 weeks!!
It is so fun to hear about the missionaries there. It's pretty funny Elder Gummow already crashed on his bike... ha ha I am sure he will be fine though. I am so glad he is doing so great already and it sounds like the language is coming! I also said goodbye to Sister Braithwaite this week. That was a little sad, but she's been here for 14 weeks so I must admit I am so excited for her!! She is going to be an amazing missionary. Thank you so much for the Thanksgiving package and tell Sister Boren a huge thank you for the package with the primary stuff in it. I don't know if I mentioned it before, but it was so great! We were all laughing at the pictures and stuff and it truly brightened my week. We have the best ward ever is all I can say! I actually still don't know where Mikayla is going on her mission so pass on the info! ha ha I am so excited for all these girls going on missions. They are going to be soooo great! All of us in the MTC are getting excited for them to come.
Another fun fact of the MTC- they have adorable Christmas lights everywhere!!! It is so fun to walk around after dark and see all the lights they put up. They have decorations in most of the buildings. It is getting everyone very excited for Christmas. Christmas songs are also pretty much all that is being sung. We only get to sing them for a few months, so everyone gets really excited about singing new songs. It is kind of funny, but I love it. Another fun fact... sacrament meeting has 2 surprise talks from missionaries every week. They give us a topic and we all have to prepare and they call 2 random people in our branch every week. I still haven't been called, so for 10 ish weeks I have had to prepare talks every week! ha ha, but since we are constantly studying the gospel it's not a big deal... other than the fact I have to say it in Chinese... no big deal ^_^ ha ha I get a little bit terrified, but it's kind of fun. This week is fast Sunday though so I don't have to worry about that. Well I'm out of time! I love you all so much and am so grateful for your prayers, letters, and love! Bry -your letter made me especially happy!!! You are the greatest sister! Good luck in JR high crazy girl ;)
LOVE YOU ALL!!!
Wen Jiemei (Sister Sara Gummow)
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
A gem is not polished without rubbing,
nor a man perfected without trials.
In honor of Thanksgiving I wanted to make sure I have told everyone how much I really do appreciate all their service. I had a neat experience this week that reaffirmed to me the power of prayer. I was struggling a bit the last week to find what was missing in our lessons and how we could help our investigators progress... not to mention the language. I was kind of at a stand still, but on Wednesday I was sitting in class and I remember feeling a strength that filled my whole body. It was a different gift of the spirit than I have ever felt before. I felt like I had the energy, determination, and knowledge to do all the Lord required. I knew that it was because of the prayers in the temple for the missionaries and all the loved ones who have been praying in my behalf. I knew without a doubt that this was a gift of those prayers. Thank you all so much for your support of the missionaries. Oh how we need it! Sometimes we don't even realize how much those prayers carry us throughout the weeks.
I also wanted to thank Mom, Dad, Aimee and Ben, Daniel, and Bryanna for all their support. I know home must be a bit different without two children, but I know the Lord is grateful for our families small sacrifices. I am grateful for all the sacrifice and time you all spend writing letters, putting together packages, and working to make up for us not being around. I have loved every little thing. Mom and Dad it seems like you always know just what to say or send to help me improve and keep progressing. My whole district enjoys mom's treats. They all often thank "mama Gummow" for sending me so many good things for them to share. I LOVE the boots!!! They are adorable. I have had many compliments on them already and they keep me warm :) I am also so grateful for the oils!!! I don't know why, but they really do help me stay healthy and relax to fall asleep. Sometimes my mind does not have time to calm down by 10:30 and they always help. Funny story about the fruit snacks... so our investigator said her kids always get hungry at church so I gave her two of the packages to give them at church... ha ha they loved it and enjoyed church a lot more.
I also have to say a little bit about the miracles that have been happening to Bai Jei Mei and I this week. We were having a hard time teaching in unity, planning was taking forever, and our investigators weren't progressing. We decided we needed to change our focus - just as the *story mom shared with me about focusing on the Savior. Once we put the Savior as the focus of our lessons, not what commitment they wanted to keep or what doctrine to teach. When we were able to say; "How can we help them know their Savior?" How does this commitment help them know Jesus Christ? How does this doctrine teach of Christ?" we saw miracles occur! The spirit in the room as we taught was so strong that our investigators really wanted to receive baptism and know more of Christ. They were excited to meet with us and share their experiences with the spirit, and they were excited to hear our message because they could feel the power of the gospel. Both of our teachers were so impressed that they broke character after to make sure we realized how special these experiences were and to write it down. Bai Jei mei and I were so filled with joy about our investigators progress we could barely contain it. We have received so much inspired revelation as to how best to teach them and what they need to hear. I honestly cannot believe the turn around. We have so much to still learn, but we had such a special experience for being missionaries still at the MTC. We actually saw and felt the power of the spirit changing people's lives! I am so amazed. It gave me a little vision as to what the actual mission field will be like. I understand about the mantel that is placed on missionaries. Many of you may not have the opportunity of seeing this, but missionaries are given so much power! The Lord is truly with us and is our companion. It is an amazing gift! Once we can learn how to have our desires, our companions desires, and the Lords all in one line... there is no stopping missionary work!
Keep up the support and prayers and the missionaries will be fine. The Lord has different lessons for each of us to learn, but He is with us! I know He is protecting each of his missionaries. Even more than that he is protecting all his children. That is why we are out here,- that is why we sacrifice. We are his hands in bringing back His lost sheep. I am so grateful to all those who are trying in any way they can to help His work along. We need all the help we can get!!! Thank you all and here goes another week! Two more to go and then, Taiwan here I come!!! :)
Wen Jei Mei (Sister Sara Gummow)
* This is the experience I shared that Sara was referring to: This week after my Zumba class, I was talking to my friend, the instructor, who had taken some time off from teaching to train for the St. George marathon. I hadn't seen her for awhile and I asked her how the marathon went. Her reply wasn't the usual. She said that it had been one of the most spiritual moments of her life. She had several injuries prior to the race that were causing her great pain in her lower leg - even when she was not running and she wasn't sure if she would be able to participate in the marathon. The day of the race came and she decided to give it a try. So she took it slow and easy and continued to feel the pain for the first 7 miles. As she began the 8th mile, the sun began to rise. She saw people ahead of her and behind her. She began to be discouraged and wondered if she could finish the race. The thought came into her mind, as the sun peeped over the horizon, that she should just focus on Christ, His light, and forget all the rest. As she began to do that, she noticed how beautiful everything was around her and her soul began to fill with light. The pain began to disappear and she continued to race and was able to pick up the pace as well. She ran the rest of the race with joy and gladness, focusing on Christ, and having deep gratitude for the burdens he has lifted in her life. When she finished the race, she realized the pain had completely gone and has never felt the pain since.
That experience has really touched me and as I have shared it with others, they have related it to their own challenges and realized that that is what they need to do to. Stay focused on Christ and the other problems seem to melt away – they may not always disappear, but the joy and the light of Christ transcends the problems and makes them easier to overcome. I pray that you will not be distracted by the difficulties of learning a language or the sacrifices necessary to serve a mission or personality conflicts. Stay focused on Christ and his power and light and you will be able to rise above all of those challenges!
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
If you want happiness for a lifetime –
help the next generation.
Moral: The successes or failures of your children begin with you.
If you want happiness for a lifetime –
help the next generation.
Moral: The successes or failures of your children begin with you.
This week... Well it has been great! The good news is we aren't alone in our hallway anymore. We got new Mandarin missionaries in last Wednesday. They are still adjusting to missionary life, but I know they are working hard and will all be great missionaries. It has been really awesome for me. I didn't realize how much I truly find joy in serving and helping other people, but this week has been especially great because of this. We have had the opportunity to help them through their first few days and make sure they always know what is going on. It is nice because the things I remember being frustrated with we have helped them to kind of not worry about as much. Another great blessing to me has been our third companion Sister Davies. She is the Stott's cousin which is great and she is the greatest thing in the world. She has been such a light to us this week. She has been going through some crazy health problems since being here, but despite that and having NO other Thai missionaries in the MTC she always lifts others up. She has been a great example to me and helped me reach out to many people I would not have otherwise. We also got to go on another adventure outside the MTC to the doctors office. It was fun to be around some little kids and to talk to people other than missionaries and the branch Presidency.
|Saying "Good-bye" to Elder Gummow|
Thank you for all the updates from home. It is great to hear what is going on in everyone's lives and to know people still care. :) I know all the missionaries greatly appreciate it!!! You should see mail time... happiest time of the day :) Anyways to be honest... I have no idea what to write this week. I have had so many amazing experiences this week, but it is not always something I know how to explain. The MTC is a very great time for personal growth. I know I have been feeling that a lot this week. I can see the lord trying to shape me into a better person. I must admit I don't think I have ever been as tired as I was this week. I could definitely use some extra prayers this week for me, my companion, and sister davies. The closer our departure date gets the more I want to study and learn this language. I am going to need some definite help from above if I am to accomplish the lords will with my language and gospel knowledge.
Have a great week and my thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Wen jei mei (sister Sara Gummow)
Here are some pictures she sent this week -
|Before Elder Gummow departed for Taiwan|
|Elder and Sister Gummow with neighbor, Sis B.|
|Halloween at the MTC (I think)|
|Having fun with the glowsticks I sent|
|More Glowstick fun!|
We are putting together a paper Christmas Tree for Sister Sara Gummow!
We need your help!
If you could email a favorite scripture, quote, testimony or message to me (her mom) at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, I will print it and put it on a paper ornament that she will be able to decorate her tree with!
Please send it asap -
We are hoping to have it ready to send the day after Thanksgiving. Thanks for your help!!
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Learning is a treasure
that follows its wise owner everywhere
Week 7 of the MTC.. ha ha well I would have to agree with the missionaries that say the MTC gets better with time. First few weeks took some adjusting, but every week I have been here I have gained a new appreciation for something, not to mention how much I am learning and how fast I am learning it. It is so great! I got to do a bit of revamping goals this week and I feel like it is about the time my language will start progressing at a much faster rate. Mom you are the greatest. I know I have needed your extra sacrifice to help me keep up the enthusiasm and strength to learn all the time. I feel so greatly blessed by all the love and support I have received. Tell the Stotts "hi" from Kaytlyn Davies btw! She is their cousin who I am currently living with. She gets to be our companion for a week. She is a solo sister and it's in between times when she will have a new generation come in. There aren't very many Thai speaking missionaries apparently... but it is fun to be moved around a bit. For 2 weeks Bai Jei Mei and I were all alone in our room, but now they are doing some renovations and checks so we got a few hours warning that we were going to pack up and move rooms. Ha ha, it made the week a bit interesting. We also found out a few days later that we won't actually be staying in our rooms. We will be moving back up in 2 weeks so they can do the same check to the floor we are already on. It is kind of fun though - change of scenery and pace from everything else. There were 4 sisters in the room we moved into. They all leave this week except for Sister Davies who gets to be with us the rest of the time! We are stoked. :)
So besides the rooms changing not too much has changed this week. We have been pretty lonely in our hallway without any new Mandarin speakers. We did get some new Korean speakers to mix things up and are very excited for the new sisters to come in. There are 4 in this new group! There are 25 missionaries total and like 1/2 are going to Taipei. I am definitely missing my brother, but it has been so inspiring to hear about him and the others in the mission Field. I have been requested to ask for a few extra copies of his blog and updates about the other elders (mom they all LOVE you!). I shared them with the other districts and it has definitely brightened all of our days. Hearing from them makes our MTC experience have more meaning. We will actually be out serving soon and it will be amazing! It is also great for the teachers. I don't think they hear about their elders very often. His teacher, Brother Anderson, was so excited when I told him I had heard from him. I told him I would bring the letters and pictures tomorrow so he could read it as well. It is so great to hear about all the changes going on with missionary work. The Lord is truly hastening his work. We all feel strongly like China is on the verge of opening. I know this is why he called me to Taiwan to learn Mandarin Chinese. I want to help the Chinese people and I will continue to serve them long after I get home. There are a few families in China I know I have to bring the gospel to. I am grateful I will be able to share the message with them in Chinese. So question to the world... and my mom... I have been hearing some crazy rumors about people getting their mission calls saying that they will serve in Taiwan until China opens... I feel like this can't be real, but I keep hearing it! Does anyone know if this is true? If it is, that means China is a lot closer than I originally thought. Either way we should all be preparing to share the gospel in anyway we can. I have been so impressed at our home stake and it's emphasis on missionary work. We are so blessed by the members!!!
The MTC has taught me so much about the gospel and about my own conversion. I think this is the greatest lesson they try and teach us here. They want us to find the simple truths of the gospel, how it has helped our lives, and ask ourselves why would anyone give up so much for something? I may not know all the answers, but I have felt the spirit bearing testimony to the truths of the gospel over and over. There is so much power in God's words. I hope everyone can feel this power. It is not large or loud... it is a simple quiet thought or feeling, but something that makes the joy of eating your favorite food or playing your favorite sport seem small in comparison. I understand why missionaries are so happy all the time. It's not just because they are always on display. The more you feel the spirit in your life, the more you are able to feel God's love, and the more you want to share this love and joy with the world. I have never been in an environment so focused on other people and the spirit in all I do. It is AMAZING. Any girl even contemplating going on a mission should know this. It is so hard, but the spirit you feel here, the things you learn, and the lives I know we will change make all the sacrifices worth it. The Lord truly needs his missionaries!
Family!!! I love you so much. I can't believe how much the Lord is blessing you all already. Your strength is amazing! I could not be more grateful. Dad your wise words are always just what I need to hear. I hope your test went well!!! Mom, thank you for your constant care. You are so thoughtful and send me the best updates on friends, missionaries, and everything else I could possibly think of. Daniel, I hope the teenage years aren't tearing you up to much. They are hard for a reason, but if you stay close to your brother, Jesus Christ and you Heavenly Father, you will make it through and learn so much from the experiences! Bryanna, keep up your bright smile and joy in life - ok? I think the next few years can be the best in your life if you decide to make them that way. You always have me as a cheerleader. I honestly think you both are the coolest siblings ever!!! Matt... if you read this email :) I love serving a mission with you! You are a great example to me and I miss you, but like Alma says I am glad you and I are still serving the Lord. Our reunion will be the most joyous thing ever! Aimee and Ben, thank you! You are both supportive and I miss you both. Send me pics of your cute puppy soon K? Everyone really enjoyed the bread you gave me. I shared it around and everyone was grateful. You are the greatest sister ever!!!
Well time is up so I better get going, but I love you all and I will keep working hard. Press forward!!!
Wen Jie Mei (Sister Sara Gummow)
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
A truly great man never puts away the simplicity of a child.
Moral: When we are teachable,
our humility enables us to grow and to ride the crest of greatness and spirituality.
So this week has been interesting... which is interesting in itself since I have the exact same schedule every week. Well, we got a new investigator. We are now teaching 3. 2 of them are our teachers/ investigators that they taught on their missions and one is another missionary. I have truly been able to see the benefits of role-playing from an investigator and missionary standpoint. They are very important in formulating thoughts and understanding what an investigator may feel when you teach them. Being in the MTC has been a great chance for me to experience things for the first time that I have taken for granted my whole life. For example, I never realized how special that spirit is that you feel when you walk into a chapel, or the revelation that is so easily gained at church. I never read 1st Nephi from the perspective of having no idea who the Nephites were or what the Book of Mormon is about. I was able to see how amazing the gift of the Holy Ghost is and how only a little faith is required to make that first step. I mean - I had no idea what everything meant when I was baptized. Our investigators don't have to know everything right now either. The sooner they can experience that cleansing power of baptism and the special spirit they receive, the better they will be able to understand everything else we learn over many years at church. It has been an amazing and eye opening experience for me to be here!
|Two generations of Mandarin -Speaking Missionaries|
|Fall at the MTC|
My difficult story of the week actually involves one of my investigators/ teacher. They do a good job at being separate people, but sometimes things cross over. I am not positive how much my teacher loves me, but I am working on understanding this better. Unfortunately, some of these personal problems have translated over into our lessons and caused a bit of a scheduling mix up. We scheduled an appointment on the board and they thought it was the other elders because we didn't sign our names. Therefore, when we went to teach, our investigator was tired and didn't really want us to come in. Luckily, we were prepared. I had to pray with all my might to let the hurt feelings go. I knew my teacher thought that we were not doing what we were supposed to and therefore our investigator wasn't open to us. I also realize that miscommunication happens all the time in real life. My amazing companion helped me pray and we talked about how we could overcome this wall. We ended up singing "I am a Child of God" in Chinese and it was really a special moment. We let our investigator know of our concern for her and how we wanted to help her. I know the lord helped me overcome my own feelings of hurt and he can help anyone let those feelings go if we just ask. This is the miracle of the atonement!
|Siblings serving in both Taiwan missions|
Elder Gummow sends his love and I hope you were able to have a good conversation with him. (The Elders in this picture all left for Taiwan today and I (mom) was able to talk to Elder Gummow on the phone for 15 min this morning!)
I also wanted to say Happy Birthday to all the October birthdays!!! Kaitlin, David, Jared... I got to see Megan, but anyways Happy Happy Birthday!!! I wish I could have been there :) You are all super great! David and Brandon... welcome home!!! I hope you are adjusting well :)
Sister Sara Gummow
PS. In her written letter this week she said to say a special "thank-you" to Sis Jensen who has been sending treats every other week. Thank you!!
|The Banana that keeps life entertaining at the MTC|
|A treat from someone who loves them!|
|The had a fire alarm go off early one Sunday morning|
and ended up outside at 6am
|Roommates for 3 weeks!|
|Enjoying Pumpkin Bread sent by Aimee|
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Great souls have wills;
feeble ones have only wishes
Moral: Do something great,
don’t just dream about it.
Another crazy thing that happened was on our way to lunch, Bai Jei Mei (Sister B.) and I got stopped by a man who wanted us to say something in Mandarin to be on some commercial in the Netherlands... unfortunately he asked us if there were any girls who had been there longer. We decided the older generation girls deserved to be on TV... and they can speak much better than we can. It was cool anyway.
Our district is fantastic and we have a lot of fun times together. The most recent random joke going around is Li Zhonglao (Elder R.) likes bananas and they always draw little faces on them. So whenever we happen to have an extra banana or something we draw a face on it... give it a name and leave it on someones desk. Yep... weird! ha ha but these are the things that keep us entertained during class.... without these distractions crazy things happen... for example yesterday we are trying to teach a lesson to wu laoshi (Brother W.), our zone resource teacher. For some reason he likes to complicate the sisters lessons and the little twist he threw into the story of our investigator changed our entire lesson, so when we started with this great analogy for the other story he gave us he just started laughing. He then apologized after like 5 min of he and the other elders giggling and said we could have the other story that fit our original lesson. So... this same day I was SUPER tired and couldn't focus and we still had to teach our investigator Mrs. Huang. (The thing is she is our teacher and she was our first investigator Zhang Lin.) When I got up to the door I said a very enthusiastic "Ni Hao Zhang Lin!" It was so sincere and such a complete mistake that our teacher... who is always serious, broke character and started laughing so hard. Needless to say, it took us about 5 min to recover... We were all laughing so hard. Luckily the Elders went over on their lessons so we were just stopping by to tell her hi and reschedule. It was so terrible though. The things I do when I'm tired... Ha ha it is all good though and I'm not nearly as tired today.
Elder Andrew Crookston shook my hand for the last time today. He looks great and told to me to tell all the family hi! He is headed out today at 4:30 for Guatamala where he will be in the MTC for a few more weeks. It has been really fun to see so many family and friends here! I also said goodbye to Elder Craig Tongish last week if I forgot to say that. He is great and always has a big smile on his face. They will both be amazing missionaries!
This week, like usual, I have continued to learn how much we each need to rely on the Lord. I am proud... not in the way everyone would immediately guess, but as my mom can attest, I like to do things on my own. I don't like people to take care of me when I'm sick, stressed, or overwhelmed. I appreciate people's kindness, but I like to be able to do things on my own. However, I cannot learn Chinese in 12 weeks on my own. Just saying it sounds ridiculous! The thing I have found in the MTC is that the Lord will make miracles happen. If he wants us to preach his gospel in Chinese, he will help each of us learn. The problem is we have to get to the point where we are able to say "I need help. I cannot do this on my own." This is my goal and if I put this much in, will you help the output be this? I know it sounds crazy but if I try and learn 10 new words a day... will you help me remember them and know how to use them effectively?" This is just one of the smaller goals I have been trying to accomplish, but I know with the Lord's help, I can do this and learn how to effectively teach all of the lessons in PMG in a language that I can barely speak. I wish people could just come here and see how quickly the missionaries learn these languages. It is unbelievable!
I know that if the Lord can help his 19-21 year old missionaries accomplish these miracles, he can help any of us overcome any trial. It is true that we are prayed for, sacrificed for, supported - probably more than anyone else on earth, but I also know that the Lord loves each of his children. The main reason we can accomplish all we do is because he cares for EACH one of his children. He wants us to be better at the language, know the gospel more, and learn how to teach because he wants us to have the ability to teach more of his children. He cares about each person we will come in contact with and I only hope each of us missionaries can leave a little light with each one we speak with!
Sister Sara Gummow (Wen Jie mei)
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Look for a thing until you find it and you'll not lose your labor.
Look for a thing until you find it and you'll not lose your labor.
Moral: Consistently working toward a goal turns dreams into reality.
Mosiah 5:15, Mosiah 4:27
Thank you so much for the letters and packages. It is a bright spot in our day/week as missionaries to get ANYTHING from the outside world ha ha. We definitely live in a bit of a bubble here. So this week has been a bit different from past weeks. My companion has been really sick since last Monday. She is finally on the up swing... I think, but consequently it has put us a bit behind. There are many things you don't think about till your on a mission, such as if my companion is too sick to leave the room... how am I supposed to eat?! ha ha and definitely no gym time... or class time... and I have begun always bringing a fair amount of study materials to our residence hall just in case I get trapped there. It is pretty funny. Luckily, my companion is very tough and she does her best to go to everything she can. I haven't missed too much and I have had a lot of personal study time. I even got to work on my tones in the hallway... I think I was scaring the other girls who walked by, but oh well!
She said they always make their beds!
(A mother's dream!!)
Tell David Welch I say "hi" and welcome back to the US!!! ha ha I hope he feels better and I hope he enjoyed the wedding announcement... I hope everyone else is doing well. I was so excited to hear about the puppies and can't wait to see them! Though... they won't be puppies anymore. Ha ha Rachy finally got her little friend. John and I were laughing so hard when she told us about her petshop adventures. I am glad she didn't have to settle for a turtle which she can't cuddle very well... or a creepy mouse. Ha ha I love you all and love to hear from you!!!
Our studies have been a bit less focused on Chinese this week and a bit more focused on the spirit. It has been really neat to have that break and to be filled spiritually. My language skills are slowly but surely increasing. I went to my first regular Sunday this week. Relief Society is really cool. We are all combined in the room where we have devotionals. For the first half hour we get to watch "Music and the Spoken Word" Which is fantastic because in the MTC there is a rule that we can't listen to ANY music in our rooms... though I did find out today that talks were ok. Soo... if anyone has good talks send them my way on CD :) ha ha
After we watch that we have a guest speaker that comes to talk to all the sisters. This Sunday we were incredibly blessed to hear from Sister Burton, the General Relief Society President. She is fantastic. We also got to hear a conversion story of a sweet Filipino sister from Manila. She is the first Filipino to serve in the Cape Verde mission. She has only been a member for 2 years but she has such a strong testimony and a love for the gospel. Sister Burton talked to us in a very comfortable intimate way. It was awesome to learn of the lessons she has learned. She told us a few key things to recognize the spirit and to help us learn from general conference and apply the teachings to our lives.
We also has the opportunity to hear Elder Bednar speak to us last Tuesday's Devotional. He also spent the whole time teaching us how to study general conference and find the key doctrines, the challenge, and the blessings in each talk. I am learning more and more how much this church is a church of change. The spirit speaks to us and encourages us to become better... always! That is why we have these general conferences, for us to learn how we can come unto Christ. One thing I never realized before is how it is not just us coming unto Christ, but there is such a brotherhood in the 12, 70, etc. They all learn just as much from each others talks as we learn. They are amazing examples to me of diligence and enduring to the end. We talk about serving our Lord until they end... many of us do... but I have no doubt in my mind of their incredible service!
Well here goes one more week at the MTC. Jia you!! I love learning and preparing to serve the Taiwanese people!!! Only downside... I'm already freezing cold all the time.... it's all good though -I know the Lord will help me with this as well.. One more winter here we go ;P
Wo Ai Nimen!!!
Wen Jie Mei (Sister Sara Gummow)
Notice the "Happy Halloween" sign
from a mom who loves them!
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
New Pictures from Sara!!
|Sara's MTC District!|
|Her District + their sister district of 3|
|Sister Gummow and Sister Bond|
Wen Jie Mei /Bai Jie Mei
|P-Day!! Letters and Laundry!|
|Getting some TLC (and blood drawn) from the MTC|
|Sara's District after on Saturday|
after the big announcement!
|Sisters from her generation going to Taiwan|
|Getting ready to watch General Conference -|
(Matt catching some air!)
|Brother and Sister! |
(Notice all the looks in the background.....
perhaps they don't look much like brother and sister.)
|General Conference 2012|
I am so excited to be writing you today. I got to write a long letter this morning too, but a quick recap for all those who want to know about the secret going-ons in the MTC.... So conference was amazing! It was a nice break from the routine schedule of everyday. They even gave us permission to write letters on Saturday night because we finished early. Our schedules were pretty much based around meal time, study time, conference sessions (or waiting for conference sessions to start), temple walk, more conference, more study time, and relief society broadcast/priesthood session. Sunday was basically the same though at night we had a 1 hour fireside and then a church movie/talk of choice. We do a whole lot of studying here if you didn't pick up on that. One thing that my companion and I always joke about is how we are somehow always late for being early. Missionaries get a little carried away... 15 min early is barely cutting it for being on time, 30 min early you may be able to find a seat with your district.... some people go 45 to 50 min early... a little bit much I would say, but I also was the one who was at least 15 min. late to EVERYTHING! Ha ha the mission is already curing me of that.
My companion and I are trying very hard to be exactly obedient this week and most especially to be on time to everything. We have been pretty successful though sadly Bai Jei Mei was sick this week :( She is feeling better now though. We have had a very relaxing P-day so far and we were blessed with great weather, though I have been absolutely freeezing lately!!! Today was nice thankfully and we actually get to enjoy it.
My district is fantastic! We are a little family now and we are very close. It is still amazing to me how inspired each of the districts here are. We are probably the very last Mandarin speakers here for 12 weeks. With the big conference news they are cutting down on everyone's time in the MTC after us. The next Mandarin districts will be here for only 9 weeks. This is a little sad for us, but I am grateful. I know by the end of 12 weeks I will be much more prepared with the language and ready to teach! My classes aren't quite as difficult anymore. I have 2 fantastic teachers and the more I speak the better I get at the language. It has been fun and I am proud to be learning the Chinese language. Sometimes I envy others who are learning a more common language who are only here for 9 weeks, but then I hear them talk and I know the Lord has been preparing me in every way to learn the Mandarin language and teach the Taiwanese people. I would not have it any other way!!!
Thank you so much for the packages and letters! I have been so blessed. I think everyone in my district is jealous of me ;P It seems like almost every mail time I was getting something sweet from people back home. I could not be more grateful. I really needed the pick me ups and my district was blessed as well. All the candy my mom sent kept us all awake through all the meetings this past weekend. I especially enjoyed Elder Hollands talk this time. I was so impressed by the way he described the situation with Peter and the other apostles fishing. They loved the lord, he knew it, but they were not showing it. This is why I went on a mission. I love the lord and I knew this is what he needed me to do. I am going forth to feed his sheep. I can't wait to bless the lives of the Taiwanese people with the gift of the gospel. I have been so blessed my entire life and I can't wait to share this message with them. I know the lord is preparing people for me to teach right now. I am grateful to be an instrument in his hands. I hope we can all find the way we can best serve him. I hope you all enjoyed general conference. It truly was historic.
Some random facts about the MTC. Everyone gets excited over the most ridiculous things.... every fireside and meeting where we have speakers missionaries start spreading rumors that an Apostle is coming to speak so get there extra early. Every time we sing a different sort of hymn at a meeting people get waaay excited and have little shouts of excitement (especially when we sang A Child's Prayer). When the tabernacle choir sang "I know Heavenly Father Loves Me", it was the best thing in the world because there was a slideshow with it and it's a unique song. I really enjoyed it! It was relaxing to watch Joseph Smith First Vision as the movie on Sunday night. We all laugh over the most ridiculous things in class because we can only handle so much studying, though the longer I'm here the more my capacity increases thank heavens. The elders truly are great examples to the sisters. We are blessed by their priesthood and their calling. I only hope we can leave them with a little of our spirit and desire to serve the lord faithfully as well.
Thanks so much for everything!!! I truly am blessed and I am so grateful to have so much support!!!
Wen Jie Mei (sister gummow ^_^y)