Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nov 27, 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 ;)


Wen Jiemei (Sister Sara Gummow)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

November 20, 2012 Thanksgiving!

A gem is not polished without rubbing, 
nor a man perfected without trials.

Chinese Proverb

Dear Family,

Happy Thanksgiving!!! I got to have a wonderful surprise today and ran into Sister Sandstrom.  I got to have a nice mom hug from her and it was almost like I was with you all.  I love you all so much and I hope your week has been wonderful and your Thanksgiving will be even more wonderful.  Just to give a bit of a heads up about Thanksgiving in the MTC we get to have a day full of devotionals, a long long meal time, and service!  We are all looking forward to this day.  Every Thanksgiving is really special in the MTC because a General Authority comes and speaks to us in the morning.  I really feel so privileged to be here this Thanksgiving.  I know Elder Gummow will be having a great Thanksgiving as well.

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!!!  :)

gen Ai,

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

Nov 13, 2012

If you want happiness for a lifetime –
help the next generation.
Moral: The successes or failures of your children begin with you.
D&C 68:25-30

Dear Family!!!
 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
I love hearing from my brother Elder Gummow!!! He is truly and inspiration to all of us in the MTC.  We love receiving updates.  It helps us all stay more focused on our purpose.  Everytime I get a letter I feel so excited to learn this language and to teach the Taiwanese people.  Thank you for helping us all out mom!  The elders truly love the letters.  You have no idea!!!  ha ha their teacher also wants you to start emailing him as well if you can.  I will write his email down and send it to you.  He was so happy for his missionaries as I'm sure all the teacher's are.  We are becoming closer and closer to our teachers.  They truly do bless our lives.  I am so grateful for their help.  They inspire me to be better and to learn more every day.

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!

Shhh! Help needed for a Christmas Surprise!

Hi Everyone!
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 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!! 

 Kelly Gummow

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Week 7 - Nov. 6, 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)