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!

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