Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Find A Special Gift for Christ -

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!!!


Sister Gummow

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Arrival in Taipei! Dec 17, 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
Besides that - yes, I am so tired, but not as much from time change as from trying to translate all day.  It takes a lot of brain power to try and think in Chinese as fast as they speak.  Luckily I am a missionary and I don't have to do it alone.  I have had some very earnest prayers.  Yesterday after church we had personal study and companion study.  I was so exhausted from trying to translate the sacrament meeting that I just thought I would die.  I thought there was no way I could have the energy to do what I was supposed to.  I prayed earnestly to have my headache go away and have energy to get through the rest of the day speaking Chinese   As I studied the scriptures and the life of my savior I learned so much and I felt re energized to face the rest of the day.  I have seen little miracles like this everyday!  My area is a little slow on the baptisms.  We have a lot of investigators and less actives, but now it will be seeing how we can really help these people come unto Christ and receive baptism.  I am so excited to be apart of the work.  I can't say a lot of small talk, but I understand most of the gospel things and people can see how sincere I am in trying to understand them.  It is great and I know the lord will continue to help me learn quickly.  I want to pass of Phase 1 of my language in 6 weeks so I am going to need some earnest prayers.   I don't learn quickly and it is going to be a big push for me, but I know I can do it with the Lord's help.  I love you all and am happy to hear from you.

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 :)


Sister Gummow

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Last day at the MTC!

Good Morning family!!!
I know it seems weird for me, but I have definitely been up since 6:20 trying to get everything ready to leave, but no worries this early morning 6:30 thing is really not that bad.  Doing it everyday makes the mornings pretty easy though the nights are still hard to fall asleep most days.  Anyways I don't know if I will be able to email tomorrow, so here is my update for now.  We don't leave the salt lake airport until 8:30.  We will probably start boarding around 8 so I will try and call you in between 7 and 7:30am too.  How does that sound?  I hope I can catch some of the kids before school :(  If not -we have Christmas!  I will ask about the Chinese New Year thing too.

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

One more week and Taiwan here I come!

A bird does not sing because it has an answer.
It sings because it has a song.
Chinese Proverb

Hello Family!

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