Monday, June 24, 2013

Halfway!! June 24, 2013

Sister Gummow reaches her halfway mark in her mission this week!  She sounded a bit discouraged in her email so keep praying for her and we know that she will come out on top!  She is learning and experiencing so many things that are helping her to grow and progress and she is doing hard things.  One thing that is getting her down is feeling sick.  Hopefully she and her companion will get feeling better and that will help a lot!

"Hello!  So what to share about this week...
This week was full of awesome meetings and exchanges and stuff.  I must admit this week has been a bit difficult.  It's not necessarily the work that is hard.  I love missionary work, but my companion has been getting progressively sick.  It is exhausting taking care of her and this area.    I haven't been feeling good either. Everyone keeps telling us it is because it is so hot, but I don't know if that is true.  I just know it is weird and I don't like it.  Being a missionary is really hard when you are sick.  Keep praying for us.   I can tell I am going to need it.  I feel like I had patience before my mission, but it has been tested over and over and I'm starting to get maxed out a bit.  

S....... is still progressing, but her testimony isn't quite there yet to get baptized, but she has made some awesome changes in her life.  We will refer her to the missionaries in Virginia.  We think it will be better for her to get her families support when she is there as well though hopefully it is not too much pressure.  She actually went and was a missionary with us on Wednesday.  It was fun because we are the little kid teachers for English class.  Sooo fun!!!  I seriously love teaching little kids.  

We also had zone conference this week.  There have been a lot of companionship problems this month between the Taiwanese and foreign missionaries.  The cultural differences and language differences have been a struggle, but the emphasis has been all about Christ like attributes.  I don't know what better way to overcome any problems than developing these Christ like attributes.  It has been a huge blessing in my life.  I am studying a lot about knowledge lately and my ability to teach and testify is getting better and better.  I feel like I understand more and more everyday.  I still have a looong way to go (like today my patience is a little thin... and I need more charity) but I can feel strongly that when we become like Christ, focus our lives on him, that everything works out.  

It was nice to go on some exchanges this week and learn from some more experienced missionaries.  It was fun to hear from them and learn from their experiences.  It was also a reunion for me because Sister Parker was in my last zone.  She has changed so much in 2 transfers!  She said I have too, but I still often feel too inadequate to do all the lord expects... and even worse sometimes... what I expect.  I think it is all about aligning our will and the lord's will into one - which is super hard sometimes.  I have been praying hard to know His will for me in this area right now, but I think I still don't completely understand.  

Mom I loved all the pictures and updates.  It helped lift my spirits and laugh a little.  Tell Jared a huge congratulations.  Oh small world thought was just the girl Cindy I ran into from Hawaii, she was going on a mission to New York and Sister Keanini just emailed me and said she is in her mission. How crazy is that!?  One of my members is moving to Pingdeng too and there is a good chance that Matt will move to her ward sometime before his mission ends so she said she would tell him hi for me.  It's so fun to see all these connections.  I can't believe Chad will be here in a few weeks!  So crazy!!!  It will be awesome to see him ( If I get moved out of Taidong... otherwise it might be awhile before I see anyone).   His Chinese is probably already so good!  A lot of the new missionaries have really awesome Chinese.

We did see some miracles with our investigators progress though.  It has been good to see them start connecting gospel principles and keeping commitments.   

Last thing was I can't believe Daniel and Bryanna.  They look so old!!!  Bry your hair is gorgeous and Dan is so tall!!! 

Wen Jei mei

P.S.  our goal for tonight is to find 3 new investigators today so pray for us.  I need some extra faith right now! " 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Finding, Finding, Finding - June 17, 2013

 落其实者思其树,饮其流者怀其源 ——庾信
luò qí shí zhě sī qí shù, yǐn qí liú zhě huái qí yuán
When you eat fruit, remember the tree; when you drink from the stream, remember the source.  -- Yu Xin

Sara had a great week and is full of gratitude - enjoy her email today!

"I love you all and I am so grateful for all your prayers!  You are all such a blessing to my life.  I can't even express to you how grateful I am for all the things you have taught me.  As credit to you mom... and especially dad on Father's day, I had a bunch of people tell me what I good child I must have been and how they were telling their kids to follow my example.  Ha ha yes! you did succeed in some things... they all THINK I must have just been a golden child ha ha.  So in the end, all that worry is paying off. 

This week has been a good week, but exhausting!  We were so busy because we had a ton of meetings and stuff.  It was fun, but also hard to do missionary work.  Our finding was really low, but we actually still did really good and saw lots of success... just not quite what we were hoping for.  I know the Lord's prepared children are out there... we just really need to find them.  This week we are really focusing on finding families and through our LA's.  We had some really neat experiences last week as we visited LA's they weren't home, but their families were and 2 of the mom's were excited to say a prayer with us.  So cool to tell their children after and encourage them to take their part in this missionary work.  One of the girls was so excited when we told her and so surprised.  So cute and she will definitely be stepping up to try and help her mom out. 

Sister O.... and I are growing and learning more and more every week.  It is so fun to see her progress and though mine may not be as apparent I know I have learned so much as well... especially about training.  She really helped me see some of my weaknesses and I am so grateful because as I worked on developing Charity this week I was really able to change and become a better trainer that could really help her grow and myself as well.  She has taught some powerful lessons this week that were led by the spirit.  I have never felt so happy as walking out of a lesson that my companion had just blasted our investigator with the spirit.  Our investigator went from maybe getting baptized to she will be getting baptized it is just about when and where.  She is actually from the USA and she is going back to Virginia on the 1st.  She will probably be adding me on facebook so you should give her a hello ;)  her name is xxxxx.  I seriously adore her!  She is like 18 and just an exchange student over here.  She happened to spend her last 4 months at one of our members houses.  The other sisters tried to teach her, but she really needed us.  She has opened up so much to us and really come closer to Christ.  So cool to see the spirit working on her to help her change.  We have also found some other pretty solid investigators lately through member referrals and stuff, but we really really need some good solid investigators coming up here.  I think that is every missionaries most difficult problem is finding.  Luckily I have learned that finding time doesn't just mean going to an area and talking to people for an hour.  There really are many ways to find and for us finding on the street was not an effective use of time, but we are perfecting the art of getting street referrals and this whole finding when you teach and teach when you find.  Preach my gospel is seriously the best thing ever!!! 

We also had an awesome privilege to go to Hualian for a zone conference.  Sooo fun and their area is seriously like heaven.  So fun to go and see a little bit and be in such a wonderful chapel, with such wonderful speakers.  I hope everyone really is catching this wave in missionary work.  The missionaries need people to teach and you are the ones who have friends and family that need the gospel and can open doors and hearts that otherwise would have been closed.  It is really a great lesson for us to learn how to strengthen this ward through the LA and RC and part member families.  This is our huge focus recently and it has been cool to see the miracles start to come.  It is hard sometimes with so many with Buddhist traditions, but I know the spirit can change those with that Buddhist tradition and can teach them truth.  

Well that is pretty much it for this week.  I love you all!

I have to say a special I LOVE YOU to father for father's day.  Thank you so much for the example you have set of Faith, Diligence, Charity, Humility, Obedience, Virtue, Hope, Patience... all of the Christlike attributes I have truly seen in you.  I am grateful for a father who did his best to teach by example.  It was a much more effective teacher and is still teaching me today.  The best is it is not only teaching me, but is affecting many lives over here in Taiwan as I try and share it with others.  Thank you and as I was looking back through my journal I saw how many times your small note or thought had a huge impact on me that week.  Thank you!  

Things are good in Taiwan... the work is good and I love it!


Sister Sara Gummow

Wen Jei mei ^_^ "

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hot, Hot, Hot June 10, 2013

Sister Gummow is feeling the heat! It was a good week this week and she sent pictures!  They are worth a thousand words!  

 Sooo this week has been the start of summer!  Hao wan... ha ha it is sooo hot!!!  It apparently is only starting too.  I do like it, but it is tiring to be out in the hot sun and many people aren't outside either.  Good thing is the members give us referrals out here.  They are all anxious to share their testimonies and we are excited to help their friends come unto Christ.  

The lord has been helping me grow so much as well as my companion.  She is so organized and her Chinese is getting so good.  She is able to talk to many more people and always contributes a lot to the lessons.  It is fun to see her grow.  I must admit... I am sometimes that perfectionist mother that gets all upset over little dumb things and really expects ridiculous things, but we are slowly getting the communication up.  I am learning more and more about what Charity really is and learning a lot about my own weaknesses.  They often refer to Trainers as mothers and though I don't feel like that at all with Sister O.... I can also see a lot of the parallels... I'm glad I am having this time to figure these things out... I know it will help me become a better mother someday, or at least that is the hope if I can figure it all out.

I have to tell you all about one specific miracle.  This week was pretty average, but we had some awesome experiences where I felt the lord testifying through me and I was just so grateful we could be there to answer people's prayers.  We taught one of our investigators on Friday.  She hasn't met with us in a while.  She is actually a member referral.  The member invited us to their work and we taught her there.  She was AWESOME but the next two weeks, disappeared.  We didn't really know what was going on until Friday.  Friday she called the member and said she had time and wanted to meet, so we changed our nighttime plans to go meet with her.  We taught her about the plan of salvation.  As we taught one of our recent converts 2 sons were preparing for baptism, so as she waited she asked if she could sit in on our lesson.  

This was probably one of the best lessons I have taught since my mission.  Last month's invite was to focus on Teaching Skills and it has really payed off for our companionship.  What was cool was that as we taught we brought in a few things we don't always talk about.  The examples we used were new and we brought in a few more points about our life on earth than we usually do.  Our recent convert told me on Sunday she loved it.  She said she had never understood the kingdoms before and stuff until we taught her.  Even better at the end of the lesson I just felt a small prompting to refer to the 5 step process (faith, repentance, baptism, holy ghost, endure) and let her know that next time we would be talking about how she could develop her faith and come unto Christ.  We gave her the gospel of Jesus Christ pamphlet and assigned her to read Alma 32 and think about how this chapter would help her develop her faith. (I have never done that before in my mission btw)  She just gave me this look and started to explain that she had met with us that day because she knew she needed to develop her faith and she didn't know how.  She has been praying for it and she knew that god had heard her prayer.  

The spirit taught me a powerful lesson that day.  As I looked at this precious daughter of God sitting next to this member friend who desired her salvation.  I knew that this was my privilege to teach her.   The lord knows who His prepared children are.  It is not us finding them, teaching them, baptizing them...  This is ALL the Lord's work.  I knew that He loved His daughter and He was letting me take part in teaching her.  I knew without a doubt that this was the Lord's gift to me to let me take part in His work.  I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a tool in the Lord's hand.  I know that you all can have the same experience.  You never know when the Lord will use you to answer someone's prayer.  Mom and Dad I have seen that over and over again as I have seen you serve and love those around you.  Thank you for your wonderful examples to me.

Dad you are the best in the world!!! HAPPY FATHERS DAY next week ^_^  Thank you for your amazing example.  You don't know how many times I use your example to teach people about obedience to the commandments and the faith to see miracles happen.  Thank you for teaching me that when we trust in the lord everything works out.  Our family has seen it over and over again because of your example.  

Here are a few pictures of recent weeks.  

Inline image 4This is when we made some Mexican food and the amazing no bake cheesecake you gave me. SOOOO good and they all loved it!  it turned out super super good.  Thank you!!!  

Inline image 3

 My district here.. yes elder T..... is still in the same ward with me and now he is our new zone leader.  Sister Ochoa was just visiting us with her companion.  We got to go on exchanges which was soo fun :)

Inline image 1This in L... JM and O... ZL.  We all got on the island together and were here together for 1 transfer.  We had a big FHE at a members house to say bye to all the missionaries getting transferred.  Very fun night and felt the love of the members here a lot!  They are wonderful :)

The pictures I sent before were from when we were making mantou it is a chinese bun thing.  We made it with sister Wang.  She is like my mother here.  You would love her mom!  I must admit we have become a bit of the favorites of the branch pres and his wife.  they are so sweet to us and we have had some amazing experiences with them.  They have so much faith!  

Well I love you all and look forward to reading every word of your emails and letters.  I got one from Lane and Taylor this week and Sister Braithwaite made my life!  ha ha thanks for all the support :)  love you all!!!

Sister Gummow

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Wo Chi Bao le ^_^, June 2, 2013


 In Taiwan, a typical greeting would include the above Chinese statement and it is asking, " have you eaten yet".  They have some of the most delicious fruit and foods in Taiwan - things that Sister Gummow has probably never seen or tasted before! - The perks to serving on a tropical island!  

She had a really great week but is hoping for some specific blessing and could use some extra prayers!

I love your little Chinese additions to the emails mom :)  it makes me so happy.  I hope you can have a simple conversation with me by the time I get back... keep working with Joanna!  I'm sure you will be able to :)  So I loved all your updates.  Bry- the white hat and shoes was a super cute idea!  Way to follow in your sister's example and be creative! ha ha Jill would be proud too.  I just got your letters with their updates btw and I loved it.  Tell Joseph congratulations as well as Jared!  John will have to give a quick congrats to the others in Hawaii like Jordon and Dallin and whoever else is getting engaged ha ha.  I still can't believe that... so awesome!  
I also can't believe how much Dan has been going through... xinku ta!!!  Tell him I love him and will be praying for him and that his legs will grow like a normal person ;) jk jk  I'm sure it will all be fine.  Dad and mom it sounds like you have some really big plans coming up.. 25th wedding anniversary!  I'm not even sure I'll recognize the yard by the time I get back... as long as the tramp is still, there I will be fine.  Funny story was when I was teaching English class, I was teaching about back yards and I happened to bring up the trampoline... they didn't even know what it was, but that makes sense because they have probably only seen them on TV.  We are really so blessed in the USA.  Even small houses often have yards.  We are sooo blessed!  I think that is one thing my mission has taught me... in the USA we are so spoiled! 

So I have a special prayer request for you all this week.  Pray that my companion and I can find people to teach!  This week was sooo awesome.  I can't even tell you how many miracles we saw this week.  We wanted to visit 10 RCLA (Recent Converts or Less-Actives).  The normal for our mission is around 5.  We ended up getting 9 and each one was a miracle!  We have seen so much success with our RCLA's coming to church and it is making us so happy.  I may not have had any baptisms yet, but helping an endowed member of our church have the desire to come back after years of inactivity is the best feeling in the world!  

We have also been having tons of tracting time riding bikes to places and just in general.  We were able to teach over 30 lessons this week to members RCLA and Investigators (including ppl on the street)  sooo awesome!  the thing is we only found 1 new investigator.  

My companion and I have been studying the finding chpt and doing all that we can to think of new things to practice, new materials, referrals.. anything!  We have been improving sooo much.  It has been really fun to see our skills improving together and to become more and more like PMG missionaries, but for some reason the Lord has not quite seen it fit for us to find investigators.  We need them though!  It is a great experience and we are learning so so much.  Sister O and I are becoming better and better friends and I must admit... even though sometimes missions can be discouraging, a companion makes all the difference!  Even on the hard days when we come home completely sweaty and exhausted from a day of tracting in the hot sun (and yes, mom, we do try to find other things to do during the hottest hours, but because we don't have many investigators we are always tracting... and riding bikes... in the blazing heat ha ha.)  I am so dark right now - which the Asians don't really like.  They always think I'm from some other country.  Lately every time I say I am American they are so surprised.  The most frequently guessed country is Australia or Spain... random)  We are still so happy and ready to take on the next adventure.  

Our companion studies are also super fun because we have been doing some great role-plays that have really been helping us out on the street.  So fun to take what we did in studies and see it succeed.  I am getting eaten alive by mosquitoes and I am pro at riding my bike since our area is so huge.  Things are good here though and as my companion and I are learning to rely more and more on Christ we are seeing so so so many miracles. 

This week some of our miracles were:

 1. We decided we needed to get in a habit of asking everyone for referrals, but we always would forget so we did a bunch of role plays everyday to practice asking people.  We were able to ask a ton of people and got 1 from a cute high school student who's best friends family has been having problems.  We were also able to get 2 different sets of christian girls to agree to pray for their friends and bring them to a lesson with us in the next 2 weeks (it is the end of school so they are all too busy to meet for awhile). 

 2. We were able to have some amazing member visits where we were able to serve them and bless their families.  Sweet Wang ma ma (our branch presidents wife)  broke down in tears after we blessed her and their home.  Her husband was gone for 2 days at a church conference so she was taking over the bike shop while he was gone.  She was worried because no one had come that day and she was alone.  She was so grateful we remembered her and when we blessed that they would have good business... 20 min later (while we were still there) she got her first customer of the day.  The Lord answers our prayers quickly sometimes, especially when we pray in faith. 

 3.  A lady got offended at church on Sunday and as she stormed out I was able to stop her, give her a hug, remind her of her testimony... then our wonderful branch president pulled her aside for an interview.  Right after we had sacrament meeting.  We just encouraged her to bear her testimony and she bore powerful testimony of the saviors atonement.  Sooo cool! 

4.  We planted so many seeds with so many awesome people!  Helped so many people say their first prayer  

5.  To me this is the biggest miracle... my wonderful companion finally opened up to me and we are now at a place where we can really work together.  I firmly believe that to have power when we teach we need to have all companionship barriers down... complete trust in each other (not only in missionary work, but in every aspect) that way the spirit can testify strongly through both of us.  Companionship unity is essential to success and I feel like we finally have that now and I am so grateful for her willingness to share with me.  

I love Taiwan and I love Taidong.  I may not be seeing the miracles I expected to see, but the Lord is teaching me so much.  I can honestly say I don't have any regrets!  I will keep giving it my all.  Thank you for all the love and support you have all given me.  I hope the lord continues to bless you all!     

I am so excited to see what miracles are in store for us next week.  

BTW thank you Aimee and John for the letters! I got them :)  You are wonderful and I will do my best to get one sent off today.  I finally found the post office in Taidong so you may be getting 2 letters in 1.  so so so sorry I have been terrible at writing.  I will try and send the memory card with my pictures home as well!  love you!!! :)

Also thanks for all the birthday wishes.  G and G Gummow - I got your card and carry the handkerchief.  So sweet and I will be carrying it around with me :) it really made my day to see all the emails and the fb birthday posts mom sent too.  Ha ha thank you all!!!