Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Typhoons, Taipei, Xiao hai wen! August 26,2013

 "The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all."
-Unknown author

It was wonderful to hear from Sara this week!  She is blossoming and full of beautiful thoughts and actions!  These pictures are pictures that Bryanna (her little sister took around our yard).  If adversity is represented as weeds, we have had plenty of those because we have been so busy this summer not weeding......

Hello dearest family!

So this week was a billion times better than it has been in awhile... challenges always bring the most miracles after.  Ha ha so this week was interesting... we started with temple sisters coming to Taidong to do exchanges with us.  We saw so many miracles that night and despite it only being a Monday from 6-9 pm of proselyting time we were able to see so many miracles and gave away 2 BOM and got 2 NI (new investigators) as well as like 5 other lessons.  Sooo crazy and awesome! The lord was definitely making up for our time because we only had until 4 on Wed. in our area and then came back for 2 on Saturday,  which any missionary knows is a pretty long time out of your area.  The crazy thing is, despite all the time gone, our numbers were better than they have been in a few weeks with full time in Taidong.  We saw miracle after miracle and were able to teach with so much confidence and power.  We have a few investigators that started progressing and a few potential investigators as well.  We have 2 that we are especially praying for and hoping will be able to be baptized this coming month.  We are also doing our best not only to bring up our area, but to find awesome investigators for the elders.  This was very inspired as in this coming transfer they will be bringing 4 more elders out to Taidong which puts it at 8 missionaries per branch... sooo crazy and so many missionaries.  The thing is when we were in Hualian on exchanges they were planning on 9 baptisms the following day.  We all agree in Taidong that it is our turn now. We are going to find the next branch presidents and relief society presidents.  I know they are out there and my companion and I have the ability to help them.  

I think that is what I am learning the most this week is the power to change.   We really need that faith in other to see who they can become.  I think my companion's challenges will really help her have patience and love for our investigators and the changes they are making in their lives.  For me it is the knowledge of how real the atonement is.  It not only makes up for our sins, but for our weaknesses and it really does give us the power to change. 

 I am working on having that patience of realizing that despite the past, this week can and will be different.  It is the hope and the expectation that good things will come.  I am going to keep the Faith in people that they can change and come unto Christ.  This month I expect to see countless souls go through the challenges and come off conquerors.  That is one quote I loved this week.  it was from president Holland to the missionaries and trainees.  He just talked about "why isn't missionary work easy".  Then he said it is because salvation is not easy.  Christ's atonement... His whole life was not easy.  If we are to understand any of what He went through, we need challenges in order to walk a few steps in His footsteps, -to feel a little taste of that agony He went through.  Missionary work isn't easy because Salvation is not easy.  It was bought with a price.  I only have to pay a small token and I am willing to give it.  I am just grateful that I can see others who are willing to give it too.  All of our investigators with struggles and challenges coming unto Christ face the same thing and I am grateful they are willing to pay that small token to come unto the Savior.

That is what I want to tell Elise and all those preparing, thinking, or are already on their mission.  What price are you willing to pay to come unto Christ?  I know that a mission will bring you closer to Him and it won't be because it is easy or fun... those times come and do happen, but it is in our greatest trials that we really come to know Him.  The Lord knows us... He knows what will challenge us and He knows who we can help.  It is us taking that step of Faith to say I am willing to follow Him and trust in his will (proverbs 3:5-6)... wherever it may be.  Idaho will be blessed to have my wonderful cousin Sister Elise Gummow serving there!  We send a big "gonxi ni" (congratulations!) from all the missionaries in Taidong  (especially an Elder Rayburn who may have been in your ward in Colorado) and we are grateful to be serving along side all those who were willing to pay that price.  It is amazing!!!  We are all on the same team whether it be in Taiwan, Colorado (where my companion was a visa waiter), or Idaho.  

I love being a missionary!  Even in my hardest times here I have loved walking out that door being filled with the spirit and sending a message of hope and happiness to the whole world!  It is an amazing feeling.  

Mom, I am praying for you. (Note from mom - I ruptured a muscle/tendon in my calf during a dance performance this weekend) I can only imagine how this trial will be affecting you...  something you love sooo much!  I know from personal experience here that this trial will really help mold you to become even more of the person the lord wants you to be.  You look beautiful in the pictures!  Keep smiling and being a light... and don't ever be embarrassed.  You are giving our whole family a chance to learn.  Let them learn how to serve you.  Daniel and Bryanna and Dad... take this chance to show how much you really love Mom.  I realize how blessed I was now to have a mom who would be willing to sacrifice so much for me.  My mission is teaching me a little more of just how much that really was...  I am grateful for all you do!  Every letter, every talk or word of encouragement is something I need and I am so grateful for.  It gets me through the rough times so thank you so much for all of your love and time.  

Bryanna you look beautiful by the way!  I can't even believe how mature and beautiful you are becoming.  Use mom's injury as a chance to become more beautiful on the inside as well.  That's what is most important and this is a great opportunity so take it while you get it because knowing mom she will be back up and doing stuff as soon as she can.  

Daniel where are you?  why haven't I heard from you??? I INVITE you... strongly Invite... (pretty much expect...) an email from you next week - "hao bu hao"?  I want to know how school is going and what is going on in your life??!!  

Dad- "jia you".  You are wonderful and I am grateful for all your words of wisdom.  I write them in my journal and it prompts even more revelation throughout the rest of the week.  it's really super cool.


Sister Sara Gummow 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

"All is well" - August 19 ,2013

Sister Gummow's week went much better this week!  Their mission fast was successful and helped them overcome challenges and find joy in their everyday accomplishments! Her companion made it through giant sized blisters from a severe reaction to mosquito bites and is beginning to adapt to the new culture and climate. She sent some fun pictures from their P-day last week in from of some art work, a trip to the beach near Taidong, and before they went to the doctor to get medicine for the mosquito bites (which worked wonders). 

"So first I just have to say a huge thank you for all the words of wisdom and the love you have extended to my companion.  Things may not be perfect yet, but they are definitely looking up.  We also have some fun things to look forward to this week.  We are going on exchanges 2xs.  Once with the temple sisters from Taipei and once with the sisters in Hualian.  We are also going up to Taipei for a training meeting and will be down there for about 2 days.  I am so excited to be near the temple.  I don't think we will get the privilege of doing a temple session, but I will be happy to have a chance to be near it.  I have a feeling I might be out on the east coast for a little bit longer... Ha ha I thought when I got called to Taipei mission I would be a city missionary, but who knew the lord really wanted me out here on the East coast.  

Before I forget, let me tell you of our fasting miracle.  So it didn't come in quite the way other missionaries saw miracles, but it was exactly what my companion and I needed.  It was interesting on that Tuesday we were soooo exhausted from hunger.  We were very tired and super weak.  However, that night as we went out to proselyte it was awesome to see how all those things that seemed to be holding my companion back seemed to burst.  She had energy to ride her bike, she could think clearer, and she didn't get too frustrated to not keep teaching. ......we were able to be missionaries and barely missed a minute of time.  It has been wonderful and I have been more grateful than ever to be a missionary.  It is such a sacred privilege and I love every opportunity I get to share whether we face rejection or not.  Right now we are just working up... earning the Lord's trust and I have no doubt that once we have done that He will pour out the miracles.  It is just like dad said He gives us these little spots of beauty where we can rest and explore and then continue on the way to the top.  It is also so true about revelation.  I have found that if we want revelation we need to first be willing to work!  The Lord is not going to give us something He knows we will not use.  He is going to give us revelation based on our need and our willingness to work.  
One piece of revelation you will be interested to learn was how immature I was in High School...  ha ha I remember thinking how proud I was of myself for talking to Mom and dad about how they couldn't set rules for me and to just let me set my own rules and things will go better... I was being so proud and so ridiculous.  The good thing is that the lord helped me see a good correlation between Faith and obedience and most especially how obedience really is an act of humility... an expression of our Faith.  When I couldn't handle having rules, I was actually lacking these two things... It wasn't because I was independent or a different child that needed to be raised different,  it was because unlike better children I was too proud and too arrogant to listen to the counsel of wise parents who loved me and wanted to protect me.  It is the same way with us and our Heavenly Father... what kind of children are we?  Are we willing to act in Faith on those promptings because we love and trust Him?  I hope I am more of this kind of child now.  Sorry I learned that lesson... well about 6 years too late, but I am grateful for loving parents who were so willing to deal with such a child and let me learn  that principle for myself.
Well I love you and am sooo grateful for your support.  I also want to give a thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Raleigh.  Your words of counsel and support are so needed.  Thanks also to the friends who are still keeping me in their thoughts and prayers!  The pioneers have become closer to my companion and I's hearts lately as we have faced not only spiritual, but physical challenges.  One of the songs that has really gotten us through is "Come, Come Ye Saints".  I have always loved this song, but it has really hit a special place in my heart as I have kept climbing this new mountain.  
"Come come ye saints, no Toil no Labor Fear... but with JOY wend your way.  Though hard to you this journey may appear... Grace shall be as your day. "
All is well!  and that is this week - "All is Well".  The Lord loves us and He is there supporting us every step of our Journey!  I love you all!!!  
Sister Sara Gummow " 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Another mountain! August 12, 2013

Sister Gummow is working hard as a trainer and has asked our/your help in praying for her and her companion as they overcome their challenges and strive to be good missionaries.  I know we pray for all the missionaries, but we might need to be specific this week. Pray that fears and physical limitation will be healed and their tongues will be loosed.  If any of you have words of encouragement, feel free to email or write both Sara and her companion.

On a lighter note, they are putting together a ward "Luau" for an activity and Sara had lots of practice from working at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii and planning single's ward luaus too.  It should be fun and since Taidong seems so much like Hawaii, it should help her feel right at home!


1st I have to tell you a huge thank you!  I got your letters and updates and I NEEDED it more than you could ever know.  I realize from talking with other missionaries how extremely lucky I am to have such an amazing family.  You are so wonderful and so supportive.  I think the lord knew I would need your support out here because He was going to throw some tricky things my way...
.......What is hard for me this transfer is seeing my companion struggle so much and doing all I can to help her and seeing her still struggle. ....She is wonderful and I love her sooo much!  I have no doubt that in 9 weeks when training is over she will be well set to face any of her challenges.  I also know that all the challenges I have faced have just been preparing me for this most recent struggle and have equipped me with the ability to help her overcome.  

The lord has been answering my prayers.  We have been feeling very close to the pioneers lately and I am grateful for all their sacrifices for us.  The hardest thing lately is that because of all our struggles our area is suffering. All of our miracle contacts have dropped off and we are basically down to no progressing investigators and 1 with a baptismal date.  I know it is because the Lord knew that we couldn't do it right now, but something needs to happen fast to change things and I am running out of ideas.  My faith is still high, but this mission fast tomorrow is going to be my last shot.  I don't know what more I could possible give or do......

I am so grateful for you all.  I can just tell you now that it is only because of all of your kindness and support.  It is because of your love that I know I can make it and I have the strength to keep going because even though I may be supporting a lot here I know what strength I have behind me at home and it keeps me strong.  That is the definition of hope right there... you guys!  I love you!!!  

Sister Gummow"

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Time flies! August 5, 2013

Inline image 2Sara is pictured here with one of her favorite families in Taiwan.  She had a great week and is feeling blessed and rejuvenated and excited to continue working hard.  The time is passing so quickly!  I recently spoke to a tour guide who served in her area several years ago and said it is seriously his favorite area in the whole mission.  Just like she has been telling us, it is a smaller town near the ocean with beautiful scenery and kind people.

"Right now our apartment has my companion on her first transfer and the other companionship is whitewashing.  One is on her 4th transfer and one is on her 3rd.  Sooo crazy! Currently, I am the oldest sister missionary in the area of Taidong and not only in time on the mission ha ha, but in time on the earth!  ha ha the new sisters aren't that young and they have so much faith, but it is definitely different.  As I have been privileged to give them all a little counsel and comfort, I have seen how much I have grown.  I still have a lot of things to learn, but I am much stronger than I used to be.  I am not letting Satan's attacks on me bring me down.  

This week we had some neat experiences.  We decided to do a bit of spring cleaning with our investigators.  We prayed to know who we should keep meeting with and who needs to rest for awhile.  The lord answers in funny ways... almost all of them stopped answering their phones... yep and our investigator pool went from like 20 to like 6 with only 4 actually progressing and only 1 with a baptismal date... the thing is the lord loves us and we saw so many miracles finding. 

We prayed to find the prepared people and that was definitely what the lord gave us.  One day we had the chance to pray with two different people.  They both reacted really strongly to prayer.    One cried as we finished saying a prayer for her and the other looked at me and told me it was the strangest thing.  She said that all the things she was worried about that week I had prayed specifically for her.  She was so amazed that somehow we knew the concerns of her heart (that was ALL the spirit!)  It was so cool to feel the spirit so strongly and to know that they needed those prayers.  It was also a testimony to me that the spirit really can guide our prayers.  I had no idea why I was praying for her for certain things, but the lord definitely knew her.  After we invited them to church and to meet with the missionaries... both of them told us strait up that they were not prepared yet and when they were they would come to church.  SOOO cool how the lord answers our prayers and the prayers of others.  It was interesting that they didn't set up with us, but the lord still let us find 10 new investigators this week and 3 new families with 2 more potential families.  I have never found so many families my whole mission and I know that is also a direct result of prayer.  The lord knows we need some awesome families to assist the branch out here.  I feel like the lord is giving us a bit of a trial, but that we are going to help this branch get through the trial and be awesome missionaries with us.  We are so excited!  The prepared people are out there and we are starting to find them.  

My new companion has been faced with many physical and spiritual trials, but she follows the spirit and that is most important.  Despite our challenges we saw sooo many miracles this week.  

I love you family.  It sounds like all the trips were super fun and you lucked out with weather!  I hope someday we can all come back to Taiwan... there are some really awesome places I want to take you to in Taidong.  I am really in the most amazing place.  Luckily I get one more transfer here for sure!  I could honestly stay here my whole mission and be ok.  I love Taidong ha ha.  There are some things that are difficult, but I think the lord has been training me my whole life. I feel like I have not wasted a second and I am definitely living my mission with no regrets. Sometimes it may have been super difficult and I'm sure it will just keep getting harder, but it is worth every second!  I love you all and send hugs and prayers your way!!!

Sister Gummow "