Monday, September 23, 2013

I'm a Survivor ^_^

We were relieved to hear that the "Super Typhoon" - Usagi came and went and left Sister Gummow, her companion and Taidong safe and sound! While I was emailing Sara this morning, the Tabernacle Choir Broadcast was on and they were singing a beautiful song from "The Secret Garden" called "Hold On". The verse about the storm seemed particularly fitting for the day - so I emailed the lyrics to Sara.  She comments on them at the end of her email so I thought I would post a link to the words for those reading this blog too - just click on:  Lyrics to "Hold On"  to read them. My favorite verse is:

When you see the storm is coming
See the lightning part the skies
It's too late to run
There's terror in your eyes
What you do then is remembered
This old thing you heard me say
"It's the storm,   not you
That's bound to blow away"

Hold on
Hold on to someone standing by
Hold on
Don't even ask how long or why?
Child, hold on to what you know is true
Hold on till you get through
Child, oh child
Hold on

This song is also applicable because Sara hits her ONE YEAR mark this week! She has gone through challenges and growth and has held on to what she knows is true through it all. 

Time flies!

 Dear Family,

I survived the Typhoon!  Ha ha I know it was the biggest one, but honestly I didn't think it was that bad.  Taidong always seems like a little oasis that manages to avoid the worst of things.  This Typhoon was pretty strong and did keep us inside for one day... but despite a Saturday not able to go out we still saw many many miracles.  One of these miracles was we were able to find 8 new investigators... all from potentials or referrals.  Sooo awesome!  Next week we are setting a goal to find 12 new investigators. Pray for us.  It is amazing how when companions are able to work together
the miracles they start to find.  I think it is interesting that Matt has been able to stay in Zhong ming for 4 months.  I have been in Taidong for almost 6 months now.  I am glad it is here, with my family that I was able to hit my half way and one year mark.  We are all also expecting that next transfer I will probably be moving, but I would be very happy either way.  It seems though that I build up an area just enough that the missionaries after me find a lot of success.  We had some rough patches, but we really have some awesome investigators now and we are still finding more.

I will tell you two of my favorite finding miracles this week.  The first one is XXX.  She is a a Filipino. I met her a few weeks after I got to Taidong.  She had just married a Taiwanese man and moved here.  She was having a hard time dealing with all the transitions and she was really happy to speak to us. She was so happy to meet Christians and when we prayed with her she was so touched.  We all felt very much like it was the hand of God.  Especially because my companion and I had nooo idea why we were supposed to be on that bike trail right then, but then she rode up and just as we were about to give up and start heading home we prayed with her and she said she would go to church the next day.  The next day she really did show up.  We were so happy, but never had any time to teach her more about the restoration.  After that we called her a few times, but she never answered.  I thought it was just a miracle and then she decided it wasn't that important and didn't want to learn...  I was thankfully very wrong.  It turns out a few weeks after we met her (when she stopped answering her phone)  She had actually gone back to the Philippines and was there until a few weeks ago.  After she got back she was having a hard time and thought of us, but was nervous to call.  Then on Tuesday we get a phone call.  It was her asking us to come to her house and to meet with her and her husband.  We set up a time for Friday.  When we went we found some complications because her husband was a bit nervous to meet with us, so at first he made up an excuse to leave.  It ended up working out because XXX needed to talk to us alone and let us know what was going on.  Then he came back about 30 min. later.  He let us meet with them.  I don't think he would be investigating if it weren't for his wife, but he is willing to try.  I could see the spirit working on him and I have faith that the gospel really can change their lives.  He committed to praying as a family.  The next day I called XXX and she said that after we left he held her hands and they prayed together.  He already has one child too from another marriage and they will be praying with her too.  It was so crazy  to see how what Preach My Gospel says is true... No effort is wasted... and sometimes one New Investigator can turn into a whole family of 3.

The other miracle is actually similar.  My companion, Sister O....., and I were on our way home one day just tracting.  As we were getting our bikes we saw the lady from the binlang store down the street outside talking to a lady.  She seemed to be having a bit of a hard time and they were interested in us so we stopped to talk to them.  Then we saw her little girl and invited her to English class.  The lady on the scooter encouraged her to let her daughter go and be with Christians.  She said it was a good influence.... The next two weeks her mom brought her to English class, but we didn't see much more than that.  When we were going by we would stop and say hi sometimes and re invite her to English.  She started coming again about 2 weeks ago, but we actually decided to meet with her and ask her mom's permission to actually teach her about the gospel.  We were surprised at how happy and excited her mom was.  She actually really wanted xxxxx to go to church.  The next week xxxxxx came to English and brought one of her good friends with her.  We invited them to church last night and our MM leader helped pick them both up for church.  At church they found out that they already knew most of their Sunday school class and some of our members from school.  The lord really does prepare people.  They both set baptismal dates and committed not only to pray, but to come to church every Sunday.  It might be a bit difficult because they are little kids, but still amazing how the lord works.  Not only that but after xxxxx said she wanted to share with another one of her friends and asked for a Book of Mormon to give them.  We got 3 awesome referrals from investigators this week and all from things that my companion and I did here in Taidong 5 months ago.  We never know the Lord's timing, but we do know that he does answer.

One cool thing that I learned this week was from reading the Liahona from August.  It was a talk called "In His own way and in his own time."  It is all about how the lord reveals things to us.  It gives an example of how sometimes we expect the lord to answer us in really big life changing ways.  We expect answers like we read about when they get shocked by lighting or receive a vision... He says that this is like saying we will only listen to the teacher who shouts at us and ignore the wise teacher who speaks to us quietly.  As an elementary education major and one who has taught kids a lot on my mission I can attest to the fact that the only time a teacher shouts is when their patience is thin and the children won't listen to anything else.  It is a blessing that we can be the good student that can listen to the wise counsel of a teacher speaking quietly.  Are we the students that cause the Lord to shout as us to finally be able to hear His words??  or are we the kind of people that can listen and obey those quiet gentle promptings??  Do we need the Lord to shout at us to do good or can we see a need and fill it?  I am working everyday at being the kind of missionary who doesn't need those strong promptings, but can go and act on whatever the Lord says.

I'm glad my companion's parents contacted you!  They will probably be very happy to get some more information and pictures.  Also, it's fun that Matt is with someone from Lone Peak.  I hope he really likes Zhong Ming... looks like he might be like me in Taidong - in Zhong ming.  ha ha  we have 3 more weeks until transfers so I'll let you know if it might be more like 7 months here... ha ha I know that whatever the lord wants of me I will be able to do it and I am grateful for all these challenges that He has thrown my way... I really have changed... a lot! 

 Mom, thanks for the lyrics to the song, it really touched me and I would love to hear it!  I feel like I would really like that musical.  6 months!  It really has gone by so fast!!!  I can't believe that I only have 6 months left :(  It is kind of hard, but comforting knowing that the Lord is molding me into the person He wants me to be, so here we go for 6 more months of changing :)  I hope that He continues to bless you as much as He is us here!  Dad I will be praying for you specifically every week and next week we have fast Sunday so we will be fasting for you too.  We are doing a special missionary fast with our ward on the 28th so we are hoping to see some cool miracles from that too.

All right well I love you!!! Keep to the Faith!

ha ha and sorry about BYU's loss.  Maybe next year when we are both back it will be the good luck charm to break the losing streak.  I agree with Matt in saying that you are all "piaoliang" and "hen shuai"!  Everyone thinks our family looks so wonderful and I would have to agree... we have a pretty awesome fam :)  Love you all!

Sister Sara Gummow  

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