Monday, October 28, 2013

Happy Halloween! Oct 27, 2013

Wen Jiemei is doing really well this week and sent some fun Halloween pictures from their ward party. Check out the photo-bomber in one of them!  Haha!  Can't believe she is down to 5 months left in her mission!

Hello dearest family!

Sorry I realize that every week I get so involved in writing my email that I forget to answer any of your questions so today I am going to answer questions first.  I did get the contacts and I was so happy!  Thank you they came just in time!  It was nice too because when I got moved back to Taipei I got welcomed back with a bunch of mail so it was a happy welcome back.  Thanks for the email about my bro out here in Taiwan and yes we are supporting each other.  I gave him a late... but still awesome birthday present and we write sometimes... every time i get a letter from him it is like a miracle, but always makes me way happy.  He actually sent me the pictures of him wearing the tie I sent.  it's pretty awesome and made by hand by some Aborigines.  If I would have thought about it I would have bought another one to give dad or Daniel, but for some reason I never really thought about it... luckily sister xxxx is still there so i might be able to ask her to buy another one for me.  

So anyways this transfer is still going really well.  3rd area, 3rd native companion... must be good right?!  Sister D really is amazing.  We have the least amount of time together because we go on exchanges once or twice a week.  We go sooo much!  It is really fun though and really cool to see the sisters growing and progressing as missionaries.  I realize how much I have learned everyday and it is fun to continue learning from them as well.  

I finally got a real Sunday here and things went really really well.  I could really feel the lord guiding my introductory testimony and I can already feel the ward members enthusiasm for missionary work building. They all keep asking me how long I have been here because they think I am going home soon.... yay I even had one member say they thought I was Taiwanese yesterday.  I still think my Chinese is really bad... I'm still on phase 2 :(  but luckily my accent is ok and I think mostly in Chinese now so my grammar and flow are pretty good though my vocabulary may not be as great as I would like.  I really feel so at home with the members here now though and with the culture in general.  I am grateful for how much the lord has blessed me.  We have found some awesome new investigators this week and they are already progressing really well.  Next week I will email more about them.  I also want to ask for some special prayers for us.  We have 2 wards and one of the wards, Tuchen, they are on fire with missionary work.  The last sets of sisters had a lot of success in those wards and right now all of our solid investigators are there (we had 5 come to church on Sunday).  The thing is the other ward, Xinban, also has some awesome members, but we need to get them on board with the missionary work.  We are hoping to go find some really awesome families that we can bring to church, so that we can get them filled with hope and faith (the sisters didn't have many investigators in that area before so we really need some special help).  We have decided we really want to help build up the xinban ward so that they can have as much success as the Tuchen ward has.  Pray that we can find those families!  thank you so much for all of your support!!!

This week I was reading the 2008 May general conference Liahona. They have some great talks in there and I thought it was so cool because I have really really seen the same things in my missionary service.  there is one that I want to specifically share with dad I posted the link below.

I think this talk really applies to you right now because it is funny how we face so many challenges and we always think that in a few years it will be easier or once I get this done it will be better... when really every time we think things are good... the lord will give us a new challenge to let us grow.  Our job is to not get discouraged, but take each new challenge with faith... just as we did the one before.  I told xxxx it is funny because at first on our hike of  a mission we think that there is no possible way we can climb those mountains... but after we get over a few, we realize how much stronger we are.  then we have even steeper more difficult ones to climb, but instead of saying no way I can't... we say bring it on and we face it with the faith that the lord will help us just like He did all those times before. 

So keep looking outward and upward just like mom said and keep hiking those mountains that I know you are all facing (or if you aren't right now will be facing soon).  I love you all so much and pray for you often.  

Here are some fun pictures from our Halloween party on Saturday. I love Halloween!!!

Sister Gummow ^_^v

Monday, October 21, 2013

Week of Miracles!

Sister Gummow is enjoying her new responsibilities and opportunities to go on exchanges and teach with a variety of Sisters in her Zones.  She had some great experiences and really enjoys being near the temple again!

"Dear Family,

I just have to say that the lord really does love me.  Ha ha after all these difficult times on my mission I feel like the lord just pulled open the  windows of heaven and poured out blessings upon me.  It is really incredible.  We found 8 new investigators this week!!!  3 of which are a golden family.  They have 2 little boys who remind me of Matt and Daniel so much.  It is really so crazy.  I realize now how much the Lord was preparing me to help out these next generations of missionaries.  The sisters that I am over are so awesome and I can't wait to work with them.  

This week was super fun because I got to go on exchanges two times already, one with the temple sisters and one with the sisters in Shilin who are Sister W (sister B's first trainee), and Sister G (my friend from the MTC).  It was seriously so fun to be with them and we saw miracles on all of the exchanges.  

Some of the cool miracles we saw were as me and Sister B (current temple sister) were contacting we were able to meet a really awesome golden investigator.  Sister B used to be in this area, so she was actually leading me around when she got the impression to change where we were going and to stop at a place right by where we currently were.  We walked down the street and about 10 minutes into contacting ran into a girl who had met the missionary sisters before, but because she was going to study at a small island wasn't able to set up a time.  She was so excited and set up a time for Tues.  She is awesome and ironically her English name is Kelly :).

The other cool miracle was when I was in Shilin with Sister G.  We had a few hours of contacting so we set a goal to try and use family history during one of the hours because we just had specialized training all about family history.  So we wanted to find a younger girl using family history.... and guess what - it happened!  We ran into a girl who was already christian.  As we started talking to her we were able to discuss the traditional culture and why parents often oppose their conversion to the christian church.  We were able to help her understand we still love our ancestors.  We set up a time for them to meet with her and any of her friends who may be interested next week.   Sooo cool!  

Best miracle of the week was meeting with our English class student xxxx and her son.  She has been coming to English class for awhile, but missionaries were never able to find a convenient time to meet.  We were not only able to set up a time, but when we came we found she was interested in this for her whole family.  Her sons are adorable!  In English class we had a spiritual thought about the Book of Mormon.  She said that that week her son ran into a problem and he told his mom... "it's ok mom I can go find the answer in the book of Mormon" and he promised her he would read it.  This week they committed to reading and praying everyday.  They are often busy on Sundays, but they committed to finding a time to come to church as well.  We are set up for next Sunday and will get to meet the dad too! 

I seriously feel so grateful for this gospel and my wonderful companion.  We are going to be going on exchanges quite frequently, but it is nice to know that when I get back we are really unified in not only our goals, but how we do missionary work.  I am always exhausted but so so happy.  I was happy that after our first exchange Sister G told me she knew that the Lord wanted me there for a reason and she thought I could do a lot of good among the sisters there.  

I am grateful that all my experiences here have taught me so much.  It is so cool to use those challenges and trials and to help other people.  I look forward to all the miracles we will be seeing this week as well.

The temple was an amazing spiritual uplift.  I missed it so much, but was so lucky to be able to go so quickly after getting back to Taipei.  Sorry I didn't tell you all about temple day... I didn't know either, just a nice little surprise after getting back from Taidong.  It was also fun because one of the temple workers is our member in Taidong so I got to see her.  I will also get to go on exchanges back to my old area- Neihu! sooo fun! 

I can't believe Joanna is going on a mission!  She is really going to make a fantastic missionary.  Missionary work on missions isn't necessarily easier or harder... just different.  The Lord really knows what we need and He helps us grow so much on our missions.  I am so excited for her and all the things she will experience.  I also have another little friend for you to friendship.  He is moving to Utah to study English and prepare to serve a mission.  He is the MM leader in our wards son and he always helps us peike.  He is awesome!  He is only 18 though and it's his first time away from home.  He is excited but nervous.  He is still trying to find a place to live and I was hoping you guys might be able to help him out.  He wants to live near BYU campus.  

I love you all!  Thanks for all your support!  Jia you!"

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Transfers and Temple Day! Oct 15, 2013

Sister Gummow's email came today.  We were starting to wonder if it would, but it was temple day for her in her new area so P-day was changed to Wednesday.  She had time to send a few photos so it was worth the wait! 
 Here is one from the Luau activity that they organized for the ward in Taidong.  It looks like they are shredding some Kahlua Pork

The one below is with a beloved family in Taidong - the wife is from Cambodia

`Hello family!!!
I am writing from the wonderful city of Tuchen/Xinban.  I think the Lord just thinks it is funny that I have no sense of direction and I love riding my bike so He sent me to another one of the largest areas in the mission, but now in the city!  Ha ha our area covers two wards and about 4 different cities.  Right now they don't have many investigators and only 1 baptismal date, but I am excited to use all I have learned and all my companion has learned and go to work building this area.

 My new companion's name is Sister D.  She is from Taiwan-Jaiyi.  She is so cute and really an awesome sister missionary.  She is also 22 and we will actually be going home together.  We are a "co da" companionship which just means that we have the same responsibilities.  Even better, we are Sister Training Leaders over two of the zones here.  We have about 16 sisters that we get to watch over. They are all awesome sisters and I am looking forward to getting to know them more.  I think it is interesting the Lord just wants to keep me in training my whole mission.  Ha ha I just haven't learned what He wanted me to learn yet... but I do love it because I learn so so so much from the other sisters.

I am exhausted from all the traveling, new meetings and responsibilities, but I love it.  I am so happy.  Just last night my companion turned and thanked me for all I was teaching her.  She said even though we had only been together for 5 days that she had learned so much and she was so grateful for me.  She is really an angel. I am going to work on really becoming a preach my gospel missionary and I am so excited for the opportunity to teach these people.

 It is also fun to have 2 wards to be working with.  Sooo many members who are so awesome.  really cool to be around - so many solid members who are excited about the work of salvation.

General conference was wonderful!  My companion and I actually had the opportunity to watch it half in Chinese and half in English.  She offered to watch the whole thing in English, but she doesn't understand it at all.  I was surprised at how much I did understand in Chinese.  It didn't have the same effect on me, but it was still wonderful and I can't wait to continue to study all the direction and counsel they gave us.

I love love love being a missionary and I realize more and more now how much I have learned.  I only have 6 more months so I am going to make it worth every second and give my very all.  I am grateful to be working with a companion who is so skilled!  I am sure we will have our challenges too, but mostly just happy to be with such a great missionary!

Well here we go for another week.  I love you all!!!

Sister Gummow

PS I loved all the pictures from Arizona.  It looked like so much fun!  We definitely need a reunion with all the cousins sometime after I get back!  I can't believe how much everyone has grown up.  I am so so happy and grateful to see how much the lord is blessing our family.  Good luck with tests, dad, and mom thank you for all you do to keep us updated.  It really is a needed uplift to read your emails each week.  Thank you!!!!

Here are some pictures she sent of their Outdoor Zone Training last week before transfers:

 A P-day hike a couple of weeks ago with a family from Taidong

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Lots of miracles! October 7, 2013

It was a wonderful week for Sister Gummow in Taidong!  Her email came a day late because of a Zone Conference that she gave us a "heads up" on last week.  They did a hike as part of their training which se really enjoyed and told us of the many miracles that happened this week as they taught the Gospel.  Next week is transfers so we will be interested to hear what the near future holds for her!

Hello Dearest family!!!

So crazy things in Taidong... We have been seeing sooo many finding miracles lately.  We have been having awesome member referrals, elder referrals, and investigator referrals.  Our teaching pool is growing everyday.  We have hardly any time to find and every time we do we are successful!  There was only one day this week that we were faced with a lot of rejection and fallen through plans.  That was on Saturday, but then when I went and looked at what we did I realized that we had already made most of our goals and so the lord knew all along.  It is OK because we have to have both the rejections and the acceptations to fully understand how great all the miracles the Lord is giving us.  

Here are a few of our new investigators.  One is named l... JM, Even, she is a referral from a member in the 1st branch.  She recently got divorced and is taking care of her two little girls all by herself.  She came to our English class (which her girls loved) and then we set up with just her later on.  We has a great lesson with her.  When I said the opening prayer the spirit came in sooo strong and we were all crying by the time I finished.  She was so touched and really felt of God's love for her.  She is busy and has many trials, but the member said she talked to her later and she was so touched by her experience and for sure will keep meeting with us. Members are the best! 

Then another cool miracle was - we went really far to find one of our RC's who has been really struggling lately.  She has class at Taidong Daxue (college) but in an area called Zhi Ben which is about a 45 min to an hour bike ride away.  So we show up just hoping we caught her in time to meet with her.  Right before she came out we said a prayer that after coming so far she would be able to bring a friend so we could have a new investigator.  She did... her friend was actually another RC in our ward who is her boyfriend... BUT... as we were sitting there waiting we were just talking to others and inviting them to our English class and met a girl and invited her to eat with us.  Turns out she has only been in Taidong for a few weeks. She is from Gaoxiong and it is her first time away from home and she doesn't know many people.  It was so cool to see the Lord not only answer our prayers, but do even more...and I love her!  Her name is Liz and we are already good friends. 

 ha ha another cool miracle... so when I first came in to Taidong 6 months ago there was a girl named ch........ who got baptized a few weeks before, but because of some different things she never got confirmed.  We worked with her for awhile and though she has a testimony she could never quite put god as her first priority.  We stopped meeting with her, but would call her every once and awhile.  This week my companion and I kept thinking about her and finally called her.  Turns out she has turned over a new leaf.  She wants to try and put God first.  She quit her job so she could come to church on Sunday and when she found a new job that required her to work on Sunday she decided it wasn't worth it.  She is really getting it and wants to put God first in her life again.  We are going to be working on helping her get confirmed in the next few weeks and endure to the end!  

Final miracle of yesterday actually was - we met a really cool new investigator named C......  She is also a Taidong Daxue student.  Well we met with her for the 3rd time yesterday and she brought her friend with her.  They were both so cute.  Though they don't really understand everything, they like the feeling they have and want to have it more.  They both set baptism dates for 11/30.  Sooo cool!  

So sooo many miracles!

This coming week will be very interesting though.  We had stake conference on Sunday in Hualian (3 hours away) and then they came out yesterday for our outdoor zone conference.  It was so cool!  We went on a hike in Tai Ma Li and not only hiked but had training in the beautiful outdoors.  Dad you would have really appreciated it. It was so cool to be taught in such a beautiful place.  The lord really loves us!  anyways tomorrow we have our English class Halloween party and then on Thursday we are going to Taipei for transfers.  We still don't know who is moving, so I might be writing you from a new area next week.... but whatever happens I know the Lord loves us and he has a wonderful plan.  i know wherever i go it will be the lords will.  I am excited for whatever challenge He decides to give me next (though I must admit I am really hoping this next transfer will be a bit of a break on the challenges)  So... pray that all will go well and whatever happens that my investigators here in Taidong will all be taken good care of :(  I love them all so much!!!  

My thoughts and prayers are with you all!

Tell Michelle I said congratulations they looked beautiful together!  I still can't believe how much Bry is growing up and Daniel driving from St. George... he's probably better at driving than I am already!  So crazy!!!

The whole package did come mom and I loved it all.  It came at just the right time too.  so fun!!
I also got a wedding invite from Joseph Kujanpaa.  Tell him congrats for me!  I was so excited and his wife looks perfect for him.  Are they really moving to China?!  I also loved seeing Tyler, Stephen, and the others wedding pictures.  So crazy!  tell them congrats on FB for me too if you get a chance.  ha ha anyways time is running short so I better go, but I love you all very very much and am more and more grateful for you guys everyday!  

Love,  Sister Sara Gummow 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Christmas in September! Sept 30, 2013

This week she got the package we were lucky enough to send over with a neighbor who was there on business and staying right near the mission home!  Sister Gummow shared with us her reflections on the past year and the things she has learned:

Sister Gummow - One year ago
Sister Gummow -2013
 -Moving mountains - even on P-day

"Dear Family,

Thank you for the package Brother Dobson delivered!!!  It was a wonderful surprise and came the day after I hit my year mark - so it was a fun little party.  I loved the skirt!  It came at a great time.  Sometimes I look at pictures and realize I am wearing the same thing at that moment as I was in the picture... this happens a lot so I figured I should start expanding my wardrobe a bit - but it's ok because we just get used to it ha ha.  
The food was wonderful too.  We were all very excited.  Ha ha my friends think I am spoiled because we had a whole transfer's worth of mail that they finally sent us!  so thank you to David for the letter as well as all the facebook updates from mom and the letter from the Kano's.  Wen Zhanglao (Elder Gummow), I was sooo happy you wrote me too!  Tell all the newly weds congrats for me!  I can't believe all the people who got married!  It was fun to hear from Seulbee too.  

Before I forget, next week our P-day is changing times too.  It will be on a Tuesday not a Monday because we are having a special zone conference on Monday.

So some things I was reflecting on as I looked back on the past year:
I have learned about Faith, Hope, Charity and Humility more than I ever thought I possibly could... and now I feel like I am just beginning.  It is funny how that happens.  It takes us until we reach a new perspective to really see.  

I can now sit in sacrament meeting and feel the spirit just as strongly as I can in English.

It is more comfortable for me to bear my testimony in Chinese than in English.

I love people more deeply and am more in tune to their needs.

I LOVE finding
I LOVE teaching
I LOVE inviting

Being a missionary is a part of me.  It comes almost effortlessly.  I really have realized that the key to success is our willingness to change and to rely on the lord.

This week my companion and I taught 30 lessons.  8 to LA, 5 to Members 10 to others and 7 others had a member present.  

Not all of our investigators are where I would like them to be, but I know that I love them and the Lord loves them.  He blesses us when we do all we can to build the kingdom.  I noticed that as we focused once again on bringing back the lost sheep He really helped us in the other areas even though we may not have as much finding time as usual.  Our fast for missionary work ended up really well and we have been finding some really awesome new investigators that want to get baptized.  

I feel like taidong is my home.  I really love it here.  I loved Neihu, but the lord wanted me here in Taidong.  I love the members and the investigators here.  They really are my family.  It is so fun to walk in to church or an activity and just feel like I am joining my family.  The branch president has adopted us.  He really loves the sister missionaries and we have a special relationship with their family.  Mother you would be grateful for his wife wang ma ma.  They really have done so much for me.  I LOVE their family.  If there is anything that I could give them to send in the package I would appreciate it.  They loooove music so maybe a CD or something (wang huizhangs favorite song is a poor wayfaring man of grief  if you could hie to kolob, or ring out wild bells, and wang ma mas is children of our heavenly father.)  I will be brainstorming ideas of what I can do for them.  We have 2 more weeks until transfers, but I am thinking there is a good chance I have one more transfer here.  We will see, but I could definitely see myself being here one more.   

This week I saw sooo many miracles, but the one I want to write about is N.....  I wrote about her a little last week, but this week we had a cool experience.  So we never really have been able to teach her about the restoration so I was worried that she wouldn't get why our religion and others is different (she is christian)  she told us this week that she may be going back to the Philippines next week.  I was so sad, but as we were bearing testimony to her we all felt the spirit so strongly.  We knew that the Lord wanted us all to meet.  It was really Him so aware of her needs.  We were back on the bike trail where we first met and it just hit me so strongly how aware the Lord was of N....  He was preparing her.  She said that the Mormon church is right by her house and the missionaries have often knocked on their door.  She said she will go when she is there.  She realizes how much the lord loves her.  She said that she knows as she is meeting with the missionaries in the Philippines that her sisters in Taiwan will be taking care of her husband and trying to help him.  It is amazing to me to be apart of this amazing team.  I have no doubt that the missionaries in the Philippines will take care of her just as well as we are here.  I have so much trust and love for the missionaries all over the world.  We are working for the greatest cause.  We really do need everyone's support, but I know the Lord is with us every step of the way.  I know my sacrifice is a small price to pay to know the lord the way I have come to know Him.

Daniel and Bryanna, I have a special message for you.  I want you to go and take a look at the Come Follow Me program.  They talk about how these things can help youth be more prepared for their missions so that when you are here your spiritual growth is even more.  You can really hit the ground running.  I want to tell you that our stake already has this.  I didn't realize it until I was here, but you have so many great resources and opportunities to grow spiritually.  Take advantage of it.  When I got to Taiwan because of wonderful leaders, parents, and friends I was able to hit the ground running and I haven't stopped.  I know that it will be the same for you if you really take advantage of the resources you have.  Step up and take the lead.  Offer to talk, to say the prayers, to serve.  The more you serve the lord now the happier you will be.  Don't wait or the opportunities might pass you by.  I know waaay too many missionaries who have so many regrets about what they did before their missions.  Don't be like that.  Live so that every day you can say yes I have done good in the world and yes I know my savior more.  NO regrets... that's not a saying just for missionaries.  It starts now with you guys.  I can say that before my mission I have no regrets and so now I have no regrets and this pattern I know will continue so after my mission I can say I have no regrets too.  The lord loves you.  If you put Him first you will find that Jesus Christ is really that best friend that you have been hoping for.  He is always there.  I know because even in the hardest times of my mission when I felt so alone.... or even worse I felt like everything and everyone was counting on me and I couldn't do it... I realized I didn't have to worry... the lord is always there!  

More than anything this past year is I have learned that I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.

I love you all so much and I am praying for you.  Thank you for your support and love.  It always puts a smile on my face.  

Love, Sister Gummow"