Wednesday, January 29, 2014

One more mission challenge :) :)

Sister Gummow had a little too much excitement this week!  I assumed that her email came late because she was at the temple this week, but she never mentioned anything about the temple.

Dearest Family,

So this week we had an exciting thing happen... our boundaries changed!  Ha ha this may not seem like a huge deal, but to all the sisters in our mission it is.  So what happened was a lot of missionaries were wasting a lot of time traveling so instead of us all covering huge areas, if there are more than one set of missionaries in an area we are breaking it up.  This means that elders are now allowed to teach sisters and we are allowed to teach brothers.... weird.. we now have like 2 or 3 male investigators.  The thing that happened to us though is we got the awkward portion in the middle that the missionaries rarely go to... so we have only 3 out of our 9 baptismal date investigators still in our area.  All the rest of our investigators have been handed over to the elders. 

It is kind of funny because I was reading my favorite talk "mountains to climb" and I was thinking about how nice my mission life was now... (we were having tons of success and everything was just super ultra good.) Then... ha ha I made the foolish decision of saying to myself that I really really liked it this way and didn't want to pray for another trial...  I think the lord decided I wasn't quite humble enough yet so He sent one...

Personally I am really excited to go out and find again.  I LOOOVE finding and it is fun to sort of be opening a new area.  It's not really new, but to us it is :)  So I am really enjoying the new challenge.  

However, there is one more challenge He decided to throw my way... so we were on exchanges with the Sisters in Danshui.  Sister Nelson (a 3rd transfer missionary) came to Tucheng with me.  As we started the exchange, I started to feel a weird pain in my stomach, but just brushed it off.  So we went to go eat dinner, but I was too uncomfortable so I just awkwardly drank water while she ate...  I said a prayer and the pain went away for a bit.  Then as we were teaching a pass over lesson (passing our investigator to the elders) with the elders I started to feel weird again.  By the time the lesson ended I was in so much pain I could barely walk... so I called Sister Day and asked if we could go to the hospital (this is not that big of a deal in Taiwan because everyone always goes to the hospital)  it was on the way to our next appointment so I found a way there.  At the hospital I was in so much pain that I was ya... like throwing up because it hurt to move... but don't worry ha ha I am just fine now!  They did some testing and inspection and they are pretty sure I have a kindey stone.  I went back and checked this morning and they said just to keep eating the pills they gave me (an antibiotic and a pain killer) and everything should be just fine.  I will hopefully be able to pass it sometime soon... The real miracle of the night was that we were able to communicate all of this in Chinese. The cute girl I was with has only been in Taiwan for a few months so she was such a trooper following me around and just holding all my stuff.  

The real miracle was the amazing priesthood blessing I received and the kindness of all the members.  Since the girl I was with didn't know my area at all, I told her to call the elders for help so that they could find someone to take us home.  The elders were awesome and got a hold of 2 different members who were able to help me that night and the next morning.  I also requested that they give me a priesthood blessing before the member drove us home.  In the blessing, the lord specifically told me that in about 3 hours the pain would lessen and that in time I would be healed.  It was really amazing because that is exactly what happened.  at about 1am the pain was better and it was good enough that I was able to sleep for a few hours.  The past few days I have had absolutely no pain and now I am prepared so that if next time anything happens I will know what to do!  

My poor companion has to kind of follow me around to the doctor visits :(  she is so so awesome and super supportive.  She has been really good at just checking how I am feeling and always asking to make sure I am doing ok.  I am not really worried.  I know the Lord will help me through this small challenge just like He has all the rest on my mission. I am grateful for another small mountain I can continue to climb.  I didn't necessarily want to ask for it, but I am sure it is exactly what I need to help me grow even more.  I actually read a really cool talk as I was in so much pain that I couldn't really sleep
It is really cool because it talks about the relationship of sin and physical pain.  I am grateful that I can understand the atonement on a different level than I ever have before.  I think really that is what all of our challenges in life are really there to do... help us understand our Heavenly Father and our Savior just that much more.    

Daniel and Bry... don't mess around too much... you will regret not diligently doing your best at school.  It is something that influences your entire future.  My friend sent me a quote about Hebrew concept of time and they explain it like a song.  if you don't hear the first notes you can't really understand the next few.  they are all connected.  Your decisions right now are all connected to your past and your future.  You are in the process of writing your life symphony right now... you get to choose how it sounds.  I have faith that you both will have the most beautiful symphonies out of our whole family and i can't wait to see what you both have been writing when I get home!  

Please pray for me!  I love you all so much and I hope you know that we are still seeing so many miracles everyday.  I don't have time to share them all with you, but the lord is really directing His work.  I know that missionaries all over the world are experiencing the same :)  

On the brighter side it is also fun to learn some more health and doctor words in Chinese!  oh and btw I think that either Easter weekend or the weekend I get back will be fine.  It will be a bit hard to talk in English, but I'm sure it won't be a problem!  I really don't have an opinion so whatever you think would be best for the family members who might want to attend is good with me.  I do have a request though... can we get tickets to general conference because I really want to go!!! :) alright I think that is everything!  LOVE YOU!!!

Sister Gummow

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Amazing Week!

This week we received Sara's Return flight information!  I had to read it several times before it sunk in!  I can't believe she is actually coming home and we will see her in 60 something days!  This was a great week for her and we love her lots!

Dear Family,

So I just wanted to tell you about this amazing amazing week!  I feel like the start of my mission was just full of trials and hard times, but luckily... I have been able to learn the things the lord wanted me to learn and now He is just letting me see miracles every day.  It is so fun and there is a sense of joy that is really hard to describe.  First I can say that a huge part of all these blessings is due to my wonderful companion.  Her name is Sister L G and she is from Texas.  Actually she was born in Utah but spent her high school years in Texas and then went to BYU for school.  her family has recently moved there so I'm sure you could get in touch with them if you wanted.  She is super super awesome and super super obedient, and super super diligent.  She is probably my last companion and I am so grateful because she is everything I could ask for and more in a companion.  She really is helping me reach my full potential.  It is really fun to learn and grow with her.  She doesn't really have a Chinese connection other than that she felt inspired to take a Chinese class before her mission and when she got her call she was not surprised at all.  Her Chinese is really good too.  Unlike many Americans she has a really great accent which I appreciate a lot.  I don't know why, but the accent thing really gets to me sometimes so I love talking to her in Chinese and English and teaching with her.  We actually had a chance to exchange once before and on the exchange the members just said we made them feel really comfortable together.  

I think you might be right, mom, that the time might slow down a lot.  I am loving everything, but it was so comfortable being with Sister G that sometimes I forget she only moved here 2 weeks ago.  It seems like we have been companions for a really long time, but really it has only been 2 and 1/2 weeks.  You will for sure get to meet her someday!  She is only on her 7th transfer so she gets home in august... probably around the same time as Matt.  Can't believe you have my Flight info already! They have been asking me forever, but I kept forgetting so I just assumed I will be flying back to SLC airport... ha ha will I be able to go to the conference?!  That would be the coolest thing ever!

Anyways so let me tell you about the miracles this week...  the first thing is we met 7 new investigators!  We have this new invite of stating our missionary purpose (especially about baptism) when we touch our name badge.  The cool thing is that we found 4 of them in one day because of that invite.  It was so cool to see how willing people were to be baptized when they heard of the great gift of repentance.  A lot of people have a desire to come closer to God, but are not sure how to do it.  It is so cool to see their desire and how when we just explain that it is our purpose to help them do that... they are thrilled and willing to set up.  The other miracles also came from helping our investigators get to know our members better.  It is great to give them a support system that allows them to have more than just us to support them.  It makes the transition of a new member so much easier when they have already have a ward family to support them.  I am so grateful for the members willingness to friendship and to fulfill their callings.  

We saw many more miracles, but I think the biggest miracle of all was how I realized how much the spirit influences the work.  I loved what Elder Gummow said about his mission.  I have seen that so much this week.  I didn't realize that all of those hard experiences had shaped me into a missionary who loves preach my gospel and who knows how to rely on the lord to do this work.  I didn't realize that without the spirit to teach we truly are useless.  I had many people tell me this week that they felt the spirit with me and they felt it when I spoke.  I didn't even realize that this was an amazing change that has been happening.  The spirit is so influential in my life that when it is not there quite as strong I feel useless as a missionary...  I realized that having the spirit as your companion to teach is the biggest comfort in the world.  When the spirit is there you do not need to worry what you look like or what to say... people reject you, but you don't lose hope.  The spirit just simply prompts you to keep going... the prepared person is just around the corner.  
The spirit is one of my best friends and is surely my best companion.  I have seen that as I teach it teaches me and it teaches my investigators, RC's and LA's... it teaches my companions...  I hope that I can become even better friends with the spirit before the end of my mission, but I feel like that is what my mission has taught me more than anything... who is the spirit?  and how does he talk to me?  I still don't have a perfect understanding, but we have a really good relationship and if I only learned that on my mission I would be happy :).  luckily the lord has taught me a lot more than that, but having that spirit with me has made me so so so happy.  

One cool lesson I learned this week was when a recently returning LA asked about agency.  She didn't really get how it was agency if we know that when we do good there is a good result and if we do bad there is a bad result.  why would anyone choose the bad?  how is that agency?  I felt prompted to explain to her about a little child and how they all have homework.  It is up to them to decide if they want to do it or not.  Agency is the ability to choose what we want in the end... it is not easy to get the good that we want.  It is hard and that is what makes agency so special.  just like a strait "A" student...  every student wants strait A's, but only a few are really willing to put in the effort to obtain those.  Some of us have to put in more effort than others for those A's, but I thought of myself.  How often did I just think the A was too hard and was willing to settle for a B?  How often did I let myself slide by instead of really putting all my energy into it.  I think this is very much like how the celestial kingdom will be.  The three kingdoms are very much like those A B or C students.  What sets the A students a part from the B or C?  It is the real honest energetic effort to continue to learn and progress... being willing not to settle for OK or average... and most especially allowing the savior to make up for those weaknesses that we have.  So Daniel and Bry, not only are your grades here important, but remember that the way you go about these things now can influence the eternal... literally, (the intelligence we obtain in this life will carry with us to the next).  Use all the energy you can to obtain that intelligence now.  Every little bit will count.  You can do it and you will eternally be grateful you did!  

I love you all so much and hope you know my prayers are with you.  I love you all so much!  jia you jia you!!!

Sister Sara Gummow        

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


After many prayers, lots of other teaching experiences, hard work, learning experiences, tears, etc Sara was blessed with a baptism!!  Ironically, even though she has planted many seeds, worked with numerous less actives, and taught lots of lessons, she played a relatively small part in the conversion of this wonderful young lady - but was blessed to be able to be part of the baptism! Her joy is still great and she felt privileged to be involved!

"Yay!! So this week x..... Jei mei got baptized!!!! 
She is 17 years old and her older brother got baptized about 2 months ago.  Her boyfriend helped her get baptized.  They are both so awesome and she really wants to have an eternal family.  We felt like we were such a small part in it, but so so happy for her!  I love her!!! (Sister G is standing next to me :)  
Well that was on Saturday, but this week was full of lots of little and big miracles!  We have been increasing our level of obedience and have really seen some cool blessings.  We were able to find some really cool new investigators this week.  One is named E   .  She came to our English class.  She lives near by and saw the English banner on our church gate so decided to come and see.  Turns our she really is super willing to learn about the gospel. She set a baptismal date for March and is reading, praying, and came to the baptism on Saturday.  she is super super cool.  the other 2 were also really cool miracles.  I have just seen the importance of talking to everyone... even if it is just to ask for directions or say hi.  It makes a difference!  

I must admit I feel a little bit like the lord is just handing things over to us... I wonder if my whole mission I had focused more on obedience if it would always have been like this, but the truth is I know that we really do learn from our trials and I definitely needed those trials, but now I am really grateful to see how much the lord is willing to bless all the efforts before and then some...

My companion is wonderful and ready to go and do.  She is a little intimidated by all the expectations and responsibilities, but she has Faith and is ready to try.  Sister training leaders work the same as zone leaders in a mission so they work in a team (thank goodness!) We usually only serve for 4 transfers and zone or sister training leaders (which I don't have to worry about because this is my 3rd transfer as a sister training leader).  It is a really neat opportunity to serve.  

This week I went on exchanges with the sisters in jilong (which is sister Z - my baby :))  and in Beitou.  It was very interesting being with sister Z again... not quite as I imagined it would be, but she is doing great.  She has grown so much and is really doing great.  The end of the week I was with sister ch.. ( she is from Hawaii and just finished her training in taiwan)  It was so cool to be with sister ch....  Beitou is one of my favorite areas!  If we ever come back to Taiwan we have to go back there!  I looove it!!!  anyways Sister ch... she wanted to find a family and we found 2!  I also always had a dream to have a really old person become our new investigator.  One of the families was a super old grandpa and grandma.  the grandpa was 93 yrs old!  ha ha but he said he would come to church on Sunday!   

The other family was the result of another obedience miracle. 

I forgot my new safety belt so we weren't able to ride bikes unless she had an extra headlight and rear light... which she didn't... so we had to find a bike shop to buy one.  It was super inconvenient and took up so much time, but we decided it was worth it to be obedient.  As we were looking for a bike shop we asked a lady right next to us.  She wasn't actually from the area (she lived near their church) and after inviting her to their English class she told me she has been looking for something to help their family.  Their situation has not been great lately and she has been wanting to go to a christian church to see if it could help them... yep what?! That was exactly my reaction.  Super cool... and she really wanted the gospel to help her family... the thing we talk about all the time!!!  They had to run to the dentist, but numbers and information and times were all exchanged and I am sure that she will keep meeting with the missionaries.  

One cool thing I learned this week was that the definition of faith in the Bible dictionary says it is a CONFIDENCE in someone or someone.  Faith is developed by OBEDIENCE.  It is strengthened through righteous living...  A lot of missionaries (and probably other people too)  feel really incapable of doing all the things the lord wants us to.  Sometimes all we can see is the weaknesses we have and think how can we... us small little people... ever ever have the ability to help out others?  The thing is we don't need to have confidence in our own abilities, we just need to have confidence in the savior and his atoning power to make up for those weaknesses.  Then we go and do... we OBEY and that is when our faith is strengthened.  I realized that that is exactly what is happening is that with increased obedience also comes increased faith.  

Some advice for the kids and all of us... read CH 8 of Preach my Gospel.  I think you will find that you can do more than you are doing now.  Learn now to cut down the things that maybe aren't as important.  Put Christ first... the rest will all fall into place just fine.  He will always give us the strength to make our goals.  

Well there were many other miracles, but we are going to focus on those few for now.  I love you all and am praying for your success!!!  


Sister Sara Gummow   

PS.  Here is a picture of our Christmas Choir with President and Sister Day.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Everything!

beginning chinese proverb2014 is already starting out to be a great year for Sister Gummow!  She is down to her last 2 transfers and making every minute count!  

New year - new transfer - new companion - new area.... this year has already started off with a bang!!

First I went on exchanges with the new temple sister, Sister B, she is only on her 6th transfer and is one of the youngest temple sisters we have had in a long time (pray for her!)  I got to be with her on the new year so that was pretty fun!  It was cool to see how much I have changed on my mission.  I may not be a perfect missionary, but I really have learned how to follow the spirit and how to bring the spirit into a lesson.  I have also really learned how to love and how to show my love.  I still have a long way to go, but it is amazing how much the mission has changed me.  

So for all the new things the transfer brought;   I have a new companion (probably my last one ;)) her name is Sister G and she is amazing!  She is also on her 6th transfer, but her chinese is great and she is also very dedicated, obedient, and loving.  She was actually one of the girls in my STL(Sister Training Leader) area last transfer so I was lucky to know her a bit and I knew and loved her trainer so much.  She is a lot like her trainer so I feel very very blessed to be here with her.  The only difficult thing is that they decided to change the zones around a bit, so we added 2 sets of sisters to the ones we were already over.  We officially have the most sisters out of all the STL.  We cover 9 companionships of sisters when normal is about 4-6.  I think it will split next transfer and they will add another STL area, but for now, we get a very busy transfer :)  

Sister Gruwell and I have already started to see many many miracles.  We were able to find 3 different families to start teaching as well as another really awesome mother!  One of them is a LA's husband.  She had a new baby so didn't come to church for awhile.  We visited her a few times and then when her baby was bigger she started coming back to church and brought her whole family (husband, 2yr old, and new born) to church.  We set up with them this past Saturday and had an amazing spiritual lesson.  Both my companion and I had the huge impression that they would be sealed as a family someday.  The husband was willing to pray everyday and meet with us again next week.  Sooo awesome!  

The other family are formers.  The mother's work is in the same building as we live in.  We ran back to our apartment to grab a book of mormon I had forgotten and ran into her.  It happened to be her son's birthday so they invited us over that night.  I know before it was hard to find time to meet, but I think that we might have a good chance of doing it again.  They have a 15 yr old and 13yr old.  Their dad is way cool too and helped us say the closing prayer. 

The last family is also a former mother's investigator.  She lives by our house.  We originally planned on going to a fireside, but we had the 4 people who were planning on going all cancel.  Soo... we decided to pray what to do instead.  My companion doesn't have her bike yet, but I remembered this investigator that lived close by.  I didn't really think there was much chance of her progressing, but we thought we would at least try.  After we got there she actually welcomed us in and let us start teaching her... then the miracle happened. Her husband came home!  It was the first time we have ever met him.  He was way nice and said he had even run into missionaries before on the street.  We were able to teach him about prayer and set up a time next Sunday to go back and teach them all again.  They also have a 4 yr old and 2 yr old.  They are a super cute family.  So once again I feel like the lord has been answering all things things I have been praying for my whole mission.  

The other cool thing was that our teenage investigator, xie JM, passed her baptismal interview and will be baptized next Saturday!  My first baptism!!!  ha ha I have a feeling she will not be the last.  I am super grateful that the lord gave me the chance to learn all the things I did from having some tough transfers, but when He brings you down it is only to bring you up and give you even more.  I know that this New Year is bound to bring many miracles into all of your lives!!!

I also sent a small Christmas package so I hope it gets there safely.  I hope I also remembered to give you my memory card with pictures... let me know if you get it mom!  Sorry if I forgot I will find it and send it if you can't find it on the paper :)  I love you!!!

Sister Sara Gummow