Elder Matthew Gummow

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

2.5 Years Later - Guillian Barre Syndrome

Matt and his neice

This is Matt's mom again...Haven't posted for a long time but had some thoughts today and wanted to share them.

Matt has been home 2 1/2 years from Taiwan and Graduated from BYU in December with a degree in Psychology. He got a new job that required him to have a flu shot which may have triggered the following events.

Last week he went through a series of symptoms that took him to 4 emergency rooms trying to figure them out and eventually landed him in the hospital with a rare condition called "Guillian Barre Syndrome".  Through all the events of the past week, I had some thoughts I wanted to share:

What I have learned from Guillian Barre Syndrome…..

In my religious faith(LDS), we believe that everything was created spiritually before it was created physically and that we were once spirits before we came to earth and received our physical bodies. This morning as I was pondering the last week and the things I have learned about the immune system, I thought of the following analogy in terms of our bodies and our spirits:

  1. In Guillian Barre Syndrome, due to a factor such as a virus infection or flu shot, the body’s immune system becomes confused and instead of attacking the bad germs in the body, it begins to attack the good things in the body that make our bodies work such as the myelin sheath that covers the neurons and axons. 
  2.  It attacks our ability to feel, control our muscles and protect us from hurting ourselves.  It may limit our ability to breathe, eat, and experience joy or pain.
  3. We become numb or paralyzed in parts of our bodies. 
  4. We lose the ability to function on our own in some parts of the body. 
  5. This can happen over a long period of time (days or months) or progress very quickly (within a day).  
  6. With therapy (Plasmatherisis) our plasma can be cleansed of the confused antibodies or (IVIG) an injection of large amounts of good antibodies can override the effects of the bad antibodies so that our bodies can begin to heal and regain feeling and function.  
  7. Sometimes it makes us a little uncomfortable or nauseous in the process, but one can eventually regain full function. 
  8. There is no set time on how long the healing will take.  
  9. Therapy comes at great cost and it is available to everyone but it is a choice whether or not to receive it.

  1. With our spirits, due to a factor such as sin or an inoculation of negative thoughts or actions, sometimes our spiritual immune system becomes confused and instead of attacking the bad thoughts or feelings, it begins to attack good feelings & actions and faith that can bring us the greatest joy and happiness. 
  2.  It attacks our ability to feel the guidance of the holy ghost and our faith in God.
  3.  We become numb in our ability to feel the holy spirit and paralyzed in our faith to learn & spiritually progress. 
  4. We lose the ability to spiritually function on our own in some ways.
  5. This can happen over a long period of time or very quickly  
  6. With therapy (sincere repentance) and/or (faith in God) surrounding ourselves with goodness, the good thoughts can override the effects of sin and negative thoughts so that we can begin to heal and regain feeling & function.  
  7. Sometimes we may be uncomfortable in the process but we can eventually be healed and regain full function.  
  8. There is no set time on how long the healing will take.  
  9. The atonement came at great cost and it is available to everyone but it is a choice whether or not to receive it.

I am aware of many people who suffer from forms of spiritual and physical "Guillian Barre". Both are challenging and painful and difficult to diagnose and treat.  The love and support of family and friends is a wonderful healing factor in both cases and I pray for the speedy recovery of anyone who suffers from either of these conditions!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I'm Back!!!!

Well it's been 4 or so months since I've been back.  I realized that I missed writing in this blog and hoping that at least some people would see it and be effected in a good way by the miracles God has shown me.  I figured I needed to find someway to keep tracking my progress in the Gospel on a week or daily basis, so I picked this blog.  I hope that any sort of experiences I share will be able to help others.

4 Months, I can't believe it's only been 4 months. In this amount of time I feel I've learned a whole lifetime of experiences.  Adjusting to life was a million times harder than I ever expected and it still is hard.  I'm still trying to adjust and i hope in some ways that I never fully adjust.

Today is short I just want to share this...

From my experience and from being home, I always feel the spirit the strongest when someone talks about the Atonement and Christ’s sacrifice for us.  I can’t believe what he was willing to sacrifice for us and I can’t believe that he was willing to take up on himself all of our weaknesses and mistakes and every sort of suffering we go through in this life.  I honestly can’t believe it when I think of all the things I have done to misuse or neglect the Atonement in my life, I feel sad and I want to embrace this gift of love that Christ gave to us.

Being home I feel the Atonement is more vital than ever in my life.  There's a lot of emotional struggles we go through and weaknesses and just everything and if I can't have the Atonement there to help cover up for these things than I would just give up, it's to hard to keep going sometimes.  

But again the Atonement is there I feel it in my life, in my veins.  It provides hope and love and helps me to keep going.  It's provided to me when I choose to do God's will.

I love this Gospel, I love everything about it and I love that through the Gospel I have the solid hope that I can change and become better!!

I know that the Gospel and the Atonement are true as well.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Homecoming! August 20th

Elder Gummow came home on August 20th 2014!  It was an awesome day and we prepared with balloons and banners!  The only crazy thing was trying to check out the kids from school to meet him at the airport.  Somehow the communication didn't get through and we were late getting away.  In the end it didn't matter because the plane was delayed 45 minutes and we made it there in plenty of time.  One of his sisters was unable to get off of work for the airport welcome, but we met her back at home for dinner that night.  (Cafe Rio take-out, of course!)

There were several RM's from the mission that came to welcome the group home as well!

Together again after 2 years!!  So happy!!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Two Year Mark this week!

Two years!!  Can you believe it?  On the 15th of August, he will reach his two year mark!

Here are some pictures from the mission blog of Elder Gummow that I reposted.  I think they are at a Zone Leader Training Meeting.  It is hard to believe that his two years is coming to an end, but we are excited to welcome him back next week!  He will arrive on the 20th and on Saturday, the 23rd we will be holding an open house from 7:30-9:30 in our backyard.  You are all invited if you are in the area.  He will be speaking in church the following day at 9am at the Canterbury Chapel in Highland, Utah  (10417 North 6750 West, Highland, UT)


I don't know what to say.  This is the weirdest feeling.  My last week emailing on a mission.  I can't believe it's coming to an end.  I don't really know what to feel either. I'm excited for the future. But I want to cry at the same time because I have to leave Taiwan, leave the place that I've grown so much to love.  

I didn't think it would be like this. I didn't think the end would be like this. I feel like I would get to a point where I'd feel everything is finished.  My two years are up and it's time to rest. but I feel like I still have much farther to go.  In perspective I really do.  The mission taught me the habits and everything I needed to know in order to pattern my life and it would be impossible to learn everything in two years.  There is still a long road ahead.

I'm going to miss it. I can already feel it.  I'll miss these people, I'll miss the work, I'll miss companions, I'll miss the purpose and drive of doing something so righteous and good and selfless everyday. I'll miss learning Chinese and coming in the door everyday exhausted.

Last week was awesome and pretty stressful.  President gave us the goal of every companionship finding 3 new investigators.  We got down to Saturday and we still didn't have enough so we were super super stressed out. Especially because there were other companionships that needed our help.  The Lord gave us a miracle in the end though.  There was a family that we tracted into at the end of Saturday night.  They were awesome.  Former Christian and missionaries had met with their family 20 years ago.  The still had a Book of Mormon and everything and were super willing to meet.  It was a huge miracle.

This next week is the last and we've got plans to do a bunch of cool stuff and I'll see RC's for the last time!

Excited to see you family! This may be my last time writing from Taiwan! I'm super excited to see all you guys and your changes and how much all of you have grown up! It's been quite a long time. Love You Family!!!

Elder Gummow  

Monday, August 4, 2014

Survived the "Fire Swamp"

In Gaoxiong (Kaohsiung) this week there was a leak in the gas line that caused several explosions killing 25 and injuring at least 277.  Luckily our missionaries were protected and actually slept through all of the devastation. Here is a link to an article and some videos of the events:
  Gas Explosions
 (to me it looked like the Fire swamp in the movie "Princess Bride" - minus the forest of course).

We are down to 16 days before Elder Gummow's return!  I am trying not to get too excited to have us all together again for the first time in over two years....

Hello Family!!

It was a pretty eventful week this week as I'm sure you guys heard.  We woke up Friday morning and were pretty disturbed when we realized that there was a bunch of texts that came in the night before talking about some big explosions that happened the night before!!!  It was super crazy!  That day we were in the same area for a lesson and it was horrible.  The streets were pulverized and everyone was crowded around the blocked off areas.  It was a super sad sight to see.

Luckily none of the members were hurt.  There were many that lived by the area that heard and felt the explosions but all were okay.  Another miracle this week.

This week was good despite the disasters though.  We had a couple new really good investigators which is exactly what we needed.  One was H, he was the guy that I told a story about before that we met in the rain and he lives right next to the Church.  Then the other was a referral from English Class and he is super prepared, trying to find answer to the questions he has about life.

Elder B and I are looking forward to a better week this week.  It's "No Companionship Left Behind"  week this week which means every companionship finds three new investigators this week!  This is one of my last weeks in Taiwan so there is no holding back this week, I'm super pumped to help every companionship in the Zone find three new investigators this week!!!

Q, I feel really really sad for him.  We've been trying super hard but he's dying.  He didn't meet with us at all this week and his falling further and further back into his old pattern of life!  We're really worried for him so hope that you guys can pray for him too!  Through faith all things are possible, but we have to see if he's willing to make the right decisions to change his life for the better.

Love You Family!!!!  Hope all is good in Utah!!  Great to hear about the family!

Elder Gummow

Also you guys should check out the new Mormon Message!  It is sooo good!!! (link is below)


Sunday, July 27, 2014



What THE!!!!!  I can't believe it Sara is engaged!!!!!!!!!!!  I knew it was going to happen I was wondering why it took so long but I can't believe it now that it's happened!!!  John is going to be a part of our family!!!  I can't believe it! So Crazy!!!!

I actually found out before the email.  Jerome and a bunch of other people told me on Sunday night so that was crazy to hear.  Congratulations though Sara!

This week was a good one and a hard one.  It ended really well but was pretty tough near the middle.  This week was the typhoon season!!!  Always exciting time in missionary work.  It makes it hard to do missionary work but at that same time it's exciting to have such a big change in the work and in the atmosphere of Taiwan.

This week we had a lot interesting things happen.  Our main good investigator,  (Q) he had a lot of problems this week.  After failing his interview he got discouraged and lots a lot of faith.  Went to a night club again and had some problems.

After the week and three times of him not showing up to lessons we got to sit down with him again.  He was humbled and really sad.  He asked us "why is it that everything that I tried to do I fail at and quit halfway?"  Touched me really hard.  I feel like I've had similar experiences trying to be my best but falling short and losing faith.  We read the scriptures together Nephi 7 he picked it out for us and of course it was about Nephi and his family leaving Jerusalem.  Laman and Lemuel wanted to go back but Nephi encouraged them to keep going forward or they would lose what they had gain and eventually be destroyed.  It was too perfect, just like Benny.  He had already come so far (quit smoking, found love and faith in Christ, experienced the feelings of repentance)  there was no way he was going back to Jerusalem now.

So ya this was a good week in the end.  Q was back on track has a date now for 8/17 (my last weekend here) and we had another person set up baptismal date and he's looking really good for 8/30.

It's getting weird thinking there so little time left.  I feel as if I'm not willing to face what's back home but it's coming soon so I have to.

Loving being a zone leader and seeing this time come to a conclusion.  Jerome is thinking about going on a mission and just got a calling.  He went on splits a couple times this week with the missionaries in his area. Parsonz is going on a short missionary trip over these next three weeks.  He's so awesome he's been a member less than 2 months and he's already going to be a missionary!!!

Love You Guys!!! Great to hear all the good news about what's going on it's sound like things have really been taking a turn around for the better!

Elder Gummow

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rain and Miracles!

Elder Gummow and his companion are at TGI Friday's in Gaoxiong with his recent convert!  He is having an amazing time and we are down to the last few weeks of his mission!  We received flight plans this past week and he will be arriving on Wednesday, August 20th!!  We will be holding an open house for him on  Saturday, August 23rd 7-9 pm at our home and his homecoming talk will be on August 24th at the Canterbury Chapel in Highland (10417 North 6750 West, HighlandUT)
 (**note that it has changed from our original plan to have it on August 31st)

Hello Family!!!

Good news!!!  This week J.... was baptized!!!  Everything worked out really well in the end and we're super happy for him!!! For the baptism his son came down and joined in the occasion!  His son loved Church too and he kept saying he wanted to join and get baptized too!  So hopefully he's next in line.  Unfortunately though Johnson's family lives in the north so we'll have to refer him to other missionaries!!

This last week we had a couple awesome miracles too.  I think one huge lesson I learned this week was on patience.  This week was super rainy.  It's typhoon season so it's been raining almost everyday and raining hard.  One day when we needed time to contact, it rained...and rained hard!!!  So we had to get off our bikes and start walking to contact people.  I was super bummed because it was messing up our schedule and the effectiveness of our missionary work.  

I talked to Elder Bean and we decided to go around the stores where people were waiting for the rain to stop and talk to them instead.  We find one guy and he invites us to sit by him and wait out the rain.  We started talking and turns out he was really close with missionaries before.  He met with one of our missionaries 10-12 years ago and came to Church a lot.  

We talked more and turns out he's missed come to Church all these years and so we invited him to come back and gave him the address of our Church.  Turns out he's moving next week and he was so surprised to see of all the places he could move to he's moving literally next door to our Church!!!!  He was super grateful to see this miracle and super excited to come back to Church.  

Also I don't know if I talked about X..... last week.  We invited him to fast last week about baptism and he did.  Turns out the lesson was on baptism that week in Church and it DIRECTLY ANSWERED HIS QUESTION!  We talked to him after about it, he knew it was an answer from God, but he still wasn't willing to accept baptism.  It just made me think back to the story of Laman and Lemuel.  They saw an angel.  But afterward still made wrong choices.  Why? Seeing X........ I realized how important is to be humble, a vision won't change you and neither will a direct answer from God.  It takes humility and facing what your weakness is and being willing to act in faith and change!  I just hope we can help him do that!!!!

Good week this week and I love to be able to serve here in Gaoxiong!!! Love You Guys!!!  

Elder Gummow

Oh and I got the Birthday letter!!! Thank you guys so much!!  Love YOu!!!