Elder Matthew Gummow

Monday, December 31, 2012

December 31, 2012


Taken soon after he arrived in Taiwan
He could barely keep his eyes open!
So good to get to talk to you guys, went so quickly sorry I feel like I wasn't able to hear what was going on with you guys so much.  So glad to hear Christmas was good though, and thanks so much for all the pictures, although I have to say I'm a little jealous of the snow, it's looks crazy, perfect weather for the Christmas season.  And computer with adobe sounds awesome, I bet Daniel was way excited for it.

So glad you got the package, I got yours as well this week the second one, THANK YOU SO MUCH!  It was perfect, Elder B and I were talking about what it would be and we totally guessed it.  Thanks so much - it reallywas perfect, and I'm totally going to get a guitar today so the sheet music should be pretty useful soon!!!

I got to talk to Sara for like thirty seconds, it was soo fast!!  Really good to hear she got through the first weeks well and all is okay.  Do you have her updates though? I'd love to hear what's going on in Taipei.

Christmas was probably the highlight of this week, everything else mostly went like normal.    Started Phase 2 of the language program which is mostly common vocabulary so I'm starting to pick up a lot more on what people are saying.  It's helping a lot!!  I'm finally starting to feel like I can express myself a little more.  At first I felt like I was trapped in this box where I could breath and survive but not stretch and feel really comfortable.  But with the Phase 2 and everyday studying I feel more and more comfortable.  It feels really good.

Lets see this week we also met a drug dealer that wanted us to go with him to a place so he could give us free bikes. Don't worry Mom we didn't.   Oh and I almost forgot the best part, we added two really good families a C....Jiating and a H..Jiating.  Both are super excited about learning and both already have really good relations with the Church.  One in C...Jiating the wife has cancer and was supposed to die years ago, but is still doing great and last year the church went to her house and did service for her.  She's super nice and asked us to come over again and eat with her family,  We are super pumped!!

Well Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!! Today is New Years Eve for us but I guess it's not til tomorrow for you guys...weird.  Anyway love you guys, Dan and Bry, You're awesome! Have a good winter vacation!

Elder Gummow

The Skype Call!

Elder Gummow called us on Skype on our Christmas Eve, his Christmas Day from a member's home in his area.  He said that they had been stranded at the Zone leader's apartment for their Christmas Eve and ended up spending the night there because they couldn't make it back to their place by the time they were supposed to be in for the night.  They had shared hot chocolate or spiced cider and memories and it turned out to be a fun and memorable evening.  
The Zone Leader (who is from Matt's High School)
That morning they returned to their place and opened up the first package I sent with candy and present filled stockings and hats for both of them,  and CD's and a bike repair kit for Matt.  I also sent hot chocolate and muffin mix for their breakfast.  They made the muffins into pancakes and burnt all of them but ate and enjoyed them anyway! It is amazing how much you can fit in one padded envelope!
We then gave Matt a tour of the house (we had him on an iPad  and showed him the snow we had received that day. He really wanted to see all of the Christmas decorations and such.)  He told us more about his bike accident a few weeks ago where he was riding a bit too fast down a hill but felt confident he could make it around a lady in the path until she freaked out and turned into him.  He slammed on his brakes and did a flip over the handle bars.  The lady was fine and able to give him a nice lecture about going to fast, he escaped without a scratch, but the bike sustained some significant injuries - but is still ride-able.  He planned to pass of phase I of his language study program that day which earned him the privilege of buying a guitar so he can share his talents in teaching people through music.
The rest is a bit of a blurr but in essence he is doing really well, loves it there, has a strong testimony and desire to improve each day.  He is grateful for the love and support he feels from friends and family at home and wished everyone a Merry Christmas!

PS.  We recieved a package a from him a few days after Christmas with some wonderful surprises!  Among them were stamps he had professionally made for each of us with the characters of a chinese name he named each of us!  It was really thoughtful!
Dad = strong and faithful 
Aimee= Beautiful and Smart
Mom= Thousand loving  Wen QianCi
Dan=Wise Dragon - Wen Zhi Long
Bryanna=Just and Loyal - Wen Zhen Yi

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Dec 24, 2012

Taichung, Taiwan Christmas Mission Picture 2012

Phone Call - Totally works!!  Seven thirty your time ten thirty ours!  SOooo Excited,  I think Christmas just hit me, I haven't thought about it much but CHRISTMAS IS TOMORROW!!!  I am actually pretty excited to open my gifts, thank you so so much for the package and the many letters you have sent.  I loved all the ornaments and the letters!!!

  It's been so great to catch up and hear how all the other missionaries are doing.  The Christmas Activity was super fun.  A nice relaxed trip, although sadly most of it was riding a bus all the way up to Taichung and then back to g\Gaoxiong.  But I got plenty of time to catch up with everyone, soo good to hear from old district companion and the old district.  They are all doing fantastic...we got to catch up on the people and share stories and survival methods, it was great.  We also had a great devotional and ate at this all you can eat Steakhouse, went to a koi pond and this Buddhist temple, really relaxing.  I'll try and send pictures this time but I might not be able to.

Today was like our second Christmas Party...we went to the top of Gaoxiong 85 and ate this place called shabushabu, which is basically a super nice all you can eat place for like 6 or 7 dollars....soososososososo gooood....it had sushi, slushies, hot pots, cakes, ice cream, fries, waffles, fruits, chocolate fountain, etc. like all my favorite foods, sosososo good.

Wow all this makes a mission sound like a party, (it kind of is),  I'm loving the Christmas Season, Merry Christmas!!!  love you guys and miss you guys sososososo much!  Talk to you tomorrow!

Elder Gummow

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 17,2012


Thank you so much for the music, pics, and the updates!  So good to hear from you guys, so jealous of you guys going to see Mormon Tabernacle Choir!  I can't believe the news in America either...Also If you see Chase you totally got to tell him to write me back!  And Shalisa going to North Carolina! Crazy!! So good too, mission's are crazy good, best decision I have ever made.

This week was really good, a little more relaxed than the other weeks mostly because it's the Christmas season.  Got to do a zone service project at nursing home, caroling.  Also I went on transfers with my zone leader and all our lessons got canceled for the whole 24 hour period, but we ended up having a really good time.  I learned a lot about the power of prayer from that transfer.  We would stop a couple times throughout the day and just say a prayer for God to help us find some people that we could meet with, or help us hit our adding goal.  And by the end of the day all of the things we asked for were given to us! It was amazing, we were helped to sit down with a great part member family and we found some great people on the streets that were willing to meet.  Just another mission miracle!

So this is random but my favorite part of the mission so far is the planning.  I have never loved planning so much in my life.  I plan for everything - contacting plans, teaching plans, morning plans, personal study plans, daily study plans, eating plans (well kind of).  I'm totally going to walk around with a mission planning book the rest of my life...It's really satisfying as well being in this environment where everyday you have so many areas to grow and improve and God has given you all the tools in order to do so - all it takes is the work and depending on Him and Christ's Atonement.

Christmas is coming! Next week is our Christmas party!!  It's going to be sweet, we get to go to an all you can eat steakhouse, see the guys from the MTC, and visit a tourist spot in Taiwan.  We're all super pumped!!  Also Elder Baker and I are super excited to get our packages, can't wait for the CD's!! And thank you so much for the music, we have been so deprived of Christmas Music up til now.

So for Christmas in Taiwan, most people don't do anything special :(  It's mostly Chinese New Year here that people look forward too.  Although you can see quite a bit of Christmas decorations around, some of the hotels will decorate their gardens, and the Christian families and Churches are all decorated!!  Also this weekend is our ward's Christmas party and Elder B and I get to sing in it!!

For the Christmas Call...it's only 40 minutes long so I would make sure that you have things in mind to ask. That'll make it most effective (I think I'll make a call family plan too..)  Also Elder B and I will probably call our Christmas morning so your Christmas Eve, and it's through skype, so I need your guys skype info and another account that I can call through.  Also I'm sending off the package today so it probably won't get home until after Christmas..sorry.

I think that's about it for this week. Last week of school in America - hope it's a good one! and i'll talk to you guys soon. Merry Christmas!! Love You!!

Elder Gummow

Monday, December 10, 2012

December 10, 2012

Dear Family!!!  (You will notice that Elder Gummow is addressing many of the questions we asked him about in our email to him)

We haven't had smoothies yet in Taiwan  I think there here but it's actually been pretty cold lately.  Mostly just the wind and the cloudiness makes it cold here, but today the weather is great and we're going to play Ultimate Frisbee on the beach today!!! Super excited, but it also means I can't write too much today our time is limited.

Sara, Good Luck in Taiwan!!!!!!!!! I can't believe her time is already passed and it's to Taiwan tomorrow, super excited to hear how it goes for her.  Also super jealous she gets lot of time to call you at the airport :(  Oh and speaking of calling, for Christmas we get forty minutes, probably through Skype  and it'll probably be during our Christmas morning, so your Christmas eve night,  that's all I really know right now, but does that all work?  I hope you guys are home then...

This week was good, had a lot of companionship exchanges.  Also one of the AP's switched with us this week.  Super good missionary and super great at teaching. He actually lives in Taipei and he's going back there in a month or two.  Learned a lot this week from the exchanges.

Also, if you haven't sent any Christmas Music yet through mail it would awesome if you could email me a couple songs.  I can play them through my new translator!  We went to the translation of the Christmas Devotional last night with an investigator and got to hear the tabernacle choir sing Christmas Songs, it was sooo good, extra special in Taiwan and on a mission, but now I'm kinda of craving Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas stuff, so if you have any of that that you could send me that would be awesome!!

Ya, I've been teaching some English. Every Wednesday night we have an English Class and I teach the middle class (middle advanced).  It's super fun and everyone there is super awesome, -plus I get to speak English pretty much the whole time.  We have one new investigator through English Class so far his name is Andy, super cool, a little quiet, but a great thinker and willing to do what we ask him too.

To contact and find new people it's usually on the streets.  Actually yesterday was picture day for the mission so I'll send some pictures of the contacting.  Should've taken more pictures though...sorry :)    Next transfer I will be with Elder B so six more weeks...but after that he'll be gone and I'll stay in zuoyin.  Also I've had some cool experiences lately, but because of time I can't really write them. I'll try and add to next letter or to the letter I'm sending home for Christmas, sorry.  Homesick, it comes and goes, especially when you see or eat or hear something that reminds you of home. I've found the best remedy for that is just focusing on the work and working hard though, that's really what makes the work most fulfilling.

AS for the prayers, thank you for the offer...we do have a investigator that we want to get baptized this month his name is F and he's working on quitting smoking right now.  Also this last week my companion contacted the GREATEST FAMILY EVER!!! while we were on exchanges.  We've taught them once and they came to church but they're still on the line so if you could pray for them too S family.   Anyways, really got to go.  Love You Family!  Can you send this to Sara too so far I only send my emails to you guys - and Sara - hope you get my letter in time before you leave. Sorry I didn't send it sooner!

 And I got all of your letters this week! Thank You So Much, Good luck...oh and mom- thank you for the Christmas Stuff it was PERFECT!  I was actually just thinking about how much of a bummer it was that we didn't have any Christmas Decorations, so it was inspired perfect! You're the best!


Elder Gummow

Monday, December 3, 2012

December 3, 2012

Hey Family!!!

Christmas here is weird, definitely different.  So far I've seen two Christmas trees, one from our church and one from another Christian Church here.  We also decorated our apartment today with a single stocking that Elder Baker has.  It was pretty sweet...the weather is really off and on here but it's been kinda of rainy recently, and I think the lowest it's gotten is around 60 degrees.  Definitely the weirdest Christmas I've had.

Guo tie (Taiwanese version of Gyoza/potstickers)
Wintermelon Tea
 (herbal tea that tastes like Graham Crackers)
The food here is great! My favorite things to eat are the dumplings and guo ties which I think are the same thing as gyoza.  They taste exactly the same at least.  SOO Good! We have that at least two or three times a week.  Also we were super lucky this  because week we got to eat with members.  One was with this lady and her son from brazil I think.  She cooked burrito's for us. Soo good!  It reminded me a lot of home cooking, and I ate five or six Burrito's.  I think that was the first time in a while I've been really full.  Also last night we had this activity with the Ward to help welcome investigators.  It was like a potluck except they call it a "jucan" here. Super good food and the sister missionaries in our ward made Chocolate Cookies, super good, I hadn't had those forever!  Also speaking of chocolate, they have this really inexpensive chocolate here that I eat pretty much every day.  I think it's like thirty cents american, and it's super good.  Oh and last is that DongGuaCha or wintermelon tea that Jensen's cousin brought over and shared with us.  I drink that stuff like everyday here! It's like liquefied gold! SOoo Good!  The best is dongguaxiannai which is the wintermelon tea  with cream in it, probably like 1000 calories but it is the best drink I have ever had. Ever

About the pictures...I was just curious to see how the decorations and everything are this year.  I thought that maybe you would've put them up after thanksgiving.  Just when you get time you should send some.  I don't really see much Christmas Stuff here in Taiwan.

Thanks for the mail too!  I just got your letter from the beginning of November today.  The mail is super slow but thanks. It was great.  Hey if you could, could send me or email me, josh and kaz's updates. I'd love to hear how they are doing.  Also I haven't seen Sara's Email for awhile.  When does she leave?!  It's like this next week right?

Well this week was great, all went super smooth and well.  We had some great, great lessons.  Best of all was this family that the sisters and us have been teaching.   The Sisters teach the wife and we teach the husband.  This last week or so the husband got into a fight at work and lost his job :( It really humbled him though and on Thursday we talked to him about baptism with his wife and he told us he needs to be baptized.  And he's willing to work hard now to be able to.  His name is F..D.X.... He was the first person I met when I came to Gaoxiong, I really really hope he and his family are able to get baptized.

Also our Recent Converts are doing really well.  We met with C..D.X.... this week and he's doing super well.  Almost finished 2 Nephi, still coming to all of church, and just got interviewed for the priesthood.  They work fast here!

Also L..D..X....., just got back from China!  He's the one that got baptized the first day I was in the field.  He's so so strong though, his wife is still protesting him being involved in the church.  But he is still really strong in studying  the principles of the Gospel.  And he went to Church while he was in China!  He is amazing and an amazing example to me.

All else went smoothly.  I had great interviews with President Bishop.  Got to pass of lesson three of my Phase 1 language lessons! Almost Done!  I'm hoping to finish by the end of the move call which is the middle of December-ish.

But hope you have a good week this week.  Enjoy Christmastime! I should be sending my package today or next Monday not sure yet and can't wait to get yours.  Also I'm finally getting the Dictionary today too, it's like our first casual Monday since I've been here, so we should definitely have time to go shopping a little today.

Love You Guys,

Elder Gummow

Monday, November 26, 2012

November 26, 2012

Even monkeys fall from trees 
-Japanese Proverb

Hello Family!!!

Wow thanksgiving was this last week!  So crazy to think normally I would've been eating turkey or something with family!  This week I think for Thanksgiving dinner we had this onion pancakes with eggs cooked on them, pretty good stuff actually, but pretty much just a normal work day...But anyway this week was really good, I'm kinda of super exhausted right now though.  Today is really hot and humid so my companion and I are sweating like crazy.  We also just got back from Monkey Mountain!!! That was super cool but a long hike.  Also I just got in a crash on my bike :)  so all the adrenaline and stuff from that kind of wore me out a bit.

But last Saturday was C..D.X....'s baptismal service!!!  Thanks for the prayers, they really worked.  The one moment we were scared for for C... D.X....'s baptismal service never happened, and I believe is all thanks to the prayers and God's help (Shen de anpai) as we say in Taiwan.  It was a great service though, great talks, lots of people showed up.  I think C..D.X... was a little nervous for the service but all went great, and he's been welcomed really well into the ward.  It helps too because he's been coming every Sunday for awhile so a lot of the members know him.  Super Cool kid, Love Him!!

So for this week we just got back from monkey mountain - this mountain that has monkeys all over the place and the monkeys aren't scared of you so you can just walk through them.  Sometimes they'll come up to your backpack when your sitting down and open the zippers and start searching around your backpack!  Almost got a picture of it, but took it just barely too late :( -but its super awesome, super crazy.  Monkey's are really weird.

This week I also got to go on exchanges with an Elder A from Alpine Utah actually.  We went to Lone Peak together, and he gave a talk at graduation I think.  Super solid missionary though and a Zone Leader for the Gaoxiong area.  I can't believe how much there is for me to learn, but going on exchanges with Elder A taught me a ton, he is an incredible missionary.  Super weird though to have all those connections back from high school...that seem so long ago.  Actually Elder Allen is like best friend with Scott B and he says he kind of knows Riley S.  Awesome!

Thank You!!  I'm going to try and get a really cheap electronic dictionary so it shouldn't be too bad, but it's going to be really really useful out here.  Most missionaries have them and they help with everything. So glad to hear about Megan, so crazy to think that all those people will be going soon on their missions! Also thanks in advance for the package, super excited for it! And what do you guys want for Christmas  I already got a couple small things but is there any authentic Taiwanese things you want me to send home, like some chopsticks or statues or anything.  The stuff here in Taiwan is pretty cheap.  Bry and Dan do you have anything in particular you want?

But today's pretty packed because of Monkey mountain I got to go buy some groceries (we're going to Costco next week!)  but hope you have a good week, Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!  Send me pics of the Christmas Decorations?  Also I'm not quite sure yet when I'll be calling.  I'm guessing our Christmas morning though. Love You Guys!!

Elder Gummow

Monday, November 19, 2012

November 19, 2012

Do not fear going forward slowly;
 fear only to stand still.

-Chinese Proverb

Hello Again Family!!!!

Phewh, the weeks are just going faster and faster!  I feel like I just barely was writing an email.  Ya, I have more energy now!! I mean I'm still tired a lot, but I think I just got used to it and it's not like I'm falling asleep on my bike anymore.

Things in the field...well the language is coming, slowly but I'm starting to see some good improvement.  I passed of part one of the five parts of the first part of our language study program.  It was the hardest part too. So this week I started studying part three.  I should have phase one all done within the next three weeks or so, and then I can get a guitar!! The president says I can as soon as I pass off phase one of the language program, so it's been kind of a big motivation to learn the language faster -  plus the fact that I can't really talk to many people here without knowing Chinese.

Our investigators are awesome though!! This Saturday, C.. D. X.... is getting baptized!!!  He was fast! We started teaching him the lessons when I was here, and just last Saturday night we taught him the last of the lessons and then literally right after, he had and passed the interview.  We were going to push the time back for baptism cause he had some problems with smoking and drinking coffee, but this kid is awesome and willing.  He stopped smoking about a week and half ago and on his own, switched coffee for hot chocolate.  Really, this kid is amazing.  He's super cool too- likes all these american bands and is a genius, a biochemist. He's still got a ways to go, so we're going to be praying for him a lot this week.

So far I've learned how to do the little stuff here with the language pretty well, like contact and setting up appointments.  So the hardest part now is that I really can't have conversations with the people here unless they know some English.  Which is kind of a big part (I'm really looking forward to the day when I can converse)!  But for now we have some great investigators that know pretty good English (like C...), so it's not too bad.  Mostly I feel like I've been really blessed here in the field.

Oh so my trainer, his name is Elder B... from Idaho Falls Idaho.  I can't remember if we have family there or not...but he's awesome!  Really helpful and nice, his teaching skills are amazing, and his Chinese is incredible.  I always tell him he sounds like a native cause he really blends in with the people here when he talks.  All the Chinese are amazed when he says he's only been here a year.  Also, he just recovered frombeing in the Hospital, he was there for a couple weeks- had tubes and stuff in his nose.  He's all good now though and glad to be in the field again.  His mom is on that missionary list to so if you want to contact her...

Running out of time though...glad to hear from you guys.  Hope Thanksgiving goes well!  Tell the family "hi" for me. Tell Tyler he really should go on a mission!

Love you guys,
Elder Gummow

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Shhh! Help Needed for a Christmas Surprise!

Hi Everyone!

We are putting together a paper Christmas Tree for Elder Gummow! 
 We need your help! 
 If you could email a favorite scripture, quote, testimony or message to me (his mom)  at gkgummow@gmail.com with your name, I will print it and put it on a paper ornament that he will be able to decorate his tree with!
Please send it asap - 
We are hoping to have it ready to send the day after Thanksgiving.  Thanks for your help!! 

 Kelly Gummow

Monday, November 12, 2012

Don't give up until the goal is reached.

Hey Family!!!

So Awesome to hear from you guys this week!!  I can't believe it Obama won again :(  Tons of people here in Taiwan were talking about it.  Our investigators were even asking questions about Romney being Mormon.  Like, if he wasn't a Mormon would he have been able to win the election or something?...it is awesome how his example even effects things over here in Taiwan, half way around the world!

Can't believe the other news too!! Mckenna's going to New York? That's insane!! Do you know if it is the south or the north mission, or west or east?  Two of the greatest people from the Mandarin Branch in the MTC are going or went New York South mission (Elder C.. and Elder H..  ) They're both outstanding missionaries. I guess they only send the best to New York!

Daniel's fifteen?! Crazy!!! I can't imagine him starting to learn to drive...actually - now that I think about it, I can.  ( I thought he was turning sixteen this birthday for some reason :)

Sara!!!! Hope you read this part, and I hope things are still going well in the MTC.  I'll be honest, those last weeks in the MTC, you learn a lot...but they are soooo Boring!! Doing like the same thing everyday :)  It's been really, really nice to get out, to be able to bike around a city, see so many things.  And about the mission call stuff, that's insane!! My companion got the same letter from his mom.  I don't want to get to excited though cause rumors like that always fly around the Mandarin missionary speakers.  BUT THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!!!!

Thank you mom for keeping mailing the updates too, I have been really interested to know how my district has been doing these first weeks in the field.  The first weeks or so in the mission field are really quite the experience!

So for this week...oh man the field is crazy...I think I'm starting to feel the whole "work" part of missionary work.  For the first couple of days, I couldn't remember when I lay down on the bed or how I fell asleep, I was so exhausted.  All the missionaries say the first month is the hardest and I can understand why.  The language is crazy! Everyday it's getting better and better, but the Chinese talk so differently than Americans and my conversational vocab is pretty small.  It can be super scary and intimidating too, when you have to contact someone or call them on the phone and you don't understand what they are saying...I have to really rely on the fact that the Lord is helping me and will compensate for what I can't do.  Also, I know the language will get better soon and I just have to keep working on it.

But good luck this week, love you guys, tell you more about the field next week and hopefully send some pics.

Elder Gummow

Monday, November 5, 2012

I'M IN TAIWAN!!! - Nov 5, 2012


I can't believe it this past week has been the craziest of my life!!!! So many things have happened and it's all been amazing!!!!

Actually, one part was pretty bittersweet, that was leaving the MTC.  It was sad to leave the Utah Valley for the next two years, and leave Sara, and my friends at the MTC...they were all super great guys.  BUT now I'M IN TAIWAN!!!, and this place is really amazing!!! The culture is just so so so great and the food is so so so good!!!  They have garbage trucks that play classical music in the streets, and the nicest people I have ever, in my life, met.  Just everything is amazing, I feel so at home here already!!  So on Wednesday we came in jet-lagged and kind of out of things, and we had this orientation, then back to the apartment about one, then up in the morning at six.  Which wasn't that bad cause we had time to sleep on the plane.  President and Sister Bishop gave us a very nice welcome with good food and some orientation, and that night we were able to go out and start contacting!!! :(  It was insane, I've never had so many ridiculous/embarrassing moments.  When I started talking to people I realized I didn't know the language....I guess I knew that before but it was just like reality hit me.  I was just running on pure adrenaline after that point, trying to make conversation.  Most the time I just stood there awkwardly for a sec, cause I didn't know what they had said, and then just ended up testifying and then handing them a card.  We spent about an hour that night though trying to contact people, and the people here are crazy nice, they won't shut you down usually. Usually they listen to you politely and sometimes even give you there cell number. Crazy!!!

First Baptism!  
Next Day though we got trainers..MY new trainer is Elder B!!!!  He's an awesome kid and super pro with the language and with teaching and contacting, I guess everything.  Great Trainer...we're down in the city called Gaoxiong (Kaohsiung) right now, in Zouyin (Zouying District).  And I can honestly say this is the best area ever!!! EVER!! First Day I came in we had a baptism, and this guys is seriously the most amazing man ever.  I feel so at loss here because this member of a day already has a testimony much larger than mine.  He got baptized Saturday and then his wife left him that night. I couldn't believe it!! That Sunday after he got confirmed he came up and bore testimony and just said that he knew he was gonna have trials after the baptism, that this was one of them, and that he knew he made the right decision...amazing...I just feel bad for him though and I wish we could help him, but I don't think there's much more we can do other than support him. Also we have this golden investigator. His name is C..D.X...., and...oh man...he is AMAZING!!! And he speaks really really good English too, so I have actually been able to talk to him alot.  He's is the coolest, nicest guy ever too.  He has a Tatoo and a nice ponytail and he is just amazed by what missionaries do, and their willingness to sacrifice so he let the missionaries teach him.  So far he's been to church four times already (hasn't missed a Sunday) and he's seriously thinking about baptism, like last Sunday he said to me he didn't really understand baptism and asked if I could help him understand it before he was baptized...Amazing, and he's super smart too and plays basketball....we might get to play one p-day together.

The ward here is INCREDIBLE too, they are so incredibly nice...pretty much everyone here doesn't speak English except the younger kids, but they still are so nice and friendly to me. Always politely saying hi & being super nice to me.  The culture here is just amazing like they are always giving and they make sure I'm always comfortable, haha and try to speak English to me.  It's funny cause they can't pronounce their T's...

I have to admit, when I first got to Taiwan I was scared out of my mind.  I've never been in such a big city and with so many people, and I didn't know the language.  I was scared that I wouldn't have the ability to do missionary work.  But God has helped me so much here, and I know it's all thanks to him.  It's still a little hard not being able to speak the language sometimes but I really can't complain at all.  The language is coming fast, a lot of it was just getting used to the way natives speak the words I already know.

Mom, the people all know of you now...they can all tell I'm Hunxie (mixed blood) so I tell them that you're part Chinese.  It's really nice being Chinese-American here, cause I can blend in and at the same time I'm an American, and they LOVE american's here, we're almost like movie stars.  Everything is so good here...I LOVE TAIWAN!!  So nice to hear from home and thank you for the pictures. I love you too...and don't worry I still miss home and your cooking and everything.  It's just so great to be out here in the work.  Love You Guys So Much!!

Elder Gummow

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Off to Taiwan!!

*This is from Elder Gummow's Mom*

The Elders - all heading to Taiwan today.
Sara will stay for 6 more weeks in the MTC
Tuesday, October 30th -10:40 am:  I just got the phone call from Elder Gummow at the Salt Lake Airport!!  It was so wonderful to hear his voice and to listen to his excitement and nervousness all mixed together!  This is his third time on an airplane, but his first time out of the country!  He spoke some Mandarin for me at my request and told me about the Book of Mormon in Chinese!  Wow!  I can't believe how much he has learned.  He told me that when he arrives at the mission home, they put each of the missionaries up on a soapbox and give them 30 minutes to preach about the gospel in Mandarin.  It seems inconceivable to me (he would have had a hard time doing that in English even), but he actually feels pretty confident that he can.  If he thinks he can, I believe in miracles too and who knows, they may be telling him to please wrap it up after an hour.....!

Elder and Sister Gummow with their awesome companions!
He said he made it through baggage check with everything but the Nutella I sent for him to take.  Darn!  Oh well, he will still survive and things have come along way since the early days of the church when missionaries were expected to travel without purse or script.  His grandfather (also an Elder Gummow) served in the Southern States Mission in the Texas area and tells stories of how when they attended zone conferences, they had to hitch-hike from their area back to the mission home and knock on doors in hopes of finding food and lodging.  If they were unsuccessful, they would go to the hardware store and purchase a plastic garbage bag which they would use as a sleeping bag in the park to sleep in through the night.  I bet they would have liked some Nutella!

Elder Gummow said it felt strange to leave the protected environment of the MTC and venture out into the world again after 11 weeks. He said it was hard for him to say "good-bye" to Sara.  They have really enjoy sharing this mission experience together thus far.  He said she is doing great and has done really well with the mission transition.  He also sounded a bit overwhelmed as he embarks on the next leg of his journey.  Luckily, there are 8 elders from his district headed to the same location.  There are more headed to Taiwan, but some will stay in Taipei where they all fly into and the other 8 will continue on by bus for another 3-4 hours to the Taichung Mission Home.  They are flying Delta and have Layovers through LA and Tokyo.  They will arrive in Tokyo at about 5:00 in the afternoon Japanese time - which is about 3 am our time - and it is possible that he will have a few minutes to make another call, but not likely especially considering it is an international call.  Then they arrive in Taipei about 9:30 pm - so if you add a 3-4 hour bus ride onto that, he will be either be exhausted, or living on adrenalin when he arrives at 1 am!

Both generations of Mandarin Speaking Missionaries

Elder W. of Springville and Elder Gummow

We were able to talk for about 15 minutes before they began boarding the plane and of course it wasn't long enough, but I did get to ask all of the questions that we brainstormed in FHE last night.  We pray for his safe travel and success and look forward to his next email!

Mom Gummow

PS The pictures were sent this week by Sara and another missionary from his district!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October 23,2012

Chinese Proverb:
Age and time do not wait for people.
Life is short, move quick, or you get left behind.
Alma 13:27, Alma 34:33-35


My last P-Day at the MTC!!!! YES!!! I'm so ready to get in the field, even if I still barely know the language.  The MTC has been a great experience, but twelve weeks is just a little too long.  I feel like I'm coming to an end of what I can learn here.  But just finished my last temple trip. It was great! -got to go with Sara this morning.  Also two guys have left from our district already.  It was really, really sad to see them go.  But we're all going to keep in touch, and they're gonna be awesome missionaries.  One's family lives here in Provo and the other is going to BYU Hawaii after the mission so hopefully I'll get to see them again sometime.

Sounds like things are pretty busy back home.  Has the Japanese exchange student come yet? How is he?!  Hope everyone's doing good still.  And Dad good luck with the test, I'll be praying for you.  Sounds like you're working hard on studies and I know you'll do great on it.

Oh so I'm feeling better now, strangely I've had a cough for the last week, but it's not bad at all just kinda of annoying that it won't go away.  But other than that my health is back to normal, so glad!  Getting sick here is the worst!  Also travel plans...I'm leaving next Tuesday morning eight o'clock!  Then flying to LA and then Tokyo.  Tokyo will be our longest layover so I'll probably call then.  I'm really not sure what time that is our time but I get there like four fifty Tokyo time so I would expect a call around then, either that or around ten-thirty before our flight leaves out of Salt Lake.  It's gonna have to be short too, cause there's still a bunch of stuff we got to do there, I think the MTC makes sure your always busy cause they don't want you talking to your family too long...it's probably gonna be just like 5-10 minutes, so if you have any questions you really want to ask, make sure you think about them before hand.

But for the items, I would love to have my old glasses! That would be awesome if you could send them to me.  I think I'll be okay without a sweater though, If i really need one I'll just buy a cheap one in Taiwan.  Plus I don't really have much room for it.  By the way thanks you so much again for the packages, you really are an amazing mom, and I truly feel loved here.  The cookies were amazing too, I'm not sure if I have the recipe to them or not but if you have time could you send me the recipe for them.  They were sooo good. ** And maybe it's also because I'm used to MTC food.

Ahh email writing time is soo short, but good luck with everything this week, love all of you guys.  I'll be sending that package back probably next Monday.  If you have questions just ask.  Hopefullly I'll get time to write one more quick email next Tuesday morning.

Love you

Elder Gummow

**Note from Mom - the cookies I sent were in honor of their upcoming departure to Taichung.  This recipe came from the Taichung mission home in the 1980's.  My roommate's sister served there and brought home the recipe. (It probably came from the mission president's wife) Here it is:

Chocolate Drop Cookies:

1 1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. shortening
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs 
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
Optional:  Add chocolate chips or any kind of flavored chips

Cream shortening and sugar.  Add eggs and milk.  Sift flour, cocoa, salt and soda together.  Add vanilla and mix well.  Mixture will be rather stiff - drop by spoonfuls on greased cookie sheets.  Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hey Guys!!

Only Two more weeks left in paradise!!!  MTC=Paradise, at least that's what we call the MTC here:)  We're all super pumped this Thursday we all get our travel plans!! Hoping we get Korean Air- it's supposed to be the best airlines in the world!  But we get to call at the airport too so be prepared for that!  I've already got my phone card!

This week was...exciting!! First, Tuesday night, for our nightly devotional we had none other than Elder Bednar come speak to us at the MTC!!!! It was magnificent!!  It's everyone's dream here to get to see either Elder Bednar or Holland come speak at the MTC! They always give amazing talks and are probably the most missionary-minded Apostles.  Plus, they often do the pounding the pulpit stuff which every missionary here loves.  Elder Bednar reviewed conference with us that Tuesday night, and taught this awesome pattern of how we can study the scriptures, and the words of the prophets.  He says it's the way that he studies the scriptures.  But simply the formula is - look for the doctrine, then what invitations are being extended and then promised blessings.  Study, and even teaching in this way, so far, has proved to be really effective and makes all the gospel really simple, like it should be.

Unfortunately though, after Elder Bednar's talk another round of sickness set in upon the MTC.  I got sick Wednesday night and am still sick today, although almost recovered, and Sara's companion has been sick for about a week now too, with about the same thing I have I think.  So this week was somewhat not fun. Luckily I was able to get to pretty much all of classes and haven't really missed anything but gym, but I'm really looking forward to being fully recovered.

The Mandarin is going well, I am so surprised at how it comes.  This week I could really understanding, pretty much everything and in lessons I could say what I wanted to say, however this only goes for the Gospel part, daily life stuff I still struggle to talk about, but at least I can fulfill my purpose now.

But gtg, thanks again for everything and the wonderful support.  Good Luck this week, love you guys.

Elder Gummow  

Chinese Proverb:

One cannot refuse to eat just because
there is a chance of being choked.

Meaning: Don't let fear of failure keep you from success.
D&C 68:25-30

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October 9,2012

Hey Family!!!

The Big Announcement
Ya Mom, I got your Dear Elder! they sent the dearelder's yesterday but not the regular mail because of Columbus Day.  But I know I can't believe it...Saturday we all got to write home so you guys should be getting a letter about the announcement soon.  But the reaction at the MTC was pretty crazy, the whole MTC was in a huge room together, and after they announced it everyone was cheering and clapping, and we we couldn't believe what the Prophet just said!!! It so crazy to imagine kids right out of high school coming to the MTC and working in the field.  I'm kinda of glad that they announced this after I was in the MTC, because I don't think I would've been ready to go at eighteen years old. But they're are plenty who are...like my companion. He's only eighteen years old & I can see why they changed the rules -cause of guys like him too The eighteen year old missionaries really are top class!

But speaking of my companion, I'm guessing your gonna meet his family today!! How awesome!!! I'll probably get the chance to meet them too, pretty exciting, but mostly I'm excited for my companion cause he hasn't seen his dad since his senior year in high school!! Crazy! Unfortunately I don't get to go off campus with them...my companion is probably gonna get real food too!! So jealous!!

Chad Lewis -
NFL Football Player
Oh this weekend after conference, Chad Lewis came and talked to us for the Sunday Night Devotional!!! The best thing was that Chad went to this same mission that I'm going to, and he told us a lot of stories and stuff about his mission.  It's sound amazing there!!  He was really positive to us about his mission too, saying that their will be some real hard times but if we dig deep and rely on the Atonement then we can endure them well.  Also some of the Mandarin Missionaries got to meet with him after too. I was pretty jealous but mostly just satisfied to hear someone talk about our mission...Oh and also I talked to Travis that Sunday night and he was saying that he heard  ELDER BEDNAR was coming to the MTC for this Tuesday night devotional.  I'm still kinda of skeptic, cause his source was kind of iffy, but it would make sense that one of the Apostles would come to the MTC after the big announcement...if he does though, that would make this MTC experience, epic!!! Perfect!!! We'll see tonight though...

Well the weeks are winding down here at the MTC (3 more left today!!!!) It's kinda of intimidating but mostly we just can't wait to get out of the MTC.  Personally I can't wait for the freedom of not living in a small area and the ability to exercise and eat real food.  We've been watching some Mormon messages from Taiwan in Class and the food there looks so good!! I can't wait!!

Pres. Holland's Talk
The rest of conference was amazing!!! President Holland's talk of course was spectacular, I'm gonna try and listen to it as many times as I can while I'm here.  It was so powerful.  Sara and I got to sit next to each other during the sessions.  We had some nice relaxing time here at the MTC, so that was nice  We even got to go back to our dorms early on Saturday night!! Probably the only time I'll get to do that on my mission.  Things are going good here though...the language is... coming...,but I hope everything is going good back home.
 Best of luck with everything, and have fun meeting the Wesemanns!!

Zai Jian, Ai
Elder Gummow

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October 2, 2012

Hey Mom and Family,

What a fast and eventful week!  Looking back I have to say it was all quite a blast.

The Elders from Matt's District who met Sara at the curb
to escort her in.
So of course Sara came in this last Wednesday!  Blew my mind seeing here again!  It was like a warp back in time. Its kinda of funny because ever since I have been here and been busy all the time, I haven't really thought about my life before the mission and I kind of forgot that I had one!  So seeing Sara was like a flash from the past!  It's so crazy to have her in this environment with me - like a mix of the old and the new. It's really cool.  Sara's doing great though.  She's adjusted super fast to the MTC, and she already seems super comfortable with the rigid schedule.  I've been so surprised at how much Chinese she's knows already, I'm sure she'll catch on with the language here super fast, if she's hasn't already. I get to see and talk with her about once a day now so that's been really nice...I see her more now than I did at home, kinda weird.

Matt's sister about to enter the magical world of the MTC!
All the new missionaries are really cool though.  All super positive and friendly and funny and some of them already know Chinese better than the older generation.  It's kind of intimidating being their older generation because really they should be our teachers and examples.  The new districts are really small too - like three or four kids in each group compared to the twelve in our district.  It's nice for them because they get a lot more one on one time with their teachers and better teaching opportunities too.  Oh and mom, my district has only boys by the way.  Our group only had three girls come in so only one of the districts from our generation have girls in their group.  Crazy weird, kinda bad too because we don't get any girls to moderate the things that guys can do when they get in groups together :)

Taking a break to enjoy the sunshine at the temple grounds.
So I saw Travis again this week and we took a picture together, it's on his camera though so I don't have it.  But I think his mom is going to try and send it to you.  I'll try and get another one before I leave too.  Oh and Sara and I still have to get a picture together too. We haven't really had time to do that yet, sorry.  I saw Craig Tongish too, haven't really talked with him yet but we said hi.  Thanks for the package!  It was great, (I've already eaten all the food in it :)  Oh and they took away the salsa because it was unsealed or something :(  But we got all the temple names done this morning - and also if you could- the pictures you sent are great...but if it's possible can you find a way to print it so it isn't so pixelated, my friends want to see a clear picture of the family.  But if that's not possible then it's totally fine.  Uhh...going to send the pants in this next week. If Sara hasn't asked you yet, you should send us some of the Chopsticks. Like around four pairs if possible -  me and my companion want to practice for Taichung!  If you see Grandpa and Grandma Gummow, tell them thanks so so so much for the package it was awesome! I'll probably send them a letter too.  Thanks for the notes on Sara's setting apart. I wish I could've of been there. If Elder Holland's talk is short enough then you should totally send it, otherwise I can read it online during lunch or something.  Thanks for the letters! Love You Family! write you next week. Good Luck with everything!

Elder Gummow

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September 25, 2012


*Sara found this link this past week of a song that the kids recorded at 3am one morning almost 2 years ago.  It is a cool song about wanting to become more like Christ!  I am pretty sure they are on that journey now!

Some fun at the MTC!

Matt and Elder James - a friend from Jr High/H.S.

Hey Family!!!!
This was an awesome week and we're finally past the halfway point at the MTC!!!  It's so crazy, we got to see the older generation leave last Tuesday. Forty or so people left which was more than half our zone, so our group has been pretty lonely this last week.  Needless to say we can't wait for the new generation to come in!!!! People ask me like three or four times a day about Sara coming in, everyones so pumped to be the "older" generation.  We have been setting goals all week and making plans so that we can be a good example to the new elders and sisters.  
Let's see, also this week was our first week to give talk's in Chinese in sacrament and who would've guessed - my companion Elder W was chosen to be the first speaker!!!  He did great though!  His Chinese is really impressive, one of the best in our zone.  Haha - although he mixed up sixiang which means thoughts and siwang which means to die.  So in part of his talk he told us to grab death and write it down in our journals.  Everyone was really confused :)
This past Sunday we did get the opportunity to participate in the Temple Dedication.  That was really cool and it was great to hear from the apostles and the other wonderful speakers.  We all loved Boyd K. Packer's talk, he's such an awesome guy, and you can tell he loves the Lord and his wife with all his heart.

(Advice he shared with Sara who enters the MTC)

Hey and don't worry, if your still nervous about coming to the MTC and being a good missionary, honestly the change of life isn't near as scary as it seems, and I know you'll handle it much better than me.  It's amazing how much the Lord helps you adjust and deal with all that missionaries experience.  If your anything like me, the new step is probably really scary, but once your there the Lord helps with everything, it's really amazing!
But I'm like twenty minutes over my email time so I have to go but Good Luck with the drop off, I'm hoping someone from the district will pick you up.  I would love to be there but it's not allowed.  Miss you guys and see you soon!!
Wo ai ni
Elder Gummow   
P.S. your companion's name is Sister Bond - from somewhere in Utah