Elder Matthew 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