Elder Matthew Gummow

Monday, December 31, 2012

December 31, 2012


Family,

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
Mom!!,

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


FaoMaily!!

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!

 LOVE YOu

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