Elder Matthew Gummow

Monday, April 29, 2013

"Chi le ma" April 28, 2013

Elder Gummow had a really great week and finally sent some pictures!  We are happy to see him as well as hear from him!  Here are some details from his recent email:
"Wow what a week!! and the weekend was a spectacular ending to it all too!  This week ended up being filled with miracles of all kinds and we are so grateful to God for all that he's given us. 

So there was a lot that happened this week but I'll focus on the biggest miracles since I don't have tons of time.  First was last Tuesday was an amazing day, we fasted the day before and Tuesday morning as well because lately we've been having trouble finding progressing investigators.  We get a lot of new investigators every week but for some reason very little to none of them have been interested in keeping commitment and learning the Gospel.  Elder M....... says this is the first time in his mission where he's had to teach so many first lessons. 

"But Tuesday while contacting at a former's house we met this kid named xxxx.  He's really cool too, he was walking on his way home from school started talking to him and apparently his mom is originally from America and is Christian which is really rare here.  He said within the first 3 minutes we were talking to him that he's always wanted to be Christian and that he has read the whole Bible before because he would read it to help calm himself when school was too stressful or something.  So we introduced prayer and reading to him and he's like I will definitely read this whole book - pointing to the Book of Mormon...he's so cool!! The only problem is that his dad right now says he can't get baptized for another 3 years because he is to young right now to decide for himself. 

So after meeting xxxx, we went to the former investigator's house, he wasn't home but we went to the next door over to see if they knew him and they let us it.  It was a nice little family and the Mom said she almost came to our church before but the kids were too scared, and that she's always wanted a religious belief in her life because she know it can help her in hard times. 

After that was Saturday. We were contacting again in a really crowded place when all of the sudden a guy rides up to Elder M..... and is like, "How's It going?"  Elder M...... was like, "wow you're really brave to ride up and talk to me", and the guy started telling him how he is going through a big change in his life and he wants to know what to do and that he's always respected us missionaries and our strong faith.  So we invited him to church the next day.  He came! To keep the story short, we had a lesson on obeying commandments and after church he's like "I want to know all the Commandments so I can't start keeping them right now". 

Then Sunday evening we were going to visit a part-member family to see if they would be home when we got a call from the Sisters in our ward, they told us there was a guy named C.....DiXiong at the church and that he was waiting for us.  We were really confused because we hadn't set up anyone but we flew over to the church and there is this older guy sitting on the couch.  He told us he came to this church because he's been really lonely and worried and that he remembered a missionary he met a long time ago and this church so he decided to come back here.  He is the sweetest humblest guy ever though, and we were so willing to teach him how the gospel can help his life.  Afterwards he came to a FHE with us and met one of the members who ended up having a lot in common with him, and he was really happy to meet her.  He told us "thank you so so much for inviting me here" (in English) I am so glad to meet this H.....Jiemei, tonight. It was so sweet to see him then a little less lonely and a lot happier because of the love from the members.

That covers the miracles for this week, needless to say it was a really good week this week.  We never got to see that kid that we met outside of Mcdonald's last week.  I guess the story is still to be continued.  But I'm so glad you learned "Chile ma" this week mom.  I just learned this week that Taiwanese don't really say "how are you" and stuff like that. Instead they ask you "chibaolemei" or "chile ma" stuff like that.  Interesting  difference in cultures.  So "ni hao ma" is actually very rarely said here.  It's just something Americans think Chinese people say I guess."

(Note from mom:   "Chi le ma" means "Have you eaten yet" )

Monday, April 22, 2013

Fengyuan April 22, 2013

Elder Gummow continues to serve in Fengyuan and his time is flying by there.  Here are some quotes from this week's email  and a few pictures from the area he is serving in (sadly, he has not been taking pictures - so these are reposts from someone else's experience in Fengyuan via the internet)

"Hello again!  This week went fast! I feel like I was just barely writing emails.  This week we made some good improvement as well.  We had some okay lessons - still no really good progressing investigators, but we found a couple good new people.  

As far as miracles this week, we had this really weird one.  Tuesday morning we went to find this former investigator  - he and his kids almost got baptized.  Their house was in the middle of this really busy morning market and there were a lot of obstacles and people around so it was really hard to find the house, but we came to this area of houses and started tracting it asking if anyone knew this person, but no one was home.  While we were asking we ran across this lady who was the only one around and asked her if she knew this person. Turns out they were really good friends and so she walked us to the right lady's house which was a little ways away.  Right as we got there, two people came out of the house - a mom and her son.  They were relatives of the people we were looking for and the family wasn't home.  So we proceeded to talk to the 28ish year old son, seeing if he was willing to meet and right as he was writing down his number his mom took the contact cards away from him and told the son he was too busy to meet with us.  Really weird experience and we walked away from it both feeling like it was intended by God to happen, but not really knowing why. 

Then even crazier was the next day. We had just finished eating at McDonald's and walked out of the restaurant and we saw this guy chilling at the entrance.  Elder M..... was like "that guy seems familiar" so we went over and talked to him and we soon realized it was the same guy that we met yesterday.  We talked a bit and tried to get his number this time, but he said he couldn't but that if he had time he would come to our English Class. I'm still a little confused as why this all happened. Crazy, there is over 100,000 people in Fengyuan and we run into this same guy twice and both Elder M and I feel like it was meant to happen ...I'm still a little confused as why this all happened. I guess the story is to be continued and maybe the results won't be seen by us but by missionaries later.

Anyway, other than that we had a pretty good week, saw a lot of other miracles and we found a lot more people willing to meet with us.  Hopefully soon here we'll be seeing some good investigators that will be willing to work towards baptism.  Oh also today is a little fun because we're in a tri-companionship.  Our other companion's companion just moved to the office so he's with us until Tuesday   We're going to go get all you can eat meat today :)

Also, this week we had a mini move call and now an Elder E and Elder A are our Assistants to the president now.  The crazy thing is they're both went to Lone Peak and now they are both our assistants!  I guess I can't get away from high school :)

Wow! can't believe the news Sara got this week...training and whitewash and on her 4-5 move call!  I was kind of expecting it with all the sisters coming in and the fact that Sara has always been outstanding and on top of things and I'm sure missionary work is the same way.  She's going to do so much good though!

Thanks for all the updates and the news, Mom, it's really fun to hear about all that's going on. Haha my glasses are good but actually my eyesight is getting a little worse, I might try and buy new glasses here within the year, they're a lot cheaper and better looking here in Taiwan, but no need to worry about them for now.  Haha and yes I learned a lot from that experience :) (The bike incident)  Sorry I know I haven't sent any pictures lately, but that's also due to not having taking pictures lately, I'll try to take some this week and send them to you next.

Well I better go, love you family and thank you for everything you do!!"

Monday, April 15, 2013

April Showers - April 15, 2013

"The farmer hopes for rain, the walker hopes for sunshine, and the gods hesitate."
  - Chinese Proverb

Elder Gummow was able to listen to General Conference this weekend!  He had a challenging, but enlightening week!  Here are some quotes from his email this week:

"Sounds like the weather there was a lot like it was here, lately it's been pretty cloudy and rainy. We didn't see the sun for a week but today it's cleared up and sunny again.  Apart from the weather, the week has been more tiring than usual too.  We're starting with nothing here so most of our time has been spent trying to find new investigators which didn't goes as well as we would've liked this week.  We had a couple long days of just contacting this week and General Conference really came just in time for a nice break and a spiritual boost.

LDS General Conference
I've never been so happy to watch General Conference in my life, not because it was a break either but because of the opportunity to learn and grow in the Gospel, it was kind of a weird change. Before the mission I always used to think Conference was a little boring but now I could watch it all day.  Regarding conference I feel like over the course of watching it, my mind was picked up, tossed around, and the put back with a new higher perspective of the Gospel, like a spiritual high. It was super good, can't wait to study all of the talks when they come out in the Ensign 

Also this week I had another bike crash, a little more severe.  We were riding and I had an umbrella and it got stuck in the spokes...ya it was kind of dumb. But I ended up flipping over and landing on my arms and my face, knocked my breath out for a sec.  It kinda hurt. I sprained my hand pretty bad too so it was a little awkward to ride my bike for a bit.  Miraculously though was that it healed amazingly quick, and everything was healed back to normal in less than a week. 

This week ended beautiful though.  With enlightenment and truth learned from General Conference, plus we were able to meet with a really good investigator for the first time.  His name is Z......DiXiong, he's super prepared too.  We met him on the side of the road and didn't understand his background then but he agreed to meet with us. He wouldn't give us a number or address though so we weren't sure if he would actually show.  However during the end of General Conference he showed up at our door, said he came right after his class got out.  Turns out his friend is a member of our church and she has shared a lot of the Gospel with him and he likes it a lot! He says he thinks it can help his life, especially since his family life isn't very steady right now.  He's amazing kid too, super smart and draws really well.  The only problem is that he is super busy though, so it's hard finding other times to meet with him.  We're hoping he'll come to church next Sunday though.

Let's see to answer your questions Mom, Elder M... is from Maryland, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Utah.  He's been all over.  He's been in Taiwan more than a year and a half so he'll be going home the same time as Elder B.... my trainer.  They were in the same generation in the MTC actually.  He's super big into music and lacrosse too so we get a long pretty well in those regions.  Really bold contacter and teacher so he's been teaching me a lot lately too.

Chinese is going pretty well I feel like I've been blessed a lot in this area. The missionaries all say if you have Asian blood then it's easier to learn the language which I feel like is pretty true.  I'm hoping to be able to read most of the Book of Mormon by the end of this move call though which would be super sweet!

Didn't end up doing the rap last P-day, maybe today we'll see...Yes we do get to go to the temple too, I'm not sure when though, should be in a couple weeks though because they just recently had a temple trip.

I'm not sure about the girl that came to the Church randomly either.  There are sisters in our district, so we handed her off to them and I haven't heard about it recently.  Oh and also one of the sisters in are district right now is Sister B....., who is from Lone Peak, she knows Sara pretty well and we were in the same Chinese class in High school.

Keep up the studying too Mom! I think it's so cool you willing to put in all the effort to learn the language - it's not an easy language either.  I'll have to try and speak some to you when we Skype on Mother's day.  That would be really fun!

Bry good to hear from you glad the fish is still okay, I'm actually surprised it's still alive! You must be taking really good care of it.

Dad - I love the idea of planning out all the day's activities hour by hour, I've been so in love with planning since I became a missionary and I decided that I'm going to plan every hour of everyday when I get back so that I can be more productive.  It's sounds crazy but it feels really good to be productive and doing positive things every moment of every day.  I hope the family is feeling the positive effects of effective planning too.

That's about it for this week, looking forward to another, brighter week here in Fengyuan. Hope all is well this coming week in Highland.  Love You Guys and thank you so much everyone for the great updates, really.  Love you Family"

Monday, April 8, 2013

Fengyuan April 8, 2013

"Where ere thou art, act well thy part"

Elder Gummow is getting adjusted to a new area and companions.  He is excited for new challenges and knowledge.  General Conference was this weekend in Utah, but the Asian Countries and areas on the side of the world that are a day ahead of us will listen to Conference next week. Here are some quotes from his email this week:

"Wow so good to hear from you this week, sounds like a lot of good things happened this week.  I was really confused when you sent me a picture of the Velour, then I realized that was Nick Lambson on piano.  So sweet...

I'm so pumped for conference this week!  I have never been so pumped for it.  It's gonna be so sweet!  I heard already that they opened two new temples. 

So this week was a little rough and a lot of fun, although I was pretty tired by the end of it.  I think after every move and big change it wears me out a bunch so it takes a little getting used to, but I feel well rested and energized now.  Let me say, whitewashing is... interesting, we came in the first day looked at our plans and Elder M...... (my new companion) was just like, let's go contact everyone we see...So we did.  It's tiring but we've started to see miracles from it.

For example, Wednesday we were meeting with this former investigator at our Church for the first time when we get a knock on the window of the room we were in.  Elder M..... opens the door and there's this girl, who's like "Is this a church?"  and Can I come in?" So we let her in a she proceed to tell us some of her difficulties in life, and how her friend said if she needed helped she should come to church. So she just decided to come to church after class, and miraculously we happened to be at the church then.  She's a prepared person for sure too. Elder M...... proceeded to talk about the Atonement and how Christ has suffered for us, and after she was like "its true - I can feel it" and said the most amazing prayer I've ever heard, thanking God for her experience that day.

Oh and Elder M......'s awesome too, hard worker and a spiritual giant.  He's got great music taste too which is good for me.  Also one of his talents is freestyle rapping (on good topics of course).  Super cool, so I think today we're going to try and make a missionary rap about whitewashing or key indicators or something.  Looking forward to it :)  Oh also today we're going to an all you can eat barbeque/meat place, we're all super pumped for it!

Fengyuan is a super awesome place, lots of change from Zuoying.  Missionaries have been here awhile so pretty much everyone has seen the missionaries multiple times.  We're also in a 4 man which is super sweet and fun.  The elders with us are Elder L... and his trainee Elder S.... from Draper.  There super great missionaries too and we're all working hard to build up Fengyuan.  One of the interesting parts of Fengyuan is that the ward has 700 people in it but unfortunately only about 90-100 attend every week so we want to work hard to work together to build up the ward.

As far as investigators come, we have found a lot of good ones but it's building up slow, I think it will take a little while to really build up this area strong, but that's what we're here for of course. It's going to be interesting to see the weeks to come, but I'm most excited for this opportunity here to really grow and try and become the missionary I need to become.  Good luck to you guys this week as well.  Thanks for keeping me so updated Mom and Dad! God bless you, love you guys!"

Monday, April 1, 2013

Transferred! Easter 2013

Elder Gummow got transferred this week!  He went from the southern part of his mission boundaries to the northern part.  Here is some info on where he is at!

  File:Fengyuan TC.svg

Fongyuan City
Fengyuan District is located in north-central Taichung in Taiwan on the south bank of the Dajia River. Fengyuan district is the third most populated district among former Taichung county, ranking after Dali and Taiping district. Wikipedia
Some quotes from his email this week!  

"Wow! so some updates for this week. I don't have a lot of time to write today.  My new companion and I just got here and we still have a lot to do to prepare...but ya - I moved!! My first move call!  Pretty crazy...all went real smoothly and Elder M....... and I just got here.  It was a long ride up here - 3 hours.  I'm in the north now - the farthest up north possible I think, near the border of the Taipei mission.  I'm in a place called Fengyuan, and  because of all the new missionaries coming in, they just recently split up this area so now we're sharing a 4 man and they split up the area of Fengyuan. My companion and I are "whitewashing" too.  "Whitewashing" means that we start the area with basically nothing, no progressing investigators. So we start and build up from basically a clean slate.  It's pretty exciting and the challenge that I was hoping for. I just hope that all will go well and smoothly these next weeks.  It's a little bit scary starting from nothing.

Thank you so much for the CD, by the way, and the letters too, they were such a great support!  When I was companions with Elder B.. he got that CD around Christmas time and we would play it everyday...it's soo good and when Elder B.... left I missed it a lot and was going to ask if you could find it for me, but instead you read my mind and sent it anyways... Thanks, it's perfect.  I especially love track 5 - "Joy to the world", it's super good and remind me of Steve whenever I listen to it.

Last week, unfortunately, nothing changed with the L... kids and they actually weren't able to make it to church because they were out of town for holidays, "saomu".  I got to say my last goodbyes to them on Saturday though...that's the saddest part of leaving an area, is leaving all the people you knew there and all the people you were working with.  All the people there that got baptized were SOO cool and I'll miss not being able to see them at church anymore.  It time for new start though and I'm super excited to be here in Fengyuan...A little scared too because I'm not sure what's coming up.  I'll keep you guys updated for sure.  Help pray for the investigators in Zuoying, I hope so much that area will see success and that the investigators  we were working with can all get baptized.  That's about it for this week, I'll keep you guys better updated next week for sure, - sorry.  Love You and Happy Easter and General Conference!"