Elder Matthew Gummow

Monday, June 24, 2013

Loving Zhongming still! June 24, 2013

Elder Gummow enjoyed this week, made some good contacts and is gearing up for some changes with a new mission president coming in and he is almost to his halfway mark (August 15th). He sent pictures of he and his companion studying and a party with his English Class. Here is some of his email:

"Good to hear from you guys.  Sounds like it was a busy week this week.  A lot of events going on recently.  This next weeks gonna be pretty big for us too...Sara hits her halfway mark and we get a new mission president here in Taichung.  I'm pretty excited to see how this new president handles things and how he'll change the mission.  He'll be here on Thursday this week and then our old president leaves this Monday...pretty crazy.  Also this is the last move call for my trainer and a bunch of other missionaries too.  After these next six weeks we'll be some of the oldest missionaries in the mission.  Pretty Scary.

This week went well.  Pretty eventful.  C...... got the priesthood and has been getting to know the members in our ward really well through facebook.  We had a couple of cool miracles happen.  One was I was contacting this guy outside a 7-11.  At the start, I asked how his day was, etc.  He immediately responded by saying don't try to talk with me about church and started going a way but I kept talking to him and all the sudden he stopped and said "Okay I'll give you ten minutes, tell me why I should believe your church.  So we shared a simple message, exchanged information and he said we could go visit him at his house.  He actually said "If you can find my house, I'll believe your church"(his house is in a really hard place to find apparently) so I'm really hoping they find it, unfortunately he didn't live in our area so we had to refer him.

Also we met with D....... again. We had to refer him to the assistants. He takes care of snakes for fun though.  We're going to go see all his snakes today. 

Ch...., one of our investigators who is leaving for America next week,  his birthday was this week so we ate some good american style pizza with him.  He's looking really good for baptism before he leaves.  He's says that he feels God is telling him he needs to be baptized.  Also Sara - he loves Ninja Turtles and I told him that you do too so he thinks your super cool.   

Also another miracle of finding was a guy my companion contacted last week.  He ended up coming to church by himself.  We introduced prayer and reading to him this week, and the day after we invited to read, he came to the Church talking about how much he loves the Book of Mormon and asked if we have other books to read.  He read all the way from Nephi 1 to Alma in one morning and afternoon!!!  So so crazy!  He also said that he want's to get baptized but not sure on dates yet, he might have to wait till next year because of his parents, we're really hoping not though.

Excited to hear about Chad, I feel really bad I was planning on getting in touch with him before he left but I never did.  He's going to be an amazing missionary though.  I'll have to try and get in touch with him when he gets to Taiwan.

That's about it for this week, loving it here in Zhongming!  The weather's nice, the people are too - couldn't ask for more really except maybe a nap..... I'm a little tired today."

Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day - June 16, 2013

Today was Father's Day in the USA, but in Taiwan, Father's Day falls on August 8th every year.  The reason for this is because in Chinese the word for Father is "Baba" and "Ba" also means the number "8". So "ba-ba" could also mean "8-8" or the 8th day of the 8th month.

Elder Gummow's baptism this past week was a joyful, memorable touching experience and he had a really great week!  He also sent a couple of voice recordings of some songs that the missionaries sang and his English Class attempted to sing!  Haha!  They were awesome!

"I hope you guys enjoy this recording, this is what we did last P-day.  In the background there are probably 8-10 Elders singing, backing us up.  It's really fun to us because it's filled with inside jokes and missionary stuff but I hope you guys enjoy it too.  Elder M...., my old companion in Fengyuan is the lead singer in it, and I got to play guitar for this song - although I've never actually heard this song before.  It was a blast to play and I wish the recorder could have have caught the awesomeness of a whole group of elders singing this song in harmony.  Also, the other recording is our English class - their first time singing "How Great Thou Art."

P.S.  "Yingwen Ban" means "English class", this song was made to advertise our English program :)

Anyways this week was awesome, and I feel like everything that needed to go right did so I'm really happy.  C........... was baptized!!!!!  It was an awesome, awesome ceremony too.  Our ward is super supportive and a lot of people came even though it was on Saturday morning.  After the baptism C...DiXiong bore his testimony and just thanked everyone for the support and help and then bore his testimony on prayer and started crying it was really really touching to all of us and definitely a moment I won't forget.  He's just a super honest humble guy, like after the baptismal service he went around and shook everyone's hands to thank them for coming.  The Sunday after he was super awesome too, he was barely a new member but he immediately turned to caring for our other investigators and participating in the lessons.

Also another eventful thing was that we met with that American, Swedish, Taiwanese guy this week and his wife too.  They are both Jehovah Witnesses so we were kind of scared they would try and preach to us, but really the guy, Daniel, was just a really sincere honest seeker of truth.  He listened respectfully to what we shared and tried to understand.  It was just really cool to be able to see someone that understand the Bible so well and was sincerely seeking Christ.  Also helped me realize how much I still have to learn. Unfortunately we are going to have to refer him this week though.

This week was awesome, a small, but big thing I realized this week was my birthday is less than month away. This last year has really flown by and I didn't realize that July was coming so close!  It doesn't really even feel like summer yet in my head.  This last year I feel I've grown up like 4 years though.

It was great to see your photos and hear of your trek experiences today.  I was laughing pretty hard at some of them  - you can ask my companion.  I especially like the one of Daniel and his super-focused face.  That Children's pull sounds really amazing!  I'm so glad they did it.  I was thinking about it lately and I wish I was given more responsibility and involvement in the ward when I was young.  Serving in the ward makes you really a part of the work and strengthens your testimony so much.

Well that's about it for time, It went really quick today.

Dad, Happy Father's Day, I think about it all the time what it would be like if you were a missionary in Taiwan, and how it was like for you when you were a missionary.  Thank you so much for all your sacrifice and support and help and care and most of all your great example.  Your one of the most Christlike people I know for sure and I'm so grateful your my dad.

Love You Family,  Your the greatest in the whole world!

Elder Gummow"

Monday, June 10, 2013

Faith in Every Footstep - June 10, 2013

 It takes sweat to work on things,
 but it only takes saliva to criticize things.
-Taiwanese Proverb

This week was a good week for Elder Gummow, but he sounded a bit shook up.  It is always hard to hear something you know to be so good, criticized because of misinformation. However, his investigator is still on track for baptism and he had a really great meeting with the mission president and missionaries who will soon be returning home.

"Good to hear all the updates and everything.  Excited to hear trek is next week and sounds like it's going to be a good one.  Today I don't have a lot of time to write but I'll try and update you as best as for can this week.

The first topic of today, Americans.  This week we had abnormal amount of interactions with the people from the west.  The first off was when Elder R... and I were traveling to the Church for a lesson. I was talking to someone at the light when this American pulls up next to me and before he even stops, he starts yelling at me and telling me to stop talking to the guy, so out of shock, I did and listened to him for a second, which was a mistake! He started going off on all this stuff about false things he had heard about our church.  I didn't even have a chance to talk back to him, but it was really disconcerting seeing all the anger towards our church that  came from false rumors and who knows what. 

The second experience was a lot better. This time Elder R... ran into a person from Sweden, America, and Taiwan.  So as far as I know he could speak Sweden, English, and Chinese.  We heard his Chinese and his English - which we're both incredible, made me really jealous.  After talking to him a bit though we learned that he was Christian, a Jehovah Witness from birth and that he actually understood our Church really well.  He seemed like a really honest seeker of the truth and told us that he collected bibles and liked our Church and missionaries and stuff but there was somethings that he had questions about.  We tried as best we could to answer them and set up a different time with him to meet, which he agreed to, so now we're planning to meet with this guy next week.  Really kind of nervous and excited, not really used to teaching people with solid Christian background and in English.

Well for the best news of all!  C..... passed his baptismal interview and he's looking really good for next Saturday.  We're were getting kind of nervous too because he didn't show up to two interviews at first because he had customers at the store but finally on Thursday he was able to get the interview and Elder Baker said he passed with flying colors!  He was really good at sacrament meeting too and shared his testimony a couple times in Gospel principles class.

This week we also had our last meeting with President Bishop, he leaves at the end of this month.  It was a really touching and spiritual meeting because President and a lot of missionaries are leaving soon so they all gave final testimonies and remarks and we sang some songs.  Super good and spirit filled.

That was about it for this week. Looking back, this week was really good and filled with good things.  We were able to find lots of new people, including some really cool less-actives that we hope we can get the ward involved with. This ward/area is really filled with potential.

Also I heard they're announcing something about missionary work in two weeks on sacrament, Elder R... just got two emails about it from his parents who said they heard something like "they will be announcing something about missionary work that's the biggest news ever heard in this dispensation"  sounds like a rumor but it came from Elder R.....'s parents and grandparents firsthand.  Unless they got taken control of by zombies or something, I would believe them. "

Monday, June 3, 2013

Great Week - Earthshaking....! June 2, 2013

Elder Gummow purchased a voice recorder this week and sent us a short recording!  It was fun to hear his voice and his companion's.  He introduced himself as the second of 4 children from Oklahoma. He has an older brother (who served his mission in Chile) just got married a couple of months ago. Elder Gummow will be getting a new mission President on July 1st.  There was an earthquake in Nantou yesterday that they felt and an upcoming baptism!  We are so grateful for his safety and progress!  

This week went really well!  We were able to see a lot of good progression in the area.  First - we saw two really good investigators coming up this week.  The first was a man named Tim or L......., who was able to meet with us for the 2nd time this week.  We went to a members house for this lesson and shared the First Lesson and before we even started sharing the first lesson, we followed up on his scripture reading and he started sharing scriptures with us and brought up the Great Apostasy which he had already figured out for himself, after the lesson he told us he believed it all! 

The other was an investigator named Chase or C.......... that has been coming to English class for awhile, this week we met with him and his member friend named Alex or L.......... who is a member in Daya who is going to go to BYU this year to get his MBA.  We talked about the spirit and Baptism, and he told us he believed in God and was willing to get baptized.

Also this week we were able to meet with an awesome Less-Active member. About 6 months ago he reconverted back to Buddhism, but recently through the help of coming to English class and his returned missionaries encouragement he has decided he wants to quit smoking and start coming back to Church!
So these recordings are of Elder Raley, and our English Class singing How Great Thou Art, it was super fun!  Also this week was cool, last sunday we had a 6.3 magnitude earthquake right before sacrament, it's the second earthquake I've felt since I've been here.

I totally forgot school got out for you guys this week.  Congratulations!!  Hope your enjoying your vacation.  Taiwanese school kids are super hard working here, most of them get out of school in July and go back to school about the same time as American kids, but their rest time isn't usually even a rest. Usually they are doing cram school or something else instead. 

Can't believe it's June already! We are getting ready for the really hot weather- although it's been 34'ish degrees Celsius around here lately, I hope it doesn't get any warmer.  Luckily, most of our time has been spent inside lately, we've been having a pretty good amount of lessons lately so we don't have to bike around outside as much except for traveling.  Oh also one of our investigators, C........ is getting his baptismal interview tomorrow. Super excited for him!  His baptismal date is on 6/15 and he's looking really good to hit it.  We shared all the commandments with him and he had no problem with any of them (for example he already doesn't drink tea and coffee because he owns a health drink shop and already knows tea and coffee are bad for your health) really such a prepared individual.  Super humble and nice guy too.

Well thanks for the awesome update! super glad to hear from everyone and all the things that have been going on lately.  You guys are awesome for reals, Best family ever! Thanks for your great examples and help with everything.

Mom, I hope you can keep studying Chinese I'll try and send you a little quiz next week (just like my name and testimony and how many people are in my family)  I think it will be fun and then you can hear my voice in Chinese, (which is really not that good. Taiwanese people are just really nice about it). Hope you liked Elder R's little introduction :)