Elder Matthew Gummow

Monday, July 29, 2013

July 28 - S......'s Baptism!

I often post Chinese Proverbs, but today I thought I would do a a scriptural proverb from the Old Testament.  It is full of great wisdom as well!

Matt is soon approaching his halfway mark (August 15th) and has gained many skills and overcome many challenges.  He has also changed many lives (11 baptisms so far) and has been filled with great joy!  Move calls are next week and we hope this next half of his mission will be better than ever!

"This week was a pretty good one! Lots and lots of good things happened and I think to top it off was S..........'s baptism.  It was a good one for sure, not a perfectly run smooth baptismal service but it had the spirit and S.......... was so happy to get baptized.  After he came up out of the water he was smiling huge and was like "ya, no worries/problems"  He so funny! I think this picture will help you understand him better than I can explain it.

( Note from mom:  Sorry about the faces on the photo - as I mentioned before, we have been advised not to post without permission from all the people in the photo - so I have blurred their faces - but my youngest daughter says it looks "creepy", so I may have to stop posting pictures or find another solution.... any ideas or opinions?)

But other than that we had a good week with finding and teaching new investigators.  We have some really good investigators still for this next month but we are also working on finding some good new ones for the upcoming weeks and months.  Which means following the spirit really closely and keeping a lookout for those prepared.

The finding paid off when we had three new people come to Church this week and they were all pretty cool - all of them are singles too.

Ch..... left this last Sunday, sad to see him go but excited for his experiences in America at the same time.  I think he's going to have a great time in Philadelphia.  Dad and Mom you should send him an email and maybe some pictures. He would love that I think. He already loves our family a lot and I think it would help cheer him up in his first weeks at America.

Also we added a new family this week.  The Y...family,  the are the coolest family I've met in my life too, and feel super prepared.  The kids all love missionaries and just non-stop ask us questions about everything, like "Do you guys fight in America, and do you want to hear ghost stories".  They are so funny and the closest family I've met since I've been in Taiwan, so nice to see such a righteous good family.

That's about it for this week, good to hear from you guys, and crazy to hear what's going on at home.  I can't believe it! Kaz is returning home really soon here, and all these new missionaries are going out.  This next move call is going to be crazy for us. We're getting 20-30 new missionaries so there are going to be a lot of changes.

Love you guys and hope all is well, Glad to hear the family hugs are still going on (I totally forgot about them).  Love You!"

Monday, July 22, 2013

TMNT!! July 22, 2013

Elder Gummow had a great week!  A baptism, lots of miracles, some learning experiences, and more!  Here is a picture of Elder Gummow at the TMNT Restaurant last week.  We have been encouraged to not post pictures of people without their permission so I have blocked out his friend's face since I do not have his permission to post it.   

 "Hello Family!!!
Sorry my letter was so short last week.  We had a really good time going with our investigator, Ch...,  to a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Restaurant, and best of all Ch.... was baptized this weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  He got the priesthood too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ch....., he's investigated for 5 months now, so a pretty decent amount of time.  He was an English class contact and a member referral, and he started from the basics, (not believing in God) but his testimony is strong now.  He's going to America next Monday so maybe you'll get to see him sometime, he really wants to go to Utah because he has friends there and really wants to meet our family.  He's definitely a miracle and one of the most intense investigators we've ever taught but it was so wonderful to see him finally get baptized last week and to be able to be a part of the whole ceremony.
This upcoming week we're looking forward to S...... getting baptized too he's a great great kid and the most prepared soul I've ever met, also incredibly smart.
Today we have a Zone Activity at a park, our whole zone is going to have a picnic together and eat pizza! We're pretty excited!!
Along with the baptism this week there were also many many miracles.  One was Sunday night on the way home we met a guy on the road.  At first we asked him how his day went and then he kind of instantly broke down and started tell us how recently his life was not very good and that it seemed like he was coming to a "bottleneck" and was looking for something that could help him. He was actually just on his way to play basketball to try and relieve some of life's pressures.  So we set up for tonight to meet with him and hopefully share something that can help change the path that he's on now.
I was thinking about it last week a lot and I'm really just awed and amazed at how many miracles missionaries see everyday and how much the lord is a part of this work.  I found myself last week realizing that I had almost become used to the numerous miracles we see everyday and that I was starting to take them for granted. Really bad..., and I realized I need to be a lot more thankful for what miracles God has given us in return for serving him.
That was pretty much it. Thanks again for the package. I still haven't finished it yet but I'm excited to eat the Oreo no bake cake.  I'm excited to hear more about the exchange students and also Daniel and Bry's trip. Sounds like Daniel's jazz band is becoming world famous.  
Oh Dad, the language, I realized I need to be more diligent in studying this week when a member thought that I was newly arrived in Taiwan and asked how learning the language was going.  He totally thought that I had just barely got here.  Ouch!! That was a humbling experience and I definitely need to study harder these next weeks!
Missionary life is going good and Zhongming is still a beautifully prepared area with lots of great, prepared people. I'm so lucky and so glad to be here!!
Love You Guys!
Elder Gummow"

Monday, July 15, 2013

Typhoon.....July 15, 2013

Yesterday we had the opportunity of attending a Sacrament Meeting in Springville where President and Sister Bishop spoke (Matt's Former Mission President).  They have been back just a couple of weeks. It was wonderful to hear about Taiwan and the mission from their perspective.  They talked about attending the Temple sealings of former missionaries and converts that President Bishop when he was a young missionary. They talked about watching the missionaries grow and learn to recognize the Holy Ghost and work miracles!  Sister Bishop told an inspiring story of the youth in Taiwan.  (Typhoon season runs from June through October. In fact, Taiwan was hit with a Typhoon just this past weekend.) The leaders were planning an island-wide youth conference (one in the north area and one in the south area) for last year about this time. The very weekend it was supposed to take place, a dangerous Typhoon was predicted to hammer the island.  The leaders were contemplating what to do.  When the youth heard about it, they got on their social media and spread the word to begin fasting and praying for the conference to still take place. They did not want it to be cancelled!  Their humble prayers were heard and and the Typhoon changed direction, barely touching the island. The youth conference went as planned - perhaps with an extra measure of the spirit, knowing that a miracle had happened!

Sounds like the weather did not keep Elder Gummow from having a fantastic week!  Here is his email:

"Wow!! Typhoon, Birthday, Chidaobaos!! What a beautiful week!

I'm sorry I don't have tons of time to write today because Ch.... is going to take us out to lunch today and we have to leave soon.  He's taking us to a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles restaurant (Sara), he actually loves the TMNT, and always quotes them like "wakey,wakey, eggs and bakey" and also "kowabunga". It's really funny!  But I'll try and fit in as much of the events of this past week as possible.  

This we had many miracles and lots of good progress.  The Typhoon came and rained hard for about an hour in the morning and that was it.  It didn't really effect us at all, luckily.  Although it did effect the city a lot. There was trees all over the city that were fallen down and on top of cars, etc.  Pretty intense but it looked like we missed most of it sleeping through the night. 

Included in the miracles this last week, are that we are looking forward to two baptisms this weekend!  Two really really awesome investigators.  Ch... and then S......., G...DiXiong.  They both are super active and working really hard toward's baptism. 

We also had another really cool new investigator this week, C..... He was contacted during English Proselyting and came to English the same day as well as been meeting with us lately.  His background is really strong in the Gospel and he really wants to change his life so he has a really strong desires for baptism.

Also J.... decided not to become a monk!!!  The problem ended up being that his sister was trying to persuade him to convert back to Buddhism, but she finally let up this week and let him decide for himself and he decide to keep coming to our Church!!!

My birthday was amazing too! One of the best ever! The District threw a little surprise party Friday night and they all gave me gifts.  Ties, food, cake, and a companionship even wrote a song for my birthday.  It was really awesome and I'm super grateful to them.  Also I was able to spend my birthday with J...., Ch...., and G...DiXiong! All of these great people I was able to meet in Zhongming.  So I was really satisfied.  Oh and the brownies were amazing! I just wish I could have them every week!

Thank You So MUCH Family!!!  Love You Guys!!!  SOrry wish I could write more!  I promise I will next week.

Love Elder Gummow"

Monday, July 8, 2013

Shengri Kaule! Birthday Week! - July 8, 2013

On Friday, Elder Gummow will celebrate his 20th birthday!  No longer are the days of being a teenager and he mentioned a few weeks ago that he felt like he has grown up the equivalent of 4 years in the past year!  It is fun to see the growth in him and the challenges he has overcome!  Here is a picture of him and his new companion from Georgia who has great Chinese and is upbeat and easy to work with!

"Love you family!!!  Thanks for the letters and most of all for the package!!!  It came sooner than expected (Tuesday last week).  It's great too I'm sorry I'm not sure if I should've opened it yet or not but I couldn't help myself. :)  I haven't opened the card yet though and I'm not planning on using the stuff until my actual birthday date comes around.  Luckily my birthday falls on weekly planning day so we'll be able to cook up the food for lunch that day!!  Yes!  I'm really super pumped, there's two things I've been craving food wise since I have been here and that is zucchini brownies and Cafe Rio.  Otherwise you can get pretty much everything else in our area.  It's super nice, for example last Monday we had T.G.I. Friday's for the first time since I've been here, oh man it was really good, - really expensive but so worth it.
Anyways enough about food.  Sorry about the lack of pictures mom, my camera works but I've been doing really bad at taking pictures of stuff and bringing camera's to event, something I feel I'm going to regret after.  But I'm going to try better to take pictures from now on and plus I have a bunch of good pictures today of when we visited Danny's house and played with his snakes. 
Hmm, This week was amazing and also incredibly intense and stressful at the same time.  There were so many highs and lows it was crazy.  For example our investigator, Ch..., that we have been working with for a really long time finally promised us that on July 20th he would get baptized and he said that when he promised it he would be solid and it wouldn't change.  That was such a good moment !  It was so intense up til then trying to help him to gain enough faith to set a goal.  Probably one of the best moments of my mission! 
However, two days later he tells us that he was talking to his Mom and she was talking about how big of a commitment baptism was going to be and it scared him a lot and now he's not sure if he can keep the commandments and be baptized.  Agghhh!
Along with that was Saturday.  We had a really devastating experience.  One of the Less-Actives we've been meeting with told us that he was going to reconvert back to Buddhism and become a monk.  I love him so much and it hurt so bad to hear that he was going to do that.  We still have faith in him though and I'm sure we'll be able to get him to reconsider. He's still willing to read and pray and come to Church so that's really good. 
So also on the other hand, we had a miracle that same Saturday.  We were up in the West District of Taichung city, contacting and stuff and it was about time to go home, so we felt like tracting a couple minutes before we headed back.  I went to an area not knowing completely beforehand where we were going and we pulled up to this house that I knew was pretty familiar.  After a couple seconds I realized that it was an investigator's house that Elder R and I had visited before.  The lights were on and people were out and the Dad came out of the house right when we got there, recognized us (even though we had never seen him before) and called W...... or Howard out of the house.  We had been calling him for the past month and half and had visited once but before then hadn't been able to get in contact with him but that night he was there.  Turns out he's been working in Nantou during the week and only comes back Saturday and Sunday.  Even better he was still reading and praying, his friend is now investigating the Church, he said he would come to Church next Sunday with us, and funniest of all he had put a sticker on his new motorcycle that said "Christ loves You" (a motto of Christianity in Taiwan).  It was so great to seem him again and even better to hear that he was still living the Gospel as much as we had taught him.
So love and faith, I feel like our the mottos of this week and what I need to learn the most.  Faith to never give up on the people we teach, no matter how desperate or gloomy the situation looks, and also Faith to follow the spirit whenever it gives you promptings.  Otherwise, we might not have been able to get back in touch with Howard. 
This work is amazing and I'm glad every day to be a part of it.  I'm not sure why but I was so glad to hear Daniel's backpacking story, it was an incredibly moving story to me.  Incredible to think this group of young men were able to experience such and incredible manifestation of God's hand in their lives and care for them.  Plus thinking of the worthiness of there Leaders in being able to following God's promptings when it was given to them.  It's something I wish I was able to experience a little more when I was a kid.   
Anyways time is low, Love You So Much Family!  Bry your scaring me getting earrings and wearing makeup, it's something I'm totally not used to.  Daniel, still looking like a stud, Love ya man. "
Elder Gummow

Monday, July 1, 2013

Crazy Week!! July 1, 2013

  dāng huó  
Literally: Try to save the dead horse as if it is still alive.
English equivalent: Nothing is impossible.

Meaning: Do the impossible, for it may truly be possible.

Elder Gummow had an exciting week!  I am so grateful that he is now feeling better and that he will be able to handle the new challenges ahead.  I will let him tell it in his own words from his email!

"Man I can't wait to tell you guys what happened this week.  It was a crazy, hormones all over the place, kind of the week for sure and I still feel a little shaken up from it all.  This week was the hottest in Taiwan ever - as it sounds like it was pretty warm in Utah too - and we felt it!!  I've never sweated so much in my life. but I love it! Humidity actually feels really good to me.  Wow! I can't believe Paul and Sister Kapp are back now! It all feels like that went too fast!  It'll be interesting to see that whole generation of guys all coming home here pretty soon, especially Kaz.  I got the missionary letters this week (Thanks Mom) Kaz's face was soooo funny it's totally the Kaz's personality.  Can't believe Daniel's band is getting all these gigs now too they must be really good, like really good!  Can't wait to hear them when they go Hollywood.

Hmm so this week was crazier than usual, as I said.  The start of the week was horrible!  I'll say it straight up, I got sick Monday night with an 100+ fever.  Luckily we spent the most of that night in the Church though so it wasn't too taxing, but once we got home I spent the night with chills lying in bed trying to sleep off the fever.  The next day was the same.  I was still really sick but I didn't want to stay home and waste time and the day so we went out and did missionary work - which turned out okay, but at the end of the day I was so dead and freezing and went straight into my bed to get rid of the chills.  While I was laying there and Elder R. was following up with other missionaries, we got a random call from President Bishop.  In a matter of 30 seconds he told Elder R that he was moving to Huwei tomorrow morning at 7:15 and I was going to be the senior companion and the new district leader of the area and then hangs up...... and I just wanted to die right then.  I was sitting in bed at the time with like four or five blankets covering me - still freezing and shivering.  Haha - but it was all good in the end.  Sad to see Elder R leave so fast.  We were only together for one move call and it was a little hard at first.   Luckily God blessed me.  The next morning I felt better by degrees and we were able to accomplish the day's events. When night came though I was right back to a high fever and trying all I could to stay in tune with what was going on and finish the day.  Then rushing back home to be able to rest a second, .... but we forgot the keys :(  All turned out good in the end though, 

Being senior companion is tough sometimes, it's not really like a huge change but the biggest part is leading us around all the time and so far I get lost...all the time!!  That's okay,  a little practice and things got better after that.  Plus the new elder that came in is super super supportive and continually happy and willing to do anything so he's helping us out a lot - which I'm really grateful for. (Elder Gummow says he 20 and is from Georgia)

Well enough about the boring part of the work. The people -  We met an awesome new guy this week named Ben, he's been really busy the last weeks and his brother died recently so we haven't been able to meet with him.  We actually ran into him a month or two ago and just barely this last week were able to meet with him.  He's a really prepared soul though.  His family is all Christian, and he's had a really really hard life. His brother just died, his wife left him, and he had a stroke that causes it so that he can;t move his right arm.  But despite his difficulties he's still a super happy and positive man and so willing to hear the Gospel.  Interesting thing about him is that he lives with 5-6 cats and one of them he can talk too and he actually understand's a little of what Ben says.

Also about the new mission president.  He's awesome!!  We were a selected group of missionaries last week that got to see him when he first came up the driveway to the mission house.  We got to shake his and his wife's hand and talk a second.  Mom, Sister B reminds me a lot of you which is really cool, and President B seems very professional and upstanding.  We only got to meet them for a few seconds but they seem great.  I'm going to miss President and Sister Bishop though.

Well that's about it for this week,  Lot's of big changes and I'm no longer a junior companion anymore :( miss it already :)  Things are still going awesome here in Zhongming though and I love this place more and more every week.  I really hope I stay here for awhile.  Hopefully, I'll be able to send you guys some pics this week in a second here (Elder R has all the pictures of me from last week) we went and saw a bunch of snakes at that English speaking investigators house we told you about.  But love You Guys and hope this next week goes wonderfully well for you.  Thanks!!!

Love Elder Gummow"