Elder Matthew Gummow

Monday, March 31, 2014

Highs and Lows

It was great to hear from Elder Gummow this week and so strange to be only writing one missionary email instead of two!  Our daughter arrived home from her mission in Taiwan on Saturday and it has been wonderful to hug her and hear some of her stories.  It will be extra fun to have that mother's day call with her here to talk to Elder Gummow too!  I included a few pictures from their Zone Conference last week that were on the Mission Blog.  Thanks Sister Blickenstaff!!

Hello Family!!!!  And Sara :P

Wasai!  What a trunky P-Day today :)  It's okay though don't worry mother or family, Elder Dawson and I are really focused.  But today I see pictures of Sara's homecoming!!  At least we get to go eat at an all you can eat place with some special guests!  Ya!

So this week was awesome and a bunch of super lows with a bunch of super highs.  That's really mission work as a whole I guess.  We had troubles at the first with keeping the consecration going and had some huge bumps in the beginning of the week.  So by about Friday morning, we decided that it was enough and that we had to start going forward again.  So we revised our plans and made new goals and put things back in order and it ended up turning out to be good in the end.

The highlight was L..., he was a new investigator from last week and we met with him again this week.  He is amazing.  He's kind of quite so we weren't really too sure about his situation at first.  But after we ate dinner with him we started to talk about the Book of Mormon and he just lit up.  He was crazy about it and just kept on talking about how great it is to have a record like this and the Buddhism and Taoism have nothing like this.  We asked him if he had a chance to pray about it, he said he did and afterward he felt a voice tell him that he needed to read all of it as soon as possible.

So he's an amazing guy, and we set a baptismal date for 4/26 with him that same meeting.  He was so willing and so prepared.  It's like he's been waiting for the Gospel his whole life.

Things on the other side are working out okay too.  We've been working a lot with Less-Active members this week, and we had one member (a Melchizedek priesthood holder) come back this week.  He was really invested in coming back too and he says he's willing to get a calling as soon as possible.  What a miracle!

I think that I owe these miracles to the progression of this ward.  It's incredible, they were really lost at first but from about 2 years ago they pulled out of it and lately the progression of this ward has been incredible and they are super righteous and humble and are willing to act.  It's amazing to see!

The goal of our ward is to get enough Melchizedek Priesthood holders to split this branch into two and we are getting really close to doing so, it's so exciting!

Elder Dawson and I are doing awesome!  Douliu is amazing! the weather is nice!  There's nothing to complain about here.  (Sara probably understands what I'm saying right now).  Anyways love you guys so much and take care of Sara!  Don't let her lose her fire, we are totally doing companionship study together when I get back.  Love You Family!

Elder Gummow

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sweet is the Work!

This was a great week for Elder Gummow!!  His sister returns home from her mission in Taipei having served a wonderful 18 months, but he is on fire still and has hit the sweet spot on his mission!

Crazy awesome week this week and a bunch of cool new good things are going on in our area now!! 

This week we had lots of cool miracles and things going on all starting from our mission conference this Tuesday...

On Tuesday, we had the mission conference and President gave us a really clear path of what his goal was for the mission and how he want's us to try and hit the "Mission Standards"  - something that has given us as a clear way of knowing we are progressing toward baptism and true progression in our area.  It's something he gave us a long time ago but I never tried really hard to hit the standards as I have never been one to want to focus on numbers.  But this week we decided to give it some more effort and focus on them throughout the week. 

We came to Saturday and realized that we were so close to hitting the standards but it was going to take a miracle the next day to make it possible.  So we fasted and did our best to "Consecrate"  ourselves as it invited us to in the talk Sara gave me this week, thanks Sara!!!  When we did, when we sacrificed and took away any sort of thing that could distract us from the Spirit the blessings just came pouring in, it was literally insane.  So much that we couldn't even handle it.  

It ended up that Sunday we got 2 times as many investigators as we we were planning for...There were people that we just randomly invited on the street that came to Church...and we met people on the road that said that they have always wanted to become Christian and just didn't know how to go about it.  It was literally too much and at the end of the day, the first thing we did was thank God for his help and mercy in this area.  We felt a little lost there for awhile but once we found the path we should take and sacrificed our whole work and selves to God, the blessings just came pouring in. It was probably one of the most literal testimonies of exact obedience bringing blessings on my mission, and catapulted me into wanting to be a more perfectly obedient missionary.

So we ended the week above the standards - some of them even more than doubled and just grateful in our hearts that God is watching over our work here and is so merciful to us if we're obedient.

This week there was two other cool things.  We found a new investigator family that was quite a big miracle.  The wife came and told us that she wasn't happy with her life and didn't know how to fix it but so admired us missionaries and wanted help.  It was a great experience and opportunity to testify of how Gospel blesses families, etc.  And she wants us to meet her son next week so we're super excited for that...

Also there is a famous person in our ward that just moved in, you can look her up, Sara probably knows her she is the Photographer from Taibei and "I am a Mormon" website and has a movie about her where she talks about how good Taiwan's food is and how happy the Gospel makes her.  She and her husband just moved in Douliu this week and it was totally according to God's will, because Douliu really needs some help in leadership and unity.

Missionary work is awesome and I feel like I finally have got on the path that I need to be on to push forward to the end and finish my mission with a big bang.  I'm so grateful for revelation and for the fact that God always answers our prayers - sometimes it may take challenges, trials and faith but He does answer.  This Gospel is awesome!!!!

Love You Family!!! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

They don't celebrate St. Pat's day in Taiwan....

Elder Gummow is learning and growing in Douliu!  He sent some very kind words in his birthday message to me this week!  What I wouldn't have given to hear those words when he was in High School!  to all those mothers with teenagers -  There is hope!!
He sent a few pictures but it looks like they were battling some sun in their eyes!


This week was a crazy one sounds like!  There are all these crazy things going on at home and Sara's home in a week or two!  It's crazy I was thinking about it this week, and I just had this thought come into my head when I woke up one morning.  It was, "if I was Sara, would I be ready to go back in a week or two"  it was accompanied with an overwhelming sadness too, because I know I wouldn't and I wouldn't want to leave.  I feel like a mission is the only time I have to 100% focus on the wellness of my spirituality and my soul and to improve my self and overcome weaknesses.  I still have so many weaknesses to that I need to overcome and I NEED MORE TIME!  I see now why Elders missions are 2 years! There is a reason for that.  I can't believe Sara is so close though!

I hope the family is all okay and that everyone had an awesome St. Patrick's Day and also BRYANNA'S AND MOM'S BIRTHDAY were AWESOME!!!  Daniel, I hope you gave mom a big hug...oh I just realized it's not her birthday yet, that's tomorrow for you guys...but Daniel hope you give her a hug tomorrow!!!!  

This week was good.  We're having trouble finding new investigators lately.  We've definitely done a lot of contacting, but something's off about all of it that I can't get my hand on yet.  Like I feel we're doing something outside of the Lord's will for us, but I can't figure it out yet.  I just guess it's going to take more prayer and study and we're hoping that this week we'll be able to change our trend for sure.  

But there were miracles on the Less Active side of missionary work this week though...We've been working with two families in our ward here.  They were incredibly active before, but somehow they got offended and since then haven't been coming to Church.  There was HUGE progress this week though and a miracle.  We didn't even bother inviting this people to Church this week because we thought they weren't willing to come yet, but we're surprised as sacrament started and the one of the couples had arrived and the wife of the other couple was there too!!!!  Amazing!  It was so awesome to see them sitting in Sacrament Meeting and we were so grateful to see God's hand in this work!!

So ya, that was probably the highlights, this next, next week were hoping to have a baptism.  His name is Fish and he's awesome.  He might need a little more time though (Something he said himself).  So as of now we're working with him and hoping to find some new other people as well.

Happy Birthday Bryanna! your awesome. It scares me so much everytime I see pictures of you though.  You've grown up so much faster than anyone else.  Already 14 years old!!!!  Crazy!!!!  Hope your staying away from the boys still though.

As to other stuff Elder D, he's from Bountiful from the ward neighboring Elder Eyring's ward.

Glad to hear the news, the good and the bad.  Here's another thought - something I learned this week that I thought was really cool.  We were contacting this guy, super sad story.  He lives alone, addicted to smoking and his wife died years ago.  He said he had been to our Church a couple times before.  Actually he's been to a ton of Churches looking for peace and hope but said he couldn't "feel" it anywhere he went. I felt so sad for him - he was lacking the message of the Gospel, but not willing to accept it yet.

I thought it was funny though - as I was talking to him, he explained to me what "Gospel" means in Chinese when I told him that was what we were sharing.  Gospel is "fuyin" in Chinese, and the "fu" is like xingfu the same root word which means "happiness" and then "yin" is the root of shengyin which means voice or sound. So basically Chinese gospel means happy voice, or message.   Super Random but I was grateful to be able to feel the power of that when he told me. The Gospel is the most happy message in the WORLD!  It's the only message that brings true hope and happiness, that only message that promises we can change and become perfect and that there is more for us than just this life!  How could you not want to share that with everyone you meet!  

Anyways Love You Family!  and Happy Birthday Mom and Bryanna!  Hope this week is an awesome one! Love You Guys!!

Elder Gummow!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

First week in Douliu


Wow this week was crazy!  Lots of ups and downs, and a huge load of new experiences and challenges. There is definitely a long road ahead here in Douliu.

Douliu is amazing, it's everything I could ever ask for.  Even though it's the most rural area I've been in on my mission, it's really convenient and perfect for missionary work.  The chapel is in the middle of our area and our apartment is nearby too.  There are so many awesome leaders here that are super excited and willing to help out and there is a great feel about everything going on in this area.  Oh and also there is a golf course in our area...:)

Douliu is in the Jiayi Zone which is pretty exciting.  Jiayi right now is working to make a new stake and has a goal to be a stake by April.  In order to do that though our ward needs 5 more Melchezideck Priesthood holders by then.  So the ward is super excited and driven in order to hit this new goal and to help find and bring back new and less active members.

My new companion is awesome, Elder D.....  He's half Chinese, so we always about how we have Chinese blood to other people.  He's been out on a mission a year less than me so it's quite a big difference, but his missionary skills are already really good and his Chinese is fantastic.  I guess it helps that his mom is Taiwanese.  He's super good with people and does a great job at loving our investigators and recent converts etc.  He's also really great at getting them to open up and talk about what they really feel with us - something that I hope to be able to learn from him this move call.

This week we spent a lot of time meeting the leaders of the ward here and finding some people that they wanted us to go see.  I was super happy to see that this area has some great leaders and they are all really excited to work and help serve God.  I don't know how long I'll be here but I'm super excited to be here in Douliu at this exciting time.

I think something I learned this week, was when we were teaching Less-actives.  We have a bunch of them in this ward and they all have little problems that keep them coming from Church.  Lot's of them just gave up after trying so many years to serve faithfully and feeling like they didn't do enough or were upset by someone else in Church.  This week I kept thinkingg back again and again to 1 Nephi 3:7 almost every day, several times.  The classic verse and a simple truth, God gives a commandment in hopes that we can be perfect like him.  They're hard to reach sometimes though so we're tempted to just give up and sit back and rest.  But that's why he's give us grace and his Atonement, it's the only way we can overcome challenges and reach perfection - by coming unto him.

Anyways that's about it for this week, we're going to eat with some friends in a sec so I don't have too much time today, but love you family!!!  Pictures will come next week probably!

Elder Gummow

Monday, March 3, 2014

Transfers! - on to Douliu!

Dear Family!!!

Thanks so much for the letter this week.  All I have to say Mom is that you're super amazing! I don't know how you could tell, but I was a little bit down - "under the weather" last week. This week was better though for sure.

Yes I'm moving...I was completely not expecting it - like I was a hundred percent certain I was going to be staying here but then the Zone Leaders called and told me I was going to Douliu!!!!!  I couldn't believe, even now I still don't fully comprehend it.  I thought I would stay and finish training my companion but I guess my companion is already ready so they took me out sooner.

It was a mixture of sadness and happiness yesterday as we say goodbyes to everyone.  A sister in this ward and I moved today so we took a bunch of pictures with all the friends we had here.  It was so incredibly deeply sad to have to say goodbye to Matthew.  He is the greatest and most prepared guy I have met, ever and his faith is so strong.  He helped me and I was able to help him receive the Gospel here, and through that we made a really strong bond.  I got to see him from beginning to start.  The crowning event probably was that he taught the Gospel Principles class yesterday on Sunday and he bore his testimony problem 20 times of how greatful he was to join this Church and also how grateful he was for my example, etc.  It was just kind of one of those moments where I felt kind of down about things but hearing him speak made a mission completely and totally worth it.  Like I feel like a spoiled rotten child to have seen so many miracles and blessings working here.

That night we got to take pictures with all the people we met and taught while we were in Zhanghua, and it brought me to tears.  There was a huge difference from when we first got there to the end and I was just so moved at how God's hand is in this work and that when maybe it felt like not a ton was happening, God took the small things and turn them into huge big differences when we worked together as a ward and as missionaries.  This is probably the best ward and most connected ward I've ever been in and I learned so much from their obedience, faithfulness and Christlike examples. Man I'm going to miss everyone. But in return I'm looking forward to a new start and new great experience in Douliu.

WAHOO!   I got into BYU I can't believe it!  I wasn't sure I would make it.  Sara made it too?  and is that where she's decided to go for the fall?  I'm still not sure about where I want to live and stay.  I'll have to think about it.  I'll ask around and see who's willing to room with me :)  Can you check the fall semester thing for me though, it's okay with me.

So I still haven't got to Douliu yet.  The train comes in an hour so now I'm just waiting.  I'm pretty excited though.  Douliu is in the Jiayi zone and Jiayi zone is trying to make a new stake now so the members are really excited for the work and it's where missionary work is really going on.

So, so crazy to see Josh home!  He looks a lot different and his hair is really short.  It still seems pretty normal to me - seeing him at his house with the gang - so it's surprised me less than I thought it would.

That's about it for now I'm kind of short on time today because of the train ride.  But I love you guys and I'm praying for you guys everyday.  Dad, good to hear the test's over and you can relax a little bit.  Also good to hear about the kids and see Bryanna's basketball team:)  You guys are awesome!!

Love Elder Gummow