Friday, December 28, 2012

SHANGDAN KUAILE!!! (I'm sure you can all guess what this means given the date :)) (Shannon here: We received this on Christmas Evening. But are just posting it now.)

Okay so let me set this up by saying that since Christmas fell on P-day I actually have ZERO time for letters and EVERY missionary has been given 20min to do their emails so I actually have less time then usual. SORRY! So let me quickly get a few things out before I start the REAL good email :)

Okay I KNOW ELDER NOLL!  (Shannon here: I found a few blogs by families whose sons or daughters are serving in Taichung. Elder Noll’s was among them.) He is so cool! A truly amazing missionary! Would I be able to get little updates now and then from his blog? :)

Also we had to go in awhile ago to get our Visa form checked out...and as I was looking over it everything looked fine till I saw it...BAM! Female was marked in all black! RAWR! So this wasn't my mess up either, this is what the mission house had done! Really...ELDER Gish...Female? I am sure you can just see how that I will never live that down here! Oh well haha, it really is fun and amazing here! I am so glad to be a part of this amazing work!

Okay next, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!! I won't tell everyone your age don't worry!...but I'll give a hint...she looks 27 right?...well she is a little fact, she went to school with Joseph Smith Senior! Can you guess now? ;) Haha, i'm KWX (kai wan xiao...just kidding in Chinese) I love you Mom and I hope you have a WONDERFUL day! You deserve it for having to put up with me these last 19 years! I know for a fact my parents are both going STRAIGHT to the Celestial Kingdom for that! :)

Also you have been asking me for my schedule a lot! Sorry I keep forgetting! Here is the basic Rundown!

Wake up every day at 6:30 and be ready and out by 7 to be at Breakfast by 7:20 (Except P-day, then we get a sack breakfast around 6:50)

MWF: Personal Study from 7:50-8:50 and then an Additional Study time until 9:20 and Gym time starts at 9:30. Gym is from 9:30 to 10:20 and I usually play Basketball or Volley ball with elders that played those sports in high school! It is TONS of fun! Then we have time to get ready again and Then from 11:00-12:00 is Personal study time on Monday, a Workshop on Tuesdays, and Tall lab (language study) on Fridays. We have a personal study on Monday because during the usual study time we do service on Monday! Then Lunch is at 12! Language study is after that from 12:45 to 1:45. Classroom time is 2-5 and that's language and gospel study! Dinner is at 5 and then MORE class from 5:45-8:45! Then we have planning 9-9:30. Prepare for bed and be IN BED at 10:30! :)

T: P-DAY! Early Breakfast then Laundry at 9:20 then Personal Study from 11-12, Lunch (Sack) at 12. Temple time from 1:45-3:45 Usually goes over till 4. Then Personal time (Write letters and Email usually) That goes till 5. Then Dinner and then TALL (Language) from 5:45-6:45. Devotional from 7-8 and District Meeting from 8-9 Then Planning and Bed!

Th: Breakfast 7:20 and from 7:50-10:50 Is class11-12 is Personal Study time. Then Lunch! More language study from 12:45-1:45. Then Class from 2-5 then a break for Dinner and more TALL from 5:45-6:45. Then Gym from 7:05 to 7:55. After we have to get ready and do some Additional Study till 9:00 Finally Planning and Bed!

Sat: Sat is EXACTLY like Thursday EXCEPT we have TRC in the morning in stead of class! TRC is where we teach members and real investigators in Chinese! AHHH soooo funN!!!!

Sun: Breakfast at 7:20. Priesthood from 9:10-10. Lunch is 11:30 to 12:15. 12:30-1:30 is Sacrament and after is District Meeting from 1:45-2:45. Dinner is at 5 and then Personal Study from 5:45-6:30. We have a fireside from 7-8 and a talk/movie from 8-9. Then Planning and Bed! Anything on Sunday that is not scheduled time is for additional study so it can be language, personal or companion!!

As a Side note we got to welcome in the New Elders this week! We got the FIRST 18 year old elders and 19 year old sisters this week! HOW COOL IS THAT!!!! THIS WORK REALLY IS AMAZING!!!!!! But it made me think about Dad and dropping me off...I might have gotten a little teary trying to help these elders and their families find comfort in the fact that their son is serving GOD :). It really was amazing!

I just came back from a devotional where we were privileged to hear from an apostle of the Lord Elder Russel M Nelson! What an amazing man! We also heard from his wife! She is amazing, what a powerful duo! :) I don't have much time but I would like to share a little thought from each of them!

Sister Nelson: The Lord does not have a sleigh full of gifts for has entire galaxies full of gifts and blessings for each of us!

Elder Nelson: We are imperfect, but God, his words, his plan IS perfect. We will share his word and his plan! We are his children! BECOME PERFECTED IN CHRIST.

I know it isn't much...but truly ponder those words. They have great a glacier. It is large alone on top...but just look under and see the truly MAGNIFICENT blessing. :)

Now with what little time I have remaining I would like to share my thoughts on the Atonement. I shared a little last week because I wasn't sure if I would be allowed to email today. But since I am, let me just tell everyone who is able to read this or hear these words...I know that Jesus Christ came down to this Earth, he was born as a little child. He condescended from supreme creator to just a little child. Like us he learned to walk, talk, and work. He struggled, felt pain, sorrow but he never once gave in. He lived his life perfectly for us! He never messed up that we, his brothers and sisters would have a chance to be saved. And even through the struggle of living an absolutely perfect life, even after that he gave his life freely for us. He suffered pains that are unimaginable, he was tortured and crucified for us. He gave everything for us. He then, for us again, conquered death, he was resurrected and defeated death. Now he is a perfected and glorified being. He is my savior and my redeemer. I know that he lives. I know that he loves me, I know that he loves each of you, your family, your friends. No matter what has happened or what will happen, he loves you and he will continue to do so. He will always root for you, love you, carry you, pick you up. He is Jesus the Christ, my master. I am now serving a mission in Taiwan for not only my Heavenly Father, but for Jesus Christ. I will forever serve and love him. I pray that anyone who reads this will be able to come to a knowledge of this truth as I have. If you have not, I challenge you to PLEASE read the Book of Mormon and ask God if it is true. I KNOW you will get your answer. He will not let you go without, because he has promised you that he will tell you. And God will not lie.  If you have read this treasure than please, especially in the joy of this season share it with someone. This message literally saves lives and rescues souls. As Children of God should we not love our brothers and sisters unconditionally? Nothing should ever come between us and our fellow children of God. They need this message, don't cover it up....let your light so shine! :)

I love you all and I wish you a VERY Merry Christmas!

I LOVE MY FAMILY!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Shengdanjie Kuaile! (Merry Christmas!!)  I love the translation for Merry Christmas in Chinese! It means “Happy Birth of Christ Festival!” How great is that!?

Well we have now passed the half way point! 7 weeks in and 5 more to go! I can't wait to get out to teach! However, the older generation that was AMAZING at Chinese wrote the districts and told us how even THEY couldn't understand anything that was being said! AHHH I guess there really is a difference between MTC Chinese and real Chinese haha. I guess all I can do now is work hard enough to qualify for the gift of tongues and then just pray for help!

Thank you everyone for your wonderful support! It is so nice to get Christmas cards and the happy thoughts! I really, really appreciate it!


So I heard a cool story recently that I want to share. It is obviously a Christmas story. I will summarize it for you all so that it doesn't take TOO long.

There was this little girl in her Kindergarten class and her and all of her classmates decided to put together a fun little play where at the end they would all hold up a letter and the letters would spell out C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S. L.O.V.E. They practiced and practiced and finally it came to the night when it was time to perform for the school and all the parents! Everyone was nervous and worried about doing their best. Finally it came to the end of the performance and the kids one by one started to hold up their letters to the music. The little girl I mentioned earlier was in charge of the M. But the poor little girl looked at her M and held it up when it was her turn....she didn't know but she was holding it upside down. A few parents laughed and looked at the cute girl sympathetically and a few of the school kids just laughed and pointed at her. The poor girl didn't know why everyone was laughing so she stood tall and held her letter up big and tall. She held it up and put on a big smile. And finally it was the last letter, the E....and a hush fell over the crowd. Everyone, seemingly, all at once saw what had happened. The letters now spelled. C.H.R.I.S.T. W.A.S. L.O.V.E. Everyone smiled and clapped and realized what Christmas was really about. The sign spelled Christ Was Love...and that is so wonderful, however, we know that Christ IS Love and will always be.

I just thought that was a really neat story and I hope you all enjoyed it!

I want to wish everyone a merry Christmas and bear my testimony to you all:

I know that Jesus Christ was born and came down to Earth in order to save us. Heavenly Father loved us so much that he gave us his beloved Son. For us all Jesus Christ suffered and gave his life. Through Him we can and will return to live for eternity with all our loved ones. I know that we can be relieved of our guilt and burdens through Jesus Christ. An all powerful creator of all came down and was born as an innocent Child, lived, felt pain, temptation, and all manner of afflictions and still remained perfect so that He could give us the greatest gift of all. I love Heavenly Father and I love Jesus Christ. I am out on this mission right now because I KNOW that these things are true. I am weak and Christ has made me strong. I know that I am nothing without my God and so I thank Him for every day, for every breath. Not only has He given me all of that but He has given me the BEST family and the greatest friends. Thank you all so much! Please, I ask everyone to remember Christ, remember him everyday but ESPECIALLY this next week. He loves you and has given all for you. I know that these things are true and I know that because They love us They gave us a second witness of Jesus Christ and that is the Book of Mormon, I know that this special Book is true. I testify of these things as a representative of Jesus Christ himself and in his name. Amen.

Please remember why we are even able to celebrate Christmas and why we do it :)


So here is a quick update, we got ANOTHER new investigator! We are busy like CRAZY preparing for our 4 and possibly 5 or even 6 investigators! But what is amazing, is that as I feel I have no time for myself, is when I discover the greatest truths. Truths that I needed to learn. It really is amazing. One thing I have learned comes from a sweet quote that my teacher told us, "we don't teach to the investigators interests, we teach to their needs in a way that interests them!" How amazing and true is that? I have found that as I choose to view everyone as a child of God and as I try to see their Eternal potential, I find that it is easier to love them and find their needs and then help them!


Nothing is too different this week, except tomorrow we will get to host and bring in the new elders! WOOHOO!! That will be so fun and great! Except it is gonna be freezing with all this snow...we will just have to stand out there and wait! But it will be worth it to be able to make the first MTC experience the best it can be!

I expect letters from my Fam! Especially you Chase and Gage! ;)

I love you all and hope you have a WONDERFUL Christmas!
Ge ZhangLao

P.S. My arm is still undecided, but it should be good, thank you for your prayers and please don't worry, I trust that whatever happens, the Lord knows whats best and I will let him do with me whatever he chooses.

P.S.S. Hey mom do you think you could find a Chinese Hymn Book for me? A small one? And could I have Chris Gish's address? Thank you so much! I LOVE YOU!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Hey!!! So I finally found a way to attach pictures! But I have to be in the laundry room so it is kinda weird and I can only send about 3 or 4 at a time! So hopefully I will be able to send more later! But this should be good for now! I think the first one is Elder Green and I on our first day, the last one is of the Elders in the District and one of our district presidency members who is a native speaker so having him around is REALLY nice! The one with the white bags....well that is about the incident a few emails ago...thats the Taichung missionaries. {Shannon here: Don’t worry if you don’t see that one, I don’t think it got attached.}


Okay so this week was actually a little boring, but I learned a lot still! Now we are on week 6, it is hard to not just get into a groove and let it ride. However, Elder Green keeps me in line so we are doing well! And just so everyone knows, I don't remember talking about my arm in the last email, but if I did here is the scoop. There is a POSSIBILITY they will have to take out the screws in the arm (they can't take out the plate without re-breaking the arm). I am doing everything I can to make sure that DOESN'T happen though! I love the MTC but an extended stay here (or a possibility of having to go home for it....) would KILL ME. I just want to serve the Lord and get out and teach! But it is really unlikely that will happen, I will know by the end of this week what is going to happen so I will probably be able to give the final word next email. Your prayers are felt and appreciated so thank you! Yet as a missionary I have been so blessed and there are so many missionaries that need prayers so much more than just my companion...having to deal with me 24/7...GEESH what could be harder!? ;)

I am finally at the point with my Chinese where I am comfortable speaking 24/7 which is really nice! A lot of elders still want to speak English a lot and it is really really annoying, but sometimes I just need to humble myself and speak English to make sure that we understand each other 100%. The older generation just left so next week we will be getting new Elders and Sisters for our zone! It is going to be really exciting and it is amazing how time goes by! It is so true that the Days seem like Weeks and the Weeks seem like Days!


So the update on the investigators! We got a new young man named Joe, he is really difficult...but it is so easy to see his potential and I really care about him. I know he feels the spirit and we will continue to work with him and prepare him! The other two that we have had (Dai and Wei) are both committed to be baptized on the 1st of January! They both know that our message is true! We would baptize them next week if we were able to finish teaching them this week! But because we are teaching in Chinese....I think it will take a good 3 weeks to get through it all, the language barrier is tough. What is tough is that we have a pretty set vocabulary and if someone says even one word wrong it throws it all off...Here is a pretty funny example. So I was teaching Dai about the Holy Ghost and she was explaining to me how she thought she felt the Holy Ghost and it was such a great answer! I wanted to add a second witness so I showed her the Scripture in D&C 8 about how you will know it in your mind and in your heart. So I opened up the D&C in Chinese (all characters) I forgot exactly what verses but 6 and 7 sounded right so I had her read verses 6 and 7....I heard a few familiar words about gifts so I thought I had gotten the right scripture! I was excited and I asked her how she felt and how she thought this applied to her and her last answer...She just looked so confused and said that she had no idea and kept asking me what Yalun de Enci was. Well I had NO IDEA...I thought maybe it was how the scripture had talked about the Holy Ghost so I ALMOST told her it was the Holy Ghost. THANK GOODNESS I DIDN'T! I told her that I wasn't so sure and she understood when I told her I would go translate it and next time we met I would be able to explain it to her more. I was really confused though about how she didn't understand the scripture! So after I went back and looked in my scriptures and Bam....there it was...I should have had her read verses 2 and 3! Verses 6 and 7 are about the Gifts of Aaron and the Priesthood and how she can receive it!...SHOOOOOTTT!!!! I am going to have to fix this this week....ughhhh, but its okay. I am sure she will understand! We are FOR SURE not perfect teachers!

Don't quote me on those verses but I am pretty sure it is REALLY close to that.  So that gave our district some good laughs!

Here is another one that ALMOST happened, thank goodness it didn't. 1st Nephi 3:7 and 3rd Nephi 3:7. Don't get those mixed up! Just read them haha....after you read 1st Nehpi 3:7 it is usually a good spot to make the baptismal challenge! haha....just think about that! :)image 
















Thank you so much for all of the support! You are all so amazing!
Read your scriptures, Pray, and live like a child of God!
Elder Gish!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Nimen Hao!

So first I want to know how everyone did on sharing the gospel!? Any amazing experiences or anything!? You can always Dearelder me :).

So this week has been powerful spiritually...but really...thats how it should always be, so be ready to read that fairly often! I want to take this time to openly thank my family. First of all I want to thank Papa Jim for the amazing example of faith he expressed to me. He truly was incredible. I have often brought him up in order to invite the Spirit and to share my testimony of the power and importance of the Book of Mormon! I am so grateful for my wonderful Brothers and my Dad what righteous priesthood holders (and to be - for you Gageroo :)). I could have never asked for anything greater. I want to take some time to focus on my Mom...I love you so much…. I could not imagine my world without my mom. I love you Mom. And Heavenly Father loves you, He has given you gifts that I have never seen in anyone else. You really are incredible Mom. I am very very lucky. Please don't worry about me. The Savior has more than provided for me. His Atonement has done so much more for me than I ever could have asked and I know that all will be okay through that.  {Shannon here –: Elder Gish has been having trouble with the arm that he broke when he was 13. It might be all the P-day Volleyball  games with his new Tongan Brothers –see previous post for explanation. We’re waiting to hear if corrective surgery is needed before leaving for Taiwan.}

Okay so I want to leave everyone ANOTHER challenge! This is one that I hope everyone is already doing but if not then it's time to start! READ THE BOOK OF MORMON! Just dive in! I promise that the second you open the book with a sincere heart and pure desires, your mind will be filled and the blessings of heaven will pour out onto you! It truly is an amazing book, a book of God. I understand how tough it can be at times to read...well...I have experienced that BUT I don't understand it. Now the Book of Mormon has become a part of me and I can't imagine going a day without reading from it! Please, please read the Book of Mormon. I could not and never will be able to stress the importance of the Book of Mormon!

So here is a small testimony just so everyone can know that YES the Lord takes care of his servants! (There is no way I would ever be able to speak like this without the Lords help!) Wo zhidao zhege jiaohui shi zhenshide. Yuese Sime kanjian YeSuJiDu he Tian Fu. Touguo YueSe Sime YeSuJiDu fuxin ta de fuyin. Ta cigei women Mo'ermenjing. Zheduan shu de jingwen hui bangzhu women huida women de wenti. Wo zhidao YeSuJiDu huozhe. Wo renshi Tian Fu he YeSuJiDu ai women, Ta ai Ta de haizi. Women shi Shen de haizi. Zhege xinxi shi zhenshide. Nimen keyi wen Shen he ta hui huida nimen. Ni xuyao zuo qidao. Ni xuyao meitian wansheng zuo qidao! Wo ai women do Shen. Wo hui dui Ta fuwu. Feng YeSuJiDu de ming, A'men.

I love you all and hope that you can feel God's love for you.

God be with you!

Ge Zhang Lao

P.S. The Shengling (Holy Ghost) is so important in all of our lives! Invite him zai sui shi sui di (in all times and in all places.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

THIS CHURCH IS TRUE!!! That is the subject for this email! :)

I hope everyone is doing well!! I really miss the outside world...Chipotle especially...haha. No really everything is amazing here and there is no place i'd rather be! The spirit here is just incredible! But what’s so amazing is that everyone can feel this spirit all the time if they will just let it happen! Go out and just share the gospel with someone, anyone, it will just brighten up your life so much! Will you all commit!?!? Nimen yuanyi ma? :) I am a missionary...I have to leave a commitment! I am going to assume everyone says yes! I will check on the progress next week ;).

So here are some fun little facts about the MTC.  I am in the choir! I are probably thinking...Elder Gish...really? You....why would you ruin such a wonderful choir! Haha, but my companion is an AMAZING singer and so I go for him and a few people have actually complimented my voice! (They may have just been being nice and taking pity on the Elder with the awful singing voice haha) But it is amazing and I love the choir! And now my companion and I sound pretty good just singing as we walk or do service! It is really awesome to praise God through singing! It is amazing to hear the hundreds of Missionaries brought together in the attitude of singing and praising their God :). I feel like I am in a chorus of angels when I sing there...It is really powerful!

So last week was Thanksgiving! WOO!!! And Elder Holland came to speak! One of the sisters in my district is his niece so she told us before that he was coming. We are the only ones that knew and it was sweet! Except GU zhanglao (Elder Green) and I woke up at 6:00 and did quick showers and dressing so that we could be waiting in line by 6:15 to save spots for our whole district so that we could be up front when he came to speak. I Loved his talk to. I feel like a warrior for the Lord, we are all his warriors and we CAN NOT lose this fight, this last great battle! I am going to spend every second I can, especially on this mission, in 100% dedication to my lord and savior! That night another elder in my district Lei zhonglao (Elder Lotulelei) got to stand up and bear his testimony and speak on the power and importance of our mission. He was converted last year and is now on his mission! HOW COOL IS THAT! He is a really great guy! He and his companion Elder Crowell are super cool. We always hang out and do our missionary.....stuff :).

So want to hear about the work? You do?! GREAT! So we did this thing called TRC where we meet with real members who volunteer (so they could be really active, inactive and seeking for more, or investigators who want to learn), and we teach them in Chinese. It is off the cuff, nothing prepared and it is AMAZING! The Lord really blesses us by taking away the language barrier while we are teaching for and on behalf of Him. “Where there are two or more gathered in my name, there am I also.” I have such faith that He is there with me teaching. Otherwise there is no way that I could say or understand the things that I say and understand in those teaching moments. How cool is it that when we are gathered like that, that there is an actual member of the Godhead with us and helping us! Someone who is the perfect teacher and who knows exactly what is needed!!! AHHH we are so blessed to be loved so much by Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ!

So I am sure that most of you have heard it, but I never got to and I love it! It is the 2012 Mutual Theme Song. It's called “Arise!” It is 1) such an amazing song! and 2) has such a powerful message! We need to just rise up, to become who we were meant to become and to shine forth! After I heard that I decided to just be bold in all my teaching and so I challenged Dai to be baptized on our first meeting and guess  what? She committed! We are going to set a hard date tomorrow probably but it was so cool!! I love God's children, especially the one's that He allows my to teach! I love how the Spirit is able to help me to get my message out there. Even if I can't say the words, the Spirit will fill in where I lack....which is in a LOT of places! THANK GOODNESS for the Spirit!

OH!!! And give everyone in Primary and all the youth my love!!! That letter and those pictures were AMAZING! All of the missionaries were so jealous! We went through each picture one by one and every time the elders got more and more jealous of my AWESOME primary friends! You all are such amazing artists! I am seriously impressed! :) Especially you Gageroo! You just get better and better everyday! And Chase....I saw you write your little tiny sentence saying you will write me later....I am gonna hold you to that! ;) I love you both!

Okay so Mom...Dad...I have something to tell might be tough to hear....but I have recently discovered that I am....well...I am full-blood Tongan! Elder Lotulelei introduced me to the Tongan Elders and we got along so great! We sang together and laughed together and they call me their Toko (pronounced Doko) which means brother. I think it is my hair that got me in, they said it was Tongan hair! haha. So I am picking up some Tongan sayings and phrases too which is awesome! :)

So before I leave I want to leave everyone with a really cool thought I had recently as I was reading and studying the scriptures and PMG. So I was studying in Preach My Gospel and I was studying the Christ-like attributes because I want so badly to become as much like Christ as I can. So I was reading under virtue and it talks about QUICKLY repenting. And I was thinking about how if you are like me then you need to repent every day...haha. But I was thinking about how I just kneel down at night and I ask for forgiveness and I repent every night. But then I feel like I don't change what ever it was that I repented for cause I just forget! :(. And when I read about quickly repenting I thought...THATS IT! The second I do something that is contrary to the will of God I just say a quick prayer in my heart to ask for forgiveness and to repent. Then I go through the day with that prayer in my heart and It becomes a habit to do what was right! :) It was just a thought! Also make sure to fill any bad with good cause Satan will just press and press and press.....just kick him out! Like Moses did! Just tell him to get out! I know you all know this but it is always good to get a quick reminder!

Well I have less than a minute so I better wrap up! AHH!!

You are all so amazing! Thanks for all the Support! You all or SO GREAT!!!!! ESPECIALLY YOU PRIMARY!!!! THANK YOU!!!!

Off to save souls!

Elder Gish


Shannon Here: Here is a link to hear the song that Sam mentioned: Arise! 

Below are photos from Elder Gish’s last few days just before entering the MTC and officially beginning his mission.  Captions for the pictures are below.image

Chase, Gage and I saying goodbye. 4:30 am at Manchester, NH Airport.




Lunch for Harvey and Sam in Salt Lake at a Gish Family Favorite.




Stayed at Uncle Merle and Aunt Lara’s on Monday and Tuesday.  Harvey rented a “dream car” for Sam to drive during his last two days.




Wednesday November 7th. Drop off day, just outside the MTC.



The Missionary Training Center. Home for Elder Gish until January 22, 2013.


image image

Driving in.




We sure love our missionary.

To get mailing addresses and see other information about Elder Gish, visit

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November 20, 2012. From the MTC


Hey everyone!

Okay first off...HOLY MOLY!! I AM SO BLESSED! THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT! I feel so lucky to be blessed with such great friends and family!

Okay so I want to start off by saying thank you so much for the emails and the letters! Just incase some people haven't heard of the DearElder site PLEASE check it out! It is amazing! I only have 30 min. to email and that really isn't enough time at all! So I can't really read and write :( (SORRY UNCLE TIM!) I would really like it if maybe I could get a copy of any emails through DearElder. DearElder is free delivery to the MTC so it is SO worth it and I can read it anytime and I can prepare responses before I email OR just write back!

Alright so on to the good stuff :)

Guess who I met today?! ELDER PUCKETT!!! [Shannon M. Gish here: Elder Reed Puckett is the son of Harvey’s best friend, Richard Puckett, who he met – guess where – in the MTC before Richard and Harvey both served in British Columbia nearly (ahem) 30 years ago] He was so cool! What a stud, he is going to be a WONDERFUL missionary!! I hope that we will get to see each other more often.

Oh and for my family....I won't be able to call on Christmas, I am not sure if it is an MTC wide thing or just my branch but we aren't allowed to call on Christmas so I will just call when I depart around the 22nd of January, I will let you know when that gets closer.  I also got a letter from my mission president and my estimated return date is actually December 2nd! Thats a whole extra month! I hope it comes through! How awesome would that be to get 25 months!?

So here is a funny might not want to read on....I know I am gonna get a letter about this one haha. So all the Taiwan elders have to be tested for parasites....Do you know how they do that test? We each had about 3 hours or so to collect....stool..... We had to collect it and send it in tiny little test tubes....yeah....It gave us all a good laugh so it's alright! I better move on before Mom decides to not read on and not post this one up! :)

So just incase anyone is curious about Mao Jiemei , my wonderful companion and I were able to commit her to baptism on the 15th! WOOO!!!!! She even gave us a nickname to call her. So we call her Apple cause that is what her first name in Chinese means in english....but low and behold we discovered the next day that she was our teacher and all our investigators will just be our teachers....the cool thing though is that the spirit still worked through us, I still was able to care about her like a true investigator and everything in the meeting was so real! Even the chinese....which....we struggled through each lesson. What is amazing though is that even if we couldn't talk, we could COMMUNICATE with her. How amazing is the Holy Ghost? SO AMAZING!! But we got two new investigators since we were able to commit our last one. So please pray for them too! Their names are Wei and Dai. One is a young man who has no religious background but is interested in aquiring knowledge and the other is a single mom who has member friends who wants to become happier so chose to contact us. I AM SO EXCITED TO TEACH! (The first is Wei and then Dai). I love the chinese language, it is so fun and I am getting a grasp on it so well! Ofcourse...that is NOT my doing, there is no way I could do this, any of this, without the Lords help. I have tripped and fallen over so many times and every time he just picks me and and walks me along, holding my right hand (Isiaha 41:13).
So the MTC is still fun! But my room is starting to have that....guy day it literally smelled like a locker-room. I almost liked it for about 2 seconds then I wanted everyone to shower and do their laundry! haha.  I love our zone too, all the other elders call me superman cause of my P-day shirt. It is pretty fun, but of course we are only playful when it is appropriate. :). I am also playing volley ball with this HUGE Tongan elder named elder Lotulelie. He is SO much fun, not to mention a killer in volleyball. I really enjoy playing with him. The food here is starting to get a little old....but hey its free and It keeps me going :).

So ready for some AMAZING news? Elder Holland is coming to see us for Thanksgiving! No one else knows this yet but one of the sisters in my district is his niece so she knows! We are going to get front row seats to seeing him! I am so excited to hear an apostle of Jesus Christ in person! We have been able to see a lot of AMAZING talks like Character of Christ by Elder Bednar and the story of John Tanner in "Treasure in Heaven," by i'm not sure. But look up the John Tanner video, it is so delicious to the soul (Alma 32 :)).
I really love it here, I love the Spirit and I love the knowledge I am acquiring about my Savior. I have never been so close to Him and I never want to move any further away. I know that all I have and all I can do is because of Him. I have been blessed with the best of friends and the most amazing family! I thank Him for those bountious blessings!

P.S. sorry if the english is starting to go away....I am trying to talking in only Zhongwen (chinese) and so I am trying to switch completely over. But what stinks about that is now I can't speak english and...well I still can't speak chinese haha so basically I am stuck with a lot of "um's" and hand signs :)

I am so grateful for everyone and all of your support. Thank you so much!

30minutes really isn't enough time...

I still can't figure out how to attach pictures! I am really sorry but I will keep trying! Patience is a virtue right? :)

Ge Zhang Lao ( Elder Gish)

For addresses and other information about Elder Sam Gish visit:
Photo credit here

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

First Letter from Sam

Shannon Here:

In my last posting, I mentioned that there will be one more message from me before Sam’s letters are posted here – and one more from me is on it’s way. But it will have to wait until Harvey gets back from traveling and he hands the camera memory card over to me (pictures from the MTC drop off.)

But to our great joy, we received an email from Elder Sam Gish this morning – so here it is:

Hey! Elder Gish Reporting In from the beautiful world of the MTC!

The MTC is great, it really does feel like a whole world apart! My companion and I had to go to a hospital for x-rays (all the Taiwan missionaries need it) and right when we walked out of the gates we seemed like scared puppies! It was a whole new world all the sudden! And its only been 6 days! So just so you know my estimated departure date is the 22nd of January. The 8 week plan has not started yet, BUT, it might start while we are here. So we might get kicked out early, we will have to see.

So I will start with some funny stories to make sure everyone stays interested! First off going to bed at 10:30 and waking up at 6:30 is much different when you aren't taking naps throughout the day....I was so tired my first day that when I went to shower I lathered my hair up with my body wash and visaversa....Semi embarrassing....but at least I am the only one who knew about it, till now of course haha. I also was trying to put my tag on and my hand slipped and I punched myself in the nose pretty companion was there to witness that one...

Speaking of my companion he is GREAT!!! His name is Elder Green. (GREENIE!!!! ;) Just kidding!) He really is a great guy, we call him Gu Zhang Lao (Zhang Lao is Elder). My name is Ge Zhang Lao! The chinese is coming along so well! On our second day we were given an investigator to teach, her name is Mao Xiao Jie (Ms. Mao). SHE IS AWESOME! Her whole family is Buddhist but she is Christian. But....she speaks NO english, AHHHH. But of course the blessings from the Lord are just POURING out for us. We are able to communicate so well! And Elder Green bares the most powerful testimonies! In fact, yesterday we were teaching her and she asked us two questions (I only know that cause she ended in “ma” which is how you make a sentence a question). It is hard enough to keep up and to be able to talk and listen to her but suddenly she asked a question after reading a little bit from the Book of Mormon. We were lost...UNTIL...The most amazing thing happened. A word kept repeating in my head...Shu Zui. I had no idea what that word meant....but I thought (was prompted) to look in one of our missionary books. And I flipped to a certain page and I didn't know why...But then I started to just talk and all the sudden I remembered Shu Zui was the Atonement and the page I was on was ALL ABOUT the Atonement! AMAZINGG!!!! And guess what? Her question was "what is the Atonement!?" HOW AMAZING IS THAT!!! We have been so blessed as a companionship as we stay 100% obedient to all the fact, we wish there were more rules so we could be MORE obedient! :) We have been able to commit Mao to read the Book of Mormon and to pray about it! She is still shy about praying with us, but line upon line. :)

So something else fun, I ran into Josh Miller! My first College Roommate! It was nice to see him. I also was able to hang out a bit with BEN ROCKIN JOHNSON! I mean...Elder Johnson :). He left for Italy today. I am so excited for him to teach the gospel! I am so excited to get out and teach the gospel! We had a devotional not long ago and the whole MTC gathered and we sang...I was BLOWN AWAY! I love hearing the voices of all the elders and sisters gathered together singing in the attitude of praising our God and all with one voice!

Another sweet Elder Green story! We had a companionship inventory (where we get together and share our likes and dislikes about each other and how to improve and to support and love each other). But I asked if we could share our mission scriptures. His was Nephi 3:7...when I heard that I thought...Are you kidding me....thats kinda lame elder...AND MAN WAS I HUMBLED!!! He bore testimony on it and it BLEW ME AWAY!!! I LOVE BEING HUMBLED!!! It was so great to read that scripture and to hear a representative of Jesus Christ bare testimony on it. I sure love this guy :).

So mom asked for a top 20 list. I don't know if I have time for all that But I will give it a shot! (These are NOT in order)

1. Pom Juice

2. Mints (we can't chew gum)

3. LETTERS! :)

4. Any small treats

5. LETTERS! :)

6 -19.....refer to 3 and 5...

20. Having prayers said for my companion and I as well as our investigator!

Really to anyone who wants to know what to send Elder Gish...Letters are of course amazing and every elder LOVES getting packages with trinkets or food. But prayers are like our fuel and we NEED that spiritual fuel. So thank you to all those who have said prayers on our behalf. They have been felt. I hope that you know that the Lord will bless you for the support of his servents. So thank you SO MUCH!

I hope that everything on the outside world (not the real world cause as missionaries we ARE in the real world :)) is going well for everyone!

Here is a quick testimony for those of you who want to know how the Chinese is going!

Wo zhidao women shi tianfu de haizi. Wo renshi tianfu ai women. Wo ganjue shen rang wo chuanjiao jihui. We ai YeSuJiDu. Wo zhidao Moermenjing shi shen de hua. Wo zhidao Yuese Sime shi shen de xianzhi. Wo ai shen de haizi. feng YeSuJiDu de ming, Amen.

Thank you all for your love and support! And I will try to attach pictures either later on today or next week. There have been problems with elders sending we have all been punished and the privilege is being revoked or at least it is more difficult. But I will see what I can do. Don’t worry mom I am documenting everything I can for you! I LOVE YOU!

Your Elder,

Ge Zhang Lao

Image courtesy of

Monday, November 5, 2012

His Last Weekend

Friday Nov 2nd

Trip to Temple with Mom.


image image image

Saturday November 3rd

Dinner at his favorite restaurant: The Cheesecake Factory at the Burlington Mall in Massachusetts.


Sunday November 4th

6:30 am


9:30 am Set apart as an official missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by President Thomas Watson, the Exeter, NH Stake President. (A stake comprises multiple congregations called wards.)

10:00am – 1:00pm Last church meeting as a family for 3 years. 

This homemade cake from Jen Alves was a fun surprise we found in our car after church:



3:00pm – 7:30pm Authentic Taiwanese dinner at the home of our beloved friends the Gong Family of the Portsmouth Ward. Each of their children served as missionaries in Taiwan – in fact their youngest son, Jake, is currently serving in Taipei.  We were so happy that the Della-Piana family was there as well.

These were on our door step when we returned home. (Thank you Soucy Family.)


8:00 – 9:30 Watched the movie The Best Two Years.

We dropped Sam off at the Manchester Airport this morning at 5:00am. Harvey is flying out with him and will take him to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, UT this Wednesday. (Photos of that forthcoming…)

Personal Aside:

After one last post from me in about a week, the rest of the posts here will be updates from Sam – Elder Gish.  I don’t have the words to express my – our family’s – sincerest gratitude for everyone who has been so supportive and encouraging for Sam and  for us. We have the most amazing friends and family. We were blown away (and humbled) by the generosity so many of you extended Sam’s way. Please know that  each of you has made such an incredible difference in our lives.

With deepest, heart-felt thanks and love.

~Shannon (Elder Gish’s Mom)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Friends and Family Gathering

This past Saturday, the 27th, our amazing group of friends and family gathered at our home to wish Sam well as he prepares to leave for the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah next week.





Then on Sunday, both Chase and Sam gave talks in sacrament meeting.  Each of them spoke with such grace and authenticity.

What a memorable weekend.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Temple Endowment with Sam

On Friday October 12, 2012




Wonderful and memorable day with our Sam.


What is the temple endowment? Read here.

Inside a temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Credit for image of the Boston Temple in the fall.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Sam needed to get a few extra immunization shots before heading to Taiwan - Typhoid being one of them.



3 1/2  weeks.

Monday, October 1, 2012



You can only imagine what this last weekend was like around the Gish house since Sam received his mission call on Friday.  (Scroll to previous post below).

There have been a few missionaries who have served in New Hampshire that have made such a significant difference not only in our family, but in the lives of Sam and Chase. Two of them are the current missionaries serving in our ward, Elder Packer (left) and Elder Anderson (right). (One of the other Elders – Cody Anderson, who was a missionary here over a year ago and is home now – skyped in when Sam opened his call.)


These two Elders are so great! We feel blessed to have such spiritually strong, service oriented and fun missionaries in our ward.


(I couldn’t get a serious photo with this group – this is as formal as they would get…like brothers….)

Last night after dinner, Sam and Chase went out with out with Elder Anderson and Elder Packer to teach a few people who are interested in the gospel and what Mormons are all about.  Sam goes out with the missionaries as often as he can.

Yesterday at church, our Bishop (lds-eese for pastor or father of a congregation) invited Sam to share his testimony and announce where he would be serving. In it, Sam said: “I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve the Lord Jesus Christ by serving and loving the people of Taiwan.  I pray I can share the light and knowledge of the truth that families are eternal, that Jesus Christ lives and that His gospel and church have been restored to the earth. – I know that those things are true.”

5 more Sundays to go…

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Call

The day that Harvey and I thought seemed light years away when Sam was born almost 20 years ago, arrived last night.


Surrounded by just a few friends and family at home,  and by many, many family and friends over the internet and by conference call, Sam opened up his mission call.


“Dear Elder Gish:

You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”


“You are assigned to labor in the Taiwan Taichung Mission.”


{That’s this itty bitty little Island way, way, WAY over here.}

“It is anticipated that you will serve for a period of 24 months.”


“You should report to the Missionary Training Center on Wednesday, November 7 2012. You will prepare to preach the gospel in the Mandarin Chinese Language.”


For the next two years, this will be the place to check in and read all about Sam’s experience as a missionary in Taiwan.

Congratulations Sam! We are all so proud of you!