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 know....you 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 you....it 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.


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Driving in.




We sure love our missionary.

To get mailing addresses and see other information about Elder Gish, visit http://eldersamgish.blogspot.com/

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 story....mom 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 smell....one 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:  http://eldersamgish.blogspot.com/
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 good...my 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 rules....in 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 pictures.....so 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 http://mythoughts-dks.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 5, 2012

His Last Weekend

Friday Nov 2nd

Trip to Temple with Mom.


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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)