Monday, January 28, 2013

Diyi Zhou! (First week!)

DaJia Hao!

File:Taiwan ROC political division map Kaohsiung City (2010).svg

Well the first week in Taiwan has been QUITE eventful! But I will start with the week before I left, just a few little notes since I bet everyone is just waiting to hear about Taiwan!

So before I left Elder Holland came to visit AGAIN! How blessed are we! He dedicated all of the missionaries in the MTC and the building that my Elders were living in! How amazing is that! Gosh it was so amazing! We were all blown away when he walked through that door. Another cool person I saw was Collins Carrington! Remember him from Colorado? It was so neat to see him and chat...not for long since we both had work to do, but still really fun! During In-field orientation, a camera crew called me and some other elders aside to be in a video for the introduction of the new MTC presidency! It was pretty neat and anyone going to the Provo MTC that will see the opening video, watch out....I shot the camera a smolder haha just kidding! But it really was cool to meet the new presidency and to be privileged to be a part of that video for the introduction of the MTC to new missionaries. (As a side note, if the english is terrible in here...please forgive me. If Mom fixes it then thank you! If you leave it there for effect or something....then everyone lets just take this as a Elder Gish is working hard to learn Chinese rather than a Elder Gish is not good at English haha). [Shannon here: Disclaimer - I don’t fix a thing of his precious letters though sometimes my copy edit brain is on overdrive. However, I will edit names and events to protect Elder Gish, his companions and those he teaches.]

My last comment from last week would be to tell everyone that "The field is white and already to harvest!" Go out and find the people that the Lord has prepared! They are everywhere, we don't even have to look to hard, we just have to be willing to go out of our way to talk to someone! That is one thing that my new AMAZING trainer taught me (I will talk about him more later). But my first day we were on a train to our new area XiaoGang (southern part of GaoXiong) [Shannon here: I added a link to GaoXiong if you are interested. The region is on the map posted above.] and he kept telling me to talk to everyone, which I did but I was nervous as heck...and for all of you is JUST like the Best Two Years... [Shannon here: A comedy movie about Mormon Missionaries.] ”That's not the language they taught me in the MTC" (The funny thing is that sometimes it really is different cause some people speak Taiwanese...ughhh that was scary when I first heard it cause I didn't understand a SINGLE word haha) But anyways, my trainer told me that if it feels uncomfortable, that means you should probably do it. If someone is turned away and you think to tap him on the shoulder and you feel weird about it, you should probably do it. It is so awesome! SO don't be afraid to just go out of your way to talk to someone! Talk to anyone, EVEYONE! :)

So read to hear about Taiwan? The food is weird as heck, there are smells I didn't even know existed, everyone wears medical masks (I have NO clue why),  there are wild dogs EVERYWHERE...and I LOVE IT! I LOVE Taiwan! It really is so so great! We even get to have pets in our apartment! I can't even keep count of how many we have right now! Could you guess why? Cockroaches!!! YEA! hahaha, oh gosh Mom, you would FREAK if you saw our apartment haha. It is so nice and so cool except that it is INFESTED! Everyone here says "Xiguan Jiu hao le" and that literally means when its a habit it is then good, but it basically means get over it haha. So other than the bugs this place is so wonderful! And everything is so pretty! They have these really beautiful temples and statues and ughh its just so great! Hahaha the language is rough though haha. I actually am really blessed and am able to understand a lot and say what I want to say, but there are still a lot of times I screw up haha. For example one time I was talking to this guy and I wanted to ask him if he new any English but I asked if he new Chinese and he just looked at me funny and said well DUH and said I am speaking it right now haha....I was SO confused...then I got it...OOPS haha.

So when we first got here the President had us do what they call Dan Jones night, and it is basically where we stand on a soap box, preach in a language that none of us know, then they let us loose to go teach in a night market haha. It was SO FUN! I love talking about the gospel! And I found this family, they aren't in my new area so we won't be teaching them, but they are so golden. Even in my AWFUL Chinese, I was able to testify of family and they were so interested. They asked so many questions. It was such a blessing to be able to see that. I also want to pause real quick and thank Mom and Dad for raising us in a house that is active in Church. I realize now how many blessings the Church has given me and if it weren't for you Mom and Dad then I would never know. I know because of how often and how sincerely I can testify to people about the importance of families and how much this church and Jesus Christ and His Gospel blesses families!

After that we went to dinner and guess what I ate? DUCK BRAIN! truthfully wasn't bad other than the texture and the fact that it is a brain...haha. And on the side we had some pigblood...yup...another Taiwan tasty snack haha. I am really going to have to get used to it..."Xiguan jiu hao le" haha. And Mom don't get upset when I add this haha, but after we ate I had to go to a bathroom and holy crud...that was the scariest thing so far! haha I walked in to find the stall and...NO TOILET! What the heck!? There is just a hole in the ground! They are called squatters and pretty much EVERY place has them. Only houses have real toilets! It was....yeah....haha :) It was really funny though so TOTALLY worth the experience! My trainer says he vowed in himself to never use one after his first time cause of how rough it was haha. OH YEAH! SO my trainer! HE IS SUCH A STUD! His name is Elder E., not only is his Chinese basically perfect, but he is such an obedient and AMAZING missionary! He works so hard! I love it! We are "never allowed to put our foot down." We are literally ALWAYS doing something! If we pull up to a light and no one is around to contact, we get off our bikes and places fliers about church around. And if we pull up to a light and only have a second or two to talk to someone, we make sure to give them a pamphlet and testify! It is so great! We are never standing around wondering what we can do. I love it! Oh and he grew up in Connecticut! So he knows about New Hampshire! Only about 1 out of 50 people know New Hampshire here haha. And there are a few Elders that played Lacrosse!...YESS haha. But anyways. I have only met a few of our investigators like J., C.and H and the H. family. J. is so funny, he is 16 and trying to learn english! He is the man haha. Everyone here is so kind! Except for this one grandma that freaked out at us for no reason...but she was american haha. It is so funny that the only mean people here are foreigners! All the Natives are SUPER nice, they may not be willing to listen, but they won't be mean. H. is an older man that has a few habits to break, but I have faith in him and I know he will do it! ONe of the things that is a BIG deal here, other than tea and smoking, is called beetle nut. It is so gross, its this nut covered in this red nasty gew (gu? haha I forget). But you suck on it and then spit kinda like chew (tobacco). But the nasty red stuff stains the asphalt! It is AWFUL for you! I have no clue why people start it, but I guess it is pretty addictive. The are just GOLDEN, gosh they are wonderful! They have an autistic son that likes to smell people, he is so cute haha. I loved talking with them! really an amazing guy too. He is an aborigine, (which people from here think are people from the Book of Mormon that went North and were never heard of again). The aborigines look like native americans and they mostly all believe in Jesus Christ already and they like these pretty pinks and blues and yellows kind of like the native americans did here! It is really neat history! But anyways, he is SUPER humble and so kind...I really like him, but he has some bad habits too that has taken him a LONG time and he is still having a hard time with, like smoking and tea. Poor guy...But yesterday a mini-miracle happened. He was about ready to quit because he thought he had just let us down too much. And then Heavenly Father just filled my mouth with words, it was amazing! And we made a plan and hopefully he will be baptized 2weeks from now! I sure hope he sticks to it!

Well I love you all and am so thankful for all your support! I have one invite for EVERYONE! PLEASE read the first chapter of the Book of Mormon, of course I want you to read the whole thing haha, but please AT LEAST read the first chapter. And don't pay attention so much to the story (even though it is a good story) But pay attention to the principles taught, think about how it can apply to you? Here is an example, I was reading and there is a part near the beginning where the Father recognizes that two of his sons are really not doing well, but instead of pointing out the faults and telling them to fix them or asking how they can fix them, he names some land after them and points out their potential! How amazing is that? I want to be able to do that with my missionaries and investigators, friends, and family! Always building people up. If they need to improve then show them their potential and let them work and desire to get there rather than pointing out the faults and having them get down on themselves because they don't feel edified!

I know that book will bless EVERYONE who is willing to read with an open heart.

I love you all!

Elder Gish!

[Shannon here: The mother of Elder Gish’s MTC companion, Sister Green, forwarded a few pictures that her son sent her. With her permission, they are posted below. (Thank you, again, Sister Green.)]







Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Elder Gish is in Taiwan

Shannon Here: We just received word that Elder Gish and the other missionaries who traveled with him from the MTC have arrived in Taiwan safely. Below is a picture of them with the Taichung Mission President and his wife.

Thank you for your continued prayers.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Forgotten Addendum


Hey mom! I only have about 5 min to write this! But I was reminded to tell you to tell everyone to NOT send mail here this week, I won't be able to get any mail after Saturday at 2pm. So anything that you want me to get needs to get to me here before then, otherwise just send it to Taiwan :). Tell everyone thank you so much again for everything!!

Just one quick quick cool story I forgot to tell you! This last week we got to use skype in order to teach an investigator! It was a little difficult to hear the Chinese muffled by the computer but it was amazing! We sung hymns to him and talked about the importance of church! It was so wonderful! I just thought I should remind everyone about how truely blessed we are to have the technology we have! So use it in the ways that the Lord would want us to use it! :) I really hope you have a wonderful day! I LOVE YOU! :)

Wo de Zuihao libai!

ITS MY LAST WEEK!!!!!!! So first things first, I have my travel information so here it is!

I leave the MTC on January 22nd…to Seattle, WA. We leave THERE to Tokyo Narita, Japan on January 23rd... We then leave to Taibei, Taiwan. From there we will take a bus to Taizhong and probably arrive around Midnight!!! YEAH! 

This week has been hard because EVERYONE is getting ready to leave and EVERYONE just can't wait to get out! I totally agree fun as the MTC is, 12 weeks is too long, we are ready to go. We got ANOTHER new generation and they both will be leaving in only 9 weeks! Lucky! It really is amazing to talk with them and to see how we came in just like see the blessing of the Lord with giving us the Gift of Tongues! It is sooo amazing to see the hand of the Lord in our studying! One of the things that really helped me to realize this is that our teacher challenged us in 1 hour to memorize all three baptismal challenges in Chinese. We were all thinking...holy way. But our teacher asked us to say a prayer and in faith ask for the gift of tongues...the ENTIRE district memorized them in the hour allotted, some of us even went beyond and memorized a scripture with it. IT WAS INCREDIBLE! Now we are all constantly praying for that gift of tongues! The Lord WILL take care of us!

So this is a kind of off topic but funny story! Mom...Grammy...skip this part :) Its more for Dad and the boys :) haha. So there is this Elder in our Zone. He is a Marine and is a pretty rough, tough guy.  Anways I was talking with some other Elders at night and telling them about how I wrestled for a little and I had done some other martial art type stuff, but never for very long. Well [this Elder] started talking about his training and how Marines don't lose and how he could beat up anyone of the Elders...yes even the 300lbs Tongan haha. But I kept quite and he said randomly I wouldn't be able to last even 5 sec....well....I told him I was willing to wrestle with him if he really wanted. He wasn't going to just say no because he wanted to maintain his status as "tough guy" haha. So he pulled me in and we started to wrestle. And he was didn't last 5 sec, it lasted about 30 sec, and he tapped out :) hahaha. I KNOW I KNOW, I need to repent, that was not very missionary like...but it was really fun! And pretty funny! We have actually become really good friends since then :) So everything ended up working out perfectly!


So anyways, OH since I am going to be in Taiwan in a week, now would be the time to start sending letters to Taiwan!  I am not 100% sure about how long it takes, I am guessing about a month max. I have heard though that two weeks is a possibility. But either way, Elders live for snail mail :). And Dear Elder I heard can still get to us either same day or next day. So that is also a very good method for sending mail! Thank you so much for everyone that has been writing me! I really, really appreciate all the support, it really does give us all a little burst of energy to see our names on the package slips and on the letters! You all are the best! Thank you soooo much!

So as District leader I have taken in two new power is growing! First this zone, then Taiwan....THEN THE WORLD! Just kidding! But they are two amazing missionaries! They are both AMAZING at Chinese and are both going to Taizhong! Elder Ng (pronounced ing) and Sister Tung (pronounced dung). They have added so much to our district and are amazing amazing servants of the Lord! I am so blessed to have such a wonderful district! My companion is also SUPER amazing! He is just so humble and can say so much in so little. He is an amazing guy!

I am so grateful for my wonderful family, I have been able to bear so many testimonies and share so many stories because of how AMAZING my family has been! THANK YOU SO MUCH! You have blessed the lives of so many people that you may never know. I am so grateful.

Oh and just so you know this will be the last email and last letters I send for awhile. Next week I leave so I won't be able to email or really write letters. And then I will be in TAIWAN! So letters will take a while and I am not sure when my Preparation day will be in Taiwan. And I am sure that from this email forward the emails will have way more info and will be much more week 10 in the MTC...everything is usually the same haha.

One thing that WAS really cool this week is that my district and I were all sitting at lunch and then out of no where President Brown comes over and sits next to us! THE MTC PRESIDENT! It was so great, he just got to know us and it was super amazing! He is such a nice man!


I love this work! I love Jesus Christ! I have been hit over and over again this week with the importance of my purpose, the importance of all of our purpose, our responsibility as children of God to share this gospel. I have also been so struck with the importance and power of the Atonement. In and through it we can do ALL things. I love my Savior and I am so grateful for Him. He has saved me. I am grateful for every day, every breath. I know that without Him I am nothing. I also know that WITH Him, I can be exactly who I need to be! I put my trust in Him, I lean on Him and depend on Him for everything. He IS OUR Savior! I want to invite everyone to say a prayer tonight and just thank Heavenly Father for Jesus Christ, ask Him to help you have more faith and a greater knowledge of Jesus Christ. Then go forward and act, READ THE SCRIPTURES! THEY ARE GOD'S WORDS! What better information can we have then that that is straight from God? We can all always improve, but we need Christ in order to do that.

I love you all and I hope you have an amazing year! (PS This will be my only full year on a mission! I am going to give it...well...actually...nvm....I am going to give the rest of my life over to the Lord :)....I am just grateful for this full year to be set apart :))

Ju ni hao yun!
Elder Gish

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Only 2 Weeks Left

I am going crazy!!! Can you tell from the Picture?...The funny hat one is Rao Zhang Lao and I being pokemon trainers haha. That goes to show how crazy we are going here! I really do love the MTC! It is amazing here! But 10 weeks is enough for me haha. I just want to get out and preach and teach and share this AMAZING MESSAGE!!! I know that I have a lot to still learn in the Gospel and ESPECIALLY in Chinese! But I am just so anxious to get out to the field and do the Lord's work!

Wanna hear something AWESOME!? We got new teachers this week (Wu laoshi and Liu laoshi) They are both really cool! With this switch we also got new investigators! Xiao DiXiong and Qiu DiXiong! They are both amazing people! But what is superdooper cool is that Wu laoshi came back about 4 months ago from Taibei! He knows Elder Graves AND Elder Gong! [Shannon here: Elder Graves is a friend from Colorado. Elder Gong is a friend from New Hampshire. Serendipitously, they were companions just a few months ago in the Taiwan, Taipei mission. Both are really wonderful young men.] It was really cool to take a second or two to talk to him and hear about my amazing missionary friends! I really have been blessed so much by the Lord with THE BEST FAMILY AND AMAZING FRIENDS!!! The Gospel has blessed me more than I could ever express and more than I could ever show my thanks for! I can't wait to get out to Taiwan and to serve the Lord through the people Taiwan and to share this gospel with EVERYONE IN TAIWAN! Can you sense my excited...ness? English might start to drift away a bit. We are all doing our best to use ONLY Chinese. So the only time we use English is when we just really truly cant get our point across, when writing family and friends, or when our teachers make us :(. We are all getting really good with our MTC Chinese, but we all know that MTC Chinese is NOTHING like real Chinese, especially in Taiwan with all their funny accents! Apparently in Taiwan, they all have really girly accents! All the teachers warned us about it so that the Elders don't start picking up the girly accents! It was really funny when they gave us examples though! It is also a little hard to understand! I'm sure with the Lord's help we will get the hang of it!

This week has not been too exciting, I don't know if everyone has heard but some big flu wiped out the MTC, over half the elders and sisters were sick. It was insane! But everyone seems to be back to normal! But, because everyone was sick the week was incredibly uneventful! However, I was able to do some SWEET study of the Book of Mormon! I LOVE that book! It is so powerful and wonderful! I was studying the life of some of the BEST missionaries (besides the savior) like Ammon, the Son's of Mosiah and Amulek! They are so amazing! One thing that really touched me was when they say that the thought of just one soul perishing made them shake and tremble! No matter who the person is, no matter if they are a loved one or an enemy, we have to have that mindset! Then EVERY person we see will be the perfect person to share the gospel with! We will then see them as God see's them! And at that moment, nothing will stop us from inviting them to come unto Christ! When they see and feel the love of the savior through us, they will WANT to be taught and be baptized by proper authority! HOW AMAZING IS THIS WORK! I want nothing more than to share that love, that piece with everyone I come in contact with!

Sorry this isn't too long, I didn't have a lot of time today....we FINALLY get to go back to the temple and we are heading down a little early to get Lunch!
Thank you all and I love you all!

Love Ge Zhang Lao!

P.S. I am not sure about how dearelder's will work in Taiwan but it is probably still the fastest way to get mail to Taiwan! The handwritten will always be the favorite though ;).
P.S.S. CHASE WHY YOU NO WRITE YOUR BROTHER! :( haha. I sure love and miss you Bro.
P.S.S.S. Gage, you are the favorite brother :) hehehe. JK I LOVE YOU BOTH!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

XinNian Kuaile!!

Thats HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!?!? We made it passed 12-21-2012! I thought for sure we were done for! Haha just kidding!


So this last week has been AMAZING! I was called as the District Leader and have been severely humbled! It is GREAT to be humbled haha. I love my district and I have to seriously analyze myself and make sure that I am doing my very best all the time! I will be the District Leader until we leave for TAIWAN!!! WHICH IS ONLY 3 WEEKS AWAY!!! AHHH!!!! HOW CRAZY!?!?!?! Oh and as a side note, it takes about 3 to 4 weeks to get a letter from US to TAIWAN so if you start sending letters this week, I will probably get them my first week in Taiwan! That would be nice :).

So the principles I focused on this week in my teaching is teaching SIMPLY and INVITING. The PMG [Shannon here: PMG=Preach My Gospel] tells us that as missionaries we should be inviting EVERY PERSON we talk to to act, so be prepared for an invite somewhere in here ;). Also in order for someone’s life to change they have to act and in order to act we have to invite them! Agency is KEY in inviting, not only key in the person to choose to accept but also in the inviter asking the right question at the right time and being bold in the request! I have learned that as a representative of Jesus Christ, He will back up the promises that I make to investigators when I am inviting and prompted by the Spirit. How amazing is that? God has our back at all times! The other thing I learned was about teaching SIMPLY. This is soooo hard to do! I would teach the 5 main points of the Gospel and I thought I was being overly simply when I talked about Faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy Ghost and enduring to the end! But no, that isn't simple enough! When the teacher told me that, I thought "Shenme Dongxi!?" (What the heck?) How could I possibly teach more simply than that?! As I thought about it and tried to figure out how I could do it, I came up with these points, "Believing in Jesus Christ, Changing to be more like him, Making two way promises with, following His will and acting on it, and doing this same things over and over and continually striving to be better!” How much better is that? For people who have NO IDEA who God is...this is how I need to teach EVERYTHING. Plus, as I teach like this, I can really feel how it is more a part of me and has more sincerity in it then using the words that have been presented in Preach My Gospel. Now of course, eventually they will have to understand these terms, and we will help them get to that point, but it really is step by step and line upon line. It is amazing to see the interest level of investigators SKY ROCKET when we really teach from the heart instead of from the rote presentations that PMG gives us. Preach My Gospel is written for MISSIONARIES to HELP them teach investigators. And it really helps SO MUCH! I love Preach My Gospel! If you haven't gone through and read it I would invite you to do so! Start by reading Chapter 6 about the Christ-like attributes, that will get you HOOKED, then move through and finish it out. Really study it! I know it was written to help missionaries, but shouldn't we all be striving to share the Gospel all the time? Sharing the Gospel is what saves the lives of our brothers and sisters! Be bold and teach, share, and love the people you are with! You will see miracles happen in YOUR lives AND in the lives of those you teach when you exercise your faith in Jesus Christ and preach His gospel. Why would you not share it? Are you worried about what the person would think? What they would do? Remember Nephi when Laman and Lemuel were scared because Laban controlled 50 men? God is all powerful and all knowing. He will back you up if you have faith in Him! Don't be afraid to share the gospel with anyone, everyone! In your words and example!

I heard a wonderful quote this week, I think it was by Bruce R  McConkie, I can't quote it exactly but this is the idea of it. "The "New Star" that was seen as the sign of Christ birth was not just placed there on that day (God COULD do that but it most likely didn't happen that way). God new exactly when Christ would be born and so he placed the star where it needed to be placed FAR before the birth of Christ. And this star was in the right place at the right time so that the Shepperd's could see it and think it was a new star brighter than all other stars." God has done the same thing with you and me. He has put things into motion far beyond this moment so that we could be where we are now, so that we can be that Star in someone's life. We need to "let our light shine!"

I love you all, I love the people of Taiwan, I love Chinese and I LOVE THE SAVIOR!!! I am so grateful for Him, not only for me in my life, but because of how He has blessed all of you! I am grateful for each breath, each day that God gives me. All I have is His and I will serve Him with all of my heart, forever and always!

I hope you all have an amazing week!

REMEMBER! Tian (1) Zhu (4) Zi (4) Zhu (4)!!! (The numbers are the tones, and it is an old Chinese Proverb that means God helps those who help themselves, so remember to take that step and ACT! :)
Elder Gish!

P.S. I really miss my fam :( You all are SO AMAZING! :) Thank you so much for your amazing examples to me and for all your support....YOU ROCK! :) and to everyone else, your prayers are REALLY felt...thank you so much!!!