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.)]