Wednesday, February 20, 2013

20 Kuai daole! (almost 20 :))

Wow!!! THIS WEEK HAS BEEN FILLED WITH SO MANY MIRACLES! WHERE DO I START!?!? Oh I know, let me get to the million questions Mom sent in the last letter that I don't know if I have answered or not! If I have just skim over this or whatever! :) Here we go!

Okay so I am actually not in Taizhong I am in Gaosheng (I don't konw how to spell it in English but it is something like kaoshueng). And it is AMAZING! It is incredibly...INCREDIBLY HOT! Do not worry about me getting cold at all! I am sweating like crazy is CRAZY hot haha. I am getting this funny tan on my fingers because the top is getting hit by the sun but the part that wraps around the bike handle is still white haha. It is super funny. But Taizhong is something like Denver! Except everything is in Chinese haha. Oh and to be more specific if you want to see the city I live in it is called XiaoGang (shiaogong or something like that) and it is super fun! I love it here! It kinda reminds me of maybe some of the more run-down parts of Florida! The weather is actually JUST like Florida, and they have those pretty trees and everything! It is amazing! It is really hard to describe...I guess you will just have to come to Taiwan some day :) The best part is all the fruits...oh my gosh...they have AMAZING fruits! And yes they take a lot of getting used to, but now....holy cow they are AMAZING! So in our area we are in a city but there are these little villages around we can visit with the Taiwan aborigines! They are super cool and they almost all believe in Jesus Christ! Oh and don't worry, I sleep on a bed haha. It is a...well...its a bed haha.

So every Pday is on Monday and we have until 6 to do what we want. [Shannon here: Pday is short for Preparation Day] They typical day involves us on our bikes, pulling up to cars or people at a stop light and trying to get a few moments to chat! We hardly ever do tracting but we DO do it. We also have lately been getting a LOT more lessons than usual which is awesome! We have been working our tails off and of course the Savior is directing us and helping us to find 'those who will hear' us! Ahhh I have not gotten a chance to go exploring yet but the next few Pdays we should be going to monkey mountain (YES!) and the Beach probably too! So we can only explore on Pday obviously and we haven't gotten a chance yet. But you can expect some pretty pictures in the upcoming weeks!

So I am over the jet lag but I am still out of energy haha. I am so so so tired all the time but that is the life of the missionary! Plus if I go to bed not tired then it means I didn't work hard enough that day so I really enjoy it. I am glad I get to work hard and put my whole heart and soul into this work, into the work of Jesus Christ. The bike is really good! It has a few bumps and such but it is able to get my from place to place and that's all I really need :) so it is TOTALLY perfect.

My companion...HE IS THE MAN! Oh gosh Elder E. rocks! He is so smart and such a spiritual power house! Plus his Chinese is amazing! He has been out for about....15months? But only in Taiwan for about 12. He is so great and we have so much fun! We are literally ALWAYS laughing. It is super great. He does like to joke with me though and I can probably only believe.....12% of what he tells me the first time? Haha, but that just makes so many funny memories!

The one thing that is like GRRRR is that my shower is either SCOLDING HOT or FREEZING COLD, it is almost never in between. So I usually will let it be cold, get wet then step back so the water isn't hitting me. Soap up and wash my hair, then jump in for little 5 second bursts will I am washed off haha. It is sometimes really good and on those days I take SERIOUS advantage of the shower haha. And as for my heart and mind. I do REALLY miss my family, but I love it out here and I am so happy and...TAIWAN IS JUST SO GREAT! So everything is so good, you have nothing to worry about at all mom :).

So yes I chose your names since not very many names actually directly translate. [Shannon here: In a snail mail, Elder Gish gave Harvey, Chase, Gage and I Chinese names.] But I chose them because I think the show your characteristics and such! :) I might re-pick names for Chase and Gage sometime unless they really like them! Let me know what you all think of the names, I want them to be something special. The names are supposed to have similar sounds as your real names.

Oh so something really cool, I met a member today (PS Ward is AWESOME! But really small...maybe 50-70?) and he pulled out his Iphone and looked up our house! So I was able to see our house again! I couldn't see the new walk though...or the dog! haha. I want to see it all so bad! And I want to see my family! I want just some of you now and some of just us before! I take the calander around and show people but the pics are a little small. [Shannon Here: We made Elder Gish a 24 month mission calendar for Christmas with pictures of family in it.] Is there a way I could get like a mini book with printed pics? And maybe some extra space for the pics you will send later in the mission? :) haha. Oh I love my family so much! I am so happy I will get to live forever with all of you! That is the greatest blessing! Last night we were teaching this family and I was almost brought to tears testifying of the importance of family. I was just so touched by how blessed I have been with my amazing family and how grateful I am for a father who is a worthy priesthood hold and a loving and caring mother! Not to mention I have two studly and AMAZING brothers! How great is that!? You are all the B.E.S.T. BEST!

One thing I love about Taiwan is that no one will accept compliments but as a missionary you also don't want to reject compliments so you will just compliment the person back and sometimes it turns into complimenting battles like, no you are better looking, well you have great hair, but you are so strong. haha It is so funny and so fun! It is kinda like a game for us to see who can find better things about the other person haha, the Taiwanese people are so funny. Plus people think that Elder Erickson and I are in our 30's, and it is true...around here that is what we look like. All the guys look SO YOUNG. I finally learned to add like 10 years when I guys some guys age (unless they are clearly old, then you shoot for like 20's to make them smile :))

One thing that is hard though is to distinguish tones and to make sure you are saying them right, for example...gosh this is when we were going to go running, we were talking about what we were going to do. I wanted to say that I was going to run stairs so I said it and my companion started CRACKING UP. I don't know what is going on. But apparently the word for stairs and and the word for naked is only one tone difference....hahha. So instead of saying I am going to run stairs I said I am going to run naked! hahahaha oh gosh...So funny!..oh jeeze Chinese haha.

So how blessed am I that my birthday will be on Pday next week! That is so cool! I am excited, we probably won't do anything out of the norm or anything, but it will be cool to just have that Pday on my birthday haha, I dunno, I thought it was a cool blessing haha. ANYWAYS. Ready to hear some Miracles!?!?

We had a Baptism this last week! It was amazing to see the change this man has had in his life. He had soooo many addictions and we was able to triumph over them all! "Every baptism is a miracle" -President Hinckley. I loved being able to watch that man walk into the freezing cold font water and make a covenant to obey his father in Heaven and to receive the priceless and innumerable blessings that will be promised him! He is an amazing man and I was so happy to have the opportunity to teach him.


One investigator I am really excited for is an old man named W. who has been taking the lessons for a LONG time and has pretty much just been stuck on the Very beginning of the Plan of Salvation and the Restoration. But when we went in and talked to him (the second time I met him) he said that he had a sign from god. The first time I met him I had been on island only 5 days. And he said that all the missionaries he had ever talked to have never understood his concerns and ideas and philosophy. But he said that I was able to understand him totally and help him connect dots and move forward even though I had only been on island for only 5 days and my Chinese should be AWFUL. He said that he thinks I am an angel sent from God to tell him this is right and to move him forward! So I say all this for one amazing reason...that is that my Chinese is TERRIBLE and I have NO IDEA what he needs or his concerns and I don't understand his philosophy in the slightest...but do you know who does? Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. And by some amazing miracle I guess that somehow they were able to work through me...someone who needs a LOT of work...and touch this old precious soul. I don't know what I said or did, but they Holy Ghost was able to testify to this man that what was being taught is true, and that is the miracle!

Another cool thing is that yesterday we had POWER BOOK OF MORMON DAY! We were asked to take out 15 copies of the Book of Mormon and go out and give them out and set up follow up lessons and commit to be baptized at some later date (in the first contact!!!!)! And we did it! That was something I thought would be impossible! People here always just say "bu yong" (no need). Which basically means don't bother talking to me and leave haha but with the help of Heavenly Father we were able to set up with 15 people and get them to commit to taking the first step to eternal life!! We did have to work harder than we had this whole time and really put our all into it, but we did it! :) I am so grateful to God for helping us to do that! Oh that reminds me, did I ever tell you about my first day on island how a brand new missionary and I (Elder Ng) decided to take a Book of Mormon and give it out at the train station? We were both scared out of our minds but we took that step of faith and just went for it and we were able to do it together! I love how the Lord will show you how silly it is to be scared, the uncomfortable feeling is ALWAYS Satan trying to stop you because he knows how important it is for you to do what you are about to do. And once we push Satan aside and chose to show our faith and just take that step the Savior will show us who is really in control, and that is him, and he has prepared someone for ALL OF US to help. No matter who we are, there is someone out there (maybe its ourselves) who is ready to discover the amazing joy and happiness and peace that comes from the Lord and Master Jesus Christ! So take that step!

Oh so as to the missionaries who may be feeling discouraged...that is tough. There is a lot that is way to easy for Satan to use against you, language, success, your personal testimonies strength. The one thing I think I would tell an elder who is having those thoughts is to make sure they are being 100% obedient. If they are then the doctrine they learn will lift them up, and they will be blessed beyond belief. There really is not a whole lot that I think that I could say to a missionary to lift them up that much, but I know that the savior has that ability. And he will if the elder is sincerely seeking it. Also make sure he knows of the prayers and the support he has all around him, not just from home but from other missionaries and from the Lord! That is a tough one...make sure that the elder is leaning to the Lord for his strength and not to himself. Be like Ammon and boast of God and of nothing else and to Glory in the Lord. Recognize that all of our power is from God.

And the Agency thing. MOM THAT IS SO COOL!!!! HOW ARE YOU SO SMART!?!?!? That is so amazing! I don't really have time to do studying like that (even though I want to so bad haha) But all my studies are focused on the needs of investigators. All I can say is that I am a firm believer in agency being the amazing gift we have been given to have the ability to chose the right! And to thus be blessed for that choice! :)

I will leave with a thought about something that has blessed me so far (and it hasn't even been THAT long :)). That is the power of numbers when we set goals! If we set goals for everything, then track it over a period of time we can find patterns and really fix problems and grow so much! Tracking numbers for anything (church attendance, diet, stats in a game, ect.) will make that thing so much more effective! 

Well thats my thoughts for the week! Next email should be on Monday again so less to say but it will come quicker so...yay! :) haha.

I love you all!

Elder Gish!

P.S. Tell me about the dog!!!! :) SOOOOOO JEALOUS!

P.S.S. Missionaries love snail mail :) hint hint ;) haha I don't know how long it takes to get mail exactly but I think it is something more like 2 weeks. Thank you so much for all those who have taken the time to send letters! You don't know how much that really lifts spirits and can turn a day around so quick and re-motivate! (unless you were a missionary, then you do know haha) so thank you so much!