Sunday, March 31, 2013

Not going to finish being trained!?!?


So I don't know why, but I am not going to be finishing my training...I guess it is sort of understandable since we TECHNICALLY had 2 transfers (one being a mini-) But still, all the others are finishing.  So I don't know if you have heard about the 12 week program but the point is to have missionaries ready to train after 12 weeks...and I am going to be doing just that...I can hardly speak the language, my amazing trainer is leaving me and I am going to be training someone who possibly knows less Chinese then I do (which would be hard to do considering how my chinese is not so great haha). But I am going to need extra prayers this week for thank you all!

So I have a lot I want to talk about in this email! Lets hope I can get through it all! First off...APRIL FOOLS!!!!! I am not being transferred haha. So I am still in xiaogang with Elder E. and we will be together for ATLEAST 3 more weeks and most likely 6. haha okay PHEW now that that is out of the way :).

Oh and just so you all know, OBVIOUSLY this picture is posed :) haha. I just felt bad because I had no pics to send this week! (might be the same next week). So I had Elder E. take a picture of me studying! haha...oh jeeze. It was so funny posing for that pic :) we were laughing so hard. We are always laughing!

Did you all hear about the Earthquake in Taiwan!? It was 6.1 or something I guess. It was a pretty weird feeling haha, but we didn't really pay too much attention to it, we just went on doing our studies! I just thought it was funny because Elder E. didn't even look up. I of course looked up and around at everything and said do you feel that....that it really started moving and he just kept studying and said "yup" haha. I don't know if that is a common occurrence here but it was pretty funny to see him pay ZERO attention to it and just focus on studying! 

So I have one kinda funny and ehhh story and then I want to dive into the good stuff! :) So just yesterday we were at this mans house named L. J. Now, let me start by saying I LOVE THE PEOPLE HERE! The only thing is that there are a few people here, usually single older men (like L J ) who do not have very good hygiene, and its usually with stuff like not washing feet or clipping nails or something. But anyways. We were at this guys house and he is really into all the "fads" that the world provides, such as compression socks to make your leg stronger! So in order to show us he took off his sock, and handed it to me...telling me to try it on....well I looked down at his feet...looked at the sock...then looked at Elder E. who was just trying so hard not to laugh. Well... to be kind I took it...and started to put it on. But I guess I was doing it wrong. You start by putting it over your arm....gross...haha. Then slipping it over your leg by pulling it off your arm and onto your leg...idk, it was weird but I guess that is how it works. I got it about half way on and it wouldn't go further. So this nice man started grabbing the sock and my leg and trying to force it on haha oh my gosh it was so funny! And eventually It got on and wanting to take it off as fast as possible I said "cool" then started to take it off, well then he told me that I didn't even walk in it and try we did the process all over again. And the sock was totally normal except it went high on your leg and was tight on your foot, really nothing special haha. But of course I am walking around saying oh yeah that’s amazing haha. [Shannon here: Just have to add this. Elder Gish is a serious germ-a-phobe. As his mom, this makes me both laugh out loud and want to give him a paper bag so he can breathe.]

Well thats my funny story haha I have a few things I want to say real quick so I am going to list them real quick and maybe give brief explanations of a few.

1) Uncle Josh! I have been keeping a prayer journal and lately you have been popping up in my mind! I don't know if you read these or not, but I just want to let you know I am thinking about you and praying for you :). I sure miss you and love you a lot! I hope everything is going well for you back home! Give everyone my love.

2) Q is the name of one of our investigators. [Shannon here: Investigator is a term meaning someone who is officially meeting with the missionaries to “investigate” or to know more about the gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints]. I want to mention him because he is a really depressed kid that doesn't like Taiwan and seems to not have any goals or anything. When we started meeting with him I saw him change, he started smiling, he started to read the Book of Mormon and in one night read from the Start and got about half way through. I really realized through him, and through meeting with others how much this gospel means to me. Lots of others just feel that they don't have much purpose or goals, they seem to be sad more than they are cheerful. I have really recognized this week the blessings that this gospel has brought to my life! The joy and peace, the feeling of belonging and of purpose. Knowing how I need to act and what I need to do, who I can count on. I love it. And I love that I have the amazing opportunity to serve my wonderful god and share this amazing news and this amazing joy with everyone! Infact the gospel in Chinese is Fu(2) Yin(1). It literally means News of Blessings. This Fuyin really is the News of how to bless your life!!!!

3) New favorite scripture! 2Nephi 4:16-35 I love this! JUST AWAKE! This is real! The Lord is real, he lives and he loves each of us! And even better news is he IS COMING AGAIN! Why give way to any sin or temptation? Just remember the Lord and go forward being the Child of God that we were meant to be, shinning like we were meant to shine! SO GREAT!

4) A great principle...UNto verses INto. (2Nephi 33:1-2) It says that the Holy Ghost will carry it UNTO the hearts of the people. But that they give no place for it to be IN them. I love this so much because it teaches so many amazing principles, one being that everyone has their own agency to choose to accept or reject the truth of this message and there is nothing that any outside force can do about that, they have to choose to let it in! The other principle is that I think that many teachers or missionaries will get discouraged when they don't see the success they hoped for and they start to doubt whether they are teaching with and by the spirit. Well this scripture is the answer! We can be 100% filled with the spirit, we could preform miracles and we could do all things by the power of God, but if someone is not going to open their heart and give will all be to no avail. One thing I loved that we taught a recent investigator named Ray Lian is that he has to open his heart and give way, let the spirit work, because the spirit will never FORCE you to accept. It will wait until you are willing. He has been keeping all of our invites and says that he still isn't really feeling it so much. He has had some great experiences but just says he still can't fully believe it. We talked about comparing our faith to a seed (like in Alma 32). We asked him where has he placed his seed? Is it actually IN the ground? Is it In his heart? Has he put in the effort to open his heart and let it in? If the seed just sits on the surface it will never grow, we can add water and sunlight and nothing will ever come of it. But once we open the ground (our hearts) and place the seed inside. That is when we will see it start to grow! I want to testify that this really is true, this being the gospel of Jesus Christ. If there are any within the sound of my voice who say other wise I would ask that you just look at where has that seen been placed. Did you water it and add the sunlight but not really stick it in the ground? Because I promise you that if you do, the seed will take root and you will see it grow and you will know for yourself that it is true.

Us missionaries have one purpose and that is to INVITE others to come unto Christ. We will provide the seed, we will tell you how much water and sunlight you need. We will be guides, but we can't do it for you, no one can and no one should. The greatest gift you have is the ability to choose. But if you don't open your heart and give it a chance you won't know. The seed will always just stay a seed.

On this amazing day (the day after Fuhuo Jie or Easter) (Oh P.S...Easter in Chinese literally means Resurrection great is that!) I want to add my testimony to the many that I am sure have been given. That Christ lives. He loves us. He was born, lived, suffered and eventually died for each of us. And it is because and through Him alone that we are able to have the amazing blessings that we have. It is through Him that we can again live with our Heavenly Father and it is because of Him that we can live for eternity with our families. That is the best blessing of all! I love my family, I want nothing more than to be with them forever. I am so grateful to Jesus Christ that he has provided the way for me to be with them forever! I this work, I love this gospel and I love all of you!

Have an amazing week!

Elder Gish

P.S. I will try to get better pics either this week or next. Nothing too exciting has happened recently... :( haha

Monday, March 25, 2013

A prophets call!

Wo Ciai de Dixiong jiemeimen, Dajia hao! :)

WOW!!!!! This week I was blown away! So When I came to Taiwan there were about 6 of us, maybe a little less. And the group after had 8 I think. Well we heard this week that the next move call (transfer) will have about 22 NEW MISSIONARIES!!!! HOW AMAZING IS THAT?!? The youth heard the call of the prophet and they are responding!! It is amazing! I got a letter from Chloe Capener this week asking about a mission and whether or not I ever had doubts. I was thinking about this in relation to the news I had just heard and I wanted to share a few of my thoughts. OF COURSE I had doubts and worries, but I also put my trust 100% in the Lord. Why do you think the age was lowered? It is because the work is hastening, he has prepared people and he needs us to go and gather, to work with our savior and harvest. He suffered and Died for us, the VERY LEAST we can do is to go out and to do his work with him. The other thing I thought was about how much this is just a once in a life-time experience. Yeah you can go as a couple and do other amazing and incredible things like that, but nothing will ever be the same as going out as a 18-mid20 year old boy/girl and serving a full time mission. I am so thankful and feel so blessed for the opportunity to go serve this mission. I have said it before, but I will say it again, for anyone who is thinking about serving a mission but is not sure, JUST GO AND DO! Now of course council with the Lord, but I can't imagine the Lord saying "no, don't go save your brothers and sisters, you have more important stuff to do back home." I just can't picture it. I was thinking about what we are really doing out here and I read a scripture in D&C, all I could think about was after this life, the kind of relationship that I and those that through the Lord I found out here. How much we will love each other and how special that connection will be, the "you found me and didn't give up, you helped me" relationship...gosh it is just so amazing! And if you have any specific questions or anything about a mission or anything like that at all and FEEL FREE to write me and ask/talk about anything...but really....feel free to write ;) haha.

Okay, I'll get off my "get out and serve the Lord horse" for now :)

P.S. Dane, my brother! I am so proud of you! Go get 'em mate! People really will recognize you and YOU will be the only one able to touch those peoples hearts, so don't let anyone pass you by! Maybe use those big arms of yours to draw some people in ;). So remember who you are and represent the Lord!

So what is that Teddy bear? Well...It is a note and a teddy bear from one of my english students!


I wasn't sure if I was allowed to accept it because it is from a girl. But since she is a recent convert it is okay haha. His name is X (Shee-oong), well thats what she named him haha. I just thought it was so funny. And of course the other Elders wouldn't let me live it down after having her walk in and hand it to me! I love my enlgish class! I especially love the last 30 min. which are saved for the "spiritual share!" I love it because I have a few members, a few investigators, and a few people who have ONLY english interest, however, EVERYONE stays to listen. My Dad recently sent a picture to me that he drew about me holding a Book of Mormon and preaching to a class, well I was SO blown away when I got that letter because that week I had decided in my spiritual share to talk about the Book of Mormon and its importance! I Did exactly as the picture showed, and at the end I had brought a bunch of Copies of that AMAZING book and everyone that didn't have one already came up after and got one! IT WAS INCREDIBLE! Whether they grabbed it because I said that they should, or because it was free, or whatever reason, it doesn't matter, the fact that they have it in their hands, in their house is enough. That Book will bring miracles! It reminds me of a story about my beloved Papa Jim. I would type it all out now but for the sake of time, maybe mom can either add an insert (like the Words of Mormon :) but Words of Shannon haha) or you can ask her about the amazing story!

OH MY GOSH, I am so glad I take little notes in my planner to write about haha.

Okay, CHASE AND GAGE!!!!! MY BROTHERS!! I just could not stop thinking about you this week!! You know why? (Don't judge for what is about to be said), so I like to sing as I am biking as you know and all that, and one day, I don't know how or why but I just started singing the pokemon theme song! Haha oh gosh...But as I was singing I just realized how much it applies to missionary work! You can pretty much insert "God's Children" in for the word "Pokemon" and all the sudden it is a Missionary song! "Gotta catch 'em all!" "Our courage will pull us through, you teach me and I'll teach you" I was like AHHH No way! Gosh, isn't it amazing how much Pokemon applies to the Gospel! :) haha.

So I have an investigator that I need some prayer power for! His name is J. He is 16, an AMAZING kid! First off he is SUPER funny. So one thing I have kinda got in a habit of saying here is "hooollyyy cow!" (only used when appropriate though of course). And J. is really into english and he has heard me say it a few times and he totally caught on. Oh my goodness it was so funny! We were biking together and his chain fell off, he looked down and said "what! What the...Hoooollllyyyy cow!...holy cow holy cow!" Haha I could hardly peddle I was laughing so hard. SO anyways, he wants to be baptized so bad, but his mom was not willing to meet with us so that we can explain what baptism is, and she keeps telling him no. Well finally this last week we got in and the mom was there! We taught a first lesson and it all went really well! She is now considering letting J. be baptized. She needs prayers so that she can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost and let at least her son be baptized! My goodness that kid is so funny. He is always so happy! Don't you just love it when people are just always happy? He is one of those people that you can't wait to see again because being around them just makes you happy! Is that not an amazing Christ-like attribute!?

So can I tell you my favorite thing that happened this week? We have a phrase in the mission "you (yo) ban fa" and when you do something great you are "you ban fa!" So we have this little mini pamphlets and such that we can hand out because sometimes our contacts only last for about 5 sec but we want to 'leave something behind' so we hand out these little papers. Well...we pulled up to a stop light that had a little bit longer than usual, it was about 60 sec or so. Well a bus pulled up next to me...I wasn't gonna let this opportunity slip through my fingers! I got off my bike real fast and knocked on the window of the bus. Oh man you should have seen the drivers face! I was lucky that he opened the door, I think he might have just done it out of habit haha. But I got in and started handing out tracts (the little pamphlet things), starting with the bus driver and moving down to the end of the bus, just talking. Oh man people gave me such funny looks but most everyone took the tracts anyways. There were some highschool kids giggling and some old people with not too happy faces, but once I finished and walked off the bus with 2 seconds to spare I felt so "you ban fa!" I was so happy and so excited to go and do more work! I don't know if anything will come from my bus contacting, but I do know that it gives me such great joy to be able to say to myself that I am not going to let someone pass me by. Who knows, the Lord could have someone 100% ready on that bus! We need sometimes, to 'lean into the discomfort' and do things that push us so that we can accomplish the Lord's work! YOU BAN FA!


So one of the last things I wanted to talk about today was how much I love exchanges! We can always learn so much from everyone around us! My Zone Leader, Elder M. came down to stay with me and we took control of xiao gang together! Oh man it was a blast! Plus I got to watch a master contacter in action! He is so good with making friends quick! Especially because he has really good Taiyu (Taiwanese). People down here LOVE it when you can speak Taiyu with them. I have started to pick up things here and there so I use them pretty often because it really gives you stronger first connection. Anyways, one thing I learned was about being just 100% bold. Elder M. kept talking about being bold and how much it helps and so I decided to give it a try. I biked up to this drug stand and there was a guy there buying drugs and smoking. Instead of telling him "Hi I am a missionary" I said "what are you doing?! Smoking is so bad for you! You know you shouldn't smoke...why would you do that to yourself?" And you know what, it worked! We started talking and I found about about his family and how he wants to quit cause he has a son and all of these things! Now...I think that this situation could also have gone bad haha, you don't want to be the Elder that walked up to someone, rip a cigerette out of their mouth and started to ma them out ( them out in a forceful yelling way) cause they are ruining their body. (Yes some elder did that here). But to be bold in a nice and inviting way can have amazing amazing results! So be bold! :)

I cant find the words to explain how much this gospel means and what it can do and WILL do for anyone, no matter who we are. I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!

I know that this message that we share is true. It will bless you, it will bless your friends and family. Don't let it slip by!

I love you all!

Ge Zhang Lao

Monday, March 18, 2013

Eirinn go Brach!!!! (Thats not Chinese hahaha)




No one knows this amazing day in Taiwan!! Zao1Gao1 (Well dang!). Haha But it is pronounced (cause I know you are all super curious (Sheng4 Pai4 Cui4 Ke4 Jie2)! It is super funny! My AMAZING family sent us these sweet Irish shirts and Elder E's mom sent us these funny ties that we wore together. Trainer and Trainee cute haha. But how crazy amazing is my Family! EIRINN GO BRACHHH!!!!!! Yeah! I can feel the Irish blood pumping through me now! (Don't worry Pops there is some German in there too ;)) Can I just take a moment to tell everyone how much I appreciate lucky charms!? I didn't realize how incredibly delicious they really were until recently :) hahahaha :)


Okay so first things first, I wanna give a shout out to my adopted brother Dane!!!!!!! YEAH! You enter the MTC soon right?! [Shannon here: Just a reminder - MTC=Missionary Training Center.] GOOD LUCK!!! You are gonna love it and you are going to carry such a strong spirit with you! You are God’s warrior! So go get it done! Go save some souls!!!! :) I am also going to need your address so however that gets to me is fine :) You can probably just give me the mission address since by the time I send a letter to the MTC you will probably be heading out! Take advantage of it man! Soak it up! LOVE IT! I love you bro! Go get 'em mate ;)


So lets get out the funny stories that I know you all look at this for haha. So I am the senior companion this transfer...uhoh...haha. But that means I am in charge of the Phone! Which I gotta SO FUNNY! I love it because people sometimes think that even though we can speak chinese we wont be able to read it (which is sort of true). But I would probably make more sense of the chinese they send me than of the english texts they try to send hahaha. Gosh it is so funny. We can't text back either which means we have to call them and because we don't want to embarrass them we have to guess at the meaning and then try to get it out of them in Chinese so that we can understand haha. Gosh it is soooo funny!

Oh and before I forget, my mom sends me these super amazing postcards ever so often. Have you all seen them? Holy cow they are amazing! If you haven't see if you can get her to show you some! She really should start a business! It is incredible! She is SOOOO artistic and amazing! Ah it blows me away!

Anyways :) (Just had to brag about my awesome mom for a moment :))

So one thing that was super awesome and fun this week is that we went to go feed old people! I don't know if there is a way to get the pics but if there is I will send them. Oh it was so funny. For multiple reasons. 1) All the Ama's (Old Ladies) were trying to get us young american missionaries to feed them haha, 2) The nurses were super funny teasing us about feeding them too haha 3) We sang a song and this old lady started walking in circles around us just clapping after we finished each verse hahaha. And 4) They all are SUPER old so they speak Taiwanese not Chinese...which is actually very different...haha. It was pretty fun and funny! And then after words we all went to go clean this old couples house, what was funny about that was that the bishop took us in his van. Now I had heard rumors about the Bishop having a lead foot...but I didn't fully realize what they meant till we were on a road like Prescott and hittin 100! [Shannon here: Prescott is a very windy, hilly and narrow road near our home in NH.]  I was just sitting there thinking HOLY COW.......It was super fun though. So finally after that we went to go eat together and I discovered that Pig Ear really isn't too bad! Now...its not good...but its not bad haha. Thats how I am about a lot of the food here! I think it is the Lord blessing me to just make it through haha. I always seem to just say..."oh thats not too bad" haha. Except for some of the fruit here that is not in it is AMAZING! I could live off the fruit here! The one thing that I really don't like about the food is that they are not big into drinking (unless its tea) so they don't really serve water or drinks so you just eat. And on top of that if you DO get something to drink it is the broth from a soup which is not only boiling lava temperature hot, but also pretty dang spicy....and let me tell you...there is nothing like biking around for hours with the Sun literally on top of you all day so that when you walk into the persons house they can basically see through all the white you have on since you are so drenched, then sitting down and having a nice boiling volcano put into your mouth which you have to finish and then drinking a hot spring! :) There is just nothing like it :) haha. Some times we ask for water but you don't want to embarrass the other person and make them feel like they didn't provide for you, so thats only if we REALLY know the person well. Haha, oh Taiwan, I sure love you :)


This is just something crazy that I realized this week! I was sitting on my bike calling some investigators and I looked up and saw a ball in the sky, I looked directly at it! It was bright but not bright enough to make me squint or have to look away...then I realized it was the Sun....haha. The pollution was so bad where I was that when I looked up I could look directly at the sun! How crazy is that!? Now that isn't where I live, it was just a place that we happened to be, but still it was crazy to think that that was possible! But it made me think about us...we are all meant to shine like the sun. Just so bright and powerful! But sometimes we make mistakes and sin....which is like pollution and it fogs up the sky. And eventually it gets to the point where we really have lost most of our power and light...BUT!!! That is not the end! If the sky is getting too polluted, do we just give up and say oh well, that place is done for? NO WE DON'T We start doing things to clean it up and eventually the sky will be so clear that we can hardly look up at all because the light from the sun is so strong! That is like baptism and repentance! And it doesn't all happen at once, it is a process, we get to take the sacrament every week and continue through that process! How great is that?! What a wonderful blessing!! This gospel really does give us SO MUCH HOPE! The sacrament is so special...I LOVE church :)

Plus! At church the Man I baptized, C. D., got his baptism record (like certificate haha) and it had my full Chinese name on it! It was crazy to see that...To actually have the physical evidence of the miracle that took place! Oh it was SO amazing to see! You know what else is amazing to see? How willing some people are if we only invite them! I have recently started to be much more bold in my invitations and on some cases will even give a goal to a person to be baptized in 5 weeks and thats from the very first time I ever see them! It is amazing how many people will accept. Of course there are a lot of rejections...But one person accepting makes up for a million rejections! I am so glad that I have had my family to push me to be the best I can. I remember a Letter my Cousin Zach Wrote me (He has taken the role of an older brother for me)  he told me to always do all I can to be the best Chinese speaker on the Island and the hardest working missionary and the best at everything I do. Not at all out of a pride thing, but out of a desire to serve God. And I will tell you what, it is amazing to see the miracles that will happen when you put your full trust in God and then go out and work your very hardest! I am able to communicate so much better than I ever imagined I would be, and every day just gets better and better, it is because of the Lord...100% because of him. I know that there is NO WAY I could do any of the things that I am doing on my own.


So here is an example. One day we were out pretty late trying to save some souls :) and we thought we should hurry back. So we started going. And usually we try to talk to everyone but we were already late to get back on time so we just started going, and every person we passed I was just thinking...dang...they might be the one. Then I saw these too boys and I had a big thought...okay you HAVE to stop. So I did. I started talking to them and they didn't seem interested at all and were about to walk away and I was about to just say "oh well" and go on my way, but again I thought "no no, this person could be it." So I asked them to wait and just give me about 30 sec. Well that thirty seconds turned into 2 min, then 5, then 10. It turns out that a member had given us a referral we were never able to get a hold of and one of those boys was that referral!!!!! HOW AMAZING! We set up and we are planning on getting that man baptized! (He doesn't know it yet....but he will :)) haha. It is just...It is amazing! People that just turn those noses and don't give it a chance really don't know what they are missing...I feel so sad and hurt for them. I can't MAKE them accept this or MAKE them give it a chance, but if I could I would haha. There is NOTHING like this gospel, nothing that will bring more peace of joy or just pure happiness!

We have a few new investigators, one we call gao1fu2shuai4which means tall and handsome haha His name is L.c.y . He is a lady killa, and so funny! I love the people of Taiwan so much! They are all so great and they are all so prepared! They might not know it, but they are prepared or are in the process! It is amazing to see hearts and lives changed! I have too many people that I could name that are just so prepared and so ready! All they need is to be taught and loved. They need to see and feel the love that Christ can offer. And we can be the way they see that, in fact, for some, we might be the ONLY way they can see that! One thing I love talking about is how we are LITERALLY sons and daughters of God! We are meant to shine as children of God would! 

I love you all!

Shine Bright!

Elder Gish

Monday, March 11, 2013

Wow Transfer 1 already over!?!?

WOW! This week I really realized what kind of work I have ahead of me and how I have no time to get what I want done! I realized how every second I spend on bended knee and searching the scriptures really counts. I have just finished my first move call (transfer) which means I am 1/16 of the way done with my experience on Island. When I looked at it that way I though oh well 15/16 is so much and that means I have SO MUCH TIME! But then the math brain that my dad gave me kicked in and I thought well if I do one more transfer (which is the duration of my time training) Then I will have 1/8 left....well that is quite a bit less...Then I thought but 7/8 is still a good amount. Then I thought well if I spend THAT time again (only the time being trained) well then I will be 1/4 done....HOLY COW! 1/4! No matter how you think about it that is a lot! AHH! How am I ever going to be able baptize the 22 million people here?! :) Well you know what I need? My Mom's study habits and my Dad's powerful teaching presence! I sure am lucky to be the son of Harvey and Shannon Gish! :). You know what is also amazing!? I am able to look to my parents for their incredible examples, I am ALSO able to look to my wonderful Brothers! L. S. (for example) I was studying in 1st Nephi 18:2 recently about Nephi building his ship. Then I remembered something Chase had taught our family! For those of you who are not yet aware Chase is a GENIUS! If you don't know you must not have talked to him ;) haha. But he taught us about how we all have our own SHIPS to build. We have our friendSHIPS and our companionSHIPS and so many different SHIPS that we have to build while here on Earth! Well this verse talks about how Nephi built his ship after the manner in which the Lord showed unto him and not by the manner of man. Well this got me thinking about how I am building my "ships?" Am I building all of my "ships" after the manner in which is pleasing to man or am I building them according to how God has instructed us to build our ships. Am I loving like he loved and being an example as he was the perfect example. Am I teaching simply and directly, am I bold enough, am I faithful enough, diligent, I doing all of these things in the manner in which Man would have me do them or is it according to God's standards and is it for HIS glory. Well Chang hua dian shuo (to make a long story short) I hope and am praying and working hard on building my ships and building myself the way God would have me do it.

I am so glad that I have my amazing family to be examples to me and that have blessed my studies and have blessed this work! I mean even my little 10 year old Ninja Brother Gage has been the BIGGEST blessing out here! He has drawn me a few pictures while I have been out (do you all know that he is a master artist?) and I carry them around with me from time to time and will look at them and read what he writes to me and it will just make me smile so big and laugh and helps me to maintain a positive attitude no matter what (which is SO CRUCIAL to the work!) So thank you family! :)

Okay, fun things or blessings first?...Let's save the best for last, so we will start with the fun!

This week has been pretty fun and funny! Some of the pictures I sent today are from a place called Smoky Joes!  


It is a Mexican food place and is the closest thing I have had to american sit down food in a long time! It was so funny and so amazing! Especially because the waiter was so surprised when we started ordering and talking to him in Chinese haha. I guess a lot of foreigners go there and he said it is so frustrating because they either just can't speak Chinese or their Chinese is terrible haha. My Chinese is still pretty awful so I am lucky I am with a bunch of masters to help make me look good hahaha. But speaking of Chinese I was able to Pass off my Phase one this week! Phase One is all church words and then there is Phase two which is just random words and Phase 3 which is all Characters. I am studying Phase two and three together and it is amazing how you will study words that you think are NEVER going to be used, but then the Lord blesses you with experiences so that you better memorize your words and you will hear the weirdest things! For example I learned BoyScout, tong zi sun (aren't you proud brother Lambert? :)) but there are NO boy scouts here I have never seen one or anything...all the way until I learned the word then BAM!...there was ONE boy scout! And I was able to talk to him! I mean really?! Heavenly Father is just the best blessing you with small things like that!

Oh and as a side note the Smoky Joes theme is indians and cowboys, so that indian....yes....we placed a Book of Mormon in his hand hahahaha. I don't know if it is STILL there but we left it there! How hilarious is that? :) Maybe the manager will find it, take it, read it, then get baptized. Because if someone REALLY reads that book then there will be no way to deny that it was written by prophets of God and translated by a prophet of God. The Book of Mormon will NO DOUBT lead to baptism and true happiness in this life! It reminds me of that hilarious sign that was put up awhile ago that says "Don't read the Book of Mormon, that is how they get you!"...hahaha, well I'll tell you what...they are right, if you read it, you will be hooked and you will have a desire to be baptized. You WILL have a desire to follow Jesus Christ example and grow closer to him.

So this week while teaching at a place we often go to teach, the She jiao guan (culture learning is just a nice place where it is easy to sit with investigators), there was an anime festival! Oh my gosh it was CRAZY! It was PACKED!!!! People out here LOOOOOVEEEEEE their anime! Everyone was all dressed up like crazy! It was AMAZING to see some of the outfits and effort people put into this. They even decorated their cars and scooters! I think it was pretty funny to see how as I looked around I was actually able to recognize some of the outfits hahaha. And when I say some I mean like one or two...Anime out here is like....I don't even know what to compare it to back in the USA...but there is SO MUCH anime and so many different shows and crazy stuff! It was wild haha. I wished so bad it was a Monday so that I could have taken pictures to show you all because it really was so crazy! But was a Thursday so Meibanfa (no possible way) Oh well, I am sure it will happen again some other time haha.

One thing that happened this week that really wasn't a super crazy funny thing or anything like that, but that I still wanted to write about because it made me smile, is that a family that we love (the H.J) has this son that is about 10 but can't function quite like a ten year old. Anyways, we were at their house and like in most Asian cultures we take our shoes off when we enter a house. The young boy walked over and slipped his feet into my shoes and started Clomping all around the house! It was pretty funny actually to hear him and watch him. But it reminded me of how when I was younger I would slip on Mom or Dad's shoes (yes....sometimes it WAS Moms...not my proudest moments haha) and would clomp around. Now I think about how if I put my feet into my Dad's shoes they would fit pretty nicely, in fact I used to borrow his shoes., and If I tried to do Mom's...well first off they might brake my foot and second I don't know why I would put on Moms shoes....haha. But anyway, I thought about how Mom and Dad must have looked at me back then and how they look at me now and how I still feel like I have Big shoes to fill! I looked at that sweet little boy and thought about who he would be when he was 20, the kind of life he would live and experiences he would have. How he will now have a chance to grow up with a righteous mother and a priesthood holder for a father. How someday he may have the chance to receive the Holy Ghost. Yes, that is them getting baptized in the pics! The poor boy tried 3 times but all three times it wasn't complete because he is scared about going under water. They even had the dad in the font with him to try to help but every time the boy flailed just enough to keep something out of the water...It was hard to watch, but I was so proud of him for trying! And I hope that as he grows he will get another chance and will be able to truly be baptized! They are an amazing family! (IF you haven't noticed I have slowly moved into Blessings haha). You should have seen the Dad, he just got baptized and he bore his testimony, in his testimony he quoted hymns and talked about the numerous blessings of God! He is going to be a church leader no doubt!


AND ANOTHER MIRACLE IS ON THE SAME DAY WE BAPTIZED ANOTHER AMAZING MAN! C. D.! He truly was a miracle. On a rush home Elder Erickson basically just stopped long enough at a red light to give a guy this slip that says where the church is and told him that on Sunday we had an amazing meeting....well of course we think nothing of it then BAM he comes to church! He has been smooth sailing ever since and is now baptized and will also be an amazing leader!

It is amazing to see how the Lord Blesses and sanctifies your efforts no matter how small they may seem!

I know that this gospel is true. I hope that everyone who reads this can feel how much I truly mean that. I KNOW IT. This has become a part of who I am.

My invite for this week is to write a copy of your testimony whatever it may be! Then share it with someone, maybe even give a copy to the missionaries to use! I know that EVERYONE who reads this has a testimony. It might be a super power crazy power packed testimony like my amazing mom's, or it could be as small as a "I believe God exists" or "Truth does exist in this world." No matter what it is, it is important! So share it!!!!!!!!

I Love you all so much!

Shine Bright!

Elder Gish!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Quick Video Link of Elder Gish

Shannon here: Last week, a wonderful video was sent from the Taiwan, Taichung Mission President to a few parents. With permission, it is posted below. It highlights the first teaching experience of Elder Gish and other missionaries who arrived with him to Taiwan as well as the Mission President and his wife. It will only feature Elder Gish and the other missionaries he arrived with until March 7th. After that, the newer missionaries, who are arriving this month, will be featured.

You will find Elder Gish at around minute 5:15, though the entire eleven minute video is worth watching.

Dan Jones Experience in Taiwan

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A week of Miracles!

Shout out to Grammie! :Got them Grammie :) haha

Okay are you all ready to hear about this week full of miracles!?!? So lets start with LAST Monday (the 25th! :)) So I guess we will start with the hai hao news and move on to the blessings! So can you guess what came in on my birthday?...duh duh duh duh!...The infamous DearJohn haha. Rats! So I feel that I would usually keep that more on the down low but there have been so many blessings that have been connected to it! My testimony of the Savior has grown so much because of that letter! The Savior has helped me to "let go of my nets," because I was not willing to on my own. [Shannon here: referencing New Testament disciples who “left their fishing nets” to follow Christ.] I thank Him so much for helping me to just let go of EVERYTHING else and have a mind and heart 100% focused on the work! He has also comforted me more than I can express and has helped and blessed my attitude. I know that it is ALL about attitude. I can see 100% how a letter like that could ruin someone’s mission, but for that to happen they have to LET that happen, and OF COURSE I AM NOT GOING TO LET THAT HAPPEN! I am on the Lord's side. There is a war going on between my God and Lucifer and nothing is going to keep me from fighting for my Lord! In fact I have just chosen to use what Satan has tried to use against me, against him. I have been very open with people about the letter and such and have actually used it in teaching once and it brought the spirit so strong! To have people hear about what we choose to let go and give up to come out here and talk to them personally about is a very good method for helping people to realize how important this message is! And trust is SO IMPORTANT! There is nothing more important than this message! I will shout that at the top of my lungs for as long as I live. This message literally is everything!


So ready to move on to bigger and better things!? So Monday was super fun (This whole week was super fun!). My awesome companion got all the Elders together in our zone and had us all meet at a Chidaobao (which means to eat until you are full). It was AMAZING! The food was so great and it was so much fun! There were two tables full of Elders (maybe dangerous...but so fun :)). We had a blast and some elders taught the waitresses and waiters the English version of happy birthday which they all sang to me haha. There is nothing that will cheer you up more than about 10 Taiwanese people singing happy birthday to you in incredibly broken English haha. They actually don't say your name here for two reasons, one they don't know how to say it....and two they don't know where it goes haha. So instead of "happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear...'' They say " happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday toooo..yoouuuuuu..." Haha, it is super funny to hear that awkward pause :). So after that we went back to work.I love this work! So I have to admit, Monday was kinda a tough day, but I wanted so bad to stay focused and serve! So I said a prayer and I poured my heart out to the Lord and asked for his help. I had been rejected (dearjohn status haha) and then I was getting rejected all day by other people! RAWR! It was tough. But you will never believe what happened the second I ended my prayer! I looked up and some guy was just looking at me, just starring. I said "Ni hao.......(long wait)....Ni hao ma?" It was gangga (awkward) for a second but then he just pulled his scooter off to the side of the street and started talking to me in kind of understandable English! He told me that he saw me and was interested and wants to know more about Jesus Christ because he heard that Jesus will bring him happiness! Can you say Golden? We haven't had a chance to meet with him yet but hopefully we will soon!

So another thing that is kind of blehhhh is that I have been pretty dang sick for over a week now...a couple weeks actually. Lets just say that everything that classifies a person as sick I have haha. I feel that I am finally on the uphill which is good. But the reason I say that is because of another amazing miracle! So everyday I have been super sick, but every day I tell the Lord I want to go out and work, so I exercise my faith and start to get ready and head out the door just like any other day! And as soon as I walk out the door I feel that I am totally fine and able to work 100% There is of course still some ick feelings but nothing bad at all! And then when I get back again I feel really sick again! I wish I could just be out working 24/7 so that I would have no time to feel sick ;) haha. I really think it is amazing how the Lord blesses me with the strength that I need to do what he has asked of me! (And Mom DO NOT WORRY, they really are taking care of me I promise haha and I really really am okay! :))

So one thing that I really love about Taiwan is how much the people here love Americans haha. For a few examples, we were biking past this school and a bunch of elementary school aged kids ran up to the fence and I stopped to talk to them and give them all high fives and fun stuff! We talked about our favorite superheros for a second and then we left to our lesson. It was sooo cute. Then we were English proselyting (trying to get people to come to our english class) and these girls asked for our number and wanted to go out to get coffee. We referred them to the sisters haha. It is no wonder since Elder E. is the Shuai-ist guy in Taiwan (Handsom...est?) It is actually super funny, I heard a story about this one investigator that was afraid to shake Elder E’s hand because he was so Shuai (Handsome) haha. So it is really fun biking around with him :)


The best part of this week was probably the Assistant Exchanges where one of the assistants come down to stay with us for a day and teach with us. [Shannon here: “Assistants” are other missionaries who work directly with (are assistants to) the Mission President and his wife. They typically are good leaders, hard workers and have demonstrated a level of spiritual and cultural maturity. They travel the mission to serve, help and train other missionaries.] It was suuuuper fun. The Assistant we got to be with is named Elder H. and he is hilarious! He is also an amazing teacher. He is really all about keeping the teaching super simple and getting to know the investigators. It was really cool to see him teach. So there are 3 things that happened that made Assistant exchanges so fun (besides learning from a master haha) First is that Elder H. is really into singing to people to invite the Spirit. So one time we pulled up to this old couple on the street and Elder H. asked if we could gei tamen ting (basically let us sing to them) and of course they agreed. The older people here love us young Americans that can speak Chinese! But as we were singing they just turned away and started talking to us and I don't remember which song Elder H. picked but for some reason none of us could hit any of the notes and it was just awful. And of course that made us start laughing in the middle of our singing which made it even worse! It was SO funny. Just imagine 3 white guys struggling to not laugh (still laughing super hard I think Elder E. only sang about 5 words total haha) and singing SUPER off key while in the middle of the street and these old people are just ignoring them and everyone is just watching thinking "what that heck?" haha. It was so so funny. So after that we were heading off to dinner and contacting on the way. I saw this guy and zoned in, I made a B-line for him and tried to start a conversation. I don't think he realized I was trying to talk to him until I was right next to him haha. He looked at me and his eyes got really wide and he turned and sprinted away. I was left in the dust haha. I turned around just to see Elder H. and E. cracking up and just telling me to get used to it. Gosh I love it here :). So the third thing...gosh this is SO FUNNY! So since I am feeling sick I have been eating really really simple meals. We went to a 7/11 (A really really popular eating spot here) and I got a simple sandwich and banana-milk (so good its like liquid banana cream pie), but Elder E. and Elder H. decided to get a 2 liter bottle of Soda each (It is this not super great but not bad apple soda they have here). And they decided to see who was manlier and could drink it faster. For about 45 mins they were going at it! It is a thicker foamier soda so it must have been tough. They both got really low but both didn't look like they were going to finish it. But BOTH wanted to be manlier so if one would drink the other would drink and it was just so funny watching them watch each other and checking out the soda levels on each bottle. Then all the sudden it happened. Elder H. took his last sip and BAM he puked all over the floor and back into his bottle and such! Elder E. and I felt bad but we were just watching and cracking up! It was soooo funny! I love this mission! It is so fun and I can already tell that two years from now all my stories are gonna start "when I was on my mission" haha. (Just like Dad ;))

Another small miracle that was kinda a slap in the face actually was that about two or three nights ago we were biking back from our last appointment and there were people we were passing and we felt bad but we had to get back to the apartment! So we pulled up to the red light and stopped. There was a guy on the corner I totally could have talked to by I just thought to myself that I better not cause it could go too long and we could miss the light. SO when the light tuned green I put my foot on the peddle and it slipped off which caused me to fall straight down onto the middle bar....yes....ouch....I just leaned over barely able to breathe! But Elder E. being the amazing missionary that he is took the opportunity to talk to the guy while I took a second to gather myself together and catch my breath. Haha, It reminded my of when all my stuff fell out of my pockets and my bike chain fell off! Except that now God is getting more serious, he is saying "okay Sam...really? I am putting people in your path, talk to them!" haha. It was just something that I thought was a pretty funny miracle.

My last miracle for this week is how many people we had at church this week! Elder E. and I have been working our tails off to help to rescue less actives and to invite new people to come to church! [Shannon here: “Less Active” is LDS-eese for people who have been baptized, but don’t attend church services. Not a negative connotation, just a phrase used in helping identify how to bless and serve church members.] So the XiaoGang ward usually has about 60 or so people there. But this week we had 87! In fact, in the Gospel Principles class I had to stand up because there was not enough seats or room in the room we teach in to fit everyone! [Shannon here: Gospel Principles class is a Sunday School class.] It was a miracle and so amazing to see the Lord consecrating our efforts and answering our prayers! I know that as I pray and fast, the Lord will answer and will sanctify my efforts, like the stones from the brother of Jared. I am just a rock, but through the finger of Christ I can be made to Shine. Like Ammon in Alma 26, I know that I am weak and to myself am nothing, but through God I have the power to do all things!

So this little bit is for anyone preparing to go on a mission (CHASE AND DANE!...speaking of which....why haven't my bigger than me but still little brothers not written me! haha :)) Or any who are thinking about whether or not they should go on a mission. I was doing some study about it this week because I know there are some elders who struggle with their mission...but this is what I found to give them that renewed fire to work! So on Pg. 9 of Preach my Gospel it talks about how there is "no one else that can do this." The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only church with the authority of God here on the Earth, the only church with the proper authority to teach and baptize in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ, the only one that can confer the Holy Ghost on people and give them a true remission of their sins. That is why we go out! WE ARE THE ONLY PEOPLE THAT CAN DO THIS!! How selfish would we be to not go out and spread the gospel!? We are holding the keys to unlock the gate to Eternal life, we MUST share it with others! And if you do not, have not or will not have the opportunity to serve a full-time mission for one reason or another, this is still your call too! Every Member is a missionary :). My Parents and My Grandparents, even my brothers are SUCH amazing examples to me of how to be a member missionary! Not only through their example but through how willing they are to go out and open their mouth and talk to others and invite them! We need to be inviting people! By inviting someone to act, we give them the chance to use their agency and develop their faith! For those of us who are able to serve (especially as young men) we MUST go out and serve. It is tough no doubt, but there is nothing more worth it! On a mission you will see miracles everyday and take part in miracles everyday! There is nothing that will be more worth it. Elder Holland constantly says that his mission changed him and made him who he is today (An Apostle for Jesus Christ!). The mission will be the deciding factor and possibly the biggest turning point for good in our lives! He also says that everything good that has happened to him in his life is because of his mission. You and your families, now and future, will be blessed forever because of your service! One scripture that really pounded this point in for me was in 3Nephi 13:31-33. Don't worry about anything, just go out and serve the Lord, that is what he has asked of you. Don't reason within yourself that this is not for you, Satan knows how important you will be and are, he will try and stop you. Just choose to go out and serve! Seek first the kingdom of God. Take no thought for anything else! But also know WHY you are serving, serve for the Kingdom of God, serve FOR GOD. Do not serve for yourself. I could take this mission and say, I will come out knowing a new culture and Chinese and that will help me in life....but what will help me more...knowing those things? Or having the constant guidance and blessings of God? Yeah....God haha. Brigham Young Said, "If you go on a mission to preach the Gospel with lightness and frivolity in your hearts, looking for this and that, and to learn what is in the world, will go and return in vain...Let your minds be centered on your missions.'' I know that this is true. So lets go out and serve!!! :)


I love this work and I love you all! I hope you have an amazing week! You are all in my prayers! Oh one last thing! Speaking of prayers! One thing I have started doing (that lots of you probably already do) is keeping a prayer journal! So after I finish my prayers at night I record the thoughts or impressions that I have. It is mostly for the nightly prayers but can obviously be used at any time! If you don't already do this I would invite you to just give it a shot and try it :)  I love it! I really feel so much more like I am having a conversation with God and am able to receive so much more revelation! It is just something that I have found is an amazing blessing and that I want to share :).

Have an amazing week!


Ge Zhang Lao

[Shannon here: All web links in Elder Gish’s email have been added by me. If you are receiving this by email, feel free to visit Elder Gish’s actual blog to get mailing address information and other tid-bits about his mission. Much love and gratitude for the support and prayers he receives from each of you.]