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.]