Monday, September 30, 2013

The Empire Strikes Back


image from Taiwan, Taichung Mission blog

(Shannon here: Elder Gish is in the 2nd row, 3rd from the left. For those of you who know Sister Rachel Basko from the Sanford Ward here in the Exeter Stake, she is serving in the same mission and her first district happens to be the same as Elder Gishs. She is in the front row, 5th from the right – cute short brown hair with the brown blazer.)


Why would I start the title to a missionary email with a line from starwars?...Well besides the fact that my companion and I are HUGE nerds together...and the fact that we are both studying in the ways of the force....;) haha. Besides all that (and the lightsaber training...) We are striking back super hard this week! We are gathering our forces and bringing the fight to Satan! We aren't scared and we aren't going to run! We stand firm in the faith and we are fighting to the end! :) I really like thinking about the mission as a battle, it just makes me try so much harder in everything that I do! I think it is because my Dad trained me in the way of the Jedi since I was young...for those of you that don't know...My Dad is the Master Jedi over all the universe!!

Well lets move from the Universe to my little area Taiping on my little island Taiwan :) It is AMAZING!!! I really do love it here so much! and I love my district! Speaking of them, the District is doing well. I am so glad to serve her and help these missionaries grow! I have been thinking recently about how I can make a difference as a district leader and have this influence spread and effect the whole zone and the whole mission as a whole. I have been thinking about the effect of ONE person on a society. I want to help my district grow personally because if we don't progress how can our investigators. We tell people that the gospel can make today better than yesterday and tomorrow even better and so on. I wan't to truly help people recognize that that is true! I have found recently that all those old Chinese movie quotes are true...where the old blind master with the long beard holds out one grain of rice and says 'one grain of rice can tip the scale of balance between victory and defeat' haha. It really is so true!! The difference of just one person is incredible. Whether you know it or not, I am so sure that every single person that reads this has made a great influence in someones life! What we have to do now is just make sure that we know how and why we are doing what we are doing! :) 

I wish I had more time for these emails but my time is almost up today. And we are going to be going to a bat cave today! I will try to get some sweet pics for that!

We have an amazing investigator that needs help giving up smoking, he will be getting baptized on the 12th! We need your prayers!!! :) THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR SUPPORT!!!

I love you all so much!

I also love letters :) haha

If you can read chinese: 真的可以看得懂的話你應該已經把這個翻譯了到中文!! 我真的指導我們傳教士所分享的都是真實的!!我想要你們都可以一直記得我們的救主耶穌基督的贖罪我們真的可以每天進步. 我也愛你們. 那記得你可以隨時打給我們傳教士.我們都非常的樂意服務啦!!最後要記得最簡單的方法 接近神,那就是禱告看經文和教會喔. 我愛你們!!


Ge Sheng Long ZhangLao






Monday, September 23, 2013

Blessings DO follow trials



My new companion came in. THE ONE....THE ONLY...ELDERRRRR CRAPPSSSEEE!!!! Elder Crapse is the man! He is about 6 feet 8 inches...yeah...crazy...he likes to parkour and read and play chess and do athletic things haha. We have a lot of fun together! It is really great!! He is a miracle bringer! He hasn't been out very long and I learn so much from him and get strengthened everyday by is testimony and his example! I love having such a great companion!!! Here is an example of the miracles he brings with him. We are whitewashing as you all know so we don't have too much to do other then go find people to teach, but because of our hard work we are seeing a lot of success. We actually have this investigator named Yang Di Xiong. He is so amazing! He also had a hard time believing in the Book of Mormon and knowing if God existed. But after he came to Taiping Yang Di Xiong, FOUND an old Book of Mormon and decided to read it! After the first 5 pages he had this "crazy amazing feeling" and all the sudden he knew that God existed and that the Book was true! I was like...WHHHATTTT YEAH!!! It was amazing! And thank goodness Elder Crapse came and brought with him miracles! :)

So we were talking in our companionship study and he mentioned about how much time I have left...I got this SUPER sick feeling...I know that I still have over a year but it hit me that time really is flying...I really don't have THAT much time left here and it stinks...I love it here, I love the people and the language and I love helping people find this everlasting happiness! ITS SOOO GOOD!!!

Here is another SWEET story. So yesterday we were tracting (my favorite......not haha) but after we had finished we started walking back to our bikes and we walked past this garage with three guys. And one yelled "hey!!!" (just like everyone does when they see Americans here...) But this time I took it as an opportunity and so I turned around and said "hey!" We walked into this garage and introduced ourselves, asked if we could sit and talk for a sec and they said yes! They offered us beer....ciggs...and some other obviously not a good situation haha. But we just sat there and first  chatted and trued to become friends, then started to slowly and boldly share testimony and teach donctrine, At the end of it all they were still drinking but had stopped smoking around us and eating the drug nut (its called beetle nut), and they gave us their address, number and invited us back! It was SO AMAZING!!! Those are things that can and will happen ONLY on a mission! I was so grateful for the amazing blessing!

This week (today) I finally got to play pingpong!!! Thank goodness haha...and yes...I still got it ;) hahaha. We also made brownies for a sister in our district since it was her Birthday last week. It was a lot of fun and the brownies are gonna be SOOOO good!! haha. We might go out bowling later today! :) 

I don't have too much time...

I love you all so much!

Go out this week and read a talk by President Monson...any talk ;) haha HE IS AWESOME!!!

YOU ARE ALL SO GOOD Thank you so much for the support!


Ge Sheng Long ZhangLao




Sunday, September 15, 2013

Bum bum bum buuum!!!!!!


Just so you know...that bum bum bum buuuum is the sound of "the revealing!" Like at movie theaters when the movie is about to start! Why you ask? Well is it not obvious? This letter should be PACKED with me revealing stuff and fun things!! So get excited!!! 

Well lets do the big new first...I hope these emails don't get too confusing haha. Here we go.

So lets back it up a bit, 2 weeks ago I got a call "Elder Gish can you train?" I got a call 1 week ago, "Elder Gish I am sorry, your trainee got sent home early so we will wait till next move call (6 weeks later) okay?" I got a call last Monday "Elder Gish I just found out that there is going to be another missionary joining us, he is a Taiwanese missionary, can you help me train him?" I came to the training meeting on Friday "Elder Gish I have actually prepared a new young man that I need YOU to train can you help me? I will reassign to Taiwanese Elder and figure things out, but can you do that for me?"

Do you see what I am getting at here haha, these last weeks have been CRAZY for me! But here is the final news after things all evened out! I AM TRAINING, I AM WHITEWASHING, and I have recently found out (yesterday) That I am to be called as the new District leader here as well! I am SO EXCITED for all the amazing learning opportunities that I will have in these next few move calls! :) IT IS GOING TO BE INCREDIBLE!!!!! So who am I training? AN AMAZING MAN named Elder Hartshorn! He is from Texas and is so amazing! I have a LOT of favorite parts about my new son ;) haha but one I REALLY like is how he says yes sir and no sir or yes mam and no mam. It is just so....TEXAS haha. What are the other cool parts?...HE PLAYS LACROSSE! LIKE A BOSS! He played for this USA team and stuff and in college. He brought some sticks and he went out to play for exercise this morning (P-Day). IT WAS AWESOME! We have been talking about all these Lacrosse job opportunities that he knows about and was as we played he was like "oh man, you could totally do this and this and this" and I just got so excited about lax again! I need to stay focused on the work I know :) But it was just so refreshing to hold a lacrosse stick and pass around and even cooler to hear about his connections and the things we could do with lacrosse!

Okay, enough about lacrosse :) On to the more important...the gospel and the work!

Here is some SWEET news that we heard! In the...near future...:) we will be able to use FB to proselyte out here! We will be allowed to create new accounts that are our ELDER accounts but we can still add people from home and do all kind of stuff, it will be the same thing but will be us posting uplifting thoughts from studies or lessons or letting investigators post and ask us questions and all kinds of stuff like that! HOW COOL! I really got excited about the blessings that the Lord has givin' us in regards to technology!! I am super stoked to say the least!

Well this week was full of miracles! Mostly because of my companion! He is so awesome! He have only been here 3 days and because of our hard work and dedication to the Lord we have found three new investigators and helped 2 of them accept the invitation to be baptized! WOW! How the Lord blesses his servants!!! 

You know, as I think about the work and who I was before and who I am is so interesting, mostly to think how dumb I was before hahaha, but really also to think about what has become important to me, when I try to do and what I try to think about and such! It really is amazing to think about what a mission does and the blessings it brings. It really is a ONCE in a life time let me just say one more time...with all the vigor an email can bring...if you are thinking about or debating serving a mission...JUST DO IT! Put in the papers and go! Is it hard, yes, will you have days you can hardly walk and just wanna go sleep in a corner...yes, will you grow closer to your God and savior and become a BETTER you..YES! So just trust in the Lord and go. Everything else can wait!! The Lord will make everything ready for you, so if you don't want to go because of any reason just think...whose plan is or the lord? He can put that opportunity back in your path in 2 years, so just go! :)

I love you all so much!!!!!!! I have to go take care of some other duties now! Sorry if my emails start to get shorter...I have a LOT of stuff to do now...but I really do love you all!


SHINE BRIGHT! it just so scary that I am now pretty used to taking freezing cold showers? :) haha.



Monday, September 9, 2013

Trails... :( haha

So let me start of by saying sorry to everyone for last weeks lame email!! I said this one would be awesome with good pics..but when we left we were too late and missed the boat so we didn't even get to go and we wasted soooo much time...the P-Day was ALMOST a waste haha! I will fill you in from last week and this week okay?! :)

First let me clear something up...I was called to White Wash train which means that I go to an area where missionaries have never been or atleast they have not been there for a while, so it means doing missionary work from scratch in an area, no investigators or friends or anything haha. But something happened this week that really actually killed...I got a call from President two days ago...he started off by apologizing and stuff and so of course I was like...uh oh...this is how it went:

"Elder Gish, I have some bad news about next move call and I am sorry..."

"Don't worry, I'll do whatever I can to help"

"So I and my councilors last week went through and we FIRST pick who we want to be out trainers and you were one of our first, then we pray and fast and look over the list of incoming missionaries and match you up. just so happens that the young man we had matched you up with is being sent home and will not be coming out to Taiwan"

I of course responded well and everything, but it was so hard to hear! This young man that I had been praying for and fasting and preparing for doesn't even get to come to Taiwan...atleast not now...

So I WILL be whitewashing an area but I will not be training this move call. He told me that I will be training next move call and probably just staying in the area that I am going to be moving too. I was just so sad to hear about this young man being sent really was tough! So yeah...that was the start of my week, it was a little rough. But I am still excited to just go help out in anyway that I can! I don't know why he got sent home but it just makes me think about the experiences that a mission brings!! They are really once in a lifetime experiences! I love it here! I hope that every young man can have these experiences and enter into the army of God ;)  IT IS SO AWESOME!! :)

Okay so now on to other updates and such. As far as updates with investigators...we are getting a TON of new investigators and helping a lot of people! :) For right now...i'll just leave it at that and leave the BIG updates for next week haha.

But one thing I HAVE to say is I LOVE FAMILIES!! I will share this small miracle.

So I was on the road on the way back home and I was always. haha. And I stopped at this I talk to someone at EVERY LIGHT and this was going to be my first time not doing the guilt set in...I was like...shoooot....I guess I should. So in a not so good attitude I leaned over my bike and gave this guy a church track and said 'have you ever been to church? do you want to come?' Then he said..."I guess I can." Then the light turned green and he left (that usually means that they just want to get you off their back and then go haha). But guess what...HE CAME TO CHURCH!!! :) SO CRAZY!!! And then the NEXT WEEK he brought his whole family! I was so excited! We are going to be visiting them this week! I am stoked!

Okay so here we go....the part that MOST people look at this for...haha THE STORIES!

Here is one that might sound lame but was just SOOOO FUNNY.

So me and Elder Guest went on exchanges and we did this thing called ice-cream contacting where we go to McDees, get an ice cream and just chat with someone and at the end invite them to learn more (people are way more willing to talk to you when you are holding an ice cream cone haha). But anyways we bought our cones and Elder Guest tried to balance the two cones on a platter (doesn't seem too hard right?) Well it was for him haha! After about three seconds it went PLOP and one splattered all over the ground. Well because we are both young innocent foreingers they felt bad and gave us new ones. We were super embarrassed but very grateful. So we walked up stairs way more carefully and then we set our stuff down...well about 15sec later...BOOM another one PLOP...and it was his again...we laughed so hard! Like....What the heck haha it was soooo funny!

Another it comes...CAR CRASH!..what?! yup...haha. Me and my awesome friend Ryan Chen were driving together and I said Right turn! But we hard already passed the spot so OFCOURSE I turned left so that I could U-turn...but he didnt realize it so his motor-scooter and my bike...BOOM! Crashed sooo bad haha. We flew and skidded for awhile. Of course my pants and shirt were destroyed. The Bike and scooter and my friend were all fine though haha...just the Elder got demolished haha. It was pretty crazy but also funny haha. (Shannon here: are you feeling psychic? Trying for see the “funny haha” part of this.)

Oh here is another neat little story. So on the way back from an activity I stopped at a light and ill tell you what...I REALLY like to chat with younger people, around my age, just cause it is fun and easy and such. And so at this light was two scooters, one had a young man and his girlfriend (that is like my PRIME target haha) and this other guy maybe in his 30s or 40s. For some weird reason I skipped the kid and went to the older guy and guess what!? HE WAS AN OLD LESS ACTIVE MEMBER! It was crazy cause he was like "hey its almost should be home right?" I was like...what? haha how does he know we chatted and he was so awesome! He invited us over to play Majiang (Taiwanese Poker haha) with him and a bunch over his friends! We probably won't go to THAT but we WILL go talk to him :) I am excited! :)

So I will tell you what...lately I have talked to a lot of people and have been a little disappointed with friends decisions and things that I have heard about members doing...I will tell you something I heard a long time ago that is FOR SURE TRUE...the CHURCH is perfect and wonderful...however people are people and make mistakes! We gotta forgive and move on haha. One thing I have also come to realize something here...which actually stinks haha...but we have to just move on from things that have happened. All we can do is control how we react and what we do to better the situation! (I know mom and have said that a million times...haha) I just needed to experience cause I am not as Wise as some hahaha.

Well I love you all! Shine Bright!

Invite? mwahahaha don't think I forgot! Just make someone feel super good this week, make anything but make them feel special. One thing I was so sad about was when I talked to a young man this week and he felt like we was worthless and that no one thought he was special at all! No one should feel like that!

Love you!

P.S. Yes Dad...I am working out haha, I would like it though if I could get some other little things (like ideas) because I really don't have any tools to work out with...any suggestions?


Ge Sheng Long ZhangLao


Monday, September 2, 2013

Holy Cow!


I have absolutely no time!! I AM SO SORRY!!! We are going back to that Island so I will take more pics to make up for it! :) I am so sorry!

I will do a quick update and through in a cool quick story okay!

So we have an investigator that will be getting baptized on the 14th! The thing is...I WONT BE HERE TO SEE IT!

That is a good and a bad thing...ugh. GOOD: I am finally going to go see other parts of Taiwan finally! YEAHH!!!!

Bad: I won't be able to see a lot of the investigators that I found get baptized!!! So lame..:( But atleast they are getting baptized! Thats good! :)

Want to know the other cool part?..I will be White Wash Training!! If anyone doesn't know what that can ask my Dad haha. {Shannon here: I asked Harvey and his understanding is that he will be training a missionary straight out of the Missionary Training Center in an area that either has never had Latter-day Saint missionaries before or hasn’t had them there for a long time} So yeah it will be an experience! :) I am the youngest in this group of trainers so it is a little....freightening? I can't speak english... haha

I love you all so much and I am sorry for such a quick and small letter! Hopefully I will get more time later but PROBABLY not...till next week...LOVE YOU.

Shine Bright!


Ge Sheng Long ZhangLao


Image above from the Official Taiwan Taichung Mission Blog