Monday, November 24, 2014

3 Months Out & Dunkin Donuts

We love packages:)
Cute Sister Campbell who took Maddie a maple donut and some things to warm her up:)
This week was amazing and miracle filled (No surprise there), but also very humbling. I truly recognized how little I know this week. How small I am in comparison to this big picture that the Lord has. But at the same time, I've become exceptionally aware of his love for each of his children. He trusts us 19-21 year old kids to go and preach the gospel... and it works! The church must be true :)

Well I hit my 3 month mark this week. 3 MONTHS?! I really am so astounded. That means I've been here in Dunwoody for over a month. Shenme Dongxi? I still feel like I just got here. I'm so thankful for the urgency I have felt here for the past few weeks. I've been able to work really hard and get so much done so that I'll be able to have no regrets before I head out to Taiwan :) As we were praying last night as a companionship, I was saying the prayer and thanked Heavenly Father for our ability to work hard... I sat there for a minute and thought about that. 

"Isn't working hard a choice?" I thought. Well of course it is. But sometimes things happen that don't allow us to work as hard like sickness, or distraction, or other issues. Sister Burckle and I have been very blessed by Heavenly Father to be able to work hard here in Dunwoody and not have those issues.

We once again acheived our goal of having 20 member present lessons :) The members have been incredibly helpful in helping us achieve this goal, but also within the individual lessons. We've had a couple of different situations come up this week with investigators that Sister Burckle and I had no idea how to handle, but because of certain experiences that the members had they were able to relate and help hasten this work. It was amazing!!
So much rain this week!!! I love it. It reminds me that Heavenly Father loves me :)
One of our favorite people:)
K- This woman is one of my favorite people in the world. Sister Echols and I met her when we accidentally parked in her parking spot. I got out of the car to back Sister Echols up  (Standard Missionary procedure) and I went over and offered her a Nativity card. (We're having an activity at our church building with a live nativity and lots of standing nativities and music and it's just going to be amazing! Anyways...) K doesn't really like organized religion. She's been to a couple different churches and just had some terrible experiences with them. So she's hesitant to jump into anything. But! She came to Sacrament meeting a couple weeks ago! It was so wonderful to have her there! Then in Sacrament meeting the speakers talked about things that K had mentioned that she had a problem with! #tendermercy. We called K and set up another appointment with her and she agreed to meet us at Dunkin Donuts for a chocolate run :) It was awesome.

While we were there, we're pretty sure she was going to drop us. She asked us what our church's mission statement was (Which I guess is a pretty common thing here in the South?) and I told her what our purpose as missionaries was. She said, "That sounds nice, but I've heard all that before." I honestly didn't know what to say. Sister Burckle followed up with some solid testifying and then we asked K some questions. We wanted to know how her other church experiences were. As we sat and listened she really opened up to us about how she felt... and something changed. Sister Burckle and I have tried pinpointing what we said that changed her mind, but we have no idea. Looking back now, we know it's because the Spirit was there, testifying of truth, working through two young girls to bring someone unto Christ. But K changed her tune. We ended up offering her a Book of Mormon and a Restoration pamphlet and she almost started crying. She said she was so grateful to have that and she knew that God was trying to teach her something. We were able to set up another appointment with her :)
K is seriuosly just such a bright light. She can see truth and I know that she is going to accept this gospel when the time is ready and she comes to know that it is true.

He gave me my first referral for Taiwan!!!
This man's name is S.  You'll never guess where he's from... Taiwan! :) haha I heard him and two other people speaking Mandarin in Dunkin Donuts after we said goodbye to K and so I went up and said hello. They were very surprised that I knew Chinese and S asked me about our church and where we were from and everything. He knows the musical the Book of Mormon and thought it was so funny... ha. We always carry copies of the Book of Mormon with us and so we were able to give him one right then and there. Then I told him that I had a Chinese one in the car and he said he would love that. We ran to our car and ended up giving him both of the BOM! It was awesome. And then he said this, "I have a brother in Taiwan, he's very religious. When you get there you should go find him. Here's my number. Call me and I'll give you his address so you can talk to him." 


Sometimes we have to be a little crazy. I bought a tiger shirt & Sis Burckle bought a cat shirt:) haha
 I love you all. Thanks so much for all the love and support!!! Georgia is amazing and the members take such good care of the missionaries:) Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Gu Jiemei

Monday, November 17, 2014


The fountain in front of our apartment froze this week
Well it has been a week FILLED with miracles here in Dunwoody :)

This week... ... WE HAD 20 MEMBER PRESENT LESSONS! Yep. It was amazing. We really consecrated our efforts and did EVERYTHING in our power to accomplish this goal. Let me tell you some of the miracles that came from having Members present in our lessons.
More amazing members!!! Sister Evans & Ann
Firstly, let's talk about "S"(Not really her name, but I do know someone named S... anyways...). S is really hard to get a read on. We set appointments with her, but EVERY time we go over there she says she has to get ready for work and can't really talk. This last time we went over with a member from our ward, Sister Shirling. S pulled the same routine about having to go to work and blah blah blah. We asked if we could at least come in and say a prayer with her. (Prayer really is the key to getting into people's doors here in the South haha). She agreed and we were let into her doorway. Sister Burckle and I were talking about prayer and revelation and help from God and doing our thing. Sister Shirling would comment every now and then and it was really awesome! Then we said a prayer with S. As we were leaving, Sister Shirling said "Make sure you're specific in your prayers honey." Half an hour later, we got a call from S. This was super cool because, to my knowledge, she's never called the missionaries before. We answered and she asked if she could talk to Sister Shirling. We handed the phone off and Sister Shirling ended up talking with her about prayer for 15 minutes!! IT WAS AMAZING! MEMBERS HAVE ALL THE POWER!
Our neighbor won at Bingo and brought us Eggo Waffles and plantains:)
Another Member present miracle was the C family. We had met them last week and let me tell you... it was like being in an episode of the District. They gathered their children and came and listened and answered all the questions and asked their own questions and just... yes! It's exactly how I imagined missionary work would be! So they're Spanish speakers and so we thought it would be super awesome to find someone who spoke Spanish to come with us. Little did we know... :) God had so much in store. So we had an appointment with them yesterday and had set up a team up with Sister Rea. She speaks Spanish and is one of the cutest people I know. We knew she would just be perfect. So we were running around like crazy people yesterday when we got a call from C. He said that he and his family were leaving for the night and told us to not come over. I turned to Sister Burckle and we both knew we HAD to see them. So we asked if we could at least come over and pray with them before they left. He said that would be ok. So we called Sister Rea and asked her how soon she could be there. Turns out she was already on her way (Awesome!). So we got there, sprinted out of our car. Prayed with Sister Rea really fast, then went and knocked on the door. Their house looks kind of scary from the outside, but then you go inside. I have never felt the Spirit so strongly in a non-members home. It was amazing! You could tell that they really love each other. The house was clean. It is a place of peace. So we went inside and sat on the couch. We knew they didn't have much time so we started asking if they had read the pamphlet. We brought them a Spanish one and gave it to them along with a Spanish BOM. Then Sister Rea comes in. We had been testifying in English for a while and then all of a sudden she flipped a switch and took control. I don't understand much Spanish, but oh my goodness... what I did understand was one of the most beautiful testimonies I have ever heard. She told them powerfully of how this gospel had helped her family. It reminded me of a quote from Elder Scott. I don't remember all of it, but basically he talks about how the Spirit speaks to us best in our native language. I can testify that this is true. I know that C truly felt the Spirit. And the rest of their family as well :) Sister Rea nailed it. Then as we were walking out we set up a return appt. Sister Rea asked us if she could come. SHE ASKED US IF SHE COULD COME WITH US! :) Wha?! It was such a tender mercy.
We finally made it to Chinatown this week with Sister Woodruff:)
This last one is probably my favorite. Let me set the scene for you... It's about 6:25. It's late. It's dark. Sister Burckle and I are at 19 member presents. We only need one more and we have less than 2 and a half hours to do it. We had an appointment, but our team-up cancelled on us. So we called probably 5 different members of the ward. We were lost as to what to do. Then we thought of the Womble's. They're an older couple and they have recently submitted their misison papers. We called Brother Womble and asked him if he felt like Superman today. He said he's always super man and asked us where we needed him :) haha. So we gave him the address and waited. And waited. And waited. At 7:00 we call him and he says he's on his way. We wait. We wait. We sing hymns. We wait. We get nervous. We wait. We realize that Brother Womble and his wife are lost. 4 phone calls and another half hour later, we see a black truck pulling up. We get out and greet them excitedly. We decided that we weren't going to visit J anymore. Her neighbor's name is L. She's from China and she's been here for a few years. We met her on Tuesday and she is the cutest Chinese woman you'll ever meet.  I love her so much. When we met with her the first time, she ended up giving me the entire bible on tape to help me learn Chinese. She wouldn't let me leave without it! So we decided we would take the Wombles to visit her. On our way in I explained our plan. We were going to sing with her, pray with her, and get a return appointment. It was a very exciting thing :) haha We knocked on her door and as soon as she saw me she said 'COME IN COME IN!' She was very excited. We talked a while in Chinese and I was able to give her a copy of the Living Christ in Chinese (thank you MTC!). She said she wasn't Christian but she knew who Jesus Christ was. Then we sang for her. We sang How Great Thou Art. 

Now to make sure you understand, let me tell you what this looks like.... It's been raining outside so here we all are, wet, and bundled up in lots of clothes. You've got the Wombles, two tall African Americans, who are belting out this hymn, you've got me singing Alto, Sister Burckle singing Soprano, and then L following along in broken English. I have never heard anything more beautiful. It was powerful. As we were leaving, Brother Womble asked me to translate for him. He told L that he felt like he had found his lost sister. THE CHURCH IS TRUE!! :) I know that The Lord lives. He is aware of EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US. He knows where we are and what we need. I love you all and I hope you are having a great day.

Members have the power. They are the key to getting into doors and getting into hearts. Every member is a missionary. I encourage each of you to do 1 thing this week to help the missionaries in your area. They will be so thankful and the Lord will bless you sooo much.
All my love

Gu Jiemei

Monday, November 10, 2014

Craziest Week of My Entire Life and My Entire Mission

This is what I do during language study time. I'm teaching my investigator "Bite" (pronounced Beetah or Peter in English:) He's a good listener!
Missionaries serving in the Dunwoody ward.
Oh my Heavens,
This may have been the craziest week of my entire life and my entire mission. So much was learned and testified and taught and... just yes!

Ok so... where to begin?! haha I might just have to make a gigantic stream of consciousness in list form.

Tuesday was Zone training! WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW! Just let me tell you that it was amazing. Going to the temple was the best! The only sad part was that seeing all the other Sisters in their own temple clothes made me really miss my temple dress. But guess what?! Sister Burckle has the same temple dress as me! #tendermercy

Zone training is basically a big pep rally. It was sooo much fun to be with other missionaries and president and get interviewed by him. He's a fantastic man. He's very straightforward but probably the most loving guy you'll ever meet. It was awesome to talk with him one on one. I really feel like one of his missionaries, not a Visa waiter. 

Wednesday we went on exchanges. I got to go with Sister Alofipo. She's just the nicest person. She took such good care of me. Seriously. God gave me this opportunity to come to Georgia for many reasons, but she and the other companions I have had, are big ones. She teaches with power and clarity. Sometimes I feel like I say too much, but she really showed me how to be concise and powerful. It was a huge blessing.
Exchanges with Sister Alofipo
-Sister Echols was emergency transferred. She was sooo excited when she found out where she was going. There was much screaming and rejoicing. We found out that she was leaving on Thursday night and then she was transferred on Saturday. It was a really emotional/weird/unexpected/crazy thing for many reasons:

1. I found out that I would be staying in Dunwoody. (Isn't Dunwoody just the most fun name you've ever heard?) This is significant for a couple other reasons. *I've only been in the mission field for 2 1/2 weeks. *This meant that I would be taking over this area and getting a new companion. 

2. I found out that my new companion is a Traveling Sister Training Leader. This basically means that she's the equivalent to an AP here. Her name is Sister Burckle and she's awesome.

3. When I said goodbye to Sister Echols it meant that I wouldn't be seeing her until I came back from Taiwan.

I honestly can't describe how inadequate I felt when I found out that I would be taking over Dunwoody. Sister Echols did a lot of things to help prepare the area for when she left, but it's still a crazy thing. On Saturday night I was feeling especially discouraged and I was really questioning my abilities. I had just gotten my new companion and she was so full of faith and she's just a simply incredible person. I couldn't understand why I was in charge of this area. I was comparing myself to other missionaries and I just... wasn't feeling too good. So I was praying a lot to just find some peace. To know why this was happening. To know if I could do this. Then Sunday came...


-K came to church. We met her at her apartment complex because we accidentally parked in her parking space. I got out of the car to back up Sister Echols and we ended up talking to her for like 30 minutes. She's had some bad experiences with churches, but she was willing to try again. She's just a bright light. She's a very tall very big very strong black woman and she's just so beautiful. :) haha But she came to church!! She even called us Sunday morning to tell us that she was coming! It was amazing. We sat next to her and Sister Burckle did an awesome job of explaining what was happening and all of that good stuff. The only bad thing was that we were sitting in front of a very loud younger family. The Spirit was still strong... but that was a little rough :) haha. Sweet K pulled out her phone halfway through the meeting and I was a little disappointed, but then I looked over and I realized that she was recording the talks! How cool is that? And what's even cooler is that the speakers were talking about things that we had talked to K about when we very first met her! (Mainly a personal relationship with God) It was such a tender mercy!

-A.  This is definitely going to be one of my favorite mission stories. So Sister Burckle and I were in the chapel mingling with the ward when someone ran in and said "Sisters!!! Sister Wood needs you RIGHT NOW!" So we ran out into the hall. Sister Wood pointed down the hall and was speaking to us. I honestly only picked up the words Catholic, Here, Meeting, Go. So we ran in the direction she pointed and found this woman named A. She looks very similar to Professor Umbridge from Harry Potter except with blonde hair. She was asking someone where to go when we walked up and the woman she was with said that we could help her. So we got to talking and found out that her husband is catholic and she grew up catholic. She's seen some commercials about the church and has some cousins that are LDS. She said that she thinks the church just looks so lovely (She literally said the word lovely 50 times when we were with her. It was the best) so she thought she would attend. Apparently she had heard that sacrament meeting was over and was about to leave when we found her. We went to Gospel Essentials class and we introduced her and Sister Burckle to everyone. We were talking about a story from the bible and A just began to raise her hand and comment. WHAT?! It was the best! Then we were walking to relief society and she was talking to EVERYONE. Introducing herself and her story and just yes! Then we were in relief society and she thanked everyone who spoke for sharing their testimonies. She wrote down all of the activities on this little piece of paper and she's looking forward to coming! Then I looked at her piece of paper and saw this written there "READ THE BOOK OF MORMON". SHE WROTE READ THE BOOK OF MORMON ON HER TO DO LIST!! What?! Can you say golden?! Sister Burckle and I just kept looking at each other in awe. The only problem is that A doesn't seem to understand why we would need to come in and teach her. I'm not too worried about her though :) She's planning on being an active member already, so I think with time everything else will come. haha
My new companion, Sister Burckle
-Tawianese RM. So we were in the hall after church and this man walked by from the YSA he looked at my nametag and took a step back. He asked me if I spoke Chinese and then how the ball rolled! haha We were sitting there chatting about where he served his mission when he got back and yadda yadda yadda. It was aewsome! He asked me how long I'd been out and I told him about 3 weeks. He said my Chinese was really good for basically just coming from the MTC. He was very nice :) haha

-I got to talk to Sister Beaver (Taiwanese member) on the phone! She's such an awesome woman. I told her I was sorry that we couldn't meet up on Sunday but we spoke almost entirely in Chinese on the phone and I could understand! My grammar is suffering a lot here on the mission so it was good to get to practice with her :)

-We met the Ward clerk for the first time. HE IS LIKE A NINJA! OH my heavens! We went through the ward directory with him and he basically just gave us all of this super valuable information about people who we need to visit. It was so nice to have that info. since Sister Burckle and I are new here.

So I think that's just about everything :) haha. I want you all to know how much I love you. Being out here has blessed my life so much and I know that I'm becoming a better person every passing hour. I miss you all and I can't wait to see you soon ;) This church is true. Jesus Christ is our Savior. He lives and loves us.
Gu Jiemei
Sister Giles
The cute Kashima Family

The Aspers, some of my favorites!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Georgia is absolutely beautiful at this time of year!!!
Dear Family & Friends,

BEING A MISSIONARY IS THE BEST. I pretty much feel that I could end my email there and have expressed everything I need to... but naturally I must share more. 

This week was full of a lot of Georgia firsts:

-So the procedure for tracting here is to tell people that we represent Jesus Christ and then ask them if they will pray with us. (This would never work in Taiwan... haha) Most people are very open to it. They just love Jesus Christ down here! It's awesome. So we've done this a few times, but this week was the first time that I experienced my first Southern Baptist hand-holding prayer. I had heard tell of the legends... but this was the first time I had actually experienced it. We knocked on this one woman's door and she came out in her fluffy blue robe. We told her we would like to pray with her and she said yes and then held out her hands. Sister Echols immediately grabbed her hand, but I had a Book of Mormon, Planner, and a pencil in my hand... so I put my stuff in my bag as fast as I could but I forgot my pencil. So I ended up holding the pencil in my mouth, holding hands in this small circle, and listening to Sister Echols pray. It was fantastic.

-I saw my first Dead possum on the side of the road! I'm told this is kind of a rite of passage.

-I met my first Georgia hoarder. She was just the nicest woman :) But it took everything in me not to channel my inner mom and clean her whole house.

-I canned chicken for the first time! And I used my first pressure cooker! We did this with a classic southern belle from our ward and she's the best. We love her so much and she takes good care of us. She's going through a divorce right now, so we make sure we share a lot of love with her whenever we get the chance.

-I talked to my first Taiwanese person! When we go to the farmer's market (Which we've done a couple times now) I usually talk to people from the mainland. But I found out last week that a woman in one of our neighboring wards is from Taiwan! So I got her number, called her, and we set up a time to meet at the church on Sunday. She talked to me a lot about how important it will be to focus on the accent once I get to Taiwan. Next week we're going to meet again and I'm going to try and share a short gospel message with her. I love Taiwanese people!

I had to let everyone know that I got to speak Chinese today for the first time in Georgia!!
We've got some pretty fantastic investigators.

Dale- Well we met Dale on the day where no one was opening their doors. He was riding his bike when he saw us and he yelled out "Hey are y'all Jehovah's Witnesses?" Sister Echols and I ran over there and explained who we were and what church we were from. He told us how impressed he was with our church and our values. We're required to carry Books of Mormon everywhere we go in this mission and so when he saw the one I had in my hands he said "Yes I think I have that book!" He told us that he was thinking about moving to Utah because he is just so confused by the world around him. He doesn't like that all of the morals he loves are being thrown out the window. We gave him our card and set up an appointment for Tuesday of this coming week. He seems pretty well prepared and I'm really excited to see him again :)

Robert- We met Robert right after I had my first hand-holding prayer. He was my second hand-holding prayer. What a special bond we now share. haha. But Robert is a very tall, very skinny, African American man. He's missing some teeth and he's very hard to understand sometimes. But we love him. He told us that he feels like he needs to find himself spiritually at this time. We set up an appointment to come over the next day. But we realized that we didn't have a team-up (Member present) ready. When we teach single men we have to have another responsible woman there. So we were calling and calling and no one was answering their phones and we were getting a little worried that we would have to reschedule our appointment with him. Then I thought back to Sunday. I had seen a very cute young couple come into the chapel and I felt prompted that we needed to team up with the wife. I asked Sister Echols if she had every come out with us before and she said that her name was Sister Moore and that she had come out with us a lot. So I thought back to that prompting and we called her. She normally has work, but we called her anyway and she answered and could come! It was a miracle! So she came with us to go visit Robert. We taught him the Restoration and he seemed pretty receptive! He doesn't understand it all yet, but we're seeing him again this week. He's the best.

So this week we had a whole day where not one person answered the door. We knocked on dozens of doors but no one came. But that does not stop this work from progressing. In our misison we're required to make 40 phone calls a day. We have an old phone and there are just lots of random contacts in there. So we've been using this to our advantage. We've been calling literally every name in the list and we've actually gotten a lot of appointments from it! :) haha A lot of them are former investigators and we literally don't know anything about them. But hey! We're called to find lost sheep however we can. 

Our ward is super diverse. We've got a lot of older single adults and a lot of young families and a lot of older families... so basically everyone is here :) Our ward is made up of a ton of converts and that really helps strengthen my faith. Sometimes you wonder if people are really going to drop everything they know and join this church, but as I see the faith of these members, I have little doubt. A lot of them also said that it took them a long time to join the church. That's something that is hard for me. haha. 

Ancient Chinese Honey Bee Potion from Sister Woodruff:)
This week we had our mission-wide call which is basically a gigantic conference call where the mission president speaks to us. (Isn't technology amazing?!) I honestly don't remember many of the words that were said, but I will tell you this it filled me with an urgency I haven't experienced since High School soccer ended. haha I realized that I only have 1 transfer here. 1 TRANSFER!! That's 6 weeks. That's the blink of an eye!! I realized how much work I have to do and it lit a fired in me. I'm so excited. One of the things President said is that our mission has a goal to have 250 baptisms by New Years. That means that every companionship has to have 1 baptism, and some have to have 2 before then. I am very determined to see someone enter the waters of baptism while I am still here in Georgia. I have faith that the Lord can make it happen. 

Fun things:
There's a woman in our ward who looks just like a character from the Help. I love her. We had an instant connection and I just want to carry her around with me every day :) haha

Tell Leasa that I got to use my work skills out here! We have to take very careful records of our car miles and gas and etc. and there was a mistake on the sheet somewhere. My companion couldn't figure it out so she gave it to me. Thank goodness I had been practicing this for 6 months before my mission ;) I was able to find the mistake and make it work! (No whiteboard required ;)) Also tell Leasa that I miss her and love her so much. 

We had to say goodbye to Sister Hawkins this week. It was very sad :( She's amazing. A cool experience we got to have with her was singing! She's very talented and one night she taught us her arrangement of Sweet Hour of Prayer. It was awesome! We did 3 part harmony and ended up singing it for one of our member's baptist neighbors. They just loved it! She's in Brazil now and we love her.

Awesome companions!!!
Alright well I'd better get going. I want to testify that I know this church is true. Being out on a mission has tested that knowledge a lot, but there is nothing sweeter than the peace this gospel brings. That will never change :)  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Only through Him can we receive Eternal Life. I know that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. He truly saw Jesus Christ and God our Father. I love Joseph Smith because he asked questions and received answers. That is how this church was restored and because of that we can each ask questions and receive answers. Heavenly Father hears our prayers. He loves us infinitely.
Thank you for all of the prayers and support.
Gu Jiemei