Monday, July 27, 2015

Heavenly Father Loves His Kids

On our way to Lyji to visit Huang DX's relatives and friends:)
Awesome exchange with Sister Tan in Hualien! Love her:)
Dear Family and Friends,

This has been another huge week in the life of Sister Maddie Giles. Here are a few things that happened this week:

1- So this sweet man is one of Huang DX's relatives. He has special needs and oh my good gracious did he blow us away :) We were sitting at this pegotta and Huang DX called him over to talk to us. Then as we were talking, we realized something very special... he can beat box!! AND BREAK DANCE! He didn't break dance for us... but he did beat box with Elder Stevens. It was one of the coolest things ever :) haha 

2- This little girl is one of our MM Leader's relatives. This week he took us up to Lyji which is also ridiculously beautiful. We basically just rode around as he introduced us to all of his family and friends up there. We sang and prayed and shared scriptures and it was a blast. Sister Walker and I were talking about how that's how missionary work should be. Through the member's and just meeting all of their friends.

So this little meimei and I just bonded immediately. She would hold my hand as we walked around and play with me and just... filled my heart with joy. It was a tender mercy and i won't soon forget her. 
3- This was my favorite miracle of the week.The referral that took us to this super far part of our area was from a man we met close to our home. He referred us to his mother who he said was a very firm Christian. So we rode... and we rode... and we rode... I had not realized how far away she was. I was beginning to doubt that we would ever find this woman when at last we asked her neighbors and they led us to her. 

We entered the house and realized very quickly that this woman did not actually speak Chinese. She only spoke Taiwanese. Which neither I or Sister Walker can speak very well. So we prayed with her and sang for her and didn't really know what to do after that. Then we saw that she had a piano.

Sister Walker asked her if she played the piano, she said no and then Sister walker asked if I played. I told her I didn't really play but I could plunk a little bit. So I went over to the piano and played the classic Aloute (Sp?). We laughed and smiled and then I had a feeling that I needed to play nearer my God to thee. It's one of the 2 hymns I have memorized. haha

So I started playing and I heard a voice over my left shoulder. At first I thought it was my companion singing, but as I turned to look, I realized that this 86 year old woman was singing. I finished the hymn in pure shock. Up until this point I hadn't realized that Nearer my God to Thee was a popular Christian hymn. The Spirit was so strong and testified to me that this woman was my sister. That even though I couldn't do much to help her right now, when her time came she would be just fine. 

We then discovered that she had a hymnbook that had Taiyu in it. We took tons of pictures :) haha

4- Mom asked me about some of the things I love about Taidong. Here are just a few:  The scenery. As you can probably tell from my letter this week it's very beautiful. Also the people. They're just like Southern Americans. Very hospitable and everyone is just like family. I love this area :) I'll be so sad to leave. 
Huang DX's birthday cake:)
I know that God is our Heavenly Father and He loves his kids. I can feel him pushing me and stretching me and just letting me grow. I've been learning a lot about the Savior lately and really having to rely on him. I love this gospel and I know that it is true.

THank you for the prayers support and love. I can't believe how much love I get every week on Mondays. Thank you :)

With all my heart,
Gu Jiemei

My farming hat!
I know you can't see this spider very well but it's as big as a big person's hand! haha
Finding some very beautiful places in our area:)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Number 20 is Awesome!!!

This was how I spent my very last day as a teenager. Splashing through the puddles of Taiwan and contacting people who didn't want to talk to us. :) It was really just... glorious. And I mean that. I just... I was so happy to be a missionary. haha This picture was taken by a woman who tried to slam her door on us. But she was willing to take this picture for us :) haha 
So we were asked to sing together as a choir at a public event this week! It was pretty cool. We sang the EFY medley and it was beautiful :) I was blessed to have the opportunity to introduce our group with Elder Tang. It was a big testimony to me of how far I've come on this mission. If you had told me during my first transfer that I would be asked to introduce us missionaries at a public event... I definitely wouldn't have believed you :) haha. 
 A beautiful bike trail in Taidong!!!
Dear Family and friends,

I've had a lot of reasons to celebrate the number 20 on my mission. August 20 is the day I reported to the MTC. During my first transfer, Sister Burckle and I hit our standard of excellence for 20 member presents. Then this week I had even more reasons to celebrate... I turned 20 years old....


This is by far my loftiest goal for copies of the Book of Mormon placed. We decided we would just give it a shot. We had nothing to lose and we were pretty excited. But then this week... didn't go very smoothly and so we didn't have as much of an opportunity to place copies of the Book of mormon. So by Sunday we had placed 12. Which is  AWESOME! But that meant that we had to place 8 copies of the Book of Mormon in 1 day. Which was going to be very hard considering that we only had 3 more copies to give. PRAYER MY FRIENDS! PRAYER!

Sister Walker and I were able to get 4 copies of the Book of Mormon from our Zone Leaders and so we were at 6. Then we decided we would just bring our copies in other languages and see how things went. We had an English copy and a Vietnamese copy. 

So then last night at the concert, with all of our copies of the Book of Mormon in hand, we went searching. We talked to everyone we could and we miraculously were able to place 6! I was ecstatic! that meant for the week we had placed 18 copies of the Book of Mormon! But Sister Walker was disappointed. I was already very happy, but I wanted to help my companion.

We had to leave right away and as we were riding home, I said a prayer in my heart that we would somehow be able to place our last 2 copies of the Book of Mormon so that we could acheive our goal of 20. We had 1 Vietnamese copy and 1 Chinese copy left. We knew there was a Vietnamese restaurant on our way home and so we stopped by right as a woman was running out. She said she was very busy and didn't have time. She tried to run us over with her scooter! But we held up the Vietnamese Book of Mormon and once she saw that it was in her native language, she stopped... grabbed it... and then rode off into the dark. We had 1 more left!!

So then we rode right accross the street to one of those fried food stands and there was a very irritated woman standing there. I wasn't sure if we would be able to get our last one placed... but then the young woman working behind the counter came around and started talking with us. She was adorable! AND SHE TOOK A BOOK OF MORMON. 

So we were at 20.

20. WE were so excited and we rode home in pure jubilation. I know that God hears us. He knows we're weak. He knows our lives. He knows our every thought and feeling. I'm so thankful that he hears us. He knows our goals and dreams and ambitions. Where would we be without a loving Heavenly Father? I know He cares about us.

THE CHURCH IS TRUE! THank you for all the birthday wishes and support and just everything! I think you're all amazing :) 

Gu Jiemei

PS. My birthday was awesome. You'll never guess what I did to celebrate? Ate cake and watched the members play charades in Chinese. It was my favorite thing ever. haha So the night before my birthday Hou HZ's wife invited us over to do FHE with them and Liang (Hunter) family. I didn't really know what was going on but after our spiritual share everyone disappeared.... then I heard the singing. They sang and gave me cake and presents and cards and it was just... I felt so loved :) It was so fun. Then on the day of my actual birthday we were invited over to the bishop's house. They also gave me cake and presents :) The gave me a little bird that sings to you when you talk to it (mechanical) and they said "it's because you love to talk so much!" haha. Once again,  a sign of how far I've come on my mission. Also, There's a little dian on the corner of our street where we always talk to the workers and somehow one of the women knew it was my birthday! So she told me happy birthday! haha It caught me so off guard but it was awesome! 
Sometimes you just have to jump for joy!!! Especially on your birthday when you are in Taiwan:)
Opening the birthday package! 
Best part of all, cards and letters from family and friends!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!
Birthday party at the Bishop's house including charades and b-day cake!!
More birthday cake:) 
After the party at the bishop's house they got me good with water balloons:) haha. (A chinese tradition on birthdays and holidays)
Sam's Burger with our zone!!! 
Sister Walker and I!  We love Sams Burger:)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


One of my dreams came true this week when I got to wear the Yuanzhumin native costume:)
Puppy contacting!
I sent my first official text in Chinese this week!
Dear Family and Friends,


It's been a crazy week full of growth and change in my life. Here are a few things that happened this week:

1- We met President and Sister Jergensen(our new mission president & wife). So how it happened is we went up to Hualien for a meeting and then came back that same day. It was the weirdest thing... but when I saw Sister Jergensen for the first time it was literally like I was seeing one of my old friends from my home ward. It was really just like talking with mom :) It was the best! then we met President Jergensen. HE REMINDS ME SO MUCH OF PRESIDENT HARDING (Georgia). It was incredible. So their family did a little presentation and introduced themselves and it was the best. I could feel of their love for us and for this mission. I also can totally feel that President Jergensen is called of God. I just know it. I can feel it in my spirit.
Zone conference!!!
2-Allow me to testify for a moment of the importance of callings. So in our ward there was a primary organization but it wasn't super organized before we became a ward. This last week our Primary president and her counselors stood by the door to welcome everyone into the building and say hi to all the kids. I thought that was pretty cute... but there was more! So Liang JM (Hunter's mom) is probably the best mom ever and her kids adore her. Which is wonderful! But that is a bit of a struggle because her kids never want to leave her side. For that reason she has never gone to Relief Society. NOT EVEN ONE TIME! I had been praying a lot about how we could get her there but nothing was coming to me. But guess what?! The primary President saved the day! She was somehow able to coax Liang JM's kids away from her for the whole hour! They came in a couple times, but Liang JM got to be in Relief Society! It was such a big blessing and I was so touched that I almost cried. THANK YOU ALL OF YOU PRIMARY TEACHERS. You may not feel like your calling is important, but to this missionary you are crucial and you are helping to bring souls unto Christ.

3-The most important lesson I learned this week... the mission is a refiner's fire. Which is so good and so hard at the same time. I think I had been given a little bit of a break from trials and then this month they've all come to visit :) haha. But for some strange reason, it's exhilarating. It's almost thrilling to know that I have a new challenge ahead. I'm so excited to continue to change myself and to progress and grow. I think I'm really changing who I am and how I see myself and others. It's pretty cool being out here in Beinan because we don't really get to see other missionaries a ton. It's hard sometimes, but I think it's been a blessing for me to be able to really concentrate on what matters most.

I love this gospel. I testify that it is true and that God loves his kids.

Thank you for the love and support and prayers :)

Gu Jiemei

PS. Pres. Hou took us on an amazing pday adventure!!! Taiwan is such a beautiful and amazing place. Thanks Pres. Hou!!!
Our p-day adventure!!!
Wild Monkeys along the side of the road:)
Can't miss a picture of these guys!!!
Pres. Hou and Johnny. They are the best!!!
Sister Walker and I
Sometimes you just gotta JUMP!!!

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Beautiful Baptism & Playing the Yuanzhumin Drums

Two smiley Sisters:)
So we were riding along in the heat of the day when on the side of the road I saw this young girl on a bike. Then I noticed her shorts... SHE'S #10. SHE'S A YELLOW #10.  I immediately pulled over and talked to her. It was so fun. I think she was super confused to why this American girl felt so connected to her... but the connection between yellow #10s is really deep in my book. haha :) Mom note: (for those who don't know, Maddie's club soccer team wore yellow uniforms and she was #10:)
It's always time for ice cream!!!
Dear Family & Friends,

Here are a few hi-lights from this week:

1- Hunter's Baptism was awesome! THERE WERE A MILLION PEOPLE THERE.

 All large events are super stressful as a missionary because basically you're just running around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to talk to everyone and make everyone feel welcome and loved and the spirit and such. But luckily we have an awesome ward who took pretty good care of our investigators who came! Chen jiating (our neighbor and her daughter) all came to the baptism! It was a miracle! They were pretty confused about why our baptism was the way it was and so we're working on helping them understand that we do baptism the same was Jesus was baptized. 

The baptism service was beautiful. Hunter's mom shared about how she knew so strongly that Heavenly Father loved her son. He had sent Elder Forbes all the way to Taiwan to help him be baptized :) She cried and it was very beautiful. Sister Walker and I also sang the song Follow the Prophet because it's Hunter's favorite. We also took the liberty of using the cups and hitting them in rhythm to the song. It was really fun :)

After Hunter was baptized he went up and bore his testimony. He simply and sweetly bore of the power of the Spirit in helping him. It was the best.
Family & friends at Hunter's baptism
Sister Giles & Hunter
2- Seminary Graduation. This year Taidong had one young man graduate from Seminary. It was super cool and so we threw him a gigantic party! There was singing and dancing and jokes and... SOCCER! It was so much fun to be able to kick around even if it was just for a few minutes. I also got to play the Yuanzhumin drums. It was so much fun. haha We had a blast just bonding with our ward. It's so fun to be a part of building the foundation of the church here. I think back to my seminary graduation and there were at least 300 kids. One day Taiwan will have that too. I'm sure of it :) 
Soccer at seminary graduation!  PERFECT:)
Playing the Yuanzhumin drums!
Practicing before the performance:)
3- Trip to Luye: This week we went to Luye. So the ye in Luye is the same ye in Kuangye (wilderness). From the picture you can see why :) haha. But we went to Luye with the Elders and it was awesome. There's one family that lives up there that makes up the entire Young Women's program so Sister Walker and I really wanted to make it a point to go up there, but it's hard because it's pretty dang far away. But we made the effort to get up there and it was awesome :) Then just yesterday all the girls got up and bore their testimonies :) It was the best thing ever. I really have been trying to gain relationships with them so that they can then help our investigators and it was so sweet to see their testimonies blossoming right before our eyes. I have SO MUCH FAITH in the youth of Taiwan.
Luye is in the country and is so green and beautiful!!!
Visiting with our amazing Young Women and their family in Luye:)
4- We went to the beach on P-day and it was magical. I've always loved the beach, and I think that is one of the reasons God let me serve on this beautiful island :) It always just fills my spirit up with love and peace and joy and... ya :) I know God loves his kids.

This week was filled with all kinds of events and many things that kept me very busy. I was very thankful :) I know that God loves us. He sent me some rain today :) I'm thankful to be on a mission. I'm thankful to be in Taidong. I know the church is true.

Gu Jiemei
It's always so great to be with the Hou Family. It was also awesome to have Elder Forbes and his wife come for the baptism of Hunter:)