Monday, August 31, 2015

Temple Tours & So Much More!!!

Me and my two cute babies:) Sister Johnson and Sister Fenlaw. One big happy family!!!
This is just one of our greatest pictures...helmets, soaking wet , rain ponchos, the whole deal:)
A better picture of Sister Fenlaw and I!!
Dear Family and Friends,

It's been an incredible week for the Xinan B Sisters!!

Monday we got to go on exchanges. Guess who I got to serve with? My dear sweet Wu Jiemei :) (Maddie's trainer) It was such an amazing blessing at such an important time for me. We got to teach together and really just see how much we've both changed. It was amazing. I love that girl. She has changed my mission and my life. Something Wu JM has always been good at is helping me to remember my potential. I think when I get into the habit of things in missionary work it's harder for me to remember how important what I'm doing is. But Wu JM helped me to get right back on track. It's also fun because we've served in all the same areas! haha :) We got to talk for a long time and it was so spiritually refreshing. We talked a lot about the Atonement and how to apply it. We talked about the Spirit and how as missionaries we often follow the Spirit without recognizing it. We talked about our fears about going home and just... it was so nice to talk about everything. She's good about telling me very directly what to do :) I love her :) haha

Tuesday was district meeting and I really loved it. The elder who prepared our District Meeting really did a good job and I felt the Spirit and have thought about it a lot since then. The bad part? After District Meeting we had a plan to go to a place for English Boarding and... being new to this area... I lead us to a really far away and inconvenient place. And then the dinner plans we had also failed... haha Go team Sister Giles failure! But I'm learning :) haha

Wednesday was our temple tours! So actually neither of us have been trained on it... so we just kind of went and prayed for help! haha WE were able to give our first tour to a family from Utah! They were back to visit their missions. It was really cool. As we were giving this tour I got emotional. I realized that I rarely get emotional on the mission while doing spiritual shares or things but during this tour it got me! Talking about the temple has a whole new meaning for me since it's been a while since I've gone :) I miss it so much, but I'm so happy to be so close to it where we serve now :) 
Doing our first Temple Tours at the Taipei Temple
Just a little about the ward I'm serving in now. We are in one of the oldest wards in Taiwan. (Another stark contrast from where I just came from :) haha the newest ward to the oldest!) So it's a lot bigger than what I"m used to, but it's really nice having lots of members to work with. Our ward members are awesome. We attended ward council last week and it was just super awesome and inspiring. Our bishop has a very big personality and I can't wait to get to know him and his family more. There are a lot of young men and young women and I can't wait to get started working in there :)

One other great thing about this week...There are a million prepared people!! Seriously... we've been having some really high quality lessons this past week and it's just like we're meeting lots of people who are ready for this :)

The skyscraper in the back is called Taipei 101 and is one of the world's most amazing skyscrapers:)
This mango ice cream is a must when in Taiwan!!!
Coco's another must in Taiwan!!! We have to do something to stay cool:)
The rest of the week was also super awesome... I can't remember all the things and I'm running out of time real fast. But know that I'm changing. I'm growing. I'm thankful for this past month. It has been nothing like I expected it to be, but its' everything that the Lord knows I need. I'm thankful for this gospel and I know that God loves us and knows us individually. The Church is TRUE.

I love you all!  Thanks again for all the prayers, love and support!!!
Gu Jiemei

One of the signs of being an old missionary. My Book of Mormon on the left and Sister Fenlaws on the right:)
Another sign of being an old missionary. Mine on the left and hers on the right:)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Go Team Jesus!!!

Sister Fenlaw and I and our cute roommates, Sister Branch & Sister Aldous
Dear Family & Friends,
Life in the big city is wild!!! haha. Here are a few things that happened this week:

1- We met Phoebe when we were sitting at a bus stop eating ice cream during lunch. I invited him to English class and he was super excited. Then we asked if we could pray and he was super excited. Then we gave him a Book of Mormon and he was super excited. He was like our little superman! He said an awesome prayer and made Sister Fenlaw and I super excited. He told us he already had a bible at home. We proceeded to ask if we could come over and share a message with him. He said his parents would be super upset. I was a little confused about that and asked, "then why does your family have a bible?" he said, "it's not my parents, it's my personal bible." How cool is this kid?! He told us he would definitely read the Book of Mormon and we're hoping to see him at that bus stop again later! He wasn't able to set up because of his parents, but once again... I HAVE SO MUCH FAITH IN THE TAIWANESE YOUTH!! :)

This is Phoebe. He is amazing:)
2-One of our finest adventures of the week started when Sister Fenlaw got her bike, (which is a miracle:) The problem? It had no pedals. But no worries... we can put on pedals ourselves! The problem? We broke the pedals trying to put them on by ourselves. The next problem? We don't know where a bike store is. The solution? Asking strangers on the street! They directed us to the college campus bike shop. The next problem? We needed to completely by a new specialize part. So we headed off again following strangers and my new-found sense of direction. The next problem? We don't actually know our area's boundaries... The solution? Calling the APs (who work in our area) . Problem? They didn't answer. The next solution, JUST PRAY AND PRAY AND PRAY. So... FINALLY, at 3:45 we found a bike shop that had the part we were looking for. The miracle occurred as we were walking around the back of the shop we found this beautiful canal :) Tender mercy.

This was the beautiful miracle of the day!
This was when I was done with this very long day:) haha.
3-As we were getting ready for church all of a sudden everything just got really loud. I was really confused and then realized that a downpour of precipitation had just erupted! But... we still had to ride to church! haha so rain ponchos only cover part of us. haha. Really we just swam to church. haha. We were drenched by the time we got there. haha. Never a dull moment in Taiwan

Here is what I looked like when I got to church:)
4-My companion and I felt prompted to go to the very outskirts of our area. There was no one there, not for blocks and blocks. I told my companion,  "I'll follow you":). So we go to this back corner of an apartment complex in the middle of no where when I said "We gotta turn around" We go back to a house and ring the doorbell. A cute little Filipino lady answers the door. between a mixture of English and Chinese we convey to her who we are and that God sent us here to talk to her and to remind her that she is not alone and he remembers her and is watching over her. She immediately starts crying. Explains to us that she hasn't seen her family in years, the lady she works for won't allow her to go to church. but that she knows God. She then offered the longest Tagolog prayer I have ever heard. She has a Tagolog and English Book of Mormon and has begun reading faithfully everyday. There would have been no other way to meet her because she is only allowed out of the home of the lady she works for to take her to doctors appointments but I know for sure God led us there that day. 

5-This week we met so many prepared people we set 9 baptismal dates.... 2 of which were in our area. I have met more prepared people in the last week than I have in the rest of my entire mission" the thing is... we would love to find more prepared people in Xin An (Sheen Ann) area. We are all team Jesus so all the baptismal commitments we have our wonderful we would just love the opportunity to teach these people and communicate God's love to them and then be allowed to continue teaching them :)

Mission life never ceases to amaze me!!! This week I've learned that the Lord's ways are higher than my ways. I don't think we've had one plan go smoothly this week. But we've still seen miracles:) 

I love my companion:) Sister Fenlaw has an enduring good attitude. No matter what happens, she always can find a reason to smile or help me not feel so stressed. She's also a hard worker. We also have very similar senses of humor so we've been spending a lot of time just laughing :)
Cute Sister Fenlaw always has a smile on her face:)
Thanks so much for all the love and support!!! Please keep praying for us:)
Gu Jiemei

Sister Aldous after our morning mud frisbee game:) haha

The sign of a missionary who served in Taidong over the summer:) That is my tan line from my watch!

We scared our roommates good this morning:)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Taidong to Taipei is Like Going From PG to NYC:)

Our new bishop invited us over for dinner at his restaurant when he heard I was leaving. He insisted that I eat chicken foot. Guess what?  It was really good!!! haha.
Here's what it looked like before I ate it:)
The sweet Liang Family!!!
My last visit with the Lin Family
Saying goodbye to Chen Zhuo 
All the Taidong Sisters!!!
My last picture with Zhang JM. She was my first friend in our branch in Taidong. She was my companion every Friday before Sister Johnson came. She's one of the most amazing members I've ever worked with and I will never forget her :)
My last picture with Hou HZ before I left Taidong!
Saying goodbye to my boyfriend:) For some reason he really likes me. haha
Sister Walker braided my hair this week!  It was awesome:)
Dear Family and Friends,

A few things from this week:

1- So in our mission we do this thing called Babysitting on the first night that the new missionaries arrive
in Taiwan.... 

All of the trainers are randomly assigned to a trainee and then you go out on the streets of Taipei to find! It was so fun and took me right back to my first day. I got to go out with Sister Bayne. (baine?) She was so sweet and willing to put herself out there. I really admire all of the new missionaries. I think they're so courageous! It's awesome to be a part of this mission. 

We saw many miracles! Not one of the least of which was running into a family full of members! They asked us where we were from and once we got to talking we realized that their oldest daughter had actually served with one of our member's in Zhubei! Then their other daughter was preparing to go on a mission! It was a sweet tender mercy for me to see members in this big unfamiliar land of Taipei :) haha
Sister Bayne and I with this family of members:)
2- My new companion is Sister Christina Fenlaw she is from Sandy, Utah. She is awesome!!! We are in Xinan.... I literally have broken into hysterical laughter about that every day since we've been here. It is the EXACT opposite of Taidong. I went from the least populated area to one of the MOST populated. We are in the very center of Taipei. So we are re-opening an area that was formerly had by Elders. So... kind of whitewashing? We are serving in the same ward that the APs are in. Also the same ward that Wu JM was in right before she got made temple sister. So far Wu JM has already served in all of my areas :) haha  Taipei is like New York City and Taidong is like... a small town in Kansas. Everyone knows everyone in Taidong and most people don't know their neighbors here in Taipei. Everything is very american here and very Taiwanese down in Taidong. It's a BIG change:) haha.
Sister Fenlaw and I!! Hot, sweaty, tired and dirty after our first day together:)
Elder Bellingham from my MTC district is also training right now! So here we are with our cute companions:)
3- Here's a cool miracle from this week...

So last night we had 30 minutes to find. It was with faith that we set the goal of 3 lessons and 4 copies of the BOM. We pulled over to the street that my companion had selected and as we opened our eyes after our prayer there was absolutely no one there... it was really so strange. haha but we started walking. We didn't see immediate results. We got rejected a lot. I was starting to worry,  but we just kept finding. And do you know what happened? We had 3 lessons. and we placed 4 copies of the Book of Mormon!

There was one couple who told us that they really didn't need the Book of Mormon in their life. I then testified that I know that even though our lives are going good now, there will be trials and challenges. I told them that I hope that when their day of trial does come that they will know that they can rely on the Book of Mormon to help them. THey accepted!

We were then able to give 2 copies of the Book of Mormon to two young women walking on the street. One of them was Christian and as she left she put her hands on our shoulders and prayed for us. It was very sweet.

The third copy of the Book of Mormon we gave to a woman who originally had told us she was running late and didn't want to talk to us. But we testified of the Book of Mormon and then we told her that God answers our prayers through it. She was all of a sudden very interested. She stopped and we were able to have a lesson with her. She asked God a question in prayer and then opened up the Book of Mormon randomly to Alma 58:30... So we learned that that doesn't always work... but she laughed! and took the Book! haha

 30 Yea, and it came to pass that the armies of the Lamanitedid flee out of all this quarter of the land. But behold, they have carried with them many women and children out of the land.

I know that God loves his kids :) I know that he listens to our prayers and is going to help us :) I love the people of Taidong and will miss them so much. I'm grateful for Sister Walker and the things she taught me. I look forward to whatever the Lord has in store for me in Taipei:)

Thanks for all the love and support!!!

Gu Jiemei

Dirty feet and a fabulous frisbee. 

So far one of my very favorite parts of living here in Taipei is that we play frisbee in the mornings with our zone! But we play on this ridiculously muddy field so we are always so gross when we come home :) haha it's a blast!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Typhoon, A Balloon Festival, Transfers & Training Again:)

At the Taidong Balloon Festival with Yuki
My beautiful native costume that one of the members has been helping us make!
Dear family and Friends,

It's the 10th. Did you know my favorite number is 10? :)

A few things from this week:
1- The typhoon.... well... let me just let you all know that your prayers are powerful! a little too powerful... Taidong was one of the only places on the island that was not effected by Typhoon Souledor. hahaha So it was super lame. We spent our exercise time Typhoon-proofing our house and making sure no water would get in... and then nothing really happened. In other places it was very serious. Everyone is ok, but there were trees uprooted and it was pretty scary. Sister Walker kept saying that Taidong was protected by our parents prayers :) haha

2- We seriously felt like we rode into a movie this week...

So we have a lot of members that live out in the outskirts of civilization here on the east coast. One of our most active members is Zheng Jiating. We've never been able to visit them before because they live so far away. But this week we made a special effort to go see them... Man were we rewarded. We were only able to visit them for about 30 minutes, but it was so worth it.

I am no world traveller but I have NEVER been in a more beautiful place than Taidong. It was like we were in Lord of the Rings elf kingdom beautiful. But it was a hard ride :) haha

It was such a beautiful blessing and really gave me some time to ponder on my mission and my life and I loved every second of it :)
A long bike ride to a beautiful place!
Taidong is such a beautiful place!!!
3- So we learned a lot of cool things about Yuki this week! She is a SERVER! She just loves to serve! She's seriously all about it. On P-day we went with her to the  Taidong international hot air balloon festival. It was very fun. and we had a miracle happen!

So Yuki doesn't really understand the concept of being on the Lord's time... so we had tried very hard to schedule a time to go to the balloon festival with her and make sure that we still got home in time to proselyte and such.... but once we got there, the festival started late and Yuki got super distracted and just.... yes. So we were running late, but we had scheduled to meet with one of our LAs in Luye to help us peike (be a member present for a lesson with an investigator) at her house. So we got to our LAs house and they had prepared dinner for us! It was so nice. 

Our LAs grand-daughter has cerebral palsy and can't really function at all. But guess what? Yuki took one look at her and started to talk to her mom about things she could do to help her and make her more relaxed. Yuki loves massages and such and she believes all sickness can be healed by a massage. So they started talking and we had no way to actually have a lesson because all these other people were there and talking to us and just... yes. But it was amazing as we learned this about Yuki. Service is her key!!
Yuki at church with us:)
One more picture of the balloon festival. My favorite hot air balloon (It's supposed to be a lady bug type thing... but it just looks smooshed. hahahaha) This is how I feel on some days.... :) 

4-So the rumor is true. I'm leaving my little promised land of Taidong. It's been very bittersweet to look into the future and know that I'm leaving these people and this beautiful part of the island.
My beautiful Taidong!
But today during my studies I decided I would make a list of the top 4 things I've learned in Taidong.

1. I am still learning. This was made ever so apparent to me this transfer. I think once I finished training Sister Johnson I got proud. I felt like I could do things on my own. Oh boy was I wrong. The Lord humbled me a lot and taught me that I'm not as all-powerful as I thought. haha 

2. You receive no witness until after the trial of your faith. I know that the Lord is going to continue teaching me this, but I was so grateful to see the fruits of this principle while I've been here. When I first got to Taidong there were some problems with members trusting the Sister Missionaries, we were the smallest branch in Taidong, and I didn't know anyone. Yesterday when I was saying my final testimony to our WARD it was amazing to feel the love of our members and look into their faces and realize that I had been able to talk to every single person there. It was a trial at first, but I have received that witness now and I am forever grateful.

So another little off-shoot of this, I'm not only leaving Taidong, but I am going to be training again. I do not know yet where I will be serving. We got the call on Saturday night and it was quite the blow. haha I was so excited but so shocked and just... I'm still in shock so I'm not really sure what to say haha. BUT! Saturday night I went upstairs and sat on my old desk looking out at the rain. (This was the day of the typhoon so it had been raining pretty much all day) I was thinking about what I would say in my final testimony in Taidong and I was praying to the Lord for strength. I said to the Lord, "If you really love me can you hold back the rain for just a second?" As soon as I looked up the rain slowed to a mere pitter patter. It was incredible and I was pretty sure it was just a coincidence. So I said to the Lord again "If you really love me, if you're really calling me to do this, will you give me a big rain?" Nothing happened. My heart ached and I bowed my head. As soon as I did, the heavens opened and the rain poured out :) Ether 12:6 immediately popped into my mind :) God loves his kids.

3. God's ways are higher than my ways. I also think the Lord is going to continue teaching me this throughout forever. haha When i was called to come to Taidong it was in the middle of a transfer and completely unexpected. When I first got here I was sleeping on the ground for 2 weeks. It was a very hard time for me. But, it has turned out to be one of my life's biggest blessings. I also find it very appropriate that when I'm leaving Taidong, it's also completely unprecedented and unexpected. The Lord knows where I'm going and he knows what he wants me to be. 

4. Be yourself. This has been an amazing thing to learn here. I'm also just incredibly blessed because we have the best members ever and they're so loving and welcoming and incredible. But I remember when I first got out of training with Wu Jiemei I was constantly asking myself "Ok... what would Wu Jiemei do right now?" But I've learned so much about my own gifts and talents. I'm different than everybody else. That's on purpose! haha As I've had the opportunity to start from the very bottom here in Taidong, it's been amazing to see how I can re-establish myself as a missionary and as a person. I love it.

The church is true. I love you all :)

Gu Jiemei
On our balcony!
Last meeting with our missionary committee
Dinner at the Cai Huizhang's House, our new Stake President!
One of my favorite people in the whole world:) Pres. Hou!!! He is an amazing leader and friend:)

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Typhoon Souledor

Just a quick update on the typhoon situation in Taiwan. Typhoon Souledor has passed through Taiwan. All the missionaries are safe and accounted for--including our sweet Maddie!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Dressing Up!

Sometimes you just have to get all dressed up!!!
Zone p day at the beach!  Of course I'm holding the soccer ball:)
I love the rice patty fields:)
This is our apartment in Taidong!
Dear Family and Friends and just... everyone that I love :) 

HAPPY AUGUST! I can't believe it's August. Not even for one second. 

Here are a few hi-lights of my week:
 1- Allow me first to express one of my companions best qualities: CREATIVITY!

So we have been working with a Taiwanese woman named Yuki. She's been an investigator for a while but lately we've been working really hard to get her progressing. This week we pulled out all the stops. We had a member invite her over for dinner, we did service with her for one of our other members, we even played dress-up with her (during our meal time :) haha). But the crowning event of my companions creativity came to fruition on Sunday. We had called her on Saturday and she hadn't answered, I was pretty nervous she wouldn't show. But we called her on Sunday morning and she was super weird... she kept complaining that she was too tired and her stomach hurt and blah blah blah. So! We went over to her house. I asked Sister Walker what our plan was going in... she said "We'll ask her what she's going to wear to church". So we knocked on her door and she came out and looked terrible. Then she told us about how she had a terrible stomach ache and had cold sweats and all this stuff. I didn't know what to say or what to do. 

She then proceeded to begin some house cleaning. Sister Walker said "I can do that!" And took over for her. I then asked Yuki what she was going to wear to church. She told me she had probably gained too much weight to wear any of her dresses. I told her that was no excuse and that she needed to go try them on and show me. So she went inside and proceeded to bring out her dresses for me to see. She eventually chose one. it was a miracle! haha

We then told her we would see her soon and we rode our bikes to church... guess who wasn't there? YUKI! I almost had a heart attack. But then a miracle happened! Right as the choir got up to sing... guess who shows up with make-up and hair all done up? YUKI! haha I hugged her so hard. It was an awesome miracle.

I'm so thankful for Sister Walker and her creativity. I had no idea that asking our investigator what she was going to wear to church would get her to actually come! But that's why God puts us in companionships. We complete each other :) haha
Sister Walker and I. The sign behind us says "Welcome to Puyuma." That is the name of the aboriginal people who live here in Taidong and surrounding areas.
2- The temple. This morning during Personal Study I learned all about the temple. I was reading in Jesus the Christ about how Christ came to visit the Kirtland Temple and as I was reading I was taken back to the day Steve and Kenzie were sealed. Then I remembered Jordan and Sabrina's sealing. Wow. I was so overcome with love and appreciation. Not only for a temple, but for the fact that I was able to see both of my siblings sealed for time and all eternity before I left on my mission. That has been such a huge motivating factor for me.I also realized today that I haven't been in the temple for 7 months. It's so sad! haha But then I think... there are some people that have only been to the temple once in their whole lives! What do I have to complain about? THat being said... I still really really miss the temple. I think not having visited the temple for a while really helps me to appreciate it more. I yearn to be there. I yearn to be in that Celestial Room. It's awesome :)

My mission is constantly changing :) haha I've realized this week that no matter how long you are in an area, there is always more to do. There is always more to learn. There is ALWAYS the work :) 

I'm so thankful for the blessings I receive from my family and friends. Thank you for the prayers offered in my behalf. I need every one of them :) haha

I love this church. I know it is true. I know Joseph Smith is God's prophet and he was in actuality called to restore Christ's church on the earth. I know God loves us perfectly even though we are all imperfect. 

I love you all :)

Thank you

Gu Jiemei 
An awesome FHE:)
FHE cont.
We love games:)
This is what the noodle houses look like where we eat.