Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Miracles, Elevators and Yoga:)

This is Huang JM. She's a returned missionary from the Temple Square mission and we have some mutual friends! She's been an angel for us here in Xinan. We love her :)
So after a long night of finding we finally ran into this guy! Who actually also did not want to talk to us... but then I noticed that his flag had my name on it! So I asked if I could take a picture with it. Which he then insisted on posing for. We were able to give him a Because He Lives campaign card! And I got this fun picture :) haha Go team Gu!
This is the Chinese symbol for the name "Giles". In Chinese it's "Gu"
Dear Family and Friends,

It's been another week of fun surprises! We are now in a threesome!... this is only until Thursday when the new missionaries come and we actually have a transfer meeting.... but what that means is that Sister Fenlaw and I get to be Sister Training Leaders!... which actually doesn't mean anything because they finished all their important responsibilities before Sister Branch left... we did get to attend the official Zone Leadership meeting... which just consisted of us (Sister Fenlaw and I) being banished to the corner to eat mooncakes... which Sister Fenlaw can't eat. But anyways, Sister Aldous is our new companion! Which is fun because we were also roommates back in Zhubei and we were in the same Singles Ward at BYU. Eternal friends. Yes.

Our threesome. Ready for anything:)
Taking care of Sister Aldous
One of the sweet little miracles of this week was one evening when we we had planned to kind of man man qi and slowly ride to our appointment at the church while we street contacted. I saw this guy who had cool pants and so I immediately pulled over to talk to him. He started talking and I was having a hard time understanding him at first... I felt really bad about my Chinese... but then I noticed his hearing aid. This young man was deaf, but he spoke Mandarin Chinese and even a little bit of English! He was also Christian. We had an awesome lesson with him right there on the street. As he was about to say the closing prayer, he apologized and said "I'm sorry. I can say the prayer, but it's not going to be very easy to understand because of my disability." We assured him that every prayer was perfect and beautfiul. As we closed our eyes and bowed our heads, I started to cry. This young man was such an amazing example to me of humility. He was just a pure soul. 

I know the church is true. I'm excited to be a part of this hastening of the work. I know God loves His children. I know that nothing is impossible with God. I know that we have to seek God's will and be shaped for it. 

All is well. Thank you!

Gu Jiemei

So on about our 3rd week here we discovered that there is a morning market by our house! We very quickly became friends with the man at the fruit stand and he has given us great deals ever since! :) This picture is of the perfect mango we bought from him. This is also one of the most sad things about this fall time of year... mangos are going out of season :(
So typically elevators here in Taiwan are cramped, full of people and silent. So this week when Sister Fenlaw and I were at the church, we had to join a large group of people going up the elevator, but just as we were about to get in, the other doors opened. So we got into the other elevator and people kept trying to shove into the first one... it was super funny and to commemorate our one time in an empty elevator, here is a picture of me doing Warrior 2. (Yoga is one of my new talents I'm developing :) haha)

We are always grateful for this colorful building that reminds us that we are close to our apartment. Still getting lost in the big city:)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Happy September!

Jacky our investigator who invited us to play tennis!
Sometimes this is what happens during companionship study:)
After that happens in companionship study, this happens:) Sister Fenlaw is very creative!!!
Amazing Taiwanese food. #hellokitty
Happy September one and all!

Some of the happenings of our week:

1- One of our investigators invited us to play tennis.  When we first met Jacky he looked me up and down and said what sport do you play? I told him I liked to play soccer and then asked him how he knew. He said I can see your feet... so I know. 
Now while soccer may be one of my talents... Tennis is most surely not. haha I think Jacky was a little disappointed that we weren't American Tennis all-stars. Oh well :) haha 

2- We got to do Temple Tours again this week. **We also got to use Ipads this week for Temple Tours! It was so awesome to be able to pull up mormon messages and videos. I LOVE THE CHURCH. We also watched the Tyler Haws video and I got to show Sister Fenlaw how famous I am ;) haha
Shi Mama was outside the temple after we finished our temple tours. She has been a member for 30 years!! She's amazing.
3- English Class in Taipei is amazing!!! This is actually one of my favorite parts of working up here. Our English program has a million students. So lots of people get to come into the church and they get to feel the Spirit and meet missionaries and it's just... brilliant!

4-On Wednesday (I think) we had a really rough contact with this man. He claimed to be Christian and invited us in. Then we asked if we could pray with him and he said no. (Surprisingly, the people who most often reject prayer are Christians here)  He then became very hostile towards us. We talked about Jesus Christ and the Atonement and he said that God wouldn't possibly have allowed his Son to die on the cross. I testified that this man needed to repent and accept Jesus Christ in His life as the Savior. Then Sister Fenlaw started to testify and this man just kept talking over her. It was frustrating for everyone involved and we just didn't feel the Spirit. We left after telling him God loved him.

A few days later we felt prompted to go down a certain alleyway. At the end of the alleyway there was one door and I knew we had to knock it. A man answered and began to talk to us. We testified that he was a child of God and then he proceeded to testify that he was God and blah blah blah. He also became pretty hostile and rude to us. Then Sister Fenlaw rocked it. She started to testify and (just like a few days earlier) this man started to talk over her. But instead of letting this frustrate her more, she waited. She was patient and loving even though this man was being completely disrespectful to her and us. I watched in amazement as my companion (who has only been here for a little over a month) completely captivated him with her next testimony. The Spirit stayed there. It was such a testimony to me that we truly are representatives of Jesus Christ and when we do as He teaches us, we feel His peace. We truly can always have His Spirit to be with us.

I feel that I just need to bare my testimony this week.

I know that my Redeemer lives. I know that God has a plan for each of His children. I know that God's plan is perfect and is how we can return to live with Him and our families for eternity. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. He truly did see God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. I know that the Priesthood Power has been restored upon the earth. I know that God wants His children to be happy. I know that trials are meant to help us to stretch and grow. I am thankful that I can repent when I fall down and that someone has already paid the price for every fall.

Thank you for all of the love and support. 


Gu Jiemei

English boarding for our English classes
These are moon cakes. They're a lot like biscuits, but they have things like red bean or green bean or duck egg or sesame in them. SOO GOOD. 
This is Tan Jiemei. She's another angel of a member. She sticks with us through getting stood up, finding, and all the other shenanigans we go through. Today while we were waiting for an investigator to come to the church, we decided to develop our talents and practiced drawing.
Our "gift" this week for the visiting sisters was of course a rap, but included awesome costumes!!
Our "gift" part 2 
YSA fhe!! It's the best:) It was so much fun and took me right back to BYU. haha It was so much fun to laugh. They taught us a new game! And normally I'm very good at games... but this one was explained to me in very fast high-pitched Chinese. It took us a minute... but both Sister Fenlaw and I got the hang of it! haha :) 

Monday, September 14, 2015

How Has God Shown You His Love This Week?

Out in the Taiwanese jungle:)
Our investigator Kuan looks like my cousin Chase and we teach him in English!
3 generations!!!
Dear family and friends, 
HAPPY ALMOST 2 WEEKS UNTIL GENERAL CONFERENCE! :) That may be the most exciting thing coming up in my life. haha. Here is a little about my week:

1-We had an Outdoor Zone Conference which was  amazing and so much fun. It's so fun to be with so many missionaries all the time! We were combined with another zone and so I got to see lots of friends that I haven't seen in a while :) So we all got on the buses for a while and then rode for about an hour or so to a mountain whose name I have forgotten and then we started our hike! We hiked to the base of the real climb and President gave us some training. Then we continued our hike to the top of this small mountain and once we got to the top, we got some training from our APs and Sister Jergensen. We also took a million pictures (naturally) and then headed back down to get more training from our Zone. 

I learned a bunch from this training. But a really overarching theme was obedience. And casting our nets aside and really diving into this work. I think I've really been refined here in Xinan and I'm trying my best to consecrate myself to the work :) I've learned that obedience is how I show my love for God.
At the top of our mountain doing some zone training!
The Wanda district
2-We got many referrals this week. Most of our area is a college campus and so there are a lot of students moving up here for the new semester and we're hoping to have more college-student investigators in the next couple weeks. 

Our most promising new investigator is a sweet 18 year-old named Lilly. She's actually been an investigator for a couple years but she just moved up to our area for school. Her mom is a member and she has a really big desire to be baptized. What's better? She might be able to get baptized on the 10th of October! Which... would be 10/10. AMAZING! :) Tender Mercy from the Lord for sure.

3-Today during studies I really just wanted to feel God's love. I had opened my Mom's package earlier, but I didn't know what was in the ziploc bag. I saw a BYU shirt, but I didn't know what the white one was. I felt prompted to open up the bag, and as I did, what did I see but a white v-neck t-shirt. It was literally Heaven sent. For those of you who don't know, T-shirts have always held a special place in my heart, but especially white v-neck t-shirts. They remind me of years on the soccer field in the heat and working hard and going out with friends and just... it took me right back to a place of comfort and safety. I'm so thankful for my Mom and a loving Heavenly Father :)

How has God shown you His love this week?
I love my white v-neck t-shirt!!!
4-So we contacted this dad at a park pretty near to our house and he was super awesome! But they live with his parents and they would be super upset if they had missionaries coming over. His son had also prayed with us and so I kneeled down and introduced the Book of Mormon to him. I showed him the pictures at the front and told him about some of the stories that are inside of the Book of Mormon. Initially Baba (the dad) accepted a Book of Mormon, but then right before he left he gave it back to us. We were pretty bummed. So we walked back towards our bikes and we noticed that this little Didi (little boy) just kept staring at us... (And he's the cutest) so we ran back over and asked if we could take a picture with him. After this picture was taken, this little boy reached over and grabbed the Book of Mormon right out of my hands. He didn't say anything to me or his Dad. But his Dad just looked at him, then looked at us, and said ok. 

He wanted this Book of Mormon!!
5- So a tradition that Sister Fenlaw and I have started in our apartment (which may or may not have been mentioned in a previous post) is called "the gift". What that means is that we make up an impromptu song and dance for any Sisters who come and stay in our apartment. It usually just includes their names and Sister Fenlaw and I looking ridiculous. But this week Sister Fenlaw and I were on exchanges! So Sister Branch and I came up with a song for Sister Fenlaw and Sister Aldous and Sister Fenlaw came up with a gift for me! It was a joyful night had by all. Also, the Giles clan will be happy to know that my rapping ability was given a chance to shine :) 
Sister Branch and I keeping it real!!
I'm finding that I love Taipei. Honestly. It is a very beautiful city. It's so fun to ride your bike and weave in and out of cars and people and ride past the parks and get one solid whiff of fresh air :) haha

I love you all. I know this church is true.

Gu Jiemei
Look!  The name of the Church right here at the Dongmen Train Station:)
Sister Branch and I on exchanges 
This is the landmark that helps us know when we are almost home!!! Sometimes we get a little lost in the big city:)

Monday, September 7, 2015

It's About the One!

Birthday cake with Pres. & Sister Jergensen and family:)
So many cool buildings and monuments in the big city:)
Zone conference!!! Getting to see so many of my favorite people:)
Huang DX, my ward mission leader from Taidong, was at church in Taipei today!!!
Dear Family & Friends,

2 quick stories from this past week:)

So on Saturday, after all of our appointments cancelled on us, we participated in a District Tsunami in our District Leader's area. Basically what this means is that we spent our ENTIRE day finding in their area. Which was super fun. And we were SOOOOOO tired. haha But! A cool experience I wanted to share about was one of our final lessons of the night. I saw a woman dressed all in black with a cute little hat and I thought we should talk to her. So we explained who we were and stated our purpose and she then proceeded to tell us that she was a member of another Christian church and she then asked us to step to the side so we could talk more. As soon as she asked us to meet her over on the side, I knew we were in for it. I've had a couple encounters with members of other Christian churches, and they've never ended up very good. I usually get so frustrated and am completely unable to testify with the Spirit. But I said a prayer in my heart that I would be able to keep my cool. 

We started to talk about our message and she immediately began testing us with all kinds of crazy doctrinal questions and things about the bible. I stopped her and asked her if we could say a prayer. She said "Why would you want to say a prayer right now? Don't you just do that at meetings?" I then explained to her that I knew that I needed to feel the Spirit before I could discuss gospel topics with her and so we needed to say a prayer. She let us say the prayer and I remember praying very specifically for courage. As soon as we finished the prayer, my heart was completely calm. I saw this woman as a daughter of God. Another cool thing? God took away my Chinese. This was one of the most difficult contacts for me language-wise that I've had in a long time. Looking back on it, I think the Lord wanted to remind me of who I should rely on in this contact. It's not about me. 

We were able to testify with the Spirit as Sister Fenlaw and I avoided confronting her. She wouldn't accept a Book of Mormon and literally said, "I need no more bible". As she said a closing prayer, I was so overcome with God's love for her and I began to cry. It was so hard for me to see someone sooo close and yet so far away. It taught me a lot of important things, but mostly I learned that what makes our church unique is what makes our church true. The Book of Mormon is God's word. It is a pure vehicle of the Spirit. God's Priesthood Authority has been restored on the earth today through the Prophet Joseph Smith. And what's more? I realized that I know these things are true. I know them for myself. I know them for sure. 

So I get lost a lot right? Right. So it shouldn't surprise anyone that I often end up in places that I don't mean to. But you know what's great? God plays to our weaknesses. And he puts people wherever I go. Anyways... we were riding to go finding and got stopped at an intersection (that we weren't actually supposed to be at) and I saw a woman standing next to a wheelchair piled high with plastic bags. (This is actually a pretty common occurrence among many different classes of the Taiwanese because recycling is such a big industry here) After talking with her for a moment we learned that she had been homeless for about a year. She was Christian and believed in Jesus Christ and God. We had a good lesson with her and invited her to come to the fireside that night. But she wasn't willing to give us her phone number. She just said she would show up. And she said she would be late. Sister Fenlaw and I had never been to the fireside before so we were a little unsure of all the procedures. But we went to the church and decided we would wait for her outside. We walked around the church a couple times and it was getting pretty late and we felt pretty sure she wasn't going to come. We were debating leaving when a young man walked by us and I felt prompted to talk to him. Turns out he's an investigator for another ward! We invited him to come and sit by us at the fireside. We all went in together and were able to enjoy some wonderful talks and really feel of the Spirit. 

After the fireside, we were talking to some members when across the crowded room Elder Willes (our AP) and I made eye contact and he motioned for me to come over. He sent a member rushing towards us and she told us that someone had been waiting for us outside. We ran outside with all the haste of the prodigal son's father and oh what a sight greeted us! There was our newest investigator standing next to her electronic wheelchair with all of her plastic bags, just gawking at the beauty of our chapel. We hugged her so hard. It was such a miracle that she had come and that we had stayed at the chapel for the fireside and were able to see her. I know that God works really hard for the one.

I love my mission. I love my family and friends. I love this church.

Gu Jiemei 
I've realized that this transfer marks my 10th planner on my mission. Does anybody know what my favorite number is?:)
My companion is a champion and loves to cook me delicious food:)
Isn't she the cutest?!!!
Roommate picture. Ready to go to English class:)
My companion reading the Book of Mormon to this cute man and his dog:)