Monday, December 9, 2013

me and e.e.

ode to rhyl

you gave me a thrill

i think of you still.

leaving made me feel a chill

those first 6 months you did fill

with joy and presents on the windowsill

your member missionary work is brill

i know the friendships will

endure beyond the mill (enium)

missions are like climbing a steep hill

but your love worked like a magic pill

i'll keep you in my thoughts until

we meet again, i love you rhyl!

(i hope this isn't overkill.)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Losing the Keys to the Kingdom

When you've been in a ward for 6 months, you get to know the members pretty well.  And they get to know you pretty well, too well perhaps.  Now I've learned a lot of things as a missionary.  Grown a lot, learned discipline in many ways I lacked.  But one thing lives on.
The infamous ability to lose/forget things.
Our ward mission leader, after returning my white handbook which was left in his car for two weeks, looked at me thoughtfully and mused, "You do forget a lot of things don't you Sister Gish?" 
Well maybe.  I do leave my proselyting Book of Mormon at a member's home at least once a week.  They've stopped asking who it belongs to, they just text me, "Sister Gish, your Book of Mormon is here."  
("Ah thank you, Graham.  Thank you, scheeze.") 
And on Saturday I managed to lock us out of the apartment.  Sister Toly had a proper freak out, rightfully so.  I always grab the keys.  I ALWAYS GRAB THE KEYS.  Except this once, when I also left my planner, bus pass, and the list of names/streets we were going to be stopping by the entire afternoon. 
Judge, Judge, Judge.  Go ahead.  I can hear the sound of it all the way over here in Wales and I don't even mind.
Luckily the landlord's office is close by and they have a spare set of keys.  The lady also said, "Oh, YOU again" which is quite unfair really because I swear this hasn't happened while I've been here.  Let's blame the Elders that were in the flat 9 months ago.
I'm also earning a rep as a cheeky missionary.   Last week I was on exchange and all I wanted all day was to just have some chocolate.  I was craving like a pregnant woman.  (At least that's how I hear they are...Lizzie?.. care to expound?)
  So when we went by a less active's house and she HAD chocolate sitting out on the table but went the entire lesson without offering us any... of COURSE i was going to comment and asked if it was all left over from Halloween.  "Oh no you don't have to offer me any...really, I was just wondering!  No children came by?  Shame.  Oh well, I suppose if you really want me to...."
And then I stole the Elders tea appointment.  Because the family preparing them tea wasn't home, just the mom, and they're not allowed to go in without another adult of their gender, so she called me to get their phone number so she could cancel with them.  And, seeing the opportunity, I asked, "Does that mean you want the sisters to come instead?"  And true to British style she responded rather nonchalantly, "Well you can do."  So we did. 
But sometimes a rep is a good thing, at least when you get treats dropped off at your doorstep and they know you well enough to personalize your juice boxes.  (thank you "Ginger Giant" and "Secret Ninja" I know ONE of you reads this blog.)
Inline image 1 
 I love how well you know me.  I definitely got the better juice box. 
 Inline image 2
 ('m making my best alien face, if you can't tell.  we look alike don't you think?)
 (ps as if to cement my earlier statements, I just realized i left my memory card/USB stick in the computer i used a half hour ago.)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bending The Rules ? A Slippery Slope

Now I'm going to completely rationalize this next action, and you can all judge and tell me how evil rationalizing is.  
When you're out doing a lot of finding, sometimes you need to take a break.  

This is what my Mission President, the "Adjusting to Missionary Life" booklet, and my counselor tell me.

  So when I saw a slide... I took the opportunity.  

Just letting you know, 
a metal slide + a raincoat +plus rain = the pure terror you can see if you zoom up on my face.  
I did NOT expect that.  So worth it. 

Also worth the stain on my bum that looks suspiciously brown.  

(I didn't catch myself at the bottom)

lurv you

Monday, November 4, 2013

Investigating the Investigators

Not Exactly Invited Guests:

Here are some pictures of things that are in our flat but don't actually belong here.
See if you can spot the culprit:

Inline image 1

No? a closer look then,

 Inline image 2

Do you see it? Do ya?

 Inline image 3

This is coming from:


haha... also I'm pretty much the man of the house, so all spiders are taken care of by me:
 Inline image 1

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Long and Short of It

The reason behind my lack of emails today is a very long and complicated one. 

I know I know, my weeks are filled with excuses.  For shame Sister Gish.

In the meantime:

ha hah.


My favorite young, single adult.

(We are alike is so many ways.)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Wee Welsh Writers

A Successful Day's Work

Congratulations, I'm going to let you all in on a sneak peak of New York Time's next bestseller.  This is written by one of the little boys in the ward.


 It's pretty great - even though I don't have very many lines and my name is never capitalized.  Which is either because I don't qualify as a real person or because a capital G is rough to remember in the life of a 10 year old.  I do, however, have sonic lipstick so that really makes up for everything else doesn't it?

"Empire of the Darleks"

The Doctor went to Clara's and Sister gish's house and the Doctor rang the door bell and Clara and Sister gish answered the door and the Doctor said, "Let's go to the Tardis."

"Ok" said Clara and Sister gish.

Then they got  into the Tardis and travelled to a planet Skyro were* the Darleks live but Clara and Sister gish didn't know that the Darleks live here and then "The Darleks live here" said the Doctor. 

"They are my first enamy" said the Doctor.
The Doctor, Clara and Sister gish went into the broken building because the cybermen had the're revenge on the Darleks so when they got into the building they were still making 2,000 more and there was all ready 7,000 so they ceped on walking but a darlek saw them and the Doctor said "Run they have lazers like the cybermen"

"Ok!" Said Clara
"Ok!" Said Sister gish

"Clara, Sister gish has a sonic lipstic of one of my old freaind so now you have lazers shoot the Darleks" said the Doctor

"Ok!" Said Clara
"Ok!" Said Sister gish

Then they started shooting the Darleks and more and more cepted on coming and they cepted shooting then they ran out side with Darleks after them and outside they saw 5,000 more so they started to shoot the Darleks angin and all the Darleks was blew up but the machine in the building and they all went back into the building and blew up the building and they all ran out and the Darleks blew up and they all went home.

*for your enjoyment I kept (cepted) the spelling and grammar errors.  They're endearing.

ps...we, our family, thinks one author looks a bit like Griff as a tyke.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Things Just Got RHYL ...again!

 Yep here I am.  Same place still.  Which means they will probably move me out next transfer, which is right before Christimas and vaguely cruel.  But that is alright.

Alrighty, I need to take of few moments to pay tribute to some to of the dear friends I have made here.  This is partly bribery, because I promised her that if she commented on all my posts then I would say a few tender words*.

Nicola is just the best.  Not only because she tells me I have such a great sense of humor - though she's right - but because of that time I was sick and sat at the edge of the Cultural Hall with five jackets on top of me watching people participate in our sports night and she sat next to me and kept me company.  
And before that, she drove over for a teaching appointment that fell through but didn't even judge. 

Also sometimes we share Capri Suns when we're in missionary coordination meeting after church and there are five different conversations going and our eyes about to bug out.  This is Friendship.

And now I have twenty minutes left and one last email to write. 

*was that tender enough? 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Me Crownin' Glory!

In Which Sister Gish Gets Her Hair Did

I mean, no explanation is needed really.  4 year olds are the best hair dressers.

Then I took a Book of Mormon photo.

 Missionary life.

Monday, September 30, 2013


It's A Bird, It's a Train... Nope, Just Sister Missionaries

Dignity is such an overrated quality.  This was rather forcibly decided for me as I ran (and I do mean RAN) from Manchester Piccadilly Bus Station to the Manchester Train Station in the 7 minute gap we had to catch the train.  Ran in a skirt and sister missionary shoes with two bags in my hands like my life depended on it.  And it did kind of because the next train didn't leave for two hours after that which would mean we'd arrive home around midnight.  Which is, as a missionary, SPIRITUAL DEATH.

We dodged around people and looked like complete fools I'm sure, but... so did they.  Obviously they've never seen 4 sister missionaries with a deadline because their faces showed complete shock.  (They were beginning to be astonished* I'd say.)  My favorite was an Asian man on the phone who let out a high pitched "oooooo" and pressed himself against a signpost to get out of our way.  Thank you sir, by the way.  

I hope your normal voice doesn't actually operate in that register.  

Other notable events:
my first steak and kidney pie (and probably my last)
The wedding of a recent convert -  we went to the Temple to be on the grounds with nonmember family which was kind of nice.

The baking for said wedding

And a training on modesty by the assistants to the President.

Let me close with a little shout out - because my readers feed my ego and therefore I endeavor to feed theirs.

HI NICOLA FISHER!  You are currently my favorite because you said you'd comment on all my posts and also said that I escaped the dreaded "Utah Mormon" stereotype and have a great sense of humor. 

Till next week.

And I was serious about bribing for letters.  5 = one package.  But if they include pictures and are spritzed with perfume to cover up the smell of my desperation then it's 4. 

*Just a little scriptural language humor there for ya.  Did you catch it?  Didya?

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Short Blog combined with Food (is that a Floog or a Flog?)

Announcement!  Announcement!  

(Eva Chau style for those who will catch the reference.)

Much like Cafe Rio cards give out a free meal for the 10th purchase, I am imposing a similar system when it comes to letter writing.

I am not above bribery, no matter how much of a missionary I am.
Every 5 letters is returned with a package.  
(plus the letter responses to each of the five.)

Packages include Photos, European Chocolate, and other Surprises.

Will you dare take "The Challenge"?

Monday, September 16, 2013


Alrighty, the transfers news you've all been waiting for:
I'm staying in the Rhyl ward AND I'm staying with my trainer.  
What?  How insane is that?
Let me tell you: very insane.  
Trainers and trainees stay together after the 3 month training about 0.001% of the time.  In fact I think that percentage is just me.  In fact, 3 out of the 4 sisters are staying.  
Let me re-iterate how unusual this is.  We've all bugged President Preston about keeping us together for weeks and weeks and he was incredibly sick of hearing it I think.  And he told us he was hearing it from the ward members, the ward mission leaders, all these people.  But he came to our ward the week before transfers and told one of the members, "these sisters were called to the England Manchester Mission, not the Rhyl ward" and so I thought more of us were goners for sure.  
I think it's a tender mercy honestly.  And the missionary coming is a Sister that's already been here on exchange twice.  It says to me that the Lord is keeping a very close eye on the Rhyl Ward because such important things are happening here. 
I'm relieved.  After being completely astonished that is.  Sister Nemec and I were in our ward mission leader's home when we received the transfer call on Friday evening.  Both of us were so antsy all day and about had heart attacks when we finally found out.  But after all that I felt really settled about the decision.  And Sister Nemec and I have had incredible days since we found out, and I feel like the Lord was showing me the potential for our work in this next transfer.  This makes me think that we have a VERY specific reason for being here together.  I have a couple inklings about what they might be but I won't say anything yet.  It was nice to know though that the ward wants us though.  All I really want to do here is help people change and grow, and their desire for us to stay makes me think we have made a difference here.
This week we committed a less active family to take the discussions again, with the intent of returning to full activity.  The son just returned from a mission and is getting married in a year and they all want to be there for that.  At some point during the discussion the dad told me I have a really good poker face, whatever that means...
Well that's about all for now, but I love you!  Preparation days are back to normal on Monday. 
Here's my assignment for the week:
Mosiah 2 and the talk, 7 Lessons on Sharing the Gospel
Love, Sister Gish  

PS this means my address hasn't changed, so feel free to send those letters...
did you know you can dear elder my the England Manchester Mission?  Just go online and type up a letter and put in my information and they print it and mail it for you.  Then it comes extra quickly.  Just saying. 
PPS LIZZIE.  HOW BIG IS THE FRUIT?  How are you?  You're going to be a mom in 10 days!!  I wish I could be there to kiss her hello. 

Monday, September 9, 2013



HA!  This is a declaration to everyone who teased me about melting a pot.  O-kay.  Two pots.  Well the second one wasn't actually MELTED per se.  Just kind of ... scorched.  The first was definitely (definAtely - Lizzie) melted though.  Even I'll own up to that.

But I declare that I AM NOT ALONE!!!  There are fellow well-meaning absent minded people out there who can commiserate and share the burden of purchasing new cooking tools with me.  In this case, it's one of the Sisters in the flat. 

We walked into our living community a few nights ago to find our flat all lit up with every window open and the door gaping wide.  The smell of smoke met us long before our embarrassed looking fellow missionary did.  She apologetically explained that she'd boiled potatos during lunch.  And boiled them.  And boiled them.  And boiled them while they left for the day and for a good 9 hours until they came home again.  

Hence the suspicious smell of smoke lingering on our clothes and sofa.  People may begin to think we've taken up smoking.  But a couple days of open windows and a lot of fabreeze later we might have cured the scent.  Or maybe we're just used to it. 

Welcome to the club Sister Klemm

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Ox (Tongue) In The Mire

There's a lot of old (and I mean super old, not old like you think you are mom) single ladies in the ward.  Occasionally we're lucky enough to be fed by them.  This week we arrived to this tiny lady's home, which is about an hour bus ride from our house and on the hill 
where I think Heidi lived with her mountain goats.
She introduced the meal by telling us that she cooked chicken but didn't like the smell of it and proceeded to offer us three choices of tinned meat:
Ox Tongue
MmmmHMM.  Sister N thankfully got straight to the point and just said, "please anything but the ox tongue."  
The lady laid out some meat straight from a tin, (think spam style) and went back into the kitchen to pull out the overcooked cauliflower.  Sister K and I bravely put pieces of meat on our tray* but Sister N took one look at the cold meat, complete with weird bits of jelly on top and put them straight into the hidden compartment on her water bottle.
Mum - on an entirely unrelated note: can I get a new waterbottle?  One with hidden compartment maybe?
By this point in time we couldn't look at each other without busting up so we spent the rest of the meal concentrating very hard on the stories this sweet old lady was telling about her life.  
Moral of story: if you're going to endure meals like that, I hope you have a companion with a good sense of humor.
I'm pretty sure I ate cat food.
*why were we eating on trays?  because she brought out the trays and all the food and didn't remember until halfway through the meal that we needed plates too.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Dramatizations, Dispensations, and Disco Dreams

A Wedding, The Four Sisters Flat, and A Few Apostles

Today!  Right at this very moment possibly, my favorite older brother is getting married to the lovely Haley for time and for eternity.  Congratulations to them both.  I was laying in bed last night picturing how things will go.  In fact, I even dreamed about it.  In my dream I came home just as my recorded toast was playing and then I gave the real thing.  Lest that makes you tear up (Papa Jim) or anything, let me tell you that I also dreamed it was inside a mansion (possibly it was Hogwarts) I had to be smuggled into and I think I used a rug to fashion myself a dress.  And there was a disco ball. 

The way it goes tonight will be much better I hope.
I've talked a lot about sharing the flat with 3 other missionaries, and so that you might get a handle on the dynamic, I've come up with a few comparisons.

1. The Little Women Comparison.
Sister Clawson is Meg, Sister Klemm is Beth (pre-death obviously.  Nothing morbid here).  Sister Nemec is Amy (towards the end when she's grown up and charming).  And I, of course, am Jo.

2.  The High School Comparison
Sister Clawson is the SBO, Sister Klemm is the older, wiser, and very trusted best friend.  Sister Nemec is the exciting foreign exchange student.  And I'm the hipster.  (In my defense, the other Sisters gave me that nickname.  I did NOT come up with it myself.  I don't even know where they get that vibe.  I've only mocked their music like 6 times.)

There will be other examples, don't you worry.  I don't know how it works so perfectly, I really think it must have been inspired.  I'm attaching a photo of the 4 of us.  I'm scared for transfers (Sept. 4) a little because we get along so perfectly.

I finally hit that point where time is going quickly.  

The first month or two Sister Clawson would exclaim things like, "Oh my life!  It's already been three weeks!  Where did June go? I can't believe it!" And I would be over at my study desk mentally hitting my head against the wall thinking, "are you kidding me? it's only been 3 weeks?  Sweet lanta."  It feels like August is already over, and then it's transfers, general conference, Christmas...

The pace at which time is going makes Elder Holland's advice all the more important. 
"Create today the mission stories you are going to tell your children."

Why am I quoting Elder Holland you might ask?  Oh, only because I SAW HIM.  Sat in chapel on the second row and he looked ME, Sheester Geesh, in the eyes. Elder Nelson presided and we had 2 area authorities as well.  They and each of their wives spoke to us.  Really spoke to US.  I sat at the feet of apostles, special witness of Christ.

As they and their wives walked in, they looked not so different.  They were just men.  Just women.  They're not as imposing as they look on the TV screen during general conference.  Yet...
There was a difference.  These were people who have chosen to follow Christ.  And it showed. 

We were there early and had some time to reflect before they came in.  I'd say they were late but Apostles are like wizards - they never arrive late or early.  They always arrive exactly when they mean to.  I'd gone with a few specific questions prepared but our mission president urged us to use the time to ponder over those questions.  So I wrote a few more down and as each person spoke, each question was answered, almost in the exact order I wrote them down. 

Yeah.  It was incredible.

Then we went to the pageant for the 2nd time, but we didn't actually get to see it.  There was quite a standby queue so people were asked to give up their seats if they'd already seen the show.  Naturally we did.  But that was alright. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Picture Perfect

In Which Sister Gish Eats Her Words
This is shameful.  Shameful shameful shameful.  I always swore I wouldn't be one of those missionaries who take glam shots with the Book of Mormon.  (Apologies to anyone who did.  They're great!  You look great!  They're spiritual and amazing.  But really not for me.  That's all.)

Insert quote about the bigger they are and the harder the fall and all that.
This week my companion informed me of a tradition she'd started with her trainer.  The goal is to find the most random places possible to read the Book of Mormon and take photos of it.  So I caved.  Congratulations Sister Gish, you are now one of those people that takes those kinds of pictures.  Welcome to the club.  (Is there a club?  Do you have meetings and things?  Will you send me letters?)

This week was not so creative - just the beach and puddles of water.  I'll get better don't you fret.  

We had a tea appointment at a members home on Saturday.  I'll say nothing about the food (lest I come off as ungrateful) but I will say the whole thing was about as classy as the cups.  I figured I'd better take a picture with them because it's about as close to menfolk as I'm going to get for awhile.

 Till next week

Monday, July 29, 2013


Elder George R. Donaldson

In Which Sister Gish Sticks Her Foot In Her Mouth

We had a tea appointment with a family in the ward.  He's a General Authority and so travels a lot.  The other set of sisters (having been in the area longer) have been there a few times and are teaching his less active brother and so have quite a good relationship with them.  But this and was our first chance to have dinner with him and his wife.
They live in a nice area of town with a pretty house and flowery well kept garden.  The meal was... a roast dinner!  with gravy and potatoes and carrots!  SURPRISE!*
We had a nice conversation and learned about their family and talked about the upcoming mission conference.  During dessert we also talked about how they'd met and some funny stories about their children meeting their spouses.  Sister Donaldson mentioned how her daughter had seen an old boyfriend at some meeting and joked about how he'd gotten fat joked that she ended up with the better one in the end.  Elder Donaldson defended him by saying, "oh it's in the genes, and the best ones get chubby."  

He said this with a bit of a twinkle in his eye and looked at me.  So I looked back at him and said, "oh, speaking from experience?"
I don't know where it came from.  Honestly.   I'm so snarky at home right but I've been UBER polite as a missionary.  It was dead silent for a minute while I contemplated the eternal consequences of calling a general authority fat and then thankfully everyone started laughing. 
I started apologizing immediately and said, "I used to be so biting at home and I've really been working on it and I'm so sorry sometimes I still fail in a big way and ..."
And he looked at me and said, "in a BIG way huh?"
So when I show up on the next plane home - don't be too surprised.

Love you!

*not. not a surprise at. all.