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.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Rhyl Busy

this is it.
it's been a nutso week.
but sometimes we eat lunch at the beach

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Service ...with a Smile!

prep day grocery shopping

service project with children from Chernobyl

In Which Sister Gish Has a Run In With Classic British Teeth, Service, and A Lot of Photos.

This week we made plans to visit a lovely young lady we met at church on Sunday.  We got her name, her phone number, and her address and scheduled a time.  We called twice the next week to confirm.  Let's call her Sarah.

We arrived at the visit to a very blank stare from a very different lady.  She told us to hold on, her mum is a member of our church.  We thought maybe the young lady we wanted to visit just lived with her mum and some sisters.  

Finally we were invited into the back room to meet someone- whom we'll call Allie - no, we'll call her Sister White.  Sister White was NOT the person we scheduled this meeting with.  Sister White looks exactly like I picture Miss Haversham from Great Expectations to look... 500 years old, 90% deaf (even worse than you Papa Jim) and impossible to understand because she has approximately 6 teeth... 5 on the bottom and 1 very large protruding worn out thing on the top.
You'd think if you only had one tooth you'd take pretty dang good care of it right? 


And the ENTIRE time we spoke I couldn't help but stare at Sister White's tooth and wonder,
"WHO. is. this. woman."
She knew us, she knew the missionaries, and after asking one question (yelling one question) - "is Sarah your daughter" I knew everything about her expect who the flip she was.

We also did a lot of service this week.  Which will be explained entirely in pictures.  



(Not entirely.  Sister N started a water fight but you can't really tell so I have to tell you that part because the picture looks dumb otherwise.)  

And then I stepped in rank dog foul.

On the spiritual side:

A couple of amazing things happened this week that I want to share. 
Sister Nemec and I planned to go to St. Asaph to contact some less actives, but we both started talking to people on the bus and ending up riding all the way to Denbigh (our furthest away area and a good half hour ride).

You know you're in Denbigh when....

 Once there, we decided to stay for times sake and stop in on an amazing potential investigator. We met with her briefly and she was so excited about reading the Book of Mormon. She wants to meet but her husband doesn't much approve so we're trying to set up a meeting at the chapel rather than her home. 

 After talking to her we realized there was a less active that lived very close by and so we trekked towards that house. The lady was quite friendly and told us she was glad we were serving missions, that she really admired us and felt a lot of people in that neighborhood needed God. She was quite adamant about not returning back to church but welcomed us to come visit any time. 

 As we started to walk away though, she rushed out after us and said, "I had to tell you: I've been feeling quite poorly today and I know God sent you to visit me." We hugged and said a prayer. It was a beautiful moment.


I learned (and I suspect I will re-learn this essentially every day of this mission) a little bit about how the Lord works. If I or Sister Nemec hadn't started to talk to people on the bus, we may have never ended up in Denbigh and missed the opportunity to serve the Lord. The Lord blesses us when we do His work and talk to people; inviting them to come to Christ. That moment was all I really want ever: to just fade a way and be a tool in His hands does take effort, i.e. blisters from walking... not mine, Sister N's.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Fantastic Fourth

I'm SUCH a sister missionary now.  How can you tell?  We've made the infamous scripture cases.  The ones cut out of cereal boxes and covered with gospel pictures.  The whole flat has them actually.  And the fervor carried to even my planner (which I have taken pictures of for your awe and amazement.)  It's sick.

Here's the order of the blog today.


Because the funniest stories tend to be the rejection stories and I share those for interest, but I want you to also recognize that things are going well too.

Have I talked about bus contacting yet?  Yeah we pray on buses regularly*  And this week I think we never actually made it to our original destination because we either continue to the furthest stop in order to finish a conversation, or get off somewhere else to follow someone.  I mean, continue talking to someone.  That sounded incredibly creepsy the way I put it.

ANYWAY.  This week we "conveniently" were stopping at the same place as this man we'd struck up a conversation with.  When we introduced ourselves as Sisters he laughed and said we could call him brother Brian.  Brother Brian may or may not have been in a completely sober state of mind.  But it was raining outside (surprise) and he was carrying heavy buckets so we walked a little ways with him so I could hold my umbrella over him.  At the end of the road we parted and Brother Brian had the idea that we each pray.  Brilliant yes?  So we took turns and Brother Brian finished with delightful prayer asking that we might join HIS church.  

I love people.

I went on an exchange this week and when I came back on Saturday we realized that Sis Brown (who'd taken my place in Rhyl) had taken my bus pass with her back to Crewe, thus rendering our plans for the rest of the day completely useless.  And this is how God works sometimes.  We prayed to know what to do and then just started walking.  I felt like we should turn down a street and ran into: Lo and Behold, a man we'd talked to many weeks ago in the library and had come to church once or twice.  So we invited him to the mission home fireside on Sunday and he agreed.

Funny: Sis N saw a door of a house she wanted to knock on and a big man in a deep purple flowered shirt open the door and said in a booming voice:


Did I say I love people?  I really do.


...these animals are the bane of my existence.

We had two appointments for tea complete with fireworks, hamburgers and hotdogs provided by kind members to help me celebrate July 4th.

... 'merica



*reglarly: for Josh Gibbons if you even read this blog and can imagine how that sound in your head and get the joke.  It's a stretch, I'll admit it, but I'm laughing so it's ok.

Monday, July 1, 2013


...this is what the pile of shoes looks like in a 4 sister flat.


1 Month!

Hey, 'Bout That? One Month! Ridiculous. I actually feel like it's been my whole life (in a good way) but I still feel very much like a new missionary. Probably I will for about another 12 months or so. Every once and awhile I think about things I want to see happen or what to teach a member/part member family and think, "I have NO fetchin' idea what I'm doing." It's great.

Here are the random, transition less thoughts I have for today.  Blessings to Mum Carol if she spell checks any of this before it's posted because really,  I don't have time to correct typing errors.  Trivial menial work.  (no reflection on you, mum)

Knocked on a row of houses in search of an Austrian woman on a tip.  (My companion is from Austria.) We think we found her but she was uninterested.  However we continued down the row and the name of the last house was Perth - a Bon Iver song - so i had a feeling about knocking on it.  We were indeed let in and had a conversation with a nice gentleman, who was honestly mostly interested from a curiosity aspect.  He was more interested intellectually than spiritually searching but it was a good visit anyway he invited us to come visit any time we're in the area.  Worth developing the friendship I think. 

Also he offered to set me up with his son that lives in America.  (the son is apparently wealthy and a mere 30 years older than I am so really, i think the possibility is quite good.)

One of the big things we're concentrating on are the people that haven't been to church for awhile.  Sis N. and I go out in search of them quite often.  The ward boundaries are so big and cover a lot of tiny random villages so, sadly, people fall through the cracks often.  It's always an adventure to knock on those doors because all we have info wise on background are their names.  Sometimes it turns out to be a part member family that welcomes us with open arms. 
Sometimes we get friendly people who've just turned to another religion.
Sometimes we get spouses or children who stare at us like we're conservatively dressed mafia members and tell us they have no idea what we're talking about.
  And sometimes the person has plain moved.

Always an adventure. 

Sometimes I talk to people who seem legitimately interested during our conversation (I had someone approach me on the bus once to straight up ask for a card and watched him start reading the Book of Mormon as soon as he stepped off the bus) but never appear again - despite various and a vaguely stalkerish amount of phone calls. 
 Haha I mean we don't follow up so much if the person straight up says no thanks, but the fade away can be hard to judge, you never want to feel like "Maybe if I'd just tried one more time."

I figured I could read people pretty well, the level of interest and whatnot, but occasionally I feel like missionary in "The Best Two Years" - naive.  But if that's the case, so be it!  I'd rather believe in people than not.  I'd rather try every route than not.  I will push up my thick oversized glasses and try again.

And you know I actually do wear those thick oversized glasses.  With style. 

 the first time i ironed...
Speaking of style (Hey... I actually am getting some transitions in!) the following is a conversation between the sister missionaries while thrift shopping last week. 

Sis C: " I don't know how I feel about this skirt. I think I kind of like it but it's kind of grandma."

Sis N: "it's completely grandma. go show Sister Gish. she'll want it."

(After looking up and seeing the skirt.)
Sis G: "Done and done."

This happened twice actually. I'll send pictures next week, they're beautiful.

On a more serious note:
Here is a change I've noticed these last few weeks. When I put on my name badge, I actually feel a difference. Not like it weighs a seven or eight pounds (or even one) but there's a weight there that I'm suddenly very aware of. A responsibility if you will. It's wonderful.  I've been wondering when that would happen; I hear a lot of returned missionaries talking about it, and here the moment is.

I love you all so much.  Time's up yet again, Happy 4th of July by the way!  Here's an open invite from me to go to Papa Jim's and Mama Carol's for root beer floats on the 4th to celebrate.  I'll be toasting you with my very own across the pond.  A nice family is having us over for tea that day and we're going to celebrate
Happy Monday!