Monday, November 10, 2014

Simin's Spirit

...Except for Simin, here's a miracle about her:
She is so thirsty for the gospel. 
 We taught her the word of wisdom and when we mentioned tea she said, "I drink tea all the time!" But after a moment she simply said, "Ok, if it's what God wants I'll stop." 
 We couldn't even explain in great detail the benefits/harms of this, but she knows it's true so she accepted it. It really goes to show that it's not the flowery language that converts, it's a simple receptiveness to the spirit

 The baptism was so incredible.  Simin is amazing.  I was so happy to be there.  I really really miss it, and Sister Hansen.  It was small and Simin was ill but all went smoothly. 
After she was baptised and changed she sat down next to me and looked in my eyes and just said, "wow."  
She'll never forget that day.  She's so devoted. She loves that gospel enough to sacrifice for it.  


Monday, October 20, 2014

Mind Your Manchester Manners

Want to Hear a Funny Story? 
We had a tea appointment at the home of member yesterday and some of their grandchildren (Primary age) were there as well. 
During pudding (dessert) the grandma said, to the 6 year old grandson, in a very sharp (British style) reprimand,
 "Take your elbows off the table this instant!"  
Well, I noticed my elbows were ALSO on the table so I tried to subtley remove them as well but the grandpa sitting next to me noticed and started to crack up.  I was a touch embarrassed. 
I should've listened to you more about table manners!


The Transfer Back Story
How it happened:
Here's the transfer news:  I'm being transferred!  I'm absolutely stunned.  I thought if anyone would leave it'd be Sister Hansen.  nope she's staying to train a brand new missionary.
I'm leaving to...... Crewe!  Also to train a new missionary.  We were supposed to get those calls on Thursday but they never came until Saturday morning, 10 minutes before everyone else found out.  So we were pretty surprised to say the least. 
Haha the assistants called while Sister Hansen was in the shower and asked for her, so I asked if she could call them back.  Then I screamed, "SISTERHANSENGETOUTOFTHESHOWERRIGHTNOWYOUJUSTGOTATRANSFERCALLYOUNEEDTOCALLTHEMBACKRIGHTNOW"
She didn't believe but came flying out of the shower in her towel anyway. 
She didn't believe me till I showed her the phone record of calls, then she put on clothes and called them back.
I guess if I have to end without Sister Hansen, I would want to end training.  It will be a great way to grow and grow and just go hard till the end.  (the end is so tangible now.  I don't like it.) 
... picture of the g\Griffiths family whom I really love.  They have a 5 year old son and every time I see him I say,
"Ben, kiss my cheek" and he does it.  (Then I reward him with chocolate.)  I love that little boy. 

Transferred and Training! Leaving Liverpool!

This week I will be moving to Crewe and begin an assignment of training a new missionary.

I have loved Liverpool and leave longingly.

However, this will be a great way to grow and grow and just GO hard until the end...

which is in:



(insert more than mild anxiety attack here)

p.s. Hey want to hear something ironic?  Crewe is home to a massive train station....  haha my companion better keep a close eye on me while i'm boarding trains. (see previous post)

Monday, October 13, 2014

When One Door Closes... Another Opens...

The activity was fun. We did "Minute-to-Win It" games. Remember doing that with the fam?  I'll attach some pictures.  We moved Skittles with straws, ran around the room with eggs in a spoon, ate donuts off the string, wrapped in toilet paper, and shook ping pong balls out of Kleenex boxes.  I think everyone had a pretty good time, I hope so at least!  My computer works today so I'll send pics. 

Liverpool is still good! Today I located the Beatles museum and determined that it's actually worth paying for, if I have the money. 

  On Saturday I got stuck between train doors. 
 That was almost the level of poop/plunger embarrassment. 

 I jumped on last second, after the bells, leaving my companion standing astonished on the platform behind me. 
 I tried to get back out, panicking that I was leaving Sister Hansen which only lodged me more thoroughly in the doors. 

 They opened after a minute and I released myself and Sister Hansen boarded and everyone in the train stared and I turned bright red.  They made an announcement to
"Please don't attempt boarding while the doors are closing" at which point I covered my name badge and turned to face the corner to avoid all the stares.

It's been a good week. We are teaching a woman from Iran and I'm learning bits of Farsi, I can count to 10!

I'm going to learn how to pray in Farsi and next time we visit Javad I'll offer a blessing on the food in his language. 
She prays, "My Darling Heavenly Father". 
It is
 really sweet. 
That's the news!

Monday, October 6, 2014


We get to go to Costco today!  Elder Nesbesnii has a Costco card for some reason. 

I am so excited.
We're going to buy pumpkins to carve and all sorts of other American things.  God bless America.

Weekly Things:
I learned that hummus has an expiration date about ten days shorter than I thought it was.

We were talking to a woman on her doorstep and she took hold of my hand, she pulled me closer and put her other hand on my forehead and said, "Bless you my child."  Then she cracked up laughing.

There are posters up all over City Centre advertising Wicked.  YOU NEVER TOLD ME ABOUT IT.  WAS IT AMAZING?  I WANT TO SEEEEE IT.

We went contacting at the University.  At first I had an anxiety attack looking at all the students but after we got going it was really good.  We went of splits with the other sisters to learn from them because they Uni contact often (lots of Chinese students there.) 

All you have to is make eye contact with a Chinese student and say, "Neehow, Neehow!"  And they'll come over and talk for awhile (especially if the person speaking Chinese is white, haha.) 

They're hungry for knowledge about God.  Feeling the spirit teaching them went a long way to replenish my own spiritual drought.

Cara came to visit last Monday - it was her birthday this week so we celebrated here.  I'll send some pictures and you'll crack up at our hysterical height difference. 

I am dreaming of a White Christmas just like the one Elder Nebsnii knows!


Love From Liverpool... Sis Gish

ps... who names their child..Gurpreet?

Monday, September 29, 2014

What Happens in Liverpool Stays in Liverpool...

The week was pretty good, not my best.  YSA was a different vibe than last time.  All the new students are more anxious and uppity about getting to places on time and more closed off.  However, there were some good things, I think.
My favourite part of the week was the talent show the ward held on Saturday.  Of course the missionaries were involved.  sister Lau had a brilliant idea she'd done in high school :

The Bellagio Fountains... Live!

So we all tied white sheets around us, toga-style, and walked in holding large jugs of water in our hands.  We taped some plastic on the gymnasium floor and played music in the background.  Then in coordination with the music and choreography we toodk big slurps of water and spit them out.  It was hysterical.  The ward was surprised to say the least but I think they liked it.  We certainly had a lot of fun.

Toga Time


Monday, September 22, 2014

Fishing for A Compliment?

With a last name like Gish, I'm always susceptible to people making "clever" rhymes about it, usually involving small animals that swim in the sea. 

This began in junior high, happened in the temple once when the man called me "Sister Fish," and continued in university when 
Papa Jim told me he wanted to set me up with one of his students.
"I have a student I want to set you up with.  He's great.  You'll love him.  He's almost out of the hospital!"...
and if that didn't do enough to beat romance into my soul, he continued with, "Oh but his last name is Fish."

I'd be Sister Gish Fish for the rest of my life.  No thank you.  Needless to say, we didn't work out.

Well the trend has followed me to England.  Last week Liverpool had a large commemorative event for World War One.  There were different stalls set up in the town center and the missionaries were involved in a family history stall, talking to people about their families and helping them set up their own accounts. 

Well one of the members from the Crosby ward asked if I was related to Lillian Gish.  I replied yes (I love it when people know her, I feel soooo important and I usually follow up a bit smugly by asking if they want my autograph.) and she continued the conversation by telling me a story about street hawkers long ago with cockney accents.

Apparently the big thing to do in that *time was to get people's attention by making a rhyme.  Example: Hey I like your whistle translates into, Hey I like your suit.  Because a whistle goes with whistle and flute and flute rhymes with suit.  Well guess how you'd order fish from a chippy shop?  You'd order a Lillian Gish. 

And just like that every missionary within earshot permanently formed a connection between me and fish.  My link to fame has been permanently stained.

Sister Gish  (Fish)

*This must have been the time before television and around the prohibition because it's possibly the lamest pastime I've heard of. 
I don't think it would have worked on me. 
"hey nice whistle"  "hey nice... shut up.  It rhymes with ... don't ever speak to me again.  you're tacky and i hate you."

Monday, September 15, 2014

Liverpool Living 
We are slowly making friends in the ward.  There are some really great families that I want to get to know  - they are letting us come visit in the next couple of weeks. I don't think I realised before I came out here, how dependent I was on those relationships and having warm people around me and warm homes to be in. 
This week we get to go to Manchester to work in the YSA ward. It's freshman week and they're overrun with trying to contact everyone.  Seeing as the building is in the middle of three universities we're going to do some crazy finding.  I'm looking forward to it.  I'm sure I'll have lots of stories to share from it!
Had a zone meeting this week, one of the elders has a pair of glasses almost identical to mine.
On Wednesday morning at 6:25 our phone started ringing. 
 Sister Hansen hung up but then it rang again. 
 The label said office elders and I answered, "Elder Ahlstrom, I'm going to kill you. 
Why in the world would you call when we have five minutes left?" 
It was actually Sister Nemec, being taken to the airport and calling to say one last goodbye.  She told me she had 4 hours of sleep and then played the mission song REALLY loudly.  That's my trainer for you.

Said goodbye to Sister Nemec, she flew home on Thursday.

Monday, September 8, 2014


Conversations with people I meet on the street.
Because missionaries will talk about anything, even rice.
(One sided conversation)
"You're from Gambia?  That's really neat, how long have you been there?"
"I have some friends from close by in Africa.  They always make ... Jalaf rice?  I've never had it but I've heard it's really delicious."
(While desperately thinking of how I can relate rice to the gospel)
"What's that?  You're putting down your backpack... because you have a container of Jalaf rice with you?"
"Wow look at that.  It fills a whole plastic container that used to be for Caesar salad.  Yup that looks really good.  Great idea to put it in a garbage bag as well so it doesn't leak."
".... You want to give it to me?  Noooooooooooo that's ok.  I mean it's really nice.  No really you don't have to do... ok yup yup you are insisting so I will take that garbage bag holding the Caesar container holding the Jalaf rice."

"Thank you.  I can't wait to carry this around for the next 5 hours till I can get home to eat it!  YUM! I'm sure no one will think that's strange."
Needless to say the Jalaf rice was REALLY delicous.  At least that's what the rubbish bin told me. 
 Our house still smells of it.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Transfer Tremors
The more you get along with your companion, the faster the transfer goes, even if you are just finding all of the time.  So this transfer has gone by very, very, very quickly.  We get calls on Saturday.  I think Sister Hansen might go, since she has served here before.  We are getting 7 new sisters this transfer.  I would actually really like to train (but I'd never say that because people will judge you for being prideful).  It would be such a great way to end, I learn sooo much while training.  Liverpool is a good area for it but I guess we'll just see!  It's up to the Lord.
Happy Birthday to my trainer!
I attended the mission call opening of one of the ward members here.  She's a convert of about 3 or 4 years.  Her aunt came but her mom didn't.  She's going to Vancouver, Canada.  I had so many mixed emotions as I watched her.  She has no idea what is in store for her (neither did I!)  I couldn't imagine doing it all over again.  I would never erase the experiences I have had. 
Even the ones where I taught men in bathrobes wearing bike helmets.  England is perfect for me.  It's so trying.  But It's perfect. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Letters from Liverpool

We were fed by this member, British born but I think with parents from Africa and she really stuffed us.  She is just one of those people that you can immediately be blatantly honest with and make jokes about it.  She is taking us to the temple next week (so we won't email till Tuesday or Wednesday by they way, it is a bank holiday.)  She fed sister missionaries a while back with so much food and when they said they couldn't eat any more she told them to jump up and down to make more room. They did, ha ha, and she thought it was the funniest thing ever. 
This is (first picture) City Centre.  We went exploring last week and wandered into this place, St. George's Hall.  It is known for the organ, apparently, but that part of the building was closed last week.  

The other parts where open though, aka all of the rooms displaying it's previous life as a court room/prison/holding cells.  It was terrifying actually. 
We were walking down the hall and one of the rooms must have been playing a movie about the different punishments because we could hear clanking and slamming.  We walked past one of the rooms closed off and to my horror it was being used to store dummies for the displays.  They were in various uncomfortable positions and in combination with the background music I was startled almost into a heart attack. 

Had he been there, we know what would have happened to Dad and his pants.

Love From Liverpool!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

  Luv er lee Liverpool



We live in a block of apartments, right by a park where we can go out in the morning.  I actually ran once or twice.  It felt good.  We live across from a pub and every few nights we can hear karaoke going on, it's pretty funny. 

The people are friendly.   The ward is about 100 - 110 people.  We signed ourselves up for 3 tea appointments this week.  This is going to be an area of healing.  I can already tell I will love it here.  There are 4 sets of missionaries in the ward; the most I have ever experienced. 2 sets elders, 2 sets sisters.

Photos from Transfer Day

We can bus, but we've mostly been walking everywhere which makes it easier just to talk to people all the time.  We're "whitewashing" which is new for me.  But starting form scratch means we have nothing to do but find, and we're having so much fun with that.  I'm loving it.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Bus Fumes

Things I Have Learned About Riding Buses.

When one very obviously drunk man gets on the bus:

DO: Watch him bemusedly while he stumbles and talks very loudly to the man across the aisle.

DO NOT: Lean over to that said man sitting across the aisle after drunkie gets off and say, "And that is why I don't drink."

WHY?  Because man across the aisle is drunkie's friend and even more smashed than drunkie was.  You will then get a lecture about alcohol in moderation and his breath will not smell nice.

​Sending you all this wisdom from Middleton,

Sister Gish

Monday, June 23, 2014

Oh, The Places You'll Go.

First of All: Meet Sister Lee​:

And her sheep Connor, whom we practice teaching on a daily basis.  He is very interested in the gospel, as most sheep are.

Sister Lee is so great.  I love her to bits already.  The first thing that she did when she came in our flat was inspect our counters and tell me that they needed to be cleaned again.  Bless her.  But she was right.  Those five crumbs were really mucking up the place.

What I love about her is that she has FIRE.  She is ready to spread the gospel to every single person (and I do mean EVERY single person, walking places takes twice as long).  Since her mission assignment is to preach the gospel in Chinese we focus though on going to the areas with a higher concentration Chinese speakers.  Do you know this means?


For all of you non-British people (I feel so sorry for you) a chippie is a fish and chip take out, and a lot of them are run by people from China.  So we go in, I smile pretty, and Sister Lee goes off in her native tongue.  Then if we order something we end up with loads of extra food.

I should get a Chinese nametag (Gish Jie May)  I'm learning basic phrases: I love you, goodnight, good morning, and crazy/creepy old man.  Guess which phrase we use the most?

Here's the miracle of the week.  Sister Lee and I spent all weekend finding and on Sunday when she bore her introduction testimony, she said she knew she was here because the Chinese people were ready to receive the gospel in this area and encouraged the members to help us. No sooner had she finished speaking then this Chinese man we'd talked to days ago walked right into the chapel! He's a bit of the "crazy weird man" mind you, but it was like a direct confirmation of her words.

On to the Second Half.

I composed this blog in my brain about a week ago, specifically on 12 June, because it was that day, one year ago, I left the MTC and entered the actual mission field.

One year ago this morning I woke up at 4:30 to take my luggage to a very large coach waiting to take us to the Manchester Stake Center.

One year ago this afternoon I walked down a hallway lined with missionaries singing "Called to Serve Him," broke down on the stand and and met my trainer from Austria, Sister Nemec.

One year ago early evening, I knocked my very first door.  After a good 6 hours of traveling, I'd arrived in Wales, straight to a meeting with our ward mission leader and then straight out onto the streets, as it was 8 pm and my trainer was determined to not let the night finish without proselyting.  Never you mind that I hadn't seen my flat, didn't even a pencil with me, was still carrying my really large bag stuffed with extras that didn't fit in my case. 

One year ago at bedtime, I laid down in my make shift bed.  We'd whitewashed into the area and the assistant/office elders hadn't had time to prepare the flat.  We slept in mattresses on the floor, the four of us, too tired to even spread out sheets.  I went to bed thinking, this is it.  This is not the MTC anymore.  This is actually missionary life.  How strange.

A lot has happened since then.  Some will exclaim, "Oh hasn't the time just gone by so fast??"  Well, not really to be honest.  This has been the busiest year of my life.  Every second counted.  Every minute was full.  Just as my call letter states, I have never experienced greater joy.  I've never experienced such darkness.  I've never spent so much time worrying about others, overwrought with duty and responsibility.  Never have I walked so closely by the Saviour.

1  year apart

Love Sister Gish

p.s. Bring on the next 6 months.