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.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Liar...Liar...Hair On Fire?

Lies I have Told:
A conversation with sister Eichorst:
E: I think I want to get a pixie cut when I go home
G: (like a child at Christmas) Why wait?  I'll cut it for you now. 
E: Do you even know how to cut hair?
G: .... Yeah... I've done it loads* of times
* twice.  Or maybe just once. And I think he went to the barber the next day...
Maybe if the BYU thing doesn't work out I'll go on to realise my new calling of hairstylist. 
I can't believe she fell for it.  She was speaking in church the next day and everything. 
Next time any of you want a haircut and I offer: well you've been warned.




Monday, June 2, 2014

Called to Swerve!... Away!

I guess for some people, missionary length skirts and conservative tops aren't as repulsive as I thought.  Why you might ask?  Well let me back up a little bit here.
Sister Eichorst and I were out in Heywood one Sunday, knocking a few doors around where a member supposedly lived.  One door was answered by a young man - I swear to you he couldn't have been more than 16 wearing brightly coloured Spongebob shorts. 
Which of course I commented on, "hey nice Spongebob shorts."  ("Hey you're an idiot Sister Gish.  Who says that?")  We had an awkward conversation with him for a few minutes because we thought his mum was a member and we were trying to get ahold of her.  He assured us that his mum definitely was not, but finished the conversation with, "I'll talk to her when she gets home and text you about it." 
Wow how helpful spongebob man, thank you for your kindness!  (He has a name but for anonymity's sake he'll remain spongebobman or SBM for short.)  I should have suspected something right there but we just gave him our card and returned home.
Well the next day we did indeed receive a text message from him, "Hi it's "SBM", the guy wearing spongebob shorts.  I talked to my mum and she's definitely not a member.  Reason I'm texting is... which missionary am I texting?"
I explained about how we share a phone, and then because we were both dying to know the purpose behind his question, queried, "how come?" 
This was the response:
"Well I was going to see if the short one fancied a date."
Guess who "the short one" is?  (Give you a hint, my companion is not a midget.)
So I gently explained to him that I'm honoured but missionaries can't date. And I'm thinking what a shame that SBM is about 6 years too late because my 15 year old self would think he's pretty cute.  (He was pretty cute.) 
Well he texted back AGAIN and said "That sucks, is there no way I can get to know you?"
Umm.... come to church?  Be baptised?  See you in white? 
I actually did invite him to church, still thinking he's about 15, so "I could introduce you to some nice youth your age."
Yeah.. turns out he's 21.
Needless to say I don't think we're going to work out. 
Sorry SBM.  Come to the YSA building.