Monday, December 28, 2015

Sister Shumway on Christmas Day 2015

letter from Alyssa - Dec. 28, 2015

What a week! So this week my email will have to be a bit shorter because I received an email from an anti-mormon group that was a concern so some of my time was taken to call the mission president and take care of it. I had more I wanted to email, and I LOVE reading the emails you send, I wish I could respond better but I will do my best this week to send what I can and try to make up for it in future weeks.
The work is starting to pick up. We are coming in contact with some people, but this week has been slow due to the Christmas holiday. But like I told you over skype last week, we are over 2 huge wards so we have sooo much work to do.
We have been receiving information little by little about changes that are coming up in this mission. Most of it is polishing up our obedience and being consistent with the missionary handbook and Preach My Gospel, but it's all preparatory is what we've been told. Also our new mission president is to be announced in the next couple months so I'm sure it has to do with that.
We found insideout CDs in the apartment. Sister Phinney has never heard them, I got excited and told her I know these songs insideout (...get it?). That's been fun.
We had sticky rice for dessert at the Noblezas. Not the sweet kind you have with mango, but the thicker stickier kind dad made for us a long time ago. That was fun too, the Noblezas are awesome.
Thankyou again for the wonderful Christmas!! Especially talking to you all, that was so so so neat.  I am blessed in so many ways, I think Heavenly Father enjoys sending extra blessings, even if we don't necessarily need them, to remind us He loves us.
I'm sorry again for the short email, love you all and talk to you next year :D

- Sister Shumway

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

letter from Alyssa - Dec. 21, 2015

So Tuesday was another transfer meeting. It was hard to imagine being transferred out of Live Oak Canyon. When my name was called to be transferred, I stood to leave and Sister Ward stood up and hugged me in front of all the other missionaries before I went to join my new companion. I am so confident in her and the great work she will do with her new companion there. Her new companion was in the MTC with her, not her companion then but they have both been out less than 3 months. I also collected a bunch of names from that ward list of who to friend on FB when I get back. Oh we also found out at transfer meeting that MTC time for those speaking English has been extended to 3 weeks, so this transfer is 7 weeks long instead of 6 because last transfer was 5 weeks long (due to plane flights and timing that before the week of Christmas), but now next transfer is also 7 weeks long and then we'll go back to 6 week transfers. So every transfer is a week later than before. I don't know how that will affect those going home from then on, including me, because I was supposed to fly home November 23rd but it may now be November 30th. So I talked to President Ellis (just because I saw him at the chalk walk, which I'll tell you what that is later in the email) and he said we will have a new mission president by the time I go home (which I knew, I just forgot) so things will be handled differently and I'll find out. So now all I really know is that I'm going home sometime in November and that I have plenty of time to not worry about much more than that yet, and it'll be figured out. Now I have been transferred to 2 huge wards again: Aliso Viejo and Wood Canyon in the Laguna Niguel Zone. My new companion is Sister Phinney, and to be honest I bet she will be my favorite companion on the mission. I love her! And I don't even know her that well. She is one transfer behind me, so she's been out 6 months and I've been out for 7. She is from British Columbia, Canada in a little city called Quesnel. She's so cute and I'll send you a picture of us sometime. She's a really really really good baker and so sweet to everyone. She's been in these wards for 3 months now. We totally get along, we can talk openly about ourselves, our studies, back home, experiences, I so enjoy being with her. It's like I wish I knew her in High School or something, we would've been such close friends (like we are now!). I can't wait to get to know her better.
Aliso Viejo and Wood Canyon are huge and constantly changing. But there's so much potential and a lot of work that can be done! I have never served in Laguna Niguel so this is also a new experience. But now I get to draw upon the things I've learned and done in other wards and get things rolling here. My first area in Dana Point and Capistrano is not far at all from here, and that was also 2 big wards at once. But I've never served with someone who's had similar and about as much experience as I have.
The Elders we're serving with are pretty cool. In Aliso Viejo we have the Zone Leaders, Elder Putnam who also just got transferred here and Elder Medina who I ward shared with when I was first in Live Oak Canyon. In Wood Canyon we have Elder Norton (one of our District Leaders) who is training Elder Mask. All 4 of these Elders are great as far as I have seen.
Sister Phinney (and experiences I've heard of on many accounts) tells me that Laguna Niguel is not a very obedient zone. They are very close as missionaries and actually probably have the most baptisms regularly out of the zones throughout the mission. They also don't disobey what would be considered big things or serious sins I guess, but in little ways that add up they have created a culture that rationalizes ignoring some of the standards we've been given. For example, on p-day they go in big groups to public places to hang out, which is discouraged. At ward or stake events and other meetings (like ward council) missionaries will be without their companions because they've said they're with endowed members and in the same building as their companion. Getting in the apartment on time is not a priority. Long dinner appointments with members even without giving a spiritual message happen easily. Basically a lot of things that are not hard to obey are being disregarded and many missionaries are not taking initiative. They still work hard, they still proselyte and refer to the handbook and Preach My Gospel on many things, but they are noticeably lax. It's having an effect on their conduct. I think part of the reason is because the zone used to be made up of a bunch of veteran missionaries that had been out for over a year and so the way they do things is acceptable by default. Some of those missionaries have gone home. Sister Phinney has expressed concern about a few of these things as they've come up since I've been with her this last week, but has not received very positive responses from those she's tried to confront (and she's not very confrontational at all). So we agreed to help each other. Neither of us have been out that long, so we decided to lead by example. It will be the perfect opportunity for us to become more polished in obedience, conduct, and unity ourselves, and may set the tone for the zone again. We are already seeing great things happen, it's considered a very successful are and many baptisms are already lined up. So imagine what more could happen and the greater miracles we could witness if we added greater obedience to invite the Spirit in greater abundance and power! We are working together to look for ways to show The Lord we are His servants and disciples. I am so grateful for a companion that is unified with me in purpose, willing to work more than having just good intention, and still have fun experiences through it all.
We basically don't have much to go off of as far as the work goes. Our leaders are awesome, but the wards are so big and change a lot. That and the sisters before us didn't accomplish much, it is difficult to do a lot especially between 2 wards like these, but that makes it easy to get spinning your wheels without going anywhere, which is what has happened recently. So we are starting by going back on former investigators and things in the area book to try and find people that way first. But we also have a lot to work with when it comes to finding in this area so we will work on that next.
Bishop Weaver (Wood Canyon, or WC) and Bishop Miller (Aliso Viejo, or AV) are fantastic. I don't know how they do it in these wards. Bishop Miller meets with us and the Elders every Friday morning to correlate. Bishop Weaver is putting together a list of names he wants us to visit and try to work with. Brother Turner (WC ward mission leader) is always in contact with us and ready to help. He has us text him every night when we get home to make sure we made it back at the end of the day safely. Brother Parker (AV ward mission leader) also keeps us busy. Sometimes we will correlate while we play games with him and his family at his home, so he is so much fun too. One of the biggest challenges being assigned here is going to be to try and keep all the names straight between wards, let alone remember them.
On Friday and Saturday night the stake did a Christmas activity called the Chalk Walk. Missionaries helped serve cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate, so we met most everyone there and there were a lot of friends that members brought! Artists (members and nonmembers alike) were given parking spaces to do chalk art for Christmas, they were stunning! I was so amazed. I wanted to take pictures but it actually rained Saturday night (of all the times to finally rain here, but we've been praying for it so I guess we can't complain). It was so much fun.
We haven't been able to get into the work a whole lot with transfers happening, but the first day I was here we did teach a now progressing investigator, Jennifer. She is solid. She has been to church the last 3 weeks in a row and has been reading the Book of Mormon daily! She was taught the restoration before I got here, but when we went to teach her she had so many questions we found out she didn't really understand what was taught, so we retaught it to her and it could not have gone better. She even prayed at the end of the lesson without hesitation! Sister Phinney said the difference between the 2 restoration lessons she's had were black and white, and that that experience was amazing. I was so excited after, I get this feeling after we teach a really good lesson that just makes me so so happy. And that was definitely one of those times. By the way, Dad she said she's lived in Virginia most her life, where was it in Virginia you lived and when?
April is a less-active that wants so badly to partake of the Sacrament. Yesterday she got to church just after the priesthood sat down after passing it. The week before she made it for the last 15 minutes of Relief Society. But she has short-term memory loss due to a serious car accident she was in when she was a teenager. And she's actually been baptized a member since then! So she really struggles with a lot of things she can't control, and doesn't have any friends that won't take advantage of her condition. So we do all we can but we're going to see what more others can do since there's only so much we can do for her as missionaries. I don't know much more about her yet.
Julie came to church for the first time in almost 40 years! Well actually she came to the chalk walk, but to the church building was a miracle. She left when it started raining so she didn't stay long. But we had visited with her the day before and she really knows how to talk. She said she may be there, but didn't sound very promising. Her son is having surgery at the end of the month, and this week he was really sick so he won't be coming to visit her until after Christmas. But Julie said one of the reasons she's not coming to church is because she has no skirts. So Sister Phinney and I are going to make a trip to the Sister's closet and pick up some skirts for her to choose from as a Christmas gift so she has a reason to come to church, because she won't wear a skirt to anything else either.
Kynsie would love to visit Shirley with us. She has sooooooooooo much crafting and art stuff. Probably more than Hobby Lobby. I bet it's so hard for her to shop at a craft store because she can't find something she doesn't already have, like it's worse than Ty trying to find a hotwheel he doesn't already have. She helped us make Christmas card while we talked to her about what she was reading in the scriptures lately. It was a pretty neat conversation. She doesn't really want to come to church though, but she's been close to coming so we'll keep working with her, especially since we are some of her only visitors.
We are having Christmas with the AV Elders at the Nobleza home. They are also Filipino! So Dad and I will have both spent our first Thanksgiving and Christmas on the mission with Filipino people and food. Remember Elder Medina is Filipino, so it was probably his request, and I'm excited.They said they are probably going to make rib roast for dinner. But we will spend a lot of time with them so we can call families, help make food, have dinner, and give a Christmas message. I can't wait!!

Speaking of Christmas, I will see you all Friday! Merry Christmas!!

- Sister Shumway

Monday, December 14, 2015

letter from Alyssa - Dec. 14, 2015

This week was a lot. But it was good. But it was a lot.
So we have had SOMETHING going on every single day due to Christmas stuff. I mean, we always make plans, but we've had to cram all the stuff in now as I'm sure you can imagine. I bet our lives (my companion and I) have been pretty chill compared to how crazy and awesome things are going with you guys.
But anyway, Tuesday (DAD'S BIRTHDAY!! :D) was the mission Christmas party. I didn't even know we would have one until we got the text. But it was great, we had dinner, and a video we all put together for President Orgill (I'd be surprised if it's not on the mission FB page), Santa came, we took pictures, had music numbers performed, played minute to win it Christmas style (I totally got the cookie one on the first try, the one where you put the cookie on your forehead and get it to your mouth with only the muscles of your face), and heard a message from President Orgill. It was like 5 hours long. So much fun. What's unique about this mission is that there are approximately 172 missionaries (may change tomorrow) all serving in an area that is so geographically small, so you get to know most all of them. It's so neat and one of the reasons I'm very very grateful to be called to this mission.
Wednesday was the Relief Society Christmas party, and that was so well done. The program was so well-prepared and invited the Spirit, dinner was awesome, then we did a service project putting together Christmas baskets for less fortunate families. But the best part was that we had several less-actives and nonmember friends come! Many that will be in contact with us to start teaching or serving.
Thursday we had a special Sisters' Training in Irvine for all the sister missionaries. It was on music, health, fashion, love, and all sorts of sisters' stuff. Lunch was really really good though, I think that was my favorite part. I gave the training on music with my companion, Sister Ward, we read from the preface in the hymnbook and taught them all to lead music. Sister Orgill loved it. That also went for about 5 hours or so, even though it was planned for 4, but then our mission president decided to tell us all the story of how he and his wife met, dated, and got married. It gives mom and dad's story a run for their money.
Friday we had breakfast at the Stake President's house again, President Brennan, along with Brother Hobbins who I've mentioned a lot over the last few months. They gave a wonderful training and helped motivate us to really want to go out and work. Breakfast was really yummy too. President Brennan asked me to play the piano while the entire zone sang a few Christmas carols, and that was fun. Though I couldn't contribute much more than that since I had lost my voice and later ended up coming down with a cold. It lasted through most of Saturday, but I didn't have a headache or fever so I just worked through it. It wasn't very fun coughing, sneezing, losing my voice and having a pretty stuffed up nose, but it went away and I'm fine now.
I don't know why or how the members love us so much. But we've already received a lot of Christmas presents from people. Sister Judd runs a boutique and told us to each pick out a new dress. Sister Klein made us a really really yummy loaf of peach bread that she knows I love. Sister Sawyer got us a kit of body wash, lotion, deodorant, and stuff along with a plate of cookies and mini loaves of chocolate chip banana nut bread. They have been so generous and sweet to us, and helping us feel loved and supported especially being far from home at this time of year. I will so miss them.
We had 3 or 4 missed calls from Joanie on Wednesday because she thought we had transfers last Tuesday and she saw the Elders for the first time so she was afraid we were both gone without saying anything. We called her back and reassured her, but it was so sweet of her. She also gave us a Christmas gift, these little Christmas chocolates and a tender note to us. We are trying to work out having a family home evening with her tonight with the Mauss family.
Last week we introduced Emily Peterson (a laurel who speaks Turkish) to Inci and her son Cevik. Inci and Emily started speaking Turkish and they got so excited that Inci came up to Sister Ward and I, pulled us into a tight hug, and said "I love you so much!" We didn't get to teach her this week since Cevik has been working on finals at school, but they both came to Follow the Star (Christmas even I'll talk about) with the Peterson family, and they had Emily over for dinner the next night. Inci and Cevik are leaving for Turkey for Christmas on Friday, but they will be back in January to continue discussing about the Book of Mormon.
Follow the Star was an event mostly put on my the Mausses and Brother Shields (awesome awesome awesome member missionaries). They've been doing it every year for years, it's a live nativity of the story of Christmas with real animals, an authentic-looking scene, real baby for Jesus in the manger, and all that. It's a neat production that's about 15-20 minutes or so. So they do it 6 times each night for 3 nights, along with a set up display of nativities from around the world inside and Mormon messages of Christmas playing. The best thing ever to invite people to. And the turn out was phenomenal! Sister Ward and I alone had 2 potential investigators, 5 investigators (and one of them brought their 7 kids), a part member family, and a few less-actives all come over the course of the 3 nights. Lori couldn't make it, but she came to church yesterday so that's even better. Sean came, first time I've seen him in over 3 months, and we got to talk with him and Devoree for a while. Things are looking up with him! The Collins family came but Leslie didn't, she's still so sick and striving to recover. We still don't know many details. Charlotte came, Inci, Cevik, and a few members brought their friends. It rained last night but it was still a great experience.
Last night, at Follow the Star, Sister Ward and I also met Elder Clayton of the 70. I had no idea he was coming, it was awesome to be able to shake his hand. He just walked in, looked at my nametag, and said, "hello Sister Shumway, I'm Elder Clayton." and his voice sounded like I was listening to General Conference so I recognized him and told him how good it was to meet him. We had the usual short conversation, he asked where I was from and such, and he told me and Sister Ward that he knows our mission president. He also said he knows the next one and that he is just as wonderful as President Orgill. I never doubted that, as much as I do love President Orgill, and I know all the missionaries here do, but I didn't even think that the next one was called. Whoa.
So I am being transferred, very sad to leave but I'm at peace with it. Everything from tomorrow evening right after transfer meeting seems like a blur because I again have no idea what to expect, but I know that whatever it is it will be so much better than what I could've planned for myself. It always is. And that's true in all circumstances, Heavenly Father's will is the best way and I can't wait to find out what's in store. The ward had me bear my testimony in Sacrament meeting yesterday, Elder Forthman is also being transferred so we are leaving our greenies to take over the area with the senior companions they're bringing in. I'm fully confident they will do incredible things and see miracles here. This is what I emailed President Orgill about my companion: "Sister Ward is extraordinary. Her desire to share the gospel and work hard is contagious; her positive, loving, faithful attitude is inspiring and uplifting; and her testimony has proven to be a remarkable source of strength and power as she serves The Lord. What a privilege and a blessing it has been to train her! I love her and will miss her just as much if not more than the amazing ward here since I am being transferred." I totally mean that, Sister Ward and I have become friends and will continue to be friends of course!
Ponderizing scripture this week:
"For I am God, and mine arm is not shortened; and I will show miracles, signs, and wonders, unto all those who believe on my name. And whoso shall ask it in my name in faith, they shall cast out devils; they shall heal the sick; they shall cause the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak, and the lame to walk. And the time speedily cometh that great things are to be shown forth unto the children of men;"

Love you! Miss you! Praying for you!
- Sister Shumway

Monday, December 7, 2015

letter from Alyssa - Dec. 7, 2015

This week was weird. I feel like we did a lot, and we did, but nothing went according to plan. Of course haha.
Tuesday we took Lori to the temple grounds and talked about the plan of salvation, the ordinances performed and the need for baptism, and of course blessings and more blessings from it all. It was a neat experience! She is starting to progress! Sister Hobbins went with us and helped SO much. She's a wonderful member missionary, and so is her husband. Lori says she wants to begin reading the Book of Mormon again, and on Friday she came to the ward Christmas party and really enjoyed it.
We have also started volunteering at the community service center and we go for an hour every Friday morning. The person we work with, Dawn, we found out lives right next door to a part-member family, the Klapps. Sister Klapp is awesome, and she's very active, though I have not met the rest of her family. She is inviting Dawn and her twin 19-year-old girls to the relief society Christmas party Wednesday (which I found out is at the Coto de Casa Valley Country Club, the biggest gated community in the world). So we will start to get to know Sister Klapp, her family, Dawn, and her daughters better altogether!
Joanie came to church!! AND she brought her daughter, Kristan, who is Elder Everett's mom (he was with me in the MTC, and he baptized Kristan since he's been out in the field). She loved it and stayed all 3 hours! She struggles to make and keep any commitments, but we have plans to go continue to teach her this week. Oh, and Kristan bore her testimony in sacrament meeting for the first time! It was a neat spiritual experience.
Inci is very very interested in the Book of Mormon. On Friday we got to teach her about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and prayer. She talks openly with us and expresses her beliefs with an open mind. We are taking Emily (laurel that speaks Turkish) with us to teach her this week. Inci also gave us real Turkish delight straight from Turkey, it was kinda weird but pretty good! Just hard to chew. And there's a lot of powdered sugar. That kind was orange, she says she's bringing pistachio next time though.
On Saturday we went to see Sister Judd and help her and her husband clean out their garage and plant flowers in their front yard. We were only planning on an hour or so, but she got really really sick suddenly, and we didn't want to leave Brother Judd alone to finish the yard, and garage, and take care of his sick wife, and the baby, and with her parents coming the next day. So we ended up staying another 5, but we got the job done and were tired after! He really really appreciated it, so that was really neat to be able to help their family. And they're bringing lots of friends to an event this weekend!
Speaking of this weekend, there's this HUGE Christmas even that hundreds of people  all over the mission come to in this area, called Follow the Star. It's a short play of the nativity, straight out of the scriptures, with real animals, children and adults playing parts, a real baby, and an authentic set up outside the church building. We are inviting EVERYONE we see, and most all our investigators, potentials, less-actives, and friends are coming and bringing friends. :D
Also this weekend we have transfer calls, the transfer day is the 15th and anything could happen. I honestly don't want to leave the area, I love it and the people here too much. But Sister Ward will have finished her training and I'll have been here for 4 months, so we will see what happens! I will know Saturday night.
This week is so so so so busy. I may have said that already but I don't remember. Tomorrow is Dad's birthday (I didn't forget I promise! Like it or not something's coming! ...but it'll be late. love you still:) and we have the Mission Christmas party that night. I'm not sure what all that entails, but sounds fun! Wednesday night is the Relief Society Christmas party, Thursday we're having a special training for Sisters (don't know what that entails either...), Friday we have breakfast at the Stake President's home again with Brother Hobbins, Friday through Sunday is Follow the Star, and everything on top of that. Whoa! It feels good to be busy as a missionary though.
Let me say it again, the ward members here are amazing. Sister Klein just got news that her cancer is back, and she came to us Sunday with a Christmas gift to break our fast, her famous and reeeeeally yummy peach bread. Sister Ranck (less-active, her daughter has a concussion) signed up to have us for dinner on Christmas. Many of the ward members have been grabbing for the dinner calendar to have us over again before transfers. The Bishop, Ward Mission Leader, and other auxiliaries are incredible supports in the missionary efforts. The primary kids come give us hugs and I have almost all their names! I have all the young women's names easy. One of the greatest and most rewarding feelings I have experienced is seeing others feel of Heavenly Father's love for them through one other, I have felt that from those around me and try everyday to pay it forward.

The church is true! Love you all!
- Sister Shumway

Sunday, December 6, 2015

letter from Alyssa - Nov. 30, 2015

I'm so glad you all had such a fun Thanksgiving! Sounds like you have EVERYTHING going on this season with Christmas and everything else too. Here's a few updates:

ponderizing scripture is 2 Nephi 32:3 (I really really liked yours too, mom) "Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do." I don't remember if I already ponderized this one or not, but I obviously needed to again if so. It's one of my favorites, partially because of how familiar it is to me and the meaning it's had in my life over the years.

So, we picked up 3 new investigators since the last time I emailed you.
Carrie is Christian, we taught her the Restoration on Monday and she said she wanted to talk to her husband about it and see his thoughts. She has 3 kids ages 13, 10, and 4, they are so sweet and their family is very close. Carrie told us the reason she let us in is because she was kind of curious why her aunt converted to the Mormon faith in the last years of her life, and also because she knows we get a lot of rejection so she let us in for us to share our message. Which I thought was nice, never heard that before, and it's not the motivation we want of course but it's not a bad start.
 Inci (not sure how much I said about her, but you pronounce her name Angie) is from Turkey, living here with her son Cevik to help him find work and get into school, he's 18. Inci's husband and daughter are still in Turkey, and she'll return to live with them there in about 10 months. She's interested in the Christian religion though she's traditionally Muslim. She also speaks German, English, and Turkish so she's the one that we gave the Book of Mormon in English in Turkish. We started the Restoration with her and her son, but left off at Joseph Smith so we will pick up there this week. She found it interesting and started answering some of her own questions as she was talking about it with us!

Dante is a potential, he contacted us and wanted to set up a gospel discussion with him and 3 of his friends/roommates. That's about all I know so far, trying to work out a time.
Brother Shields (AWESOME member missionary) came over to see Allie with us (less-active). She was unavailable, but her husband, Akio, was outside putting up lights. He's Japanese and Brother Shields served his mission in Japan, so they spoke in Japanese. It was fascinating! They told me if I was a missionary in Japan I'd be called Shumway Shemai (idk if that's how you spell it, pronounced she-my). We invited him to the ward Christmas party, it was a great conversation and I really hope they come.

Leslie is still really sick. She and her husband Doug are going to Hawaii for a week to go through her mother's home, who passed away this last July. Her kids are doing ok, but the oldest, Matthew, is struggling. Not sure what with, but that's all I've been told. We keep them in our prayers and look for ways to serve.

We taught Lori! We shared a scripture from the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 4:15, and I gave her the context of the story before reading it to her. She loved it! We had planned to commit her to start the Book of Mormon from the beginning, but before we could she said, "I need to pick that up again and read it myself," I asked her what her experience was with reading the Book of Mormon. She said the Elders would come and read a chapter with her brother, Dennis, and she would just listen in, but they jumped around a lot and she doesn't remember really anything from it except that she kind of enjoyed it at the time. I told her the prophet that wrote that verse was the one who writes in the Book of Mormon at the beginning in 1 Nephi, and before I could ask her to read that she said, "Oh, that sounds like the perfect place to start! I'll do that. Could I text you if I have questions?" I wanted to hug her. As missionaries, our ultimate goal is to lead people to baptism, but one of my favorite things to do is to help or encourage anyone to read from the Book of Mormon. I feel the warm approval from the Spirit every time I see someone open that book, and even when I read it myself. Jaxson (the baby) is doing much better, he had his medicine switched so he's not throwing up nearly as much and so we still have plans to take Lori to the temple grounds tomorrow.

Liz's baptism date is obviously canceled, we've had minimal contact as much as we've tried. But we will still reach out to her of course and see what we can do.

Thanksgiving was awesome. We went to the Bishop's house first, his family has 2 marines over each year and it was neat to talk with them and the Bishop. We shared experiences and they pointed out that it's neat that we are also their age, out here away from home and family, wearing a uniform, serving others that may not even know who we are. We really enjoyed that. Then we went to Racquel Batimana's place, they have a big family and they are all so much fun! One of her brothers just turned in his mission papers last week and has his availability date for December 1st so literally any moment we should hear from her about that! He's also a really good singer and sang for us "I Stand All Amazed." We had normal thanksgiving food with Saviche, a sweet/spicy dish with tomato, cucumber, some sort of sauce, shrimp, crab, and these really thin noodles. She said Chicken Adobo is really good though and that she should make it for us sometime. Their family is so fun. Her dad is American and her mom is Filipino, we talked with them and Racquel most of the time. Then we gave her daughter, who is in her teenage years, a Book of Mormon, and she wants to read it. We have plans to go back and talk about it with her.

Saturday I got to go on an exchange with my trainer Sister Hall! She's my sister training leader this transfer and it was so awesome to show her the progress of this area and the work we're doing. I was also so grateful for the opportunity to show her that, though I didn't do so well my first 3 months and I probably made her feel at times she was failing as a trainer, especially now that I've tried so hard to improve, her work and efforts and love was not in vain. In fact, a whole lot of the blessings that people in this area are experiencing are due to her faith in me during and after my training. That was such a neat experience with her. I love Sister Ward, but I miss Sister Hall a lot too. I joked with Sister Ward since I'm training her that I'm running from my child to my mother for a day (mission language stuff).

If I think of more stuff I'll let you know! Keep up the AWESOME work and know that you are each in my prayers all the time!! (we pray, a lot... like all the time. we probably pray more than we teach.)

- Sista Shumway

Monday, November 23, 2015

letter from Alyssa - 11-23-15

Casan, you and all the family are in my prayers daily. All 172 (currently) missionaries in the Irvine mission stop what their doing at 10am everyday and pray for families. We will pray to find families to teach and baptize, families in our wards, part-member families, and families back home (that's you!) but I still pray for you aside from that too:)

Yeah last week when one of you mentioned Skyping on Christmas I must admit I had totally forgotten about that. The handbook says 30-40 minutes though to answer your question. Christmas is a normal day for missionaries besides that, I'm not sure how that'll work though because, at least in this area, I've found it more difficult to proselyte on holidays. But we'll figure out something!

I have so much to tell you, and I wish I could talk all day long about all these awesome things you're telling me about! Especially about you setting up discussions with the missionaries, Dad!! You are all incredible examples and truly a great strength to me, and especially this week I really do have every reason to be grateful because of each of you.

Speaking of packages (you guys are so thoughtful for sending those, I'm excited! I haven't received them yet but here is a hug for you  \(^-^)/  ) Rod and Alli actually sent me a package too, which surprised me! It was PERFECT timing too because the day I got it was actually a really tough day (as far as the work goes). It came with a chocolate cake mix, a 3-D puzzle of a castle, 4 things of playdough, a bunch of starburst, a shower scrubby thingy, chapstick, and notes from each of them. I feel so loved! Not just from getting packages of course, but it reminded me of all the people that mean so much to me. And the puzzle was so fun, I'll send a picture of it sometimes. I use the playdough while I study, it helps me think haha. And of course all the other stuff. :)

Ponderizing scripture - same one as last week, only added onto "And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw? And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things. And he spake unto me, saying: Yea, and the most joyous to the soul."

Jean came to do family history on Tuesday, she loves it! She printed 3 family names for the temple. She's having a friend do it for now, but hasn't shut the door on receiving her own recommend sometime.

We have about 4 different families that want us for Thanksgiving this week, one of them being Racquel. And I'm so excited for that one because she's making Filipino food! Isn't that so awesome? Can't wait. She wants 4 other Elders to come too.

We taught Jennifer for the first time, I think it went well. We taught the restoration and we had a great discussion. She still hasn't read from the Book of Mormon, but she said she would this week. She is one that believes in simply being spiritual and a good person, and doesn't like the idea of all power being given to one man, like a prophet. She talked most the time, which was really good because we weren't off topic or anything. She also believes Jesus Christ was simply a "good man." I'm not really sure why she said she was interested though, something we will find out as we continue teaching her.

Inci (pronounced Angie) has become our good friend. We see her several times a week as we pass by her apartment, and we are going to try teaching her this afternoon. She is living here in America with her son to try and help him get into school, while her husband and daughter are in Turkey (she's Turkish). She's staying here for about 10 months and said "it would be good for me to learn about the Christian religion." We gave her an English copy and a Turkish copy of the Book of Mormon. She also speaks German, but said she's only barely fluent. She skypes her family every morning, and we've had conversations about our families back home.

We taught Nora and her 3 sons last night, started by showing them BecauseHeLives in Spanish (though they speak English and Spanish fluently) and taught the restoration. Her boys, 6, 7, and 9, asked us to come back, so we're teaching them again Sunday. They are traditionally Catholic, but they have the Book of Mormon so as long as they read it. The boys held the book like it was precious, and were excited to read it with their mom. It was really neat.

We saw Samantha (less-active) at seminary Wednesday when we went to help teach. That was really cool, we led discussions about what non-members need to do in order to be baptized. Sammi attends seminary 100% and church/activities 0%, both her parents are RMs and I've never met either because they're never at church.

We gave Van a Book of Mormon, we see him all the time as we walk past him on the way between our car/apt. So we talked to him for a while, turns out he dated a Mormon girl in junior high long time ago. But he said he'd read it before we could even ask him to.

We're going to try to teach Carrie this afternoon. Tracted into her, she has an awesome family. I would've thought they were Mormon already. Don't know much more about her though yet.

Liz's baptism date is off the table. Turns out there have been some complications we were unaware of and some concerns that have turned her interest away from the church. It took 2 and 1/2 weeks to even get a response from her, now she'll be out of town 'til the end of the week or so. I can't send confidential info, but we are working with the mission presidency and seeking counsel from them as we prepare to meet with her again.

Hollie Mauss got her mission call on Monday to serve in the El Salvador/Belize mission! Spanish Speaking! Reports to the Provo MTC January 27th (exactly one year from the day I received my call)! She was endowed Saturday morning, and we had permission to go. When we got to the temple, the person that scanned my recommend had the name 'Andrew Mortensen' (I hope I spelled it right) on his white suit coat. I wouldn't have taken note of it, but he asked me "Sister Shumway, do you know Shumways in..." And I thought, Oh, here we go again haha. "...Idaho?" I responded that I did, but expected the first names to be unfamiliar as they always are (except Eric Shumway, who I've heard much of but never actually met). He said "My sister is married to a Laron Shumway, her name is Lou Anne (spelling again?)" I almost didn't catch it but them I realized that's my grandpa's brother!! :D I asked if they were currently on a mission and he responded that they were in Ukraine, that's them! I love unexpected temple reunions.

I'm sure there's a lot more that happened, but these are the biggest things, if I remember more I'll write it down for next week. Love and miss you all!!

- Sister Shumway

Monday, November 16, 2015

letter from Alyssa - Nov. 16, 2015

This week I have been ponderizing 1 Nephi 11:21-22, "And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw? And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men; wherefore, it is the most desirable above all things." I love that the first thing taught once Nephi beholds the Lamb of God is the love of God, it teaches me that His greatest act of love was to send His son to us and accomplish His mission.

Our investigator, Liz, the one we committed to be baptized, hasn't responded to us trying to contact her in two weeks. It's been a little rough. But we have plans to help her! Her baptism date will need to be moved though.

Paul and Sydney are Liz's parents. They have the mindset that she can do whatever she chooses and learn from experience, so they are totally supportive but seemingly a little careless. But very friendly! So we went by hoping to start teaching them, they said it was great we were teaching Liz but they were content with their beliefs themselves. So, we gave them each their own copy of the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet and said, "this is basically what we are teaching Liz, will you read it? We would like you to let us know if you find anything you don't want us teaching her, and we will be sure to honor your requests." They greatly appreciated that and said they would, and Sydney actually said, "I'm sure there isn't anything I need to be concerned about, but I would like to look through for her." We will see what happens.

Linda is out of town. We didn't know, but we found out by going by to see her. A man (who I momentarily assume to be her husband) answered the door and was not very respectful towards us. He said it was none of our business when Linda came back and closed the door. We texted her and haven't gotten a response, so we will try again after giving her a little time this week.

Jennifer and Ken set a time for us to come start teaching them about the Book of Mormon this Friday! They are so sweet to us, and they are going to 'at least start' the book before we see them.

We found Carrie Saturday while tracting. She seemed hesitant, but interested in what we had to share about the Book of Mormon, but wasn't available at the time. So, we gave her a copy, bore testimony of it, and she asked us to come back this weekend.

Nora lives in the apartment complex that the Elders who are ward sharing with us live in. They've been tracting around in there and found her, but she was busy. She has 3 little boys and a husband she lives with, and she speaks English as a second language next to Spanish. She speaks and understands English very very well, but can't read it easily, so we went by (the Elders passed her to us) and gave her a Spanish copy of the Book of Mormon, and we are coming back to teach her and hopefully her family sunday evening. She was concerned about us being out in the cold (it's been in the low 50s and 40s at nights), and was very friendly besides accepting our invitation, and her boys love us. They won't stop talking to us and telling us their names over and over haha!

Raquel (less-active) was FINALLY home when we went by. She travels a lot, her husband is not a member and is negative towards the Church and missionaries, I've never seen her at sacrament meeting but her whole family is LDS. This was Saturday night, she and her 3-year-old cute son visited with us for almost an hour! And, before we even thought of it, she asked what time church was the next day. She said if she's not taking her husband to the airport she'll come, but she wasn't there yesterday. She's Filipino and she wants Elder Medina (over the Tagalog work in the entire mission) to visit her this Saturday. She also asked if we had plans for Thanksgiving, and she's the 3rd person to invite us over. 

Kathleen (less-active) is extremely shy, to the point when she can seem negative or aggressive. But we are having dinner with her sister who is active, and she invited Kathleen as well. We don't know if she'll come, but she did agree to come with us to visit Leslie and see how she's doing since she's trying to recover from the surgery and all that's going on with her cancer recently. She responds more when the focus is on her, and hopefully we will finally meet her this week.

The Carpenter family answered the door! They have a lot of kids ranging from around my age down to elementary school I believe, but I don't know details because we haven't been able to get in and meet with them for almost 4 months (including missionaries before me). The parents are extremely busy with a weird work schedule, but we found that we could likely catch them sundays so we're going to invite them to allow us to do a family night with them soon.

The ward members are fantastic. Fantastic! We met Patrick (nonmember) walking his dog, gave him a Book of Mormon, he says he loves Mormons and knows Brother Pingree. We visited with Brother Pingree and he's calling Patrick today to set up the missionary discussions with us. Camille is 15 and wants to start teaching a friend of hers with us. Mallorie turns 16 Wednesday and is working with 2 of her friends to start taking the lessons, and her family is having Joanie and Charlotte (2 of our current investigators) over for dinner when they have us over again. Sister Koelliker asked for our help to know how to talk to her friend next door about taking the lessons, so we're going over to see her and help encourage and prepare her to talk to them. The Ortiz family had us for dinner and committed to prayerfully choose someone as a family to give a Book of Mormon to after we gave a spiritual thought. They come up and talk to us about it before we have the chance to even follow up! At dinner last night, we were planning on asking the Jaramillos to do the same as we committed to the Ortiz family, and before we even introduced the spiritual thought Sister Jaramillo asked us randomly, "do you have a few copies of the Book of Mormon I could have? I have 4 or 5 friends I've been thinking a lot about lately that I want to share them with." After continuing in discussing that (because OF COURSE WE HAVE A FEW COPIES OF THE BOOK OF MORMON SHE COULD HAVE!) she expressed that she always avoided missionary work and has never done it at all before, so she's not just a super outgoing superstar missionary. We are following up with her at the end of the week. We taught Sunday School to the youth and challenged them to write their testimonies in a copy of the Book of Mormon and prayerfully select someone to give it to. They all accepted, and a few said, "could I have another one actually?" We are following up with them sunday, and even have a few names they've given us to help them with. When it comes to finding in this area, the greatest success I've had (and truly the greatest joy in the work I have experienced) is when we help members do missionary work, instead of just going out and trying to do things by myself my way. We have placed 20 copies of the Book of Mormon through members, rather than no more than 6 in the same amount of time on our own.

The mission is having me work on 6 different piano pieces for missionary purposes. I practice at a less-active's home because they got a new piano and love when I play. I still only get an hour or two a week (and more recently it's been tough to find that time, and I almost don't want to stop and practice). But it's been good.

Sister Ortiz found out I love popcorn. Last week she randomly got me brown sugar cinnamon popcorn for fun. This week was pumpkin spice. yum:)

I put up all the pics you sent me! That was sooooooooo fun!! My wall is covered. It make me happy.

Funny story: the Elders (and really all the missionaries) and us are good friends. We texted them Saturday before last (night of transfer calls) and said we wouldn't be at dinner the next day because we had to be in Newport for a music devotional I was over, they responded "yes!!!!!" as if excited we wouldn't be there and they could have dinner without us. Confused at first, but knowing they were joking, we went to the devotional and they went to dinner without us. After reporting numbers that week, and knowing that neither of the Elders were being transferred but that our district leader was being transferred, I had the random though and texted them "have the assistants invited you to transfer meeting?" (if they do, they are most likely going to call you to leadership position) they said "no, why?" I just said, "I just wonder if maybe you'll be the next district leader." A few minutes later they called us, I had it on speaker, and the first thing Elder Forthman (the one from Dallas) said, "First of all, I hate y'all. Right as we read your text the assistants called and invited us to transfer meeting." I responded, "that's what you get for being excited about not having us sisters with you at dinner tonight!" They'd better be careful with us sisters. B)

I've said it before and I'll say it again (and again, and again, and again), you guys are all awesome. More than I could say!:) Talk to you soon.

- Sister Shumway

Monday, November 9, 2015

letter from Alyssa - Nov. 9, 2015

First, I must say I am proud of Aubrey and Mom for sending their ponderizing scriptures (btw that was Joshua 1:9 if you haven't found it already Aubrey). Here is mine for the week, I might as well start of with it so I don't forget again: "Seek to bring forth and establish my Zion. Keep my commandments in all things. And, if you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life, which gift is the greatest of all the gifts of God." - D&C 14:6-7.

Landon, we have a lot of fancy food. Something different every night, but not really exotic (which I must say I appreciate...). But one of the members, Brother Taylor, was saying next time we come we have to try his favorite dessert: apple pie with sharp cheddar cheese melted on top. (...?..ummm.........).

Casan, I showed my companion your part of the email because I love all the exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For a moment though she thought when you said "I also won Ty in a video game" that you meant to say Thai as in Thai food (she loves Thai food). But I didn't understand at first and thought "Ty food-?" Also my GPS has issues because it says there are several Papa Murphy's places in the mission but it lies. Oh well.

Kynsie - That's fun. Cali's good. I'm sure you're doing awesome, especially from what Mom and Dad are telling me, keep up the great work!

Landon and Ty - sometimes I wonder how we are related because you guys are superheroes! For real.

[4 out of 8 missionaries from our ward are serving in CA]
Whoa. So 50% chance Landon and Ty are going to California to serve? I knew one would go stateside and one foreign. (California is the foreign one of the 2).

A couple things this week:
I don't have my planner from last transfer (since this week marks the next one) with me, so I'll have to try to remember stuff, but I may be playing catch up next week since I rely on it so much.

Last Monday, right after emailing you, we had a lesson with Liz. We taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ and committed her to be baptized the first week of December. She likes it all and has a believing heart, but I'm afraid she doesn't recognize the importance of it all because our next appointment fell through and she didn't come to church again. We are staying hopeful though and doing our best to help her.

Lori came to dinner Friday at the Hobbins home, with her brother Dennis. The 6 of us had a wonderful night, and they had me play a few piano pieces. Lori loved it. This week we are arranging to bring her to the temple grounds and give her a tour, which should help to spark starting the lessons again with her. She's been really responsive too.

Jean (less-active into family history) responded to a call. We had called and left a message inviting her to the ward indexing party, she called back and said she wasn't able to make it but thanked us for thinking of her and asked if we'd come over the next day to help her set up her familysearch account. We did and we brought a family history specialist with us. We did a lot with her over that hour and she's going to start coming to the weekly family history hours on Tuesday mornings with us to build her tree. And she gave us cookies.

Sean texted us, we're meeting with him this weekend sometime soon.

We met with Rosanna finally (less-active), and we set up weekly meetings to come visit with her continually from now.

Ainsley is healing from her concussion, but can't do a lot. We went over and found some piano books she plays from like the books I would teach out of. We spent time just flipping through songs and playing simple duets. It was fun for both of us! And her mom loved it.

Found Steve again, got his number, going to meet with him sometime and talk more about the B of M with him and his wife.

Kathleen is a very shy shy shy person (less-active) but she comes across as negative or defensive. We found this out from her sister, no wonder she hasn't been answering. We called and asked if she'd come with us to visit Leslie Collins as a service, she agreed and we're setting up a time this week!

The Collins family - Leslie went in for surgery last week unexpectedly. What was supposed to take an hour lasted for 3. BUT it was a miracle, because the surgeoun took his time and did it right. It was to put a stint in her colon. She's home now and their family is being well taken care of by the ward. AND it solved a lot of problems with how she's been feeling! They also got a hold of the drug they needed to help her through chemo! So after this week she should literally be pretty much normal, even after chemo appointments. wow. We're going to start their family on the lessons probably next week.

There's probably other stuff, but I'll update you guys still. By the way, almost forgot, transfer calls were Saturday and Sister Ward and I are both staying here in Live Oak Canyon (yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). If they planned to transfer either of us they'd have to drag us out kicking and screaming. It's going to be a good week! Even though a lot of "results" we're working towards probably won't come to pass this week, we have a lot of work to do, so much to look forward to, and every reason to enjoy every minute of it.

- Sister Shumway

Friday, November 6, 2015

From the Hobbins family - Nov. 6, 2015

From a family in Rancho Santa Margariata: Your daughter is at our home to teach our friend Lori.  Sister Shumway is an incredible missionary. Her and Sister Ward are powerful missionaries. We love her!  Brother and Sister Hobbins

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Report on Sister Shumway from a ward member

Dave Mauss is our home teacher here in Frisco, TX. His cousin lives in the ward Alyssa is serving in. Dave sent the following email, with the following clip from his cousin:

I thought I would give you a clip of what my cousin just sent me in an email.  I had just thanked him for hosting us and showing us around his ranch.  He had this to say about Sister Shumway as part of his response.  Just so you know, my Cousin has high expectations and doesn’t usually give high praise.  He isn’t easily impressed and Sister Shumway has impressed him J

Please let Sister Shumway’s parents know that she gave a very sweet testimony on Sunday.  Several members of our Ward had spoken in their testimonies about the blessings that had come to their families from having a missionary in the field.  That touched Sister Shumway and she spoke of how it comforted her to know that she was drawing even closer to her family even though she could not see them or speak with them.  The Elders and Sisters in our Ward are tearing it up right now.  They are really hard workers and have made contact with so many less active people who have not had contact with the Church in years.  Sister Shumway is honoring her family in a big way!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Missionary Jack-O-Lantern


Halloween in Rancho Santa Margarita

Halloween "costumes"

"This was our 5 minutes of Halloween. That's Sister Ortiz in the middle, she takes care of nights we don't have dinners, lets us use her washer and dryer on p-days, and is a super good friend whenever we need :) She also loves Hawaiian culture and the hula if you can't tell..."

letter from Alyssa - Nov. 2, 2015

Some random stuff from the week, it may be a little scattered because it wasn't so eventful as the week before but there was still some pretty great stuff.

Monday we carved pumpkins with the zone, I got creative and so this is what I did (see pic attached). I have the seeds to roast soon.

We taught Liz for the first time Monday night, the Restoration lesson went so so well. She accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and said she would read it and pray about it. We asked her if she had any questions at the end, she said the only one she had was "do you believe in some sort of after life?" I was blown away by the question. We explained that the next thing we have to teach her is the Plan of Salvation, and that we didn't know her schedule but we could either teach her about it then and there or set another time. She said "could we please talk about it now?" So we taught her the first 2 lessons all in one. And it was wonderful. She prayed aloud at the end and we are teaching her in about an hour and a half after we email. Her friend is coming to join in, we're waiting to hear back. She (Liz) also said she would teach her parents what we taught her so they could sit in on this lesson today! We are hoping to commit her to baptism.

Sandy (one of our potentials) moved, but we helped her and she's in contact with that ward and the missionaries there now. But the Elders may start teaching another guy that helped who was a friend of Sandy's! He was really nice and interested in what missionaries do.

It was Allie's birthday Friday (less-active, part-member family) so we stopped by and brought her flowers. She loved it, we visited for just a few minutes and met her dad who was visiting (he's very active in the church still). It was really good.

We helped the Collins family's kids get into their Halloween costumes Friday and they all came to the trunk-or-treat! Even Leslie! Her oldest son told her that he wants her to be Mormon. He's also registered in scouting now and all sorts of great things are happening. She's getting a new medicine today that will help tremendously with her chemo so we will start teaching her family probably next week or so. They had sooo much fun.

Tiffany also came with her kids and her husband to the trunk-or-treat. She has been less-active for a long time and had a few word of wisdom problems, but she came to church yesterday and bore her testimony in sacrament meeting! The ward has wrapped their arms around her and she is coming back into activity with her family.

The Trunk-or-Treat was so fun. SO FUN! There were quite a few non-member friends we get to follow up with, and the night was an overall success. Sister Ward and I went around practicing names and helping the best we could with all of it.

Sister Spice (YW Pres) is taking us out for breakfast on Friday with Cambria. I haven't met Cambria, but I know she has cancer and can't come to church because she can't be in certain public places (is what I've been told) but she loves food and so Sister Spice is helping us get to know her this way.

Sister Pingree is the new Relief Society President, and we LOVE her! RS Presidents and Sister Missionaries are like peanut butter and jelly. But she is so so awesome, she had surgery on her ankle and leg and knee so she is on crutches and that's not stopping her at all. The 3 of us are working together and we're seeing a lot of sisters coming back or responding who haven't in so long.

Several members, especialy those we know well, have come to us excited about the missionary work and astounded at the returning less-actives and the opportunities to teach in many ways. We have a bunch of referrals, appointments, and continue to work hard. It's one thing to see miracles, it's another to see that the members see them too and recognize how it is all according to their faith!

I have opportunity after opportunity to use the piano. Last week we went to visit Eileen and Bernice. Bernice is 90 and Eileen is her less-active daughter who is married to a non-member. They just got a brand new medium grand black Steinway and sons piano, it is gorgeous. After visiting a little with Bernice, I started playing for her and Max (Eileen's husband) came around the corner to listen (I didn't see him at first, and he never sits in on messages or visits really). Eileen and Shafiq (their son) eventually came out on their own too and we ended up having a really enjoyable conversation altogether!
Bishop Hobbins has set up a dinner at his place with him, his wife, Lori, Dennis, and Sister Ward and I. He said no lesson but wants me to play piano for them after dinner, hopefully this will open doors and help Lori with her anxiety.
I've been asked to continue doing a lot for the music committee, and I have 4 different missionaries to accompany with about 2-3hrs a week to practice (and it's usually about 1-2 because we get so busy). The Lord has been enhancing my abilities and teaching me many lessons through this experience, even in small ways, especially when it comes to how I decide to prepare with the little time I have.
Many people ask me to play, and oftentimes I turn it into a missionary opportunity for them, it's been really neat to see how The Lord can work through me specifically, just like He does with other specific individuals in extraordinary ways.

This ward is amazing. I wish I could spend my entire mission here. But I don't have to think about leaving this ward yet! Still got time. Anyway, about the ward, I'm finding myself getting excited for every single dinner. Not because I know it'll be good food (it always is) but because I see the name and I know them, and they are aweomse. Every one of them! And not only those that sign up on the calendar. But I've come to realize that I've come to know and love being with everyone in this ward. It is so fun and gets me excited to go work hard and serve. Speaking of which, I've said it a few times and I'll say it again, we are so so busy. :D Sometimes it's rough but overall it's the best feeling ever. We got a text saying it was daylight savings the other night, but I couldn't sleep past 5:30 (mostly because I've been so used to the schedule I'm on) and I still had a lot to do in that extra hour.

Yesterday we sat in Sunday School with the youth, and we'll probably do that more often when we don't have investigators in gospel principles since they have most of the referrals and they're also just so amazing and awesome and amazing. It's a lot of fun to work with them honestly. And we got stuck teaching their class next sunday.

On Halloween we had an early curfew since we can't be out past dark that night. People will dress like us and there's a lot of things that can go wrong if we're out. So the zone had a movie party in our p-day clothes at the Stake Center, we watched the Best 2 Years. I picked up on a lot more jokes haha. And half the missionaries there hadn't seen it so it was like watching it for the first time again, so fun. And now it's November! whoa.

Ty this is for you... it's not the best but it's pretty good.
There's an Elder (Elder Benton) who has the same birthday as me but he's exactly a year older. As one of my music committee assignments, I had to call a bunch of missionaries and have them prepare a piece for a rehearsal for stuff. After leaving messages I told them to text me if they needed an arrangement to use because I have several options. Elder Benton texted me Wednesday after that and said -
- Sister Shumway!!! Happy half Birthday! :D Do you happen to have the song I Stand All Amazed?
- Haha happy half birthday Elder Benton!! Yes I have a really good one... [gave him info]
[figured out how to correlate music stuff and yeah]
-Okay thanks again! We'll work it out! Til then Happy Halloween!!! P.S. Why couldn't the skeleton go to the dance? Because had no body to go with! It's okay though he only spent a little time skullking :D
- Or he didn't have the guts to ask any of the girls to dance! Happy Halloween!!!
- Hahahahahahaha that's pretty good! You get to wear the pun-kin crown.

.........get it?
I thought of you :]

Here is my ponderizing scripture this week, I got it from my roommate Virginia from last Fall semester at BYUI (she's been emailing me:)
"Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for The Lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest."

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Alyssa loves photos

Alyssa's bedroom wall looks like her closet door at home.

letter from Alyssa Oct. 26, 2015

Wow. What a big week. For you all and for me! I have so much to say so I promise I did read every word of you're email, and thankyou for writing so diligently each week! Every one of you!

First - thankyou for the package! I opened it with my companion yesterday and a friend in the ward, Sister Judd, she's a convert of 3 years so we've come close to her. She's awesome and was as excited as I was! I told her son, River, who's 11, that this is what he has to look forward to on a mission, and that packages for a missionary are like Christmas. And now I has a popcorn bowl!! :D so happy. It was a little ironic to receive and open it on Kynsie's b-day . . . (HAPPY 14TH FRYZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) speaking of Kynsie, I thought of you when I saw the purple spider duct tape. Was that your idea? Here is a pic of what I did with the star sticky notes. That was so so so fun. On my wall is my call letter bordered by some pics and those notes, I could tell which of you wrote which notes.

What a big week. I'm tired. It's the best feeling ever.
Some things that happened -
Wednesday we had our temple day :) We made it early enough to do a few initiatories before our session. There were some ASL Anaheim missionaries there so the session was in ASL and English, which was pretty cool. I understood most of it, but I also enjoyed reading the subtitles, I got a lot more out of it than I thought I would by just listening. Then in the celestial room I was surprised to see Sister Aussef! She was a ward missionary in the Dana Point ward and just got called as Relief Society President after I was transferred, but she was so encouraging to me during my first 3 months. I love celestial room reunions, it makes me ponder about what it'll be like reuniting with friends and family after this life. Holly Mauss is finishing her papers this week so we may get to go with her to her live endowment next month! (If we don't get transferred, which we probably won't since I'm training but it's a possibility).
Saturday we had breakfast at President Brennan's home (Stake President) with the whole zone. That was so neat. He spoke about Moroni and his circumstances as he finished the Book of Mormon. It was powerful. Bishop Hobbins also spoke (best member missionary out there). During the breakfast, Elder Fetuani (one of the zone leaders, and from Tonga) was really sick and laid down in the other room with a towel on his head the entire time. Afterward, about 2 hours later, President Brennan asked him if he'd like a blessing, he responded by saying "I have the faith to be healed." His companion and other zone leader, Elder Hook, did the anointing and Bishop Hobbins sealed it with President Brennan and several Elders. Right after, Elder Fetuani stood and exclaimed, "how did you do that??" I saw him later that night, he told me the whole day was as though he hadn't been sick at all.
Sunday we were thrown in as last second substitutes for a Sunday School class (that happens quite often) but this one was the best because it was a big class of youth. Since our preparation time was approximately 30 seconds, we spent the time opening the floor to Q&A. They asked us all sorts of things, we didn't have some answers but it was fun to interact with them. All the young women got our number and we are taking them out to do missionary work this week! And many of them have a list of referrals!! That night I was asked to play for a fireside for YSA in institute. It was really good. It was also a little weird because I was around people my age, and I thought that if I lived there and wasn't a missionary I would still be in that place at that time. Weird. Anyway, the song went well, I love playing.

This week we turned in a progress record to the ward mission leader that was 3 pages long. Seriously, we did a lot and worked so hard. I will mention just a few people.

This week we have picked up 6 new potential investigators.
Linda - we were tracting, she answered but she was in the middle of something, we asked if we could do anything for her/share a message about Christ with her/the usual questions but she answered the usual way. We turned to go, but then she said, "wait! Don't you have a book or something?" I held up the Book of Mormon in my hand and responded, "this book?" "Yes! That's the one!" "Would you like a copy?" "I can have it? Are you sure? Thankyou! Thankyou so much!" I bore my testimony of the Book of Mormon, and what a priceless blessing it has been and is for me and my family. We got her number, texted her so she had ours, and she responded, "Thank you for stopping by, I will start reading this week, please follow up via text wednesdayish. Thanks." Sister Ward and I were freaking out and cheering in the parking lot.
Jennifer - also tracting. She answered, seemed a little distressed, and we offered to share a message about Jesus Christ. She stepped outside her door and spoke with us. We bore a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and gave it to her, she asked us to come back and teach her more.
Jason - We went to see Joanie but she wasn't available, on our way to the car Jason was out with his dog and we stopped to talk to him. He literally got excited as we showed him where Jesus Christ comes to the Americas after His resurrection in 3 Nephi 11, we gave him the Book of Mormon, a restoration pamphlet, got his number, and will start teaching him soon.
Steve - as we were leaving Jason, again on our way to the car, Steve rolled down the window of his truck as he was pulling out and called out to us. We came over and he asked what we were talking to his son (Jason) about. I was a little scared at first even though his voice wasn't alarming at all, just because I didn't know how he'd respond, but we told him all we told Jason. He asked for the Book of Mormon, I turned to my bag for one but didn't have another copy since I just gave Jason one. I looked to Sister Ward who didn't have one, we said it was in the car right over there (pointing). He said, "alright cool, I'll wait." So we ran and grabbed one. We'll start teaching him soon too!
We placed another Book of Mormon tracting, don't know his name but planning to go back to follow up tonight.
and Liz Scott, I mentioned her last week. That appointment on Thursday fell through, she was on her way out the door (must've forgotten). But she texted us after we tried to contact her and we have another one set up for this afternoon, even though it's p-day I'm game for it! We texted her yesterday to confirm and follow up that that still worked for her and she immediately replied that she was planning on it.
We contacted Samantha, who is a 100% seminary-attendance student but 0%attendance to church and activities. Her family is less-active and I think her mom is not a member. She's good friends with Liz and is excited about us teaching her! She wants to help!! The ward council is very excited about this opportunity to let it eventually help the reactivation process of her family.
We didn't get to teach Joanie again this week, but we did get to talk with her twice. We're trying her again this week. Bishop Hobbins is going to come with us and help us with her since his profession is in mental illness and her son Michael is a cause for a lot of concern for her. Once we have a lesson with her and Bishop Hobbins she'll be baptized in less than a month (I'm not getting my hopes up too high, but we're working so hard for her).
Sean texted us this week on his own! He said he'd be out of town for Halloween but wants to start meeting with us again in November. He's one of our investigators we found and started teaching about a month ago, then disappeared for a while.
Lori was at church! Bishop Hobbins is setting a time to teach her with her brother Dennis (he's the convert of a few years who is a returning less active).
Sandy is moving to the Las Flores ward, but that's okay because we have a new move-in from the Las Flores ward, a part-member less-active family of 7 or 8! We have talked with Sandy and she wants to start up the missionary lessons once she moves, and we're in contact with those missionaries.
Charlotte came to church. She does every week :)
The Collins family has seen so many miracles :D Leslie's chemo is way better. Her appointments are down to 3 hours instead of 8-10 because they were able to get a hold of a medication that has helped her recovery efficiently and quickly, she is up and working before the day is over! The probability of her getting it was extremely low. She used to be stuck in bed 24/7. We decorated their house for Halloween on Saturday, this Friday we're going over to dress up the kids for the trunk-or-treat that they are ALL coming to, and next week we're going to start family home evenings with them! Their oldest is involved in scouts now.
We finally got in contact with the Carpenter family, less-actives with about 5 or 6 kids. They accepted the invite to the trunk-or-treat and are planning on it!
Ainsely Ranck (12 years old, middle of 3 kids, somewhat less-active family) went to the ER this week so we couldn't work on her cat's Halloween costume with her but Sister Ranck said she'd be in contact. She's in our prayers.
Sister Salzer didn't call like she said she would, we called her and left a voicemail.
This Wednesday night all the ward missionaries and a few auxiliaries are going on a blitz to do ministering visits to a bunch of less-actives with the full-time missionaries. It's going to be great! They're going to start doing it every other week starting next month.
On Wednesday night I had music study, which happened to be right after a daddy/daughter activity. 3 girls, Hannah, Molly, and Katie came to listen, they all play piano like I did at their age (9 and 10). We had fun as I played their requests and they looked through my music collection. They each played for me as well (their dads were sitting in the room nearby talking). I then let each of them choose a song and I made copies on Sunday for each of them to work on, like Marilyn did for my before we moved with If You Could Hie to Kolob. It's a neat feeling to see the kids get excited when missionaries pay attention to them, remember their names, and the parents start to trust you even more.
Ali, Devoree, Kellsie, Mallorie, and Holly are all coming to us with referrals and missionary advice and plans to share the gospel. I'm trying to keep track of it all!

Funny story - last night we had dinner at the Stephensons. One of their kids is 2 and he's addicted to juice. Wakes up at 2 in the morning requesting juice. Goes through it so so fast. Even as they're pouring juice into his cup is begging for it. It's quite amusing. His parents tried to get him to drink more water or something to get him to not freak out so much about juice so they put a little vinegar in it once. He drank it, made a face and said "spicy!" then kept drinking it. We joked about how he'll grow up telling people his parents fed him vinegar and that when he's on his own in college he'll pour himself a glass of juice and vinegar like it's a normal thing, confused that others don't do it too. And we now have a term for spicy juice.

Thank you for your prayers! Stories! Experiences! TESTIMONIES!! And encouragement! Love you all, you're the best B) Know this, and I promise it's true, I believe it with all my soul, all these miracles have come to pass in these and so many more individuals' lives because of each of YOU as much as me. Without every one of you, and Heavenly Father's hand in the details, the progression in these peoples' conversion including my own could not be what it is without your support, faith, and love. Don't you forget it!

- Sister Shumway