Monday, August 31, 2015

letter from Alyssa - August 31, 2015

My favorite part about the mission so far is probably teaching about the Plan of Salvation. I haven't been able to much yet, but the times I have are some of the best teaching and learning experiences so far. . . . . 

Sometimes I wonder if Heavenly Father can possibly find a way to bless me in which He hasn't already.  . . . .

Preach My Gospel is the best. Literally. Well, actually second best next to the scriptures - if there was one thing I could say would prepare you best for a mission Landon (Ty, this goes for you too)(besides preparing for the temple of course, but as in doing the work) it's to study those 2 (scriptures and PMG) and practice missionary work now. That's it. Do it! . . . .

The temple is the best! That is another of my favorite parts about this mission I wish we could go more often. . . . .

Again, I can't think of anyone more blessed than I am! . . . .

That is awesome that you have finished the Book of Mormon again! It truly is the most powerful and most true book on earth. I have been thinking about Elder Christofferson coming and (not that I'm getting my hopes up of course) I remember Elder Ballard talking about in this last conference that one of his favorite things to do is to greet the missionaries as he travels the world. . . . .

I am out of time this week but there's not a whole lot to report on the work... I will add the few things this week to next week because we are going to do much better and much more this week! You are all the best!!

- Sister Shumway

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

letter from Alyssa - 8-24-15

I have been transferred to the Rancho Santa Margarita Stake in the Live Oak Canyon Ward. My new companion is Hermana Duncan. She was originally called to this mission Spanish speaking, but is in English work for a while for the experience. She is definitely a talker, total opposite of Sister Hall. The Elders in this ward are Elder Medina who has lived his whole life in the Philippines and Elder Forthman who is also from Dallas. Elder Hook is my zone leader along with Elder Fetuani, an Elder from Tonga and a spiritual giant (who also idolizes Eric Shumway). This ward is absolutely fantastic. Brother Trantum (our ward mission leader) is the best I've ever known. He's a convert of about 5 years. The Bishop loves missionaries and youth and works hard for both, he's also very much a story-teller. We have Stake Conference on September 12th and 13th and Elder D. Todd Christofferson is coming to speak for it! As missionaries in this ward we have 2 hours to do family history every week. We also teach a class every wednesday night to the youth on Preach My Gospel. I am still assigned to do temple grounds tours 8 hours a week. Hermana Duncan and I have our own apartment so no roommates, which is nice sometimes but also not so fun. Rancho Santa Margarita is hot compared to San Clemente, but still dry heat so can't really complain. I'm no longer on the coast but we are in the middle of a pretty big canyon. I do have just as many opportunities to use piano as I have anywhere else so it's great. We have 2 investigators and 2 somewhat open nonmembers. Irma and Jim are atheists who love to have open discussions with the missionaries. They never bash or attack us, but they are not progressing in the gospel, they also aren't really interested. But our last discussion (using the Book of Mormon, Alma 34:32, to answer the question of the soul: What is my purpose?) went very well. We will see if we can help to spark their desire to have faith, if not we may drop them soon. Lori is in her late 50s, she is a foster mom to babies addicted to drugs. She is very sweet and accepting of gospel principles and has come to church for a few weeks. I met her last week and she has agreed to learn more from the missionaries and try her best to consistently come to church and keep commitments. Charlotte is 15 and comes to church and activities every week. She wants to be baptized but her parents won't let the missionaries teach her. She will be coming to the preach My Gospel classes as soon as we start them though so she can informally still learn the principles she needs so that once either her parents' hearts are softened or she turns 18 she's ready to go. Other than that, we're just getting started. Not a lot has happened in this ward as far as the sisters because Hermana Duncan's last companion was not exactly an obedient or active missionary which prevented the work from progressing for the past transfer. The Elders work hard though and are really good at working with the sisters to do more than we could separately. Members feed us every night. Our ward mission leader is in contact with us everyday. The ward missionaries are just as active in the work as we are. The bishop focuses on the individuals of the ward so well which directly involves the full-time missionaries. We are so well taken care of and the work is moving, slowly but it's moving. I am having a hard time even coming up with a reason to complain if I wanted to. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

letter from Alyssa - August 17, 2015

I went to the temple with my district on the 5th and with Theresa (the person in our ward we've been helping to prepare for the temple) last Tuesday. . . .

I must say though that I'm cheering you all on more than you're cheering me on, a lot of missionaries get letters from families (if they get letters/emails from them) about a lot of disappointments and even though I would hope you'd tell me if things did happen, I feel so blessed to belong to a hardworking, diligent, righteous family that tells me even more awesome stuff every week. . . .

I am being transferred. I don't know where or who my new companion is until Tuesday. Sister Hall is being transferred too, which has all been a huge surprise this week. We found this out 2 days earlier than everyone else because President Orgill has asked Sister Hall to be Sister Ruiz's companion. She is from Guatemala and didn't speak a word of English before arriving at the MTC, but now she speaks it better than most anyone in Texas. She's so bright but has an overpowering personality. Part of that is due to all she's been through. I don't know everything, but I do know her family is all converts and she's been a member for only a few years. She's been on the mission as long as Sister Hall has. She has been through deceiving situations at no fault of her own growing up and is a special missionary, a hard worker, but a tough companion. With all that happening, Sister Nuttall (Sister AP) is taking our area so I found out I'm not staying. That's all I know so far though. They didn't have sisters in these 2 wards for months and then suddenly doubled in me and Sister Hall and now they're doubling us out. That will be tough for this area since it has been dead for 8 months at least. I'm confident Sister Nuttall will do a good job, but I'm not the only one afraid for the work here in the near future. I trust in the revelation given to my Mission President though. Speaking of the work, this week things are finally happening now that I'm leaving! Literally. After months of working and doing all we can, this work starts to bear fruit just a little too late. Edie canceled our appointment next week but wants to meet with missionaries this coming week. Same exact story with Iberia, Sarah, Ericka, and Wendy. Not even kidding. Now that a bunch of people are back in town, Michelle, Keli, and Shay are looking to set appointments this week too. Torah accepted the challenge to be baptized last week, but won't commit to a date until later this week. April decided to meet with missionaries this week after going to church with a friend from the ward for a month and a half. Finally things are happening! At a very very tough time for us. I'm sure there's more I forgot to mention or that would take wayyy to much explaining. Even Verla Sorenson (I mentioned her in some of the first emails) is out of town and so we can't say goodbye. Our Ward Mission Leader just got back from being out of town for 2 months, the work would have flourished much earlier if he were here especially since his assistant ward mission leader made things very hard on us (he took a lot of our time trying to teach us - lecture us - on how to do missionary work, which is not his calling at all. it's been frustrating trying to work with him and some things he's said have been brought to the bishop and high councilman over missionary work by the zone leaders). Overall, Sister Hall and I are suddenly exciting for Sister Nuttall and whoever her companion will be and all they have to do in this area. Some good things though, we got to go on an extra temple trip with Theresa that I mentioned above. That was the highlight by far. I am playing piano at the transfer meeting in front of the whole mission (I've lost track of how many times I have been asked to play. no joke. it's the best). We taught sharing time yesterday on how to have a missionary moment and we practiced by having kids come up and teach me in a role play something about the gospel as if I were their non-member friend. I got down on my knees to be at their height, my name changed from Garrett to Crystal to whatever and we acted it out. That was fun. Last p-day I cut Sister Hall's hair and it turned out really really good. Our car is white, or actually not so white, because every time we clean it it gets so dirty less than a day later. So we've been waiting to wash it 'til today right before transfers. The Elders have left cards with notes on it on our windshield because of it saying things like "Please wash you car. it is gross. - President Monson" "I have a 2-word sermon for you. Clean it. - President Uchtdorf" "I would tell you to wash your car, but I don't have to. The Spirit will do so for me. Isaiah 1:16 - Elder Holland" and "You Sisters are the best! We're going to miss you in Dana Point! - Elder Bednar". Today we are spraying their car with silly string (washable). If it weren't for the "Y" sticker on the back though, I'd be pretty ashamed of our car too. The bishop called me yesterday and told me he holds me in very high esteem and wants me to visit sometime in the near future, that phone call meant a lot to me, especially since he works full time and has 6 young kids besides being the bishop. He was very very involved in missionary work and tried as hard as we did. Overall, this week has been great and ironic. But I am very curious to see why I'm being transferred given the circumstances and what is coming up in store.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Letter from Alyssa - August 10, 2015

We have gotten about 6 referrals this week, and tried each several times with no answer. One of which is named Iberia Tarin who, according to the person who referred her, has been wanting missionaries to come for years. We still haven't caught her though.
Theresa VonHutten is a convert of a few years who we have been working with to help her prepare for the temple endowment, after a few months she is now ready and is going Tuesday and we get to go with her!
April (I may have mentioned her, she just walked into church one day about a month ago because she felt impressed to and has come almost every week since) is making progress, she's been reading the Book of Mormon with a member and will hopefully start taking the lessons this week or next.
Torah has been taught for months by different missionaries, but most of the lessons were simply reading and discussing the Book of Mormon, not making much progress. We met with her Saturday and she wants to be baptized, but we're not sure she really understands what all that entails. Next time we teach her we're going to try to help her understand what kind of commitment it takes.
Michele Adams has been coming back to church after being disfellowshipped and we've been meeting with her weekly since I got to California. She is now able to partake of the Sacrament again and is making her way back into full fellowship/membership.
Edie Housley is a nonmember and her husband was less active before he died a month ago from an aneurism suddenly. The RS President took her under her wing and is helping her go through stuff after the service they had for him. We visited her and she totally opened up to us, she's so ready and we're going to go back and start teaching her soon.

Missionary Life:
This weekend we get transfer calls again. I'll have finished my training so there's a good chance (especially since Sister Hall and I have been together for 2 transfers now) that one of us will be transferred. She hopes I'll stay so I can finish adjusting in a familiar area, though I know she's love to stay in these great wards (and not to mention on the coast). We went on a hike as a zone this morning and had a short testimony meeting at the top of a hill overlooking the ocean. That was fun, it was cloudy so it was cool.

Something interesting from studies this week:
I don't have my scriptures with me at the moment but one thing I remember reading was in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus talks about doing unto others as you would do to yourself and in the footnote on the verse it said something like "TG marriage, commitment" or something like that. Or I read the wrong footnote.

- Sister Shumway

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

letter from Alyssa August 3, 2015

Companionship inventory is one of my favorite parts of weekly planning, my companion and I always become closer friends that way……

It's my district's turn to go to the Newport Beach temple Wednesday for a session and we all cannot wait for it! All of us in the district are so excited. So so so excited. It's been too long since I've been to the temple……

My companion and I have been discussing a lot recently about how to live zion-like lives in preparation for His 2nd Coming. We also talk about how jealous we are of the city of Enoch. Then chastise ourselves because jealousy is not living Zion-like…….

Sounds like everyone is anxiously engaged in so much. But it is all so worth it. The missionaries here are cheering you and Dad and Mom and the kids on specifically! From prayers and fasts to even talking and laughing about things we talk about……

I am actually out of time this week, but there really isn't a lot to update about the work or missionary life anyway to be honest. I will write things down throughout this week though because I'm anticipating taking steps forward in both!

- Sister Shumway