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