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

1 comment:

  1. Happy birthday Brother Shumway! Alyssa is a great missionary and I enjoy being able to read about her mission experiences! Thanks for sharing! Merry Christmas