Monday, November 28, 2016

One of the best photos of her mission

last email from Sister Shumway - Nov. 28, 2016

Hey Casan, I'm feeling better so no worries! I'm SO excited to see you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kynsie - you're awesome! Thanks for the email, hope my response sent :)

Aubrey - I totally thought of you while I was at the hospital this week. You would've been proud of how well I handled them drawing my blood. I can't wait to see you real soon!(:

Elder Shumway - My plane is scheduled to land in Dallas at midnight wednesday/thursday your time. It's amazing to hear the experiences you're having and how different they are to mine, but so similar at the same time! You're learning so much faster than I have! You're so awesome. Thanks for the pictures, and I'll email you better this next week when I'm back home, including what my new email will be haha.

Elder Shumway - My plane is scheduled to land in Dallas at midnight wednesday/thursday your time. Man I know you're tough but you seem to have had more than your fair share of health difficulties! Allergies, and your hand, and all sorts of stuff. I know that's not nearly enough to take you down but it sure doesn't make it fun. And yet you're still so grateful! You are inspiring. Thankyou for your sweet words and awesome emails, I'll also email you more this next week along with my new email.

Mom and Dad - President and Sister Clark (and also Elder Finlayson) are outstanding. It means more than I could say that they would talk to you about me like that, on top of all they do for me. I could never pay them back, I just do all I can to pay it forward. They are always there anytime and they go way beyond the bar set in all circumstances. I look to them as examples of how to become more Christlike. And I look forward to the day you get to meet them! THANKYOU for you prayers (and everything else:), they worked! I know they did.

Alright so update on the week and a few fun things to go with it -

Tanya is doing great. Her progress has been slow since she's not familiar with Jesus Christ or the Bible at all. But her questions indicate that she really is elect, even though she doesn't realize it! She also got us these huge, amazing cookies with belgium chocolate warm from the bakery.

Sierra is doing great too. We finished the commandments lesson with her so we're going to start teaching her friend hopefully, and she can help us teach until they're both ready to be baptized. Best way to know an investigator's conversion (or to help a less active) : their desire/willingness to share the gospel.

We had a great lesson with Sabrina (active). She wanted to know more about women in the Book of Mormon, so we studied ahead and that ended up being one of my favorite lessons of the week. We took kind of a twist on it though and spoke more about family and the Book of Mormon. I referred a lot to the document you sent me Dad! You should see the notes in my scriptures from it. I LOVED that. And so did she. It's amazing the insights and the Spirit you get from having a discussion in the scriptures searching for answers together.

Yessica went home for Thanksgiving, we've been keeping her especially in our prayers because she planned to talk to her family about her baptism this weekend. We haven't heard from her yet but we have an appointment with her tomorrow.

Lauren is so golden. She's the one that walked into the institute and we asked which ward she was in, she told us she was investigating, we asked who her missionaries were, and she said she didn't have any. So we taught her her first lesson last week and we're seeing her again tomorrow. She said her main concern is that she loves learning and soaks everything up like a sponge, but that she really wants to know for herself what is true. Wow. Best concern. That restoration lesson was powerful and she's excited to meet with us again.

We took Randallyn to the temple saturday and did baptisms for the dead with her! She LOVED it!! And I had never been to this temple for baptisms so it was awesome.

Peau (less active) is doing ok. She wants to start ARP, so we're helping her with that!

Natalie is the sweetest. She's been coming back to church regularly and signing up on our dinner calendar to feed us! Sometimes all it takes is an invite for someone to come back.

Amy is amazing. Her name is Amanda but she goes by Amy, she's the one that called us saying she was interested in the discussions. She came to church yesterday and loved it! We are setting a baptismal date with her tomorrow.

Sabrina had us over for dinner with her friend, Brittney, again. It was really good. We taught the restoration and read a lot from Joseph Smith History. We basically set up the scene by simply going over the first points of the lesson to lead to that part, and then focused on Joseph Smith's experience. Since we focused so much on the Book of Mormon last time it tied in perfectly and we invited them to both read the testimony of Joseph Smith in the front. We then all took that challenge and decided to meet again this week to share our insights that we each got from it. Before even looking over to Sabrina to see if she would do it, before I even finished asking them to take the challenge, Brittney was nodding her head and asked when we could meet. We are booked tomorrow so they'll have to meet after I'm gone, but they sent me Facebook friend requests so I'll still let them know how it went for me. My companions and I couldn't stop talking about how Spirit-filled and testimony-building that lesson was for all of us, and we felt amazing as we discussed how much we love the Restoration of the gospel and how grateful we are for it.

So yeah. It's been a fun week as far as health goes. I wish I knew what was causing the severe pain, but the priesthood blessings, prayers, medicine, and doctor's visits all helped so much the pain couldn't stand a chance of lasting much longer. Today I'm feeling a lot better. The pressure and stabbing pain is faintly there, but has gone way down, and the constant headache I had yesterday disappeared after a good night's rest. So I should be good to go.

The Gomez family had us over for Thanksgiving. Oh my gosh it was amazing. EVERYTHING was homemade, even down to the cranberry sauce. And the biscuits were almost as good as Mom's. We also had a fun time that night, especially since that was the only dinner we had this year (last year we had several... most missionaries here do, not so fun) but it was wonderful. Even though I wasn't really feeling well. And the Gomez's are fantastic. Ruby gives the best hugs, and Victoria has been an awesome help even with little things this transfer.

On thursday I had to stop by the pharmacy to get some medicine, so I introduced my companions to Thrifty's ice cream while we were there. It's like the Braum's of California, I haven't decided which is better. I will have to show you when we come back. And now I'm their favorite companion haha.

Funny quote of the week - Sister Edgar's favorite Christmas song is "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" so she transposed the violin part of the arrangement I have to clarinet. We had some service to do at the stake center and while we were planning she was like, "Sister Shumway, while we're there when we have dinner we should take a break and go play!" And I didn't register she was talking about music. So it sounded like we were little kids taking a break from service to go play. Sister Ferrel thought that at first too and her first reaction was "what about me?!" then we established she was talking about piano and clarinet haha. Today we had fun playing at the activity anyway for the fun of it.

It's been a fun week, we got a lot to do still in the next less-than-48-hours and it's gonna be great! You guys are the best!! Love you and see you soon! :D

- Sister Shumway

Monday, November 21, 2016

more photos

photos of Alyssa and her companions - Nov. 2016

letter from Alyssa - Nov. 21, 2016

Wow it's been quite an eventful week. :D

Starting with an update on the work -

Peau (less active) is struggling. But she's still responsive and let's us come meet with her all the time. Monday night we were at FHE and felt that, even though we had a couple investigators there, we had somewhere else we needed to be. So we left (they had good friends there so it was alright) and decided to stop by Peau. We did and she was feeling great and actually came to FHE with us, so we went back. She had a good time and talked a lot with members from the ward. We went back to see her later in the week and it wasn't the best day for her but we read the Book of Mormon with her and had a good visit. She ended up not coming to church last minute. Still working with her though.

Tiffany (less active) is doing well! She came to church for the first time since I've been here and we will most likely see her at institute tomorrow. We had a great lesson with her last week. We taught the law of chastity because we've been teaching the missionary lessons with her, but it was a good enough discussion that it led to her opening up about some experiences she's gone through that actually have had nothing to do with the lesson we prepared. We got to know her a little better, she's awesome. And it was cool to have that discussion with her.

We got a text from some missionaries that found this girl, Lilly, who's in her first semester at UCI and wanted to find us and our ward. Turns out she's also somewhat less active, but wants to be involved and make friends. We met with her and she's so cool! She's an awesome friend right from the start and would easily be friends with anyone. She wants to help fellowship some of the people that we work with and we think that she'll be great at it!

Lauren (investigator we met at institute) has been busy but when she saw us Tuesday night she was like "oh man! I forgot to respond to your texts! Can we meet this day/this time?" So we have our first lesson with her tomorrow night. :)

It's like Randallyn has been a member her whole life. Every lesson she just takes it all in like a sponge. And guess what? Yesterday she got her limited use temp,e recommend and we're going to the temple Saturday to do baptisms for the dead with her!

Tara is probably one of my favorites :) we had 2 lessons with her, one of them was on the temple grounds. She's progressing in pretty much every way an investigator can. While we were by the temple doors, a session had ended and a bunch of people were walking out. One came and asked us how we were doing and what we were doing, and when he found out Tara was investigating and preparing for baptism, he said "well why don't you come show her where the bathrooms are?" Giving us a reason to go inside, though we didn't ask for it haha. But yeah Tara got to walk just inside the door and see a little. She walked out and told us she noticed how happy everyone was. At the end of the lesson later we asked if she had any questions, and she said "is it possible to get my temple recommend right after I'm confirmed?"

Yessica is also doing awesome! She got a blessing this last Sunday for a little extra spiritual support since she's going home for thanksgiving and plans to tell her parents that she has a date to be baptized. After the blessing she was saying things like "I kinda want to cry, but I can't stop smiling! I feel so good!" We were able to point out that that was the Spirit and it was a good time.

Sarah (recent convert, super busy with work and master degree) is the sweetest. We had a GREAT lesson, don't remember actually what about though. She had a present for me though and surprised me. She painted a water color picture of a flower design around the words to one of my favorite scriptures, it must've taken her a few hours and it is amazing! I'll show it to you next week. She also asked if the next time we meet she could have me teach her how to play "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" on the piano, her favorite hymn that was sung at her baptism. Can't wait!

Natalie has been less active for a while, and I had never met her but we decided to go see her. She came to church! And will be at institute, she just needed a little motivation to come and wants to meet with us regularly to help her get back into full activity

I may have mentioned the free lunch we do every Thursday at the institute. If not there's a free lunch that we do every Thursday at the institute. The first time I did it this transfer there was a girl who showed up, Charline, who I talked to. And I should've gotten her number! She was so nice! But I didn't. So I prayed that she would come again, but she wasn't there the next week. Then the next 2 weeks we couldn't go because of zone conference, and exchanges, and such but we went again this last week. And she came! So I got her number. And she wants to meet with us after the break.

Lucy (recent convert) is also doing pretty well. She got lunch for us Friday and we had an awesome visit.

Here's a cool thing that describes Sister Ferrel's faith and desire to work. She was looking in the area book and found a former investigator on a record that said she had a baptism date and suddenly canceled it the day before because her family was against it. We stopped by the address and a girl named Esther opened the door. The former we had record of no longer lived there, but we talked to Esther and she was interested in learning more about our message. Sister Edgar said she saw her walk up to the door before opening it, and that at first she hesitated, but saw the Spirit pull her to the door (the best way she could describe it). We got her number.

Brittany (Sabrina's friend that had us over for dinner last week) came to church again. We weren't sure what she had thought of our lesson on the Book of Mormon last week but apparently she told Sabrina that she loved it, she just wants some time to read it a little before meeting with us again.

Speaking of Sabrina, the coolest experience happened! Sister Edgar was gone on exchanges so it was just Sister Ferrel and I, and Sabrina texted us and asked us if it was ok for us to teach her a lesson about the scriptures because she had a bunch of questions. Sister Ferrel didn't know many answers which is totally fine, I didn't know all of them either, but you should've seen how excited I got as we had this cool discussion about the scriptures, where they came from and how, how they tie together, chronological and geographical make up, using study helps to understand context as well as for finding answers to all sorts of questions. I'm still not as knowledgeable as I'd like to be but it was the BEST thing to see someone with a foundational gospel understanding and testimony who was just hungry for answers and desiring to know and learn all she could. Probably my favorite teaching experience this week.

We went tracting and ran into Moses and Michelle, and their two young kids. They invited us in then and there and told us their testimonies of Jesus Christ and much of their religious background in Catholicism. It was pretty cool, they gave us their number and invited us back so we referred them to the family ward missionaries who have an appointment with them this week. But yeah the hour or so we spent with them was mostly them talking to us, but it was neat that they were so willing to let us in and welcome us back.

Got a phone call. "Hey sisters! I just saw your temple and talked to the missionaries sitting across the street from it. They gave me your number, can I set a time to learn more about your message?" :D

Stopped by another former investigator from the area book, his name is Renee, he also said we could come back and he'd be very interested in learning more about our message again. So we sent the elders over.

Sierra is doing great. Just moving along with the lessons and coming to everything like every other active member :) she also shared a copy of the Book of Mormon with her friend and answering his questions about what he's reading!

Alright now to some of the fun stuff -

I've seen so many people from former wards I've served in. That day at the temple, I even recognized members from my first area. Last weekend we went to a stake service project and I ran into Sister Fusco! She moved back here from Connecticut (she's the one who wanted to serve a mission but has to wait til she's cancer free for 5 years, so she has 4.5 to go) and I didn't know til then so it was a total surprise. We talked as we helped tie fleece blankets and then she bought us lunch. That was so sweet. I love people.

I had my departing interview on Tuesday. I was looking forward to it, it truly is always a privilege to speak with and learn from President Clark, and so that one-on-one was wonderful. I know he and Sister Clark love me and I know they love this work. I want to finish off the last little bit I have left with all I got, while also being excited to return home and continue discipleship.

There's an efy song that says "we'll raise a banner to all nations, hold up an ensign to the world!" And I keep forgetting that Sister Edgar is a convert of less than two years. But she paused the music and said, "ok what is that supposed to mean? The only ensign I know of is the magazine so I'm imagining standing on a mountain or something holding up an ensign." Hahaha it was awesome!!

Had some fun at the departing dinner, there's 3 elders leaving and I think 10 sisters. So it was very much a good time.
On the way home we were protected again. It was dark and we were going 70 on the freeway, suddenly we ran over some car parts that Sister Edgar and I didn't see at all. We pulled off to the side and checked out the car after establishing that no one was hurt,must a little shaken up. We saw the car piece we ran over in the road, there's no way we should've run over that so smoothly without a scratch or swerving into another lane and hitting someone. A couple other cars were pulled over to the side win hazards on as well, probably the ones that the car parts were from. We got back in and were able to merge back safely. Gratitude prayers.
Since nothing happened to us, here's the funny part of the story. We were late for curfew because the departing dinner went long, so our roommates texted to make sure we were ok. We joke a lot so Sister Ferrel said "don't worry we won't die" and they responded "don't make promises you can't keep." Literally the moment after she read that we ran over the car parts on the freeway.

We're famous. There was an email sent out to all the UCI students about this one major intersection being temporarily closed for repairs and a picture of the intersection was included. The moment it was being taken we must've been there because 2 of our investigators showed us crossing the street in the photo and they totally recognized us!

The Hawkins have us over for dinner every Sunday since we don't get many dinners in YSA. Last time the elders shared the lesson and since we're good friends with this family and it was the day before Halloween, they decided to be creative and taught a lesson by turning out the lights and using a flashlight to tell a spooky story that they read randomly out of the Old Testament. It was weird but funny. So this time we did an object lesson by having a cup of clear water represent us, cherry kool-aid mix represent sins, and bleach represent the atonement. It went well, we tried picking out the sugars from the water by ourselves without the atonement, then used the atonement bleach to really fix it. Then Sister Ferrel had the bright idea to do something we hadn't tested out by saying that when we sin again, if we keep using the atonement we can stay clean. So she pored a bunch more Kool-aid mix in, and it turned red and started bubbling. And we had no more bleach. So that back-fired. But we got a lot more laughs than the elders did so it was great.

Love you all, have a fantastic week!

- Sister Shumway

Monday, November 14, 2016

letter from Alyssa - Nov. 14, 2016

Yes Casan I am so looking forward to seeing you sing at Merry Main Street! It's scary how big you are now. Wow. :D

Alright, update on the work -

Sierra talked to her mom about baptism, she has yet to talk to her dad but her mom thinks she should expect to wait about 6 months or so even though she's 18. But she continues to come to church and do everything else like some of the most active members here, including fellowshipping our other investigators! She's solid.

Tara is doing well too. We have fun meeting with her! Yeah we teach the lessons, but we have fun conversations as friends while at it. It's great! She's about to go out of town next week, and we're going to keep her in our prayers and stay in touch to help her continue progressing so she's right on track ready to prepare to be baptized when she gets back. She's also been giving a couple rides to some of our other investigators... it's pretty awesome how they're fellowshipping each other (with the ward members too of course).

Tanya is doing better. I wasn't at her last lesson, but apparently she had gone off on a lot of random topics and the lesson seemed to go no where before my companions came home really late from it. This last one though was pretty cool. She was more ready to hear the plan of salvation lesson, and asked really good questions without realizing how interested she really is in our message. Her friend, Brenda, helps her when we're not there and has talked to the relief society about how cool of an experience it's been to watch and help her friend grow in the gospel. :)

Yessica is also on track. We're just continuing the lessons, she's golden, not sure what more to say about her haha, she came to church even though she spent the night before at a friends house. She planned ahead, packed church clothes, and had her friend bring her before she even went back home. All on her own.

We picked up a new investigator. Arely is a new move-in, a returned missionary, and goes to BYUI but she's off track right now. Her boyfriend, Mouayad, is from Syria and said we could share the discussions with him when we met them this last week. He also speaks Arabic which was really cool, we got him a copy of the Book of Mormon in Arabic, Arely already got him one in English.

We talked to this girl on UCI campus, Jenny, and she ended up giving us her phone number to let us teach her about our message. We'll give her a call.

Funny story - Thursday we literally had 3 appointments stacked on top of each other and had to schedule splits. We planned to meet back at the institute afterwards, and Sister Ferrel was the first to make it back. So she and her companion for the night decided to cross the street and contact at OCC while they waited for us to get back too. After a few minutes, they asked to borrow someone's phone to call us and see where we were at. About 15 minutes later, we called that number back and asked for Sister Ferrel. The girl on the line, whose phone it was, told us the 'mission girls' we were probably trying to find just left. We thanked her for letting us know, and told her who we were and what we did as missionaries. She said her name was Austin and that we could give her a call to meet up with her sometime.

Randallyn may be bringing her friend, Yuki, to church sometime. :)

Sabrina just got called as a ward missionary. She and her roommate, Brittany, had us over for dinner last night. It was a lot of fun! Sierra was there too, and Julia, another member in the ward. Brittany also came with Sabrina to church yesterday and to Randallyn's baptism! We shared a message about the Book of Mormon and she tentatively said we could share more about it with her sometime.

Last week we had a lesson with Randallyn at the institute, and a ping pong tournament :D It was fun. Then Ashley (less-active from the neighboring YSA ward that we work with) came out, introduced herself to Randallyn, and invited her to come study/hang out with her every wednesday there at the institute. She's a convert of 3 years, and told her that if she had any questions she's always there. It was so cool for her to come out all on her own and fellowship her like that! And it meant a lot to Randallyn.

We met with Sarah, a recent convert that hasn't been able to make it to church because of work stuff lately. But her schedule has loosened up and she'll be able to come regularly enough to hopefully get a calling! She wants to be really involved and gave us a bunch of ideas for improving activities, sharing the gospel, etc. What I'm most excited about though is that she wants to read the Book of Mormon through and wants help understanding it. So she asked us to help! It'll be so fun.

Ok other than people some fun things happened this week -

Mom, you'll be happy to hear that we have been very well taken care of this week as far as food goes. Brother Farrar (I think he's on the high council for YSA? is that a specific high council assignment?) took us out to a chinese restaurant and ordered around 10 dishes for us to try and take home. It was really good and we took home a cardboard box full of leftovers. Then Brenda and Tanya had us over for dinner and they got Aloha BBQ, which is one of my favorite restaurants here and they give you so much food, definitely recommended. And to top it all off we were asked to help the Southcoast ward with their activity this last weekend, a cultural night with tables of food from Mexico, China, America, and Samoa. More on that later.

We had a zone conference last week with Elder Hamula and his wife visiting. It was really neat and I enjoyed it a lot, he talked about how The Lord works in a pattern and how the adversary tries to keep us away from that. He also asked - 'what does it take to achieve lasting conversion?' I have more notes but basically my companions and I were super motivated to go out and work.

The ward council found out I go home soon and asked me to speak in church AND do a musical number. It was cool, I've found though that I'm going to have to prepare my homecoming talk very carefully because it was hard to keep this last one timely, and if I don't there's no hope for that one. (Thanks for the clarification on that from the bishopric by the way Dad! Good to know.)

Like I was talking about the Southcoast cultural dinner activity thing, it was a lot of fun. Grandpa would also be proud that I got recruited last minute to cover for someone that was going to play the ukulele for someone to sing. And it turned out great if I do say so myself. :) it was a lot of fun.

Coolest thing - the Huntington Beach stake, for their youth conference, built a life-size Tabernacle like the one from Moses' time. And even though it was just outside the mission, President Galland got us to come with our institute group to go through and see it! It was awesome! I wish I had time to tell you all about it now, but I learned so much about the symbols, how it relates to the temple today, and I want to dive into the scriptures to find out more. It was complete with the courtyard, alter of sacrifice, laven (that's what it's called?) of water, holy place, and holy of holies with replicas of the menorah, table of shewbread, prayer table thingy, ark of the covenant, mercy seat, and items inside the ark. They also had some of the clothing priests would wear. We couldn't spend a lot of time there, but it was such a neat experience.

We had a lesson with Tara last night at the stake center, and right as we got there we found out that a MCO concert for the temple workers just finished. We saw President and Sister Clark, President and Sister Hobbins, Brother and Sister Shields (live oak canyon), Brother Kubat (laguna niguel stake), and several other I know from other areas actually. Then I went up and met Brett Stewart and told him I was from Dallas, and my dad and sisters sing in MCO there. He said, 'That's your Dad? That's so cool! I teach seminary!' That was a fun additional surprise! And fun to send the pic :)

So yeah. I'm officially at 18 months now. It's been a good time. Talk to you next week! Love you so much!

- Sister Shumway

Sister Shumway and Brett Stewart - Nov. 13, 2016

Nov. 13, 2026
Sister Shumway and Brett Stewart
(Professor Stewart is the Director and Dean of Millennial Choirs and Orchestras. He was in Newport Beach to lead the Orange County MCO in a performance there - he sent me this photo).

Monday, November 7, 2016

letter from Alyssa - Nov. 7, 2016

Casan stop growing. That's not allowed. Unless you give me a piggy-back ride home from the airport in a few weeks then that's fine.

Wow this week has been GREAT. Thanks for sending that story Dad! It worked perfectly for my training in district meeting last week.
So starting with an update on the work -
Tara (investigator) got to meet with President this last week. She came to church and the music devotional last night, she's on fire. She'll be out of town starting Thanksgiving until after new year's so we reset her baptism date for January 14th, I'm going to friend her on Facebook and keep up with her when I get back.

Randallyn was baptized! Her mom and her mom's boyfriend came to see it too. It was a really neat service. A lot of the YSA came to support! One of them, Sabrina, has been a life-saver. She's been driving Yessica and Sierra to things for us from UCI (2 of our investigators), and she brought another friend of her own with her this time! We have yet to follow up.

I've never been in an area where so many people are searching us out and finding us. The tables have turned a little on that. Karla was baptized about a year ago and recently moved here for school, she hadn't been to church in a while since she's the only member in her family and just got here, but she talked to the Chinese elders that she saw walking by one day and they referred her to us. She made it to church yesterday and we talked in ward council about extending a calling to her. She's awesome.

Yessica came to church for the first time! She's on track to be baptized in December.

Tanya came to church for the first time as well! She actually really liked it, even though she's told us she's not looking to get baptized (yet). She also came to the music devotional, took a temple grounds tour, and really enjoyed it. We have another lesson and dinner with her and Brenda (her friend/fellowshipper) this week.

Leila walked into the temple and asked to speak to a priest. The temple presidency came and talked with her, and they contacted President Clark since she's not a member. He called us and referred her number and information to us to contact her and find out more about what we could do for her. We're working on it and doing all we can on our side, including keeping her in our thoughts and prayers to find her.
The cool thing is that she's supposedly married with a kid or 2, we don't have an address, so I don't mean this in a prideful way but it's pretty cool that since we don't yet know which missionaries should technically be teaching her yet, President chose to call on us. It is an honor to be on call to help him in any way, even when we're already busy.

Ashley (less-active) is doing good. She almost came to the baptism on saturday but couldn't make it. Wednesday we had a good lesson on me helping her beat Sister Ferrel in chess. And a scripture to go with it of course.

Sierra is golden. We're still waiting for her to talk to her family. She really wants them to come and support her being baptized, not just be okay with it. So it may be a little while before she is baptized but she's reading and praying and fellowshipping some of our other investigators to keep her going. We're probably going to ask her for a referral soon, it's like she's already a member.

Guess what Landon? We did service at helping a band competition by directing people where to park. Afterwards we watched a few of the marching bands. They were tiny and nothing like Texas performances, one was pretty good, but still the whole thing reminded me of you and Tyler and going to football games/competitions and it was a fun experience.

Church yesterday was amazing. We had 4 investigators (Yessica, Tara, Sierra, Tanya), 1 recent convert confirmed (Randallyn), and a less-active come (Peau) who wants to return to activity and just needs help. President Galland (mission presidency) came and met them all, and stood and bore his testimony. Sister Ferrel bore her testimony too. The meeting was powerful. 
Also, in ward council, our ward mission leader, relief society president, and bishop all found out exactly when I'm going home. I never was trying to hide it, but never brought it up myself (it was funny, our WML Ryan had asked me before how long I'd been out and I said, 'Oh, about a year and a half.' And he was like, 'Oh, ok cool.' forgetting in that moment that sisters didn't serve 2 years until just then.). And this is the 7th ward I've served in, the only YSA ward, and it'll be for only a transfer, I thought there was no way I was getting to know anyone well enough (though of course that was no reason to slacken my efforts) before leaving. But their reaction touched me almost to tears. They were just as sad about me leaving as if I had been serving there my entire mission. I felt so loved, with as many move-ins/outs as they have in YSA, and all the busy schedules everyone has, and especially since I'm just another missionary, I could feel that they meant what they said when they said I would be missed.

And if that wasn't the nicest thing that's happened to me in this area, check out what happened at the music devotional. Tanya, Sierra, and Tara came, and I saw many members of wards I'd served in before, and one of the YSA members brought ANOTHER new friend that we set an appointment with this week to start the lessons (thank goodness for my companions for keeping that part of the show running while I ran the devotional!), on top of all that Heavenly Father did something so nice for me. I've told you I've had some of the coolest experiences as a missionary with the piano right? This one tops them all. I was asked to play the piano since it was my last devotional. I played "If You Could Hie to Kolob" with Elise Esplin, the young woman from the Mission Viejo stake who is one of the most accomplished violinists I've ever heard. She was phenomenal. The song is 6 pages, so I had the last 4 on the stand and the first 2 covering in front. I marked a certain part in the music that I had a moment to reach up and pull those 2 pages off so I could play the rest of the song. I'd practiced it so many times since this wasn't the first time I'd used this song. But this time, in the middle of performing it, the piece was going extremely well (one of those times it goes better than you practiced :D ) until I pulled the second page WITH THE PAGE BEHIND IT by accident and dropped it on the floor. I had to keep going, but I was missing the last page. While playing, I glanced around to find where the page landed, but couldn't find it. My heart sunk especially since it was my last devotional and I had so many friends there including missionaries, investigators, and member friends from all throughout my mission. Then the page was suddenly back on the stand of the piano. A man jumped up to the stand silently from the audience, found the right page and put it in the perfect spot just in time. He patted my shoulder encouragingly and left. Immediately I offered a prayer of gratitude and a plea for help that this experience would invite the Spirit to touch someone who needed it. I finished the piece in confidence, smiling the whole time feeling like someone was giving me a hug. The hardest parts I had struggled through before came easily and I wish you could hear it, I literally had a front row seat to watching, listening, and feeling the Spirit play through me what I could not have done myself. This whole experience was a tender mercy from Heavenly Father through someone else! I ran up to him right after the devotional and thanked him, telling him it was the nicest thing anyone's ever done for me. All the compliments afterward were appreciated and meant a lot, but the feeling of love from Heavenly Father could not be compared.

You guys are the BEST! Surprising me with an orange package?? :D That was so much fun!! Casan, I keep the mimic me on my desk by my scerptures :>  Those pictures especially got me so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am cheering you guys on Landon and Tyler! Or Elder Shumway and Elder Shumway! The snacks were so fun to try and share, you're all so creative and know how to make me smile :) :) :) THANKYOU!!

I love you all :)
- Sister Shumway

Monday, October 31, 2016

letter from Alyssa - Oct. 31, 2016

Landon and Tyler, you guys are so much better at emailing than I am haha! I love reading your emails, they're the best and so much fun. :D

So throughout the week I jot down little notes of what to write about, so by Monday I just look at the list and talk about each thing. This week we were so busy that all I have is a list of names. It's awesome. Let me tell you about it -

Sister Ferrel gave one of the best trainings this last district meeting I've ever seen, and this was her first district meeting so she hadn't even ever seen a training before! (except how they do it in the MTC) She was confident, used time perfectly, held our attention the whole time, and helped us out a lot with our teaching skills with the practices and discussions she included. Wish you could've seen it, she really is an incredible missionary.

Tara has set a baptism date for the 26th! It will probably have to be moved since we realized that was Thanksgiving weekend and not many people will be here... But she's getting baptized :) She was out of town this weekend so we'll see her again this week.

We met with Craig twice, I don't know if I already told you about him but Sister Ferrel found him at the free lunch thing we do at OCC (tell me if I haven't told you about what that is... I'm pretty sure I have) her 2nd day in the field, and he gave us his info and set a return appointment. We taught him the first 2 lessons this last week at the institute building and he really likes it, we have another appointment tomorrow to pass him to the elders but he accepted a baptismal invitation if he finds out what we teach is true for himself.

Tiffany (less-active) met with us, we're a little concerned because she wasn't at church this last sunday again but she's been friendly to us, let us come teach her the missionary discussions, and has been inviting her friend to institute. So we think she's doing pretty good? Working on it.

Tanya is one of those investigators that says she'll never be baptized and isn't really interested but asks all these questions and says things like 'I just want to learn about it' that indicate she's more interested than she probably realizes. It's awesome though especially since she's a referral from a friend, so it's such a good situation for her to possibly progress more in the gospel. I bet if she reads the Book of Mormon and opens up a little more she'll want to be baptized.

Lucy (recent convert) had us over for lunch. :) She's getting her patriarchal blessing soon. So cool.

So that phone call we got at church last week, with the voicemail that said "Hi, my name is Yessica and I'm interested in the missionary discussions, call me back!" We met with her this week, she set a baptismal date for December 3rd! So it went really well.

Sierra turned 18 last weekend, we meet with her later this week to discuss a baptismal date for her too.

Randallyn had her baptismal interview yesterday, and she's all set and ready to go for saturday! She's so golden, last week we taught her then entire lesson 4 in one sitting under an hour. 0.0 and it turned out great for her, but I never expected to do that and I'm not sure it'll happen again.

We got a call from a member asking us to teach her friend Ruth who wants to have the missionary discussions. :D Member missionary work is where it's at.

After contacting at a park, we were walking to our car and this man was nearby with his husky. Sister Ferrel and Sister Edgar loved it and had to go pet it (they love dogs), I followed of course. We were a few minutes late to our dinner, but the man's name was Dave and he gave us his number so we could tell him more about the Book of Mormon!

Sister Ferrel was going through our area book looking for former investigators or potentials to follow up with. And after many phone calls, set up 2 appointments with 2 different girsl, Sayde and Holly, that still live here and are interested in meeting with us again! We also stopped by a guy named Damian who didn't have a phone number, he wasn't home but his dad, Victor opened, told us he'd give Damian our number and that we were welcome to stop by and try again, and he gave us a referral for his mom and sister down the street.

Finally got in with Peau (less-active), Sister Edgar has been trying to see her for almost 3 months. Peau wants to come back to church! She's struggling in her situation and with the word of wisdom, but she wants us to come regularly every week to teach her the missionary discussions, and she has a couple friends she wants to introduce to the church. She was teaching us principles about missionary work that took me months of being a full-time missionary to learn! I think she feels a little hopeless deep down, like she's gone too far to really make it back and change, but she really does desire to come back and change, so we're going to help her make that happen.

The Southcoast sisters (our roommates in another ward) gave us a referral to follow up with named Brenda.

We were contacting in the park again and talked to Juan, who was fishing at the pond. He surprised me with how interested he was in the Book of Mormon and our message about Jesus Christ and the Restoration. He has 4 kids ages 6-12, 2 boys and 2 girls, and gave us his number so we could come teach his family.

Guess what? Micha and Melania are getting baptized on the 19th! Remember Janette, the one I was teaching with Sister Loveridge in Aliso Viejo? She's not a member, her boyfriend, Jake, is less-active but returning, Jake's daughter Taylor just got baptized a couple months ago, and Janette has 4 kids, Melania (9), Micha(8), Chief(4), and Cruise(4), all 6 of them live together. Jake's sister lived in the ward we were serving in and invited them all to come learn from the missionaries. Then I got transferred and they were all eventually passed to the elders in Capistrano. But I got a phone call that the baptism is happening! They're getting closer it's so awesome! Sorry if not much of that made sense, it's one of the best things ever to hear about the progress of those you've taught and helped.

Today is going to be fun. Started the day with breakfast and studies together with the district, Then all p-day stuff to get done until dinner with the bishop, and then we have to be in early so the zone is doing our own trunk-or-treat. It'll be great! Happy Halloween!!
Hope you have lots of fun :D Love you!

- Sister Shumway

P.S. Casan - don't give up piano! I'm so happy you love it! I would LOVE to play with you when I get back! What are some of your favorite songs? Like any songs, and also church songs/hymns?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Photo taken and sent by the Institute Director, Brian Andre, in Newport Beach. This was his message with the photo: "Your daughter was transferred into the YSA Ward and to my Institute last week . . . she is one of the best missionaries ever to come to California! Thanks for sharing her with us."

Monday, October 24, 2016

letter from Sister Shumway - Oct. 24, 2016

This may be the longest email you've ever gotten. Or at least with the most things to talk about. That's how awesome this week has been.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOMORROW KYNSIE!! Email me some dessert. :D

Update on the work first:

We were able to get one last dinner with the Galbraiths (less-active and part-member family), when they found out I was being transferred they wanted me over for the 'last supper'. It was really good food and so nice of them to have us over. I hope they keep seeing the missionaries.

We picked up 3 new investigators this week!!! Randalyn was passed to us from the Costa Mesa Elders in a lesson on the Doctrine of Christ. We invited her to come to the YSA ward since she was found and began taking the lessons in the family ward, but she already has a baptism date set for November 5th, so we will finish off the last 2 lessons, get her baptized, and start on the recent convert lessons with her now. She came to church yesterday and is right on track for baptism!

Sierra belongs to a part-member family. She has 2 older brothers and a few younger sibilngs, her mom is less-active and her dad is not a member. One of her older brothers is less-active, the other isn't a member either. Their dad has a rule that the kids can decide to get baptized if they want when they're 18. Sierra turns 18 this saturday and came into church last week saying 'baptize me!' She's also taking the lessons, and once she talks to her parents we'll set a date with her too.

Brenda texted us asking if we were still planning on dinner the other night, and we were, and she said she was having a friend over too! So we prepared a thought to share but we weren't really sure what to share, and we've had pretty much no practice teaching together as a companionship and we didn't know the friend she brought so it was a little shaky and scattered to start off, but turned out well because the friend, Tanya, was asking a bunch of great questions. It's really interesting because she kept saying 'don't get your hopes up on converting me!' even when we directly asked her to take the missionary discussions, which she said yes to, because she was asking all the right questions. We have an appointment to go back and teach her the restoration this week. Brenda is a natural missionary! I thought she was a RM but she's actually a convert, and is so excited to help us with Tanya.

Tara took the lessons last year, had a date set, was coming to church, everything was solid, and then she dropped off the face of the earth and we don't know why. Then she just showed up to church (the same day Sierra did, right before I got here) saying she wanted to be taught again. She came to church again, met with bishop, and asked us when we could meet again before we had the chance to ask her! Last week we met with her and invited her to be baptized. She said she wanted to, and we had a good discussion asking her questions about what to expect and where she stood spiritually about it. We're meeting with her tonight and planning on setting a date for next month.

Tiffany started coming back to church! (actually a little bit before I got here, but she came again and is pretty much set on being reactivated) She also brought a friend to institute, Sara, who's planning on coming again this week. We are planning on inviting her to take the missionary discussions when she does. Tiffany is awesome for coming back and bringing a friend with her!

Ashley is less-active, and comes to the institute building to study every wednesday afternoon. She's super nice and loves missionaries, she's really cool and fun to visit with. We're practicing the lessons with her starting this week, she agreed to 'help us out' so we could practice teaching. I think it'll be good though since we're already great friends, I'm hoping she'll respond well.

Lucy is amazing. She has been a member for only a few months, and sober from alcohol not much longer than that. All she wants to do is serve and reach out to others. She just got a calling and her patriarchal blessing recommend, she's always texting us about good things that're happening in her life and the success she's getting at school. It's so neat to work with her and be there for her.

Sarah had us over for lunch, she makes really good stuffed peppers and showed me how. She's a recent convert, and we're going to start reading the Book of Mormon with her because she wants to better understand it and love it more now that she's had all the new member lessons. She's so nice and loves missionaries. :)

Tess also loves missionaries, she's been baptized for a few months and takes us out to dinner all the time. She's awesome.

Every thursday Brother Andre (the institute and mission prep teacher here) has a free lunch that he provides with a Mormon message spiritual thought. So about an hour before the thought, we go onto the school campus across the street and invite everyone to it. We had out cards for it and usually get about 200 invites out, and this last thursday we had about 8-9 non-members come! They were super nice and a few of them are coming again this week! Leslie, and Cynthia, Sharlene, James, Brent and Christian, and a couple others. Some of the members come too and talk with them, and invite them to more activities! It's such a great tool, especially in finding YSA aged people.

We talked to someone who was not a YSA on the street, she said she was interested in hearing more about our message because she's been thinking a lot about God and the purpose of life since she just had a baby 3 months ago. That was a cool conversation to have.

During weekly planning, we were looking at out list of potential investigators and decided to give 2 particular ones a call. Right before we picked up the phone, Sister Ferrel had the idea to pray first. So we did and specifically prayed that this would go well (I think we asked for more specific things but I forgot...). Then we gave it a try and Raven answered and set an appointment to meet with us! We then said another prayer, thanking Heavenly Father and then asking for the same things we did for Raven, gave Craig a call, and he answered and set up an appointment too! We cheered after hanging up the phone and said another gratitude prayer.

We got a call in the middle of Relief Society yesterday, and missed it but the voicemail said, "Hi I'm looking for the Sister Missionaries, my name is [couldn't understand it...] and I'm interested in taking the discussions. Give me a call back, thanks bye!" What it the world. I'm so excited!

We also have another 3 referrals to contact, and one other potential investigator who recognized us from the last time we went shopping where she works. There's just never enough time in the day. It's GREAT. :D

So that's the work, here's more on the week -

Crushed the elders in pool last week. Best way to leave my mark in the zone right before getting transferred.

Tuesday was the best day ever! I taught seminary in Las Flores, got transferred that afternoon, and went to institute that night! Seminary AND institute in one day!!

Sister Weston is incredible. She is the definition of a consecrated missionary. She was Sister Edgar's companion and we took her to the airport wednesday morning. I've never even served in the same zone with her and I miss her! She is so good at helping people feel loved and happy. And a super star missionary that this mission will never forget.

Sister Edgar and Sister Ferrel are the best companions I could have asked for. And I'm in a zone with Sister Phinney! Sister Ferrel is from Maryland, near D.C., went to BYUH for 2 years before coming out, and has hit the ground running and has so many great ideas on how to do the work, even though she's been in the field only a week. She's always pointing out the best things in every situation and in me and Sister Edgar. And she's so happy! It's contagious. Sister Edgar is the sweetest companion I've ever had. She's a convert of less than 2 years and the only missionary in her family. And she's from Denton, TX! She's been out for 3 months, just finished her own training. The 3 of us have fun together and work so well. I couldn't have asked for a better situation for my last transfer, I believe that Heavenly Father was really listening to my prayers before this last transfer.

Here's a cultural thing i can tell you about - they're now having me drive a 2017 Chevy Malibu. It had 16 miles on it just last week when it was driven off the lot. o.o

Mission prep was so fun! And we go every week!! I got to work with a girl who is getting ready to leave for her mission in... dang it I forgot. And another girl who's finished her papers and waiting for her call. Mission prep is the best, it gets you so motivated to go out and implement all that you learn and practice.

It's rained harder today than I've seen in over a year and a half! It was pouring this morning. I was in heaven it felt so good. Now it's overcast but constantly drizzling. I love it.

President Frances (spelling-?) came and gave a fireside last night. He was just released as Mission President of the New York Rochester mission this last summer. We went because we're in YSA now :D and also Brother Andre asked me to play a musical number (I played piano, Sister Ferrel sang, and Sister Edgar played Clarinet, another reason this companionship is inspired:). The best part was when he was talking about the sacred grove and the Hill Cumorah pageant, I thought of you Landon and Ty the whole time!!

We got such a big week coming up. So many set appointments and plans, I have wayyy too much to thank Heavenly Father for. It's the best feeling.

Love you all!

- Sister Shumway

Friday, October 21, 2016

letter from Alyssa - October 17, 2016

Wow I feel like I just received a huge hug after reading each of your emails!

Update on the work and the week -

On monday I was on exchanges with Sister Baker (MTC companion) and Sister Atchley (her current companion) for most of p-day since Sister Hawkins had a long hair appointment an Sister Wimmer could stay at the Ulta store all day. So they went and I was with the first 2 sisters I mentioned all day long except at dinner. Then that night we exchanged and I stayed in Las Flores with Hermana de Haan and my companions went to other areas. Then Tuesday night we exchanged again and I stayed in Las Flores with Sister Hobbs, with my companions in other areas. So I basically started out the first half of the week 3 days straight without my regular companions. Longest I've gone by far! It was different but so much fun! Sometimes exchanges seem a little tedious to plan and prepare for, and even thinking about going out to do the work since one missionary doesn't know the area and yeah basically it weighs as kind of a burden looking forward to them, but then exchanges always turn out so well and so much fun! I learn a lot, it's like a spiritual boost even though it can be hard. Can't really explain it, and don't know entirely why, but I do know it contributed a lot to a great week.

We finally met with Carrie again! I think the first time this transfer. She's kind of flaky, she'll make solid commitments and it's clear she understands them, and I have so much confidence in her with each lesson, and then she doesn't show up to church or read or things like that. But we are loving her and working with her. We think we've made progress in having her commit to help her son, Quincy, keep his commitments (that way she will too). She really does want to do that, I think she cares a lot more for him than she does for herself. She's expressed that in a way that she basically doesn't care what happens to her, she just wants her son to be happy and successful. He wants to be baptized and serve a mission. And he reads the Book of Mormon. The biggest challenge is just getting them to church. But we had a good lesson this last week still!

Zone Training Meeting was great. The zone leaders asked me to give a training on inviting the Spirit in all aspects of the work. I thought it was a pretty intimidating topic since there's sooo much (almost too much) to work with, so I focused on inviting the Spirit in finding and inviting people to listen to the message we have to share (so basically in contacting/tracting). I started off by introducing the training and asking the missionaries to find the principles in the things we would study and practice that they could apply to all aspects of the work themselves. It was fantastic, one of the best ones I got to do. And most of it wasn't even me! (that's probably why:) there was a lot of discussion and then participation in the following role play. We practiced promising blessings of the gospel that we've experienced in our lives on a doorstep. I challenged them to find a different approach with every individual they talk to next time they go contacting, and to list out their blessings they've received from the gospel beforehand. Tied it together with my testimony and contacting this week has been a fun experience! It's neat that there's still new things to try and opportunities to step out of your comfort zone in ways you hadn't thought of before even at this point in the mission.

We caught Annika (less-active) at home, and guess what? She quit smoking! She did it by starting vaping... but she's working on getting off that now too. She talked with us for over an hour and I think the more time we spend with her the closer she'll come to wanting to have the Spirit in her life more. She feels a ton of guilt and hopelessness with mistakes she's felt in the past, but we are helping her to feel loved and when we do, she sometimes says things that highlight her own testimony of truths in ways she probably doesn't yet realize. So cool.

One of the best parts of the week: I got to teach seminary on wednesday! Sister Hobbs was with me and thrown into it last second so we had hardly any time to coordinate teaching together, and also she wasn't feeling to great at the start of the day so I was mostly on my own. But I got so excited! We talked about missionary work and the Atonement, quoting from Preach My Gospel in the first chapter where it says that as our understanding of Jesus Christ's Atonement increases, so does our desire to share the gospel. Probably my very favorite line in the whole thing. We then tied it to missionary work of course and discussed Elder Oaks' talk from the last conference. We challenged the students to do the 3 things he said would work for any member missionary. It was awesome! Best way to start the day! No wonder it was such a great day. (Then I got a few minutes to say hello later :) sorry I was so awkward haha... I was just so happy:)

So our plans/expectations were totally flipped upside-down when I got a call from the assistants on friday and they said, "Sister Shumway, on behalf of President Clark, would you be willing to accept the call/assignment to train next transfer?" I almost asked them if they knew I was already training, but I just accepted it and that's all I knew for the next day and a half. Crazy! That was the 2nd to last thing we expected to happen. (First was if they decided to transfer all 3 of us out. Thankfully they didn't do that. But We thought for some reason that if anyone was getting transferred it'd probably be Sister Wimmer) We threw around a bunch of ideas, like maybe I would re-open Dana Point and Capistrano (my first area, no longer sisters there for now) or finish Sistre Crosset's training and go back to Live Oak Canyon with her. Or train Sister Van Den Bron, a sister who went home last year and is coming back. We had no idea. Then transfer calls came the next night and we still don't have the entire story but we have most of it. I am being transferred for my last transfer! I'm going to the Newport Coast YSA ward to be companions with Sister Edgar AND a new missionary. That's the part of the story we don't yet know, I have no idea who the new missionary is yet, not even her name. Sister Edgar just finished her training, which means she's been out for 3 months, or 2 transfers. Why they want to pull me out of a training trio and put me in a new one in an entirely different area? No idea. But I guess that's where I'm supposed to be! This means I'll have served in every single zone in the mission except for Irvine (funny, the zone the mission is named after) (I've served in San Clemente, Rancho Santa Margarita, Laguna Niguel, Mission Viejo, even Spanish, and now Newport Beach). I've never served in Newport, and I've never served in YSA, it'll all be so new and probably fly by.

Because I'm leaving, we got big plans coming up! Last night Brother Holiday made us this Finnish dessert from his mission because of the special occasion that I was being transferred. It was weird, but not bad, like melted strawberry flavored whipped cream. It's so fun to try new things. Today we have dinner at the Galbraiths (less-actives that asked us to come for dinner before I go, best cook I've ever met), they're making us a Korean BBQ. Tomorrow we were going to get together with Stacy (less-active) be she has to leave out of town last minute. And the best part is that Sister Smith wants us to come and teach seminary tomorrow before I go! :D It's going to be a fun week, I hardly even know what to expect.

By the way, thankyou Grandma and Grandpa and Mom Earl and Dad Earl for your letters and emails! I can feel your love and prayers and I wish I could express to you how much that means to me! I think of you EVERYDAY and look forward to seeing you again, and I'm sooooo grateful for your encouragement and support and love!

Love you :)

- Sister Shumway

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Monday, October 10, 2016

photo - Oct. 8, 2016

Sister Shumway and companions with President Hobbins (counselor in the mission presidency)

letter from Alyssa - Oct. 10, 2016

Another week! By the way, Brother Mark Hobbins is in the mission presidency. He lives in the Live Oak Canyon ward and served there as high councilor over missionary work while I served in that ward last year. He's fantastic and a wonderful friend! He was going to Plano to see one of his grandkids baptized so I gave him your info to see what he could do, whether it was just a text or even a drop by. So glad you could hear from him! He's played a key role in helping me succeed as a missionary.

Jackie was home and we had a great discussion with her again. This time I was with my companions (last time was YW splitz) so they got to meet her and get to know her a little better. We challenged her to read 3 Nephi 11 and we have an appointment with her and her mom this week.

We finished staining Robin's fence, and now we get to do the fun part and go back to follow up and try to teach her this week.

Picked up a new investigator - Nicole, she wants her daughter baptized (who's 13) even though she didn't specify into our church, but so she wants us to come over for dinner, hopefully this weekend. We plan to start the discussions with her too.

Mission Leadership Council was awesome, President Hobbins and President Galland gave trainings on inviting the Spirit in any scenario and also having power to convince. It was neat how they went together. President Clark also trained on the importance of the Book of Mormon and how it can be preparatory for us for anything that lies ahead.

Young women's was fun, we had a chocolate tasting party. One of the chocolates had poprocks and cajun (is that what it is?) pepper in it. Fun night.

Speaking of weird foods, the store bought pie that the Julanders had after dinner the other night had jalapenos in it. It was a mistake but funny to find out, Brother Julander was the first to take a bite so he saved us from having too.

We also had a night of Korean food, Brother Stromberg served us a bunch of cool things from his mission. Most of it was really good, this sweet flavored beef with rice, and sushi, and some weird but good sort of noodles, spinach, and bean sprouts, and dumplings, it was a lot of fun to try but the only thing I didn't like was the kim-chi (don't think that's the right spelling...), which is basically fermented cabbage in hot sauce. But I tried it! Just to say I did.

We tracted into Oscar and Estephanie, who we ended up passing to the spanish hermanas. And we found out they are now new investigators and coming to church!

We had exchanges and so I was in the YSA ward for a day, we got to teach 2 members preparing for missions, and then we shared one of the missionary discussions with a member of the bishopric. Which was SO COOL. I think the Spirit was most strong in that experience this week.

The Fischingers opened their door! It's been about 2 months. She was so nice and we plan to go back.

Sorry to be brief, we got a lot on our plate this week with exchanges, transfers, starting 'MyPlan', and a few other things I forgot at the moment but I have written down. So excited to hear how this week goes for you all! I know I say it a lot but I love you soooooooo much!!

- Sister Shumway