Monday, February 29, 2016

Feb. 29, 2016 - letter from Sister Shumway

Jennifer has a new baptism date, March 12th at 5:00pm and we're working out the details of who's doing what and the program and refreshments and fun stuff. We're teaching her Wednesday, starting her on family history this week, and she's coming to a music devotional at the temple this Sunday where we'll tell her more about the temple. She's on fire. And she just came to her new ward for the first time yesterday, it went sooo well! The ward has wrapped their arms around her and she already has a bunch of friends.

Gabriela and Alexis (less-actives) are not doing as good. Gabriela (mom) is making it much more difficult for Alexis to graduate because she's going a little crazy on being controlling, the Bishopric is working more with her and it's really hard to say their situation because of how complicated it is and how little we really know. I worry about Alexis all the time, but we should see her tomorrow night if not this afternoon.

The David Archuleta fireside was really neat, I didn't know his mom was from Honduras. He told stories from his mission, his family's conversion story, experiences at American Idol, and his testimony in English in Spanish. He sang like 6 or 7 songs, including Glorious, and his voice sounds exactly the same in person as it does in any recording. I also played hymns as prelude before the meeting, so a lot of the sister missionaries freaked out after about the fact that I got to play piano for David Archuleta.

I don't know how much I've told you about Sister Fusco, but she is an incredible person and ward missionary. She's battle cancer and other health issues, dealt with a daughter that's strayed from the Church and made things really really difficult for her. But she is submitting her papers to serve a mission and has shared with us how everything, even in the details, has The Lord's hand in it all. I'll probably talk about her more in future weeks as we get updates.

And don't think I forgot - HAPPY 21st ANNIVERSARY MOM AND DAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I will definitely be thinking of you even a little more this Wednesday and  hope it is special and fun for you :):):)

Love you all,
- Sister Shumway

Monday, February 22, 2016

letter from Sister Shumway - Feb. 22, 2016

That package was sooooooooooooo much fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You guys spoil me. But seriously that was JUST WHAT I NEEDED. Sister Phinney and I are a little freaked out at how perfect it was. Of course neither of us expected anything for Valentine's day but a lot of people gave us chocolate (mostly), so the treats were so creative and fun to share! (ESPECIALLY the fry sauce. I am impressed.) And the pictures are fabulous, that is one of my favorite things and my wall of photos grows all the time.
As far as the toiletries, I totally needed a new toothbrush, my deodorant was not working out for me and this one is awesome, I was running low on bobbi pins, face wash, and clips, I really wanted new socks and this is the exact kind I've been looking for, the mouthwash, clothes roll, and lotion were on my list of things to get, the clothes wrinkle spray stuff works GREAT especially when I'm on crunch time, and Sister Phinney is totally jealous of my Frozen sanitizer. I just got face moisturizer so thanks for not getting that. I've literally been just waiting for the new month to budget for these things, thankyou thankyou thankyou!!! (not to mention it's always so fun to get mail haha)

Ok. Back to the work.

Susan (less-active) finally met with us! She's been busy every week for the last month (and she's basically in our backyard, of all the people to be busy only while we were walking). But we had a great visit, she's super social and wants to meet new people even though she's older, and we're going over this week with a ward missionary to cook and can stuff. And invite her to church of course.

Debbie (potential investigator) just got started on familysearch. We helped her start her account and this week we're going to find a time that works for her when she can come to the family history center at the church building and continue it, she seems excited and is interested in learning how to do indexing.

Rod and Kathy (new investigators) are flying. We taught them the Plan of Salvation, every question Rod had led perfectly to the next principle we were about to teach. We asked him if he believed the things we taught were true and he says they seem right and he wants to find out if it is, then we asked him what he would do if he did find that it was true. We brought up the possibility of baptism, and he said he hadn't considered that but was very open to it and would think and pray on that more for sure. Kathy hasn't missed a day of reading the Book of Mormon and has more questions for us. She even stays up a little late and turns on the light in the bathroom to make sure she does each day. They want to come to church, it didn't work out this last sunday but they'll try again this week.

Jennifer (investigator) is doing much much better. She took us to the cheesecake factory on Friday and we had a great visit just as friends! We have a return appointment with her tonight with the relief society president.

Julie (less-active) has progressed way further than when I first met her. She makes sure we have dinner if we don't have someone signed up whenever we go to visit, but this week she has opened up even more about her feelings and experiences. She talks to us like we're her closest friends. We invited her to church again which she hasn't been in a few decades, and she said not this last sunday but next sunday she'll make it work. We are going to bring her some skirts she can choose from this weekend. She also asked about the regional broadcast we had the sunday before that I mentioned, and that she had been thinking to ask us all week long. We had one of the best discussions with her about the foundational principles of the gospel ever.

Gabriela and Alexis (less-active) made it to church! They missed the sacrament because they were late but they're working on it, and it's definitely a step forward. They stayed through relief society and everything, they both met with the bishop and Gabriela has committed to work on getting a temple recommend again and Alexis is working towards getting her patriarchal blessing. She gets excited whenever we talk about it. They asked if we could come over again tomorrow afternoon. After all this time of them making commitments with just empty words, we're finally seeing them move forward.

We saw Mohammed (potential investigator) again, and had a great conversation with him. We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon in Farsi (new edition) and he really really appreciated it. He wants to use the Book of Mormon, both English and Farsi together, to better learn English. We promised him it would help if he read them regularly. He wants us to meet his daughter, Rogin (pronounced like a mix of Ro-sheen and Ro-jean), who is 18 years old and attending a local college. He drives a truck around the country so he's often not home (he's actually surprised we came at just the right time to his door initially because he's gone so much and we wouldn't have come back to an unanswered door soon) but he says he feels bad for not coming to church for the last 2 weeks and will do all he can to come and bring his daughter this sunday. He lives in the Aliso Viejo ward boundaries but we have a member who is a recent convert of only a few years from Iran (her name is Tammy, and Mohammed is from Iran too!) in the Wood Canyon ward, she wants to meet him, it's just a matter of catching them both when they're not at work.

We returned the container to Carol (potential investigator who had us over for dinner and sent us home with leftovers) with homemade rice crispy treats in it. She was happy to see us, we invited her to the relief society devotional by David Archuleta this week, but she said she'll text us to have us over again sometime. She also gave us hot tamales candies while we were there.

Other stuff -

We had Zone Conference, which was basically this huge 6-7hour long training. President Orgill gave a great training on which influence we invite according to our everyday decisions, and others gave trainings as well. The biggest change though is that someone from Salt Lake in a missionary committee I forgot the official name for but he's over cars, gave us a training on something they just installed in our cars called a Tiwi (some sort of important acronym). It's this black box plugged into our car that updates Salt Lake every 2 seconds as to where we are and when. It also warns us when we're speeding or not wearing a seatbelt, and records any aggressive driving. These reports determine our driving privileges. I've got the hang of it though, the Tiwi hasn't gotten mad at me yet (we've had it only 2 days though so far). Speaking of which, we now drive a silver 2013 Toyota Corrolla. So much better than a Chevy. It's kinda weird to think you guys got a new car haha, just hard for me to picture.

By the way - the end of my 13th and last transfer is on November 29th, so I would fly out of Orange County the next day on Wednesday, November 30th. My ministerial license expires on November 22nd because it was originally anticipated that I would be home on the 23rd, but with the MTC time being extended a week it also added a week on to the end of everyone's missions that are currently out in the field. It probably would've been adjusted anyway because plane tickets are more expensive the week of Thanksgiving.

The best part of the regional broadcast we had was Elder Renlund's talk. I've been told they're going to publish it on so I’ll watch for that.

Ponderizing scripture: D&C 59:13 “And on this day thou shalt do none other thing, only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart that thy fasting may be perfect, or, in other words, that thy joy may be full.

Well, that’s it for now. Have another fun week!

·         Sister Shumway

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

letter from Sister Shumway - Feb. 16, 2016

I told the zone leaders to mail my valentine to the boy I'm writing (most mail to/from goes through them, which is probably why I'm still waiting on the package, I thought it'd come yesterday but no worries I'll let you know monday!). They were all surprised and dramatic in reaction for a moment until they saw Casan had the same last name, so I got to laugh at their reaction. One said, "Dang, an 8-year-old has more girls sending him valentines than I do."

A few updates on the work -

We found Jennifer! We used the phone for the other ward to try to call her and she answered! She apologized for ignoring us but does want to see us, especially since she feels more comfortable after talking to us, you know since we helped her feel that it wasn't just a baptism date we were after and she blew it. So hopefully we will see her in a couple days.

Julie (less-active) took us out for dinner the other night, she wanted to take us to a place called Texas BBQ (she couldn't find a place called Canadian maple syrup I guess). It was a lot of fun, I have to say the BBQ wasn't all that great (I didn't say that, and it's just because I'm used to really really good BBQ) but it was still pretty good especially since it's been so long since I've had BBQ.

Tracting is proving to actually work pretty well here, I think The Lord is blessing us because He knows our options are very limited with no car. But we picked up 2 new investigators, Roze and Nasrene, mother and daughter. They are Muslim and they live on the Bishop's street, but they welcomed us in and listened to the first lesson and took a copy of The Book of Mormon. We've found that Muslims are almost always willing to listen to our message, but are usually just wanting to find out what we believe and not really act on it. But hey, that's a whole lot more than most people. We are going back this week.

Carol (potential investigator) and Kirk had us over for dinner the other night. They are very much Revelation 22:18-19 Christians and believe strongly in the Bible, but Carol actually talked to us on the street before we tried contacting her and she gave us our number if we ever needed anything. So we texted her when we didn't have a dinner appointment signed up. That night was really enjoyable, they asked a lot of questions about missionary life and such and we talked about their family, especially their 3 sons all YSA age. We asked to share a message with them though, and turned to the Bible in 1 Corinthians 15:20-22, and related it to Moroni 7:41 which they were totally open to us sharing. We had a great discussion and they sent us home with leftovers, so we will bring back the container with something fun in it as an excuse to see them again. They also know 3 or 4 Mormon families living on their street. I feel like the concern about adding to the Bible like it says in Revelation is not their concern. Obviously they are comfortable with their beliefs and church and life etc., so if they are searching for more they don't realize it yet as far as it seems, but we could easily give them logical reasons as to why that statement in Revelation doesn't discount The Book of Mormon. I'm pretty sure Revelation was not the last book of scripture written chronologically, but it happens to be ordered that way in the compilation of all the books in the Bible. And that same phrase is used throughout the Bible (Deuteronomy? or one of the books of Moses?) so that would discount most of the Bible itself. And of course we believe the things that The Book of Mormon teaches to testify of Christ and draw individuals and families closer to God, that the fruits of The Book of Mormon along with the Bible are right and good. But explaining these things aren't going to help them come to an understanding of the Restoration and the context of the Plan of Salvation. They're just arguments that show we're only trying to convince them of our opinions. So I don't really know yet, but we're going to work with the members they know and also get some invites extended and such, and we'll see where it goes.

Rod and Kathy are such great people, so courteous and fun to talk to. We stopped by Sunday since we hadn't heard from them to bring a small cake shaped into a heart for valentine's day. They loved it and visited with us for a while, and they said to plan on Thursday night unless they call for us to come earlier. It was neat because in the conversation, Rod said he was excited for us to come back (we only had a few minutes then and they were in the middle of working in the yard before losing daylight) because he said, "I really do want to know about life after death and our purpose here, you know?" I thought that was so neat! Because he wonders about these things when we're not there, and it's the same question he asked at the end of the first lesson, leading perfectly to the second. And they've both been reading The Book of Mormon, Kathy has tons of questions and says she is really looking forward to discussing them with us.

This is going to make you jealous Aubrey - the day before your sweet 16, David Archuleta is coming to present a devotional for the relief society sisters in this stake. We are inviting all the people we can, especially less actives, so we'll definitely be there.

We had a regional broadcast given be Elder Renlund on Sunday in place of Sacrament meeting, shown to the stakes throughout Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii. It was really really good. I heard they were going to publish his talk on But I haven't seen it yet. I took notes but my favorite was Elder Renlund's talk. If it doesn't show up this week on the webiste I'll email my notes next week (especially since that'll give me time to try to apply them this week).

Ponderizing scripture: 1 Nephi 14:14 "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory." (p.s. look at footnote c at D&C 38:38! whoa!).

Love ya, miss ya, see ya!

- Sister Shumway

Monday, February 8, 2016

letter from Sister Shumway - Feb. 8, 2016

Yeah it has been another week. And yet again in just a week's time you all have done so much! It's so fun to read about all your adventures and stuff :)

Update on the work:

We talked to Mary the other day (not a member, step-son on a mission in Sister Phinney's home mission), just stopped by to see how they're doing. Their flooring is making progress, and they've finally kicked the sickness that's been going on in their house, but she's still busy with all sorts of stuff. As is life. She loves having us come by to talk though so we did visit with her for a while. She told us about this Bible study she loves, and we had a pretty cool conversation about some things she's been studying. At one point we asked if we could do a small Book of Mormon study like that with her, but she quickly (but politely) shot that idea down. We were a little surprised at that too, but she wanted nothing to do with The Book of Mormon, she even told us she didn't want a copy before we could offer her one. Like she had already made up her mind a long time ago as to what it was. She was courteous though, and we still visited for a little while, but now we're kind of unsure what to do. Sister Phinney has been emailing their son so maybe he'll have some ideas next week.

Alexis is doing well too (less-active, 18 years old). The hardest thing is catching her at home. But she should be coming to young women's with us. The laurels are playing a dating game with the priests, so Sister Phinney and I will probably help out with refreshments or something.

Sheil (recent convert that disappeared right before I came to this area) came to church, I wouldn't have known it was her but Sister Phinney pointed her out to me. She's going to be gone another 3 weeks but we'll stay in touch as best we can so we don't lose her again.

Jennifer hasn't answered the phone in 2 weeks. We'll keep trying this week since her baptism date was supposed to be 2 days ago so she doesn't think all we were trying to do was get her baptized and that's it. But we'll see what happens.

Heather (not a member, husband is less-active) is really close to being able to take the missionary discussions. One of the members, Marci, is really reaching out to her and being her friend, she's awesome! She served her mission in Provo several years ago.

Walking has resulted in a lot of tracting. Starting is the hardest part but it gets better as you go along the street. We have a few potentials, and we're getting better at the door approach and trying different ideas. Some that 'aren't interested' have responded well to trying family history, including Debbie, Paul, and possibly Carol. Megan came to church yesterday, we tracted into her and she said she doesn't belong to a church because she can't find one that accepts her for who she is (personal things). We texted her later seeing if we could meet with her since she had accepted a copy of The Book of Mormon, she said she was available 'monday, or sunday if that works better' so we went ahead and invited her to church. She came, and she like it, said she may come next week. We'll try to teach her this week before then.
When Muhammed answered the door, his English was a little broken but we could still have an understandable conversation. When he saw our nametags he asked for a copy of The Book of Mormon and gave us his number. He said he's a guest in that house for 2 months, but in that time asked if we knew of anyone that could help with their English, and also that he had a daughter around our age that was looking for friends. We invited him to church and gave him the address, and he said he was out of town yesterday but is planning to come this next sunday.

Tara (recent convert) had us and the Elders over for dinner, and so we walked there early and tracted her street. One person across the street from her, Kelle, was a young mom and talked openly with us, saying she had a few Mormon friends. She accepted a copy of The Book of Mormon, but she'll be out of town for the next 2 weeks so she wants to meet with us when she gets back. Which I think is awesome because she said she sometimes goes to the Saddleback Church, which in this area is the one church I've run into that's been openly against Mormons. I find it interesting because some of the things they teach and practice are really similar and particular to the Mormon church, like the plan of salvation, family home evening, not buying property for church buildings until they can pay it free of debt, young women's program, etc. But anyway, every 'Saddlebacker' I've met has looked down on us and treated us less than what most would consider respectfully besides her. Tara is going to start fellowshipping her and reaching out to her so when we do start teaching her she already has a friend. It's so fun to see Tara get excited about the missionary work when she's been baptized less than a year.

Tracted into Rod, he's from South Africa and has a pretty sweet accent. He was excited to see us (...?) and asked us to come back later in the evening when his wife, Kathy, was home and the 4 of us could sit and talk. We did, and they dropped everything to invite us in when we came. We were able to teach the Restoration and they want us to come again when their grandkids are home (high-school age, they live with them). They asked for a copy of The Book of Mormon as well and at the end, after asking several questions throughout the lesson already that were perfect, Rod asked about life after death, perfect lead into the next lesson: the plan of salvation. We set a time to come back thursday.

A couple funny tracting stories:
We were struggling to know what to say and kept saying some repetitive things that got the same answers over and over. So, instead of turning around and doing something else like we wanted to, we tried another door and said, "Hi, we're missionaries, have you ever talked to missionaries before?" They almost always said yes. So we followed up with something like this - "great! We have a random question. If you were a missionary and went to someone's door like this, what would you say? We've been going door to door for a little while and honestly we are at a loss of what to say. We just want to be real but we're kind of running out of ideas. Any thoughts?" It was so fun to watch some of their expressions. Took most of them back, and a few said they always would just say 'not interested' or 'no thankyou' and shut the door. Even though a lot of those people still weren't interested, we had a few fun conversations.

Another door we knocked on - a whole lot of houses have double doors, but only one opens. And we've gotten pretty good at being able to tell which one of the 2 does open (you get to know a lot of doors). But this time we couldn't figure it out, and we knocked anyway kinda standing so they could see us if either one was opened. No one was home, but right as we knocked we of course heard a big dog barking and only a couple moments after we knocked the dog literally ran right into the doors so hard that they bulged outward and almost opened if it hadn't been locked. Did not see that coming, we had to stop for a minute before going to the next house to control how hard we were laughing. Had that next door answered we were planning on asking them if they knew about their neighbor's dog and tell them what happened, but they didn't answer either.

:D I have been anticipating being able to send that to you for way too long! But I'm so glad you got it and that you like it! It's weird to have mom say she wants me to show her how to do it, it's usually the other way around. We are excited for the valentine's package :] I'm so curious to know what this thing is that you thought didn't exist in Texas...

ponderizing scipture this week: 3 Nephi 28:30 "And now, behold, my joy is great, even unto fulness, because of you, and also this generation; yea, and even The Father rejoiceth, and also all the holy angels, because of you and this generation; for none of them are lost."

YES I'm so happy I'm still with Sister Phinney! And for the next 6 weeks!! We've decided to just be companions the rest of our missions.

Love you all, hugs and high fives all around!!!

- Sister Shumway

Monday, February 1, 2016

"Distribution of Literature Prohibited"

This must have deterred them from tracting into this neighborhood

Mission Crash

letter from Sister Shumway - Feb. 1, 2016

This week my email might be a bit short, mostly because there's not a whole lot to say. As far as the work, we have a few set appointments coming up this week, but last week was really slow. On Monday Jennifer canceled our appointment and we've been calling her several times a day since and can't get a hold of her, so if she's getting baptized we will have to reset the date, though we are hardly thinking of that now since we can't get in contact with her.
Walking most places has actually been fun, we've got a few rides to things that were further away but we've enjoyed walking more than I thought we would. But because Sister Orgill wants all sisters in cars, we will get another tomorrow.
On Saturday we had no dinner signed up and we were a little worried because it was the end of the month and both of us were really short on funds this time, we also didn't have much food at the apartment at all. But we planned another normal day, and throughout the day almost everyone we saw sent us away with something - we picked kumquats from one person's tree, another gave us a bag of snacks, another had us help her carry in her groceries and gave us some that she had gotten for us while thinking of us at the store. Also a part-member family, the Novillos, had us over for lunch, and that was a lot of fun. Brother Novillo is not a member, and he was giving us good advice about what to look for when considering who to marry. That lunch was sooooo good, they really went all out to treat us. By the end of the day I was really really full, more than I would've been on a regular day. Oh and by the way, the Novillos have 2 adopted kids - one turns 16 on April 28th, the other turns 16 on May 3rd. That was a fun conversation.
We have one potential investigator I'm excited about, just met him tracting. His name is Rod, he's from South Africa and when we asked if we could share a message with him he asked us to come back when his wife and daughter are home, so we are doing that tonight.

Other than all that, one of the best things that happened is when I got to call Dad and Mom. I initially didn't want to because I wasn't hurt at all and I honestly didn't want to be distracted, I knew that as much as I really did want to talk to you I was afraid it would take time to refocus and avoid feelings of homesickness. Turns out though, it was so much more uplifting and energizing spiritually. I have really thought of all of you individually a lot this week. I think the only thing that was hard after though was that I wanted to call again the next day, but don't worry I won't get in another car accident just so I can call you haha.

With the little time and space I have left, just know I have a testimony. Each day I remember that and how grateful I am for my testimony of what is true.

Ponderizing scripture - 1 Nephi 21:16 "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me."

Love you all so so much,
- Sister Shumway