Tuesday, March 29, 2016

letter from Alyssa - March 29, 2016

Yesterday computers were down so we couldn't email until today.

Updates on the work -

Jennifer has been in and out of the discussions and preparing to be baptized 4 times in the last week. It's been really hard to keep up with her, one day she's together with Fernando and the next Fernando is asking for his car/house keys and ring back, and a few hours later they're putting money on a house together. We had an appointment with her last night but it fell through. All she talks about when she sees us is baptism, but we can hardly teach her the lessons to get her there. Both the Bishop and ward mission leader are kind of giving up and resorting to just telling us to let them know as things happen.

We had a relief society activity on Wednesday night, 2 less-actives came because their active friends invited them. And the Elders' investigator, Alex, was there. Also Jimie (a recent convert) brought her new roommate, Claudette, and we got to meet her and visit with her on saturday as well. We are going to try going over today to introduce the Book of Mormon and invite her to learn more.

Dollie (less-active, husband is not a member) and her husband, Josh, came to church last sunday since it was Easter. Dollie is Sister Fusco's daughter (the really awesome member I told you about who's putting in her mission papers). We hardly get to contact her because she's very sensitive and we can only work through Sister Fusco, so it was great to see them there.

Also the Novillo family was all there at church. Sister Novillo is fantastic and so strong, and a really good cook by the way. Her husband is not a member, he's been a few times and likes the missionaries. They're 2 adopted kids are both turning 16 this year, and their birthdays are on April 28th and May 3rd (how crazy is that?!). We are going to visit them, the ward mission leader really believes Brother Novillo is ready to have a baptismal invitation extended to him.

April (less-active) is still April, struggling because of her condition but doing well and pressing forward. We were able to get her to relief society on sunday, and after general conference we have a plan to help her get to church on time.

Joy (less-active) had us over, still working with her but she got to meet my new companion and we had a pretty good discussion. She sent us home with leftover pizza and cookies.

Julie (less-active) is doing better. We had a pretty good discussion about the plan of salvation, especially the resurrection and she had some good questions. She almost came to church sunday but we didn't see her there.

We called Rod and Kathy (2 investigators), they basically said they were really really busy and not to call them until they call us.

Other stuff - 

On Monday before transfers, May, a recent convert in the ward, took me and Sister Phinney and the Elders to this place called Cream. It's this ice cream and cookie sandwich place, kind of like Smart Cookie (the place Ginnie took us a long time ago). It was fun, and really nice of her.

We get to do family history every week on wednesdays and I've found more names! I'm going to have the youth and other missionaries help me do the temple work. One of the names I found was one that I had been baptized and confirmed for while I was in Rexburg, and I forgot about her because i wasn't endowed at the time, but I'll take her to receive her initiatory and endowment sometime this transfer when our district has our quarterly temple trip.

Sister Loveridge is great, she's been out for 2 months but is on fire. She loves being a missionary and I'm trying to keep up with her! She also served her first transfer in Dana Point and Capistrano wards, where I served for my first 3 months with Sister Hall. Also, Sister Hall had been out as long as I have now when we became companions. Whoa. But Sister Loveridge is great because she helps me be better and more obedient in the small ways that are easy to forget. It's been a challenge and an adjustment, but we get better as we go. For fun, on wednesday, I took her to Bowl of Heaven for lunch, that was great.

Women's Broadcast was fantastic, and has gotten me so excited for general conference this weekend! I took notes but I'm running out of time to be able to write much now. But I also remembered the fun memories of having girls night with Mom, Aubrey and Kynsie, and I thought of you and missed you. Sister Loveridge and I had a good time talking about that and the things she would do with her mom at women's broadcast and priesthood session too.

The VanBlooms (family we had for dinner on sunday night) gave us mini Easter baskets! That was so thoughtful and fun! After dinner though, I left mine on Julie's doorstep with a note since we didn't see her at church that day and she lives alone. But Easter really is such a fun and spiritual time for everyone here.

Ponderizing scripture from last week (because I totally forgot) "That they themselves may be prepared, and that my people may be taught more perfectly, and have experience, and know more perfectly concerning theirduty, and the things which I require at their hands." -D&C 105:10

and this week "I know if ye keep the commandments of God ye shall be saved; yea, if ye keep the commandments which the Lord" -Mosiah 12:33

Have an awesome week, talk to you next week!
- Sister Shumway

Monday, March 21, 2016

letter from Alyssa - March 21, 2016

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANKYOU again for the fantabularistic package this week!! I think I am the most loved missionary there is ever in the history of ever. We totally had so much fun opening it.  :D :D =D :D
Love love love love love love love each one of you:) (that's 7 loves... one for everyone hahaha)

- Sista shums all the way

Most embarrassing experience in the mission . . . I have no idea really what's going on in the Presidential Election except a few names of leading candidates. So when it was brought up in conversation (don't remember who with) I accidentally said Tom Cruz instead of Ted Cruz. 

Favorite scripture story? Probably the parable of the prodigal sons. 

Weekly Report:

We had a sleepover on Monday night, Laguna Beach Sisters (Sister Bambus and Sister Brown) came over to our apartment for the night. We had so much fun. They are fantastic sisters, their car broke down so they spent last p-day with us doing stuff and then just stayed with us so it'd be easier to take them to pick up their car the next morning. I slept on the floor, I should do that more often, it felt great honestly.

Sister Phinney had also been kinda sick in the beginning of the week. So between that, and p-day, and the Laguna Beach sisters' car (sitting in waiting rooms and such), the first few days of the week we did basically nothing. I was so tired but not in a way that I was worn out, more like just bored and groggy and wanting to hibernate. We also had a lot of meetings with transfers coming up this week. So a bit of a rough start this time.

Wednesday didn't get much better because there's a less-active (Joy) we work with that LOVES to feed missionaries. The only problem is that when she does, she takes them out and orders the entire menu. So she had us for dinner (Bishop puts it this way: "thanks for taking one for the team, sisters!") and we were really sick that night and the following morning. We've gotta get creative with another way to work with her.

Along with the meetings, we've had a lot of stuff to plan for music, and President Ellis wants me to start providing music numbers for mission leadership conferences, zone conferences, and zone training meetings. His wife also gave me an organ lesson and some music for organ/piano duets! So the meetings were all good and productive and I got a lot to do, especially with music, which I LOVE, but a lot to do nonetheless.

Thursday the week turned around. We went to Tara's house (recent convert) and helped her clean her house since she wants to do spring cleaning, but with school and her husband being out of town and having a 4-year-old to watch she asked for help since she was a little behind. And we loved the opportunity to have an excuse to wear jeans! So that was fun. PLUS Tara is getting her recommend for being endowed soon!! And she wants us to come to her endowment :D don't know when yet. But I can't wait!

April (less-active) is such a sweetheart. We keep meeting with her, she's doing so good and trying to hard. Not as much of an update on her as I thought though... (I write a few notes of what to email through the week sometimes) but she's doing good.

Julie (less-active) is progressing! Finally! There's a wonderful member missionary in the ward, Sister Neeley, that had her and us over for dinner on Saturday. And she came! That's the first time she's come to anything church-related or responded to an invite in years!! AND she read the scriptures :D She never reads them herself, she only wants us to read aloud to her because of her bad eyesight and she always changes the subject before we can elaborate much on it but this time Sister Neeley got her into the scriptures with us, we jumped around sharing some of our favorites and Julie was totally engaged. She's hopefully coming to church on Easter. And she's in a completely different place than she was when I met her. So happy.

Friday night the Nobleza's had us for dinner for a sushi party. Yeah, sushi. Raw fish. The whole deal. I'll send pics. I was brave. The raw fish wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but Sister Phinney finished mine for me (she loves it). And the sushi was ok but I didn't really like it. Sister Nobleza is a really really good cook too, so that was like high quality sushi, I guess I just don't like sushi... But the breaded shrimp was good. We tried eel, crab (I liked the crab), raw salmon and a couple others, and made California rolls to have a foreign food but still particular to our mission. I thought that was creative. We helped make it too, so it was fun and there was TONS of it leftover.

Jennifer (investigator) is back in town and... she's back with Fernando! I swear this is like middle school for senior citizens. For the 3rd time, they have gone from zero communication to looking for houses together. We are meeting with her this afternoon, and making plans again for another baptismal date, which is very good.

So Sunday was a really really good day! We had 3 investigators at church and 2 less-actives, more than I've had my entire mission. And for once we talked to everyone we needed to that day. Then we had waffles for dinner so of course it was a good day.

Transfer news: transfer day is TOMORROW. I'm staying in Aliso Viejo and Wood Canyon wards, and... Sister Phinney is being transferred to the Marblehead ward in San Clemente :( I also know who her next companion is, and I'm really scared she's going to be pretty high maintenance and a little difficult for Sister Phinney to connect with. Which makes me sad because she's had pretty bad companions basically her entire mission. She doesn't want to go, and it's kept her up at night for the last 2 nights. But I do know the ward is FANTASTIC. One of the favorites of all missionaries here. I will do something special for her before she goes. My new companion's name is Sister Loveridge, she has been out for only a transfer so I will be finishing her training. She's also coming from serving in Dana Point, my green area, so that'll be interesting. All I've seen and heard of her, which isn't a lot but from pretty reliable sources, is that she's awesome. So awesome. And quiet a few sisters are jealous that I get her. So we shall see. Got a lot to do between now and then, so talk to you all later!

- Sister Shumway

Monday, March 14, 2016

letter from Sister Shumway - March 14, 2016

Before I forget: "But behold, I, Jacob, would speak unto you that are pure in heart. Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction. O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever." Jacob 3:1-2

Wow Casan it sounds like you really know how to have a fun week! Let me answer your questions Casan- style. On Monday I taught Mohammed and Rojin. On Tuesday I taught Tiffany and Dottie and Shirley and Shannon. On Wednesday I taught Tammy and Carol. On Thursday I taught Corinna and Nick. On Friday I taught Loch and Lauren and Joy. On Saturday I taught Julie and April. And on Sunday I taught the Bishop's family (dinner message).
My favorite scripture... good question. That's a hard one. One that I have been thinking about a lot recently (besides the ponderizing one above) is 3 Nephi 27:30-31 “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 anone of them are lost. Behold, I would that ye should understand; for I mean them who are anow alive of bthis generation; and none of them are lost; and in them I have fulness of cjoy.
I don’t know why it’s kind of highlighted yellow.
 Just to let you know email is acting really weird so I’ve had to spend a good amount of the time trying to work around it, I’m sorry ._.
Not a whole lot to report on this week, we have had a lot of responses from people, had some opportunities to teach (the people I listed for Casan are a mix of members, less-active members, investigators, and door-contacts so when I say teach there it sounds like a lot but not a lot has happened which is ok). Mohammed and Rojin are 2 new investigators, they’re Muslim. Rojin is 18 and going to a community college, Mohammed is her dad. We taught them the first lesson and they both have copies of The Book of Mormon. Rojin wants to come to church, but it’s just a matter of freeing up her schedule, you know, as it is with most people. Debbie and Kelle (2 different potentials) want us to come back this week or soon but they’re also very busy so we’re going to try with them too. Lauren is a less-active, but she wants to invite her friend to take the missionary discussions again. She also met us at the church with her son, Loch (7 years old) so I could give him an introductory lesson to taking piano lessons. We found a member to continue teaching him that we think will work pretty great. Julie (less-active) is coming to dinner with us and a member on Saturday. And we’re helping Tara prepare to go to the temple for her endowment (recent convert of a couple years or so). Most of the work that’s happened this week though is that surprisingly, a lot of people have responded to our texts, calls, and stop-bys. Some weeks go more like spinning our wheels trying to catch people and suddenly the time is gone. But even though there wasn’t seemingly a whole lot of progress made, we got a lot of answers (negative and positive) that will hopefully give us more to work with this week. Which, by the way, this is the last week of the transfer. Let you know what happens with that next week.
It hasn’t been a depressing or slow week, but I do wish I had more to say because I bet it’s just as fun for you to read this each week as it is for me to get mail. If you do have questions and stuff I will answer them as best as I can! (better than I did for Casan this week, promise).
 But also know that I think of you guys all the time. I have your pictures covering my wall, I write down/print some of my favorite parts of the emails you send so I can have them, and I love when little things throughout each day remind me of one of you. That has really meant a lot for me this week, and I want you each to know I love you so much!
Sister Shumway

Monday, March 7, 2016

letter from Sister Shumway - March 7, 2016

Aloha! (that's a thing here)
Another pretty normal week for us here too, normal meaning busy and difficult and eventful and such of course. 
I'll update on the work first since there's not a lot to say -
Gabriela and Alexis (less-active mom and daughter) are not being responsive anymore or keeping any commitments. They've been designated to the ward council since there's not really anything we can do as missionaries anymore. That's been tough because we had such a great relationship with them for a while but they still make their own decisions.
Jennifer is out of town. Her daughter lives near San Francisco and had surgery last week so she went up to help. She doesn't know how long she'll be gone, but she's expecting something like a month or so. Transfers are in 2 weeks so even when she is back who knows what the situation will be. We're in contact with her almost daily, and the missionaries, ward mission leader, and ward council are in contact with us too. They're going to meet her this week. She did go to church for the first hour on her own while she was there, so that was pretty cool. But as for now, her baptism date is canceled again.
Stopped by Julie (less-active). Didn't have much time so couldn't even share a message this time, but we brought her a bunch of skirts to choose from so she could come to church. We were hoping she would yesterday, but last week was the anniversary (of 2 or 3 years) that her husband was brought to the hospital and passed away. So that was tough for her, but we're working with her at her pace.
Heather (former investigator, her husband is a recently returning less-active member) came to church and started teaching primary yesterday! We are going by tonight to see how she's doing and how her first day of her calling went.
Katie (recently returning less-active young woman) is doing fantastic. And we didn't even do anything. Last week she went to the Provo City temple open house and had a wonderful experience. She shared her testimony in Young Women's yesterday about that and other things. She wants to come out teaching with us soon.
Other stuff -
Sister Barr had us over for dinner last week. She invited us to come a little early so we did and when we got there we found that she was hosting an Activity Day girls' activity at their house and the activity they were doing was making dinner for the missionaries. That was so awesome to see, and dinner that night was really really good.
Sister Kuresa also had us for dinner, she asked us to come early too to help sand some wood chairs and she could get to know us a little better. She just recently moved in so that was the chore she had us do, and it was fun! She is so so nice. She's Samoan and loves everyone like her own family. It was a blast and she's one of our favorites haha.
The Noblezas had us for dinner too (wow, all these great dinners to talk about, we are spoiled). I got to try pork adobo and fried bananas. So good.
On saturday we had zone 24s which means that all the missionaries in the stake get together and switch companions (according as the zone leaders and sister training leaders have assigned) for the day. I was with Sister Bludworth, she's pretty awesome. We found out we were in the same class at BYUI in American Foundations. We recognized each other slightly, but that class had about 50 students so I didn't have a close relationship with any of them. But it was funny that we have that connection. This is her first transfer in the mission, she reported to the MTC less than 2 months ago. But we got along great, and though not much happened that day, no crazy stories or miracles that I know of, we had a good time.
We had another music devotional last night, it went well. I feel like there was more to say about it but I can't think of anything. It just went well.
This morning we had all the sisters over at our apartment from the zone (so there were 9 of us total) for breakfast and studies. That was fun, we made banana bread and smoothies and other stuff to share and just visited to start off the p-day. Along with studies of course. I love studies. And breakfast.
Ponderizing scripture, "But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear." - Matthew 13:16
We pray for each of you often and will do so even more.

Love you!

- Sister Shumway