Monday, April 25, 2016
Thank you for your email this week! Even though I don't have a lot of responses to it this week it did mean a lot to me, and I enjoyed reading it so much.
This last week was pretty great, here's the next update.
Sheila (recent convert) spent over an hour with us learning about family history last week and planning the next steps she needs to take to go to the temple. Bishop is going to reach out to her for an interview, but she did say she would be at church yesterday and we didn't see her so we are waiting for a response. Hopefully we'll see her again this week.
Janette has had some sick kids so she didn't make it to church yesterday either and had to cancel our appointment this morning, but we did get to start reading the Book of Mormon with her last week and she's beginning to understand it a lot better. And she loves reading it! She's been reading on her own and we rescheduled to see her on Thursday. She did say that she wants to read the entire book before setting a baptism date, so we are praying that the Spirit may be with her to help her on this path and realize the importance of the decisions she makes. Maybe she will stay up all night one of these days not able to put it down. Or something, but it's great that she's making such progress! She already has an inspiring testimony and she's being blessed for it.
Last Thursday we had a devotional - Gladys Knight and the Saints Unified Voices put on a performance. It was a huge missionary effort that's been going on for the last 2 months. We had some people go and they loved it, Sister Knight's testimony was powerful and the Spirit was there, even though the music style was a little different than what I'm used to. Brother Novillo (non-member, wife and kids are active) was there and loved it, but wasn't at church because he had a bad allergic reaction so we haven't seen him since yet. The Nixons (non-members with a son on a mission) were there and we have dinner with them tomorrow. Laura (less-active) was there and loved it! Said she'd give us a call this week. And Brittney (non-member) couldn't make it last minute, but we think her 2 friends still went.
Friday Julie (less-active, starting to reactivate) took us to Lucille's barbeque for dinner. It was a lot of fun to finally have barbeque since it's been so long, but it wasn't quite Texas quality. (I didn't tell her that of course, we still had an enjoyable time!)
But she came to Sacrament meeting yesterday! That's the first time in decades!! For the past 2 weeks she's come to relief society, this time she stayed all three hours! We are just hoping we can help her keep that up now that she's taken the first and probably most difficult step.
Caira (non-member friend of a recent convert) showed up at church yesterday, also stayed all 3 hours and really liked it. Wants to learn more about where the Book of Mormon came from. She reads the king james Bible regularly. But she does have some minor mental issues that may be difficult to work with. But not impossible!
So in companion study the other day, Sister Loveridge and I were talking and it was so funny because I don't remember what the conversation was about but she said somewhere in the middle of it, "And so I said to myself: 'self, . . . [blah blah blah]'". Then we opened up the New Testament because we read a couple pages each day and came across this verse unexpectedly Luke 12:19. Couldn't stop laughing for a while.
Speaking of scriptures, I missed my ponderizing scripture last week Mosiah 26:18. And for this week it's Alma 12:30 "And they began from that time forth to call on his name; therefore God conversed with men, and made known unto them the plan of redemption, which had been prepared from the foundation of the world; and this he made known unto them according to their faith and repentance and their holy works."
Got an awesome week ahead of me, and hope you all do too!! Can't wait to hear from you each week, and by the way Mother's Day is in a week from Sunday. I have church from 7am-4pm (9am-6pm your time) how should we plan Skype? :D
- Sister Shumway
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
I thought you’d like to know a few more details regarding Sister Evans’ experience with you and the missionaries at the hospital. Brother Griffin is Sister Evans' home teacher and visited her since you visited her at the hospital there in CA. He sent me the following tonight:
Thanks for passing along. this is a great update. Very faith inspiring.
Tyler Miller and I went by Sunday. We were there for an hour and a half. She basically relived every minute of each day she was there. When she got to the missionary visit, she relayed what a special blessing that was. She said the elders gave a very inspirational and well thought out and long blessing. then they gave her one as well. Then she got to talk to your daughter and was very grateful and wanted to keep in touch. She texted me earlier in the week for the name of your daughter.
I remember that her mom had a lot of genealogy. I told her she should try to locate it and ask for it. I told her that we would like to do the temple work for her in a year and invited her to get ready to do it herself. That didn't elicit much response from her, but I told her we would be happy to help. So I hope to make genealogy work something that we can work with her on to invite her to more fully come to church.
I'm glad your daughter could be there and have such a good experience. It was such a trying week for Sister Evans and I know having the missionaries there was a big blessing to her that gave her a lot of peace with the situation.
Missions are awesome because they teach us to be more like President Monson J. I love how you responded to the Spirit J.
Love you most!
Monday, April 18, 2016
Some pretty cool stuff went down this week. I'll stick to the highlights.
I was on exchange in Laguna Beach for the 3rd time, don't know what that means for the future but I got to go with Sister Rolfson. She is fantastic. I know I've talked about a lot of extraordinary missionaries but she is one of my favorites. We've been friends since I came to California, and now we're serving in the same zone! We were also talking about booking the same apartment at BYUI when we both get home. So we had a fun day together, and had the view of the ocean pretty much the whole time.
Next day we accidentally ran into a Bible study happening in the Kolden's home (potentials we talked to a while ago) when we went by to drop off an invitation to an activity. She invited us in for a minute to say hi to everyone, and we ended up having the opportunity to bear our testimonies of the Savior Jesus Christ. That was pretty cool, but totally didn't see it coming.
Sister Hartwell had us for dinner Monday. She is somewhat recently returning less-active (since july) but just moved into our ward. Her husband is not a member but he's awesome and pretty interested! We're going to start her on family history in preparation for the temple and her husband on the discussions soon. Life is good.
Sheila (recent convert, have the hardest time getting a hold of her) came up to us in church last week wanting to learn more about the temple and how she can prepare to do baptisms, so we spent some time answering her questions and going over the baptismal interview, which is similar and preparatory to the temple recommend interview. It went so well and we had a member friend and the relief society president with us. She's on the right track again, starting on family history with her real soon.
Zone training meeting was this last week, which was actually really really good this time! AND I got to share a story Dad Earl told me from his mission that one of the sister training leaders asked me to share, which was AWESOME because President Ellis and President Lutz were there and they along with all the other missionaries loved it. It got us all excited to go and do the work! I also felt very proud and loved and happy to be his granddaughter:)
So we had dinner with the Kuresa family (they are so cool. Another of my favorites.) who invited their brother and his girlfriend. The brother, Jake, is a less-active that has expressed the desire to come back into full activity, and his girlfriend, Janette, wanted to learn more about the Book of Mormon and the restoration. That night could not have gone better! She wants to meet with us multiple times a week and prepare to be baptized. Jake has an 8-year-old girl who was engaged in the lesson and answering questions, and Janette has an 8-year-old girl who was right on board as well, she also has a 7-year-old and two 4-year-olds who were great. It was an incredible blessing that fell into our lap from Heavenly Father, and an experience I've been waiting and working for my entire mission. To be able to teach a family (they're planning on getting married at some point) who are so ready that even they know they're ready. The Spirit was there and did all the work, and it was wonderful to experience.
The relief society gave us a list of 'do-not-contacts' that were on a list to receive letters in place of visiting teaching. We decided to go through and contact them (there's no such thing as cheating in missionary work). We caught Sally at the perfect time. Her mom is active and was visiting from Oceanside, so when we knocked on the door she welcomed us in! After visiting with her and Sally and getting to know them, Sally told us she never would've let us in, but now that she's gotten to know us we are welcome anytime she's home. Whoa! That was awesome. She wants us to help her garden, teach her to make homemade bread rolls, and she wants to get to know us better. The timing was perfect. She went through a divorce 20 years ago but has 2 girls ages 20 and 24 living not too far away. But she was super close with her dad who passed away last July. The Spirit is also working on her right now and things are looking good to help her progress in the gospel.
Funny story to top it off and I gotta go - last night at dinner was a blast, one of those dinners that reminds me of having family dinner back home. We were with the Elders and got on this weird conversation topic of crazy injuries. Elder Johnson told us about a time a couple years ago when he got in a car accident and his nose broke, but it was literally over on the right side of his face under his eye. Doctors didn't dare touch it, even specialists, because they feared it would collapse and he would be like Voldemort. So they told him to pray and come back in 6 months to check on it and see if they could do anything. Within less than 2 months it traveled back to its normal place and healed itself. The doctors were shocked but relieved so now he has this weird story. Sister Loveridge turned to him and said, "Wow, you have amazing faith!" but I totally thought she said something else and right after she said that I commented, "Oh my gosh, I thought you just said he had an amazing face!" We all broke out laughing 'til we were crying. It was awesome especially since they're both missionaries. Sister Loveridge is also giving a training on the Christlike Attribute: Faith tomorrow in district meeting so I hope she uses that story somehow.
Alright, have an awesome week yet again and talk to you soon! Love you all:)
- Sister Shumway
Ok. SO MUCH in just a week. Words can never do justice. But I'll give it a try!
Monday I kinda almost sprained my ankle playing ultimate Frisbee. It's fine now, but I didn't even catch the Frisbee.
Oh before I forget. 3 Nephi 19:24 "... um lds.org isn't working at the moment. Look it up.
I got to play piano for the youth in church sunday, they're doing a special program in sacrament meeting (kind of like the primary does, but for the youth. This ward has about as many youth as the Frisco 1st did when I was there). So fun, one of my favorite things.
Everything else I have to say is about the work! How cool is that!
Tuesday was the best. We had a perfectly planned day all lined up: exercise, morning routine, studies, district meeting, lunch, and several set appointments of all sorts before and after dinner. In the middle of studies though I got a call from the mission office, saying that someone from my home ward, Tina Evans, just flew in to see her mom who was in the hospital in Irvine after having a heart attack. I didn't recognize the name at first, but the missionary on the phone told me Brother Griffin (home teacher) asked for them to send me to give her a spiritual message that day. I said I would be happy to, and so after hanging up the phone I looked at my planner and there was this perfectly convenient window of time that Sister Loveridge and I didn't really know what to do with (besides go talk to a bunch of people of course). But then the story of President Monson came to mind, about when I believe he was in a stake conference and he had the impression to go to the hospital. So he waited 'til the meeting ended and went straight there right away, only to find he was moments too late. I knew once that story entered my mind seemingly from out of no where that this couldn't wait. So I interrupted Sister Loveridge's studies and explained what just happened over the phone, we gathered our things and left, calling the zone leaders on the way and letting them know we had to go to the other side of the mission for an urgent assignment and would probably be late to district meeting. We got there right as the Elders serving in that area were giving Tina's mom a blessing, so we waited in the waiting room for them. I then got to talk to Tina and found out that her daughter, Savana, was in my English class in school and I remembered very well who she was! Savana is fantastic, all I ever saw and heard of her were always right and good. Tina wants me to keep in contact so I can see her when I get back, she lives like 5 minutes from our neighborhood! This experience, though seemingly small, is one of the first that has been a confirmation of being in the right place at the right time, and that The Lord is mindful of me not only in blessing me with my needs and wants, but blessing me with opportunities to be an instrument in His hands. Highlight of the week! And that says a lot since it has been quite the week.
Jennifer came to do family history and fell in love with it. She's coming again to continue it, but she and Fernando had a really bad break up again so for the third time, we are canceling her baptism date for now.
Alexis and Gabriela (less-actives we lost contact with) contacted us out of no where, there's been a lot of disagreements between them (mom and daughter) but longgggg story short, by the end of the week and by now specific action on our part as missionaries, just invitation, they are FINALLY working towards their spiritual goals individually and together! And they both came to church for all three hours, with a non-member friend! Complete turn-around. Alexis texts us like we're her high school friends, it's almost weird to get the hang of texting like that again haha. But we're seeing them for lunch this week too and they've committed to come back into full activity.
Joy (less-active) showed up to church unannounced, and is taking us out to dinner Friday, the only night we had no dinner. That was a fun surprise.
Sheila (recent convert that keeps randomly dropping off the face of the planet for long periods of time) showed up at church (see a pattern here? And what did we do?? This is all definitely the work of The Lord. He is wonderful, and so good at what He does.) AND set up an appointment for this week. She asked us if we could meet and help her learn how to go to the temple. Whoa! So excited.
Susan (less-active) was busy when we stopped by, but asked us to come in anyway and talk and share a message. That was a little surprising. She's also having us for lunch this week (everyone wants us for dinner so we had to get creative and set lunches too).
Claudette (new investigator) came to church all 3 hours! Going back this week to teach her and her roomates the next lesson. And probably play a game of catch phrase.
Stopped by the Kuresa's (new move-ins and ward missionaries). They are the best. Sister Kuresa invited us in and we talked with her and her friend and aunt there, all members. Before we had to go she said "oh I have a question. I know someone who wants to learn more about the church and the Book of Mormon. Could we set up a time to do dinner and a lesson with her here this week?" Me on the outside: "Yeah, that'd be great! When is best for you?" on the inside: WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?! We absolutely could do that!
Robin (less-active) finally answered the door! It's been almost 3 months since that last happened. She had just gotten home from a 12-hour shift but she asked if we could set appointment for this week. I love set appointments.
Laura (less-active) has been very closed off to us for the most part. But I remembered she's a hairstylist, so we tried her one night and as soon as Sister Loveridge mentioned she was to they suddenly were speaking a different language (hair-talk I guess) and getting super excited, much more of a response than anyone's had with her! She literally said, "Aw I want to get to know you better! When's the soonest we can set an appointment?"... :)
Julie is one of my favorites this week. She got out of her comfort zone and for the first time in decades she came to church. I could not stop smiling I almost cried. Had you asked me 4 months ago that that'd happen I would've guessed that I'd be transferred between now and then since I was sure I had no idea what to do for her then.
Taryn is a returning less-active that just moved in and the first thing she did on the sunday she came and met with the bishop is that she asked when she could have dinner with the missionaries. And so we get to do that tonight! She is pregnant (6 months along) and she also has cancer in her throat, but the doctors say she should be safe to wait to treat it until the baby is born. Keep her in your prayers!
Brother and Sister Novillo (part member family) are coming to the Gladys Knight devotional with the Saints Unified Voices (SUV). Don't have time to explain that much further except this: it'll be life-changing for them and Brother Novillo may very likely finally accept a baptism date after this experience. Try looking it up to see what it is, if you can't find it tell me and I'll explain in another email (I'm sure I will at some point since it's coming up).
I'm so proud of the Eyre family in the ward. They know everyone on their street, nobody knows everyone on their street anymore (I didn't back home). We did service for a non-member family on their street, and we'll stop by and see how they're doing :D
Brittney (non-member, loves the activities but doesn't want to take the discussions) is coming to SUV too, and get this - she's bringing 2 non-member friends. Already a missionary haha!
Met Tiffany Barr, she's had a really tough divorce and so it's been hard for her to stay active in the last few months. But she wants to come back and so we're going to see her regularly to help out with that!
The Nixons (non-members, son is on a mission) are coming to SUV. They also signed up to feed us in a couple weeks, so that'll be GREAT. :)
Rusicks (part-member) also signed up to feed us, going to officially start the lessons with them soon!
Even April made it to church (less-active, health issues). She was about 4 and 1/2 hours late so she came to another ward, but she came!
This morning Sister Loveridge dyed Sister Cortes's hair blue (part-member family, she's active and he's being taught by the Elders). Had an awesome discussion and she's so awesome. So awesome. Makes the best Mexican food too.
Whew I feel like I just ran a marathon... but here's another week, let's do it again! But better!! Love each of you and think of ever last one of ya each day:)
- Sister Shumway
Monday, April 4, 2016
GUESS WHAT LANDON! I'm so glad you asked that because I've found almost 30 names in the last week from our family for ordinances (not all are guys, and some are already baptized/confirmed, but I will get more Wednesday and send them to you. When do you need them by?). We get to do family history for an hour a week and it's one of my favorite things!!
I was wondering when I was going to hear about another project, when I first came out here I was also wondering how different the house was going to look when I got back. Sounds fun.
Aubrey everyone has already told you this (and your date had better have told you this too) but you're drop-dead gorgeous. No surprise.
Tyler, you just made my day, I'm going to remember all week that I am superb:)
Isaiah 2:3 (also found in 2 Nephi 12) "And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem."
(AND that was quoted in conference. Coincidence? I think not! :D )
Sister Loveridge is amazing. She is from Mountain Green, Utah. She graduated cosmetology school at the same time as high school so she is GREAT with hair. She has an older brother that got home from a mission last summer and 2 younger brothers. She's enthusiastic about the work and so good at trying to improve in all she can. She also loves to cook and has shown me some good ideas from exercise in the morning. Oh and one of my favorite things she has introduced to me is zucchini noodles. They are magical and so yummy. I love Sister Phinney, but I think Sister Loveridge is my favorite companion so far. And we become closer friends every day.
General Conference. Wow. I loved it!!!!!!!!!!!! I always do. If I had to pick one talk I honestly would choose Elder Renlund's (though I still have to go back on priesthood session), so it surprised me when Dad pointed out that talk in his email this week! I can't wait to reread that one. That and Elder Oaks's talk on opposition, both had some neat principles I hadn't considered before.
Last night was the music devotional, and another success. They get better each month. I also met an Ashley Shumway who was visiting from Phoenix, AZ. I asked if Charles Shumway was her ancestor, then realized how weird the question was when I asked her which wife she was from. But she's from the last one, I told her I came through the first. So without even getting onto familysearch we found our common ancestor! Random and cool thing that happened.
The Work -
Tuesday we talked to 70 people.
Jennifer has a baptism date, and she came to the music devotional last night so we talked about the ultimate goal of going to the temple and the blessings that come. And also that baptism is not the end, but just the start.
Debbie (potential from a while ago, introduced to family history) asked us to come back this week so we are going to try teaching her tomorrow.
April is still April, but we have a plan to have her coming to church more regularly! We also set up general conference for her and she wants to listen to it while she works out.
Brittney is coming to the Saints Unified Voices devotional with Gladys Knight, don't know if I mentioned this event happening but in a couple weeks she's coming to share gospel music and her testimony as a convert to the church. Maybe this will be a turning point for Brittney to have a desire again to learn more of the gospel and this church!
Picked up 3 new investigators this week. Yeah, 3! Sister Loveridge and I are celebrating by getting ice cream tomorrow (that was our goal as a companionship for the week, and our reward. And it's half price on Tuesdays.). A recent convert of just a few years, Jimie, has these roommates that listened to the first discussion and each took a copy of the Book of Mormon. They invited us back next week, each are at different stages of interest and having been prepared but each were alive in the discussion. And the Spirit was there, so I know it was a success. They've all had extreme challenges because this apartment is transitional housing for women who qualify, so it has opened the doors to them opening their hearts at least a little to the gospel.
Last night, last 10 minutes of the entire week before submitting numbers and planning for p-day, we stopped at a parking lot to finish the day by talking to people. We just so happened to run into Robert, who had come to the church building Saturday after the Elders found him on the street and told him about general conference. He told us he found it very interesting and that he admired how the Church was so centered on family. We gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon and some contact information, and hopefully we'll be able to prepare him to be taught (most likely by the Elders though). Definitely a result of answered prayers and an act of faith when we only had minutes left! Especially on a day originally filled with meetings. Definitely slept well last night.
Hope all this made sense, kind of all over the place cause it was such a good week and we're looking forward to a better one. Love you all!
- Sister Shumway