Tuesday, May 24, 2016

letter from Alyssa - May 23, 2016

So I have to send this first otherwise it sometimes doesn't get sent: John 8:32 "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

Landon and Ty that is so cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Keep me posted.

This week was focused on the temple. We are working with Sheila and Jennifer to get them limited use recommends for baptisms for the dead, they've both been members for about 6 months and we just started lessons and family history this week. Teaching recent converts is so cool because they have these fresh but lively testimonies and a desire to learn, and lots of questions. So awesome. Tara is going to be endowed in just a couple weeks, she just needs to call to set up an appointment and get her clothing:)

I had my first exchange as a Sister Training Leader, it went really well with Sister Gage. She's cool. We had fun and worked really hard. Being a STL isn't that bad, just a little more paper work. And more fun experiences with other sisters.

Also went on an exchange with one of the Lead Sister Training Leaders. It made my other exchange look like we were on vacation as far as working hard. In one day we talked to 94 people, taught 3 lessons, handed out 15 copies of the Book of Mormon, and found 2 potential investigators. (it was all in her area though) I was TIRED. It felt good.

While I was on that exchange, it was up in the Rancho Santa Margarita stake, and even though it wasn't the same ward, when we were contacting in the parking lot I ran into one of the less-active families I was working with in Live Oak Canyon! I had grown close to them and they were going to have us over for Christmas, but then I got transferred a week earlier. They still had the sisters that day, but I wasn't there (Christmas was awesome! Just missed them). Now they're going to church almost every week, and it was fun to run up and give Sister Ranch a hug when we saw and recognized each other!

We're working on being able to teach Jeff again, but he's open to learning more so we just have to catch him!

So Elder Everett came and told me his grandma, Joanie Conyers, the lady Sister Ward and I found and talked to on the street in Live Oak Canyon sometime in September or October, is getting baptized!! We had started teaching her before we were transferred and she said she'd never be baptized but that we were always welcome. She moved to Riverside so we can't go, but the news made me so excited President Orgill asked me what I was up to because I was smiling so much!! (for real)

But, even better than that, Janette, even though she told us she wanted to finish the Book of Mormon before being baptized, had a lesson with us last week and it went so well that even though she just got to 1 Nephi 11, she texted us and basically said she doesn't know why she's waiting and asked us to help her set up a baptism! So the next day we took her and her kids to the temple grounds and gave them a tour, which was AMAZING since that is what she expressed as her ultimate goal. Then this morning we continued the discussions and in teaching the law of chastity, explained that she and Jake would have to get married before she got baptized and that was really hard for her to take in initially. She wants to be married, but she's trying to help Jake have as strong of a desire to fully embrace the gospel like she wants to. At that moment Sister Kuresa came in, she told her experience of herself returning to activity while her husband (future husband at the time) was taking the discussions. But they made it together because she did all she could to be spiritually in shape if you will herself, and he followed her and now they're sealed and enjoy the blessings of full activity. Janette gained confidence and bore her own testimony of the Spirit and the desire she has to have it with her all the time, and that even though it seems like she doesn't know all the answers now, it is possible. She committed to work towards being baptized this summer and doing all it takes to get to the temple!

Awesome week. Love you!

- Sister Shumway

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

letter from Sister Shumway - May 16, 2016

You guys always send the best emails.

So I had asked you over the Mother's Day call some thoughts on my training for district meeting (the Light of Christ), and it went great! I didn't have navy socks so I grabbed a black skirt and a navy skirt and did the same thing Dad suggested. We then had a great discussion with a few scriptures I tied together, and we talked about it in a deeper sense for their personal application as missionaries and disciples, then simplified it into the context we would use for investigators and less-active members. All in about 15 minutes. I learned a lot.

Ok when I read this line from Dad, "I have been praying a lot this week for you to receive opportunities to teach people who will have soft hearts and the desire to change." I just about fell out of my chair. And I had to show my companions. Their jaws dropped. Because we've had more opportunity in one week than I've probably ever had!

We finally caught Kelle at the right time. It was about 8:50 at night and she had just gotten home, which meant we had just enough time to either get in contact with her and go home or teach a lesson (because then we have until 9:30 instead of 9). Since it's been a couple months since she's responded we were hoping but didn't expect much. We ended up teaching her the restoration, committing her to read and pray, and she invited us for dinner sometime soon. We pulled in to our apartment complex at 9:30 on the dot. Fist bumps all around. But she thought it was great! Even though her Mormon friends growing up weren't the best influence for her, she wanted to know why we believe what we believe and she was so fun to talk to. She also has a daughter who's somewhere between 16-18 we're hoping to include in our discussions as well.

We were tracting, this guy Jeff opened the door, we asked him if we could share a message about Jesus Christ and His restored gospel through a prophet, he said sure. We taught him the restoration and he said to come back this week, and that he would read the Book of Mormon. He has 3 kids and a wife he lives with that he'll share these things with. It was perfect because since there's 3 of us in the companionship we were able to go into his home to teach him (his wife wasn't there).

Friday night was a party at the Kuresa's house. They had Jake, Janette, their 5 kids, and a few other family members as well as 8 missionaries. 8! Us 3, the 3 elders also serving in the ward, and the 2 elders serving in Janette's ward. We taught the gospel of Jesus Christ, and all loved it, the Spirit was there for sure. The kids were answering questions like they've been in primary all their lives! And we have another appointment to teach Janette tomorrow. :)

Sabrina had us over for lunch, she is a talker. She talked for an hour and a half straight, we couldn't even respond to her comments. But the food was really good. And we were able to share a message about our purpose on earth with a verse from the Bible, she's read the Book of Mormon cover to cover and has been involved in Mormon stuff for years but there's just 'a few things she doesn't agree with' that are keeping her (as far as her face-value reasons say). But President Davis (stake president, and fellowshipper for her) encourages us to keep up with her and not give up, she really is a lot of fun and a great friend. But we got to teach her something and she says she feels especially good when we come.

Julie got a laptop for mother's day so she could do family history from home! And she said she probably wouldn't be at church but she showed up for sunday school and relief society!! We taught her about the Savior's role in our lives, and that all we do focuses on Him. Making great progress.

The Terrys had us over for dinner and unexpectedly (to us) had 2 non-member friends there! We talked about Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon, His role in it and how it testifies of him. They like it, they're both high-schoolers and one said she'd read the Book of Mormon. It was so neat to be at a family dinner teaching the gospel to their friends. Of all the teaching opportunities, that situation has a special feel you can't forget. They took our number before we left.

Through tracting, we found 3 new potential investigators. Marlene, Laura, and Emma. Marlene started to decline when Sister Clements asked if she would mind if she used her restroom. Marlene was really nice and welcomed her in. We talked to her while we waited and she seemed to show a little interest in what we were saying about prophets. So we gave her a Book of Mormon and will go back this week. Laura (another door) recognized our name tags and even though she was in a hurry she told us about how the boy missionaries were so good to help her when she was moving and wouldn't even take money for it. They kept tabs on her to see if she ever needed help/service. She wanted to know what our message was, so we gave her a Book of Mormon and our number and we're going to try seeing her tonight. Emma was a teenage girl walking her dog as we were walking back to our car, she gave us her number so we could teach her more about the gospel and took a Book of Mormon. All on the same street. I wish there was an Elder Wood in this mission because the street was called Elderwood.

John 15:16 this week "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."

Pray works! Because as you REALly pray, Heavenly Father works. And He never fails. Looking forward to another awesome week for all of us! Love you!

- Sister Shumway

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

letter from Alyssa - May 9, 2016

Ponderizing scripture (this one is a classic) ”Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.“

I am so sorry about my lack of preparation for talking to you last night! I have been thinking of you all week and I was just so excited to see you all and talk to you that I just blanked at first. J But I must say that was incredible. You all are so awesome!! I tell you all the time but honestly, you mean so so much to me. And that call was just what I needed.

So an update on the week.
Monday night we went to Sabrina’s (non-member, long-time friends with Mormons, read entire Book of Mormon and didn’t feel anything, A LOT of questions about less significant things, etc.) to give her a birthday gift. She was so happy to see us! But she wasn’t feeling well, so we’ve kept her in our prayers.

Nick’s birthday was the same as Casan’s (same family that his sister’s birthday is the same as mine, and we celebrated together the week before) so we brought over some of the brownies that we made from the mix you sent me and sang happy birthday to him. He loved it! He turned 16 but he’s mentally younger because of special needs so it was really cute.

Transfers were Tuesday so a lot of changes have happened. Like I said last week and last night they made me a Sister Training Leader, and I’m still over the music in the mission, and we got a 3rd companion, still over 2 wards, and we’re temple tour sisters again so we have things planned every single day. But we have a goal this week to still make time each day to go out and talk to people, and try to find those The Lord has prepared or at least do our best to show our faith. This first week was a bit of a rough start adjusting to it all, but we’re doing so much better now.

Wednesday we had lunch with Fernando, he took us to Macaroni Grill. He wanted an update on Jennifer (recently former investigator, passed to another ward) and thankfully we were able to settle some concerns and false accusations before they got too far. But that should be the last we have to deal with that whole situation, and we got a good free lunch.

Went tracting the other day and found Stephanie. “Hi, we’re missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and we are out sharing a message about how His gospel has been restored through a living prophet. (doesn’t always go that way, but something to this effect) Could we teach you more about it?” “Yeah I’d love to know more,” (we all kind of paused for a sec looking at each other… didn’t expect that answer and weren’t really sure what to say. But then we figured it out and decided to share more like we said we would haha.) “Great! Do you know much about the Book of Mormon?” “Yes, a little, I have a lot of friends that are Mormon and I’ve wondered about what you all believe. But I have company coming over in a few minutes, could you come back another day? Maybe this weekend?” “Sure, anytime that works best for you!” That was an awesome contact. Not sure I’ve had a contact quite like that before, I wondered if she was a member or she just knew exactly what we wanted to hear. But we have plans to see her again and gave her our number.

Bonnie (member, went to the hospital recently, long-time friend of us sisters) asked us to come over and get her mail and sheets for her. We visited for a few minutes, then she surprised us and sent us home with really good steaks. We cooked them the next day, and when I say really good, they were REALLY good.

One of the days (don’t remember which one) President Lutz called me and asked me to come the following morning to Newport Beach to play the piano for an interfaith breakfast on national prayer day. Did not see that phone call coming. But it was cool because (even though the preaching was a little weird and scary) we got free breakfast, and I was totally playing “We Thank Thee Oh God for a Prophet” and “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer” for prelude and none of them even noticed except the few members there. But I got a lot of compliments on how much they enjoyed it, we all got a laugh out of that!

The Novillos had us for dinner Thursday. Reminder: Brother Novillo isn’t a member, the rest of the family is active. I asked him at the end of the night what was keeping him from being baptized. He told me he could give me the long answer or the short one. I told him I had as long as he did. So he told me how he grew up in the Catholic church but never liked it, especially since the leaders were so strict almost to cruelty. He loves this church and what it does for his kids, but doesn’t like organized religion much. He says he won’t say he’ll never be baptized. I asked him to take the discussions or let us read the Book of Mormon with him, he said he’d think about it. I think I scared his daughter by asking him that though, he told me he doesn’t get that question ever really.

Janette is doing good, we text her but haven’t been able to meet with her this week. But the Kuresa’s are having us over for dinner with her and her family again so that’ll be good! We’re going to text her today and see how church went.

Friday we had a surprise party for President and Sister Orgill as a good-bye party. It was quite the sight to see over 150 missionaries in the cultural hall of the stake center completely silent while we waited for him to walk in. Then we had dinner and a lot of fun for the next 5 hours with a bunch of musical numbers, dinner, and testimonies. It was a wonderful night, there’s probably a lot of pics on the facebook page.

Julie came and started her family history! She couldn’t come to church because her son was in town for mother’s day, but she’s planning on coming the next week.

Sister Clements has been pretty sick this week with a cold so we didn’t get to do a whole lot, it worked out ok because I had so many meetings as a new leader at the beginning of the transfer. But we’re doing all we can to help her recover.

Tara got her temple recommend to be endowed! Now she just needs to go get clothes and set a date, she’s looking at early June so we’re hoping it all works out and we could go with her!

We stopped by the Nixons and Mulvilles (part-member families with sons on missions) last night after our skype calls to drop by banana bread and wish them happy mother’s day since they have missionaries and we are missionaries haha. They loved it.

Thankyou so much for your email this week, that was wonderful. That was absolutely wonderful. I am so blessed to have you all as a strength and support, to my testimony, for my future and plans (or eventual plans), for your love and wanting to be involved with me and my experiences, I couldn’t thank you enough. Love you Dad! Love you Mom! Love you Tyler! Love you Kynsie! Love you Landon! Love you Aubrey! And love you Casan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

·         Sister Shuwmay

Monday, May 2, 2016

letter from Sister Shumway - May 2, 2016

Luke 17:5 for this week "And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith."

It's been kind of a tough week as far as the work, but an awesome week as far as mission life, haha.
Tuesday we got to go to the temple for a session and initiatories! Every time we get close to a temple trip I feel like it's been way too long since I've been.
That night though, the Nixons had us over for dinner (non-members, son is on a mission). Me, my companion Sister Loveridge, Sister Phinney, and her companion Sister Wood were all there. We had an awesome night! And shared things from the Bible, especially about Jesus Christ and God's love for us. We are hoping to get them more included in the ward so they start to have a desire to join. They want to have us over again sometime!

Saturday we had this huge service project and packaged 100,000 meals (each meal feeds 6 people) in about 5 hours to send to students in 3rd-world countries who are struggling for provisions. It was a lot of fun (especially since we were required to be there where they were playing some pretty good music haha:). Brother Novillo (only non-member of his family) was there! And a bunch of others. Love these opportunities.

Janette (non-member) is progressing. :D She reads the Book of Mormon everyday, and we meet with her at least weekly. She's the kind of investigator I've been waiting to teach basically my entire mission.

Speaking of investigators, picked up a new one, Netta this week. She answered the door, we asked if we could share a message about Christ and the restored gospel and she said sure. We weren't sure what to do at first. But then we shared a message about Christ and the restored gospel. She took a copy of the Book of Mormon and said we could come back this week.

We have 4 other potentials from tracting we're going to try and get the work rolling in this ward!

The Novillo family had us over on Thursday for dessert, and it was so much fun! They made me feel so special. Sister Novillo made 2 cheesecakes, one for her daughter (who turned 16 the same day) and one for me, they took pictures and sang and we had so much fun! They also gave me some caramel popcorn because my companion let it slip that I love popcoren a little too much :) Speaking of which, the package you sent was so much fun I loved it!! The popcorn and snacks were so good and I shared them with friends, and it made me so happy as I was pulling out some things and had to explain them to my companion. We laughed a lot and had a blast opening it! The mission office called and sang to me and so did the district in district meeting the day before, and one of the family history consultants that we're good friends with took us to a Chinese buffet for lunch to celebrate. It was SO GOOD. We had all different styles of sushi, shrimp, vegetables, rice, chicken, and crab. I was so full haha. My companion and I got a roast and cooked it in a crockpot because we both remember it from home, so random but that was part of the fun. Sister Harrison (best member ever) got me this sweet candle and I got so many texts and cards and notes. It seriously would've been impossible to keep my birthday a secret here and I felt so very loved. :)

The day before my birthday, President Orgill called me in for an interview. He asked if I would accept the assignment to be a Sister Training Leader, which I did accept. I'm a little nervous just because I don't know what all goes into being a STL but I'm going to do my very best. President Orgill and I had a few minutes to talk which was AWESOME, it always is, and he gave me a priesthood blessing since I realized it's been a long time since I've had one (not for any particular reason, it wasn't a setting apart I just felt to ask for it).
Also with the new transfer, Sister Loveridge and I are staying together in these same 2 wards again (Aliso Viejo and Wood Canyon) but we are being joined by another sister in a trio companionship, Sister Clements. I'm a little overwhelmed with all there is to do and everything that plays into the new companionship and assignment especially on top of my music assignments for the mission, but The Lord will provide a way and I'm going to work hard.

Can't wait to talk to you Sunday! :D Love you so so so so so much,

- Sister Shumway