Wednesday, June 29, 2016

photo with Bishop Baker

This is Bishop Baker and his sons, with David, Aubrey, and Kynsie at the Strathmore Concert Hall in Bethesda, MD. Alyssa had just been transferred into his ward. When Alyssa learned that he would be taking his sons to Washington DC to record and perform with MCO, she asked him to be on the lookout for her dad and sisters. He found us!

letter from Alyssa - June 27, 2016

Genesis 18:14 "Is any thing too hard for the Lord?"

Top highlight of the week by far was watching Landon and Ty open their mission calls! Everyone in this mission is excited and praying for both of you!! I am such a lucky missionary to call and talk to you all again. :)

Update on the doctor - after staying off my ankle for a week, the nurse told me to go to urgent care. The x-ray came back negative so no fracture. They said they're pretty sure I have strained tendons there. There's also a physical therapist in the ward that looked at it and has been helping me out. It's still really painful but I'm walking so that's good. More on that as I find out.

Friday we got to go to the temple again! Tara, the recent convert I was working with in Aliso Viejo, was endowed. I got to see Sister Loveridge and her new greenie companion, and also the bishop of that ward and his wife. Tara was so happy. I love the temple.

Yeah I met Sister Elliott this week! (Shauna) That was so much fun. She's awesome! We had such a good time at dinner that night. I don't know if this is safe to share haha but I thought you'd find it funny. She said "it's awesome to be able to just say 'Derek' and you get exactly what I mean!" and I just told her "oh me too, you have no idea!" She's definitely a favorite.

Ok some things on the work.

Taught Sydney again, she went to youth conference and LOVED it. Her favorite part actually was the devotional, even more than the dance! Though she had so much fun the whole time. She's in the middle of Alma in the Book of Mormon and we're hopefully getting closer to setting a baptismal date with her.

On tuesday, the Julanders had us for dinner. Monday night we had FHE with the stake president, who told us their daughter, Sierra, just submitted her papers officially that night. It's been a week now, so any day her call could come! But we were going to share a message at dinner and invite her to invite a friend to take the missionary discussions in her home with her in preparation for her mission. When we got there though, she already had a friend there! No one was expecting her to take the lessons, but my companion and I extended the invitation and taught her friend Angela the message of the Restoration. She said she would ask her dad if he would let her continue the discussions, but that she would be interested in learning more and reading the Book of Mormon. :D

I was on exchange on Thursday with my MTC companion Sister Baker, that was awesome. It's so fun to meet new missionaries, but sometimes even more fun to go on exchanges with those you already know after it's been a while. The day was great. We taught this guy Josh at a park, he had been teaching his 7-year-old daughter to play basketball, but when we started talking to him he said he was at a phase in his life when he was questioning some things spiritually and had five minutes to give us. We gave a solid rundown of the Restoration and he accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon. We offered to teach him more and he said he preferred to give us a call. We are praying for a "Best 2 Years movie" experience!!

In that same park, there was a group of 4 teenagers we were a little uneasy about. They were just sitting a talking, but Sister Baker and I looked at each other and just said in our experience with that situation it could either go really well or really bad. But then we decided that Preach My Gospel already made the decision for us whether we were going to talk to them or not (it says so many times to talk to everybody) so we did. It was a little awkward of course, but we gave them a card with the easter initiative video on it and told them to look it up on their phones sometime. I just thought it was awesome that as we walked away, one of them pulled out their phone and we heard them say to the others, "I just want to check this out and see if it's for real or not."

Fun week, ready for another one! Love you!

- Sister Shumway

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

email from Alyssa's mission president - June 21, 2016

Dear ​Brother and Sister Shumway,

Thank you very much for your kind and thoughtful letter.  It means a great deal to me...more than you might guess.

Knowing and serving with Sister Shumway has been the greatest of blessings.   She is remarkable in so many ways and have been such a blessing to us all.  She is the type of missionary that can be given any assignment and I'll know it will be done in a way that is pleasing to the Lord.  

The Lord loves her and has great confidence in her.  I do as well!  I do hope we can stay in touch with her in the years ahead.  God has special plans for her!

I'm excited for your twin sons and for the journey they are on.  What a wonderful family you have!

May the Lord ever bless and be with you and your family in every way you need ... now and always! 


President Von D. Orgill

Monday, June 20, 2016

Photo - Sister Shumway and Sister Wimmer

letter from Sister Shumway - June 20, 2016

So excited to skype you in about an hour to hear where the boys are going! So I have to cut this email a little short this week... but an email wouldn't be enough to contain how thrilled I am about your calls Landon and Ty!! I just cannot wait, I bet it's been like that for you guys this whole last month. Sorry to make you wait, see you real soon though!

Helaman 3:27 "Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name."

The new ward and companion are awesome. I have had the distinct idea and feeling that this transfer is going to be the best one yet, and I'm looking at it ahead of time with the attitude that this may likely be my favorite area and companion looking back after it's through. Sister Wimmer is so cool. I love her! We also have a very ambitious but awesome ward mission leader, Brother Chamberlin. Right off the bat he assigned us so many names of people to meet and visit, and helped us get a head start on the area. He has set the bar so high, but I love the challenge.

Our one progressing investigator is Sydney. She's 15, her mom is the only member of her family who is a less-active returned missionary. We have yet to get to know her mom better, but we had a lesson with Sydney the other day and it went sooo well. She really wants to be baptized. She's going to girl's camp and youth conference this summer and has been reading the Book of Mormon every day. Last week she read from 2 Nephi 4 to Mosiah 8! And she's an awesome friend, she texted us Sunday asking if she could sit with us at church so that was amazing. :)

Also met the Keen family. They're a part-member family, but none are members. The dad was the only member but he passed away a year or 2 ago or so, the wife and 2 sons aren't members. They welcomed us in, which was much further than the elders have gotten with them so even though they're out of town this week we caught them just in time to make a good connection at the start.

Also, I have spent the week on crutches this week which has been a little trying at the same time as a pretty effective missionary tool occasionally. The nurse thinks I have a minor stress fracture in my ankle, it happened gradually about a week and a half ago so on Tuesday they put me on crutches to see if that helps. I am to report tomorrow to see how it's doing, but it's not feeling so great so I don't know yet. But that's been fun!

Those are the highlights, but since it's short I'll quickly share something I learned with you this week. It was one of those things that came as I was talking and didn't make the connection in thinking about it that way before. Has that ever happened to you? I was talking in a leadership meeting about something I learned in the MTC, one of my teachers taught me "there is no comfort in the growth zone, and no growth in the comfort zone." But right as I repeated that it came to my mind through my words (a little backwards?) that the Holy Ghost will be there as we grow in the best ways to be that comfort anyway. It's given me a bit more confidence in striving to become even better and just do it.

Love you!

- Sister Shumway

Monday, June 13, 2016


letter from Sister Shumway - June 13, 2016

First, a scripture - "Nevertheless, ye are blessed, for the testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven for the angels to look upon; and they rejoice over you, and your sins are forgiven you." - D&C 62:3

Ok, update on the work:

Tiffany (less-active) had a lesson with us at the Turners' house Monday night for dinner and FHE, it was a blast. Especially since they have 6 boys ages 8 to missionary so it was a bit crazy but that's part of what made it so awesome. It reminded me of some of our FHEs :D but I think it meant a lot to Tiffany. She'll be out of town for a little while but will get connected with us again when she's back.

We met Lauren finally! She's not a member and her husband is less-active but his entire family is active. Lauren would make a stellar member of the church, it's almost like she already is. We only stopped by and met but she was so nice to us and we were able to connect so she wants us over again when she has more time. She also already has so many friends in the ward so off to a great start.

Had a lesson with Aris (investigator), it went ok. We taught the plan of salvation, he couldn't accept the fact that someone had to die for him to make it all possible. And he didn't pay much more attention to the rest of the lesson once we taught that, like resurrection and kingdoms of glory and such. But his roommate listened in this time and both said they would start the Book of Mormon since they didn't already. We will text and follow up.

Kelle (investigator) had us over for dinner, it was good and she talked a lot so hopefully that's a good indicator that she thought it was good too. But we taught the plan of salvation to her as well, and at the end she was like "well that was very nice." She didn't really apply it, even with our invitation. She also had a friend there who responded the same way, but at least we could share it with them. We're going to emphasize the Book of Mormon again with her.

Steve (investigator) let us start teaching him the plan of salvation but we ran out of time once we taught about our life on earth. But he asked us to come back to finish it so hopefully the cliff-hanger will be ok with him for now. He was very receptive and good to us though.

Julie (less-active) came to church, we had a pretty good lesson about enduring to the end and what reward awaits us if we simply hold out faithfully and obey God's commands. She enjoyed it and thanked us for it too.

We finally had a pretty good lesson with Caira (investigator). We started reading the Book of Mormon with her, I swear when in doubt, read the Book of Mormon. In a lesson, if you're struggling, if your companionship is struggling, if you need to relax or refocus or refresh, when you have a question, again if you're teaching a lesson, you cannot go wrong with the Book of Mormon. She's again starting to progress. I'm pretty sure the Book of Mormon is the Spirit's favorite book.

April (less-active) is doing ok. We had a good lesson with her yesterday too. You know why? We started reading the Book of Mormon with her again. It was neat because she can hardly focus on things in conversation or when she's doing something etc., but as we were teaching and discussing the scriptures she was totally involved and asking questions and making connections as good as she could for her condition.

Other stuff -

We were tracting and there was this one door we came to that when we knocked on the door, a bird flew strait out of the wreath-thingy that was hanging there and startled us. It was one of those moments that I had a reawakening when I thought I've seen it all, especially on doorsteps. No one answered, but we did find a tiny nest with baby birds where the bird flew out of. I wonder if the people that live there even know.

We got to go to Deseret book last Monday. I don't remember if I mentioned that in last week's email but it was so much fun I thought I'd mention it again anyway since it was part of the week. We just browsed for almost 2 hours and were it not for limited funds and space in my suitcase I would've bought a library.

Apparently I slept through three 5.2 earthquakes the other night. I had no idea until someone told us about it the following day. My companions were so upset they slept through it too and missed it.

Took a trip to San Diego! We escaped for a day when no one was watching. Just kidding we had to meet with an attorney to start figuring out all this insurance stuff with the car wreck and such from January. Hopefully I can finish this off so it doesn't follow me home. But we had a quick moment to grab a pic at the temple, that was fun.

Today marks the day that me and Sister Loveridge reached our goal of 42 days of no extra sugar. And we totally did it! I feel so good. But we're also rewarding ourselves by completely contradicting the goal and going to Nothing Bundt Cakes. We're going to get 12 different flavors of their small cupcake-sized ones and cut them in pieces so we can try every one of them. So excited.

Also - I'm being transferred tomorrow to the Las Flores ward in Mission Viejo. My new companion is Sister Wimmer, she was in the MTC with me and we're both Sister Training Leaders so I'm so ready and excited to get down to work. Not only that, but we totally clicked and she's awesome, we've been friends this whole time so I know it's going to be great. I'm also excited to be in just one ward again, and I've never served in the Mission Viejo stake/zone so all new stuff. Sister Wimmer is going to be new to it too so we're both starting it together from scratch. So ready for a challenge.

Love you all! Speaking of transfer I have to go pack now so I promise I love you even though I have to go now! Love you!

- Sister Shumway

Monday, June 6, 2016

letter from Sister Shumway - June 6, 2016

THANKYOU for helping me feel so good every time I open your email.

First: "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." - John 16:24

This week I've kind of had to almost look for things to talk about in this week's email. That sounds so depressing, it really wasn't that bad, just a lot of big things that took up so much time there's only few things that happened. So as far as the work goes -

We had a lesson with Janette, Jake, and all their kids on Thursday night. They had us and the Elders in their area over for dinner, then we taught the last missionary discussion they need to be baptized by finishing the commandments lesson. It went really well! All of them were attentive and interactive in the lesson, and we were able to help them understand so they were comfortable and confident in committing to living the word of wisdom and law of tithing specifically, along with all other commandments we've talked about. The kind of sad part is that we officially passed them to the Elders to continue working with them so we won't be teaching them anymore, but we are keeping in contact and staying posted on a baptism date this summer hopefully!!

We also picked up a new investigator while tracting. His name is Steve, and when we knocked on the door he answered and right off the bat started asking us questions that lead directly to the message of the Restoration of the gospel. He said he was a Messianic Jew, which is basically a Jew that believes in Jesus Christ as the Son of God instead of just a prophet. He took a Book of Mormon and said we could come back, and HE asked if he could pray for us before we left. It was a very very heartfelt prayer. He also has Leukemia which makes a lot of things difficult for him but he said afternoons are best to stop by.

Wednesday was interesting. Our last appointment of the night was at a recent convert's house, and the lesson and visit went really well, except that apparently I'm very allergic to her new cat. I didn't realize what was happening at first, but I thought I just had an eyelash in my eye. And it wasn't 'til my face had swelled quite a bit, my eyes turned red, and I was sneezing with a runny nose that it clicked why that was happening. We had to cut the visit short and go back to the apartment so I could recover. I may or may not be getting tested at some point... but that was pretty miserable. Thankfully my throat didn't close up or anything extreme like that.

On top of that, Friday we were in the emergency room most of the day. Don't worry, I'm fine and it wasn't for me. But Sister Clements was having a hard time walking in a straight line and had a migraine. We thought it was pretty normal because she does get migraines regularly, but  it got to the point that we were so worried about her we called the nurse, described the symptoms, and she told us to go to an urgent care, preferably the one she had been to when this happened last November. Turns out, we spent over 2 hours driving around looking for it and giving up and driving to find a different one that wasn't closed down and didn't have a 4-hour wait (so much for being called urgent care). When we finally did find one, they referred us to the emergency room where they took some tests. Turns out, they simply re-prescribed her medication that she was supposed to be taking regularly since November that Sister Loveridge and I had no idea about. And spent the rest of the night at the apartment for Sister Clements to recover. So it's been exciting this week.

Something I wanted to share with you since I don't have much to report on the week was this poem:


Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don't try to convince me that
There's something good in everyday
Because, when you take a closer look
This world is a pretty evil place
Even if
Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don't last
And it's not true that
It's all in the mind and heart
True happiness can be obtained
Only if one's surroundings are good
It's not true that good exists
I'm sure you can agree that
The reality
My attitude
It's all beyond my control
And you'll never in a million years hear me say that
Today was a good day

*But if you read it backwards (last line first, first line last) see what happens. :)

Another thing that has been a really neat experience is one of the counselors in the mission presidency gave a training and challenged us to start a personal Doctrine and Covenants. So what I did was I got a cheap smallish journal and when I have a question for Heavenly Father I right it at the top of one of the pages. Then as the days go by, when I have an impression or someone says something or something happens or I think of something that could be an answer to that question, or something to do with it, etc., I record it in the journal on the page under the question. If I have another question before answering the last one I just write it at the top of the next page. It is SO COOL. Some answers I've found in the emails you send to me. Some come from my companions, or when I teach a lesson, or just pondering. I could go on about specifics and neat experiences but I at least wanted to share this with you thus far. I haven't gotten far in it, just a few pages, and I have more questions than answers (sometimes my answers are another question...) but I love it. So much.

Have a fantastic first week of summer! Love you!

- Sister Shumway

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

letter from Alyssa - May 31, 2016

FINALLY got in with the Rusicks (Brent is a member, Heather is a non-member) and asked them if they'd be interested in the missionary discussions again. They said yes! They're just going to be out of town until the end of next month. So we caught them at the perfect time but it is something they want to do. Took me almost 6 months to get in and ask them that question.

After another day of missionary work, we were walking back to the car and saw a teenage boy on the sidewalk. It was about 8:50 at night (curfew is 9 unless you teach a lesson it's 9:30) but we thought we'd stop and talk to him before going home. Turns out, his name is Jeremiah, he's 15, gladly took a Book of Mormon planning to read it, listened to a 15min version of the restoration, and said we could come back and share more. That was cool.

Jake and Janette are struggling a little... Janette was at church, she is determined to work towards baptism. We have a lesson set up for Thursday night to teach them with the Elders in their area and officially pass them off to them. But apparently she and Jake had a bit of a disagreement last week and we can't get a hold of Jake. Don't know a lot of details, but the adversary is working on them.

Oh that same night we met Jeremiah, we were walking from Karen's house (less-active). One of the ward missionaries visit teaches her and could never get in contact with her. We tried a few times, but she finally answered even though it was late at night (right before Jeremiah). She saw us and said she knew what we were there for and that she hasn't been to church in decades even though her entire family is very active and would love to see her go to church. We talked with her as friends and offered service, promising we didn't have to talk about 'church stuff' and it would help us by giving us an excuse to wear jeans. At the end of the conversation she was smiling and took our number, we'll try again if we don't hear from her but it was an awesome contact that left her better than we found her.

While I was at a meeting with the other STLs, my companions went tracting and accidentally tracted into this part-member family the Elders have been working with for months, but they haven't been able to get further than just catching the wife (member, husband is not) for 30 seconds every now and then on her way out the door. But my companions talked to one of their teenage sons, who wanted us to come back. So we did and had a great conversation with the husband. He asked us to come back at a time when his whole family could be together. We were so stoked to hear him ask that! Making progress!

Fireside with the youth sunday was fun. Just at a members home, encouraging to invite friends to anything and everything. Great discussion, I played piano, those nights are fun. I thought I had more to say about it since I penciled it down but may as well mention it.

Don't know what it is with finding new investigators in the very last few minutes of the night but last night at our last door tracting a YSA-age guy let us in and we taught the restoration, extended the commitment to read the Book of Mormon, and began and ended the lesson with prayer. He has friends he hangs out with at the church building playing basketball and said we could come back. Oh and his name is Aris.

So when we were weekly planning we (as companions) had a hard time brainstorming what we could do to increase our teaching pool in the Wood Canyon ward. Aliso Viejo is doing great, but Wood Canyon's is shrinking fast even though we go contacting there all the time. So we've been working and praying and Sunday we received 3 referrals all of a sudden! All will take time and effort but it's an awesome start just handed to us! Hopefully this will help get the ball rolling there, especially since the members are so ready and desirous to help in the missionary work.

Love you and praying for you all! Good luck this week!

- Sister Shumway