Monday, August 29, 2016

letter from Sister Shumway - August 29, 2016

Had a few good lessons with Sydney (investigator), her mom gave her permission to go to seminary! She just has to keep her grades up and I think she's off to a good start so far. Staying strong, we have an appointment with her this week.

Paige (recent convert from a less-active family) is doing pretty good too. She's still on a spiritual high from efy a couple weeks ago. But we also found out she speaks some spanish and wants to come on splits with us to help cover some spanish appointments! It'll be fun to involve her in the missionary work.

Haven't heard a lot from Carrie, we had another lesson with her about a week and a half ago and it went well, it always goes better when we have a member with us. But she hasn't been very responsive to our texts and we haven't seen her at church so we'll work on tracking her back down.

I don't remember how much I explained but Hermana Smith is our new companion that has been with us these past 2 weeks because her companion went home due to some health issues and there are no other spanish sisters she can go with. She's great and has been through a lot, and she's such a dedicated missionary with a strong spirit and testimony, and we'll be with her this week until the transfer ends. We've been doing A LOT of work in the spanish ward because there's just sooo much going on there. Which is great. She and her sister Alissa though could really really use some prayers. President Clark gave permission to work out for Alissa (who's going to school for spanish and is really good at it) to come be Hermana Smith's companion for the last 2 weeks of the transfer (that's how desperate she's been to be in full-time spanish) and we had the plane ticket and everything all ready to go, and at the last moment Alissa broke down and decided not to come, but not only that, she told Hermana Smith she doesn't care about any of their family and no longer wants anything to do with the Church. They knew her testimony was struggling, but had no idea it was so bad. And this is a really strong family, Hermana Smith's dad is the stake president where they live. Hermana Smith has reached out but hasn't heard from Alissa since. It amazes me that she's reacted by diving into the work and stayed so strong anyway. It also makes me even more grateful for the support and spiritual strength in my own family.

Had dinner with the Olzak's (Paige's family) and breakfast scheduled for this week. So fun, they're an awesome family. We think Paige's mom is really close to coming to church and we're going to see if Paige can help us out with that.

The Galbraith's (part-member family) had us over for dessert. The wife (not a member) asked us what we have learned from our missions, which was pretty cool. We had a long discussion about life and such and dessert was really good. They'll be out of town for a while but I'm glad we're establishing a better relationship with them over time.

For young women's we had a Ramen party. So fun. We just had a ramen buffet with pork, edamame, onion, pot-stickers, and a bunch of other stuff you could put on it. We had a blast and love getting to know the young women. Paige came too!

Sister Atchley and I gave an awesome training in zone training meeting. President Clark was there too, I'm so glad we were prepared haha. Our training included a practice (most trainings include role-plays of fake scenarios teaching investigators or contacting people on the streets etc.) different than most. It was on Teaching for Conversion, so we had the missionaries get in groups of 3 and teach each other the restoration as themselves, not as investigators or people that had never heard of it before. It was neat because at first they didn't understand and just started reciting what they knew about it, but after a discussion and a re-practice there was more testimony being born, gospel discussion, and expressed love for the doctrines of the restored gospel. The Spirit was there and felt awesome. We then talked about applying this to our lives when teaching anyone, whether they know the message of the restoration or not, and invited each of them to individually at some point pray and write down what difference the restoration of the gospel makes to them personally.

As far as the missionary life goes, I've been on so many exchanges it's a little crazy. like about 6 in two weeks? Something like that. So almost every other day I've had a different companion or been in a different area. Such is mission life, half the time you don't know where you'll end up or what'll happen.

We also had to do this big assessment of each sister in the zone on where we suggest them to be for this upcoming transfer and any changes that should/shouldn't happen. So time was taken by that and half of our suggestions have changed in the past couple days because of how things have changes. So who knows what'll happen this next transfer? The Lord knows what He's doing.

Still involved in a lot of music stuff, got musical numbers every week and we have numbers planned for the next few months through the end of the year. Which is weird because planning further than that won't involve me much. But got a lot done there.

Zone Conference was great. The focus was on our testimonies of the Book of Mormon and how central that is to our calling. We also had the new presidency introduced - Bishop Hobbins is one of the counselors! I'm pretty sure I mentioned him a few times when I was serving in Live Oak Canyon last fall. Also the bishop of the Laguna Beach ward. These are both men that if you knew just a little of who they were (because they're both famous throughout the mission) you'd think the second coming is about to happen because we're about to see greater things than miracles in the work here. I'm so excited!

We also had zone 24's, where the entire zone gets together and switches companions for a day. I was with Sister Atchley, she's so cool. She's also a convert of about two and a half years or so. One of my favorite people in the mission, I hope I can be her companion someday.

Hermana Smith taught me this, Landon and Ty can translate it for you - Yo se que el Libro de Mormon es verdadero por que a bendecido mi vida y mi familia, y testifica JesuCristo. Still working on memorizing it, but when you have to choose limited words you choose the most important to you.

Funny story - in ward council the bishop asked why the BYU game was not on the agenda in the upcoming events we have going on.

Love you! Found this awesome verse in my reading today for you - Moroni 8:3 "I am mindful of you always in my prayers, continually praying unto God the Father in the name of his Holy Child, Jesus, that he, through his infinite goodness and grace, will keep you through the endurance of faith on his name to the end."

- Sister Shumway

Monday, August 22, 2016

Photo: Alyssa's new "companion"

short letter from Sister Shumway 8/22/16

This week has been a little crazy. Hermana Smith's companion had to go home early on monday, so she joined our companionship and we have been double covering our area and hers - but her area covers 4 stakes of spanish. So there's some things that've happened that I have written down to tell you about, but today our time is cut so short and so I promise I will make it up to you next week! I feel so bad I don't like having to do this with email, but know that I LOVE YOU sooo much, I want nothing more than to just spend all day telling you about everything but I'll be ready to this coming week, it'll be great!
Love you again,
- Sister Shumway

P.S. Still love you!

Monday, August 15, 2016

letter from Sister Shumway - August 15, 2016

Dad! Sister Atchley and I are giving a training in zone training meeting this week! And it starts with the scripture D&C 29:7! You are inspired. I'm using these notes you sent.

Thank you for asking me what you can help me with Mom, I will see if I can think of something. These past few weeks have been a little difficult but I wouldn't have it any other way still. I'll let you know, and I feel like I've always said prayers help but I've come to find that prayers are difference-makers, for real, so THANK YOU.

The scripture I've thought of this week (besides the one you sent Dad, haha) is Alma 29:6-7 "Now, seeing that know these things, why should desire more than to perform the work to which have been called? Why should desire that were an angel, that could speak unto all the ends of the earth?" The reason I thought of this scripture is one of the sisters in our apartment is a convert, and she was telling me that she wishes that 'her missionaries' could convert everyone so they could all have the experience she had. Then she read this and realized that Alma wanted to be an angel because that's who 'his missionary' was, and he wanted everyone to experience the conversion that he had. I thought that was neat.

It's been a good week.

We started with dinner at the Kennedy's, a part-member family. Brother Kennedy wasn't very active when they were married but relatively recently has become way more committed to being involved in church, especially attending on Sunday. But his wife felt really pressured at first so it left a bad taste in her mouth. So the dinner was really good because we taught a lesson to the kids and it was overall a good way to make a connection and start again to build a relationship with that family. Today we're bringing over a treat and a thankyou note for having us over.

Sydney is doing good. Today's the first day of school, she's about ready to ask her mom if she can go to seminary. We will go to that point and see from there about baptism. But we had an FHE lesson with her and another family in the ward so like I said she's doing good.

Stacy Olzak (less-active) was so close to coming to our service project saturday morning! But woke up sick. But she did want to come, so we'll probably ask her to have us for dinner again soon or something. Extend more invites.

The service project saturday was the Stop Hunger Now event again, same one I did in my last area. But a little smaller group. We still got over 17,000 meals packaged though in less than 2 hours! So much fun.

The Keenes could use some prayers... it's been tough to get in with them. They're always so nice, but we're not sure what to do to help them at the moment.

Carrie and Quincy finally came to church for the first time! They LOVED it! The ward totally wrapped their arms around them, and even several of the young men included Quincy in their group right off the bat. Quincy (15) wants to be a missionary now, and stayed all 3 hours even though Carrie left after one. We're about to try to help Carrie find some better employment, but other than that now that they have friends and a good connection with the ward it'll be much easier to help them progress.

Brother Gaya (new ward mission leader) and Brother Harris (new assistant ward mission leader) are fantastic. They are on top of the missionary work and ready to take action with specific plans to use service, family history, youth involvement, and the ward council in this area more. So excited.

We met Kristen while just out walking and contacting people on a trail in the neighborhood. She gave us her number and knows 2 girls in our ward that just got back from their missions a couple months ago. They both just went back up to BYU, but maybe they can still help. She's interested in learning more.

We also met Monica the same night, her and her husband have lived here for 10 years after moving from Taiwan, and she's interested in Christianity so she gave us her email (...?) and also expressed interest in learning more.

Pam stopped us and talked to us in the apartment complex between visits, she asked if we knew where to find this one apartment that a pizza delivery guy was having a hard time finding. We helped them out and then Pam said she liked our cute bags. We told her we're missionaries and she gave us her phone number so we could come visit her and talk to her about what we do.

While walking on the trail another night, we ran into 3 people the elders have been trying to get a hold of for months, Dennis, and then Derek and Dorene. And Dennis actually used our pass along card to text us. Derek and Dorene asked why the elders never come over anymore. We have plans to follow up!

Ashley Elliott just got home from her mission and gave a great homecoming talk. It was fun to tell her we're basically cousins! She is such an amazing person and a lot of fun to be around. We took her tracting with us this week and had a good time.

Have an awesome week, I love you!

- Sister Shumway

Monday, August 8, 2016

letter from Alyssa - August 8, 2016

scripture this week: "For the eternal purposes of the Lord shall roll on, until all his promises shall be fulfilled." - Moroni 8:22

This week was another good week. We worked hard and did all we could.

The Galbraith family had us over for dinner. Brother Galbraith comes to sacrament meeting about half the time, his wife isn't a member and neither are his 2 sons. But he's an excellent chef and had us over. It was really neat because one of his sons ate and went upstairs, but the other stayed for a little while. He even stood up and apologized for having to leave, but that he had finals to study for that he had coming up in 2 days. We told him that it was alright and good luck, then we asked Brother Galbraith if we could share a spiritual message with them, and that son then changed his mind and stayed for the message. He even participated in talking about Heavenly Father's love and the many blessings in our lives. Then we did leave and Brother Galbraith came up to us at church to say hi. Dinner was also fantastic, I've found a lot of things that I didn't like before the mission that now I love, one of them being salmon and shrimp and most fish (that's not too exotic). - That's what we had for dinner... so it does relate haha.

Often when we're tracting we don't get much opportunity. Common response is usually people that have heard of the Book of Mormon but nothing more than that, they mostly believe in or at least know of Christ, and they don't know anyone in their community or street to refer us to. But Tony was outside unloading groceries with his kids, we offered to help and he didn't need it, but he said we could come back and share a message about Christ with his family.

We had about 20 minutes or so before dinner on our way from a meeting one day, tough timing because it's not enough to try to stop by someone to teach a lesson or to tract someone out to teach a lesson, but too much to just sit in front of the members' house for 15 minutes before dinner. So we stopped at the parking lot and walked around for a few minutes to talk to people. No one was there. Except these 2 girls in a car that just parked after driving through taco bell, so we waved through the window and they rolled it down to listen to us. They weren't interested but gave us a phone number of someone who might be.

Cathy (less-active) has been literally impossible to catch. She lives across the street from the bishop and stake president and they have hardly seen her, even though they've all been there for years. But we caught her outside her house and got her number! Less than a week later she moved out of the ward, but she's still somewhere in the stake. And the ward council can now call her so that's good, and just in time.

We've been trying to meet this one investigator, Addy, for the past 2 months. I don't even know what she looks like. The only response we've gotten from her is over text, she's said she'll check her schedule and then never does. Then we got this text from her this week that her niece is moving in with her and wants to meet us since she wants to serve a mission. Apparently she's a member! She's moving in soon so we're in contact and hopefully that'll get things rolling again.

This weekend we had exchanges (one down, 3 to go - for the transfer) and I was out of the area, but Sister Wimmer tracted out a building in the apartment complex of our area with her companion for the day and said they got like 10 solid potential investigators to go back on. Can't wait to find out more about them.

Kynsie, I'm so excited that you got your patriarchal blessing! I love mine and read from it every day. High five for getting it!

And don't worry Landon, I didn't forget :) I've been thinking about it a lot this week, and your question actually came in really good timing, I'll send an answer soon. THANKYOU for asking me. I'm so so happy that you and also you Ty are having these awesome experiences, especially with the temple. 

Casan and Aubrey, you're awesome too. Don't forget it! The emails you send each week are so meaningful and keep me going.

There's not a day that goes by that I don't remember how grateful I am for each of you.

- Sister Shumway
P.S. You too Mom and Dad haha, love you all.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

letter from Alyssa - August 1, 2016

This week was great, we started off the transfer strong with Sister Training Leader Council, the first one with President Clark and his wife. That was a really good meeting. I'm sure there will be lots of great changes to make this mission stronger and more effective, especially with zone conference coming up. He talked about the difference between ministering and administering, and how when we have administrative stuff in line it helps our ministry as The Lord's servants. I'm so excited to see what is in store for this mission.

There's not a whole lot to report on the work -

We got to teach Carrie, and it was a really good lesson, we taught the entire restoration and the only thing that could've gone better is if we had a member with us. She committed to read the Book of Mormon, come to church, and have us again for another discussion. Sunday morning we got a long text from her saying she wasn't going to make it to church and that she's not looking to switch religions, but that she appreciated us and thinks very highly of us. She's very sweet, but really struggling with keeping commitments. She agreed to meet with us again this week, so there's still hope but we'll see what happens.

We met Sylar tracting the other day, she accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and invited us to come back when she wasn't home alone. She's 17 and we gave her a doorstep mini-restoration lesson. And we have plans to follow up this week.

Something that the Elders want to do with us in get way involved with the youth in this ward. I think it's an awesome idea, and I told them about the pow wow activities the missionaries did with us a few years ago. We're going to try it (or something similar) and see how it goes - any ideas? Let me know! :)

This week I was studying in the Book of Mormon and looking for passages that we could share with people as we contact. I was thinking on this one scripture, 2 Nephi 25:23 "For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." (I have several more on the list to draw from, but I was also looking through these scriptures for myself too so this is what I got out of it). Later, my companion shared with me this scripture - Alma 24:11 "And now behold, my brethren, since it has been all that we could do (as we were the most lost of all mankind) to repent of all our sins and the many murders which we have committed, and to get God to take them away from our hearts, for it was all we could do to repent sufficiently before God that he would take away our stain" I love when the Spirit points out scriptural connections. And it is true, it is all I can do to repent and be reconciled to God, because His grace does have the power to save.
I wanted to share that with you this week.
Love you!

- Sister Shumway