Monday, September 26, 2016

photo - President Clark

letter from Alyssa - Sept. 26, 2016

This week one of the members told us they had an extra keyboard that hasn't been used in years, and told us to take it and put it in our apartment until I'm either transferred or go home. This is probably one of the best things someone has done to help us out! (aside from helping us find someone to teach) It's big and even has weighted keys and everything! I definitely had some gratitude prayers to say.

We met with Diane this week (somewhat less-active recent convert). She had some really good questions about prophets with conference coming up and so we had a really neat discussion about it.

Tuesday night we went on splitz with the young women and it was a huge success! Sister Wimmer and Sister Hawkins took one of the laurels to see Tracy, a former investigator from our area book, and she was home and let them in to share a spiritual message from the Bible. While I took another laurel with me to see Jackie, another investigator who was taught once several months ago but hasn't been around to meet with us since. She opened the door too! She's a senior at Tesoro High and really interested in the Book of Mormon and coming to church. She even asked if she could text us when she was free so we could come over! I think there's real potential in helping her progress.

We also met Lynn for the first time. She's a referral we received when we were first transferred here, but we were waiting for members to try and set something up. Finally we just decided to stop by and at least meet her and she was so sweet and friendly to us. We have an appointment with her today right after this for her to show us her salon, especially since Sister Wimmer is going into cosmetology after the mission.

Stacy took us out to dinner and frozen yogurt again. It was fun, Paige was there too. We may be watching some of general conference at their house this weekend. And we're looking for ways to help get them more involved or find opportunities for them to serve somehow.

On thursday, President and Sister Clark had the entire zone over to their house for a BBQ. It was really good. We also spent a little time talking about ways that we could find more opportunities to teach. I'll send a pic of President making us hamburgers haha.

Finally got in contact with the Veits too! They're a less-active part member family, and she said we could give her a call to set up a time to visit them since we caught them in the middle of making dinner.

I got to see the Novillo family! They were at an education devotional that BYU does (called Be Smart i think?) and we ran into them in the hallway of the stake center the other night. It was fun to see them again and give them hugs.

We also saw Heidi at the same devotional, she's Sydney's (our investigator) mom, and she hasn't been inside a church building in such a long time so that was huge to not only take Sydney there but to stay there with her. Sydney also came to the women's broadcast saturday.

Sister Baker told you about the musical number I got to do yesterday in church :) she's the best. She also found out through social media that it was Sister Wimmer's birthday so she showed up to church with her favorite candy. She's so good and reaching out and helping us feel loved, I'm so glad you could hear from her. But also the musical number was awesome! It was so fun, and the young woman I did it with, Elise, is a phenomenal violinist. She got a little nervous but despite what she says you couldn't even tell. I loved playing, it never gets old when the Spirit is there.

The Webbers had us over for a special dessert for Sister Wimmer. They used to have missionaries over all the time but their family has been having some challenges so it's been a while. It was great to reach out and serve them by letting them serve us. And they went all out, they were so sweet and we had a great time with them.

The Holidays also had us over, it's always so fun at their house! We always go prepared to uplift them but they uplift us even more every time.

So our ward mission leader, Brother Gaya, could really use your prayers. I'm not sure if I've brought them up yet - they're daughter, Abby (i forgot how old she is, but definitely elementary school), is in the hospital. She has seizures and other health issues, so she's being tested to find the source of her seizures and how severe they are so they can find some sort of treatment. They could be there for weeks because they're trying to make her have seizures so they can monitor and map them out. The whole ward is reaching out to help in any way they can. The Gaya's are amazing, they just keep going and won't let anything shake their faith or their decision to be happy.

SO excited for General Conference this weekend, women's broadcast was one of the best I've seen. I'll be thinking of you this week, love you all so much!

- Sister Shumway

Sunday, September 25, 2016

photo - Sept. 25, 2016

text message from a Las Flores ward member - Sept. 25, 2016

“Hi Brother Shumway. This is Denise Baker, a member in the ward your daughter is serving. I just wanted to thank you for raising such a wonderful daughter. She has blessed our ward tremendously. Today she shared a musical number in our ward for sacrament meeting and it was just beautiful. The Spirit felt today in our meeting was in large part because of her and her musical talent. We are so grateful for her sharing that talent with us as well as all the hard work she puts forth as a missionary. We love her here in Las Flores ward.”

Monday, September 19, 2016

photo - Sept. 20, 2016

FHE at the Chamberlain home
Sister Shumway
Sister Wimmer
Sister Hawkins
Elder Anthony
Elder Rasmussen
Ryan and Sydney (investigators)
Mary (member friend - red shirt)

letter from Sister Shumway - Sept. 19, 2016

This week was better than last, we're working hard and trying our best to make progress. Sister Hawkins is awesome, she has hit the ground running as a missionary, she's a wonderful companion, and loves the work. It's been a great experience to learn from each other (all 3 of us) so far.

Wednesday we got to paint Sister Jensen's walls. Her house had a leak a while ago so they had to do a bunch of stuff like tear out floors and put holes in walls. So now that most of that's patched up we helped paint the walls and had a great time. And this week she has 2 referrals, one for us and one for the Elders. Our referral wants their fence painted so we're going over to do that, and the Elders are chopping up trees for the other referral.

Sister Wimmer interviewed for cosmetology over the phone with Aveda institute (spelling-?) in Provo. It went really well and she's confident she'll be able to start in January, so I'm excited for her. Landon and Ty, you're giving your farewells on her birthday so it'll be a fun day for all of us!

Thursday night for young women we had a volleyball game. Julia Keene (investigator) taught the girls to play and she did awesome! She and her sons also came to see one of the young adults in the ward open her mission call and they loved that too. Next time we see her we're going to try to start teaching her again. But it's awesome that they're still involved with the ward.

This last weekend we FINALLY got our apartment carpets cleaned. They were so bad. Today I'm going to purge the rest of the apartment and make it shine. It feels so much better.

Sister Keawekane is doing so much better. She came up to us this time at church and set another appointment this week to play the piano and visit for a while. I'm so glad she's happier and doing better.

Sydney and Carrie were unable to meet with us this week. But we're working with the Elders and young women to help them both and help them to continue keeping commitments so they can feel the Spirit.

It's going to be another great week! I think of you all every day, love you.

- Sister Shumway

Monday, September 12, 2016

photo - Sept. 2016 - Shumway, Wimmer, Hawkins

photo - Sept. 2016 district

photo - Sept 2016

letter from Sister Shumway - Sept. 12, 2016

Wow what a week. And a pretty good start to this transfer. Sister Wimmer and I were joined by Sister Hawkins, fresh out of the MTC for not even a week yet. So this week has been really good. Now that we're not longer helping to cover Spanish we've been able to just go to work and it's been AWESOME. Even if not a whole lot has changed, or no big instance happened, it's been great to focus everything on the work in our area.

Sister Hawkins is great too. She is from Montana, a town I've never heard of, and she's going to school for Media Arts so she can be an actress for disney. She's the first missionary in her family, her dad is a convert and she has an older brother and a younger sister. She's way excited to be here.

We taught Carrie this week again, probably the best lesson she's had. We started reading the Book of Mormon with her since she hasn't on her own and she LOVED it. Absolutely loved it. We just started the first few verses of 1 Nephi 1 and she was asking questions and wanting explanations and it was great. At the end she asked if we could do it again the next day. We planned on it, but that next morning she canceled on us and didn't come to church yesterday. But she wants to meet with us again this week. The Elders are going to start teaching her son.

We met Tracy the other night. She was in our area book as a former investigator and so we stopped by. She welcomed us in and we talked with her a while before sharing a scripture with her. We were opening the Book of Mormon when she stopped us and insisted we only read from the Bible. But she was sweet and open with us. She also has diabetic ulcers on her feet so it's really tough for her to walk and she's home all day so we'll go by again.

We had lunch with Stacy Olzak and her daughter Paige right after email last tuesday. They took us to P.F. Chang's, and it was really good. Stacy opened up more about why she personally doesn't come to church anymore, most of it was the classic reasons about imperfect people. That and her husband respects peoples' beliefs but doesn't like organized religion. So we're going over soon to introduce our new companion and continue to befriend her and work with people in the ward to reach out to her.

Finally met Jackie! After 3 months of trying her. She was a former investigator given to us by the ward mission leader when we first came to this area. We have an appointment with her and her mom tonight to get to know them better and hopefully start teaching them regularly.

We also had dinner with the Keawekane family. Brother K is hilarious and so much fun! But Sister K is really quiet, and recently she's been struggling, especially with self-worth and just being happy. She plays the piano by ear really well so at dinner we asked her to play for us and overall we had a really good time. Their son, John, also came and sat in on the lesson, and he hasn't been to church in a really long time. Later that night we saw Brother K at the church and he thanked us for coming and explained these things to us that we didn't know before. So we're going over to see them more often and help them feel the Spirit more. It's awesome to get feedback from people who see the difference you help make.

Those are the highlights, love and miss you all so much!

- Sister Shumway

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

photo - Sept. 5, 2016

Sister Shumway's responses to some questions - Sept. 2016

Alyssa's responses to some questions from her siblings:

How has a mission blessed your life the most?

- Number one is I've grown to have much more of an appreciation and love for my family (that's you!). Being away from home of course does that, but seeing other missionaries' families and families that I work with here has deepened my sense of gratitude and I can't help but express it constantly, especially in my prayers. Not only that, but as I study the doctrine of the gospel, I realize more fully that it's purpose is for families. That's what it is all about, and where lasting happiness comes from.
- Going to the temple is literally life-changing. And especially as a missionary, I focus on the temple in all aspects of what I do. This of course directly relates to families! And I am comforted continually as I remember my temple covenants with Heavenly Father.
- My life is better. I've learned to discipline myself, form good habits, and get rid of bad ones. Prioritizing everything there is to do is key! And applying gospel principles comes naturally and gets better as I practice doing so. I realize the importance of planning, setting goals, and using time wisely, as well as discerning/avoiding distractions.
- Learning the workings of the Spirit. The mission does not do that automatically like it seems, you must work for and pray for it with all that you've got, but the mission is great training grounds and puts you in an awesome environment to practice.
Mom Earl and Dad Earl sent me this quote that I remember often when I think of what I've learned from the mission - "Faith is the power. Love is the motive. Obedience is the price. Spirit is the Key. Christ is the reason." So simple, yet so much in these truths.
I have asked a few exemplary sisters here that I look up to to write a little about why they decided to serve a mission so that I could send that to you. Each have totally different experiences and come from separate walks of life, but I think you'll enjoy reading that from them when I get it to you. :)

What most reminds you of Texas in California?

Not much. I mean, it's still the same country most of it is too similar to compare but at the same time it feels so different. A few small things came to mind though - There's a street in the Las Flores ward boundaries called "Meandering Trail" and I *think* Dad's office is on Meandering or Meandering Way or something? I still think of that though. My companion says I should say the Cane's just off a major highway exit we take often because I've told her the story about our road trip stops there and so that's what she thinks of when she sees that big sign. And my roommate is from Odessa, TX and she says all the bunnies here, especially on the temple grounds actually.

How do you recognize the fullness of forgiveness through Christ's atonement in your life?

Really good question. That's something I'm also working on trying to learn about, but I can share with you a few things that I understand about recognizing forgiveness from Christ. When I think of being able to feel forgiven, I think of how I would want to feel in the temple and if I would be able to feel that way now or if there's something that would keep me from being able to feel so if I were in the temple. That was worded a little complicated - but does that make sense? A good way to think of it is by the scripture Helaman 4:24, that 'the Spirit of the Lord doth not dwell in unholy temples.' You have the Holy Ghost, and if He's with you than you must be holy, which means you must be cleansed through the Atonement. Satan wants you to feel like you're not forgiven and cannot be, even if he doesn't tell you that directly he can tempt you to feed that idea and believe it. Sometimes it's difficult to discern whether or not it's Satan enticing you to get in the way of your own progression that way, or rather that there still is more you need to do to be clean. The Spirit can help with that as explained in Moroni 7:12-13. I know that if you are doing everything you can to retain a remission of sins, you have every reason to trust and have confidence in Heavenly Father's promise that through Christ you can be cleansed and changed. Not only covered up, or paid for, or something like that but literally changed and improved. Remember those things you know you need to do, especially prayer, as well as asking for help if you aren't sure you know what those things are. I can share more with you if you still wonder about this, and you and I can learn more about it together. What have been your thoughts and feelings as you've pondered this question?

Love you! You're incredible!

- Sister Shumway

letter from Alyssa - Sept. 6, 2016

Romans 5:3-5 for this week: "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also:knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."

Alright on to a new transfer! So here's what wrapped up this last one with this past week -

Sydney asked her parents if she could be baptized, and they said their answer for now wasn't yes but wasn't no. So we are going to work with Sydney on personal progress (that she's already done a lot of actually on her own) to keep her progressing in the gospel as much as she can for now. She's awesome, her testimony is strong and will carry her to the day she does get baptized as long as she keeps it up.

The Olzaks (less-active/part-member/recent convert all in one family) had us over for breakfast, Stacy made french toast with hawaiian bread and vanilla in the egg mix. It was really really good. We had a really good time and they're taking us to P.F. Chang's for lunch today right after i send this email.

We got to see Sister Wimmer's twin sister Eliza on friday! She was passing through on her way to San Diego with a friend and President Clark gave us permission to go to dinner with her. It was really fun, Sister Wimmer and Eliza are best friends and so we had a great time.

I saw the Novillos (part-member family in the Wood Canyon ward) at the temple music night on sunday. That was really fun, they came over and found me to give me hugs! Made me feel loved and I'm so glad they came.

Tell me how the BYU game goes this weekend Ty! Sounds like this last game was exciting!

New transfer, but staying in the Las Flores ward (YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!:) plot twist - WITH Sister Wimmer for a 3rd transfer :D AND we're co-training a brand new missionary who's coming to the field today. Just like you dad! Training at the end! SO excited. Miracles are bound to happen and I can't wait to see how much more my testimony grows. Makes me so happy.

Last week I finished the Book of Mormon. And I'm starting it again. There have been so many testimonies given of the Book of Mormon, the power by which it was brought forth, and many other truths that build on it. It is true. I know it, and I believe it with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. The moment I finished as i was sitting there pondering, I was surprised at the feeling of approval and love from Heavenly Father, like He was congratulating me or smiling at me as if I had accomplished something extraordinary, which I didn't expect. It made me feel happy (like real happiness) that He was happy. And I express gratitude for the Book of Mormon in my prayers to Him! I have come to know Jesus Christ a little better, and love Him as I strive to come closer to being like Him. He is wonderful to help me change and progress in that process of becoming. 

Love you! Praying for you! Miss you! Love you!

- Sister Shumway