Monday, October 31, 2016

letter from Alyssa - Oct. 31, 2016

Landon and Tyler, you guys are so much better at emailing than I am haha! I love reading your emails, they're the best and so much fun. :D

So throughout the week I jot down little notes of what to write about, so by Monday I just look at the list and talk about each thing. This week we were so busy that all I have is a list of names. It's awesome. Let me tell you about it -

Sister Ferrel gave one of the best trainings this last district meeting I've ever seen, and this was her first district meeting so she hadn't even ever seen a training before! (except how they do it in the MTC) She was confident, used time perfectly, held our attention the whole time, and helped us out a lot with our teaching skills with the practices and discussions she included. Wish you could've seen it, she really is an incredible missionary.

Tara has set a baptism date for the 26th! It will probably have to be moved since we realized that was Thanksgiving weekend and not many people will be here... But she's getting baptized :) She was out of town this weekend so we'll see her again this week.

We met with Craig twice, I don't know if I already told you about him but Sister Ferrel found him at the free lunch thing we do at OCC (tell me if I haven't told you about what that is... I'm pretty sure I have) her 2nd day in the field, and he gave us his info and set a return appointment. We taught him the first 2 lessons this last week at the institute building and he really likes it, we have another appointment tomorrow to pass him to the elders but he accepted a baptismal invitation if he finds out what we teach is true for himself.

Tiffany (less-active) met with us, we're a little concerned because she wasn't at church this last sunday again but she's been friendly to us, let us come teach her the missionary discussions, and has been inviting her friend to institute. So we think she's doing pretty good? Working on it.

Tanya is one of those investigators that says she'll never be baptized and isn't really interested but asks all these questions and says things like 'I just want to learn about it' that indicate she's more interested than she probably realizes. It's awesome though especially since she's a referral from a friend, so it's such a good situation for her to possibly progress more in the gospel. I bet if she reads the Book of Mormon and opens up a little more she'll want to be baptized.

Lucy (recent convert) had us over for lunch. :) She's getting her patriarchal blessing soon. So cool.

So that phone call we got at church last week, with the voicemail that said "Hi, my name is Yessica and I'm interested in the missionary discussions, call me back!" We met with her this week, she set a baptismal date for December 3rd! So it went really well.

Sierra turned 18 last weekend, we meet with her later this week to discuss a baptismal date for her too.

Randallyn had her baptismal interview yesterday, and she's all set and ready to go for saturday! She's so golden, last week we taught her then entire lesson 4 in one sitting under an hour. 0.0 and it turned out great for her, but I never expected to do that and I'm not sure it'll happen again.

We got a call from a member asking us to teach her friend Ruth who wants to have the missionary discussions. :D Member missionary work is where it's at.

After contacting at a park, we were walking to our car and this man was nearby with his husky. Sister Ferrel and Sister Edgar loved it and had to go pet it (they love dogs), I followed of course. We were a few minutes late to our dinner, but the man's name was Dave and he gave us his number so we could tell him more about the Book of Mormon!

Sister Ferrel was going through our area book looking for former investigators or potentials to follow up with. And after many phone calls, set up 2 appointments with 2 different girsl, Sayde and Holly, that still live here and are interested in meeting with us again! We also stopped by a guy named Damian who didn't have a phone number, he wasn't home but his dad, Victor opened, told us he'd give Damian our number and that we were welcome to stop by and try again, and he gave us a referral for his mom and sister down the street.

Finally got in with Peau (less-active), Sister Edgar has been trying to see her for almost 3 months. Peau wants to come back to church! She's struggling in her situation and with the word of wisdom, but she wants us to come regularly every week to teach her the missionary discussions, and she has a couple friends she wants to introduce to the church. She was teaching us principles about missionary work that took me months of being a full-time missionary to learn! I think she feels a little hopeless deep down, like she's gone too far to really make it back and change, but she really does desire to come back and change, so we're going to help her make that happen.

The Southcoast sisters (our roommates in another ward) gave us a referral to follow up with named Brenda.

We were contacting in the park again and talked to Juan, who was fishing at the pond. He surprised me with how interested he was in the Book of Mormon and our message about Jesus Christ and the Restoration. He has 4 kids ages 6-12, 2 boys and 2 girls, and gave us his number so we could come teach his family.

Guess what? Micha and Melania are getting baptized on the 19th! Remember Janette, the one I was teaching with Sister Loveridge in Aliso Viejo? She's not a member, her boyfriend, Jake, is less-active but returning, Jake's daughter Taylor just got baptized a couple months ago, and Janette has 4 kids, Melania (9), Micha(8), Chief(4), and Cruise(4), all 6 of them live together. Jake's sister lived in the ward we were serving in and invited them all to come learn from the missionaries. Then I got transferred and they were all eventually passed to the elders in Capistrano. But I got a phone call that the baptism is happening! They're getting closer it's so awesome! Sorry if not much of that made sense, it's one of the best things ever to hear about the progress of those you've taught and helped.

Today is going to be fun. Started the day with breakfast and studies together with the district, Then all p-day stuff to get done until dinner with the bishop, and then we have to be in early so the zone is doing our own trunk-or-treat. It'll be great! Happy Halloween!!
Hope you have lots of fun :D Love you!

- Sister Shumway

P.S. Casan - don't give up piano! I'm so happy you love it! I would LOVE to play with you when I get back! What are some of your favorite songs? Like any songs, and also church songs/hymns?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Photo taken and sent by the Institute Director, Brian Andre, in Newport Beach. This was his message with the photo: "Your daughter was transferred into the YSA Ward and to my Institute last week . . . she is one of the best missionaries ever to come to California! Thanks for sharing her with us."

Monday, October 24, 2016

letter from Sister Shumway - Oct. 24, 2016

This may be the longest email you've ever gotten. Or at least with the most things to talk about. That's how awesome this week has been.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOMORROW KYNSIE!! Email me some dessert. :D

Update on the work first:

We were able to get one last dinner with the Galbraiths (less-active and part-member family), when they found out I was being transferred they wanted me over for the 'last supper'. It was really good food and so nice of them to have us over. I hope they keep seeing the missionaries.

We picked up 3 new investigators this week!!! Randalyn was passed to us from the Costa Mesa Elders in a lesson on the Doctrine of Christ. We invited her to come to the YSA ward since she was found and began taking the lessons in the family ward, but she already has a baptism date set for November 5th, so we will finish off the last 2 lessons, get her baptized, and start on the recent convert lessons with her now. She came to church yesterday and is right on track for baptism!

Sierra belongs to a part-member family. She has 2 older brothers and a few younger sibilngs, her mom is less-active and her dad is not a member. One of her older brothers is less-active, the other isn't a member either. Their dad has a rule that the kids can decide to get baptized if they want when they're 18. Sierra turns 18 this saturday and came into church last week saying 'baptize me!' She's also taking the lessons, and once she talks to her parents we'll set a date with her too.

Brenda texted us asking if we were still planning on dinner the other night, and we were, and she said she was having a friend over too! So we prepared a thought to share but we weren't really sure what to share, and we've had pretty much no practice teaching together as a companionship and we didn't know the friend she brought so it was a little shaky and scattered to start off, but turned out well because the friend, Tanya, was asking a bunch of great questions. It's really interesting because she kept saying 'don't get your hopes up on converting me!' even when we directly asked her to take the missionary discussions, which she said yes to, because she was asking all the right questions. We have an appointment to go back and teach her the restoration this week. Brenda is a natural missionary! I thought she was a RM but she's actually a convert, and is so excited to help us with Tanya.

Tara took the lessons last year, had a date set, was coming to church, everything was solid, and then she dropped off the face of the earth and we don't know why. Then she just showed up to church (the same day Sierra did, right before I got here) saying she wanted to be taught again. She came to church again, met with bishop, and asked us when we could meet again before we had the chance to ask her! Last week we met with her and invited her to be baptized. She said she wanted to, and we had a good discussion asking her questions about what to expect and where she stood spiritually about it. We're meeting with her tonight and planning on setting a date for next month.

Tiffany started coming back to church! (actually a little bit before I got here, but she came again and is pretty much set on being reactivated) She also brought a friend to institute, Sara, who's planning on coming again this week. We are planning on inviting her to take the missionary discussions when she does. Tiffany is awesome for coming back and bringing a friend with her!

Ashley is less-active, and comes to the institute building to study every wednesday afternoon. She's super nice and loves missionaries, she's really cool and fun to visit with. We're practicing the lessons with her starting this week, she agreed to 'help us out' so we could practice teaching. I think it'll be good though since we're already great friends, I'm hoping she'll respond well.

Lucy is amazing. She has been a member for only a few months, and sober from alcohol not much longer than that. All she wants to do is serve and reach out to others. She just got a calling and her patriarchal blessing recommend, she's always texting us about good things that're happening in her life and the success she's getting at school. It's so neat to work with her and be there for her.

Sarah had us over for lunch, she makes really good stuffed peppers and showed me how. She's a recent convert, and we're going to start reading the Book of Mormon with her because she wants to better understand it and love it more now that she's had all the new member lessons. She's so nice and loves missionaries. :)

Tess also loves missionaries, she's been baptized for a few months and takes us out to dinner all the time. She's awesome.

Every thursday Brother Andre (the institute and mission prep teacher here) has a free lunch that he provides with a Mormon message spiritual thought. So about an hour before the thought, we go onto the school campus across the street and invite everyone to it. We had out cards for it and usually get about 200 invites out, and this last thursday we had about 8-9 non-members come! They were super nice and a few of them are coming again this week! Leslie, and Cynthia, Sharlene, James, Brent and Christian, and a couple others. Some of the members come too and talk with them, and invite them to more activities! It's such a great tool, especially in finding YSA aged people.

We talked to someone who was not a YSA on the street, she said she was interested in hearing more about our message because she's been thinking a lot about God and the purpose of life since she just had a baby 3 months ago. That was a cool conversation to have.

During weekly planning, we were looking at out list of potential investigators and decided to give 2 particular ones a call. Right before we picked up the phone, Sister Ferrel had the idea to pray first. So we did and specifically prayed that this would go well (I think we asked for more specific things but I forgot...). Then we gave it a try and Raven answered and set an appointment to meet with us! We then said another prayer, thanking Heavenly Father and then asking for the same things we did for Raven, gave Craig a call, and he answered and set up an appointment too! We cheered after hanging up the phone and said another gratitude prayer.

We got a call in the middle of Relief Society yesterday, and missed it but the voicemail said, "Hi I'm looking for the Sister Missionaries, my name is [couldn't understand it...] and I'm interested in taking the discussions. Give me a call back, thanks bye!" What it the world. I'm so excited!

We also have another 3 referrals to contact, and one other potential investigator who recognized us from the last time we went shopping where she works. There's just never enough time in the day. It's GREAT. :D

So that's the work, here's more on the week -

Crushed the elders in pool last week. Best way to leave my mark in the zone right before getting transferred.

Tuesday was the best day ever! I taught seminary in Las Flores, got transferred that afternoon, and went to institute that night! Seminary AND institute in one day!!

Sister Weston is incredible. She is the definition of a consecrated missionary. She was Sister Edgar's companion and we took her to the airport wednesday morning. I've never even served in the same zone with her and I miss her! She is so good at helping people feel loved and happy. And a super star missionary that this mission will never forget.

Sister Edgar and Sister Ferrel are the best companions I could have asked for. And I'm in a zone with Sister Phinney! Sister Ferrel is from Maryland, near D.C., went to BYUH for 2 years before coming out, and has hit the ground running and has so many great ideas on how to do the work, even though she's been in the field only a week. She's always pointing out the best things in every situation and in me and Sister Edgar. And she's so happy! It's contagious. Sister Edgar is the sweetest companion I've ever had. She's a convert of less than 2 years and the only missionary in her family. And she's from Denton, TX! She's been out for 3 months, just finished her own training. The 3 of us have fun together and work so well. I couldn't have asked for a better situation for my last transfer, I believe that Heavenly Father was really listening to my prayers before this last transfer.

Here's a cultural thing i can tell you about - they're now having me drive a 2017 Chevy Malibu. It had 16 miles on it just last week when it was driven off the lot. o.o

Mission prep was so fun! And we go every week!! I got to work with a girl who is getting ready to leave for her mission in... dang it I forgot. And another girl who's finished her papers and waiting for her call. Mission prep is the best, it gets you so motivated to go out and implement all that you learn and practice.

It's rained harder today than I've seen in over a year and a half! It was pouring this morning. I was in heaven it felt so good. Now it's overcast but constantly drizzling. I love it.

President Frances (spelling-?) came and gave a fireside last night. He was just released as Mission President of the New York Rochester mission this last summer. We went because we're in YSA now :D and also Brother Andre asked me to play a musical number (I played piano, Sister Ferrel sang, and Sister Edgar played Clarinet, another reason this companionship is inspired:). The best part was when he was talking about the sacred grove and the Hill Cumorah pageant, I thought of you Landon and Ty the whole time!!

We got such a big week coming up. So many set appointments and plans, I have wayyy too much to thank Heavenly Father for. It's the best feeling.

Love you all!

- Sister Shumway

Friday, October 21, 2016

letter from Alyssa - October 17, 2016

Wow I feel like I just received a huge hug after reading each of your emails!

Update on the work and the week -

On monday I was on exchanges with Sister Baker (MTC companion) and Sister Atchley (her current companion) for most of p-day since Sister Hawkins had a long hair appointment an Sister Wimmer could stay at the Ulta store all day. So they went and I was with the first 2 sisters I mentioned all day long except at dinner. Then that night we exchanged and I stayed in Las Flores with Hermana de Haan and my companions went to other areas. Then Tuesday night we exchanged again and I stayed in Las Flores with Sister Hobbs, with my companions in other areas. So I basically started out the first half of the week 3 days straight without my regular companions. Longest I've gone by far! It was different but so much fun! Sometimes exchanges seem a little tedious to plan and prepare for, and even thinking about going out to do the work since one missionary doesn't know the area and yeah basically it weighs as kind of a burden looking forward to them, but then exchanges always turn out so well and so much fun! I learn a lot, it's like a spiritual boost even though it can be hard. Can't really explain it, and don't know entirely why, but I do know it contributed a lot to a great week.

We finally met with Carrie again! I think the first time this transfer. She's kind of flaky, she'll make solid commitments and it's clear she understands them, and I have so much confidence in her with each lesson, and then she doesn't show up to church or read or things like that. But we are loving her and working with her. We think we've made progress in having her commit to help her son, Quincy, keep his commitments (that way she will too). She really does want to do that, I think she cares a lot more for him than she does for herself. She's expressed that in a way that she basically doesn't care what happens to her, she just wants her son to be happy and successful. He wants to be baptized and serve a mission. And he reads the Book of Mormon. The biggest challenge is just getting them to church. But we had a good lesson this last week still!

Zone Training Meeting was great. The zone leaders asked me to give a training on inviting the Spirit in all aspects of the work. I thought it was a pretty intimidating topic since there's sooo much (almost too much) to work with, so I focused on inviting the Spirit in finding and inviting people to listen to the message we have to share (so basically in contacting/tracting). I started off by introducing the training and asking the missionaries to find the principles in the things we would study and practice that they could apply to all aspects of the work themselves. It was fantastic, one of the best ones I got to do. And most of it wasn't even me! (that's probably why:) there was a lot of discussion and then participation in the following role play. We practiced promising blessings of the gospel that we've experienced in our lives on a doorstep. I challenged them to find a different approach with every individual they talk to next time they go contacting, and to list out their blessings they've received from the gospel beforehand. Tied it together with my testimony and contacting this week has been a fun experience! It's neat that there's still new things to try and opportunities to step out of your comfort zone in ways you hadn't thought of before even at this point in the mission.

We caught Annika (less-active) at home, and guess what? She quit smoking! She did it by starting vaping... but she's working on getting off that now too. She talked with us for over an hour and I think the more time we spend with her the closer she'll come to wanting to have the Spirit in her life more. She feels a ton of guilt and hopelessness with mistakes she's felt in the past, but we are helping her to feel loved and when we do, she sometimes says things that highlight her own testimony of truths in ways she probably doesn't yet realize. So cool.

One of the best parts of the week: I got to teach seminary on wednesday! Sister Hobbs was with me and thrown into it last second so we had hardly any time to coordinate teaching together, and also she wasn't feeling to great at the start of the day so I was mostly on my own. But I got so excited! We talked about missionary work and the Atonement, quoting from Preach My Gospel in the first chapter where it says that as our understanding of Jesus Christ's Atonement increases, so does our desire to share the gospel. Probably my very favorite line in the whole thing. We then tied it to missionary work of course and discussed Elder Oaks' talk from the last conference. We challenged the students to do the 3 things he said would work for any member missionary. It was awesome! Best way to start the day! No wonder it was such a great day. (Then I got a few minutes to say hello later :) sorry I was so awkward haha... I was just so happy:)

So our plans/expectations were totally flipped upside-down when I got a call from the assistants on friday and they said, "Sister Shumway, on behalf of President Clark, would you be willing to accept the call/assignment to train next transfer?" I almost asked them if they knew I was already training, but I just accepted it and that's all I knew for the next day and a half. Crazy! That was the 2nd to last thing we expected to happen. (First was if they decided to transfer all 3 of us out. Thankfully they didn't do that. But We thought for some reason that if anyone was getting transferred it'd probably be Sister Wimmer) We threw around a bunch of ideas, like maybe I would re-open Dana Point and Capistrano (my first area, no longer sisters there for now) or finish Sistre Crosset's training and go back to Live Oak Canyon with her. Or train Sister Van Den Bron, a sister who went home last year and is coming back. We had no idea. Then transfer calls came the next night and we still don't have the entire story but we have most of it. I am being transferred for my last transfer! I'm going to the Newport Coast YSA ward to be companions with Sister Edgar AND a new missionary. That's the part of the story we don't yet know, I have no idea who the new missionary is yet, not even her name. Sister Edgar just finished her training, which means she's been out for 3 months, or 2 transfers. Why they want to pull me out of a training trio and put me in a new one in an entirely different area? No idea. But I guess that's where I'm supposed to be! This means I'll have served in every single zone in the mission except for Irvine (funny, the zone the mission is named after) (I've served in San Clemente, Rancho Santa Margarita, Laguna Niguel, Mission Viejo, even Spanish, and now Newport Beach). I've never served in Newport, and I've never served in YSA, it'll all be so new and probably fly by.

Because I'm leaving, we got big plans coming up! Last night Brother Holiday made us this Finnish dessert from his mission because of the special occasion that I was being transferred. It was weird, but not bad, like melted strawberry flavored whipped cream. It's so fun to try new things. Today we have dinner at the Galbraiths (less-actives that asked us to come for dinner before I go, best cook I've ever met), they're making us a Korean BBQ. Tomorrow we were going to get together with Stacy (less-active) be she has to leave out of town last minute. And the best part is that Sister Smith wants us to come and teach seminary tomorrow before I go! :D It's going to be a fun week, I hardly even know what to expect.

By the way, thankyou Grandma and Grandpa and Mom Earl and Dad Earl for your letters and emails! I can feel your love and prayers and I wish I could express to you how much that means to me! I think of you EVERYDAY and look forward to seeing you again, and I'm sooooo grateful for your encouragement and support and love!

Love you :)

- Sister Shumway

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Monday, October 10, 2016

photo - Oct. 8, 2016

Sister Shumway and companions with President Hobbins (counselor in the mission presidency)

letter from Alyssa - Oct. 10, 2016

Another week! By the way, Brother Mark Hobbins is in the mission presidency. He lives in the Live Oak Canyon ward and served there as high councilor over missionary work while I served in that ward last year. He's fantastic and a wonderful friend! He was going to Plano to see one of his grandkids baptized so I gave him your info to see what he could do, whether it was just a text or even a drop by. So glad you could hear from him! He's played a key role in helping me succeed as a missionary.

Jackie was home and we had a great discussion with her again. This time I was with my companions (last time was YW splitz) so they got to meet her and get to know her a little better. We challenged her to read 3 Nephi 11 and we have an appointment with her and her mom this week.

We finished staining Robin's fence, and now we get to do the fun part and go back to follow up and try to teach her this week.

Picked up a new investigator - Nicole, she wants her daughter baptized (who's 13) even though she didn't specify into our church, but so she wants us to come over for dinner, hopefully this weekend. We plan to start the discussions with her too.

Mission Leadership Council was awesome, President Hobbins and President Galland gave trainings on inviting the Spirit in any scenario and also having power to convince. It was neat how they went together. President Clark also trained on the importance of the Book of Mormon and how it can be preparatory for us for anything that lies ahead.

Young women's was fun, we had a chocolate tasting party. One of the chocolates had poprocks and cajun (is that what it is?) pepper in it. Fun night.

Speaking of weird foods, the store bought pie that the Julanders had after dinner the other night had jalapenos in it. It was a mistake but funny to find out, Brother Julander was the first to take a bite so he saved us from having too.

We also had a night of Korean food, Brother Stromberg served us a bunch of cool things from his mission. Most of it was really good, this sweet flavored beef with rice, and sushi, and some weird but good sort of noodles, spinach, and bean sprouts, and dumplings, it was a lot of fun to try but the only thing I didn't like was the kim-chi (don't think that's the right spelling...), which is basically fermented cabbage in hot sauce. But I tried it! Just to say I did.

We tracted into Oscar and Estephanie, who we ended up passing to the spanish hermanas. And we found out they are now new investigators and coming to church!

We had exchanges and so I was in the YSA ward for a day, we got to teach 2 members preparing for missions, and then we shared one of the missionary discussions with a member of the bishopric. Which was SO COOL. I think the Spirit was most strong in that experience this week.

The Fischingers opened their door! It's been about 2 months. She was so nice and we plan to go back.

Sorry to be brief, we got a lot on our plate this week with exchanges, transfers, starting 'MyPlan', and a few other things I forgot at the moment but I have written down. So excited to hear how this week goes for you all! I know I say it a lot but I love you soooooooo much!!

- Sister Shumway

Monday, October 3, 2016

photo - Oct. 3, 2016 - eating a Korean dinner

letter from Alyssa - October 3, 2016

It's been a pretty eventful week!

The Work -

Splitz with the Young Women is turning out to be so successful. I know it'll take work to keep it up, but it always ends up being a great night. I took Kylee with me to try a few potentials. Jackie wasn't home, but she did text back later this week and wants to meet with us tomorrow night. A couple others weren't home so we left notes on their door. But one of our referrals, Thad and Jocelyn, were very responsive. One night last week we were going to try and meet a part member family we didn't know, and we talked to Brother Isakson who was out on the street playing with his kids, on our way up to the door. He pointed out this house around the corner saying they used to meet with missionaries. The Elders' area book and ours alike had no info on it. But we tried it on splitz tonight, and they were in the middle of getting their kids to bed but wanted us to come back this week. They took our number too so we will follow up! The best part though was after, we ran out of people to stop by and still had plenty of time so we went contacting around the apartment complex. Kylee loved it! She was a little nervous, but most people were encouraging or at least courteous even though they weren't interested. We handed out a copy of the Book of Mormon and got a solid referral to pass to the Spanish hermanas. We also contacted someone that the Elders had contacted and set up a lesson with for friday, and they told us they were excited and still planning on seeing them! It was so fun to include Kylee and show her a small part of what it's like to be a missionary out working, both of us felt so good and were so happy even though we couldn't really explain it. What a cool little experience.

We also met Robin, Sister Jensen's neighbor, and have plans to paint her fence this week. I guess missionaries have tried going by to offer her a gospel message before, but maybe this will help soften her heart and let the Holy Ghost continue preparing her.

Along with Thad and Jocelyn, and Robin, we have received 3 other referrals! :

Laura was given to us by a member in another ward. She lives in our boundaries and she's going through a lot, her marriage is struggling and her grandma has been in and out of the ICU lately. She's going out of town to see her but gets back next week. We gave her a call and she was really grateful for it, and wants to meet us after she's back in town.

Amanda was also given to us by a member in another ward. All we really have is a phone number and address and plan on contacting her today since she doesn't work mondays.

And we got a notification on about Carllie. She was a self-referral, probably over, and requested some info from missionaries in person. We have a phone number and address and plans to contact her today too!

Lynn's appointment last monday canceled, we're trying to get a hold of her again and set something up.

Diane (recent convert) is continually making progress! She meets with us early in the morning because it's the only time she's able to. She also asks us to study things ahead of time like gospel principles lessons and questions she has. She loves discussing the gospel and we have an appointment with her to talk about general conference this week.

We had dinner with the Childress family, the dad is less-active and the mom comes with her 3 young girls. They all love church, but they just get really busy as a young family. So we keep in touch with them, I think one of the best things we can do for them is reach out to and get to know their girls more, so it was great to have that opportunity again. Sister Childress wasn't able to come to the relief society activity that night so we stopped by afterward and brought her some goodies from it. It got her girls excited and she really appreciated it.

We stopped by the Galbraith's since it's been a long time (less-active part member), they're going to have us over for dinner again this week or next. They want to before the next transfer just in case one of us gets moved.

Other cool stuff this week -

I got to give a really cool training in district meeting. I wish I had had a little more time, but it was on how to better use the Book of Mormon in our finding efforts. We turned to Preach My Gospel for ideas to practice and have ready for the Spirit to draw upon, and then role played and discussed them. We practiced contacting each other with inspiring questions, teaching about the plan of salvation or restoration and blessings of the gospel, bearing testimony, sharing why we came out on missions, sharing scripture passages or describing chapters and stories in the Book of Mormon, it was hard but a lot of fun. I closed it with my testimony of the Book of Mormon and that if we want the Spirit to help us have power in our efforts to get better at this, we not only need to be practicing but also we need to be reading and searching the Book of Mormon ourselves daily. My testimony was strengthened as I bore it to my district!

The relief society activity was really fun. It was a friendship market, so everyone brought stuff to share (food, anything from sugary baked goods to produce and seasonal things) and of course the missionaries always get the leftovers haha, we're a little too well-taken care of sometimes. :)

Got to go to the temple one last time! (Next temple trip is the transfer after I leave) I love the temple. I love to see it too, but really I just love the temple. :D

General Conference is always so wonderful. I could go on for days. But I'll share one cool experience: I had 2 questions I wanted to bring to conference, and couldn't decide (I know I could've brought both, but I really wanted a focus) so I decided to bring one to the temple and one to conference. The one I brought to the temple was a question about who Christ really is, and how I can get to know Him personally, not only about Him. I went to the temple with that, and I loved being in the temple, but I felt like I didn't really grow much or understand any more about who Christ is than I did before. I didn't feel bad about it, or even that I missed anything. So I put that question on the back burner (didn't even intentionally bring it to conference) and added it to my ever-growing list of study topics I'll get to sometime in this life. Then Elder Bednar stood up and spoke at conference, and he may as well have said "Sister Shumway, I know you have a question about this so I'm going to talk about it even though you've kind of let it go at the moment." It was SO COOL. I took notes that I plan to act on.

Pretty much everyone in south orange county knows that The Lord's very best are about to report to the MTC tomorrow!! I am thrilled for you to serve, Landon and Tyler! I can hardly wait to watch The Lord's plan continue to unfold this coming week and with all that will follow because of it. BY THE WAY I need your emails. I'm guessing landon.shumway and tyler.shumway both ? That's usually how they do it but you never know. I love you too!!!!!!!!

And Kynsie, and Aubrey, and Casan, and Mom and Dad. I love you guys too. :D

- Sister Shumway