Monday, November 28, 2016

One of the best photos of her mission

last email from Sister Shumway - Nov. 28, 2016

Hey Casan, I'm feeling better so no worries! I'm SO excited to see you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kynsie - you're awesome! Thanks for the email, hope my response sent :)

Aubrey - I totally thought of you while I was at the hospital this week. You would've been proud of how well I handled them drawing my blood. I can't wait to see you real soon!(:

Elder Shumway - My plane is scheduled to land in Dallas at midnight wednesday/thursday your time. It's amazing to hear the experiences you're having and how different they are to mine, but so similar at the same time! You're learning so much faster than I have! You're so awesome. Thanks for the pictures, and I'll email you better this next week when I'm back home, including what my new email will be haha.

Elder Shumway - My plane is scheduled to land in Dallas at midnight wednesday/thursday your time. Man I know you're tough but you seem to have had more than your fair share of health difficulties! Allergies, and your hand, and all sorts of stuff. I know that's not nearly enough to take you down but it sure doesn't make it fun. And yet you're still so grateful! You are inspiring. Thankyou for your sweet words and awesome emails, I'll also email you more this next week along with my new email.

Mom and Dad - President and Sister Clark (and also Elder Finlayson) are outstanding. It means more than I could say that they would talk to you about me like that, on top of all they do for me. I could never pay them back, I just do all I can to pay it forward. They are always there anytime and they go way beyond the bar set in all circumstances. I look to them as examples of how to become more Christlike. And I look forward to the day you get to meet them! THANKYOU for you prayers (and everything else:), they worked! I know they did.

Alright so update on the week and a few fun things to go with it -

Tanya is doing great. Her progress has been slow since she's not familiar with Jesus Christ or the Bible at all. But her questions indicate that she really is elect, even though she doesn't realize it! She also got us these huge, amazing cookies with belgium chocolate warm from the bakery.

Sierra is doing great too. We finished the commandments lesson with her so we're going to start teaching her friend hopefully, and she can help us teach until they're both ready to be baptized. Best way to know an investigator's conversion (or to help a less active) : their desire/willingness to share the gospel.

We had a great lesson with Sabrina (active). She wanted to know more about women in the Book of Mormon, so we studied ahead and that ended up being one of my favorite lessons of the week. We took kind of a twist on it though and spoke more about family and the Book of Mormon. I referred a lot to the document you sent me Dad! You should see the notes in my scriptures from it. I LOVED that. And so did she. It's amazing the insights and the Spirit you get from having a discussion in the scriptures searching for answers together.

Yessica went home for Thanksgiving, we've been keeping her especially in our prayers because she planned to talk to her family about her baptism this weekend. We haven't heard from her yet but we have an appointment with her tomorrow.

Lauren is so golden. She's the one that walked into the institute and we asked which ward she was in, she told us she was investigating, we asked who her missionaries were, and she said she didn't have any. So we taught her her first lesson last week and we're seeing her again tomorrow. She said her main concern is that she loves learning and soaks everything up like a sponge, but that she really wants to know for herself what is true. Wow. Best concern. That restoration lesson was powerful and she's excited to meet with us again.

We took Randallyn to the temple saturday and did baptisms for the dead with her! She LOVED it!! And I had never been to this temple for baptisms so it was awesome.

Peau (less active) is doing ok. She wants to start ARP, so we're helping her with that!

Natalie is the sweetest. She's been coming back to church regularly and signing up on our dinner calendar to feed us! Sometimes all it takes is an invite for someone to come back.

Amy is amazing. Her name is Amanda but she goes by Amy, she's the one that called us saying she was interested in the discussions. She came to church yesterday and loved it! We are setting a baptismal date with her tomorrow.

Sabrina had us over for dinner with her friend, Brittney, again. It was really good. We taught the restoration and read a lot from Joseph Smith History. We basically set up the scene by simply going over the first points of the lesson to lead to that part, and then focused on Joseph Smith's experience. Since we focused so much on the Book of Mormon last time it tied in perfectly and we invited them to both read the testimony of Joseph Smith in the front. We then all took that challenge and decided to meet again this week to share our insights that we each got from it. Before even looking over to Sabrina to see if she would do it, before I even finished asking them to take the challenge, Brittney was nodding her head and asked when we could meet. We are booked tomorrow so they'll have to meet after I'm gone, but they sent me Facebook friend requests so I'll still let them know how it went for me. My companions and I couldn't stop talking about how Spirit-filled and testimony-building that lesson was for all of us, and we felt amazing as we discussed how much we love the Restoration of the gospel and how grateful we are for it.

So yeah. It's been a fun week as far as health goes. I wish I knew what was causing the severe pain, but the priesthood blessings, prayers, medicine, and doctor's visits all helped so much the pain couldn't stand a chance of lasting much longer. Today I'm feeling a lot better. The pressure and stabbing pain is faintly there, but has gone way down, and the constant headache I had yesterday disappeared after a good night's rest. So I should be good to go.

The Gomez family had us over for Thanksgiving. Oh my gosh it was amazing. EVERYTHING was homemade, even down to the cranberry sauce. And the biscuits were almost as good as Mom's. We also had a fun time that night, especially since that was the only dinner we had this year (last year we had several... most missionaries here do, not so fun) but it was wonderful. Even though I wasn't really feeling well. And the Gomez's are fantastic. Ruby gives the best hugs, and Victoria has been an awesome help even with little things this transfer.

On thursday I had to stop by the pharmacy to get some medicine, so I introduced my companions to Thrifty's ice cream while we were there. It's like the Braum's of California, I haven't decided which is better. I will have to show you when we come back. And now I'm their favorite companion haha.

Funny quote of the week - Sister Edgar's favorite Christmas song is "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" so she transposed the violin part of the arrangement I have to clarinet. We had some service to do at the stake center and while we were planning she was like, "Sister Shumway, while we're there when we have dinner we should take a break and go play!" And I didn't register she was talking about music. So it sounded like we were little kids taking a break from service to go play. Sister Ferrel thought that at first too and her first reaction was "what about me?!" then we established she was talking about piano and clarinet haha. Today we had fun playing at the activity anyway for the fun of it.

It's been a fun week, we got a lot to do still in the next less-than-48-hours and it's gonna be great! You guys are the best!! Love you and see you soon! :D

- Sister Shumway

Monday, November 21, 2016

more photos

photos of Alyssa and her companions - Nov. 2016

letter from Alyssa - Nov. 21, 2016

Wow it's been quite an eventful week. :D

Starting with an update on the work -

Peau (less active) is struggling. But she's still responsive and let's us come meet with her all the time. Monday night we were at FHE and felt that, even though we had a couple investigators there, we had somewhere else we needed to be. So we left (they had good friends there so it was alright) and decided to stop by Peau. We did and she was feeling great and actually came to FHE with us, so we went back. She had a good time and talked a lot with members from the ward. We went back to see her later in the week and it wasn't the best day for her but we read the Book of Mormon with her and had a good visit. She ended up not coming to church last minute. Still working with her though.

Tiffany (less active) is doing well! She came to church for the first time since I've been here and we will most likely see her at institute tomorrow. We had a great lesson with her last week. We taught the law of chastity because we've been teaching the missionary lessons with her, but it was a good enough discussion that it led to her opening up about some experiences she's gone through that actually have had nothing to do with the lesson we prepared. We got to know her a little better, she's awesome. And it was cool to have that discussion with her.

We got a text from some missionaries that found this girl, Lilly, who's in her first semester at UCI and wanted to find us and our ward. Turns out she's also somewhat less active, but wants to be involved and make friends. We met with her and she's so cool! She's an awesome friend right from the start and would easily be friends with anyone. She wants to help fellowship some of the people that we work with and we think that she'll be great at it!

Lauren (investigator we met at institute) has been busy but when she saw us Tuesday night she was like "oh man! I forgot to respond to your texts! Can we meet this day/this time?" So we have our first lesson with her tomorrow night. :)

It's like Randallyn has been a member her whole life. Every lesson she just takes it all in like a sponge. And guess what? Yesterday she got her limited use temp,e recommend and we're going to the temple Saturday to do baptisms for the dead with her!

Tara is probably one of my favorites :) we had 2 lessons with her, one of them was on the temple grounds. She's progressing in pretty much every way an investigator can. While we were by the temple doors, a session had ended and a bunch of people were walking out. One came and asked us how we were doing and what we were doing, and when he found out Tara was investigating and preparing for baptism, he said "well why don't you come show her where the bathrooms are?" Giving us a reason to go inside, though we didn't ask for it haha. But yeah Tara got to walk just inside the door and see a little. She walked out and told us she noticed how happy everyone was. At the end of the lesson later we asked if she had any questions, and she said "is it possible to get my temple recommend right after I'm confirmed?"

Yessica is also doing awesome! She got a blessing this last Sunday for a little extra spiritual support since she's going home for thanksgiving and plans to tell her parents that she has a date to be baptized. After the blessing she was saying things like "I kinda want to cry, but I can't stop smiling! I feel so good!" We were able to point out that that was the Spirit and it was a good time.

Sarah (recent convert, super busy with work and master degree) is the sweetest. We had a GREAT lesson, don't remember actually what about though. She had a present for me though and surprised me. She painted a water color picture of a flower design around the words to one of my favorite scriptures, it must've taken her a few hours and it is amazing! I'll show it to you next week. She also asked if the next time we meet she could have me teach her how to play "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" on the piano, her favorite hymn that was sung at her baptism. Can't wait!

Natalie has been less active for a while, and I had never met her but we decided to go see her. She came to church! And will be at institute, she just needed a little motivation to come and wants to meet with us regularly to help her get back into full activity

I may have mentioned the free lunch we do every Thursday at the institute. If not there's a free lunch that we do every Thursday at the institute. The first time I did it this transfer there was a girl who showed up, Charline, who I talked to. And I should've gotten her number! She was so nice! But I didn't. So I prayed that she would come again, but she wasn't there the next week. Then the next 2 weeks we couldn't go because of zone conference, and exchanges, and such but we went again this last week. And she came! So I got her number. And she wants to meet with us after the break.

Lucy (recent convert) is also doing pretty well. She got lunch for us Friday and we had an awesome visit.

Here's a cool thing that describes Sister Ferrel's faith and desire to work. She was looking in the area book and found a former investigator on a record that said she had a baptism date and suddenly canceled it the day before because her family was against it. We stopped by the address and a girl named Esther opened the door. The former we had record of no longer lived there, but we talked to Esther and she was interested in learning more about our message. Sister Edgar said she saw her walk up to the door before opening it, and that at first she hesitated, but saw the Spirit pull her to the door (the best way she could describe it). We got her number.

Brittany (Sabrina's friend that had us over for dinner last week) came to church again. We weren't sure what she had thought of our lesson on the Book of Mormon last week but apparently she told Sabrina that she loved it, she just wants some time to read it a little before meeting with us again.

Speaking of Sabrina, the coolest experience happened! Sister Edgar was gone on exchanges so it was just Sister Ferrel and I, and Sabrina texted us and asked us if it was ok for us to teach her a lesson about the scriptures because she had a bunch of questions. Sister Ferrel didn't know many answers which is totally fine, I didn't know all of them either, but you should've seen how excited I got as we had this cool discussion about the scriptures, where they came from and how, how they tie together, chronological and geographical make up, using study helps to understand context as well as for finding answers to all sorts of questions. I'm still not as knowledgeable as I'd like to be but it was the BEST thing to see someone with a foundational gospel understanding and testimony who was just hungry for answers and desiring to know and learn all she could. Probably my favorite teaching experience this week.

We went tracting and ran into Moses and Michelle, and their two young kids. They invited us in then and there and told us their testimonies of Jesus Christ and much of their religious background in Catholicism. It was pretty cool, they gave us their number and invited us back so we referred them to the family ward missionaries who have an appointment with them this week. But yeah the hour or so we spent with them was mostly them talking to us, but it was neat that they were so willing to let us in and welcome us back.

Got a phone call. "Hey sisters! I just saw your temple and talked to the missionaries sitting across the street from it. They gave me your number, can I set a time to learn more about your message?" :D

Stopped by another former investigator from the area book, his name is Renee, he also said we could come back and he'd be very interested in learning more about our message again. So we sent the elders over.

Sierra is doing great. Just moving along with the lessons and coming to everything like every other active member :) she also shared a copy of the Book of Mormon with her friend and answering his questions about what he's reading!

Alright now to some of the fun stuff -

I've seen so many people from former wards I've served in. That day at the temple, I even recognized members from my first area. Last weekend we went to a stake service project and I ran into Sister Fusco! She moved back here from Connecticut (she's the one who wanted to serve a mission but has to wait til she's cancer free for 5 years, so she has 4.5 to go) and I didn't know til then so it was a total surprise. We talked as we helped tie fleece blankets and then she bought us lunch. That was so sweet. I love people.

I had my departing interview on Tuesday. I was looking forward to it, it truly is always a privilege to speak with and learn from President Clark, and so that one-on-one was wonderful. I know he and Sister Clark love me and I know they love this work. I want to finish off the last little bit I have left with all I got, while also being excited to return home and continue discipleship.

There's an efy song that says "we'll raise a banner to all nations, hold up an ensign to the world!" And I keep forgetting that Sister Edgar is a convert of less than two years. But she paused the music and said, "ok what is that supposed to mean? The only ensign I know of is the magazine so I'm imagining standing on a mountain or something holding up an ensign." Hahaha it was awesome!!

Had some fun at the departing dinner, there's 3 elders leaving and I think 10 sisters. So it was very much a good time.
On the way home we were protected again. It was dark and we were going 70 on the freeway, suddenly we ran over some car parts that Sister Edgar and I didn't see at all. We pulled off to the side and checked out the car after establishing that no one was hurt,must a little shaken up. We saw the car piece we ran over in the road, there's no way we should've run over that so smoothly without a scratch or swerving into another lane and hitting someone. A couple other cars were pulled over to the side win hazards on as well, probably the ones that the car parts were from. We got back in and were able to merge back safely. Gratitude prayers.
Since nothing happened to us, here's the funny part of the story. We were late for curfew because the departing dinner went long, so our roommates texted to make sure we were ok. We joke a lot so Sister Ferrel said "don't worry we won't die" and they responded "don't make promises you can't keep." Literally the moment after she read that we ran over the car parts on the freeway.

We're famous. There was an email sent out to all the UCI students about this one major intersection being temporarily closed for repairs and a picture of the intersection was included. The moment it was being taken we must've been there because 2 of our investigators showed us crossing the street in the photo and they totally recognized us!

The Hawkins have us over for dinner every Sunday since we don't get many dinners in YSA. Last time the elders shared the lesson and since we're good friends with this family and it was the day before Halloween, they decided to be creative and taught a lesson by turning out the lights and using a flashlight to tell a spooky story that they read randomly out of the Old Testament. It was weird but funny. So this time we did an object lesson by having a cup of clear water represent us, cherry kool-aid mix represent sins, and bleach represent the atonement. It went well, we tried picking out the sugars from the water by ourselves without the atonement, then used the atonement bleach to really fix it. Then Sister Ferrel had the bright idea to do something we hadn't tested out by saying that when we sin again, if we keep using the atonement we can stay clean. So she pored a bunch more Kool-aid mix in, and it turned red and started bubbling. And we had no more bleach. So that back-fired. But we got a lot more laughs than the elders did so it was great.

Love you all, have a fantastic week!

- Sister Shumway

Monday, November 14, 2016

letter from Alyssa - Nov. 14, 2016

Yes Casan I am so looking forward to seeing you sing at Merry Main Street! It's scary how big you are now. Wow. :D

Alright, update on the work -

Sierra talked to her mom about baptism, she has yet to talk to her dad but her mom thinks she should expect to wait about 6 months or so even though she's 18. But she continues to come to church and do everything else like some of the most active members here, including fellowshipping our other investigators! She's solid.

Tara is doing well too. We have fun meeting with her! Yeah we teach the lessons, but we have fun conversations as friends while at it. It's great! She's about to go out of town next week, and we're going to keep her in our prayers and stay in touch to help her continue progressing so she's right on track ready to prepare to be baptized when she gets back. She's also been giving a couple rides to some of our other investigators... it's pretty awesome how they're fellowshipping each other (with the ward members too of course).

Tanya is doing better. I wasn't at her last lesson, but apparently she had gone off on a lot of random topics and the lesson seemed to go no where before my companions came home really late from it. This last one though was pretty cool. She was more ready to hear the plan of salvation lesson, and asked really good questions without realizing how interested she really is in our message. Her friend, Brenda, helps her when we're not there and has talked to the relief society about how cool of an experience it's been to watch and help her friend grow in the gospel. :)

Yessica is also on track. We're just continuing the lessons, she's golden, not sure what more to say about her haha, she came to church even though she spent the night before at a friends house. She planned ahead, packed church clothes, and had her friend bring her before she even went back home. All on her own.

We picked up a new investigator. Arely is a new move-in, a returned missionary, and goes to BYUI but she's off track right now. Her boyfriend, Mouayad, is from Syria and said we could share the discussions with him when we met them this last week. He also speaks Arabic which was really cool, we got him a copy of the Book of Mormon in Arabic, Arely already got him one in English.

We talked to this girl on UCI campus, Jenny, and she ended up giving us her phone number to let us teach her about our message. We'll give her a call.

Funny story - Thursday we literally had 3 appointments stacked on top of each other and had to schedule splits. We planned to meet back at the institute afterwards, and Sister Ferrel was the first to make it back. So she and her companion for the night decided to cross the street and contact at OCC while they waited for us to get back too. After a few minutes, they asked to borrow someone's phone to call us and see where we were at. About 15 minutes later, we called that number back and asked for Sister Ferrel. The girl on the line, whose phone it was, told us the 'mission girls' we were probably trying to find just left. We thanked her for letting us know, and told her who we were and what we did as missionaries. She said her name was Austin and that we could give her a call to meet up with her sometime.

Randallyn may be bringing her friend, Yuki, to church sometime. :)

Sabrina just got called as a ward missionary. She and her roommate, Brittany, had us over for dinner last night. It was a lot of fun! Sierra was there too, and Julia, another member in the ward. Brittany also came with Sabrina to church yesterday and to Randallyn's baptism! We shared a message about the Book of Mormon and she tentatively said we could share more about it with her sometime.

Last week we had a lesson with Randallyn at the institute, and a ping pong tournament :D It was fun. Then Ashley (less-active from the neighboring YSA ward that we work with) came out, introduced herself to Randallyn, and invited her to come study/hang out with her every wednesday there at the institute. She's a convert of 3 years, and told her that if she had any questions she's always there. It was so cool for her to come out all on her own and fellowship her like that! And it meant a lot to Randallyn.

We met with Sarah, a recent convert that hasn't been able to make it to church because of work stuff lately. But her schedule has loosened up and she'll be able to come regularly enough to hopefully get a calling! She wants to be really involved and gave us a bunch of ideas for improving activities, sharing the gospel, etc. What I'm most excited about though is that she wants to read the Book of Mormon through and wants help understanding it. So she asked us to help! It'll be so fun.

Ok other than people some fun things happened this week -

Mom, you'll be happy to hear that we have been very well taken care of this week as far as food goes. Brother Farrar (I think he's on the high council for YSA? is that a specific high council assignment?) took us out to a chinese restaurant and ordered around 10 dishes for us to try and take home. It was really good and we took home a cardboard box full of leftovers. Then Brenda and Tanya had us over for dinner and they got Aloha BBQ, which is one of my favorite restaurants here and they give you so much food, definitely recommended. And to top it all off we were asked to help the Southcoast ward with their activity this last weekend, a cultural night with tables of food from Mexico, China, America, and Samoa. More on that later.

We had a zone conference last week with Elder Hamula and his wife visiting. It was really neat and I enjoyed it a lot, he talked about how The Lord works in a pattern and how the adversary tries to keep us away from that. He also asked - 'what does it take to achieve lasting conversion?' I have more notes but basically my companions and I were super motivated to go out and work.

The ward council found out I go home soon and asked me to speak in church AND do a musical number. It was cool, I've found though that I'm going to have to prepare my homecoming talk very carefully because it was hard to keep this last one timely, and if I don't there's no hope for that one. (Thanks for the clarification on that from the bishopric by the way Dad! Good to know.)

Like I was talking about the Southcoast cultural dinner activity thing, it was a lot of fun. Grandpa would also be proud that I got recruited last minute to cover for someone that was going to play the ukulele for someone to sing. And it turned out great if I do say so myself. :) it was a lot of fun.

Coolest thing - the Huntington Beach stake, for their youth conference, built a life-size Tabernacle like the one from Moses' time. And even though it was just outside the mission, President Galland got us to come with our institute group to go through and see it! It was awesome! I wish I had time to tell you all about it now, but I learned so much about the symbols, how it relates to the temple today, and I want to dive into the scriptures to find out more. It was complete with the courtyard, alter of sacrifice, laven (that's what it's called?) of water, holy place, and holy of holies with replicas of the menorah, table of shewbread, prayer table thingy, ark of the covenant, mercy seat, and items inside the ark. They also had some of the clothing priests would wear. We couldn't spend a lot of time there, but it was such a neat experience.

We had a lesson with Tara last night at the stake center, and right as we got there we found out that a MCO concert for the temple workers just finished. We saw President and Sister Clark, President and Sister Hobbins, Brother and Sister Shields (live oak canyon), Brother Kubat (laguna niguel stake), and several other I know from other areas actually. Then I went up and met Brett Stewart and told him I was from Dallas, and my dad and sisters sing in MCO there. He said, 'That's your Dad? That's so cool! I teach seminary!' That was a fun additional surprise! And fun to send the pic :)

So yeah. I'm officially at 18 months now. It's been a good time. Talk to you next week! Love you so much!

- Sister Shumway

Sister Shumway and Brett Stewart - Nov. 13, 2016

Nov. 13, 2026
Sister Shumway and Brett Stewart
(Professor Stewart is the Director and Dean of Millennial Choirs and Orchestras. He was in Newport Beach to lead the Orange County MCO in a performance there - he sent me this photo).

Monday, November 7, 2016

letter from Alyssa - Nov. 7, 2016

Casan stop growing. That's not allowed. Unless you give me a piggy-back ride home from the airport in a few weeks then that's fine.

Wow this week has been GREAT. Thanks for sending that story Dad! It worked perfectly for my training in district meeting last week.
So starting with an update on the work -
Tara (investigator) got to meet with President this last week. She came to church and the music devotional last night, she's on fire. She'll be out of town starting Thanksgiving until after new year's so we reset her baptism date for January 14th, I'm going to friend her on Facebook and keep up with her when I get back.

Randallyn was baptized! Her mom and her mom's boyfriend came to see it too. It was a really neat service. A lot of the YSA came to support! One of them, Sabrina, has been a life-saver. She's been driving Yessica and Sierra to things for us from UCI (2 of our investigators), and she brought another friend of her own with her this time! We have yet to follow up.

I've never been in an area where so many people are searching us out and finding us. The tables have turned a little on that. Karla was baptized about a year ago and recently moved here for school, she hadn't been to church in a while since she's the only member in her family and just got here, but she talked to the Chinese elders that she saw walking by one day and they referred her to us. She made it to church yesterday and we talked in ward council about extending a calling to her. She's awesome.

Yessica came to church for the first time! She's on track to be baptized in December.

Tanya came to church for the first time as well! She actually really liked it, even though she's told us she's not looking to get baptized (yet). She also came to the music devotional, took a temple grounds tour, and really enjoyed it. We have another lesson and dinner with her and Brenda (her friend/fellowshipper) this week.

Leila walked into the temple and asked to speak to a priest. The temple presidency came and talked with her, and they contacted President Clark since she's not a member. He called us and referred her number and information to us to contact her and find out more about what we could do for her. We're working on it and doing all we can on our side, including keeping her in our thoughts and prayers to find her.
The cool thing is that she's supposedly married with a kid or 2, we don't have an address, so I don't mean this in a prideful way but it's pretty cool that since we don't yet know which missionaries should technically be teaching her yet, President chose to call on us. It is an honor to be on call to help him in any way, even when we're already busy.

Ashley (less-active) is doing good. She almost came to the baptism on saturday but couldn't make it. Wednesday we had a good lesson on me helping her beat Sister Ferrel in chess. And a scripture to go with it of course.

Sierra is golden. We're still waiting for her to talk to her family. She really wants them to come and support her being baptized, not just be okay with it. So it may be a little while before she is baptized but she's reading and praying and fellowshipping some of our other investigators to keep her going. We're probably going to ask her for a referral soon, it's like she's already a member.

Guess what Landon? We did service at helping a band competition by directing people where to park. Afterwards we watched a few of the marching bands. They were tiny and nothing like Texas performances, one was pretty good, but still the whole thing reminded me of you and Tyler and going to football games/competitions and it was a fun experience.

Church yesterday was amazing. We had 4 investigators (Yessica, Tara, Sierra, Tanya), 1 recent convert confirmed (Randallyn), and a less-active come (Peau) who wants to return to activity and just needs help. President Galland (mission presidency) came and met them all, and stood and bore his testimony. Sister Ferrel bore her testimony too. The meeting was powerful. 
Also, in ward council, our ward mission leader, relief society president, and bishop all found out exactly when I'm going home. I never was trying to hide it, but never brought it up myself (it was funny, our WML Ryan had asked me before how long I'd been out and I said, 'Oh, about a year and a half.' And he was like, 'Oh, ok cool.' forgetting in that moment that sisters didn't serve 2 years until just then.). And this is the 7th ward I've served in, the only YSA ward, and it'll be for only a transfer, I thought there was no way I was getting to know anyone well enough (though of course that was no reason to slacken my efforts) before leaving. But their reaction touched me almost to tears. They were just as sad about me leaving as if I had been serving there my entire mission. I felt so loved, with as many move-ins/outs as they have in YSA, and all the busy schedules everyone has, and especially since I'm just another missionary, I could feel that they meant what they said when they said I would be missed.

And if that wasn't the nicest thing that's happened to me in this area, check out what happened at the music devotional. Tanya, Sierra, and Tara came, and I saw many members of wards I'd served in before, and one of the YSA members brought ANOTHER new friend that we set an appointment with this week to start the lessons (thank goodness for my companions for keeping that part of the show running while I ran the devotional!), on top of all that Heavenly Father did something so nice for me. I've told you I've had some of the coolest experiences as a missionary with the piano right? This one tops them all. I was asked to play the piano since it was my last devotional. I played "If You Could Hie to Kolob" with Elise Esplin, the young woman from the Mission Viejo stake who is one of the most accomplished violinists I've ever heard. She was phenomenal. The song is 6 pages, so I had the last 4 on the stand and the first 2 covering in front. I marked a certain part in the music that I had a moment to reach up and pull those 2 pages off so I could play the rest of the song. I'd practiced it so many times since this wasn't the first time I'd used this song. But this time, in the middle of performing it, the piece was going extremely well (one of those times it goes better than you practiced :D ) until I pulled the second page WITH THE PAGE BEHIND IT by accident and dropped it on the floor. I had to keep going, but I was missing the last page. While playing, I glanced around to find where the page landed, but couldn't find it. My heart sunk especially since it was my last devotional and I had so many friends there including missionaries, investigators, and member friends from all throughout my mission. Then the page was suddenly back on the stand of the piano. A man jumped up to the stand silently from the audience, found the right page and put it in the perfect spot just in time. He patted my shoulder encouragingly and left. Immediately I offered a prayer of gratitude and a plea for help that this experience would invite the Spirit to touch someone who needed it. I finished the piece in confidence, smiling the whole time feeling like someone was giving me a hug. The hardest parts I had struggled through before came easily and I wish you could hear it, I literally had a front row seat to watching, listening, and feeling the Spirit play through me what I could not have done myself. This whole experience was a tender mercy from Heavenly Father through someone else! I ran up to him right after the devotional and thanked him, telling him it was the nicest thing anyone's ever done for me. All the compliments afterward were appreciated and meant a lot, but the feeling of love from Heavenly Father could not be compared.

You guys are the BEST! Surprising me with an orange package?? :D That was so much fun!! Casan, I keep the mimic me on my desk by my scerptures :>  Those pictures especially got me so excited!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am cheering you guys on Landon and Tyler! Or Elder Shumway and Elder Shumway! The snacks were so fun to try and share, you're all so creative and know how to make me smile :) :) :) THANKYOU!!

I love you all :)
- Sister Shumway