Thursday, May 28, 2015

Week 51: Never Underestimate the Power of PRAYER

Miracle of the week!! NOHELY VISITED US IN GUYMON!!!! :D!! I just love her guts.

Happy Memorial Day!!! Thank you to all the service men and women, past and present, for your loyalty to our great country :) Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your families!

Thank you to my dear mother for the package she sent me this week! I loved it, of course :)

But for real: miracle of the week. We saw a lot of little miracles this week: the Lord showing His hand always here and there :) On Tuesday, we were knocking a few doors, looking for a miracle and we found Blanca!! We were talking to her on the doorstep and she was telling us of her conversion to the Baptist faith from the Catholic faith. We were asking her the details of that change and how she felt and all of that and she asked us if we wanted to come in, and of course we did! So we went in and she told us that she never lets anyone from other religions into her home, and she doesn't know what she sees in us, but she felt like she should let us in. Obviously, she felt the Spirit of the Lord!! Tuesday morning was a hard morning for me, and I was even more deeply humbled by that experience. Knowing that the Spirit IS with us and it IS touching peoples' hearts here :) built my testimony of the reality and importance of the Spirit in this work. It's so easy to feel comfortable, to feel that you can do it by your own teaching abilities or skill and you just can't!

There are just some moments in a mission when I just want to take a picture of it and remember it forever. :) We were sitting in the humble home of a less active in our branch and we found out that she loves to sing!! So she just sang to us for a few minutes and of course we sang together :) It was so fun to find that common interest and feel the Spirit as we shared our talents. We told her we would help her to learn how to read music so she could sing the hymns in sacrament meeting. She told us that she really wants to, but doesn't know how!! We are super excited to help her with that. We just love her. She is the neatest lady.

The lost sheep we found like a month ago is now active!!! All missionary work is so rewarding whether it be baptizing, reactivating, or retaining, or doing temple work! It is all the same work, and it's so rewarding :) and I love it!

Now here's the story of the power of prayer. :) We are teaching this woman who's husband isn't very into religion and has always seemed like he just doesn't want to try. So we saw him outside this week and stopped and talked to him. He was going on about his dislike of religion and the bad experiences he has had...and I asked him: "Have you ever prayed and told God about all your doubts and problems with religion?" he just sat there for a minute and said "you made me think." His countenance completely changed and from that question on he was willing to pray about that and also read some passages in the Book of Mormon. There is such power in questions and prayer :) The Spirit opens hearts!!

A counter-example: we met such a wonderful young woman yesterday who recently converted to the Baptist faith from the Catholic faith and we invited her to learn more about the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. She accepted gladly, but today she called us and said that the elders of her church said she shouldn't meet with us and she needs to respect these elders. I encouraged her to pray and ask God about it, He has all wisdom and we have access to it through prayer - we don't need to ask anyone else or take any one else's word for it! She didn't accept and it made me so sad.

Do we realize that we can communicate with our loving Father in Heaven and He WILL answer us every time? Sometimes I forget the power of prayer and the privilege of prayer. I know that if  we sincerely seek the Lord's guidance through prayer to really know if the truth of Jesus Christ has truly been restored, they will receive that witness through the power of the Holy Ghost. How grateful I am for that promise :) I love it and have FULL confidence and faith in it. Only in that way can we truly gain a conviction of the reality of Jesus Christ and His love for us.

I love you all so so much and hope you have a fabulous week!!!
Being a missionary is the beeeest!

Con todo mi corazon y mi amor,

Hermana Shumway

Nohely and I!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Week 50: "Let's be real."

Happy Transfer Week!!
Sister Rosell and I will both be staying here in Guymon, Oklahoma!! This next transfer is only 5 weeks long so that will just FLY by. We are excited for the trials and miracles that these next few weeks will bring :)

Weather update: We were on tornado watch one day this week! Didn't actually happen, just lots of wind and rain :) it came with a TON of warnings from the little girls on bikes baha

Happy 20th Birthday to Chelsea Roo tomorrow!!! I hope you have such a good day and lots of people show you lots of love! They always do :)
Happy promotion to Amanda, Kylie, Tobie, and Brianna!! Happy graduation to Saydi, Courtney, and Julian!! I love you! Congratulations on getting old and making me feel super old! :)
Thank you to Courty for the graduation announcement!! It is hanging up by my desk! You are gorgeous! Thank you to Eric for the letter :) I loved hearing from you guys!

Here in Guymon we have seen SO much success with the less-actives, the members of the Church who have fallen away. So so much success. President Bell brought peace to my mind by reminding me that less active work is just as important as baptizing. Although every missionary wants to baptize, we know that will come as we truly build up and love this little branch here in Guymon :)

The Lord has led us to a few "lost sheep" as we have been walking and biking the streets of Guymon! A lost sheep in terms of, they joined the Church in one place, then they moved, but didn't tell the Church where they moved to, so they were lost! No one knew where they were in order to help them continue coming unto Christ. Seriously - there are so many miracles if missionaries will just put aside their fear and just talk to everyone. That is how we found one lost sheep named Esther who has been coming to church and the activities consistently since we happened to pass her outside one day! She is awesome and we love her :) I am grateful for her example of humility!

Last week we followed up with a few potentials from the week before and now we are teaching a few new families!! That, of course, is very exciting. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is best learned in families :) One of these families has accepted baptism for the 6th of June!! I loved what she - the mom of one of the families - told us the other day: "ya know, I don't know anything about your church, but I can tell when someone is real. I want to hear what you have to say because I know you truly do care." :) The title of this email comes from her - she is a crack up!! She is the "realest" person I know! And always says "we're being real right now!" haha I love it :)

I am so grateful the Lord has helped me to be "real". In Guymon I feel like I am learning a lot about being lovingly bold. I feel I have always been bold, but recently I have felt the necessity to be bold because I just want so badly for these people to understand the blessings that could be theirs!! This Gospel cannot be sugar coated. As Elder Holland said "this is Real Life. Capital 'R', capital 'L'." It says in Preach my Gospel, another quote from Elder Holland, that this is the most important path this investigator (someone learning about the Gospel) will ever walk. If they don't know that, at least we do! So often we are just too, too casual and too laidback. This is eternal life. We have the words of salvation! The Lord has called us to be bold. Dallin H. Oaks said in last General Conference that in this Church, the Church of Jesus Christ, we must be willing to offend. We must be willing to take that risk for the Savior. This is the truth.

I was asked to speak in church yesterday and I chose to speak on Lehi's Dream of the Tree of Life in the Book of Mormon and Jesus Christ's Parable of the Sower in the Gospels - I invite you all to study those chapters and ponder on them! It was super enlightening for me! Deepen those roots of conversion by holding steadfastly to the rod of iron! The Book of Mormon and the Bible truly do compliment each other and strengthen my testimony of the Savior and His teachings.

I pray that we will all be willing to lay it all on the line for the Savior and His work and open our mouths at every opportunity... to speak miracles to all of our friends and family :)

Con todo mi corazon y mi amor,

Hermana Shumway

                                       Video of the tornado watch day. Nothing too crazy. :)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Week 48: Meetings Galore

HEYA!!! :) Happy Monday! And happy 11 months....? Wut. Don't ask me how that happened becaaaause I don't know!

I know you all have seen the, I haven't been in or seen a tornado yet! Although we have had some pretty good conditions for them! We are definitely feeling the protection from your prayers - so thank you!

It was such a joy to see the family yesterday! Oh how I LOVE you!!! I loved sharing our testimonies with each other and just feeling of your bright bright Spirits. Thank you for your love and your consecration to the Lord and His everlasting Gospel. Your examples motivate me on the daily :)

A few times last week, we witnessed a few families reject the Gospel. It broke my heart for them! I just wish I didn't have such great weaknesses and could have the best words, the most powerful testimony, to help them see just a little glimpse of the ETERNAL happiness with their FAMILIES they are willfully declining. We must do everything we can, so that their agency is truly the only thing standing in their way of accepting the Gospel. I am grateful my family is eternal, sealed by the power of Jesus Christ.

This past week we had a LOT of meetings. Lots and lots. Interviews with President Bell and Zone Training. When you are serving in the farthest area of the mission, that travel time adds up, let me tell ya! Anyway, so our time to work was a little slighted this week which was a bummer, but this week is going to be SO much better, with lots of time to work work work!
I am so grateful for all the meetings we have had though, I felt so uplifted and inspired in every single one of them, accompanied with an even stronger desire to work harder and be better.

Especially during interviews with President Bell and the trainings from the his Assistants. Ya know how people always say that we need to prepare for special meetings in the Church? Especially General Conference and such? Yeah, well, I decided to come prepared to that meeting and now I have a testimony of preparation! So. I read what they said to read, I pondered on my mission during personal study that morning and came with questions to ask President Bell. It made the world of a difference. I felt the Spirit so strongly as President Bell and I discussed the topics I had brought with me. I know he is inspired.
As the Assistants to the President gave their trainings, they asked time and time again for us to reflect on our missions. On the miracles. On our experiences. And the tears just flowed. One of them asked me "Sister Shumway, I see that you are already in tears, why do you love your mission?" haha thanks. I could hardly respond. I. Love. My. Mission. And all that goes with that. All the trials, all the tears, all the hard hard hard hard times that make the miracles so so sweet. I love what my mission has done to me, what the Atonement has changed in me, and I know I can never go back to what I was and who I was. The gist: I love my mission. :)

I love all of you and hope you have such a fabulous week! I feel your love, I feel your prayers, thank you so much!

Con todo mi corazon y mi amor,

Hermana Shumway

When the Elder's put your groceries away....
Volunteering at the Poker Run!!

I saw CHARLA!!!! :D

Week 47: "Be intense and change forever."

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY on Sunday to all the beautiful mothers :) I hope you have a very special day! The Lord loves His precious daughters!

Thank you to almost the whole Inman family for their letters! For Jesse who sent me one individually then to Jake and Torie for sending me letters due to a Surprise YSA activity! And also to Branden Maben for also sending me a letter in the YSA activity :) I LOVED it! As I'm sure all of the other missionaries in the stake did! You're the best! Thank you to Bronte for the Paris postcard! Thank you for thinking of me :)

Happy Birthday to my dear big sister Cara!! Have an awesome day on Sunday, Curah! Love ya!

Alright, now down to the nitty gritty. I hope you all had such a good week last week!!! Our week was pretty crasy. I fell off my bike 3 that was good! Gave us some really good laughs :)
Cool miracle! So as a mission, we have been promised by a general authority that if we talk to 10 new people every day, our baptisms will quadruple! So. Sister Rosell and I have been going hard to do that every single day. As well as invite for baptism at least twice every single day - one invite each. So. We had some extra time one day this week and decided to use it to contact new people - we call it "going fishing" because of course the Lord will always bless us with more "fish" or people to teach. So we were going fishing and no one was answering their doors/didn't want to talk to us or hear our glorious message of the truth of Jesus Christ. So we kept moving forward and had time for one more door! We knocked and met a young man who loves Jesus Christ. Instead of doing the normal routine, I decided to switch it up. Instead of jumping right in, we asked him a few questions about himself and expressed our love for him and God's love for him. We brought in the Gospel and we gave him a Book of Mormon. As Sister Rosell was inviting him to be baptized, I was looking down at a card writing our information down and when she finished, I looked up and waited for his response. You could see the light in his eyes as he accepted to follow the Savior. We were about to move on and the Spirit said to me: "why aren't you going to invite him for a specific date?" and I said "well, I dunno!" haha so I did it and he accepted that too! We are excited to go back and meet the rest of his family :) I love that the Lord blesses us with these miracles to help us recognize continually that His hand truly is in this work - of course it is, because it's His! :)

Those we are teaching are doing so so well. Investigators and less actives alike are progressing so much and we are so blessed :) I know the Lord is leading us to those who will accept this message of the fullness of Jesus Christ and His Gospel.

On Saturday morning, as a mission we had the incredible opportunity to hear one of the Apostles of Jesus Christ - pause for a sec and ponder on that - teach us and share his testimony with us. I'm not sure what I could say to describe how that experience was - it truly was just...intense. The Spirit was so strong as I felt his witness that that man, although he is just a man, is called, chosen, and ordained of God. Not because he chose to be, not because he wanted to be, not because he has a degree from some seminary, but because the LORD ordained HIM. As the Savior says to His disciples in the New Testament: "You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you." I could feel and I know by the witness of the Holy Ghost, that his apostleship is as real as the original 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ. As he shook my hand and as he looked into my eyes, I did see just a man, but a man who had been given keys or authority, as Peter has, a man who has developed the attributes of Christ and that has become his character. I learned so so much from him. And I will forever be grateful to my merciful and kind and loving Heavenly Father for blessing me with such a divinely inspiring experience.

I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the Lord's kingdom on the Earth. I know that we have a living breathing prophet on the earth today who receives revelation directly from Jesus Christ. If you want to know too, read the Book of Mormon. Everything goes back to that book. As it says in Moroni 10:5, as you read and pray about the Book of Mormon, "by the power of the Holy Ghost you may know the truth of ALL things." We all have this sacred privilege to know God's absolute truth of all things. We all have been given this sacred promise. Miracles await as we exercise our faith and do as Moroni and James have instructed that is "ask of God" :)

I love you so so much :) Thank you for all of your support and love that you continuously show me. Have an incredible miraculous week!

Con todo mi corazon y mi amor,

Hermana Shumway

Guymon Pioneer Day service! Helping set up for the rodeo!

At the corner of Oklahoma and the panhandle
on the way back from the meeting with
Elder Holland! haha, we had to take a picture.