Friday, August 23, 2013

Gift of Tongues

Last week, on the 24th of July, we had a Branch Pioneer Day celebration. Nobody here knows that Pioneer day is an existing holiday, so thank goodness for a companion from Utah!  My companion and I are in charge of all Branch Socials (we try to have one every month) so we planned pioneer games and activities, organized a potluck meal, and prepared a fireside about Pioneer day. It was great! The Branch members were very supportive. We had almost 50 people there, which is more than we have at sacrament meeting regularly! 

We had butter churning contests, stick pull and tug of war, wheelbarrow and 3 legged races, and plenty of food! Sister Larkin and I explained what Pioneer day celebrates, and we shared part of President Monson's Pioneer Day message. I told the story of Charles Shumway; his spiritual pioneer journey as a convert to the church, and also his physical pioneer trek as he traveled with Brigham Young across the plains. Sister Larkin and I sang "Come, Come Ye Saints" for the Branch to conclude the fireside and emphasize pioneers in all aspects of life. It was a wonderful event and we love our Branch!

I came to the realization that we have witnessed the gift of tongues. Frequently, as we talk with people here in Pikeville, someone will speak to me, and I will understand exactly what they are saying and respond appropriately.... However, in the back of my mind I am aware of a little voice screaming, "What the heck was that?!?! I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU JUST SAID!" However, I have always been able to respond correctly. Haha, the gift of tongues absolutely applies to the Pikeville Kentucky missionaries! It is a blessing that I would be crippled without! (They definitely do not teach "Kentuck-ian" in the MTC.)

Sister Larkin and I are having so much fun together! We love the work, we love the area, and we love each other! We laugh all the time with our investigators, Branch members, and with each other. I often think of the story of President Hinckley when his secretary heard him laughing in his office, but she knew that he was the only one in there. When she asked him about it later, he said, "I told Heavenly Father a joke." Sister Larkin and I often have moments of quiet, remarkable reverence, but I think that Heavenly Father laughs with us in our more boisterous moments as well. We love it!

The work is hastening in Pikeville, our investigators are progressing wonderfully, and we have 4 people on date for baptism. We are blessed to be part of this marvelous responsibility! We are finding, teaching, and baptizing as we honor and obey with exactness the standards and responsibilities the Lord blesses us with. He is aware of all of our concerns and struggles as missionaries, and He is aware of the concerns and struggles of all of His children that we are here to serve. Therefore, he leads us to those we can help, and He directs us to know exactly how to resolve their concerns and assist them in their struggles as we share with them the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is a blessing to feel the Lord working through us to help His children. I love this work! I am feeling great changes in how the Holy Ghost influences my life, and I pray that I am becoming the missionary that the Lord wants me to be. Thank you for your love and your prayers and your faith! I love you!

Sister Shumway

Letter from a Member

Hello, Brother & Sister Shumway!
Your truly have THE neatest daughter in the entire world.  She is SO gifted in SO many ways (again, I am sure you are totally aware!)  Her gifts have blessed Pikeville and this little branch like you wouldn't believe.  This girl is truly packed with power!  She just has the most pleasing personality and the gift to draw everyone to her.  Her testimony is amazing. . .the work she is doing is hard. . .and she is so positive about it!  I am just praying that she doesn't leave this next transfer!!!  We have just come to love her SO MUCH. . .like she is our own!!!  (Can we just keep her?!!)  Truthfully, I hope my daughters are just like her someday. . .she is so wise (beyond her years) and so knowledgeable in the gospel. . .and despite her challenges with her back (bless her sweet heart), she pushes forward with a huge smile. . .you would never know the pain she was in!  Thank you for sharing your sweet girl with us here in Eastern Kentucky!  There are simply not words enough to describe how truly magnificent she is. . .I am continually in awe of how incredible she is!  And truth be told. . .I wish I had the knowledge and wisdom that she has. . .and her Christlike heart.  . I WANT to be just like her!  

Thank your for raising SUCH a valiant spirit!  I am in need of all of your secrets!   I want my kids to be as awesome as your children!! I just love you already!  Have a wonderful day!  I look forward to hearing from you!

Sister Capener

Monday, August 5, 2013

Rain Miracle!

This week we did a 24 hour exchange and I got to serve in ASHLAND, Kentucky which is 100 miles North of Pikeville.
 I was so excited to be in Ashland!

Sister Larkin and I witnessed a remarkable miracle this week! It rains a lot in Kentucky (every other day at least) and when it rains here, it RAINS. There is no messin' around with Kentucky rain! It never sprinkles; the raindrops are unrealistically massive, and the rain charges through the mountains in dense armies - it is a remarkable thing to witness! Our driveway usually starts flooding 5-10 minutes into every rain storm, I love it!

 Last week at the Pioneer Day branch social, a man arrived and began immediately making friends with all the branch members. He came to church the following Sunday and the branch members eagerly enveloped him. (One of the greatest challenges of missionary work here is getting our investigators to church, so when this complete stranger simply showed up at the branch social, and at church, Sister Larkin and I were ready to pass out with excitement!) 

We made an appointment to meet with him on Wednesday at the church with Jordan Tackett, a recent return missionary in our branch. Because we did not have another woman with us, the four of us made ourselves comfortable with some chairs right outside the church building. During our discussion, I suddenly noticed a few raindrops splattering the sidewalk around us. I started praying in my heart with all the faith and might I could muster! I knew that if it started raining we would have to halt our lesson  - we couldn't go inside the church so we would have to postpone our discussion.

 As I prayed, I realized that the rain was not Kentucky rain. The sky seemed to be misting, not even sprinkling, and although it was "raining" or "sprinkling," none of us were getting wet. It was amazing! It was still a bit terrifying because I knew that at any moment the sky could unleash its massive storage of water! I continued to pray to Heavenly Father because I knew that He could withhold the rain, and I told Him that!

 For 45 minutes this strange, misting vapor encompassed us, holding off the real storm. I said a prayer to close our lesson, and the moment that the four of us uttered "amen" it began to rain with torrential force. I know that it was NOT chance. Nothing in mortality or in eternity is chance because our Heavenly is perfectly aware of our needs, and He will address and resolve those needs according to His will and to our greatest benefit. 

The power of God will calm a raging sea, and I know that it withheld this rainstorm. The Lord wants all of His children to hear the gospel, and His missionaries are truly the tools in His hands. I am here to do the will of God and to bring His children closer to Him through His Son Jesus Christ. No matter what happens, no matter what circumstances I find myself in, no matter who I teach, I know that as I live, serve, and work with exact obedience and worthiness to teach by the power of God through the Holy Ghost, that He will provide. He will provide the setting, He will provide the words if I have studied, and He will lead me to His elect children as I put faith into action.

I stand as a witness that He does perform miracles every day, and that He is truly in the details of our lives. He is my Heavenly Father who loves me and each of His children. I am so thankful for this gospel and for the structure it provides. I am thankful for miracles and for the manifestation of God's nature in daily events. This gospel is amazing!

Sister Shumway