Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Sister Williams and I are loving Buckhannon! We had a miracle this week that greatly uplifted both of us. Last Sunday we had a companionship fast to find five new investigators this week. We did all that we could and we worked hard to talk with every person who was within earshot of us. By Wednesday we had found three new investigators and we were teaching them with the other investigators in our growing teaching pool. 

By Thursday, however, I began to worry. We had been full of faith and hope all week, we had been diligently working and studying and finding and teaching, but we still had only found three new investigators. I began to grow anxious because we had meetings scheduled for most of Friday, and many appointments scheduled for Friday and Saturday. Appointments are great and we are excited to be teaching, but I also knew that we had set a goal to find five new investigators, not three, and I know that any goal set in faith and diligently sought for will not fail. So I was anxious. 

As we walked to one of our Thursday evening appointments, I expressed my concern to Sister Williams who had been feeling the same anxious pressure. We momentarily pushed our worries aside as we arrived at our appointment, so we could do our best to teach by the Spirit. We were teaching a woman named D____ whom we met last week. On Thursday we taught the restoration, and she received it very well. She had few questions and she understood everything very well. It was a crazy lesson because her two-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter were running between us, holding vacuum tubes to their mouths like trumpets and yelling into them with all the might of their little lungs - not the idea spiritual atmosphere. Regardless of her pleas for silence, the children continued to run rampant, so in faith we proceeded to teach the lesson, praying that the Spirit would find its way into her heart. I was amazed that regardless of the distraction and noise, D____'s eyes remained intently focused on ours. The room was filled with chaos, yet we could clearly sense her understanding and sincere interest. It was amazing to witness. I know that the Spirit will touch any heart that is open and trying to understand and seek for truth, regardless of the irreverent atmosphere encompassing them. 
Near the end of our lesson, as we were telling her about the Book of Mormon, her teenage son came home (he is a senior in high school). He walked in the front door, casually clutching a basketball in the crook of his arm, and warmly greeted his mother. Then to our great surprise, he plopped the basketball on the floor, sat down on it, and turned his attention to us. Wow. We talked with him for a few minutes and got to know him, and then we proceeded to teach about the Book of Mormon. We were amazed as he attentively listened, completely focused on the Book of Mormon and our words, and we could see a sense of understanding in his eyes, just like his mom. We felt inspired to talk about eternal families, and as our lesson veered in that direction. D___'s mom,  who lives with them as well, quietly came into the room and eased onto the couch. As we explained the importance of families and the blessing of eternal families, her eyes also shone and she nodded her head in excited agreement to the truth we shared with her. The light of understanding radiated from these three wonderful people, and the room was charged with the spirit. I am so thankful for the recognition of truth that each of us are blessed with as Children of God. We have each been given the light of Christ to seek after and recognize truth. It is a blessing to witness the light of Christ testifying of truth to someone within their own heart.
As Sister Williams and I were walking home that night, we realized that we had just found two more investigators. We had reached our goal of five that we had fasted for. Later that week we were able to find another new investigator, exceeding the goal we had set. I know that as we act in faith, and as we sustain that faith even after accomplishing our goals, that we do see miracles. We see the Lord's hand prominently in our work. I know that faith is power, and I know that the Lord honors His servants who act in faith and set goals. Wherefore didst I doubt?

Sister Shumway

Meet Sister Williams

Transfers were great, we had 32 incoming missionaries! 16 Sisters and 16 Elders - it was the biggest transfer in the history of the West Virginia Charleston mission!  My trainee is Sister Williams! She is from Monahans Texas! After the transfer meeting, Sister Williams and I were given a box of missionary supplies, a set of keys to a brand new 2013 Subaru Legacy, and told to go to work in Buckhannon! 
Sister Larkin and our trainees!

We loaded our luggage into our shnazzy new car and stood there for a moment. No GPS. No map. No apartment address. No idea where to go. We didn't even know where Buckhannon was! I knew that it was 1 1/2 hours North/East of Charleston.... and that was it. We laughed for a few minutes and then as the parking lot began to empty we said, "Ok seriously. Where are we going?!" It was one of the most comical moments I have experienced as a missionary!

Sister Williams and I visited all the way to Buckhannon. President told us that the Spirit had made it very clear to him that I needed her and that she needed me, so Sister Williams and I have set some great transfer goals and we are anticipating some wonderful miracles as we diligently work in faith!
We arrived late Thursday afternoon to discover that Buckhannon is an amazing place! It is a sweet little town, and it is very old. All the houses and buildings are classy and look antique - we love it here! When we arrived we did not waste any time. We dropped our suitcases in the apartment and walked outside. We introduced ourselves to a man sitting on his porch, and we soon discovered that he is a less active member of our ward! He knew more about the area and the ward members than we did! It was exciting to contact a less-active member of the ward right away.
Sunday was a remarkable day! We walked into the church building Sunday morning and were immediately enveloped in the arms of the ward. About 3 months ago the ward was told that a set of Sister missionaries would be arriving in August, and they have been anticipating our appearance since then. I have never felt so much excitement and love; we were embraced, squeezed and patted on the back by nearly every member of the congregation. Squeals of delight and exclamations of joy filled the chapel. The Bishop beamed at us from the pulpit as sacrament meeting began and proudly introduced us to the ward.
Sunday night President Pitt called us and told me that we had a marvelous baptism in Pikeville Saturday night. F_____ is the newest member of the Pikeville Branch! I was greatly saddened that I missed his baptism by only a couple days, but my joy and excitement for himfar outweigh my selfish sorrow! 

Sister Shumway

A Tearful Transfer

Dear Mom&Dad,

Thank you for the video of Bryce coming home! That was the greatest gift! I am so thankful for a big brother who has served such a valiant mission. I miss his weekly emails from the mission field; he is one of my greatest sources of encouragement! 

This week was not what I expected! Heavenly Father is definitely not predictable, but He is all knowing so I guess I trust Him. It is transfer week (transfers are on Thursday, August 29th), but Sister Larkin and I weren't scared! We were positive that we were both staying in Pikeville, and we had our reasons! Reason #1: we are only 6 weeks into Sister Larkin's training, and I still haven't finished my last 6 weeks of training. Reason #2: Elder and Sister Smith, the senior couple in our area, have finished their mission and are driving home to Utah today.  Reason #3: at the beginning of this transfer President Pitt told Sister Larkin and I that we were "the companionship that Pikeville has been waiting for." So why would we only be here for 6 weeks? That seems too short! Heavenly Father chose to differ...

The Saturday before transfers approached too quickly, but we were not afraid, we were not expecting a call from the zone Leaders! After a fantastic day of working hard, Sister Larkin and I came home at 9:00 for dinner, planning and bed, excitedly giggling about the amazing miracles we were blessed to witness, and the events / baptisms that would take place next transfer. Our phone rang. The zone Leaders. Before we even had time to push "answer" on the phone our eyes latched onto each other, quivering with premature tears. The zone leaders gave us the dreaded news that we would have to find a ride to transfers, and told us that President Pitt would be calling us soon. We went to bed heartbroken and anxious to discover the result of the transfer. 

After church the next day we got a call from President. With pounding hearts and restless hands we grappled with the phone in a scurry of sadness, excitement, and overall anticipation. President told us that we had a great assignment and calling from the Lord. Sister Larkin has been called to be trainer! She will be staying in Pikeville with her new missionary. President then asked to speak with me privately.  He told me that the Lord has called me to be a trainer again, but he said that I would have much more responsibility than just training. I am being transferred to an area called Buckhannon in West Virginia. My new companion and I will be opening the area, which means that there have not been missionaries there before. President said, "they have good missionaries in that zone, but they need great ones. They need enthusiasm and they need conversions." Whoah. No pressure!

 I never imagined how difficult it would be to leave an area. Missionaries seem to always come and go, but Pikeville has become my home! Nobody ever told me that one of the most difficult aspects of a mission is getting transferred! I have served with these people and they have served me tenfold. I have loved them, cried with them and for them. I have prayed with them and labored in prayer on their behalf. I have plead with my Heavenly Father to understand their needs so that I can be a tool in His hands, and as a result I have cultivated a love for each individual here in Pikeville that is impossible to describe!

 These people have changed my life, they have become my family. I am heartbroken to leave, but I know that there are amazing people in Buckhannon as well. My life and the Lord's work will continue to change as I love and serve with the people in Buckhannon, and I am so excited to become involved in their lives! I cannot wait to work with the Bishop and the Stake President and with each member of the ward! (They have a ward there, that'll be culture shock!). I know that there are elect individuals in Buckhannon who will bless my life and teach me much more about God's will for us than I could ever teach them. I am very excited for the adventure, progression, miracles, and blessings that this next transfer will bring.

F_____ is getting baptized this Saturday! He is ready and he is excited! It has been a great experience to plan and organize the baptism, and I am devastated that I will not be here for it. But I know that the covenants made will be between F______ and God. Therefore it does not matter if Sister Shumway is there or not.  I am humbled and thankful to be trusted and blessed by the Lord to play a minuscule part of his conversion.