Monday, October 28, 2013


Dear Family,
We received a wonderful surprise this week! We had a lunch appointment and lesson with a couple of our investigators on Tuesday, but during lunch our phone kept beeping. I reached down to silence it and saw that we had two missed calls from President Pitt and multiple text messages from President Pitt, Sister Pitt, and our District Leader. It is always a little bit nerve wracking when the Mission President calls you in the middle of a transfer. With racing hearts Sister Williams, Sister Snow and I finished lunch and the lesson and bolted to the car where we called President back. He was very relieved to finally talk with us and asked if he and Sister Pitt could meet us at our apartment in half an hour - they had a FOURTH companion for us! Whoah, that came out of nowhere! We bustled to a few places to resolve some former commitments and then scurried home to meet President. 

We were excited and surprised. When President and Sister Pitt arrived they had another Sister Williams with them! This Sister Williams was in the MTC with me, and it was wonderful to see her again! So we are now a 
It is a unique situation: Sister Williams, Sister Williams, Sister Snow and I are one companionship (meaning we work in one area and report one set of numbers, have one car and one phone) but it is so much fun! We rearranged our apartment again to accommodate our second Sister Williams, and we have spent every moment smiling and laughing since then! All four of us rarely teach together (although we have a few investigators who love being taught by all of us) and we frequently split into pairs to accomplish double the work. It has been incredible for the area! We are not sure how permanent this will be, but it sure is effective and fun! Three is a party,... but four is a fiesta! 

We had yet another incredible miracle this week! B______ expressed a very real concern to us as she explained that she felt as though she was abandoning her friends at the church she has been attending for a couple years. She loves coming to the LDS church and she knows that the Book of Mormon is true, but she has been facing social challenges from those in the other congregation she has attended in the past. This is a very difficult decision for a twelve-year-old to make, especially because her family does not support her decision to attend the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She has permission to be baptized, but she literally does not have support from anyone in her family. However, being B________, she knew exactly what she needed to do: prayOn Tuesday she told that she needed to pray about which church she needs to attend (although she promised us that no matter what her decision was she would always read the Book of Mormon!), and she would tell us what her answer was on Thursday, our next appointment with her. We left with hearts full of faith that her prayer would be answered.
We taught B_______ in a member's home on Thursday evening and planned to watch the 20 minute Restoration video, hoping that she would feel a connection with Joseph Smith as she watched it. We asked her what answer she had received from Heavenly Father, and her response caused our jaws to drop to the floor. She responded, "I am going to the Mormon church!" With a brilliant smile, she proceeded to tell us how her answer had come. 

She had knelt in prayer, seeking an answer from her Heavenly Father concerning which church she needed to attend. That night when she fell asleep she had a simple yet profound dream. In her dream she saw two churches: the church she has attended previously, and the LDS church. Standing next to the first church was a dark figure, almost undecipherable, which encompassed the church in a dark, misty fog. Next to the LDS church was a radiating, white, equally undecipherable figure. The light figure seemed to be motioning toward the LDS church building. Brittany awoke excitedly, immediately recognizing her answer from Heavenly Father.
B_____ knows that the church is true, and she is prevailing above the swamps of opposition and discouragement from those around her. She comes to church and young womens' activities faithfully every week, and she has even started Personal Progress with enthusiasm. I am thankful for her example and for her valiant faith in Jesus Christ. Her baptism is this Saturday; she is ecstatic! 
B_____  illustrates the powerful principle that prayers ARE answered. "Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened" (3 Nephi 14:7-8). The Lord clearly invites all of us to simply ask, and the promises are profound. I know that as we ask with a sincere heart and with faith, we will receive. I know that because it is a promise from the Lord, and the Lord always keeps His promises.  
I love you!
~Sister Shumway

PS.  It has been 2 weeks and B______ was baptized!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Miracles EVERY day!

Heavenly Father is a God of miracles - I cannot emphasize that enough!!

We had a fun experience this week! Our neighbor is a Seventh-day Adventist, and she wanted us to come with church with her (their sabbath is on Saturday). She then asked us if we would perform a special musical number for their congregation during the worship service. We were excited for the opportunity! Pat (our neighbor) is the pianist for her congregation so we went to her home a couple evenings this week and practiced the song we would sing. We had a wonderful time with her singing hymns from the LDS hymn book and from her Seventh-day Adventist hymn book. Music has the miraculous ability to bring the Spirit into any heart! On Saturday morning, the congregation warmly welcomed us. Our names were even on the program! We sang "I Need Thee Every Hour" while Pat accompanied us. Our song concluded with many hefty "amen!"s from the congregation. It was a great experience! I am ever more thankful for the Spirit that is found in the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sound and true doctrine is a blessing!

We witnessed yet another incredible miracle this week. N_____ has been investigating the church for over a year. She LOVES the gospel and she knows that it is true. She has a powerful testimony and solid faith in her Savior. She lives with her boyfriend who is a less-active member of the church (that is how she was introduced to the church), and she has desired to be baptized for a long time. However, as she was taking the lessons from the missionaries she found out she was pregnant. She knows that being pregnant out of wedlock is a sin, and she understands that living with her boyfriend violates the law of chastity. Therefore, she felt very guilty continuing to come to church activities while she was pregnant and did not want to get married while she was pregnant. Throughout the entire pregnancy she has eagerly looked forward to the day when she will be able to get baptized! We have continued to visit her, and she has expressed that her goal is the temple. She cannot wait for the day that she will be sealed to her husband and children in the Lord's temple. When she had the baby in September, the first thing she said was, "I can get baptized now!" She planned to get married three weeks after the baby was born, and get baptized that same evening. It was an exciting day when they got the court papers for marriage! We are so excited for her! 

On Wednesday we went to see Nakell, but our visit was short. She told us that we would have to take her off date for baptism; she was not sure when she would be getting married. The court papers are only valid for 90 days, and she expressed to us that she didn't think they would be valid by the time she was ready to get married. We left with broken hearts, our heads hung in discouragement, disappointment, and dark confusion. The ride home was heavy and silent. All week we have prayed for Nakell and discussed the possible circumstances. We finally decided to simply give her some space for a few weeks and continue to love and support her. The Lord, however, is a God of miracles, and He had another plan.

In PEC Sunday morning, after giving our weekly missionary report, Bishop Linger grinned and casually said, "We are having a wedding tonight." Sister Williams, Sister Snow, Elder Wright, Elder Esplin and I all looked at each other with furrowed brows and tight lips, imagining the unthinkable. Bishop continued, "I am marrying N_____ and her boyfriend tonight at 6:00 right here in my office." Unreal joy and peace flooded into our hearts as we grasped desperately to withhold the squeals of exasperation and disbelief that were fighting our throats! Confused and overwhelmed with happiness I began crying like a baby! Bishop explained that N_____ did not want a big wedding: they only wanted their mothers to be there, so they had kept it quiet, but N___ WANTS to make covenants with her Heavenly Father through the ordinance of baptism. Heavenly Father works in the hearts of His children who allow Him to.

N____ is a beautiful example of someone who acts on what they know to be true and right. She knows that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth. She knows that the power of God, His Priesthood authority, is the only authority by which we can be baptized and sealed to our families for eternity. She has powerful faith in Jesus Christ and she knows what He expects of her. She is taking the necessary steps, although they are not always easy, to do the Lord's will. She is amazing.

I know that this is the Lord's work and that this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ because the miracles that we witness each day are not the work of man. They are not the result of any person or thing on this earth. They are the power of God being manifest among the children of men in response to the faith of those who love and serve Him. "And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be" 
(1 Nephi13:37). We are each given the opportunity to bring forth Zion in these latter days.

 Exercise faith in the Lord and watch miracles happen!

I love you!
Sister Shumway   

3's a PARTY!

We were given our third companion this week! The Lord typically sends His servants forth two by two,... but three's a party! Missionary work is fun, but being in a tri-panionship as a missionary is Fabulous! Sister Snow is from St. George Utah, she is the oldest of 4 girls, and she has a powerful testimony of the gospel! She has been out for about three months, but she teaches like she has been on a mission forever! I am blessed to have the greatest companions in the world, Sister Williams and Sister Snow are a rich blessing in my life. We love laughing, studying, and working together to hasten the work of salvation in Buckhannon.

Wednesday evening (the night before we picked up Sister Snow), Sister Williams and I had to run to WalMart to get some sheets for the extra bed we set up in our apartment. As we were rushing through the aisles toward the check out, a young woman walking in the other direction, froze in her steps when she saw us. Her eyes grew wide and her hands were thrown up in the air as she exclaimed, "Mormon Sister Missionaries?!" We faltered in our steps, taken aback by this unusual, excicted greeting of a stranger, but we regained our composure and responded to her with smiles and nods. She introduced herself and told us that she had met with Sister Missionaries in a nearby town and wanted to be baptized. However, when she moved to Buckhannon a few months ago she completely lost contact with the church. She told us that since she moved to Bukchannon she has been searching for an LDS church building, and she has been looking for Sister Missionaries everywhere! She eagerly gave us her phone number and told us to call her. We gave her our phone number as well, and she thankfully accepted it. Her husband and her mother, whom she lives with, are against the church, but she loves the gospel and wants to learn more! Sister Williams and I floated out of WalMart in a dazed cloud, thinking,"what just happened?" I know that the Lord is preparing His children and then placing them immediately in our path. He guides His servants and by small and simple things, like getting sheets at (WalMart) great things come to pass.
Last week when we met a 12 year old girl named B_____. She had asked for a Book of Mormon, not knowing what it was, and said she wanted to read it.On Saturday one of our appointments fell through, and we felt that we needed to follow up B____ as a backup. We knocked on her door and her Dad answered. We were almost surprised when he warmly invited us in to see B_____ and to meet his two other daughters. B_____ was very excited to see us, and she reported that she had started reading the Book of Mormon! It was fairly confusing to her, but she loved the pictures in the front of the book. In fact, her four year old sister had torn some of the pictures out of the Book of Mormon, and B____ had treated the torn pages with care and taped them in the front of her Bible. Her favorite picture is the one of Christ appearing to the Nephites in America. We talked with B____ and her father for a while about God and about prayer, but her father had to go outside to watch his four year old daughter who was playing in the front yard. 

B_____ told us of some very special experiences she has had with the stories in the Bible. She loves the story of Christ atoning for our sins and dying for us because it always makes her cry as she understands the love her Savior has for her. We invited her to the baptism of one of the Elders' investigators that night, and she was eager to come! Her dad was fine with B_____ and her 11 year old sister going to the baptism, but he chose to stay home. At 5:30 Sister Williams, Sister Snow and I returned to their house to walk to the church with them. We talked about the Book of Mormon and about church as we walked, it was wonderful! 

We arrived at the baptism 45 minutes early so we did a church tour with the girls. They love the beautiful paintings that warm the hallways of the church building. In the chapel we explained what Sacrament Meeting is, and then we taught B____ about the restoration of the gospel and the Priesthood authority of God that is once again on the earth. She felt the Spirit very powerfully, and as we invited her to be baptized, her eyes filled with tears and she excitedly accepted! She is on date for November 2, and she tells every person she meets how excited she is for that day! During the baptism she was able to feel the Spirit as well, and she recognizes it! She understands that her Heavenly Father loves her and wants to bless her!
On Sunday one of the members gave Brittany a ride to church. She was very excited to be at church, and she could recognize the Spirit during the meetings! It was fast Sunday and she wanted to bear her testimony in Sacrament meeting, but she was too nervous, so she wrote it down on a piece of paper instead. She already has a beautiful testimony of the gospel and of her Savior! Brittany has a spiritual gift of recognizing and feeling truth. She is only 12 but she understands the feelings of the Holy Ghost! She has powerful faith and a desire to do what God wants her to do. She is reading the Book of Mormon, and although it is difficult to understand, she is trying as hard as she can, and she is aware of the gospel principles being taught! The Lord has prepared her to receive the gospel at this time, and He placed her directly in our path so that she could receive the blessings of making sacred covenants with the Lord.
Miracles are real, and our Heavenly Father is aware of our needs, our desires, and our efforts. "There is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness" (Alma 38:9). It is a joy to be in the service of the one who is the source of righteousness and truth!
I love you!
Love, Sister Shumway

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

General Conference

Dear Family,

Wasn't General Conference AMAZING?! I was blown away by the powerful theme of missionary work. It is beautifully clear that NOW is the time that the Lord is hastening His work. Every missionary in the WVCM was giddy with excitement and spiritual confidence as M. Russell Ballard committed each member of the church to bring just one person into their home and share the gospel with them. I know that as each member accepts this commitment from an apostle of the Lord, and as they listen to the counsel of the Prophet in joining with the full time missionaries of the church, that we will have a white Christmas. We literally cannot do it without the members! Find the one!
This week concludes another transfer, and it has been a GREAT one! Sister Williams and I are staying in Buckhannon, which we are very thankful for! We have done a lot of work here, but opening an area has allowed me to appreciate missionary work much more than I ever have! Although we work with all our might and diligence every day, it still feels like we have only scratched the surface! So we are thankful to be staying here. The Lord is bringing in reinforcements though! Sister Williams and I are getting a third companion! (Besides the Holy Ghost of course, who is always are third companion!) We are very excited to meet her tomorrow!

The trees are STUNNING! The rolling hills are densely carpeted with beautiful trees that are transforming from deep green to rich oranges and yellows. It is an amazing process to witness the trees slowly changing day by day. This process is like conversion; it does not happen overnight, but day by day. Eventually the individual drawing nearer to Christ shines with a transformed countenance, like the vibrant oranges, yellows, and reds of fall trees. Soon, as the leaves flutter from the branches to the ground, they carpet the earth in their beautiful rays of color, and those who are converted unto the gospel spread their light to all those around them. A mission is the most joyful process I have ever been a part of! "When I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me... yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me" (Alma 29:10). Serving a mission is the greatest! I love serving my Heavenly Father and His children, and by doing so "my joy is full" (3 Nephi 17:20). I know that as each member of the church "finds the one" by Christmas, that we will have a white Christmas, and we will be blessed with a fullness of joy as we witness of beautiful colors of conversion unto Jesus Christ.
I love you!

Sister Shumway

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


We had a wonderful baptism this weekend! The E______ Family, was baptized on Saturday, September 28 ~ they are amazing! The baptismal service was fabulous, it is such a blessing to witness the joy and literal conversion that has taken place in this beautiful family. When they arrived at the church before the baptisms on Saturday, they seemed beautifully different. Their countenances were filled with joy and each of them couldn't stop smiling and laughing - they were practically radiating! They were so excited to be baptized! Since their baptism and confirmation we have seen great changes in each of them as individuals and as a family. The gospel truly does bless individuals and families as it showers us with joy and understanding of God's plan for us. 

Saturday morning, before heading to the church for the baptisms, Sister Williams and I drove deep into the mountains, weaving through orange and yellow trees on a dusty, gravel road to help some members of our ward with cane boiling on their farm. Cain boiling is a BIG DEAL. They grow sugarcane, which grows in tall, green stalks that look similar to bamboo. The stalks of cane are smashed in a home-made machine (made of various pieces of car engines), producing a thin, bright green juice which is strained three times through various strainers. 

The cane juice is then poured into a massive, rectangular pan that is plastered with clay on top of a brick oven, where the juice is boiled for hours until it turns into a thick, dark brown substance - this is molasses. They love cane boiling here! It is a deep family tradition for the family we were helping today, and is one of the greatest days of the year!

 All of the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles and all other extended family and friends are invited to work all day (it is literally a 24 hour process) and enjoy the rich tradition of cane boiling. It was fun to delve into the green cane juice and be part of the family as we helped them for a couple hours. 

They kept telling us that this was true exposure to a hill billy's life! Sister Williams and I loved it!

But the greatest work to be done is missionary work! The Lord is hastening His work, and He is preparing the hearts of His children to receive this gospel.   It is a blessing beyond expression to be a missionary at this time. President Spencer W. Kimball said, “Now is the moment in the timetable of the Lord to carry the gospel farther than it has ever been carried before. … Many a person in this world is crying, knowingly and unknowingly, ‘Come over … and help us.’ He might be your neighbor. She might be your friend. He might be a relative. She might be someone you met only yesterday. But we have what they need. Let us take new courage from our studies and pray, as did Peter, ‘And now, Lord, … grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word’ (Acts 4:29).” 

God's children need the gospel! We show love for those we care about by sharing the gospel with them. Missionary work is filled with love, and is the most rewarding, enriching, and wonderful work, for it is the work of salvation!

I love you!
~ Sister Shumway

A Dream

 We had a marvelous discussion about the restoration of the gospel with the E_____ family. Each of them were greatly involved in the lesson, and the Spirit bore powerful testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel as F____, S____, and L___ each committed to be baptized on September 28th. We know that they are ready and that they will especially be prepared to make the covenant of baptism on that date! It was an exciting, uplifting, and very spiritual evening in the Bishop's home, and I couldn't imagine a more spiritual or joyful evening. 

Then F_____, the Father, asked  "Would you believe me if I told you I had a dream?" He then proceeded to tell us that 5 years ago he had a distinct dream about us and about each member of his family in the room. In his dream he specifically remembered Sister Williams and me teaching his family. The Spirit was powerful as he  told us about this dream. He felt the lesson we had that night was the fulfillment of that dream, and that Sister Williams and I were the exact missionaries he had seen in his dream 5 years ago.
I know that the Lord guides His servants. We are like blind little lambs who have no idea where to go or what to do, but our loving shepherd warmly comforts us, "fear not, little flock... for lo, I am with you" (D&C 6:34 and D&C 33:9). We are led by a far greater power and by a loving Father who knows and understands much more that we do. I know that as we follow Him and desire to do His will, that we will witness miracles. He does not require us to be perfect, but He requires us to be clean and to do our best, then "it is by grace... we are saved, after all we can do" (2 Nephi 25:23). The work of salvation is amazing, but it requires sacrifice. When we prayerfully understand what is required of us to put on the altar, our sacrifices and our faith are honored by the Lord as we witness miracles. This gospel is amazing, and this life is full of miracles and blessings!  
I love you!!
Sister Shumway