Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Gospel Cravings!

Being a missionary is the greatest blessing! We have an investigator who has many great questions for us, which are all answered in the Book of Mormon, but this individual has a very hard heart. This results in our answers being rejected although the truth is clear. It is sad to witness someone who is longing for truth in the depths of their soul, but who has constructed a wall around their heart. The wall prevents the Holy Ghost from testifying of truth, which also prevents conversion.

This week we had a great lesson with our hard-hearted investigator. Sister Williams and I felt that we needed to teach the restoration again and focus on the foundational principles and importance of the restoration. A recent convert in our ward came to the lesson with us and shared powerful personal experiences. As we focused on Joseph Smith's experience in the sacred grove, the Spirit bore undeniable witness that Joseph Smith was indeed called of God as the prophet of the restoration. Suddenly something was different. Our investigator's countenance began to change, not dramatically, but subtly. Conversion is a gradual and lifelong process, but the beginning of it is the first step in eternity. 

As a missionary I have learned that as we live righteously and maintain good thoughts, the Spirit will speak to us continually through our thoughts. It is very difficult to discern which thoughts really are the Spirit and which ones may not be the Spirit. 

I have learned to go with every good thought I have

For example: A couple days ago as Sister Williams and I were coming home at the end of the day, we realized that our car needed gas. As we passed a huge gas station I had the thought to get gas there, so at the last possible second (we were practically passing the entrance) I exclaimed, "Let's go there!" Sister Williams slammed on the brakes and turned sharply into the gas station. Giggling because of our graceful entrance, we pulled up to a gas pump and acknowledged a sudden craving we both had for an Odwalla fruit juice. 

We debated whether or not we should purchase a juice. But when the car was filled, we scurried into the gas station. Sister Williams sped to the wall of drinks and I idled at the door, watching her. I hardly noticed the quiet woman at the cashier until she asked me about my name tag. (Missionaries LOVE questions like that!) I began explaining our purpose as missionaries with enthusiasm when she suddenly asked, "Can I come to your church?" GOLDEN!!!!!! 

 After a few moments of conversations Sister Williams and I frolicked to our car to grab an extra Book of Mormon. Upon returning to the counter in the gas station we began to teach her about the Book of Mormon and about latter day prophets. She loved the gospel truths that the Spirit testified of as we explained the simple gospel message of faith and hope. We are eager to continue teaching her.

Lesson Learned: I will never turn down a craving for an Odwalla juice. 

Life is beautiful and the gospel is true! I love y'all!

Sister Shumway

Monday, December 2, 2013

Never a Dull Moment

(Typical Front Yard Decor in West Virginia!)

This month has been great! We hit a deer driving down a holler (don't worry Mom, I wasn't driving), I was asked to cast out an evil spirit, we learned that one of our investigators is married to her cousin, we doubled in and opened a new area, we were offered a knife, and we have witnessed countless miracles and conversions! It's been a good one!

On Friday Elder Joseph Sitati of the Quorum of the Seventy came to our mission to address the missionaries in our mission conference. Elder Sitati is from Kenya and is a convert of 27 years. He is a remarkable man! In his address to us he focused on our missionary purpose which is to "invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end."  It was a powerful meeting where the Spirit clearly testified of the importance of deeply understanding our missionary purpose.

The work of the Lord is hastening, and greater understanding of our purpose as missionaries and as members is necessary for His great purposes to be fulfilled.

Our "Foursome" received a call from President Pitt on Thursday with some bittersweet news. He told us that on Saturday Sister S. Williams I would be opening an area in Fairmont, about an hour from Buckhannon. Sister A. Williams and Sister Snow would be staying in Buckhannon where the work is moving forward at a spectacular rate.

 This news was difficult for us to accept; we have loved our fiesta of a companionship!

Sister Williams and I found our apartment in Fairmont cozily surrounded by clusters of ward members who offered us a warm welcome to our new apartment. Our landlord and home owner are both members of our ward, and they have ensured that we are in a good place. Our belongings were soon in the apartment, accompanied by the laughter and warmth of those helping us. Sister Williams and I are so happy to be here! Sunday morning we were welcomed into the ward by the members with such enthusiasm and love that we felt at home immediately! We were even given a part in the Primary Sacrament program! We love the people here in Fairmont immensely already! We are excited to work diligently and to learn and grow in this area. Opening an area is a great experience.

President Brigham Young said, "There is neither man or woman in this Church who is not on a mission. That mission will last as long as they live, and it is to do good, to promote righteousness, to teach the principles of truth, and to prevail upon themselves and everybody around them to live those principles that they may obtain eternal life." Be a missionary this week! We need your examples and we need your help in hastening the work of Salvation. Remember who we are serving and what we are serving for; remember your purpose as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I love you!

Sister Shumway