Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Miracles Abound!

Dear Family,

Last year when I was in Charleston with Sister Herring and Sister Kitto we tracted into a woman named J____ who was very excited to learn more. Because of schedule conflicts and other circumstances we only taught her once before losing contact. She has not been contacted since then. 

On Tuesday Sister Combs and I found our way to her to home once again. Our knock on her door was greeted by her enthusiastic welcome! She HAD wondered why the missionaries stopped coming by! We had a marvelous lesson with her and she is back on track! Her story is incredible.

J_____ was in a severely abusive marriage many years ago. It seemed as though each time she was beat near to death by her husband, the "Mormon missionaries" would knock on her door the following day. Although J____ could never meet with the missionaries they always seemed to come at the right time. 

After giving birth to her son, J_____ faced some severe complications with her eyes. Over a period of two weeks following her son's birth she gradually lost her sight until she was totally blind. For forty days Judy stayed in the hospital, completely blind, surrounded by doctors who could not decipher the cause of her blindness. J_____ had a friend who worked at the hospital as a nurse. The nurse knew a doctor who "was a Mormon." J____'s friend knew a little about Priesthood blessings and she offered to arrange for J____ to receive a blessing from the LDS doctor. J____ remembers the doctor, a member of the Charleston 2nd Ward, anointing her with oil and giving her a beautiful Priesthood blessing. 

Seven days later her sight was completely restored. The doctors still have to idea how it happened. What a miracle!

J____ explained that she doesn't feel quite comfortable in any of the churches she has attended, she just feels like there is more. She said, "I have seen so many miracles in my life and I know who God is but I want to know Him better... I just don't know how." We taught J_____ about covenants and ordinances that bind us to God and enable us to KNOW how to come unto Christ and return to live with God again. She is so excited to be fully engaged in coming unto Christ through the fullness of His restored gospel!  

I know that the Lord leads His servants to His elect and prepared children because this is HIS work!

I love being a missionary. This is the work of God. It is divine and it is sacred. 

I love this work, this gospel, and I love the Lord!

Thanksgiving 2014

The Quintrell family invited us to have Thanksgiving dinner with them. Instead of baking the turkey in the oven they deep fried it in a HUGE deep fryer in the front porch! It was great! I love West Virginia!

On Monday we accompanied the Quintrell Family to the LIONS club annual "Critter Dinner." We were served Wild Boar, Antelope, Deer, Elk, and "beast" (whatever that is...). Every person in attendance was decked in camo, Cabella's gear, and handlebar mustaches. We stuck out like sore thumbs so it was a great opportunity to answer many questions! It was great!

I love being a missionary.

Sister Shumway 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Conversion Unites Families!

Dear Family,

Brother Q. was baptized and confirmed! He is so happy! The baptism was flawless and the entire program was perfect. What a great weekend!

 For eleven years Sister Q.l has prayed for her husbands heart to soften and for eleven years Brother Q.  hid in the bedroom every time the missionaries came to visit his wife. 

Eleven years is a long time. Patiently Sister Q. prayed on.

And his heart softened. 

In response to his wife's faithful prayers and years of silent pleading with the Lord, Brother Q. became curious. As he began listening to the missionaries' messages his curiosity evolved into interest. His interest began to soften his heart, and softening became conversion. He is now the newest member of the Charleston 1st Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


The Q. family radiated at the baptismal service! Brother Q. was collected and confident but it was clear that he was on cloud nine the entire weekend. He seemed to radiate with the Spirit as he sat by his wife and son, his arm anchored around them, in his white baptismal jumpsuit.The ordinance was flawless! It was a special moment for Sister Q. Following the baptism Brother Q.l leaned over and calmly whispered, "I feel good, I feel clean." 

Brother Q.'s confirmation the following day was just as perfect.I have never seen that man so happy! His confirmation blessing spoke highly of him as a father and repeatedly blessed him to be able to lead his family by the power of the gift of the Holy Ghost which he was receiving. It was a powerful blessing. 

Brother Q. is exuberant! Sister Q. is filled with gratitude and she is so happy! Brother Q. will receive the Aaronic Priesthood within the next few weeks and he will baptize their eight year old son. Their son often parades around their home with his personal copy of the Book of Mormon in the air, cheering, "I'm getting baptized in December! I'm getting baptized in December! Dad's gonna baptize me! Dad's gonna baptize me!" 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families because it's principles and precepts unite them. This family will travel to the Columbus Ohio temple to be sealed as a family unit for eternity. The Gospel blesses families because conversion unites them. 

I love this family.

Sister Shumway  




Monday, November 3, 2014

Elder Renlund



This week Elder Dale G. Renlund of the First Quorum of the Seventy came to the West Virginia Charleston Mission! Our mission is very large so we had a Mission Conference with the North half of the mission and the South half. Charleston is the meeting place for the North half of the mission so early morning we found ourselves at the Stake Center with over 100 other missionaries.

 When Elder and Sister Renlund arrived at the church with President and Sister Salisbury we each had the opportunity to shake his hand. When my turn came and I reached my hand out. He grasped it in both of his hands and leaned in until his face only a few inches from mine. His eyes were clear, deep, and blue. With that penetrating General Authority stare he looked deep into my eyes and didn't blink once. 

He asked, "Where is home?" And we had a brief conversation, still no blinking, and he did not break eye contact. It was a very intense moment only because the Spirit bore powerful witness that Elder Renlund is a man of God. He has been called of God to spread the gospel throughout the world. The Holy Ghost is a powerful source of truth and of divinity. 

 Elder Renlund explained that there are many different responsibilities and duties in the church. Each calling is directed by God under the Priesthood authority. Although our callings and responsibilities differ, we ALL work under the same apostolic authority. Elder Renlund's apostolic authority came by way of His ordination. 

My apostolic authority came by way of my setting apart. All of God's work is directed by the same Priesthood authority. While our duties within that apostolic authority differ, we all have the same testimony of Jesus Christ, that He is our Savior. We are all working on the same team for the same goal and for the same Savior. We do these things because we love the Lord!!  

Happy Fall!




Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New Companion

Dear Family,

I picked up my new companion at transfers on Thursday! She is great! Sister Combs is from St. George Utah. She is a dancer and a laugher and a cold cereal lover! She is awesome!!! We have had fun working hard this week!


Great things are happening in Charleston!  T_______ came to church for the first time, J_________ is preparing to be baptized in a couple weeks. The Lord is placing in our path marvelous people who have questions that are answered only through the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ! We love this life!

It is a rich honor and blessing to be in the service of the Lord. He could do this work without us if He wanted to, but He doesn't. He wants us to be part of it and He wants us to feel the joy and the eternal conversion that comes from being in His service. 

This is His work, therefore, we must let Him be part of it. If we attempt to do this work on our own we will find ourselves teaching to people's minds, not to their spirits. Only the Holy Ghost can communicate to the spirits (or to the hearts) of God's children.

 If we attempt to this His work on our own we may accomplish a few meager intellectual conversions, which are not eternal conversions. As we do His work under His direction, by way of the Holy Ghost, we have the sacred opportunity to help God's children receive true, eternal conversion because the Holy Ghost is the true teacher and testifier of truth. "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3). We come to know God and Jesus Christ through the Holy Ghost. This is the Lord's work! We want to do it His way because only His will can result in eternal joy and conversion.

 I love the Lord and I love His work!

love,

Sister Shumway 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Fall in West Virginia






Squirrel...It tastes like chicken!

The Quintrells fed us squirrel last week! Don't worry, it didn't come from the side of the road.... it was... yummy...  ..... but not really... 



However, the experience was great! A lot of the bones are too tiny to pick out so you just have to eat them... it's like eating really tough dark chicken meat.... with some crunch to it.


 Haha, it's all part of this cultural experience! 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Road Kill


 In most U.S. states it is frowned upon to take roadkill from the side of the road eat it.




 However, in West Virginia there is a law which specifically allows anyone to pick up roadkill, take it home, cook it for dinner, and feed it to the missionaries.
 
True story. 
 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Message

Keep Those Letters Coming!

I love the Lord and I know that this is His work! If it wasn't His work we would have messed it up a long time ago!

love,

Sister Shumway 


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

Missionary Scouts


The Fairmont Ward Scout Troop is a driving force of missionary work. There are practically as many nonmembers as there are members who participate in the scouting program with the Fairmont Ward. The Assistant Scout Master is a 19 year old boy named K______. He has been devoted to a life of scouting since he was a wee little child. When his scout troop collapsed last year he joined the LDS scout troop. Because of his parent's concerns about the church K_____ never took interest in learning about the actual doctrines. He intended to remain Assistant Scout Master until the beginning of the summer when he planned to go to Oklahoma to join the National Guard. 

Then God stepped in.

Weeks before K_____ was to leave for Oklahoma he was in a severe car accident that literally broke his back. His injury was so severe that he was deemed permanently disqualified for the National Guard. His disappointment and frustration was great but his long recovery enabled him to remain active in troop 13.

As Summer began, talk of Youth Conference fringed the LDS scout troop's announcements and K_____'s interest was sparked. All of his friends were going to this weekend "Youth Conference" so he became set on going as well. After all, he had nothing to do other than sit around in his back brace. After persuading his parents to let him go to Youth Conference, K_____ signed up for specific workshops. He chose to attend "Mission Prep" with one of his scouting friends, "Eternal Families" with another troop friend, and "Power of the Priesthood" with another friend. 

Needless to say it was a powerful weekend.

Three days later when Zack stepped out of the carpool van at the conclusion of Youth Conference, he turned to the Scout Master and quickly exclaimed,"Brother ___________! I am going to get baptized, go on a mission, and get married in the temple!" 

And his conversion began.

We have been teaching K______ the lessons for three weeks now and he is progressing incredibly and preparing to be baptized in September. He has expressed that if he hadn't been in that car accident he would be in Oklahoma right now instead of preparing for baptism. K______ LOVES the gospel and he is excited about all that he is learning!

It is a thrill to witness the Lord's hands in the lives of those we are blessed to teach. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of change. It is a gospel of becoming and it is a gospel of eternity. The doctrine of Jesus Christ is our training for eternity that teaches how to obtain a fullness of joy. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of joy. I love the Lord and I love His work!!

love,
Sister Shumway 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Miracle at McDonald's

Last week Sister Whitaker and I did not have time for a lunch break so when 3:00 rolled around and we found ourselves with an unexpected additional 20 minutes, we decided to find something that would hold us over until dinner. The first idea that came to our minds (and grumbling stomachs) was a 49 cent ice cream cone at McDonald's! Yum. We re-thought that for a moment but our watering mouths prompted a powerful craving. So, 49 cent ice cream cone it was.


As we walked into McDonald's our eyes were drawn to a nearby table where the occupant's face had lit up at the sight of us. (This reaction to our presence in public is somewhat unusual.) The situation became further unusual when the young man sitting at the table called out us saying, "Hey! You're the Mormon Missionaries for this church down the road here, aren't you?!"

This young man took the missionary lessons about 9 months ago and was preparing to be baptized but suddenly he had to move away, losing contact with the church. We set up a time to meet him at the church building with some members of the Ward and sure enough, he arrived with his Book of Mormon in hand. During the lesson he expressed that as soon as he stopped coming to church 9 months ago his life once again fell into shambles. He expressed  that when he called to us at McDonald's he had been planning to take his life that afternoon. When he saw us he was reminded of the peace the gospel had brought into his life and he decided to start coming back to church to better his life instead of ending it. 

That day at McDonald's the ice cream machine was broken. 

The Lord works in marvelous ways.

I will forever be thankful for the heaven sent craving for a 49 cent ice cream cone. 

Miracles are real and this is the gospel of Jesus Christ! 


Sister Shumway 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Joy!



Dear Family,

It has been a fun week!

I have gained a testimony that missionary work is FUN. If missionary work is not fun and if it is not awkward then something very large is amiss! 

"Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy" (2 Nephi 2:25). 





Joy is laughter and excitement, it's reverence and feeling the Spirit, it's tracting a holler in the rain, it's connecting and bonding with the people you teach, it's FUN. 


Last night we had a lesson with one of our investigators who has basically NO concept of who God is or of religion in general. His progress in learning about the gospel has been slow and minimal but it has been marvelous! We have had to learn how to teach the basics of the basics in the most basic way! It has been a great learning experience for us as well as him. Last night we taught Mick about the Priesthood authority, prophets, and prayer. He had read about the Priesthood in a pamphlet we left him with and he grasped the concept immediately and with excitement! 

As we sat in the living room of this humble family, deep in a West Virginia holler, I wanted nothing more than to step back and watch the scene before us. There has been a change in M______ as he has begun learning about and accepting the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is a light in his eyes that I have never seen before, and it gets brighter with every scripture that we read and every principle he learns. The Spirit was the senior companion in the lesson last night, and the Spirit was the true teacher. That was evident in M_____'s eyes and in his countenance. He is becoming a spiritual leader for his family and he is changing. 

"Behold, this is joy which none receiveth save it be the truly penitent and humble seeker of happiness" (Alma 27:18).

Missionary work is fun.

Have a fun week! I love you!

love,

Sister Shumway 

EVERYONE has a wreath on their door.... YEAR ROUND. This was by far the most impressive I have seen!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pigs Feet and Prophets

Dear Family,

Yesterday we had dinner at a members house and they fed us good ol' beans and cornbread! It was great..... until we found two WHOLE ENTIRE PIGS FEET IN THE POT OF BEANS!! You would think that the pigs feet are just for flavor.... nope.... they eat those too. I stand a witness today that pig skin boiled on the hoof in a pot of beans is nasty. Brother Carman will tell you otherwise though!


My new friend M_______ has been invited to take the missionary lessons MANY times. And he has said no many times. A couple weeks ago as we were teaching him and his wife (who is an active member) we invited him to be baptized and he said yes! He had been thinking about baptism and the Spirit had been working in his heart, preparing him to finally take the lessons! Now we are teaching him with his family. He has been coming to church regularly because he WANTS to. M___  grew up with very little religious exposure so he doesn't even know the basics of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He doesn't know who Moses or Noah are, and he doesn't really know what the Godhead is or what God is like. Last night we had a lesson about prophets. Although it is a very new concept and he ate it up!  I have never seen such a enthusiasm in his eyes and I have never seen such light in his countenance! It is marvelous to witness conversion taking place in someone's heart! 

A few weeks ago we received a media referral from a member in Washington DC for a woman named A____. When we contacted her, we connected with her immediately! She was only available for a few minutes but we had a great time getting to know her and laughing hysterically in those few minutes! She expressed her sincere interest in the church because of the trials and struggles bombarding her life. Her LDS friend in DC was the only one who responded to her in her greatest time of need and she wants to know "why the Mormon people are so happy." 

We couldn't connect with A___ again for two weeks. 

We sticky noted her door,  left fun voicemails on her phone for a couple weeks and finally we heard back from her yesterday. She called us and expressed how busy her weeks have been with work but she went on to say, "I need to get with you girls this week! I have lots and lots of questions about your church. People say 'at all times bear testimony of Christ, and when necessary, use words.' Your actions have made me more interested in your church than anything I have read! When I first met you we laughed so hard! I haven't laughed that hard in months. Are you girls available on Friday? Let's get together."

A___ is incredible! Trials in mortality are difficult, they are hurtful and they are upsetting. But with an eternal perspective our eyes are open to the reality that though trials God is working miracles in our lives. As we respond in faith, trials produce progress and a closeness to our Savior, who helps us progress eternally because of the ultimate trial that He chose to take upon Himself. 

I love this work and I love the Lord!

love,


Sister Shumway 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pink Barbie Car

Our experience last week with Kari (the white house and blue shutters) was marvelous so naturally we did it again! On Thursday we created a "know, feel, do" and lesson plan, these are our notes: 

Single mom with two young kids. She grew up in church but now she only attends sporadically; she is looking for a church. She never had a loving father, or much of a father growing up so she struggles with feeling that God is a loving Heavenly Father. She lives in the Camelot trailer park. We will identify her by the pink Barbie car in her front yard.

That afternoon Sister Herzog and I pulled into the Camelot trailer park and said a prayer of faith. We drove around the entire park and did not see a pink Barbie car. We prepared to park the car and walk around the trailer park to ITL for half an hour before moving on, but I felt a distinct pressure on my heart that this was not where we needed to be. I remembered that down the holler a little way there was another small trailer park. This trailer park was much smaller, it only has 5 or 6 single wide trailers in it. But we did not let ourselves doubt. We zipped around a curve and crested a small hill into the trailer park. As we coasted into the park, the first trailer merged into sight. Our hearts seemed to freeze in our chests as our eyes fixed on the pink Barbie car in the front yard of the first trailer. With giddy excitement Sister Herzog and I parked the car and bowed our heads, grinning in prayer. We lept from the vehicle and rushed to the door. Our enthusiastic knock was greeted by an elderly woman named Maryanne (which we did not expect!). Scurrying around Maryanne's ankles was a four year old girl. With faith filled hearts we began talking with Maryanne and connecting with her. Soon she explained that her daughter, Mary, actually lives in the trailer, and that she was only babysitting for the evening. Mary was out that evening with her other daughter.

Single Mom. Two young kids (4 and 7-year-old daughters). Pink Barbie car in the front yard.

Maryanne explained the situation to us and we learned that Mary did not grow up with a consistent father figure. Although Maryanne is married, their relationship is practically nonexistent because he is enveloped in drugs and alcohol. Mary is looking for a church for her small family, and Maryanne wants to attend wherever they choose to. We taught Maryanne about the Book of Mormon and how it blesses families and teaches of our Heavenly Father's love. We taught the very "know, feel, do" lesson plan that we had created and the Spirit was a powerful witness to Maryanne that these things are true.



We have an appointment to see them all again this week.

The Lord is merciful, He is fun, He is all knowing and He is sustaining. With eyes of faith and "with God, all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26). I know that "If [we] canst believe, all things are possible to [the missionary] that believeth" (Mark 9:23). I have seen it time and time again, and I know that this is the work of Almighty God. I know that this is to change the world, and I know that God's purposes will be accomplished through manifestations of His will being done here on earth. His will is manifest by miracles. 

I love you and I love the Lord!

love,
Sister Shumway   

A typical ward member in West Virginia.



Monday, June 23, 2014

"Know, Feel, Do"

Dear Family,

All week Fairmont was hammered with torrential thunder storms and thick, clotted clouds. However, Saturday morning greeted us with perfectly clear skies, brushed in baby blue and bordered with a marvelous sunrise. At 10:30 on Saturday morning, a handful of Saints gathered on the shaded bank of the Prickett's Fort river ("crick") to witness the baptism of Walker and Hayley Ice.

Two months ago Walker and Hayley's Dad, Conrad, was baptized and 6 days prior to their baptism, Conrad received the Aaronic Priesthood so that he could baptize his children. It was a beautiful ordinance.

The Spirit was wonderfully heavy in the crisp morning air at the river during the opening hymn and prayer and during the talks that were given. The Lord surely blessed us with a perfect day! When the time came for the ordinance to be performed our hearts melted as we watched Conrad lead his son Walker into the water. After helping Walker place his small hands in Conrad's large hands, he raised his arm to the square, beautifully said the baptismal prayer, and baptized his son. Hayley followed and again, Conrad baptized her by the Authority and commission of Jesus Christ. 

I cannot describe the Spirit that accompanied these marvelous ordinances. What an incredible experience it was to be surrounded by the Lord's beautiful creations and to witness a father, humble and faithful to his own covenants, help his children enter into some of the same covenants. This is a gospel of progression and it is a gospel that unites families. The Ice family is incredible! Walker and Hayley's baptisms were a very sacred experience for all who attended. I know that the Lord is overjoyed and pleased with the decisions this family is making!

Yesterday Sister Herzog and I created a "know, feel, do" lesson plan. As we prepare for the day, we pray to know who the Lord would have us teach. We prayed for inspiration, then wrote down our impressions.

  We invited Heavenly Father to help us create an accurate vision of this family. These are our notes: This family consists of a mom, dad, and two children, but the mom and dad are not married. The parents were raised in religion but do not currently attend a church because the changing doctrine is confusing. This family of four has struggled with feeling that God loves them. We will identify them by their house (which will be white with blue shutters) and because they will let us in right away.

This is the vision that Sister Herzog and I prepared for this family of four that we knew was out there somewhere! We planned to find this family between 4:00 and 5:00 yesterday evening in the Rayford neighborhood. After planning these things in detail we knelt on our study room floor and offered a prayer with all the faith we could possibly muster. We gave our lesson to the Lord and promised Him that we would do ALL in our power to find this family according to His will. We knew that He would sustain His faithful servants.

And we went to work.

At 4:00 Monday afternoon we pulled into the Rayford neighborhood. Our stomachs fluttered with butterflies of excitement as we bowed our heads in prayer before leaping from the car. We knocked only on the white houses with blue shutters. There were more than I expected! (I didn't realize how popular blue shutters are!). The first two doors were void of any response but as we crested a hill our eyes were drawn to an off-white house with blue shutters. Sister Herzog and I looked to each other and muttered, "this is it."

A man was mowing the front lawn but as he saw us approaching his house he waved for us to walk around the back. That was awkward. We walked along the side of the house and poked our heads around the corner into the backyard (feeling like creepers). A woman sitting on the back porch practically leaped from her chair when she saw us and with a smile on her face she exclaimed, "Why hello! Would you like to come in?" With a kind smile and gentle, tired looking eyes she opened the sliding glass door and ushered us into her home, which they recently moved into. She proudly introduced us to her son, Bently, who is three years old. Bently is a small child for his age, and he is constantly hooked up to an IV and many other tubes and medical devices I have never seen before. It was a very intense scene. Bently's nurse, Faith, warmly greeted us as well as she adjusted tubes and gave shots to little Bently. Bently's Mother, Kari, explained to us that Bently was born with a misdiagnosed heart disorder. Because of the misdiagnosis some severe damage has been done to his body. A smile still spread across her young face as she explained Bently's many medical needs. She is a strong woman!

Kari invited us to sit on her couch and we began getting to know her. We asked if the man mowing their yard was her husband and she replied, "Yes he is.... well, actually we are not married yet... but we are engaged!"

Whoah.

I almost couldn't believe it.

We asked if they had any other children in addition to Bently and Kari exclaimed, "Oh yes! We also have a daughter named Hailey but she is in Oregon visiting family right now." 

Double Whoah.

White house with blue shutters. Let us in right away. Not married. Two kids.

Kari told us about her life and about her struggles and about the many miracles she and her family have been blessed with. She was raised in a Baptist church but as she grew older she became confused with the changing doctrines of each Baptist church. She felt that all Baptist churches should agree on doctrines, but instead they were always disagreeing. She stopped attending church a few years ago and she has been searching for something since then. We asked Kari how she has been able to feel God's love in her life and she listed some marvelous blessings that have expressed His love for her, but she concluded by saying,
"That is actually something that I really struggle with."

Whoah.

Raised in religion but not currently attending. Confused by changing doctrine. Has difficulty feeling God's love.

We taught Kari about the gospel of Jesus Christ that has been Restored to the earth. When we showed her a picture of the Prophet Thomas S. Monson and the Twelve Apostles she said, "Wow, I just got goose bumps! I didn't know there was a prophet on the earth today!" As she looked at President Monson's face she reverently said, "Isn't it wonderful that you can see so much in a person just by looking at their picture?" Kari loves the Book of Mormon and everything that we taught her. Near the end of our visit Kari's husband, Bobby, came in from mowing the lawn and joined our discussion. Kari and Bobby are incredible. They have been prepared to receive the gospel and they are excited about it.

I love the Lord. I love faith. I love prayers and I love answers to them. I know that the Lord will go to eternal lengths to sustain His faithful servants in the prayers of faith that we express according to His will. This is so clearly the church of Jesus Christ, and it is filling the world in these last days, preparing the children of men for the second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I love you!

love,

Sister Shumway

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Service in Skirts!

REAL Sister Missionaries do service in their proselyting clothes!!

(unexpected service opportunities = thank you Mom and Dad for teaching me not to be a wimp! 
WHO NEEDS PANTS?!)

I love you!!




Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Strange Pets

Dear Family,

Wild, Wonderful West Virginia is DEFINITELY wild and wonderful! Thunder storms roll in, flood and rain torrentially, and roll out in a matter of 20 minutes, and the culture here in West Virginia is fantastically foreign. I LOVE it. I love doing the Lord's word here among these marvelous people.

Elizabeth is doing great! She has set a date to be baptized on July 26th! She loves the gospel with an excited energy that strengthens the faith of everyone around her.

Walker and Hayley Ice are getting baptized on Saturday! Their Dad received the Priesthood yesterday and he will be performing the ordinance. It was a beautiful experience to witness Conrad's ordination to the office of a Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood. Conrad received the Priesthood with a marvelous blessing and with the humble confidence of a new member of the church and a disciple of Jesus Christ. We are excited for the baptism this weekend! It holds great meaning for the covenants that Walker and Hayley will be entering into, and it also holds great significance for the covenants that their Dad has made through the ordinance of baptism and receiving the Priesthood. Ashley is thrilled with the progress of her family, and they are working toward the temple! They will be an eternal family in no time!!

On Monday evening I recalled a potential investigator that Sister Williams and I met 6 months ago. We were at a gas station fueling our car one evening and the gas pump we were at wouldn't print our receipt. We rushed inside quickly to get a receipt from the cashier, her name was C________l. She immediately asked us about the significance of our nametags. We explained our role and purpose as missionaries and her response was, "I have never heard of your church." She had a plethora of questions so we taught her about the Book of Mormon and she gave us her information so we could teach her more.

We never contacted her again. She never answered the phone or the door. We were never sure if she was avoiding us or if we simply missed her every time.

Then we left Fairmont.

None of the following Sisters were able to contact her.

As we drove by her apartment last week I felt impressed to stop and just knock on her door. As we pulled into her parking lot and said a prayer of faith, I plead with the Lord to be able to contact C______ once again and to be able to do His will. We stepped out of the car, approached her door, and knocked with a friendly rhythm. And waited. We knocked once more. And waited. And then she answered!! We had a great reunion as we recognized each other! She asked us to come back the next day and we taught her the restoration lesson. She loved all that we taught, especially the manifestation of God's love through Prophets in every dispensation. The following Saturday we returned with a member of our ward and taught C______ with her husband and their three beautiful children. The gospel will be a great blessing in their family.

I am thankful for the Lord's orchestration in His eternal work. There is purpose in everything we do!!

I love this work and I love the Lord!!

love,
Sister Shumway


This is a pet racoon....what else might you find deep in the Hollars?


June 2, 2014

This week was the best kind of missionary insane! We only had a couple days this week to work in our area because we had meetings in Charleston, Clarksburg and Morgantown! We were also sick with the pukes this week but we didn't care! We put everybody else at risk and did missionary work anyway! It is a splendid feeling to come home at the end of the day, sicker than a dog, knowing that you did your best and saw success!
                                      MISSIONARY WORK IS THE GREATEST!

Yesterday we had our first lesson with Elizabeth who lives in a nursing home. As we taught the Restoration lesson, Elizabeth's eyes fixed intently on ours. She felt the Spirit as we recited the first vision, and she exclaimed her excitement about the Book of Mormon and the Prophet! Before we could even offer she asked is she could have her own copy of the Book of Mormon, and before we could even invite she asked if she could come to church with us! Elizabeth loves the gospel already and she is close to the Spirit. We are excited for her progress and we know that the gospel will bring her comfort and peace.
I am thankful for the redeeming and changing qualities of the gospel. We are so blessed with the opportunity to witness a change and a light in the eyes of those we teach. Elder M. Russell Ballard explained,  “True conversion comes through the power of the Spirit. When the Spirit touches the heart, hearts are changed. When individuals … feel the Spirit working with them, or when they seethe evidence of the Lord’s love and mercy in their lives, they are edified and strengthened spiritually and their faith in Him increases. These experiences with the Spirit follow naturally when a person is willing to experiment upon the word. This is how we come to feel‍ the gospel is true”
The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of change. The initial change that takes place is the light that sparks within the eyes of the hearer as they initially feel the truth of the gospel. This work is real, it is remarkable, and it is His. 
I love the Lord and I love you!
love,
Sister Shumway
p.s. This week the message on a church billboard was:

"Honk if you love Jesus,
Text and Drive if you want to see Him!" 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Miracles & a Transfer

Dear Family,
Miracles have bombarded us like manna raining from the sky!
C_____ (the one we tracted into who had met missionaries in jail) is progressing rapidly! He reads the Book of Mormon every day and always finds a new favorite scripture. His favorite scripture story is of Nephi returning to Jerusalem to obtain the brass plate from Laban. His testimony has sprouted and blossomed very quickly and his conversion to the gospel and to his Savior is remarkably sincere. Sister Canova and I ordered a quad of scriptures with his name on it and he has not put them down since he first held them! On Sunday C_____ arrived at church clutching his new scriptures and wearing a full suit, white shirt, classy tie and shiny dress shoes ~ a member of our ward had generously given him all of it! Because of certain circumstances he will not be baptized until June next year, but he is already part of the Ward. He has a powerful testimony and he cannot wait for his baptism next year! I know that the Lord is pleased with C_____ sincerity in coming unto Christ wholeheartedly. It has been a marvelous conversion to witness!
Meet another family: We met the wife/mother three months ago and began teaching her about the Book of Mormon. Soon her son  began piping in on the lessons and they began to progress rapidly together toward baptism. Within a month and a half we met her husband, and invited him to learn about the gospel with his family. He began reading the Book of Mormon and progressing rapidly as well. Last week as we were reviewing the Plan of Salvation, another young son pulled up a chair and joined us. As we asked him questions we realized that he had been listening to all of the lessons we have been teaching his family! He has been hiding behind the couch or around the corner where we could not see him, but he has listened to everything we taught! He already knew the Plan of Salvation and he had been waiting for us to give him a Book of Mormon! The entire family is progressing wonderfully toward their baptism at the end of May. The Lord has been preparing their hearts. 

Tomorrow I will nestle into a Shum-bus (known in the mission field as the "Transfer Train") with many other missionaries and we will make our way to Charleston for transfers. From there I will take the Transfer Train up to ... (drum role please...) FAIRMONT WV!! Six months ago Sister Williams and I opened the Sisters area in Fairmont and tomorrow I will be returning to serve with my MTC companion Siser Herzog! We will be the Sister Training Leaders of the Morgantown and Clarksburg Zones in Northern West Virginia.

Vinton/Roanoke has been a marvelous area! I have worked harder and taught more here than ever before! When I arrived in this area four months ago we had one investigator. Now we have countless investigators and six of them are on date to be baptized at the end of this month! We have been finding and teaching families who are prepared for the gospel and who love the Lord. This area has transformed and flourished under the direction of the Lord and the Ward. It has been marvelous to work and witness the Lord's work hastening His way. Fairmont will be wonderful, I am thankful for the opportunity to go back to that incredible area!
The Lord is truly aware of details. This is His work! As we surrender our will to Him, especially concerning the details, and allow His will to be done, we will find never ending fountains of joy, bubbling and gurgling into waterfalls that spread into an eternity of rivers, lakes and oceans. We will find joy unto a fullness of it. We will be filled with Christlike love, even charity, for the sacred privilege we have to declare the gospel to our neighbors, friends and family. The Lord's mission plan for each of His children is this: invite. And by His power that invitation becomes eternal.
I love you!
Sister Shumway

Monday, April 14, 2014

Tracting Miracles

Dear Family,
This week I was on an exchange with the Cave Spring Sisters in our Zone. Sister Larkin is serving there! She and I worked in the Cave Spring area on the exchange, it was great to be with her again! Heavenly Father chucked miracles at us like we were targets in a game at the county fair! It was incredible to see His hand perfectly guiding the work,
Sister Larkin and I arrived for an appointment which was much shorter than we anticipated. We found ourselves in the area with precious time to spare before our next appointment so we said a prayer and walked to the first house our eyes latched to. We knocked on the door and a cute, young, redhead Mom named Amy answered the door and stepped onto the porch with us. She seemed very standoffish. Deep breath.

We chatted with her for a few moments about her pretty red hair and her cute baby boy balancing himself against the glass door behind her, and she began to open up! As we began to explain our purpose as missionaries and testify of the Book of Mormon, we witnessed a change in her countenance. We taught her about the Book of Mormon and told her the story of Lehi and his family, using the pictures in the front of the Book of Mormon. She suddenly exclaimed, "That is just like my family!" She explained that she and her family had moved in merely days before. They came from Kentucky where they were surrounded by many awful and difficult things. Although they did not want to move they felt that they had to leave in order to save their family. She connected perfectly with the story of Lehi.
Amy continued to illustrate an experience she had the day before. As she was driving home she found herself caught up in thinking about the wickedness of the world. Turning to Heavenly Father she simply said, "God, this is a wicked world. They will go nowhere unless they turn to you." The prayer of a desperate Mom was answered in less than 24 hours. Amy had been on the phone with her husband when she looked out the window to see us approaching. She immediately said to her husband, "There are some missionaries coming to our door. This is no chance, I know that this is a sign from God." The Spirit was powerful in our little triangle as each of us recognized the magnitude of God's work. Amy and her family are eager to take the lessons and learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ that is once again on the earth in it's fulness. They will be an eternal family one day soon.
God's work is so much greater than we are! I know that we are never part of a beginning.
I love you!
love,

Sister Shumway