Thursday, January 16, 2014

A General Authority Visits!

This week  Elder S. Gifford Nielsen of the Quorum of the Seventy came to our mission to speak to us! He had some conferences to attend in D.C. but he had an extra day between meetings so he called President Pitt a few weeks ago and asked if he could meet with our mission!
On Friday Sister Wahlin and I got up at 4:00 am to drive to Charleston West Virginia by 9:00 for the meeting. Elder Nielsen is incredible! In October of last year he gave a talk in General Conference about "Hastening the Lord's Game Plan" (he is known as the "exclamation point speaker"). His enthusiasm in Conference is NOTHING compared to his actual energy! Elder Nielsen is the happiest, most enthusiastic and excited man I have ever seen! He is exactly like Dad! I almost couldn't focus because I kept thinking, "Oh my lanta, my Dad has been reincarnated as Elder Nielsen!" 

It was an incredible meeting. The entire mission was there (which happens very rarely because our mission is so big) and the room was charged with the excitement of giddy missionaries and a very enthusiastic general authority! Elder Nielsen spoke to us about covenants and ordinances and what the promised blessings specifically mean to us. He was very bold and reminded us that we have made covenants in preparation to serve a mission, and that we must honor those covenants! If something doesn't seem right, he counseled us to change it NOW. It was very powerful and inspiring. 

After the mission conference we had another meeting called MLC (Mission Leader Council). It is a meeting every month for the Zone Leaders and Sister Trainer Leaders in the mission. Elder Nielsen requested to speak to us in MLC, so we had a small, personal meeting with him. He counseled us as leaders in the mission and helped us understand that all progress in the mission starts with us! We were able to refocus our purpose and understand how to help this mission become a becoming mission - a mission that becomes better every day. It was a remarkable experience to shake Elder Nielsen's hand and talk with him for a few minutes. His faith in Jesus Christ, the fundamental principle of the gospel, is so clear and evident in his eyes. It was a spiritually charged day!

Sister Wahlin and I were up at 4:00 am and arrived home at 8:30 pm, exhausted but spiritually uplifted and strengthened. It is so exciting to be a missionary!
The Holy Ghost is one of our greatest tools in the mission field, without it we can do nothing! Last night Sister Wahlin and I had an appointment with one of our investigators. When we arrived at her house we found that all the lights were off and there was no answer to our knocks. As we were leaving her neighbor came around the side of his house and asked what we needed. We told him we had an appointment with his neighbor, and he explained that she had died on Friday due to a severe heart attack. We saw her last Tuesday. It is incredible to witness how fragile life is, yet with the gospel we are blessed to have an eternal understanding of mortality's purpose. Before she died she had been reading the Book of Mormon every day and keeping every commitment we left with her. We know that she is learning the gospel in a much more peaceful place now, and that she is prepared to receive it. 

Because our appointment... fell through?... Sister Wahlin and I immediately followed through with our backup plans, which also fell through, and about five minutes later we found ourselves plan-less and with an awkward 45 minutes left of the day. BUT, we work until the end because we know that miracles happen five minutes to 9:00. So we prayed. Immediately I felt where we needed to go, so we went! And we tracted! We love tracting! We knocked three doors and everyone was hilariously not interested (we receive some of the greatest excuses when we tract!). An elderly man opened the third door and simply said, "Move along girls! Go that way!" (jabbing his finger in the opposite direction). We laughed as wished him a good evening and then we decided, "No, we don't want to go that way, we want to go this way." So we went the opposite direction because Sister Wahlin saw a house with a porch light on and strongly felt that we needed to go there. An amazing girl answered the door with a huge smile on her face! She is in her early 20's and she is incredibly kind! She was babysitting at the home, but she gave us her information and asked us to contact her later in the week. As we left Sister Wahlin and I had a powerful feeling of contentment. She was the reason we were led to that street, and we are so excited to begin teaching her!

This is the Lord's work! Therefore, He is invested in every aspect of it! And when we do His work His way, it moves forward in the hasty manner that the Lord intended it to. This work will not fail. We are here to succeed because this is the final dispensation preparatory to the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is His work and it is filled with miracles as we listen to the still, small promptings of the Holy Ghost, our guide and third companion in this, the Lord's work. 

I love you!

Sister Shumway

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