Monday, February 17, 2014


Dear Family,

What a week!

Last week we took our car to the auto body shop for some repairs from an accident it was in a few months ago. The repairs were completed the next morning. We were excited to have our car back, but we soon learned that the check which was sent from Salt Lake nearly a month ago had been lost in the mail. After a few more days with no sign of the check, Salt Lake canceled it and sent a new one which we are still waiting to receive. Therefore, we have been car-less for nearly two weeks now, but do not fear! We are REAL sister missionaries! So we got our hands on a set of old bicycles. Yes, only sister missionaries ride bikes. 

We had a marvelous week on our bikes: riding to and from appointments in the beautiful sunshine, embracing the fresh breeze and cruising through Roanoke........ and then a snowstorm hit. Not any old snowstorm....... the biggest snowstorm Roanoke Virginia has seen since 1996....... and it came straight for the sisters on bikes. But we are fearless! 

It began snowing in the morning, during our studies, but that didn't scares us! At 10:00 we left the house to ride our bikes to an appointment which was only a couple miles away. As we strapped on our helmets the snow was barely dusting the ground. We mounted our bikes and headed out! The snow began to fall more rapidly as we pedaled to our destination and by the time we got there, two inches of snow had fallen. We were so caked in snow that we had to be brushed off with a broom! 

The appointment was wonderful and as we prepared to leave, our Zone Leaders sent out a text ordering everyone to go home immediately and stay inside. We shrugged, laughed, and once again strapped on our helmets and mounted our bikes. By this time the ground was thickly carpeted in a 4 inch cushion of snow. We rode home in a thick blizzard, laughing, and yes, crashing, the whole way home. We learned that 1. your fingernails will freeze just as quick as your hair will freeze and 2. yes, it is possible to fishtail on a bike. When we arrived at home there was nearly 6 inches of snow on the ground. It was a wonderful day - we love being real missionaries! 

The next day we awoke to find three feet of snow blanketing the entire city! Everything shut down and everyone was snowed in. Many people walked down the main roads of Roanoke or pulled their kids on sleds, so we got out to work! We were able to talk with many people! There was a sense of friendship among everyone as we gawked at the mountains of snow surrounding us. 

In Mosiah 23:21-22 we read that sometimes "the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea he trieth their patience and their faith" and their winter clothes. Sister Wahlin and I have loved being on bikes (especially in the snow!) and we have enjoyed not having a car! It has kept us near our home where we have been able to meet many people who have been prepared to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have learned that there truly is a purpose in every trial, and we have witnessed great blessings from the Lord as He has provided work for us within biking distance of our house. I love the Lord and His understanding of the needs of His children. He truly does know best. When we roll with the punches of life and recognize them as punches of love, the Lord blesses us with greater understanding of opposition. Opposition is FUN. It has been a fantastic and fun two weeks! We love to work and we love to bike because we love the Lord!

Sister Shumway 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Late Night Miracles

Miracle miracle on the wall, which miracle should I tell y'all?!
When we do the Lord's work His way EVERYTHING is a miracle! Sister Wahlin and I have gained a sure testimony of counseling with the Lord in all things. Prayer is a vital aspect of missionary work because it allows us to understand the Lord's will; that is how we come understand how to do His work His way. So we counsel with Him in prayer. All the time. And it is fun.
On Wednesday evening we planned to tract a massive apartment complex where one of our investigators lives. It was 8:10 at night, and the long complex appeared ominous in the dark. There were very few lights but we could see miscellaneous people darting in and out of their apartments and across the parking lot. Hmm. Sketchy. BUT, we had planned to be there, so we counseled with the Lord to know where to begin knocking.

At the conclusion of our prayer, our eyes spotted a single porch light who's yellow tinted rays sliced through the chilly darkness. The light faintly dusted the outline of a sparkling wreath on the door. "Hm," we thought, "that door has a wreath on it. A nice person must live there!" So we charged from our toasty car into the beautifully brittle air and knocked firmly on the wreath adorned door. An elderly woman in her pajamas tentatively cracked the door open peered out at us suspiciously. We explained that we felt prompted to be there and that we wanted to share a message about Jesus Christ with her. She declined the invitation but she spoke with us for a few more minutes on her front step. Suddenly she swung the door open and said, "Well, why don't you come in and warm up for a minute." With cold fingers and shivering smiles on our faces we entered and sat down in her cozy living room.
As we talked with her she explained to us that she has been feeling very sad because her life has been challenged by many difficult events. She is seeking peace and happiness, and she has been looking for a church to attend that will bring her that. She tearfully testified to us that she knew it was "no chance" that we knocked on her door that night. This special woman he is on date for baptism February 28. She loves the Book of Mormon because it brings peace to her heart, and she loves learning about the gospel.
I am thankful for prayer. I am thankful for chilly nights and sketchy apartment complexes. I am thankful for Julia and I am thankful to be a missionary for the Lord. I know that He reveals His will and helps us do it His way when we counsel with Him in all things.
Sister Shumway

Miracles and Cold Weather!

This entire week has been marvelous!
On Monday we received a referral from a nearby ward. A man named D____ began attending church in their ward a couple weeks ago with his LDS Grandpa. He attended church regularly when he was young but his family fell away before he was baptized. Tuesday we met him and began teaching the lessons! He is incredible! He is reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it, and he loves it! As we discussed the gospel he explained to us that he was aware of the Spirit and that he knows these things are true. When we taught D___ about Baptism by the proper Priesthood Authority of God he asked if he could be baptized on his birthday, March 22, to remind him that baptism is "rebirth" and is a primary step in his life that will bring him closer to the Savior. We were thrilled! He has definitely been prepared by the Lord to receive the restored gospel of Jesus Christ!
We also received a media referral on Monday. When we knocked on her door she peeked through the peep hole and joyfully exclaimed, "It's the Mormons!" She swung the door open and practically shouted, "I have been waiting for you! What took you so long?!" Quite the greeting! We loved it! 

She is wonderful! Within the last few years her parents and her siblings have all been baptized in various places throughout the country where they are living. Even her two children (12 and 13 years old) who live with her Mom have been baptized. They have been sharing the gospel with her for years, but she has never taken the missionary lessons. Recently she suffered a very extreme experience which helped her understand that she wants and needs the gospel in her life. She called her Mom, so her Mom sent the referral to Salt Lake. C____ readily accepted the message of the restoration of the gospel and of the Plan of Salvation, and she has been reading the Book of Mormon like there is no tomorrow! She loves all of it and she feels that this is exactly what Heavenly Father has been preparing her for. She committed to baptism for February 22, and she is ecstatic about it! Her children are very excited as well!
C_____ told us that she smokes and drinks coffee, and that she was not planning on quitting. However, on Sunday when we arrived with a member of our ward to pick her up for church, she told us that she was quitting coffee and cigarettes! We haven't taught her the Word of Wisdom yet but she feels that God will help her quit because He wants her to. She is amazing. The gospel works wonders in the lives of those who readily accept it.
It is a blessing to witness this process of conversion in the lives of our Heavenly Father's children! The Spirit is the key, not the missionaries. It is our responsibility to create and cultivate the environment where the Spirit can dwell, but the actual process of conversion is between the individual and the Holy Ghost. "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 see the 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" (M. Russell Ballard PMG 93). I love the Lord and I love the spiritual process of true conversion.
Sister Shumway

Tracting in the Cold, Cold, Cold!!!!