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!

Sister Shumway

Monday, April 7, 2014

General Conference

Dear Family,
General Conference is like Christmas! This weekend was filled with the excitement of listening to the Prophet and apostles with our investigators and members. It's the most wonderful time of the year! How remarkable it is that our Heavenly Father loves us enough to bless us with a Prophet on the earth today. Of course this is the church of Jesus Christ! Not because it is better than any other church but because it is true. Christ has clearly established one path of truth and righteousness, and we are blessed with the means to understand and embark on that path. What a great weekend.
This week we had a terrific lesson with T______. We have taught her twice and she has felt the Spirit confirm to her that the Book of Mormon is true and that this is the Church of Jesus Christ. T_____ has committed to be baptized at the end of May! Her eleven year old son sat in on our last lesson and he accepted the invitation to learn more with his Mom. This week we followed up with that invitation (just as Elder Ballard directed in General Conference!) and had a lesson with both of them.

Sister Canova and I felt impressed to share the Restoration DVD with them. As we watched the DVD the Spirit seemed to thickly soak into our hearts and their hearts. It was as if the most delicious, thick syrup was being drizzled over a stack of pancakes until they were saturated! At the conclusion of the video we asked T_____ and J_____ what they were feeling. T______ immediately understood that she was feeling the Spirit testify of truth. J_____, however, was quiet. We waited, and eventually he looked up at us with the purest childlike look. With his hand over his chest he said, "I feel something good, something warm." As we explained that it was the Holy Ghost and taught him about the role of the Spirit, a light flickered in his eyes. With a smile on his face he said, "Jesus is talking to me through that feeling!" J______ recognized that he had received a witness from God that Joseph Smith was indeed called as a Prophet to restore the fullness of Christ's church. They will both be baptized in May!
This week our entire zone has been pushing to get three new investigators in each area. Yesterday was the final day! Sister Canova and I drove to the Sisters' areas in our zone to blitz and help them reach the goal. We pulled into the Sisters' driveway, leaped from the car and knocked on their door. As they let us in we found that one of the Sisters was very sick. They had only found one new investigator that week and we were not going to let them fall short! Sister Canova stayed in the apartment with the sick Sister, while her companion and I charged into the dark night to find God's children who need the gospel! We said a fervent prayer of faith and plead with Heavenly Father to lead us. In my mind I prayed that we could find a family. I plead with all the might and faith I could muster, praying that Heavenly Father would help my unbelief and lack of faith.

We knocked on two doors and neither were interested. We then felt impressed to walk to the end of the dark street. Upon arriving at the end of the street we felt impressed to turn left. So we did! We passed a few houses that were all very dark, but trusting in the Lord we continued up the road. It was 8:40 pm. I was beginning to feel anxious. But we reminded ourselves to keep the faith and sally forth! Suddenly we heard a playful shriek. We sped up and came upon a large house set back from the road a little ways. It had a very spacious yard with a towering, elegant tree in the front yard. There was a 12 year old girl playing with her 7 year old brother on the dark lawn, twirling him in circles and giggling. From the road we hollered to the playful children and they immediately froze, fixing their eyes on us and our black coats. We probably looked like creeps. The young boy ran up to us and shouted, "You can't be here! Our Mom and Dad aren't home!" He was well trained! But the girl wanted to know who we were. We explained that we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She exclaimed, "I love talking about Jesus!" Their Dad pulled into the driveway as we were talking with the kids and he was very kind about our creeper approach! The girl, K_______, ran to the house and eagerly brought back four lawn chairs for us to sit in. We taught her and her Dad about the Book of Mormon, our purpose as missionaries, and the central focus of Jesus Christ in all that we teach. K_____ was SO excited to have her own copy of the Book of Mormon! She asked for an additional copy to give to her friend across the street. Kiersten goes to Bible study three times a week, reads the scriptures every day and she loves church! Her faith in Jesus Christ is unshaken even though her parents do not go to church with her. She is incredible! Kiersten and her Dad both wanted to learn more. We arranged a time to return the following day and left them with a prayer. We were home by 9:05.
Miracles are granted to anyone who endures with a prayer of faith. The Lord has directed that unless we have the Holy Ghost, "ye shall not teach" (D&C 42:14). The word "shall" is commandment language. He literally commands us not to teach unless we have the Holy Ghost. I have come to understand that the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of truth "which giveth utterance" (D&C 14:8). This implies that we cannot teach without the Holy Ghost. Not only had He commanded us not teach unless we have the Holy Ghost, but it is impossible to teach the principles of the gospel unless we have the Holy Ghost with us. That is because this is His work. This is the work of Almighty God! It is our work! Therefore we are called to do it His way, by the Spirit, for that the only way it can be done.
I love the Spirit and I love my Savior and I love you!
~Sister Shumway


C____ was baptized this week! Sister Wahlin and I smiled as we reflected upon our initial interaction with her. She was a media referral from Salt Lake City about a month and a half ago. When we arrived to contact her she swung the door open and practically yelled, "What took you so long?! I have been waiting for you!" Wow. She then told us that she never intended to quit smoking or drinking coffee. Hmm. However, she arrived at church on Sunday (four days later) and declared to us that she had quit drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes! She was baptized on Saturday March 1st and confirmed yesterday. It was a beautiful conversion to witness! 

I know that the Lord is in the details of our lives. He is anxiously engaged in assisting us unto the fulfillment of this great work He has called us to do. The Savior is anxious to come, and He has gifted us with His trust in assisting with the preparation for that great day. I know that as we do His work His way, He stands shoulder to shoulder with us, shouldering the same yoke and pulling the same load, for they are His yoke and His load. All that He requires of us is to simply scoot over and make room for His loving and perfect assistance. 

The only thing that we have to ourselves is our will. I know that as we follow Crystal's example in giving our will up to the Lord, we become His. Then can we truly see His image in our countenance. 

Sister Shumway 

Tinker Creek

The Tinker Creek apartment complex looms ominously like a giant on the fringes of Roanoke, resting casually in the crevice of a shallow mountain. The Tinker Creek apartments are Zion. The Lord has led us to many of His children who are prepared to receive His gospel - and who live in the Tinker Creek apartments. Thursday evening found us knocking doors at the Tinker Creek apartments in a very determined manner. We intended to visit some investigators and former investigators who live there, yet each of our specific knocks availed unresponsive results. We headed back to our car (which we are thankful to have once again!!) with the intent to proceed with our backup plan in another area, but we were hesitant. Sister Wahlin and I felt that the Lord needed us somewhere in the Tinker Creek apartments. We prayed, listened for the Spirit, and then set out, earnestly seeking to understand exactly where the Lord needed us at that moment. 

We knocked on two doors that did not budge. The third door swung open quickly in response to our rhythmic knock, and our flushed faces were brushed with the warm atmosphere inside. The 14 year old boy who answered the door invited us in to talk with his Mom, and we entered the house with an excited greeting from four younger children! We laughed and talked with the family over the bubbles of laughter and quick hugs from the 5 children who's ages ranged from 6-14. What a marvelous family! B______, the Mother, is a hard working, single Mom who sacrifices all that she has to provide the best life for her children. We taught them about the Book of Mormon and it's divine role as another witness of Jesus Christ. We taught them about eternal families, the Plan of Salvation and the divine role the Priesthood plays in each of theses principles. B_____ is excited to learn more and she has countless questions that are answered in the Book of Mormon. They are a great family!

 It was a marvelous experience to (once again) witness the power in the Lord's work. When we prayerfully counsel with Him in all things He leads us to exactly where we need to be. We in turn understand how to do His work His way. I know that He has been preparing Barbara and her family for a very long time, and NOW is their opportunity to receive the gospel of Jesus Christ and it's accompanied blessings. They are a testimony of the miraculous nature of the Lord. The Lord has said, "I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever" (2 Nephi 27:23). I know that God consistent in all that He does, that is why we have the Priesthood, a Prophet, families, the gospel, and especially miracles. 

I love y'all!!

~Sister Shumway 

Dear Mom & Dad

This week has been marvelous! The man we tracted into last week who yelled "It's the Mormons!" Is progressing toward baptism!! I love tracting! Miracles happen when you do the Lord's work in faith :) He is soaking up the gospel, loving the ward members, loving church and the Priesthood and the Book of Mormon!

I want you to know how much I love and appreciate you. You are a rich blessing to my life because you have helped me understand the importance of an eternal family that is led by a Priesthood worthy Father and a charity filled, selfless Mother. I am thankful for the love you have expressed to us through rules and guidelines, and it helps me better understand how and why our loving Heavenly Father has given us rules and guidelines. Thank you for raising us in accordance with gospel standards, and thank you for your loving, selfless support of me as a missionary. I'm sorry I can't thank you in a greater way but I know that you understand because I am wrapped up in the Lord's work! I am thankful for you Mom and Dad!! You are a blessing and an incredible part of my life and my mission!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!!

your missionary daughter,
Sister Shumway,