Sunday, May 24, 2015

Dear Family, Friends and Elders and Sisters who have served in the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission,

This is President Shumway. Usually, Sister Shumway is the one that keeps up on this blog but I felt like I wanted to be the one to share two things with anyone who might be interested.

First; as I know some of you have heard, the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission will officially cease to exist on July 1st, 2015.  The Mission Home will be moved from Tulsa, to Bentonville, Arkansas which means the name of the mission will also change. The Oklahoma Tulsa Mission will become the Arkansas Bentonville Mission. There are no boundary changes. The Mission retains all of it's stakes and wards as presently constituted.
The First Presidency approved this change just a little over three weeks ago and so Sister Shumway and I are busily trying to close down the home in Tulsa and move furniture and office equipment to our new home in Bentonville.
This has been a long and complicated process but we have felt the Lord's hand, and His promptings, as each phase was completed.  This new and more central location will mean much less travel for the Mission President and it will be much for efficient for the communication challenges that naturally exist in such a geographically large mission.
Our thoughts and emotions are tender as we think back on the 50 year history of the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission. This mission home has welcomed thousands of missionaries through it's doors.  And it has bid an emotional and tearful goodbye to that same number. We are honored to be here at this time and we are well aware of the obligation we have to end strong as we remember the efforts given by everyone who has served and labored here in the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission.
At the same time, we are excited to work towards the motto of, "End Strong, but, Begin Stronger." We will try and create as much momentum as we can so that the new Arkansas Bentonville Mission will carry on the tradition of hard work and obedience established by so many.

Second; we have been contacted by many who wondered when we would be reporting our mission to our home ward in Pleasant Grove, Utah.  We will be speaking on July the 12th and church begins at 9:00 am. The address is1106 East 200 South...Pleasant Grove, Utah.   We would LOVE to see you all there!!! 

Sister Shumway and I have LOVED this mission and we count it as one of the greatest blessings of our lives to have served here at this time. We are truly torn.  We want to go home...but we really don't want to leave.  We will miss our service and the people that we have come to love. We will miss "our" missionaries and the beautiful scenery of Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri. We will always pray for the Lord's work to hasten throughout the world, but our hearts will hold a special place for the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission.

Much Love,
President Shumway

Monday, April 20, 2015

Hi Dear Family!
More full days flying by!  We are sprinting! 
Love you all!
President and Sister Shumway

Monday March 23rd, 2015

Today I was thinking about some of the great people we have worked with here in the mission field-  and two of them called me!
I met _________ at Sam’s Club!  He was at the register and checked out my groceries. The store was almost empty, no one else in line, so we had a conversation about God right there.  He didn’t believe in God and I told him that perhaps I knew something that could change his mind.  I invited him to call me-  and surprise-  he did!   I taught him the first two concepts of the first lesson over the phone, with my “Preach My Gospel” in my lap.   I invited him to the mission home for dinner and he came!  And that started the greatest friendship.  Over the last 2 and ½ years, _____has been to the mission home for dinner or some activity more than a dozen times-  he’s part of the family now!  
He investigated the church for a while, our Elders were wonderful, but he never really gave it a fair chance.  Maybe some day.  He is only 20 something-  he’s bright and has a desire to make a difference in the world.  So-  we’ll just keep our friendship going.  _____ just started a job as a truck driver.  Today he asked me if he could come to Utah and spend his first vacation this summer with us!!    We’ll take him to temple square-  we’ll just keep teaching and loving.  

_________ called me tonight-  I love that dear woman!   In the middle of her journey to learn about the church and the gospel, the sister missionaries took me to meet her, and we were instantly friends.  We had some great long visits at her home and over the phone about various aspects of the gospel and she was baptized a year ago.  This May-  in a month- she will go to the temple for the first time, and I will go with her!    What a blessing for me!  I’m so grateful the Lord is still giving us these wonderful experiences here at the end of our mission.

Wednesday 25- Friday 27, 2015   Transfer Week
Wednesday 25th
Oh my goodness!  What a transfer week we had!  We picked up the new missionaries from the airport.  Their flight came in late so we didn’t even get them back to the mission home until after 4pm.  On the way home, the black clouds started rolling in.  We had heard earlier in the day that the weather today was set up for tornadoes-  but you never know.   We were going to stop at the office with our group like we usually do, but the sky was looking ominous so we drove straight back to the mission home.  The assistants, with the van and trailer were right behind us.  It started raining, but not too bad, and the wind hadn’t picked up so we thought we were probably ok.  We had so much training to do, very quickly, so we weren’t paying too much attention until the sky really got black and it started to lightning.  That always comes first.  We got right on the computer to check the weather.  They were showing the makings of several tornadoes headed right toward Tulsa.  Just about that time our tornado sirens went off.  Those sirens mean – take cover.  So we pulled everything out of a couple of closets and made ourselves ready, while President Shumway stood on the back porch and watched the clouds for signs of tornadoe activity.  The sirens went off and on again twice more,  and there was lightening for a couple of hours and heavy rain, but thankfully, the tornadoes didn’t actually come close to us or harm any of our missionaries.  There was some damage in Sand Springs, which is in our mission, but no one was killed.   There was a tornado on the ground in Broken Arrow-  my assistants were here helping me in the mission home while their families were at home hiding in their closets.  The power in Broken Arrow was out for hours. 
So-  that’s the start of tornado season!  May it be the worst we have to deal with this year!  We always worry about it.  So many of our missionaries are far away from us and we worry about them. Wonderful members take care of them, and we have protocols in place for reporting how everyone is, but it is a little scary.  We just have to trust in the Lord, and we do.

Wednesday April 1, 2015- 
President and I left Tulsa at 6:30am for Rogers, AR to have Mission Leadership Council there.  We now have 41 mission leaders- counting the assistants!   It’s a big group of the most awesome young people you have ever met.  I love them all dearly!  They are the missionaries that set the culture of our mission-  we depend on them for so much, and they do it! 
We started with a half hour Sister’s Meeting -  and then went straight into our meetings-  We discussed the new campaign the Church has given us to use in finding-  “Because He Lives”.   I hope you have all had an opportunity to see it and are inviting everyone you know to look at it.  It is all over the internet! 
One Zone Leader trained about missionary dignity.  One Sister Training Leader trained about the power of being a positive leader.  We talked about enduring to the end,  had our mission indicators, had a sharing time of great missionary ideas, a section on apartment inspections, etc….!!!   A great day!

During lunch- our assistants switched everyone’s books around and moved papers and backpacks-  our one silly prank for April Fool’s Day!

I attended Tulsa East Zone Training Meeting in Muskogee and President Shumway attended Tulsa Zone Training Meeting at the New Haven Building in Tulsa.  Both great meetings! 
This afternoon we had an office staff meeting with our wonderful Senior Missionaries.

April 4, 2015 -  General Conference!   A day we look forward to with great anticipation! 
I felt overwhelmed with gratitude today for the wonderful counsel that was given by the brethren.  I absolutely know that they speak for Heavenly Father.  I felt His Spirit many times today. 
Our assistants joined us for the first session.  Then President Shumway, Taylor, our assistants, Richard and Emerson Crockett (so nice to have family here!) went to dinner before the Priesthood session- our Shumway tradition, and Abby and I went out with our two Senior Sisters in the office to a very nice restaurant. 
Grocery shopping, home to get ready for Sunday.

April 5, 2015-  Another day of General Conference and Easter to celebrate the Atonement!
A drizzley spring day in Oklahoma, but that couldn’t dampen my spirits!  We got to wrap up in our blankets and listen to conference! 
After the last session we had a fun gathering of family and missionaries for our Easter dinner:

The Crockett family, our Senior office staff, our assistants and our Tulsa Spanish Elders, and us!
We truly enjoyed being with these wonderful people.  After everyone left, we continued our Shumway tradition of watching “The Lamb of God”  each Easter, which always makes me realize the magnitude of our Savior’s sacrifice for us.
Happy Easter!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hi dear loved ones!
So this week we've had two vehicles stuck in the mud,  a couple of aching backs,  a broken toestomach flu stitches in a split knee,  a terrible dog bite from a pit bull.......
Every week is an adventure in the OTM!
We've also had miracles!   New investigators found-  some just walk right up to us and ask about the church.   Sometimes our wonderful members here invite their friends to church or to their homes and those are the best stories of all-  because they end with baptisms and covenants.
So here are a few of the things we've been up to in the last couple weeks.
We love you all dearly-  our time is flying so fast!
President and Sister Shumway

Tuesday March 10, 2015
Our first day of zone conferences!  We started with the Tulsa, Tulsa East, Bartlesville and Fort Smith Zones.  All came together at the Tulsa East Stake Center.  It was a very powerful and emotional day for me.   I felt the Spirit all day long.   There were many missionaries in this group that are going home soon.  I love each one, and I was so touched as they shared their testimonies with the mission for the last time.
We started at 8:30 am with a group picture of over a hundred!  Our assistants were very well organized and everybody was ready for that quickly.   The day consisted of many trainings,  workshops,  3 beautiful special musical numbers,  a wonderful lunch, etc….     I present a health or safety training for each of our conferences.   I loved what we did this time!   I had some of the missionaries throw “super” balls against a target in the gym and some throw water balloons!   This was all to make the point of “bouncing back” -  having a positive attitude.   Water balloons just splat!   They let the obstacle (wall) get them down!  It was fun!   We also had a scripture bee- which we have had before and really enjoyed. 
These conferences are always full of lots of tears- love for each other, love for the Savior,  commitments to try harder, happiness at seeing each other.   Special days!

 JOURNAL  Wednesday 3-11-15
Wonderful Conference with the Bentonville Stake tonight!  We invited them to come to a special Stake/Zone Conference and more than 800 showed up!   
We had given the stake a list of the music we would like them to provide and it was really remarkable.  Beautiful music bearing witness of the Savior.
The theme was "I am a disciple of Jesus Christ!"   and there was such a powerful spirit there-  truly I think the Holy Ghost bore witness to all of us of the reality of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  I felt it.
We are in a hotel tonight in Bentonville.  We'll have our 2nd Zone conference in Springdale tomorrow.  It's 12:30 at night-  off to bed.
THURSDAY 3-12-15
Another rewarding day spent with our missionaries.  Zone conference in  Springdale AR, with the Springdale, Joplin, Rogers, and Bentonville Zones.   My favorite special musical number-  Two Elders sang "Savior, Redeemer of my Soul".   I did a lousy job of accompanying them, but it didn't matter.  They were beautiful.  This song touches my heart.  The text was written years ago by Orson F. Whitney, and the music recently by Rob Gardner.  It expresses my testimony of the Savior so completely.   President Shumway loved it so much, he had them sing it again later on our agenda.
Workshops, talks, training, etc...-  another full day!
We finished there about 5:30pm and drove two hours to Springfield, MO to be ready to have our last day of Zone Conferences tomorrow.
I have felt the Lord's sustaining power in the last few days.  We are running hard and fast, yet we have the strength to do it.  The Spirit has been present in our meetings.  I am so grateful.
Friday 3-13-15
Zone Conference in Springfield MO.  -Springfield, Springfield South, Monett,  St. Robert and West Plains zones came.  This was our biggest conference.  About 95 missionaries.  The same outline as the previous conferences this week, the same wonderful kind of missionaries, the same beautiful Spirit.
After the conference we drove to Branson to go with our Zone Leaders there.  We visited and taught a man who is investigating the church.  He is loving it and loving the Elders.

Saturday 3-14-15
A fun missionary day!  We attended a baptism in the morning-  one little girl and a wonderful woman.  Both were happy daughters of God.
In the afternoon President and I met the Sister Missionaries-  who work with the Young Single Adult Branch.  These two sisters are just the best!  We went to the institute building and participated in one of their lessons with an incredible young man who is being baptized soon and is making major changes in his life. He is so happy because he has the hope that the gospel brings.  We taught him about the Pathway Program that the Church offers through BYU Idaho. It allows people to get their degrees online at such a minimal cost- and I know he will do it!  It will change his life.
We met another wonderful young man they were teaching-  it was his second lesson.  We couldn't stay for the lesson because we had to get to the Springfield STake Center to prepare for another big Stake/Zone Conference.  This time about 300 attended and one of them was the young man the sisters had just been teaching!  He had just accepted an invitation to be baptized!  He came and sang in our missionary choir!  He just jumped right in!  There was such an amazing feeling at this conference-  I was so glad he had come.  

The Sisters with their dear friend- happy on this baptism day!

Sunday March 15, 2015
Oh what a week we’ve had!   Six days of conferences, of one kind or another!  We are finally home!  We missed our children this week, but they were well cared for.  Taylor is not even here!  He left yesterday morning for Utah to spend spring break with his brothers-  they will go to Southern Utah for some fun!
Abby got to travel yesterday morning to the Oklahoma City Temple with our youth here and she had a great experience.  So this begins her spring break and she’ll have to hang out with Mom and Dad.  We are going to include her in some missionary experiences and we may take a minute or two to do something fun with her!
This morning we attended and spoke at the Rogers AR Stake Conference.  Oh I love the people in Arkansas!  These are truly some of the most genuinely warm, loving people I’ve ever met!  We are going to miss them!  There was such a sweet spirit there-  beautiful music, inspiring testimonies and messages-  from recent converts and others.  President Chandler, the stake President spoke with power.  This was his first Stake Conference and he was prepared. 
Two hour drive to home-  we loved noticing that spring has come to our mission!  Some of the trees are in blossom!  And it was 72 degrees today! 

Drove to Henryetta, OK this morning to work with two Sisters there-   Both are outstanding missionaries – hard workers who know the gospel and have a desire to be great teachers and missionaries.   Several of their appointments fell through so we did a lot of door knocking with no success.  But we did give away three pass-a-long cards.  You never know what will become of those!  And, we stopped for lunch at a restaurant and talked our very nice waitress into sitting and watching a two minute video-  “Because of Him” (Easter video from last year).   She really enjoyed it, told us she was Nazarene, but took the Sister’s names and phone numbers, so we’ll see.
We did have an appointment with a less active man and his non-member wife.  They are moving along the gospel path.  They own a crazy cat!  That cat never stopped running around the room!  It clawed at my nylons, chewed on my shoes, and clawed at my skirt!   I guess it just liked me!
Abby spent the day hanging out at a friend’s home.
Tonight-  our assistants came for St. Patrick’s day corned beef and cabbage. 

This was a strange spring break for Abby but I hope she enjoyed it.  We took her with us to the District Meeting in Joplin-  it was great!   Had lunch with the missionaries there-  found a referral!!  Then on to Ozark, MO to go out with the missionaries there.  President went with the Elders and Abby and I spent the night visiting and teaching with the Sisters.   I was especially touched by one of our lessons-  a young less-active mom with five young children.  She is divorced.  Her story is complicated.  But those children!  They knew the gospel!  Their mother has told them the stories and the doctrines.  It brought me to tears.  As we taught the children responded with real testimonies.  The oldest child is Abinadi-  he is 13 years old.  He still has not been ordained to the Priesthood but he wants to be.  I watched this sweet Mom who works every day until 7pm (they had just walked through the door) and she responded to each child with kindness, love and patience.  Surely the Lord is blessing her.  This little family needs a grandma and grandpa in the ward to love them.   The Sisters will try to help that happen.
Joplin District-Abby was taking the picture- but she found a way to get in it!!

Lunch out with the Joplin District :)  Two beautiful Sister Missionaries!

Two of our great Elders!

What a happy day!  Nate, Jisoo and our darling Jenevi arrived late this afternoon.  We took some time to enjoy them!
We love getting to see our kids!

So much fun to see our kids!!

An Oklahoma Sunset-  they are spectacular!

Saturday March 21, 2015
Drove 2 and ½ hours to Monett MO to present another Stake/Zone Conference,  our theme again, “I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.   We took Nate and Jisoo with us and left Abby to tend Jenevi.  They baked cookies, ate pizza and had fun together. 
This was another wonderful meeting with the incredible Saints in Missouri!  We truly do love them!   Monett is a brand new stake-  organized just a couple of months ago.  This was the first real Stake meeting they have had.  It’s a fairly small stake and very spread out, like all of them in Missouri, but we had several hundred members show up and there were several investigators there so we were very happy.
A wonderful young recent convert bore her testimony-  she is only 17 and the only member of the church in her family.  They have taken her car keys, and taken away all her privileges because she is going to church with the Mormons.  She is determined to be respectful to her parents but also determined to come to church, so she willingly has given up her car keys, listens to her parent’s criticism and finds rides to church.  I wonder if I would have so much courage.  I am amazed by her!

Sunday March 22, 2015
Nate, Jisso, and Jenevi came to our New Haven ward this morning.  President Shumway spoke in Pryor, OK at their sacrament meeting.  Taylor spoke in our sacrament meeting and gave a wonderful talk!  I was so proud of him.  
I was happy to be able to teach another Temple Preparation lesson this morning.  My class has shrunk.  There are really only 3 families and two single men that come regularly.  That’s ok with me.  If I can help even get one of them to the temple, I will be thrilled. 
Tonight-  President spoke in a  Stake Priesthood meeting in Bartlesville, OK and I had 16 people for dinner!    I had invited two of our Elders to join us for dinner and told them they could bring an investigator and they brought 4 people!   A part-member couple-  wonderful people!   And two young people – one young man that is headed on a mission and his non-member girlfriend-  two exceptional young people.    Our senior office missionaries and assistants also came-  it was a wonderful dinner and our conversations centered around the blessings of the gospel.  The Elders taught a powerful lesson about the atonement.  I am so grateful for these experiences that we have here in the mission home.  I love the feeling that comes when this house is full of the Lord’s anointed servants.  It is a sacred place to me.  

Another week of blessings in the OTM!  I am grateful to have seen the atonement at work in so many lives, I am grateful for the fellowship we feel with the great saints here,  I am grateful for the Book of Mormon that so clearly teaches all the beautiful truths of the gospel, I am grateful to be a missionary in the OTM!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

 MARCH 2015
Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!  Ours was especially great because our grandson Preston came to visit!

We traveled to Springdale AR for their Stake Conference.   This was a very special Stake Conference.  The Stake President, ______ has served for many years and will be released tomorrow.   We have loved getting to know him and his wonderful wife.  There were two visiting general authorities to reorganize the stake.   We have been with Elder _____ several times before in meetings and have grown to love him. 
Abby and Preston came along with us.  While President attended the afternoon Priesthood session,  I took them to get a bite to eat, then we all attended the evening Adult Session.   One thing I love and will never forget about the Springdale Stake Conferences is their remarkable choir from the Marshallese Branch.  This time they sang “The Spirit of God” in Marshallese with no accompaniment.  It’s an inspiring, touching sound.  It always makes me cry.  These are humble people who love the Lord-  we can feel that.
 President and I spoke in this session.   Afterwards Abby and Preston had an opportunity to visit with Elder ______ for a few minutes.  That was a special experience for all of us.
Got home about 12:00-  which was really 1:00am because of the time change!  But we were so grateful to have gone.

I love Sunday.  I love knowing it’s the Lord’s day,  and even though in the mission field all our days belong to the Lord, this day is different.  We have the great blessing of taking the sacrament, of remembering the atonement and remembering our covenants.  It’s a sacred day.
We were in our home ward for sacrament meeting and then President left for a meeting in Bartlesville, OK, and I stayed in our ward to teach another Temple Preparation Class.  That has been a great experience for me.  Most of the people in the class are recent converts.  I realized today as I was sharing Doctrine and Covenants 109-  the dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple- that most of these people didn’t even know about the Kirtland Temple.   I shared a little history.  We take so much for granted, but I’m grateful to see the expressions of eagerness and joy in learning about the history of temples, and in coming to understand the sacredness of the temple and the eternal blessings that await.    Sometimes, in this class, I almost feel like we are in the temple.  Just talking about it brings the Spirit.

Tonight we had a special Sunday dinner.  In attendance:
President Shumway, Myself, Abby, Taylor, _Elders________ (our assistants),  Elders__________(from the Cedar Ridge area),  Elder ______!! (a returned missionary- so much fun to have him here!),   our Senior Missionaries from the office- and one of their daughters who came to visit.

Our great Cedar Ridge Elders shared a missionary message with us after dinner.   I love these missionaries.  I love their messages, their invitations to us.  I love this work.  I love feeling the Spirit many times in a day.
I will miss this!

The gospel is true-  I don’t have any doubt of it!  Following the Savior in all things is the way for all of us to have real happiness in this life and eternal joy in the life to come!   As President Hinckley said, “The best is yet to come!”  I believe that!

Our wonderful Sunday night dinner guests!

One of our beloved returned missionaries came to visit!

A recent teaching appointment-  you never can tell who you'll be teaching!

This cute possum sat by me on the couch while we taught the lesson!  She was rescued as a baby by this nice lady!

Taylor recently performed in the Jenks High School musical-  Mary Poppins!  Here he is with Mary herself!

Friday, March 6, 2015

 Hi Dear Friends and Family,
Here comes the rest of our mission, one day at a time!  I think I have 5 minutes every nite to spend sharing a little with you!  Love and miss you all!

What a great day today!  President and Preston, our amazing grandson who is here to visit,  and I left at 7:30am to travel to Springfield,  MO.  We had a wonderful meeting there with most of our Senior Missionaries.  It was a tender time for us.  The _____ are leaving on Tuesday to return home-  they have finished their mission.  They are incredible people.  Elder _____ has been a Stake President, Temple Sealer and Sister _____has also been a life long church servant.  This is their second mission-  the first was in Australia.   They served in two places in our mission-  Springfield, MO and the tiny branch of Salem Mo.  The people in Salem are so sad to loose them.  The _____ became such a part of the church there. 
Our Senior Missionaries are consecrated saints of God who are determined to serve the Lord for the rest of their lives.   They are great examples to me. 
Preston bore his testimony in the meeting-  it was so tender and beautiful.   He has a pure heart and a real love for God.  I am so proud of him!
After the meeting we took them all to Lamberts- "home of the throwed rolls"!   I know I've told you about this before-  they really  throw the rolls!  It's awesome!
They gave us sort of a semi-private room and we just really enjoyed it.  One of our servers, was so kind and cheerful with us.  We invited her to learn more about the gospel and she accepted the invitation!  I'm so excited to see what happens with that!
Long drive home!  And much more to do tonight!  It's midnight and I'm almost done!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Hi dear family and friends!
Can't believe January is already gone-  it's making me panic!  We still have so much to do and so little time to do it in!  Hope you'll pray for us that we can work faster!  And get by with less sleep!  We are sprinting!
Love all of you so much!
Sister Shumway

Tues Jan 27, 2015
Yesterday- Monday- we held Mission Leadership Council in Bentonville, AR.  There were 38 Zone leaders and Sister Training Leaders-  all outstanding young men and women-   We count on them and trust them completely!   They did a lot of the training and it was incredible.  So many of them are natural teachers. 
Sister _____, one of our office staff, and responsible for keeping the records, came to show the Zone Leaders how to do some of the recording on a new system.  She saved my life!  I had chosen a potato bar for lunch.  It turned out to be a little more difficult than I thought to transport everything we needed.  Sister Fowler helped get it all ready, serve it and then stayed while we were in the meeting and washed a huge pile of dishes-  bless her!  I was so grateful!
After the conference ended about 4 pm, I traveled home (2 hours) to be with the kids and President stayed in Bentonville to start his 9 days of interviews. 
This morning early I traveled the 2 hours right back to Bentonville, to be with the missionaries.  I have a little visit with the missionary that will interview next with President, while he is interviewing the previous one.   It gives me a chance to get to know our missionaries better.  I love doing this-  I love these missionaries.  My heart hurts when theirs does, and I rejoice in the wonderful blessings that come to them-  the baptisms, the new investigators, the miracles! I treasure these visits.  We went from Bentonville to Rogers, then down to Springdale.  3 zones of interviews- it took President Shumway all day to get them done.  Afterwards, he traveled to Fort Smith AR to begin interviews there tonight and I traveled the 2 hours to home - lots of chasing around with Abby late this afternoon-  signed her up for a local gym so she can continue to work her leg-  ACL repair is doing well!   And Abby had her Tuesday night art class- she is working with ink right now.  She is truly an incredible artist!  The Art Center where she studies is going to do a display of her work!  
Taylor gets home late from school every day now-  he is in the school musical- "Mary Poppins"!  Can't wait to see it!  Like everything else that Jenks High School does-  this is a major production-  looks like Broadway! 

Wednesday Jan 28-  Sunday Feb 1, 2015
Wednesday through Friday I went everywhere President Shumway went-  and talked with all the missionaries he interviewed.  What a blessing for me!  I loved every minute of it. 
Saturday I attended two baptisms and ran as fast as I could to be ready to teach the first Temple Preparation class on Sunday for our New Haven ward.   There were about 12 to 15 people in the class.  I asked them why they were in the temple preparation class and immediately the Spirit filled the room.  There were lots of tears.  These dear saints greatly desire to go to the House of the Lord.
Sunday evening we had an extra set of missionaries for our dinner-  we invited the Jenks Elders to come-    Wonderful Elders! 

Monday 2-2-15
Yesterday was the first really cold day in many days.  It’s been in the 70s off and on all January!  I love January in Tulsa, Oklahoma!!

Two missionaries reported back about their birthday wishes!

I gave Elder _____ a birthday wish!  To find a new investigator by giving away a copy of the Book of Mormon.  He found his birthday wish – a friend of a man in their ward.  The man said “Thank you for opening the door to the rest of my life!”

I gave Elder ________ the same wish!  To find a new investigator by giving away a copy of the Book of Mormon.  He found his birthday wish!  They went to talk with a less active member who turned out not to be home, so then tracted around his house and knocked on the door of a wonderful family- father, mother and 3 children, who allowed them to teach a lesson right then and accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon.  Tonight they had another lesson and the father said he has always had a strong belief in the Savior and wondered why.  Now he thinks it was in preparation for the missionaries to come to them.

Missionary work is full of miracles!

TUESDAY 2-3-15

Very interesting day!   I left Tulsa at 7am to travel to Anderson MO to go out with our Sister Missionaries there.  The day was stunning!  The sun came up warm and bright.  I traveled over “Sailboat Bridge” , crossing a huge stretch of  glistening blue Grand Lake, to get to the other side and the town of Gore, OK. 
Traveled over the roller coaster roads- they even tickle my tummy when I’m doing the driving!   The area going into Anderson MO is thickly forested, no leaves on the trees now, but still beautiful! 

We had some companionship study together.  During our study a lady, who has some severe health problems, called to see if the sisters could come and help her.  I met her over a year ago when I was there visiting other sisters!  She is not a member but she loves the sisters.   
We had chores to do!  We fed and watered her rabbits, her pheasants, and then swept every inch of her house-  she has visitors coming.  And while we were there, another very nice lady (also not a member) came to help.  I was absolutely amazed by her!  She roofs houses, fixes cars, fixes plumbing, chops trees, rides a Harley-Davidson for charity rides, and a dozen other things!  She is not afraid to try anything!  We could use her in the church!
She said the sisters were welcome to visit her at her home!

After that visit we went on to 3 different homes, each with sisters from Pohnpei, a Micronesian Island in the Pacific.  Each sister was quiet and humble and very kind to us.  They are all less active members that our sister missionaries are working with.  They have come to Missouri like so many others to work in the chicken industry.  They need the gospel.  It would make such a difference in their lives.

My drive home was just as beautiful as the drive there.  I saw a field of buffalo, lounging in the sun.  And passed by many fields of cattle-  and hundreds of calves!  Is this the season for baby calves?  Who knew!
Went through a small town called “Cow Skin”.  I love the names out here!  And back over the big blue lake!

Abby had art tonight-  she is doing some great things!  And Taylor came home late from his Musical practice.  President is still out on the road conducting interviews.  One more day of that.

Oklahoma Sunrise out my car window!

Let there be light!

Grand Lake and Sailboat Bridge

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hi Dear Ones,
I'm just so far behind with this, Im not even planning on catching up-  the missionary work moves forward at an every quickening pace and we are running to keep up.  It is so exciting!  This is the best work ever!  I can't even begin to tell you how dearly I love these missionaries and how grateful I am for the privilege of being a full time missionary.  I know we haven't done it perfectly.  But we've loved it perfectly!  Here are a few more journal entries.

Monday Nov 3, 2014

Left at 7:00am to drive 2 hours to Bentonville AR, for our Mission Leadership Council.  President Shumway and I took separate cars because he will continue on from there to do his 10 days of interviews with every missionary in our mission.
It was our largest group of mission leaders ever!  43 of them!  26 Zone Leaders and 17 Sister Training Leaders and they are every one outstanding missionaries and wonderful people!!  I feel so honored to get to spend a day with them and learn from them.
We reviewed many of the things Elder ______(General Authority) taught at our Zone Conferences.  Our mission therapist from LDS Family Social Services, came to teach about “Dealing with Depression”.  We have a number of missionaries that struggle with this, and his presentation was perfect for our leaders to understand how they can encourage and help missionaries that are having a hard time with this.   We had training from two Sister Training Leaders – - about a program Sister _______ brought from a previous mission-  Home Primary!  This is going to be a great tool to use with less active families.  We also had training from two Elders about family history work-  they have had huge success with it in St. Robert-  dozens of referrals from members.  They taught us how to use Family Search to do missionary work-  excellent training!   President gave some inspired training-  it was just a great day.
Everyone helped get lunch ready-  Hoagies, chips, veggies, fruit, and cookies.   It takes a lot of food to feed that many missionaries- especially Elders!  I hauled it from the mission home in a giant cooler.
We finished with the meeting about 4;15.  By the time I cleaned up, and talked with a dozen missionaries, it was 5;45.  I got home after 8:00pm.
Taught Abby and Taylor a seminary lesson (I’m their teacher now- did I say that?).  And I’m done. 

Wednesday Nov 5, 2014

Gone by 9:00am to be in Muskogee for a District Meeting there with 8 missionaries plus the zone leaders-   Great district meeting, and then I stayed in Muskogee to go out with the Sisters missionaries there.  As it turned out they had arranged an exchange, so I was with one Sister and one went with a member.

It was a touching appointment.  This lady is sick-  she recently had a stoke because of diabetes.  She still needs a little support to walk.  She is a less active member of the church – probably 60 years old and living with a man who is not a member.  They have been together for years.  He has cancer- leukemia.  They are living in a trailer in back of a run down little house- her grandmother’s house-  who died years ago.  They can’t live in the house because the gas line under the house is broken and they can’t afford to fix it and the crawl space is filled with spiders.  It’s the same kind of poverty we see all over our mission and it breaks my heart. 
This sweet lady had a pure heart and her eyes welled up with tears several times while Sister ____was teaching her.   Especially at one point- as Sister ____ shared that her mother had been a less active member of the church for years and a smoker and drinker.   Just before she came on her mission, she and her brother, who was also leaving on a mission, approached their mother and told her how important it was to them that they be sealed together as a family before the two left on their missions.  It changed their mother’s heart.  She stopped her bad habits and made herself worthy.  They were sealed just a short time before Sister ____ left for her mission.
I had no idea this had been Sister ____background.  It makes me respect her even more.   Her father is an active member, but there have been so many problems because of her mother, and this sister has had the strength to  stay faithful on her own.
She’s a remarkable young woman.

Friday Nov 7, 2014
I spent a wonderful day in Alma AR with two sisters.  We visited an investigator who is struggling to know if the gospel is true and is having great pressure from her husband and other relatives to discontinue seeing the missionaries and stop reading the Book of Mormon.   She asked us what she should do.  The answer is always the same-  she will have to come to know for herself if the Book of Mormon is true, through study, prayer.  She will need to keep God’s commandments.  She will be blessed for all of it. And she will have to trust the Lord to take care of the rest-  it will take so much faith.  It hurt my heart-  it has got to be a scary thing.

In the afternoon I worked with the Sisters in Van Buren, AR-   They are struggling to find.  After some planning and prayer, we went to find a sister who had asked for her name to be removed from the records of the church.  She was so happy to see the sisters.  She still has a testimony-  she just wants her questions answered.  The sisters will help her-  we’ll see what happens.

Our mission, the world is full of people needing the gospel, searching for the gospel.  So many things get in the way-  because Satan is so good at what he does.  I’m going to pray for those two sisters.

Saturday Nov 8, 2014
Attended a baptism.  A wonderful young couple, baptized by one of our great Zone Leaders.  This is a young couple who got married and then baptized.   They are going to need a lot of support to keep making progress in the gospel, but they are focused on the temple and that will help.
President Shumway will get home about midnight tonight-  long week for him!

Tuesday Nov 11, 2014
I’ve had two incredible days spent with missionaries!   President is in his second week of interviews, and I went with him on Monday to the Springdale Zone and today to the Bartlesville Zone.   The Zone Leaders conducted Zone Training meetings while President Shumway pulled missionaries out for interviews, and I talked with the missionary who was waiting to go in next.  It was such a pleasant time to visit with our OTM missionaries that I dearly love.  Each one of them is so unique and each has divine gifts-  I see that.
I’m also so impressed and touched by the great desire they all have to be better missionaries, to be more consecrated, to be more obedient, to work harder.   They all want to do more!  Sometimes I am brought to tears as they tell me their challenges,  and their miracles.   These days have been a gift to me.

Tonight one of our senior couples, who have been serving in Salem, MO, came in to the mission home.  Their mission is completed.  They are an outstanding senior couple!  He has been serving as the branch president there.  When they first arrived they would get about 20 people out to church, sometimes as low as 11.  There was so much work to do.  They just started visiting and loving.  Last Sunday they sent us a picture of the ward family, standing out in front of the chapel on the last Sunday they were there.  80 people!!  They have truly made a difference there.  These are the sweetest, most unassuming, humble people you could ever meet and they love the Lord.  They are such a great example to me.

We had a special farewell dinner for them with a short meeting afterwards to hear their testimonies.   Our senior office missionaries and our assistants came. They will spend the night here in the mission home.  They will depart for home tomorrow.

  Thursday  November 13, 2014

What a special day!  I got to hear Taylor sing a solo for the Jenks High School Veterans Day Assembly-  he sang yesterday and today- the student body is so large- 5,000, that they can’t fit them all in the Performing Arts Center at the same time.  He was incredible, and the students loved it!
I went straight from there to the Tulsa East Stake Center to spend the next three hours visiting with Elders- no sisters in this Zone!  It was their Zone Training Meeting-  President conducted interviews with every missionary and I visited with every missionary!  Such a privilege to listen to the things they have learned here in the mission field, to hear their testimonies, to hear stories of the miracles that have happened in their areas, and to hear the miracles that are happening at home with their families.  The Lord has been so kind to all of them as they have given Him their time and strength to serve.  I love our missionaries!!

Saturday November 15, 2014
So much to do this day!  President, Taylor and Abby left at 8:am to drive one hour north to Bartlesville.  President and Taylor were presenting at our 3-stake youth fireside-  President speaking and they both sang for the youth.  Abby just got to enjoy it!
I went to the Broken Arrow building to do a workshop for a 3-ward women’s conference. 
President and Taylor got done at noon-  He drove north to St. Robert to teach at the leadership portion of their Stake Conference.  Taylor left in his own car to hurry to football for the Senior football pictures.  Abby came home with ward members.  I came home to hurry and change and take Taylor (when he got home from football!)  to Oklahoma City for auditions for the All-state Choir- a one and a half hour drive- one way.
I enjoyed the drive so much!  Taylor sang all the way there- practicing and warming up-  I love to hear him sing.  His choral director called tonight-  Taylor made it!  He’s in the All-State Choir!
On the way home we talked and worked on part of his Eagle Scout Application-  him on my I-pad. 
Poor Abby-  we just left her home alone all afternoon.  She worked on homework.
Got home-  made a grocery list- ran to WalMart-  home!
It’s 10:30pm-  that must mean it’s time to go to bed – we can only hope!