Hello ya'all or is it you-uns?
I'm still trying to figure out what is appropriate when!
I can see it is going to be a challenge for me to try and find a permanent time to write on this blog- I'm just going to have to use the snatches of time I can find.
Do you love my cicada picture? This is the creepiest bug ever! They are everywhere- up in the trees- and they make a very loud metalic sound. We find the shells they shed all over the place- also creepy.
But we are learning to love them- they are one of Heavenly Father's creatures!?!
I love my early morning walks. I see little cottontail bunnies, beautiful flowering trees, and today- a fox! A small fox- and I didn't get a picture. The neighbors say I will see lots of little baby foxes in the spring. I'll look forward to that. It is so hot- even early in the morning-(6:30am it was 86)- and so humid, that I am dripping by the time I get home and very thirsty. Some of our elders and sisters are struggling with dehydration and heat exhaustion. They have to drink a lot to keep up with it.
We've been over 100 degrees for more than a week now and it doesn't look like it's going to cool off.
But I think we are truly starting to get used to it. At least Taylor tells me he feels better at his 6am football workouts.
Oklahoma Football! Wow! No one loves football like they do here. When Taylor's fall schedule starts he will have football practice every afternoon for four hours and on Saturday morning too-a game every Monday night, a "position" dinner (required and provided by the parents who take turns) every Tuesday night, Wednesday night is free after the 4 hour practice because it is church night (all churches have their activities on this night so no one schedules anything else). Utah could learn a lot from that! Every Thursday night is a team dinner, every Friday night is the varsity game (everyone suits up- sophomores too and they stand on the side lines with the team). After the game there is a dinner for the players provided by the Booster Club (made up of the parents). Saturday am is another workout and watching of film. Then there are the special events coming up- like the Father's and Son's pancake breakfast. Football is a real community affair- everyone shows up. People have had season tickets for 40 years, and if you want a good seat you better get yours! It is impressive. The whole community supports the school and the kid's activities.
I am so impressed with our head coach who has told the boys that their first priorities are 1. God, 2. Family, 3. Church 4. School 5 Football. That's impressive too.
Alright- now about our last two weeks. Two weeks ago on Monday and Tuesday we had the monthly Zone Leader Council at the mission home- a lot of work and so wonderful! I just loved it. 18 Zone Leaders came, plus two sister missionaries and the two assistants to the President. Monday night we had dinner together, and a fireside that President Shumway and I presented. There was such a sweet spirit here in the mission home- these are all outstanding missionaries- hardworking and devoted to the Lord. 18 of them slept in the mission home- including the two sisters. They got to sleep in the general authority bedroom on a different floor of the mission home. The Elders sleep in the enormous bunk rooms that we have upstairs- a total of 15 beds in the two rooms, plus blow-up beds if anyone needs them.
The next morning 6 elders got up early to help me cook breakfast for the crowd and then all the missionaries left for the closest church for their training meeting. Afterwards they came back for lunch and then left for their areas. It was just a great experience. They were all so polite, positive and fun to be around. I'm going to enjoy this each month.
The rest of the week and part of the next week President Shumway traveled around the mission doing "New Missionary Training", "Train the trainers" and "District Leader Training". Our schedule is a little off, but normally this will happen just after transfers, when we have new missionaries to train. It took him three days to get around to all the new missionaries and their trainers, but I know he really enjoyed it.
In the past three weeks he has put about 3,000 miles on his mission car. We have a big geographic area and he will have to do a lot of driving.
The end of last week and this week President Shumway is doing interviews. He has 180 missionaries to interview every quarter, and he won't get them all done this week, but a big chunk of them. This is also such a joy. President loves to talk with them, and when I can I go too. I call them out of the meetings they are in (usually a Zone Training Meeting or a District Meeting) and visit with them before they go in to be interviewed. I am learning so much about their lives before they came, their desires, their problems and successes in missionary work. They are truly God's choice children.
I am not able to go everywhere with President Shumway because my priority is still to Abby and Taylor. They are getting involved in things here- Abby started a tumbling class that I think she is enjoying. This entire week she will be at an art camp with the University of Tulsa. Taylor is at driver's ed right now- a 5 hour class today and tomorrow. He is NOT enjoying it! But the reward will be that he will have his learner's permit and then we will have to drive with him for over 50 hours- something I will NOT enjoy- I'm scared... I love that boy but I don't think I want him to drive me around town-
Even though I'm not on the road with President Shumway, my own missionary responsibilities have kept me pretty busy. Because I am responsible for the missionary medical- I get 5 or 6 (sometimes more) phone calls every day from missionaries who need help- everything you can think of, or can't think of! Stitches in the ER, poisen ivy, heat rash, sprained knee, sprained ankle, swollen lip, etc...
I am learning a lot about first aid and home remedies. Lots of things have to go to the Dr., but for most we can think of something to handle the problem. It's always interesting, and even though I'm not glad the missionaries are hurting, I'm happy to have opportunities to help them- I love them. One Elder said, "Sister Shumway - don't worry about us". I've heard that before- right Matt! I told him the same thing I told you. It's in my job description- "Thou shalt worry!" And Pray.
I also do a lot of cooking- a LOT! And everything I cook- they eat! Now isn't that nice. Send me all your best recipes- for the masses. I"ll try everyone of them.
One of these days I'm going to grab President Shumway and get him to put a paragraph on this page, but until then you'll have to put up with me. I'll just close this post by saying that I love being a missionary. I love giving away pass-a-long cards. I love it when someone will give me their phone number and address so I can send the missionaries. I love all our missionaries -old and young. We have such incredible senior couples and office missionaries. They carry a huge work load and are so willing to do it all. I love asking the Lord for help with our new and sometimes overwhelming responsibilities and hearing the still small voice tell me exactly what to do. I love hearing President Shumway bear his testimony of the restoration of the gospel and I love watching the Spirit direct him in his service. He is working so hard and doing such a great job.
And- I love all of you and miss you. But I wouldn't come home for anything. I am so grateful the Lord sent me to Oklahoma.