Tuesday, October 22, 2013

 Ok - here I am again- trying to catch up.  Once in a while I just throw in a few journal entries.  It may not even make sense, but I think it's the best I can do in this state of life I'm in.

 August 26-29th  Our General Authority Visit and Tour
A general authority visit is one of the best things that ever happens in our mission!  The missionaries look forward to it for weeks and they are never disappointed!  Elder and Sister _________(remember I can't use names)  arrived on Monday August 26th, in the evening.  President Shumway and I were thrilled as we had already had an opportunity to get to know them in our pre-mission training and at the Mission President's Seminars.  
Thursday September 5, 2013
After 4 days spent on a mission tour with Elder and Sister ______, and Mission Leadership Council Monday and Tuesday of this week, I don’t mind saying I’m a little tired!   President Shumway left Tuesday immediately after our MLC to go out and start his interviews.  He’ll interview all 250 missionaries in the next couple weeks.  Big job and he loves it-  though it is really draining. 
Drove out to do some training with two Sisters for a short time and  came back just in time to be here when one of our dear returned missionaries stopped by. Boy do we miss him!  He came with his parents and Grandmother- wonderful people.
Tried to work in some missionary medical work in between all the rest of everything that needed to be done today!
9-12-13 to 9-15-13  Mission President's Seminar in San Antonio
Got up at 4am to be at the airport in time for our flight to San Antonio.  I was so tired after only 3 and a half hours of sleep I knew I would have to rely on The Lord to get through the day and it turned out to be such an incredible day.  I hoped I could rest on the plane, but instead - on both legs of our flight I met amazing people who would talk with me about the church.  The first was a lady in Bartlesville and the second a lady in Salem,MO.  Both have seen the missionaries, both would let me send the missionaries.  I had wonderful conversations with them and I was grateful the Lord kept me awake to be a missionary!
Then we arrived in San Antonio and the first thing we did was to go to the temple.  What a beautiful sacred place.   It was such a gift for us to be able to attend the temple again.

We spent the next two days in hours of training-  but it is always a spiritual feast.   We learn so much that helps us in our training of our missionaries and it is a time for us to be buoyed up and prepared to continue our work.  

San Antonio Temple

Tuesday September 17, 2013
Got up early and got the kids out the door to school.  Taylor leaves by 5:30 on the days he attends Seminary.  He has been sick for the last two days with a sore throat and fever.  Dr. _______ my dear friend- called him in a prescription while we were gone, so today he is feeling better.  But he didn’t go to Seminary this morning so he left a little after 6 am to be at school for Trojanaires- the show choir at Jenks High School.  I’m so proud of him to be doing this and he really loves it. 
I drove Abby to school by 7;15 and jumped on the Broken Arrow Expressway right by the school to head to _______AR – 2 hour drive- to spend the day working with Sister _______- a Sister Training Leader, and her companion- Sister ___________, our sweet little Spanish speaking missionary.
I talked with them a little- some training, and then we went to lunch, just Wendys and then went out to work for a couple of hours. 
Saw a recently activated Sister who is really struggling.  Her husband's sons (stepsons for her) are moving in.  One is a drug addict and one is a recent convert to the church.  Bad combination.  She was really stressed about it- I would be too.  We shared some scriptures, talked about the blessings of the temple and eternity, and invited her to set a date to be sealed in the temple, which she informed us, she already has!
Then we visited an investigator who seemed very nice as we entered.  The Sisters have taught her several times and I had actually met her before when I worked in the area.  We chatted for a few minutes- she has just spent a couple of weeks in a drug rehab center.  All of a sudden a friend came in the door- a very nice young man.  And then the sister totally changed.  She began to tell us that she could not believe in the Book of Mormon, though she has not read it.  She used the scripture in Revelations about not adding to or taking away from that book of scripture.  We told her she could not judge something she hadn’t read, but she just wanted to argue, so we quit.  Her friend was very nice,  gave his info to Sister _________, and asked us to pray for them before we left!  After I’d left the area, the thought entered my mind that the friend might be the one who had encouraged her to stop investigating the church.  He just seemed too friendly and too quiet while she was blasting us.
It made me sad for both of them.
Thursday September 19, 2013
Special day-  we honored one of our Senior Missionary Couples-   They left the mission field today to return home.  We had a brunch here at the mission home with all the Senior Office Missionaries.  The returning couple were very emotional- Elder_____ sobbed uncontrollably at one point.  I wish all the older couples in the church could have seen that-  his heart is just broken to leave the mission and return home.   They have had such an impact in the small  branch of Pea Ridge-  the branch has grown tremendously and much of it is due to their work with less actives.   We gave them our special gifts and hugged them goodbye- they will be missed!
 Back to work.  Next week is transfer week.  President Shumway is just finishing making all the decisions related to that-  He tries so hard to stay in tune and understand what the Lord wants.  These decisions have far reaching effects- they have to be right.
Then- we have files of incoming missionaries to read-  and so much other planning and preparing to be done.  We’re always ready- just barely in time!
Monday September 23, 2013
We are in transfer week mode-  that means running!  Every minute!  So much to do.
We went to the airport 3 times today!  I took Abby to fly out to CA to spend a week with Jonathan and Sarah at Disneyland-  lucky Abby!  Taylor is mad.  Then President and I went two more times- to take missionaries who have been here in the OTM for just a couple months waiting for their Visas to go through for foreign missions.  Amazing how attached we get to them in such a short time-  it’s so hard to let them move on to their next assignment!
In  the middle of all of it, I got a phone call – from an investigator, that I met at the grocery store.  I invited him to come to the mission home way back then, to visit with President Shumway and me about the gospel.  And he did!  We had a wonderful lesson then and he accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon.   Later we visited him in the hospital after he had some surgery.  He’s called us off and on for the last months-  and about a month ago we invited him to come to church.  He said he would but he never showed up.  Today he called me because I had texted him to know if we might go to his visit him.   And today he said yes, but he told me that he no longer had a significant other.  They separated because he told her he wanted to come to church with us and they had a fight about it!   Amazing!  I think he already knows its true.  He is willing to defend the church and he’s never even been!
We had an incredible family home evening tonight.  Our wonderful four assistants- 3 of whom will soon be gone- ate dinner with us and we had family home evening.  They spoke directly to Taylor for half an hour- shared their testimonies of missionary work and told him how they had prepared, and how they wish they had done more to prepare.  They all expressed their love for him.  Taylor was emotional through all of it.  These are his “brothers” and he adores them.  They have been here when we couldn’t have the brothers from home, and they have saved him.  I will never forget them.  They are like our sons and our hearts hurt for them to move on.

Tuesday September 24, 2013
Miracles today!  I got up early, studied, walked on the treadmill and started running!  So much to do to get ready for 20 new missionaries tomorrow.  I was at Walmart getting a few last grocery items and the husband of my wonderful assistant called.  He said she’s been very sick and even had to go to the emergency room for breathing treatments.  She knows how much work this week requires, so she was going to drag herself to work!  I told her to stay home, and then I sat in my car and felt like crying, but only for a second.  The Lord ALWAYS helps when we need him-  and He did!  Over and over a name came in my mind-  a beautiful young returned missionary who doesn’t have a job yet.  I called her-  she was at the mission home within an hour.  We cleaned like crazy for several hours,  and I got a big chunk of the cooking done. 
The Assistants came and took my list of errands that I didn’t have time to finish.  Bless them!
The Senior office Sisters called and offered to help- they are angels.  So here they came at 7pm tonight after putting in a full day at the office.  They helped me prepare some of the Thursday night meal for the returning Elders and then cleaned up all the kitchen mess. 
There is no way I could have done this without help and I know it-  I’m so grateful to the Lord.
Wednesday- Friday  September 25-27
More miracles!   That wonderful returned missionary came again and spent 12 hours with me at the mission home!  We ran like crazy, but we got it done. 
Thursday morning I was up at 4:30 to get breakfast ready and  all those new missionaries out on the transfer loop.  We got over to the Tulsa East Stake Center by about 6:45 and then off went the caravan of new missionaries and transferring missionaries.  Then I had another miracle!  Two of our sister missionaries needed a place to be until their new companions came back from being picked up on the transfer loop.  And I had a place for them!  They went back to the mission home with me and all three of us scurried for the next 8 hours to have everything ready for the returning missionaries.  I would have been in so much trouble without their help.  Those two sisters know how to work hard!  And they could see what needed to be done- so nice. 
So it all worked out.  Friday morning we put 11 remarkable missionaries on the plane to return home and took one back to the mission home to meet his parents who were picking him up.  That is always such a joy-  to meet the great parents who prepared a fine missionary. 
Then transfers were over-  and we kept running!  Off to the Mission Office to finish up the last details of transfer week.  For me that means putting pictures on the computer to make a letter to send to the parents, and transferring contact information about returning missionaries to the computer, etc…   And President Shumway just goes on with his work. 
Our FOUR wonderful assistants! 

Our great new missionaries!

Oh do we love these missionaries-  they are finishers!  They stayed to the end and did what the Lord asked them to do!

Beautiful Sisters getting ready for the transfer.

Wonderful member who drives on every transfer loop!
Sun just coming up- early on transfer day!

 Taylor is having lots of fun lately-  involved in the Trojanaires-  the Jenks High School Show Choir!

Just after a performance-  choir!   

Taylor's finished his Eagle Project!   4 tied quilts that went in the "house warming kits"- which were boxes of things that we put together for homeless families to use to get started in their own apartments.  Plus 25 more quilts and tied fleece blankets for the homeless shelter.  Good job Taylor!
Our little Tulsa Family-

Wish I could share every detail of the miracles we see here- some day- when we have more time ....
Love and miss all of you - our dear friends and family!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hello friends and family-  our August was full and wonderful and already it's September, but I haven't had one minute to prepare a post for September.  We've had so much missionary work to do.  So here are a few entries and I'll catch up sometime soon.

Thursday 7-25-13

I can't believe I forgot to tell you about our wild storm!  The news reports were warning of a severe thunder and lightning storm- and it was!  This is the second time we have had a storm this severe.  The last one was during tornado season.  Lightening here works differently than in Utah.  The entire sky fills with low clouds- it feels like they are sitting right on top of the house, and the lightening begins to circulate around the clouds- not one big bolt, but hundreds of bolts and they just swirl and the rumble is unbelievable!  It was 12:30 in the night and President and I hadn't gone to bed yet.  Abby came down because she was a little agitated by the very loud storm-  the rain was pounding, the wind so bad that the rain was horizontal!  We stood out on the back porch under cover and watched it as long as we dared, squealing when the lightening got too close.  Are we crazy!  Probably, but I've never seen anything like it!

The next day there were downed trees and branches everywhere.  A huge chunk of Tulsa was without power and has been for the last two days.  It's still not all back on.  Our mission office has had no power for the last two days, just got it back this afternoon. 

Our neighborhood was hit by the storm!


Noticed the damage in my early morning walk.

                So this morning when I went for my early walk I noticed a rock on the driveway?  But it was moving.  At closer look I could see it was a turtle!  The Elders tell me the turtles always come out after the big rains-  and here he was!
 Oklahoma Tulsa Mission-  OTM-  Oklahoma Turtle Mission!
Just a fun thing to start my day with-  Here he is:

Friday  7-26 13
I traveled a couple of hours away to go on an exchange with one of our Sister Training Leaders-    She is top-notch!  I love going out with her because I feel like I learn so much from watching her.  Some people are just born to be missionaries.
Our first appointment was with a young man they had found in the apartment building right next door.  We were teaching the second lesson and he was so prepared.  He had read the pamphlet the Sister had given him about the restoration.  She asked him what he thought of it and he said he thought the whole country was in a state of apostasy!   Wonderful lesson. 
Just as we finished the lesson it began to rain- to pour!  And we had to walk off the nice dry porch into the rain.  We were soaked by the time we got to the car.  Traveled on to the next appointment and sat on the very tiny porch- outside -  while our single gentlemen sat inside on his couch (those are the rules- we couldn't go inside).  It was so wet!  It took me several hours to completely dry out. 
Later we visited an investigator- woman whose husband is dying of cancer-  you can imagine how she is feeling right now.  We shared parts of Alma 40 with her.  I really believe sometime she will be baptized.
Sunday July 28-13
President Shumway and I traveled to Greenwood AR early in the morning.  Beautiful drive- 72 degrees at 6 am- just perfect.
This area is called Greenwood for a reason- another area of our mission with rolling green- forest covered – hills.  I love traveling around our mission.
We spoke in their sacrament meeting and then stayed for their three hour block and after for several hours to speak in an afternoon fireside they were having for investigators.
The best part of the afternoon was the “linger longer”-  my very first one!  Many of the members of their ward travel in to church from a distance and so if they are going to have youth firesides or any other meetings in the afternoon, they all bring food for their lunch- a huge pot luck- and then have the meeting afterwards. 
We loved getting to know the wonderful members there-  sweet humble people, excited about missionary work. They were so kind to us. 
Monday July 29, 2013  -   Thursday August 1, 2013
Nate, Jisoo, Jenevi and Taylor arrived in the evening.  Taylor had been in Missouri working on President Goodmans ranch.  He learned to be a real cowboy- how to lasso a cow, ride a horse, and do all kinds of ranch work.  He loved it and we were so proud of him to work hard there. 
Nate, Jisoo and Jenevi stayed until Thursday morning.  We loved having them here, and took a few minutes here and there to play with our darling granddaughter.  
Thursday August 1, 2013
The mission home is covered in dust!  Workers have ripped out a hanging cabinet in our kitchen (it made it so we couldn’t see through to the dining room and made the kitchen dark feeling),  installed a sliding door between the kitchen and the living room (so we’ll have more focused and reverent meetings when we have a living room full of missionaries, and someone is working hard in the kitchen to get their next meal ready- lots of noise)  and laid a beautiful new wood floor in the dining room ( the carpet was constantly a mess).   We’re happy for the upgrades!  All of these things will make the mission home more functional.
And- two of our wonderful workers stopped for a moment and listened as we encouraged them to allow the missionaries to come and visit-  both had a first lesson- so far!
President Shumway and I have been working hard today to get ready for the first special Missionary/Member Zone Conferences we are presenting-  there will be nine of them- one for each Zone (Stake).   Our first is tomorrow.  We are so excited about it!  We’ve invited every member in the mission!
Sunday August 11, 2013
The last two weeks have been incredibly busy and very rewarding.
Monday and Tuesday of this week was our monthly  “Mission Leadership Council”  - leadership meeting with the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders.  This group is getting bigger and bigger- 24 of them now plus our four assistants.  It’s a very busy 24 hours and I love it!  These are such fine missionaries-  more than that, they are my dear friends and I look forward to seeing them so much. 
Once again, in the afternoon as they come in and take turns with their interviews with President Shumway, the others did service. They helped Taylor tie a couple more quilts for the homeless shelter here in Tulsa (still trying to finish his Eagle Project).  Seven of the Elders went across the street in their service clothes and weeded some beds to help our neighbor.  The beds were full of poison oak, poison ivy and poison sumac.  I was very worried that one of them would get some of that poison on them, but we had taken precautions-  rubber gloves- and we made them shower afterwards and send their clothes straight to me in the laundry room where they were washed immediately.  I prayed they’d all be ok- and they were.  Our neighbor was very grateful.

Our service project-  weeding in the poison ivy!

More quilts for Taylor's Eagle Project.  Taylor is instructing us!

I love our Sisters!

The final product!

Awesome Taylor with one of our great missionaries!

Mission Leadership Council - August 2013 at the Mission Home

This was registration week at school – so we spent some hours taking care of all that for Abby and Taylor.  It included drug testing and a complete physical for Taylor so he can play football.
The Friday morning after our Mission Leadership Council is always Zone Training Meetings around the mission.  Each set of Zone leaders gathers their Zone and trains on what we have discussed at the Mission Leadership Council.  This is not a meeting that we have attended in the past, but President Shumway felt inspired a couple of months ago that we should work out a way to broadcast a “President’s Message”  from one of the Stake Centers here in Tulsa to the rest of the zones in their Stake Centers around the mission.  We have been doing it for the last several months.  It gives us one more opportunity each month to get in front of our missionaries and do some teaching, training or instruction of some kind.  President and I each speak for about 10 minutes.  This Friday was our first broadcast with no technical problems at all- everyone got it and heard it.  We were so grateful!   The Lord has blessed us to have such smart missionaries that can take all these ideas and make them work!

Friday night August 9, we traveled to Rogers AR for our third Special Zone Conference.  Another inspired idea.  After the remarkable Worldwide Missionary Conference,  President Shumway felt directed that we needed to capitalize on the tremendous enthusiasm for missionary work that was felt after that meeting.  So we are having a Zone Conference in each Stake-  9 of them.  The members are all invited!  We are loving it!
Our theme is “We are One!  - taken from the Broadcast and we spend two hours in each conference learning how we can do that.
We have an incredible choir in each conference made up of the missionaries and the young men and young women in that stake.  When they sing “Called to Serve” together, there is such power! 
We also sing a special arrangement of “I’ll go where you want me to go”,
Our area seventy is speaking at all the conferences he is able- so far all three of them.   President Shumway does some training-  side by side discussions with a Bishop, a ward mission leader and a missionary.  We show a couple of videos from the “Hastening” site on LDS.org. and do some training in regards to those.
This has been one of the best things we have participated in-  we can tell it is making a difference.  We love these members and we want them to feel confident to do this great work with us.
Another Missonary Youth Fireside here at the mission home.  We have done nearly 20 of them.  This was our biggest group ever- 40 youth.  We really had to pack them in.  We’ve done this so many times now, we know what we want to do with it and we can just enjoy the experience.  There is always such a great spirit in the mission home as we spend the evening with them.  They want to serve, want to do what’s right.  We can feel it. 
Taylor starts football tomorrow.  Abby will go to Grand Lake with the youth in our ward and President Shumway and I will feverishly work tomorrow to be ready for 18 new missionaries coming on Wed. and all that goes with “transfer” week.
WE LOVE OUR MISSION!  This is absolutely one of the greatest things I’ve ever been involved in-  it’s the Lord’s work!
Any of you who are ready to serve are welcome in the OTM!
We need Senior missionaries- we could use 40 of you-  we’d put you all to work in the wonderful branches and wards around our mission and you would change lives-  including yours.  Please come!!
Monday August 19, 2013
Last week was transfer week-  18 new missionaries in-  16 returned home.  It is always the most taxing thing we do-  lots of energy required to feed, train, and move many missionaries around our big mission. 
Yesterday-  we held our 6th special missionary/member conference in St. Robert, MO.  It was a remarkable conference.   I began to gather some of the youth into the cultural hall for our brief choir practice one hour before the meeting.  We have typically had about 40 or 50 youth (sometimes more or less) participate in these stake choirs plus all of our missionaries that are in that zone/stake.   This time, they just kept pouring through the doors- it was astounding!  More than a hundred youth from their stake came to participate!  We couldn’t put them all on the stand in the chapel-  most of them had to be down in the first rows of the chapel.  It was an incredible sight and sound!  The Lord has raised up a righteous generation to prepare for the 2nd coming and I am glad I am here to see it!  They are everywhere!

An incredible group of youth!  They all came to sing and catch the missionary spirit!

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I have had a remarkable day today.  I traveled out to work with a Sister Training Leader and her companion,  a new sister- still in training.    There are only 3 active member families in the area they are working in, and the Sisters said they were struggling a little to get things going.  They are living with a member family who are great people, so that is good, but the Bishop had asked them to find the less actives and bring them back-  and there are dozens on the list they had.
The Sisters were feeling quite overwhelmed and needed some encouragement. 
So we split up and we went out to work.
The Sister Training Leader and I went to find a less active sister.  She was out in her garden and was not too happy to see us.  She told us she didn’t have time to talk.  We learned that she came from Laos but is Hmong.  We followed her toward the house just visiting and at some point she liked us enough to invite us in to her home.  There we met 5 of her 7 children from 3 different fathers.  It was a very dysfunctional family.  She is living with a man, the father of the last baby- 9 months old. 
She let us have an opening prayer and then we began to share the lesson that the Sister missionary had prepared.  The woman and her boyfriend went to get their scriptures-  they had copies of the Book of Mormon in Hmong!  We had a brief lesson where they mostly just listened-  it was pretty obvious that most of it wasn’t sinking in.  I think the language barrier was more than we realized.  But somewhere in all of that she looked at us and realized we were Mormons!  She said she had thought we were just some nice Christian ladies come to visit.  She became animated and told us how dear her Mormon friends in Wisconsin were to her.  She said she had been attending a Christian church in town because she couldn’t find the Mormon church.  But yes, now that she knew there was one, she would come!  And yes, she would like to know other latter day saints in the area. 
The only child in the family that has been baptized is her 18 year old son- he wasn’t there at the time.  So there is a whole family of people who need to hear the lessons and be baptized, and there is a marriage that needs to take place, etc…  Lots of work for the sisters!  A very productive visit.
Next we went to another less active sister-  she broke my heart.  She has had a very difficult life and continues to struggle with some things.  She needs friends and the "good word of God".   But I also felt strongly to tell her that the Lord needed HER!  Her town would some day have it’s own branch and then ward-  the Church would need teachers and Primary Presidents and Relief Society Presidents.  The Lord needed her to come back and help build the Kingdom, to come back and find peace and receive the blessings that would come to her family from living the gospel.
After those two visits we went back to the Sister’s home- they are living with members.  The member had fixed us a nice lunch and afterwards I tried to locate some of the sister’s less actives on facebook-  I can do that, they cant- yet.  I had my Ipad with me and I was actually able to find a couple for them-  new addresses, etc…
I felt inspired to tell the Sisters that if they would invite these less actives to come to a dinner, a party, a Relief Society enrichment activity, and then keep inviting them to activities and help them get to know each other-  things would start to grow.  They could help the area establish it's own “family” feeling and someday they will be a branch and then a ward.  I felt so excited about it.  I know the Lord will help them find these people.
The Sisters got excited as we talked about it and we all felt the wonderful feeling that comes from knowing we are on the right path and doing what the Lord wants us to do.

Thursday August 22, 2013
I've been scurrying around all day- trying to get ready for our general authority visit.  There is so much to do!  He will arrive Monday night and we will have a three day tour of our mission-  it will be so great for our missionaries and for us too!

So - that's the end of this post- I always get it done about one month after it happens, but it's fun for me to reread what I wrote back then- seems like a year ago!  I feel like we are traveling in some "other worldly" time zone-  where days fly by so fast I never know what day of the week it is!  It always feels like either Saturday or Sunday!

We love this work!  We love the people here, and we love the Lord.  The OTM is a great place to be!
Love, Sister Shumway

Monday, August 12, 2013

 Hi to our wonderful family and friends!  A few more journal entries.  We are missing all of you so much!

Wednesday July 3- Friday July 5
Another great transfer week!  26 new missionaries in, 9 returned.  Again- an awesome sight to see those 26 come marching through the airport!  Heads turn! And I wish I could stand up on a box and tell everyone to LISTEN!  These young representatives of the Lord have something to say!
So- it's a lot of work. 3 meals for the incoming and a lot of training.  
2 meals for the returning.  And it was the 4th of July, so we had the Shumway traditional 4th of July baby back ribs! Served on china because that is my mission tradition, to give our returning missionaries the best!  It was kinda weird, but tasty!  
We spend the evening trying to say things we hope will help them as they go home, but our hearts are heavy.  One of them had been our assistant.  They are all- ours!

26 new missionaries!
An afternoon of training for the new missionaries-  in the mission home.

Nine Elders and one dear senior couple went home-

Abby and Taylor have been gone for two weeks to Utah!  They are having so much fun with family and friends, but we are missing them!  Even though the mission home is rarely quiet for long, we just miss our kids.  Abby will leave in the morning to go to Girl’s Camp with our Pleasant Grove Ward-  so much fun for her.
The end of two days of Mission Leadership Council.  We are growing!  Now that we have Sister Training Leaders, our council has grown from 22 of us to 31 of us!  And it will just keep growing as we continue to add Sister Training Leaders until we have 6 sets of them.  We now have so many leaders we can’t sleep them all here, so the Elders stay in the bunk rooms and the Sisters go a few blocks away to a wonderful couple whose children are grown.  They have four empty bedrooms and offered to house Sisters when we have needs.  I think they have done this 8 or 9 times for us so far- what a blessing!
We’ve also added something very unique – just for our mission- another set of assistants!  In the last 6 months we’ve received about 125 new missionaries- incredible!  The Lord is truly hastening his work and we feel it.  This means that nearly half our missionary force is very new.  President Shumway felt impressed to call another set of assistants with one job.  They travel all week around the mission and go on exchanges with the new missionaries.  The focus is to get all these new Elders up to speed  quickly!  They are two of our finest Elders and they will do an incredible job.  Our other assistants will continue to do what they have always done-  exchanges with Zone Leaders, helping to run the mission, plan training, and doing everything you can think of!
We launched our new mission theme today-  “We are One!”.  This is based on the recent worldwide training on missionary work.  We are gearing up to do some very unique things here in our mission in connection with the members-  I’ll tell you about it later!!
Sunday July 21, 2013
I’ve had a full week!  I spent Tuesday in Muskogee working with two of our Sisters.  Abby went with me this time- her first day doing real missionary work.  We stopped many people to talk with them about the church- we call it OTMing!  Oklahoma, Tulsa Mission- OTM- Open Thy Mouth!   So talking with everyone, opening thy mouth with everyone is OTMing!  The Sisters here are really great at doing this- both fantastic new missionaries.
We had a really great day- I’ll just tell you one story.
We went to the church to have a lesson with a young man.  The Sisters had already taught him one lesson and he had been very positive about it.  But the morning I arrived he had called them and told them he wasn’t interested.  They talked him into meeting one last time.  As the 5 of us walked into the church, I noticed a man in one of the classrooms.  It looked like he was studying something.
We continued into another classroom and began the lesson.  But I started to feel very uncomfortable .  Somehow I got into my mind that we were breaking the rule about who the Sisters can teach (when they need another member present).  I was absolutely wrong because I was there with them so it was alright, but somehow I was just mixed up.  So I stopped the lesson, and told the Sisters we needed another man- a Priesthood holder.  I sent them in to see if that man in the other classroom was a member and if he would join us.  He came back with the Sisters, and it turned out to be the most wonderful thing.  He had served a mission in Brazil.  He was in the church studying to take the Medical exam to become a Dr.  –A wonderful family man- father of six.  He was just what the lesson needed.  He connected with the young man, bore his testimony to him, and had a huge impact on him.  At one point, with emotion, he told about a dream he had just had the night before.  In his dream he was back on his mission going down the street looking for people to teach.  There was no one, and all the trees were knocked down.  Then he said he came to a building, went in and there were many people to teach.   He felt that somehow what we were doing right then was a fulfillment of that dream.  There was such a strong feeling of the Spirit as we each took turns testifying of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and of the gospel.
That wonderful member invited the young man to come to his home for dinner.  He was willing to be at future lessons with the young man.
I wish every member could have seen a video of what happened there.  Members are so critical to the work!
Last Wednesday Abby and I traveled up to Springfield MO to meet President Shumway ( he was already there working with missionaries) and spend the night there so that we could travel 2 more hours the next day to the Lake of the Ozarks-  gorgeous!  President Shumway and I had a speaking assignment there for a Youth Conference.  It was sooo hot!  
On our way back down after the conference, I had a strong feeling that I should stop in Springfield and work with a Sister Training Leader and her companion.  I hadn't planned on doing it just then, but it turned out to be just the right thing, as the new, young companion was really struggling and needed some help.  So I spent the next 24 hours there.  The Lord always seems to have everything worked out ahead of time.  We just have to be willing to go with it.
Tonight we also had our 16th or 17th youth fireside- I've been trying to keep track.  Most of them are here at the mission home.  Some we travel out for.  We'll do another one this next Sunday about 3 hours away.  
We give them a tour of the mission home- which they love- they get to see our big bunk rooms, the transfer board, and feel the incredible Spirit that is here. Then we speak to them and let them have some experience with role play!  Real play!
This group traveled to us from 3 hours away-  what incredible young people.  The purpose of our fireside is to help them prepare for missions and for whatever else the Lord may have in store for them, but they already feel so strong!  I have a testimony that they have been saved for 6,000 years (just as President Benson said) to come forth at this challenging time and to help prepare the world for the 2nd coming of the Savior.

Very special youth group who came for a fireside.  It was so humid outside you can see the moisture in the air!

Wednesday July 24-  Pioneer Day!
We spent this wonderful Pioneer Day with our 20 Senior missionaries.  They came in from all over the mission, some as far as six hours away, to spend a day in training.  Several of our couples arrived last night as the drive would have been too far to be here by nine.  We had several of our senior couple missionaries trained,  our “other” Sister Shumway gave a beautiful talk on “Lift where you stand”,  2 of our Zone Leaders came to give a great presentation on “answering questions of the soul from the Book of Mormon” and President Shumway and I spoke.   I think that as important as the training is, it’s just as important for our Senior Missionaries to have some association with other Senior Missionaries.  They all work so hard, and it’s nice for them to see that others have the same struggles.  I think they share some great ideas too.  We heard some very creative ideas for serving in the communities, teaching less actives, etc…
Each of our senior missionaries has unique talents and abilities that are perfect for sharing the gospel in the area they are in.  It’s a testimony that every missionary is sent to the right place!
After a dinner here in the mission home, they traveled back to their areas.  We love our Senior Missionaries!
Happy Pioneer Day with most of our Senior Missionaries  
That's all our news for now- another post coming soon!
We love all of you- and pray for you.  Go have a missionary experience!
Sister Shumway