Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Happy New Year From the Oklahoma Shumways!

January, 2013

Hope all your holidays were joyful!  Here is how we spent ours!

Thanksgiving 2012 

Nathan and Jisoo and our precious grand-baby Jenevi, drove down from Des Moines, Iowa to spend Thanksgiving with us.  Nathan has been working like crazy at medical school there, so it was a great break for them and for us too, though Nate still spent a number of hours studying.  They also spent many hours helping us prepare for our Zone Conference which started on the Monday after Thanksgiving. 

Dinner at a Korean restaurant in honor of Jisoo.

We had 10 missionaries, and an investigator family join us for Thanksgiving dinner.  A very special day- we had so much to be grateful for.

President Shumway carving the turkey-  one of two!  Lots of food for such a large group- everyone helped!

Nate and Jisoo went with us to one of Taylor's football games the day after Thanksgiving.  This was the playoff (Jenks vs. Union- 2 huge teams) to see who would play in the State Final- we won!

It was hard to tell Nate, Jisoo, and our darling Jenevi goodbye.

                                     ZONE CONFERENCES  11-27-12 Through 11-29-12
     Nate, Jisoo and Jenevi left on Saturday Nov. 24th.  They had spent two days helping us get ready for Zone Conferences- hours of work and we were so grateful for their help.  On Sunday President Shumway and I and Abby and Taylor traveled to Centerton AR to put on another "Missionary Preparation Fireside" for their youth.  We've already done many of these and have many more scheduled throughout the mission.  On Monday night we left for Springfield, MO to begin our Zone Conferences the next morning.  I was grateful once again for the amazing senior missionaries that volunteered to stay with Abby and Taylor for the 3 days we were gone.  We had to miss Taylor's birthday on the 27th, but were able to make it up to him later.

The next big event in November was Taylor's State Championship game.  I know we keep telling you that Oklahoma football is incredible-  we mean it!  The entire community is into the preparation for the big game.  Taylor received a packet with about 20 letters in it- from grade school children telling him to "play his guts out"  to business men- bankers!  They were all letters of encouragement and support.  Every football player received them.  Then-  all the mothers of players went to the locker room, while the players were involved in a meeting, and we decorated the locker room.  They told me to bring a poster for Taylor and I did-  just a plain old white thing- I had written on it with markers and put his picture on it.  When I got to the locker room, I could see the looks of disapproval (in a very sweet way).  Several wonderful mothers began to hand me things-  after an hour, with a lot of help,  I had produced a worthy poster (below) and then had the opportunity to help make some others for mothers who were just as clueless as I was!  This was a big deal!

Taylor Shumway- Trojan Football!
                          Below are pictures of the game-  they won of course!  Anybody who spends as much time as they do practicing, and has as much support and team spirit, deserves to win!

                  The team buses were escorted out of town by police with the sirens blaring, and escorted back into town the same way!  They didn't get back to the High School until midnight and then they had a huge party-  Below is Taylor's good friend and fellow football player holding the State Trophy- the gold ball!  

  So they won and you'd think football was over for the year, but they are still practicing 2-3 hours every day-  it's amazing and I think Taylor loves it!

     We did something so fun and wonderful!  We took the 18 Zone Leaders and our 2 assistants and went out Christmas caroling in our neighborhood.  We had purchased a box of Tabernacle Choir Christmas CDs to give out those we caroled to.   We had such wonderful responses.  Several of the families in our neighborhood have become our friends and they were so touched by our amazing missionaries.  One man said over and over, "They are angels!", and he's right - they are!
Practicing for our Christmas Caroling

My missionary helpers in the kitchen!

December Zone Leader Council-  warm 72 degrees and sunny!

   President Shumway and I do a lot of traveling around the mission to speak in Sacrament Meetings, Stake Conferences and other events.  December was no different.  One Sunday we spoke in McAlester, Ok, in the morning and Gore OK in the evening for a youth fireside.  It is so much fun to get to know the people in our mission- we love them all!

We had the privilege of having two sister missionaries stay at the mission home for a few days as one was recovering from surgery.  The healthy sister was a worker bee and cooked, cleaned and even wrapped Christmas presents. 

Taylor's Christmas Orchestra concert at Jenks High School

DECEMBER 12-15  Transfer Week
     Eight new missionaries came in plus one returning to the missionfield after surgery.  I woke up in the middle of the night two nights before they came and felt panicked that those new missionaries were going to be cold sleeping in the Mission Home.  The next morning I ran upstairs to our bunk rooms and realized that we just had the thin bedspreads on the beds and not enough extra blankets (we'd just had a cold snap in the weather).  So I went running to JC Penney and bought 15 nice warm blankets- all they had!  I felt like the Spirit and nudged me to get that done.
Our new, ready to go Elders!

We had 14 Elders and Sisters come in to return home- but it was kind of a crazy schedule.  Because some were returning to other countries, they didn't all leave on the same day, so President Shumway and I got up at 4:30am for 3 mornings in a row to go to the airport.  We took the last missionary- an outstanding, sweet Marhallese sister- to the airport on Dec. 17th.  The first leg of her flight took her to Denver where she was delayed- which meant that she missed her connecting flight in LA.  She called us at 1:30am our time and was hysterical!  It took 3 hours and the help of a very nice man- a stranger who had also missed his flight- and the after hours Missionary Travel Dept.- to get her connected with the Mission President in LA, so she had a place to stay for the next few days while waiting for the next flight to the Marshall Islands.  The mission president who picked her up told us that she just bubbled into the car and announced she had just given away her 10th Book of Mormon since leaving the mission!  When she had come to the mission home, I lifted her very heavy carry-on piece of  luggage and asked what in the world she had in it!  She didn't say anything then- now I know!  10 copies of the Book of Mormon!  And she gave them all away!  She spent 3 days working in the Visitor's Center of the Los Angeles Temple and wasn't able to return home until Christmas Day.  What an incredible Sister she was, and is.  We miss her!
Sister from the Marshall Islands.  Her mother made a dress for Abby!

December 2012-  Returning Missionaries


Matt,  Jana, Cabe and their four boys arrived safely.  We were so excited to see them!  We still had so much Christmas preparation, as I really had done very little until the few days before Christmas, but we also found some time to have some fun together.  We were also busy preparing for the Mission Christmas Conference that would begin the day after Christmas!

One great activity that our family got involved in, and Matt,  Jana, Cabe and boys also participated in, was our neighborhood Christmas Nativity.  Jana, Scott, Preston and I were shepherds- with speaking parts!  Matt, Scott, Taylor and Preston sang "Mary, Did you Know"- it was beautiful.  The whole thing was performed outside, with a live Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus.  There was a real angel- standing on the roof in glorious light!  The wonderful people who produced the whole thing are neighbors a few doors down who have been doing this for years.  They said it was a way for them to share their belief in the Savior and give others an opportunity to do the same.   There are such good people in Oklahoma!

December 22nd is Abby's birthday and she had a very special day-  some fun new presents and then she and Jana had a girl's day out!  Two sisters- Jana is a wonderful big sister and her little sister adores her.

Christmas Eve we were joined by some of our Senior Missionaries and our Assistants.   It was so much fun.  We tried to keep some of our traditions-  clam chowder and bread sticks-  the special reading of the Christmas Story-  a meaningful Christmas Eve present from President Shumway and me to our children- and then new pajamas.  It was even more special because we had some of our children to share it with.

President and Sister Shumway and Assistants

Everyone in their new Christmas Pajamas
A wonderful Christmas together

On Christmas Day we were able to Facetime our other children, some Senior missionaries came for a very casual dinner and we enjoyed as relaxed a day as we could- given the fact that we had to be all ready by the next morning to take off for the Mission Christmas Conferences.

I honestly don't know how we got ready for this on time- we had a lot of help!  Jana, Cabe and boys were amazing.  They just pitched right in.  They had come prepared to completely do one of the activities that we were going to have for the missionaries- rockets!  For 3 days- 9 different zones- 3 different cities around the mission- we had games and activites in the morning- lunch provided by us!  And then some training in the afternoons.  It was hard work but a very enjoyable time.  I know we just wore Jana and Cabe and the boys right out!  We felt sad for Matt to leave us on the first day of the conferences, but he was unable to stay the whole week.

Making and firing the rockets!

Lined up for fun!

"Minute to Win It" Games

The wild present game!

This one took real skill!

Human Foosball!

Fear Factor Goodies-  One was Arkansas Frog Legs!!  Yuck!!!

Ah Oh!!!

The Marshallese Sisters danced for us-

President Shumway, Taylor and Preston sharing their talents-

After 3 intense days- we ended up in Springfield, MO and took an evening to have dinner at Lamberts "Home of the Throwed Rolls" and then saw the Hughes Brother's Christmas Show in Branson.  We all loved that.

So- Christmas was over and we parted from Jana and Cabe and boys in Springfield, MO.   We all shed many tears at having to leave each other again-  but it was such a blessing to be together.  We'll never forget it.

ZONE LEADER COUNCIL-  January 7th and 8th-  2013
Our first meeting of the year.  There is such an intensity in the mission right now.  We are gearing up for huge changes, and I must tell you that President Shumway and I both feel we are receiving divine help.   We will receive almost 50 new missionaries in the next 2 months.  We have to open new areas, find cars and apartments and trainers.  And we are so excited.  There is so much expected of our Assistants and Zone Leaders and they are absolutely capable of all of it.  They are incredible missionaries and it was a pleasure to meet with them again.  They lead other incredible missionaries.  We feel so grateful to be a part of THE BEST MISSION IN THE WORLD!  with THE BEST MISSIONARIES IN THE WORLD!  We love them all!

I'll share one short experience with you.  At Zone Leader Council we talked about the faith that is required to find new investigators.  We have to believe that by virtue of our calls, we are prepared to do the Lord's work- "immediately" (as it says in our handbook).  That means that the minute a missionary steps off the plane- he or she is qualified to begin to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As we prepared to talk about this, we had an idea that we would send our 18 Zone leaders and 2 Assistants out the door- right then- to go out and find for about 40 minutes and then report back.  And we did-  it was remarkable.  Everyone came back with an experience to tell, most missionaries had at least one referral- some had 2 or 3- and one companionship had 5!  President Shumway and I also had a good experience with a man in a nearby store that is a potential.  We had a list of referrals to give to the set of missionaries who work the area around the building we were meeting in.  You should have seen their faces when I handed them that list of referrals!  Pure joy!  They will be very busy for a while.  The Lord truly has "much people in this area", the OTM, and is opening "effectual doors" (D&C 100) so that we might share the truth with them.  It was a wonderful experience for all of us.

My last words for this post-  Taylor brought home a packet from football- he was pleased and surprised.  He had missed the big year end football banquet because they had it on Sunday, but they gave him his awards at school-  he earned a letter!  He's thrilled!  And Taylor starts violin lessons tomorrow with a teacher at the University here.  Back to work.
Abby has started another art class-  colored pencils!  Who knew you could make such beautiful things with colored pencils.  All of the other students are adults and they are very sweet to Abby.  Her teacher says she's a prodigy-  we knew that!  I took a picture of one of her creations from her last class-  mixed media- isn't she great!  Abby also started piano lessons today - her mother is no longer teaching her- I think she'll enjoy her music more that way-

Abby's first piece in the "mixed media" class

Abby's incredible art work!

President Shumway and I are so grateful to have Abby and Taylor with us.   This is the most intense experience of our lives- and we love it!  It's good to remember why we are doing this-  so that others might know how important families are to the Lord, that families can be "together forever" and that each one of us have a beautiful, happy plan to return to our Father in Heaven. 

Thank you to all of you who sent Christmas cards and emails.  We love to hear from you and we love you all dearly!

President and Sister Shumway

1 comment:

  1. As our family read through this post last night, Josh mentioned that he sure misses Taylor! Thank you for including so much about Abby and Taylor and their adventures. We love you and are thankful for the way you share your insights and adventures, as well as for the wonderful people with whom you are surrounded.