Monday, April 29, 2013

Friday, April 26, 2013

And it's just as beautiful as spring anywhere else- blossoms on the Red Bud trees (Oklahoma state tree!) all over the city, baby birds and squirrels everywhere, and baby foxes in our neighborhood!  This is such a great place!
This tree is to the side of the mission home- our Red Bud tree!

Beautiful Spring!

I know I've told you about my birthday wishes before, but they just keep working in miraculous ways.  I call the missionaries' on their birthdays and give them a birthday wish- that they will find a new investigator in the next 24 hours.  And they do!  It's all about faith.  This is one birthday miracle story.  I told the Elder to write it up and let me share it, so he wrote me this letter:

"Dear Sister Shumway,
So when you gave me my birthday wish on March 13, 2013 I was kind of scared because I didn't want to let you down and I knew that we were going to be busy teaching all day, so we wouldn't have time to do any finding!  We were so busy teaching that my companion and I had to split up in the evening!  My companion went with a member and I went with ____.  _____ is a senior in high school and he is preparing to serve a mission!  So he really wants to do missionary work.  So we went out and taught a lesson, it was kind of a far drive from the lesson to the church building, so we expected to meet my companion and the other member back at the church at around 9pm.  Well we got back to the church and it was 8:43pm.  We texted my companion and he said that he was about 20 minutes away (they had an even further drive).  I thought to myself, "it is late and nobody likes it when you knock on their door when it is late, but Sister Shumway wished me a new investigator and I can't let her down!"  So I looked at ____ and I told him that we were going to knock a few doors.  He said ok in a nervous voice-haha.  We went out and were driving through a neighborhood, I told ____ to tell me which house to stop at and we would knock that door.  I turned left down a street and when I was about halfway down ____ asked me if I could turn around and go back.  I turned around, we got back to the street that we were initially on and he pointed at a house and said, "That one."

I parked the car in front of the house, we said a prayer asking for the Spirit, and then we went and knocked on the door.  A lady answered with cleaning supplies in her hands.  she told us that she didn't live there and that she was cleaning the house for the bank.  We told her who we were and that our church was just around the corner, in the middle of our explanation she stopped us and said,  "You know, this is funny because I was driving and thinking if God really existed or not."  That was when we told her how we decided to knock on her door.  We testified to her that we were led by the Spirit of God to help her.  I offered her a copy of the Book of Mormon and she almost began to cry, she took it and took our number.  She gave us her number and she told us that she wanted to come to church.  It was a miracle!  I'm so grateful that I put forth that extra effort and that the Lord blessed (her) life, as well as ____ and me."

Aren't our missionaries amazing!!

Friday April 19, 2013-  Our anniversary!  And a special day to remember Grandmother!
My afternoon with the Sisters who teach in a little Branch made up of people from another country.

This day has had such an impact on me I can hardly think of it without crying.  I drove 2 hours away  to go out with the Sisters who teach in the Branch.  I didn't have any idea what I was in for.  They had set up appointments for us.  The very first apartment we entered was a very small, dark place.  A little sister- a grandmother- greeted us at the door with two darling dark eyed children hanging about her- grandchildren. There was one item of furniture in the entire apartment.  It was a small wooden chair- the sisters gave it to me and they sat on an old cooler.  The floor was littered with clothing and all kinds of personal items-  no dressers or tables.  The whole place was filthy.  A huge man lay in the corner on blankets- snoring.  We never saw his face, he was covered up, but the sisters explained to me that it was the little woman's son.
She began to visit with us in very broken English.  She was very hard to understand, Sister ____, from Samoa has picked up some of the language.  She is able to speak a little and communicate with these people.
The Little Grandmother is a member but none of the rest of her family.  Their financial situation is bleak- they may be kicked out of the apartment at any time because they don't have enough money to pay the rent.  Her son and his wife both work in the chicken industry.  Many people come  to work with the chickens.  They work all night and sleep in the day.
She kept telling us of her faith in God-  she knows He will take care of her- somehow.  And then she'd cry and cry.  The Sisters asked if we could open with a prayer-  the little grandmother said it- or rather cried it- in her own language.  She sobbed and sobbed as she prayed.  We were all crying.  Later,  Sister _____ told me that the entire prayer had been one of gratitude.  She had been thanking Heavenly Father over and over again.  It was so touching.  She has nothing of material value- but she has her faith- and she is grateful.

This little sweet sister can't come to church because she is hooked up to a big oxygen tank and she can't afford to fill the small portable one-  so many needs.  I asked when she had last taken the sacrament-  8 years ago.  We can do that much for her-  we can take the sacrament in every Sunday and perhaps we can do a lot more.

Then we went to see another family-  a father, mother and two children.  They had a table and some shelves- no other furniture.  We sat on the floor for our lesson.  They have been less active but are now working to go to the temple. 

I was so proud of our two Sisters-  who are working almost feverishly to help these people-  one appointment after another.  Every Monday night they teach 5 family home evening lessons!  They are building the kingdom!

Saturday April 20, 2013
Our preparation day-  but every day is a missionary day and today I found 3 new referrals.  All were young men!  One was a smiling, charming 21 year old at the dry cleaners I use.  I told him how much he would love our Young Single Adult branch and that the missionaries would love to teach him about the gospel of Jesus Christ and he asked, "Will they come today?"   Oh that just makes me so happy!
Two other young men came to work on our lawn.  They were hired by the LDS lawn company and their boss- a great returned missionary was actually with them.  I asked the boss if he had ever invited them to listen to the missionaries.  He hadn't but they had talked about the church, so he had prepared them for my question.  Could I send some missionaries to teach them about the gospel.  Yes!! They both gave me their contact information.

Sunday April 21, 2013
Yesterday President Shumway spent the entire day in Oklahoma City for a huge Priesthood Leadership Meeting that included the Mission Presidents and all the Stake Presidents and Bishops for our mission as well as the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission.  There were several general authorities there and President Shumway felt like he was well fed.

 One of the General Authorities traveled to our mission last night and spoke today at the Tulsa East Stake for a special conference which President Shumway was invited to speak at-  I just bore my testimony.
Immediately after the Stake Conference we had a remarkable meeting.  All of our 211 missionaries were invited to attend, about 2/3rds in person and the rest via satellite at their church buildings. I can't tell you how my heart felt to look out on that many missionaries- our missionaries!  I just wanted to hug them all at once.  We love them so much.  After the meeting, the General Authority shook every one of their hands.  He is a very kind man.
President Shumway hugged every one and I got to shake hands too.  It was such a blessing for all of us to be together.

Tonight Taylor and Abby had a youth fireside- sort of a talent night.  Taylor played both his mandolin and his violin.  The Bishop had invited a special guest- a 12 year old non-member who can play the banjo like crazy!  I took the kids and stayed to hear them.  I was so glad I did, because the banjo players father started a conversation with me about our missionary work and he gave me his phone number so the Elders can go teach them! 

Friday April 26, 2013
Today I went out with two more sister missionaries.  Another day to witness incredible poverty. 

When the Savior was on the earth He went to sinners, to the poor, the sick- lepers even, anyone who needed Him, and he expects us to do the same.  We can't be afraid to go in to these places where people are starving for hope and love.  I am so proud of our Sisters who walk right in, with courage, and take the message of the gospel to people who desperately need it.

That's my week!
Yesterday we moved our new Sister Shumway - President Shumway's sister (and her companion, Sister ____) into their new apartment- with the help of 6 wonderful Elders!  It is one of our greatest blessings to have "Aunt Joey" right here with us- 

I've had missionary medical work to do-  President Shumway has been traveling for the last three days training the "trainers" and the "new missionaries".  He'll come home weary tonight.

We are so proud of Abby, who was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society- because of her excellent grades and her level of scholarship.  She's taking a high school math class and doing very well!

Abby accepting her award!

We're sad for Taylor this week-  he had bone scans last week of his legs.  He has stress fractures in both tibia's - it's a result of the incredibly difficult football workouts they put the players through at his high school.  We are waiting for the Dr. to give us the final word, but he told us to expect that Taylor would not be able to run, jump, or workout his legs at all for the next 3 to 4 months, so that means basically no football.  Taylor is pretty disappointed- He'll miss the BYU football camp he is enrolled in this summer.

The gospel is true!  And my heart is grateful for all I am seeing and learning.  I am grateful for an opportunity to work with 211 incredible young men and women who desire to have an impact in the "hastening" of the Lord's work.  I am grateful for 22 more missionaries- Seniors- who leave comforts and family to do the glorious work of the Lord.  I know they sacrifice, but I see the blessings-  they would tell you it is all worth it.

We love you all- and miss you so much!
Mom and Dad

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