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