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 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

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