Monday, January 13, 2014



 January 2014

Dear Family and Friends,
Happy New Year!  Hope your holidays were wonderful.  Thank you for the many cards and letters from your families- we loved hearing from you.

Day one of our mission started with us on the run and it has never slowed down, but it seems like the last few months have been turned up even one more notch!  The hastening means moving a little faster and so we're running at top speed!

December 2013 was filled with missionary work and activities.  We had a wonderful zone conference the first week of December.   On our second day we had to pack 7 hours of conference into just a few hours in order to end early and try to beat the ice storms home.  Two very tense hours driving on ice.  The next couple weeks our weather was crazy-  ice and snow and cold.  Abby and Taylor had several days with their schools closed because the roads were so bad.  
This has truly been an Oklahoma winter-  lots of severe weather!  

Oklahoma icy winter wonderland!

Autumn just couldn't let go of this one!  Beautiful!

Bushes in front of the mission home weighed down with ice!

The weight of the ice broke branches all over town and pulled down some power lines.  Some people were out of power for several days.

 The very next Monday we were involved in our Mission Leadership Conference.   Our service project for that conference was to Christmas carol in our neighborhood.  It was bitter cold that night but we had such a wonderful time.   Thirty three missionaries walked through the streets singing Christmas hymns.  We stopped at many doors and gave out Tabernacle Choir Christmas CDs.   There was such a special spirit.  One lady came out on her porch and hugged the Sister missionaries and cried.  Christmas brings out the best in people.   

Our angel Christmas carolers!

December 16th was a special evening filled with sacred music as we went to Jenks High School to hear Taylor perform in the Messiah.  There were two performance.  Taylor sang with the Trojanaires in the first performance and played in the orchestra in the second performance.   We were so proud of him and excited for him the next week when he was chosen to be a dancer and singer in the school musical-  Tarzan.   We can't wait for this!
A special outdoor performance with the Troganaires.  Taylor still has his blonde hair from football-  all the players dyed their hair for the Stake Playoffs.  They won!  Jenks took Stake again this year!

December 17th brought 10 new missionaries to the OTM.  They got in to Tulsa quite late as flights were delayed because of the weather.  They were exhausted!  So we fed them, trained them with lightening speed (I hope they remember any thing at all!) put them in bed and shipped them out the next morning.  Then we spent the day preparing for our returning missionaries who got home in time for Christmas.  Several of them had a little trouble getting home.  Their flights were canceled  when they had a layover in Texas because of the weather in Utah and they ended up staying a night in the Texas Dallas mission home.   Finally they all arrived home safely.  We were relieved.
Our beloved returning missionaries.
New missionaries at Christmas time!

President Shumway and I traveled out twice on two Sundays in December to speak.  We love getting to know the saints around the mission-  all wonderful people.  
And then it was Christmas!  On December 21st Jonathan, Sarah, and their darling boys and Matt arrived in Tulsa to spend the next two weeks with us!    We had so much fun together and we worked them like crazy.  We had given them so much responsibility to help with our special Christmas Zone Conferences.  It was like having extra mission staff for a couple weeks.  We wished they would stay!  But we did take time here and there to enjoy each other and our Christmas eve and Christmas day were very special with family, our two assistants, and our senior office.   On Christmas eve we sang songs, acted out the nativity and enjoyed all the Shumway family Christmas traditions.  On Christmas day we all enjoyed dinner together and were joined by a recent convert and her family.  It was a special day and very relaxed!

Monday Dec 30 through Wednesday Jan 1-   Happy New Year!

What an incredible week.  We traveled around our mission and had a zone conference every day!
This was our special “Christmas”  Zone Conference.  It’s an extra zone conference we have done twice now between Christmas and New Years-  part of our Christmas present for our missionaries.  It’s a time to have some fun with them and also do a little extra training.

We were traveling with Jonathan, Sarah and their four boys,  Matt,  Nathan, JiSoo and their little Jenevi, Abby and Taylor -  and our Assistants.  We had 5 vehicles loaded to the top with boxes and boxes of everything we needed for our conferences, and all our luggage!  It was an adventure!

All the boys were at the church by about 7:00 every morning to set up for the “Mama’s Boys” and I went running to Sam’s club to be there at 7:00am when it opened.  At each conference we fed the missionaries about 45 pizzas plus veggie trays, fruit, cookies and drinks for lunch.
From 9 am to 11am we played games with them-  dodge ball, and minute to win it games.
Then “Mama’s Boys” performed for an hour -  I hope the missionaries enjoyed it, but I loved  it!  It made me so happy to see my family singing and playing together again.
We had an afternoon of training, and then on to the next Zone Conference.  We traveled from Tulsa, OK to Springdale AR and then the last day in Springfield MO. 
We were all so tired when we finally got home on Wed. Jan 1st at about 11:30pm, but what a week we

January 1st 2014-  OUR HUMP DAY?   -  Not mine!  I don’t even like the visual image!  A hump is a small thing, it’s easy to get up to the top and easy to get down to the bottom.  I visual my mission as a mountain to climb, and I’m about half way up to the top!  Every day requires my strict attention and all my effort.  I can’t get lazy or complacent.   You have to respect the mountain-  there are rules in nature and if you don’t respect those rules and laws you may suffer severe consequences.  The same on a mission- obedience is a protection for all of us. 
It is important to stay strong to the top of the mountain.   But really, the end goal of reaching the mountain top is not nearly as important as the progress of each individual day.   I’m climbing with other climbers- we are tied together so if one of us slips a little we are all still supported.   My relationship with those other climbers is critical.  We can save each other’s lives. 
We’ll all reach the top of that mountain, and we’ll never forget the time we spent together working toward it. 
Ok- maybe that’s a little silly-  but my mission is a mountain!!

Thursday Jan 2, 2014
We all spent the day re-grouping.  Laundry, some grocery shopping, and Jonathan, Sarah and Matt preparing to leave the next day.  It was our last day together.

Friday Jan 3, 2014
What a melancholy day!  Jonathan, Sarah and kids, and Matt left this morning early to travel back home.  We’ve had two weeks of hard work-  missionary work- and fun together.  It’s just been pure joy for us. 
So it felt pretty sad to hug them goodbye.  They’ve had such an impact on our mission!  Our missionaries loved their wonderful “Mama’s Boys” show.  And missionaries just love to be around a family and we were happy and proud to share ours.

We didn’t have more than a minute or two to be sad.  We had to get right to work.  So much to catch up and we have Mission Leadership Council on Monday!  So we had a meeting with our assistants and then I ran to Sam’s Club and then to the office and met Scott there.  Then home quickly to cook dinner for 15-  we have a senior couple going home tomorrow.  This was their farewell dinner.    They have worked so hard.  Elder _____joined a men’s prayer group that had breakfast once a month and the people in the community- many who had false ideas about Mormons- got to know who Mormons really are and had great respect for these senior missionaries.  They taught many, many people, found less actives, and did countless service projects.   Senior couples have a profound impact on a community because, at least in our mission, they stay in one place and become well known.  People love and respect them, and listen to them.  We are truly going to miss them.

Saturday Jan 4, 2014
A happy missionary day!  A recent convert in our ward, has two sweet little girls, one age 9-and one age 8-  and they were baptized today!  President Shumway baptized the 9 year old and our Bishop baptized her sister.  Another great thing is that four of the mother's friends came who are not members of the church and they are coming to Sacrament Meeting tomorrow for the confirmation! 
After the baptism everyone came to the mission home for BBQ pork – a light supper.  We all enjoyed it and the girls were so excited.  It was a special day.

Sunday Jan 5, 2014
Brrrr!  It is cold here!  It snowed last night and the temperature dropped.  The high was in the 20s and the low is supposed to be about 9 degrees.  Then it will get even colder some time this week and we are looking at freezing rain- again!  This is the craziest weather place.  So much different than our very mild winter last year.

Some of the stakes and wards cancelled their meetings today because of the weather-  the roads are so slick.  And school is cancelled tomorrow-  again.  The buses can’t come into the neighborhoods on the slick roads.  This is our 4th day missed this year because of weather. 

Our ward did have meetings and I was so glad.  The sweet little girls were able to be confirmed.  Our Bishop gave them beautiful blessings.  It was so rewarding to see this family making some important steps.  It has been such a struggle for them.  It’s taken many missionaries, and many ward members supporting them for every small step they’ve taken. 

Tonight- what has become our tradition for our Sunday dinner-  the office staff, our assistants, and often, our New Haven Elders for dinner.  I love it!  We  also often have an investigator or just someone who needs to be here.  It feels like family around our table and I’m so grateful for that blessing.   Tonight we were minus Sister Linda Shumway and her companion because they were having an investigator come to their apartment for dinner- hurrah for them!  I’m so proud of them-  they are wonderful missionaries!

So that's it for this installment.  I still can't believe anybody really wants to read this- but it's been a good exercise each day for me to record the many things I have to be grateful for.  I'm climbing "the mountain" and I'm loving it!  The gospel is true and any and every effort we make to share it is worth any sacrifice!

With Love,
Sister Shumway

1 comment:

  1. I hope to be half the mountain climber you are someday! Keep up the great work!! Love you!!