Hi Friends and Family,
I'm not sure I really needed to send this part of my journal - most of it was spent with some of you. The week previous to this was the week of our transfer and just before that the terrible accident with our missionaries. I am still in the process of trying to write that up, and I will share it with you when I finally feel like it is alright to do that. The last 3 weeks have been full of heartache and blessings and great joy also. I'm grateful the Lord has sustained us with his Spirit. We have surely needed it. I'm realizing more and more how very dependent we are on Him for everything.
It was the most amazing gift to see so many of you and be able to give you a hug! It'll keep me going for another 10 months! There is still so much more work to do.
Most of all- I want to thank all our children for the fabulous work they did in preparing everything for Matt and Eliza's wedding! I just showed up and enjoyed it! Dad and I will never adequately be able to express our gratitude to you for all you did, have done and will continue to do so that we can serve here. You are the best!!
With much love to all of you,
Sister Shumway, Mom
September 1, 2014
Got up very early to be in Rogers AR for our Mission Leadership Council. Hard to be away from Abby and Taylor on Labor Day, but Aunt Joey will be there- our hero. Transfers were last week and this week we have many new Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders. It was a somber bunch- our mission is still trying to move beyond the sadness we feel at the loss of Sister Vea. It's just going to take some time. The Spirit was very present today as we had our training about the doctrine of Christ, prayer, giving bold invitations, planning, and several other things. We also had President _____ in attendance- one of the Stake Presidents from Springfield. He is a psychologist and came to help our mission leaders understand how they can help and support the other missionaries as we all work through our loss.
We love these missionaries- if it's possible- our love for them has even deepened through the past difficult weeks. We realize how precious each of them is and how fragile life is. This has been such a scary thing for us.
On to Springfield- we will visit every zone- all ten- in the next two days, to have a short memorial service for Sister Vea and to make sure they are all alright.
Tuesday September 2, 2014 Matt's Birthday!
This was a whirlwind day. Along with our assistants, we met with two zones in Springfield, MO, traveled 1 1/2 hours to St. Robert to meet with their zone and then 1 1/2 hours to Houston, MO. to talk with the West Plains Zone. Then another 3 hours to Joplin, MO so we can be ready to go again in the morning.
At each stop we spent about 45 min to an hour and had a short memorial for Sister Nancy Vea. Today was her actual funeral in Utah and it seemed appropriate for us to do this today. Our assistants had prepared a beautiful DVD tribute with pictures and music for the missionaries to view. It was very touching. President Shumway and I each spoke and told the many miracles and tender mercies we have seen in the past couple weeks associated with the passing of Sister Vea. It was a tender, sober time with our missionaries. Many tears shed. Tomorrow we will visit the other 6 zones. It will take us all day, but it certainly has been worth the effort to bring some peace and closure for our missionaries, and to help them see how this experience can be motivation to be better missionaries- more fully committed.
Our hearts have been so full of love for our wonderful missionaries as we have traveled around.
Thursday Sept 4, 2014
Went to bed last night at 1:30 and got up two hours later 3:30am. Spent all day with Taylor flying to Seattle WA. We got here some hours later and two time changes. It was the strangest feeling to leave the mission without President Shumway! The General Authorities have given me special permission to leave the mission and attend our son's wedding. Family truly is very important.
This is going to be a difficult week for President Shumway. He is so busy and that's good- his heart is going to be so sad to miss Matt and Eliza's wedding.
Spencer and Tara and kids picked us up at the airport- this is so much fun! And we went straight to the Knowles home. I was so happy to finally meet Eliza's parents and family face to face. They are incredible people- a strong, righteous family. What a blessing for Matt!
Matt and Eliza had pictures taken at the temple all afternoon, and I went with them to help carry things, take a few pictures of my own and be a support. The pictures were amazing! The Seattle temple is absolutely beautiful and Matt and Eliza are a very handsome couple together- and obviously very much in love. That makes a Mom happy!
Jonathan and Spencer and their families are here! Cabe and Jana are here somewhere and Spencer and Taylor went to a Green Bay pro football game tonight. Jonathan is picking them up and then going on to get Nate from the airport late. We should all be together by late tonight. And another great surprise! Matt and Becky are going to be here- oh that made me so happy!
I took Matty to some little Vietnamese place for dinner. He was so very tired but excited and I'm excited for him..
Friday Sept 5, 2014
Matt's wedding!! A beautiful sunny Washington day for a wedding in the Seattle temple. The grounds are spectacular! I got a phone call from a missionary at 6:00am here (8:00am) in Oklahoma, and it woke me up and Matt too- so neither one of us went back to sleep. Matt was too excited. I got up and dressed. He had breakfast downstairs and I talked with him a bit . I took 20 minutes to walk and run around the hotel, showered and all of us- Spencer Tara and kids, Jon Sarah and kids, Nate, Matt, Taylor and me- got ready for the wedding.
The wedding was beautiful! It was a happy experience for me to be with all my married children in the temple. I was only sorry President Shumway couldn't be there to enjoy it- these sacred times are such joyful occasions for parents. But it felt so great to have Matt there(President's Brother) to be the patriarch of the family for the day. And I was so proud of Jonathan who acted as the escort and witness in place of his Dad. We have the greatest family- we are so blessed!
Many, many pictures were taken outside after the sealing in the temple- Knowles family and Shumway family.
Then we all went on to the most fun wedding luncheon I've ever been to! The Knowles family has a membership at a beach club right on a lake. The kids all got on their swimsuits and spent the afternoon playing on the sandy beach and swimming in the lake. It was a beautiful, northwest lake- surrounded by the evergreen trees with glimpses of Mr Rainier in the background. Sea planes were taking off and landing every so often. We even saw a rowing team (what do you call them) practicing for a race.
We ate our lunch- catered by a local mexican restaurant- under a pavilion. Perfect temperature, very relaxed and so much fun to get to know the Knowles family better.
Saturday Sept 6, 2014 - Matt's Reception in Seattle
Brother and Sister Knowles worked so hard to make it lovely and wonderful in every way. Our family went early in the afternoon to help Eliza's family decorate and set things up. They were so organized and had everything ready so it wasn't hard at all. This was a double reception. Eliza's brother had been married just before but had never had his reception in Seattle, so they shared the reception and that was just perfect.
I didn't know more than a couple people as they came through the line, but it made me so happy to see the love and friendship that so many had for the Knowles family. They are greatly admired and respected by the Saints in Seattle and so many others.
What an adventure! 14 hours, two cars, 8 kids, 5 adults! They watched movies, played games, we stopped 5 or 6 times to let children use the restroom, and fed them a few times and we made it! I loved getting to play with and talk with our grandchildren. We even had Primary in the car!
Jana, Cabe and Taylor got on planes early in this morning. Jana and Cabe to Pleasant Grove. Taylor to Oklahoma.
Monday Sept 8, 2014-
This day has been a day of extreme emotions!
This morning I got up early here at Jonathan and Sarah's home- 5:30am. Spencer picked me up at about 6:30 pm and took me to visit Brother and Sister Vea in West Jordan. It has been nearly 3 weeks since our Sister Vea's passing and her parent's feelings are still very tender. I was bringing them a box of notes and pictures from the Greenwood AR ward. Those saints there are so concerned for them. They loved Sister Vea and they love her parents. They also sent a cute book of notes and pictures from their Primary, and I took the DVD our assistants had made as a tribute for Sister Vea. We cried together and Spencer and I left. They are coming to OK again to go to AR and see the Greenwood ward, not so much so that they can see where she was serving but so they can comfort the people there. They are amazing!
Jana,Sarah, Tara and I spent the rest of the day gathering things for the reception. At 6pm here came 40 or 50 returned missionaries to Jonathan's home! I had put information on Facebook telling all our returned missionaries that I would have some time on Monday night to visit if anyone wanted to come. I had no idea so many would come! It was such a joyful reunion for me and for them too I think. they were so happy to see each other. You probably couldn't call it a dignified event- there was so much squealing and laughing and happy loud talk. It was like a family reunion. I can't begin to list all who were there- there were even some parents. They stayed for a couple of hours and I went to bed a happy woman. I can just imagine how much fun we are going to have with all of them after our mission!
Tuesday Sept 9, 2014
Today was Matt's reception here in Pleasant Grove. But it rained all day! Our beautiful backyard reception was ruined. Jon and Sarah and Jana and Cabe have spent the last months making their yards bloom for this reception. We were all hugely disappointed, but at the last minute we were able to pull together a very nice reception at the church. I called a wedding planner that we had used with Nate's wedding and within an hour they had a beautiful backdrop for us and lots of lighted trees. We had linens on the tables and wood chairs with yellow bows and lots of potted flowers. So, it was so pretty. I recognized The Lord helped us with that as we only had two hours to pull it off!
It was a wonderful time for me to see many relatives and also people from our ward and stake in PG. It was such a strange feeling to be in Utah and still be a full time missionary. I am ready to get back to Tulsa and get to work. There is much to be done, and I am praying The Lord will continue to give us divine knowledge to know exactly how to do it.