Monday, August 25, 2014

Hey all!

I hope everyone is doing fantastic and I love and miss you all!

I can't believe that I have been out for a month already!! Time has flown by! I love my mission so much! The people are so awesome and the scenery is beautiful! Estacada is such an interesting and fun place. I love being in the country were life is simple and peaceful! It's crazy how I don't stress as much! 
Portland Temple
An update on missionary work here! We picked up a new investigator who is a Baptist. His name is Bob and he is one cool dude with interesting viewpoints. We found him through a referral from a member. It is crazy how missionary work is combined effort through the ward members and the missionaries! It is like a machine. As the members and missionaries work together to find people to share the gospel with, the machine works smoothly. So much missionary work is done as we all work together! As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints we need to talk with people, get to know them, love them, and help them develop a relationship with their savior! It is crazy! I thought before I went on a mission that missionary work was mainly for missionaries, when in fact most missionary work is done by the members! As missionaries we have the easy part to invite and help them and teach them by and through the spirit. So my challenge to you is to talk with people you meet, share your testimony, set a good example, and give referrals to the missionaries! ;) People will see the spirit that you have and will be open to what you have to say! You'll be surprised! (I know I have been!) The Lord is preparing people to receive his gospel! Another one of our investigators is Mary. She has been prepared by the Lord to receive the gospel I know it! We are looking forward to a baptism coming up! Yay!!! ;) I know that as we put forth effort into missionary work and do our best, the Lord will bless us so much! He will help us come closer to him and we will feel the love that he has for each and every one of use! It is crazy! So many people here I don't even know, but I LOVE THEM!! The spirit gives you courage to speak with people! I promise! So open your mouths and watch the lord’s blessings shower over you! It is so worth sharing the gospel with others! See D&C 18:10, 15-16. You will be so happy! I am filled with happiness everyday and I love it so much! I am able to help my brothers and sisters on the pathway back home to their father in heaven! What a privilege to have an opportunity to participate in the Lord's work!

Remember that you all can be missionaries NOW! As missionaries we need each other’s help in doing the Lord's work! 

A great place to take non-members is the visitor’s center! We are so lucky to have one! Use it to your advantage and INVITE, INVITE, INVITE!

I promise that service is the best remedy to any problem that you may have. By having charity, we are able to forget ourselves and help people who are in need. You will find that as you serve that your problems will vanish as you think about others! Service is one of the best ways to express your love to others and one of the best ways to have the spirit with you! 

I am so grateful for the gospel! It has changed my life! I know that the Atonement is real and that Jesus Christ loves each and every one of us. It doesn't matter how many mistakes we have made, or what we have done, the Lord will heal us and strength us to endure our trials! Always study your scriptures and pray and you will be blessed with the spirit.

I love you all! Keep at it! You all have impacted my life in so many ways! Always remember who you are: a son or daughter of our Heavenly Father who loves us! I hope all the best this week! Love you!!!

Elder Shaw

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hey all,

Beautiful Oregon Country
What a crazy week I had last week. At first it was hard to adjust, but then I tried to look at things in a brighter light and tried to stay optimistic. It really helps! Your attitude is everything in anything you do! I LOVE my area!!!!! Being in the country I am not as stressed! I love it! The way of life is slow out here...I love the change! My trainer, Elder Olsen is such a great guy! We get along great and have plenty of laughs...(ha well at least I do! :) I have met several members of the ward out here and they are fantastic! They are very driven to missionary work! There are over 400 members out here, but only 190 members show up for sacrament meeting. There is a lot of less active work out here, so I have had the privilege to visit with a lot of inactives. I met with several sweet, less active sisters in the ward. They are the sweetest ladies! Out here there are so many people that have experienced hard trials that I would never dream of. It is such a humbling experience. Sometimes it is very hard to address their needs and sometimes I wonder how on earth can I help them, but I know that God knows each and everyone of us by name and that he is in the details of our lives. The Spirit knows all and if we rely on it I know that the spirit will guide. I have felt so much love for others out here because I have been able to see what Heavenly Father sees in them. What a wonderful experience! Since I have been here it has only rained twice. Ha, I guess Mesa has been getting all of the rain! The weather has been warm, but the breeze helps a bit. The trees, flowers, gardens, and mountains are so gorgeous out here. Sometimes I wish I can stay here forever! 

We have been working with one investigator, Mary. She is a busy mother with 3 kids and doesn't have a husband. She is so great and I can see her being such an amazing member! We are trying to help her with the trials she is going through and it makes me sad because she is so hardworking and kind. The bishop in the Estacada ward is Bishop Hawkins (he lived in Mesa before). He is such a hardworking man who devotes himself to the Lord 24-7. There is so many needs of the ward and he always does his best to address them. I love working with him! 

The Estacada Group, they're awsome!
In the Estacada ward we have 6 missionaries!!!! We have a senior couple (Elder and Sister Peterson from Utah), 2 Spanish missionaries (Elder Smith from Gilbert and  Elder Cooper...forgot where he is from), and myself and Elder Olsen (he is from St. George, Utah). We work very closely with Elder and Sister Peterson. They are so AMAZING! They can open doors that we can't!! In my district we have a set of sister missionaries, 2 sets of senior couples, and another set of Elders. On Saturday, we went over to the Reynolds farm and split wood and put it into stacks! I loved it! Ha I have truly found myself!! It reminded me of when I would sell wood with my grandpa around Christmas time! Great memories! Anyway, at the farm I touched a 50 lb. turkey!!! He was huge! There was also a peacock, a lot of chickens, and 3 friendly ducks! Most of the food out here is grown in gardens. Also, there are black berries on the road that you can just eat! They were super good!! (The jam is almost as good as my mom's ;) 

My mission has facebook! We use it to proselyte and to keep in touch with the members here and non-members back at home. I am not able to message family and friends (I can add them though), but I can post some spiritual experiences so tag your friends!! I am able to go onto facebook Tues-Sat for an hour a day. Spread the word! ;)

Christmas Tree Capital!
I am so grateful for this amazing opportunity to serve the Lord for 2 years! I already don't want it to end!! The people here are very kind and very interesting! ha I love them! I am so grateful for the scriptures and for the Book of Mormon. When we read it everyday we are strengthened and we receive so much comfort! When you are a missionary, prayer becomes second nature to you! I am so grateful for the power of prayer and the guidance it give me! When you care about other people, your stresses and worries disappear and surprisingly you are able to deal with your challenges easier. Having an attitude of charity can transform us. The way we see ourselves, others, and the world will change for the better if we continue to be charitable. I am so grateful for the Savior! He knows me and cares about me! I know that his atonement is real and that all of our weakness can become our strengths if we rely on him! All of our feelings of doubt, inadequacy...etc and be changed to pure joy when we let the Savior into our lives. I know that he lives and loves each and everyone of us and has a purpose for us. Trust him and watch miracles happen! 

I love you all and hope all is well!


Elder Shaw

My MTC Companion

Provo Temple

MTC District

Called to Serve!
These are all of the new missionaries arriving from the MTC!
We are at the Portland Temple Visitors Center.

President and Sister Ballard
(New to the Mission in July 2014)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Areas Served and Companions

Portland Oregon Mission Boundaries

Estacada   ~   Elder Tanner Olsen
08/11/2014 to 11/03/2014

Estacada   ~   Elder Kent O'Sullivan
11/03/2014 to 12/15/2014

Portland / Moreland   ~   Elder Jeffrey Stone
12/15/2014 to 01/26/2015

Portland / Moreland   ~   Elder Justin Skinner
01/26/2015 to 03/09/2015 

District Leader
Beaverton / Hazeldale   ~   Elder Dusty Clark
03/09/2015 to 04/21/2015

District Leader
Beaverton / Hazeldale   ~   Elder Jason Alatini
04/21/2015 to 06/01/2015

Zone Leader
Hillsboro / Cornell Ward   ~   Elder Austin Peterson
06/01/2015 to 07/13/2015

Zone Leader
Hillsboro / Cornell Ward  ~  Elder Jacob Kaiser
07/13/2015 to 10/05/2015

Zone Leader
Canby / Canby 1st Ward  ~  Elder Ethan Smith
10/05/2015 to 12/28/2015

Zone Leader
Canby / Canby 1st Ward  ~  Elder Katieli
12/28/2015 to 03/29/2016

District Leader / Trainer
 Portland/Cedar Mill   ~   Elder Jacob Valentine

03/29/2016 to 06/20/2016

Estacada   ~   Elder Hansen

06/20/2016 to 08/02/2016

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My Trainer is Elder Olsen,  in the middle.

Dear friends and family,

...I made it!!! I am finally in Portland Oregon!! I met my trainer yesterday and his name is Elder Olsen! He is from St. George, Utah. He is an awesome guy who works hard! Yay! ;) My first area is in Estacada!! Being in one of the biggest areas I was able to get a car! yesss! The country is so beautiful! There are so much trees and flowers! The weather is very nice too!
 It has been hard to adjust, but I know that stretching myself can help me become the best missionary I can be! I just have to always be on my toes and be open to new experiences.

Today I went shopping for the first time without my Mom as my co-pilot! It was weird! I guess that is what happens when you grow up a little bit! (miss you lots mom!) It has helped me be grateful for all of the things she and you all have done for me! Your examples, your love and expertise... Last night I was able to meet with some of the members out here. Most of them are converts with burning testimonies! I love all of them! They are so loving and caring. They feed us every night for dinner!! ha I am so blessed. 

There is a lot of work that needs to be done out here (and a lot of adjusting), but I know that with the Lord all things are possible. I just have to put my trust in him! 

2 Nephi 22 

Prayer and scripture study are some of the best things we can do to have the spirit and to receive guidance in our lives. I know that our Heavenly Father is always in the details of our lives and that he loves us so much! He knows us better than we know ourselves and as we receive opportunities to stretch a little he is always there waiting for us to call for his help. I know that the Atonement is real and as we use it every day we can be comforted and strengthened!
I miss and love you all so much! I hope all is well in AZ!   

With much love,
Elder Shaw

P.S Mom I was able to receive the packages AND the letters! :) Thank you so much! They made me tear up! On Thursday, I will be given my I PAD. I don't have to pay for it. I have Facebook in my mission and I will be able to add you, but I won't be able to communicate with you. :( 

P.S.S Sorry I don't have my MTC photos up yet, but I have this one of me and my comp. He is on my left! (I was exhausted!) :/

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Song for Our Son -

The night before Elder Shaw was to depart for his mission, his father shared with him a heartfelt song at the dinner table.  It made for a cherished memory.  The words and music for the song were by Joyce Claridge Jacobson and captured the feelings of a parent's heart for their missionary son. Following are the words to the song:

A Missionary, My Son, Are You

I think of you, a little boy,
And all you've done, and all the joy;
And now you've grown into a man
And life you live the best you can.
While you, my son are far away, 
I'll pray for you, both night and day;
And always know you're in my heart,
For that, my son, you're such a part.

The new adventure that you face,
I know this time you will not waste,
For there are those who wait for you,
And know that what you say is true,
Who want to hear the gospel plan,
And gain the knowledge that they can;
To know what's right and seek the truth
From you, my son, while in your youth.

The days when you feel all alone,
And maybe feel so far from home,
And not a kind word came your way;
Remember, son, to kneel and pray.
For one can help you from above, 
And know of his sure lasting love,
And as you kneel, know I kneel too,
And pray he watches over you.

For there are days when I'll feel blue
And think of you the whole day through,
But know, my son, that you are blessed
And loved far more than words expressed.
While you, my son, are far away,
I pray for you both night and day,
And always know you're in my heart,
For that, my son, you're such a part.

Doors will open when you knock,
And you, my son, will feed the flock,
And those who hear the word you say
Will listen with their hearts and pray,
To know what's right and seek the truth,
From you, my son, while in your youth.

So spread His word in all you do, 
A Missionary, my son, are you.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Provo, Utah

Elder Shaw had his one and only "prep-day" (aka "p-day") in the Missionary Training Center (MTC) today and we were very excited to get a couple of emails from him. 

Below are the ones to Mom and Dad. Hope they don't sound too personal.  We just wanted everyone to know what he had to say, and that he is doing great.

Elder Shaw, the guy we all know!  :)  


Glad to hear that things are getting settled! That is awesome that you are walking to baseline! When I get home I probably won't even recognize you cuz you'll be so skinny! I started to run here at the MTC! I can't run extremely fast, but I can run!! ha Thanks for taking care of me and sending my packages! I think that I should be good for now! I leave the MTC 4:30 on Monday morning! My flight is @ 8:36 from Salt Lake and I should arrive in Portland @ 9:26! I have 17 other missionaries that are going to my mission!! It is sooo awesome! My comp is from Sydney Australia and he is going with me to Portland!!! He is awesome! So far I have done my laundry, cleaned and organized my suit cases and my resident's hall, and I am scheduled to go to the temple today at 2:25! My Sundays are full of meetings, but they are still great! I fasted for the longest time in my life till 5:35 p.m!! ha-ha it was great though! I have learned so much while I have been here it's crazy! When I teach I have really tried to understand my investigators and love them and ask inspired questions from the spirit! It has been difficult, but I have had some success! I have learned to not worry so much about the little things and to trust god in all things! I know he will take care of us!! I got the letters sent! I had a couple of extra minutes and mailed them on Tues. Thanks for teaching me charity and for giving me so much! You are always in my thoughts and prayers! I had to laugh! I saw a shirt with the stripling warriors on it with "Mama’s Boys" just like mine!! Thanks for all that you do for me and the love you always share with everyone! I'll make sure I'll send you pictures some time!! I love you so much!! ha I'll try to write more letters when I can! I love you and hope all is well!
With much love,
Elder Shaw

P.S: When I get out in the field I'll try to put together an email w/pictures that you can send to everyone! I am just trying to answer all of the emails! I love you!


Ha-Ha, you are “well seasoned” not old!!!  ;)  Thanks for all of your love and support that you have given me! I never thought that teaching me to serve would come so in handy (ha-ha just kidding!) I am sorry that I complained so much at home! It is crazy how much I have learned and grown here!  It feels like I have been here for a month or more with all of the things I have learned! Good luck with Choir! You have always had a good voice!! (and hard to admit...the looks)  ;)  I get to go to the Provo temple today at 2:00! I am so excited! It is going to be weird not having you by my side! Anyway! I hope all is well and I just want you to know that I love you!!
Elder Shaw 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Mom and Dad's hearts are now at ease!  

We received our first communication from Elder Shaw today!

08/02/2014   10:29AM

Hey everyone!

So where to start...the flight was fantastic! The man that I sat by was interested in missionaries and I was able to have a missionary experience with him! My first day was rough (had only 3 hrs of sleep), but it has been AMAZING!!! The food is pretty good, but I miss my mom’s cooking. On Thurs night I was made district leader over my district. I was surprised!  We have two sets of elders and one set of sisters in my district and we are all going to Portland!!!!! There is a total of 4 of us elders going to Portland and we are able to room together! It is so much fun! I love them all so much! My very first companion is Samoan!!!! I got my Tongan companion!!!! haha I have loved my experience so far! I have learned so much already!! It's crazy! I was able to teach an investigator of the Church and we taught her about the book of Mormon and prayer. We had another lesson planned for her (restoration), but we were guided by the spirit to teach her and the spirit really touched our hearts! I felt so amazed and so HAPPY!! I realized that even though the work is hard I CAN do this!! Even from all of the stress I know that I am never alone and that the Lord is looking out for you and me! I have learned to come to the lord with my weaknesses and I have found that he will strengthen me! (Ether 12:27) 
I am so grateful to serve on a mission!! I feel so much love for my district and for the people in Portland Oregon! 
I hope all is well at home and I want you all to know that I love you and deeply care about you! There is someone else who does to: Jesus Christ! Rely on him and watch your weaknesses become your strengths! My prayers are with you always!

Sorry for a short e mail, but I only have 15 mins! :/

Our one and only P-Day at the MTC is this coming Thursday!

Lots of Love,
Elder Shaw

P.S I haven't had time to write the thank-you cards because I have been so busy, but I am sure I will find time eventually! 

P.S.S I hope the surgery with Grandpa went good! Send my Love!!

P.S.S.S Thanks for the photos! I will try to send some on my P-Day!

Friday, August 1, 2014


Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

The long walk . . 

I am ready to serve!

Never been on a plane before . . should be fun!

Those dreaded final hugs!
Last words of advice.

One proud Mom!
It will be okay!

Love my sisters!

One more group hug!

One last look. . . I Love You guys!

Do I take off my shoes here?
"See ya in two years!"

My Gate . . . 

My Plane!!