Monday, May 18, 2015

Hey all!

Glad to hear that the AZ is getting treated to rain and good weather! Ha I am trying to send as much as I can down there!! ;) Here has been mostly sunny and nice! It makes me want to live up here . . . I just have to remember that it hasn't been a normal year for Portland . . . keeping it weird! :)

This past week has been full of miracles! First off we have another baptism for May 30th! LOGAN!!! So proud of him!! Tasha is also waiting to be baptized on that very date! I will be able to perform my first baptism!!! Super excited! It just goes to show that hard work ALWAYS gets paid off. So, a little about Tasha and Logan.

So, we have a recent convert of about a year, Tammi, who is Tasha's mother. Logan is Tammi's soon to be husband (yes! another wedding! It is this Friday at 4:30 at the church and they asked me to be one of the witnesses! Super excited!) Tasha and Logan have both been introduced to the church before they committed to be baptized! Tasha has had to go through a lot of hard things . . . BUT we have helped her through them the best we can and she was able to make the choice to pursue her investigating of the church. Logan met with the missionary's at the age of 16, but wasn't ready to receive the fullness of the gospel. The missionary's that he met weren't very loving and offended him so he dropped the investigation. I met Logan when I first came to Hazeldale and it has been such the experience to see how the Lord softens hearts. I remember when I asked him for the 1st time to see if he would take the missionary discussions and he said, "Absolutely not! I will never be a Mormon!" Time passed . . . and he had an AMAZING spiritual awakening. While he was driving on the freeway he saw a cross on the side of the road where someone recently pass away. He felt a powerful wave of emotion and the spirit really touched his
heart. He has had a hard time accepting the fact that God cares and loves him, but that day he felt something. The emotions were sooo strong that he pushed them away for the time being. Then, he met with our bishop to discuss how he, a non-member could support and encourage an LDS wife (Tammi). He had an awakening with Bishop! The spirit testified to him that God is still there and loves him. Bishop then asked if he would meet with the missionary's and he said, "Only if Shaw teaches me!" We then began to teach diligently. Right when we began to teach him he gave up coffee, smoking, and drinking; cold turkey!  He has been clean since! One morning he sent me a text and said, "Converted anyone yet?" and I said, "You . . . will you be baptized on May 30th?" When he say the text at work the spirit overcame him so much that he had to leave work early! We then felt prompted to meet with him that night and we just began to have a casual conversation with him. He had some questions about baptism and also other things. We taught and bore testimony of the savior and the love that he has for him and also our love for him as he has followed in the saviors footsteps. The spirit was sooo strong. There wasn't a dry eye. The next day we went over and shared with him the 3rd discussion, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The spirit again was sooo strong. He told us that he was having a hard time with his doubts and that they were keeping him from being baptized. I told him, "Doubt your doubts, before you doubt your faith!" and talked about how Satan will put those doubts in his head to make him stumble and cause him to not progress in the gospel. We encouraged him to talk to the bishop with his concerns. Then at church, before the 3rd hour block, I was grabbed by Tammi and she told me that Logan set the date for May 30th!! If I weren't in a church, I would have screamed louder! I ran up to Logan and gave him a huge hug and told him how proud I was of him and that I knew that heavenly father was proud of his decision to be baptized. We met with both Tasha and Logan tonight and made plans for the baptism!!!! I am super excited!!! Prayers have been answered!!!!!!

Another miracle is that we had 5 investigators at church!!!!! Super Exciting!  Also the ward is exploding with people for us to teach!!! We have already made several appointments to meet with more investigators at the members homes! Miracle! The Elders have been able to get the trust back from the ward!!!!! :) Finally seeing some of the fruits of hard work!

These past weeks we have just been trying to stay busy. Knocking on doors, asking for referrals like crazy, teaching where we find, finding where we teach....IT IS THE BEST!

I also want to thank you all for the positive thoughts, prayers, and support. My headaches have gone down immensely. I only get 1 or 2 mild headaches a week! It has been nice because I have been able to hit the ground running. Nothing has been holding me back except for the need to rest and eat. It’s super exciting!!! Thank you all from the bottom
of my heart!

Now for a spiritual thought for the week. I was able to attend an MLC meeting where President Ballard talked about Joseph Smith's experience in Liberty Jail. Record of it is in Doctrine Covenants Section 121.  I love it! I will share a couple of things that I enjoyed from it.

Joseph had to endure several trials while at the jail, poor conditions etc. I loved how Heavenly Father didn't remove his trails all at once. He let Joseph struggle with them for some time, but gave him an amazing promise in verses 7-9:

7. My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine
afflictions shall be but a small moment;

8. And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou
shalt triumph over all thy foes.

9. Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with
warm hearts and friendly hands.

I am so grateful for the peace that heavenly father gives me as I experience trials and learn and grow. I am also grateful for wonderful friends and family that have been such an inspiration and support for me! Our Heavenly Father does give us the things we need to endure!

I also love verse 26 that shows that treasures of knowledge are available to us as we follow the spirit and learn from its promptings:

26. God shall give unto you knowledge by his Holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost, that has not been revealed since the world was until now.

I am so grateful for the Spirit, because it truly is the teacher. It guides and helps me every day. Without it I wouldn't be able to receive inspiration and revelation for our investigators nor for other missionary's. Without it I wouldn't be able to teach or touch the hearts of the investigators that are searching for answers to the questions of their soul. I am so blest and grateful for the opportunity that I have to be a full-time missionary. It truly is my FAVORITE calling. As we give our entire selves to the Lord, he WILL bless us mightily. Give of yourself. Serve those around you and watch miracles happen!

We are in for another exciting week here! I hope you all have a wonderful week full of laughs, smiles, and happiness!

Love you all very much!

All my love and more,
Elder Shaw

P.S I was able to go one an exchange with the Zone Leaders so I was over in Farmington Ward for a day...boy did it make me trunky for Estacada!!! I love the beautiful country of Oregon!

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