Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Greetings from Oregon! 

Colors are already changing and I am sooo excited for autumn! Time to bring out the sweaters and scarfs (it hasn't cooled down that much yet ;). I have been told that it is going to be a cold winter . . . we might even have snow!?!?  We shall see.

This past week has been another one of my favorites on my mission. The week went up and down, but it is interesting that as I have tried to stay optimistic and not get discouraged over the small things I was able to focus on so much good that happened all around me! Don't sweat the small stuff, keep working hard and never quit! ;)

We were able to have several lessons with our investigators and have seen the work in the Cornell ward progress as members have been inviting their friends to hear the missionary discussions. Like I said...It has been crazy to see how much the ward has been more missionary minded since I started here. The ward is finally finding joy in missionary work by talking to their neighbors, inviting their friends to church activities, and (or) to meet the missionary's. We received a new investigator from a family who we will be teaching this weds. We are sooo excited! Her name is Ciana Peterson and she is sweet. It was so cool to watch the ward bring her in. She went to young women and is planning to come to mutual this week. We had a family offer to pick her up on Sundays and take her to church and she is thrilled. She absolutely loved coming to church this past Sunday! She seems super solid. We also had another family invite another non-member family to church today and it was so nice to meet them! We will have to pass them off to the Brookwood sister's since they live just outside our area, but we were so grateful to have met them! We had our ward correlation meeting this past week and talked about our ward mission plan and it is centered upon inviting: inviting non-members into members’ homes, ward activities, church, and to meet with the missionary's. It makes my heart feel so good to see and witness a ward that has been fired up to do missionary work! I am complete! hahaha! Another miracle we had this past week was when we were contacting part member families. We set up a time to meet with the Mitchell family. Kim is a less active member and Ed is a non-member. Ed answered the door and was so sweet. We are hoping that meeting with them will get us somewhere. We also had a less active we have been trying to find, Tina Sides and her boyfriend Nathan, attend the Orenco ward this past week. The sister's contacted us and we are planning to stop by this weds with Sister Morris to meet them and hopefully set up the lessons. Nathan is looking for religion right now and is investigating many different faiths. Well . . . he has found the right one...he just doesn't know it yet! ;) Tina and Sister Morris know each other which is great so we are crossing our fingers that all will go well.

So a weird experience this week . . . so we met the former investigator, Mark Morce, (that I talked about last week who wanted to meet with us) at the temple this past Thursday to meet him and see if he wanted to meet with the missionary's. It was a crazy. So we were talking with him and he told us that he has been to church, has taken the missionary lessons, and has read the Book of Mormon. What he said left me speechless . . . . He then told us that he prayed about the Book of Mormon and received an answer from our heavenly father that the book wasn't true . . . . WHAT??????? IMPOSSIBLE!!!! We then asked him about his experience about coming to church and asked if he felt anything when he attended . . . he said no . . . then we asked if he could feel anything while we were on the grounds of the temple and he said . . . I don't feel anything . . . awkward! We invited him to re-read the Book of Mormon again with an open mind and to attend church and see if he does indeed feel something. We will be meeting with him again in two weeks and follow up with him. I am thinking that next time we ask him how he received a testimony that Jesus is the Christ and try to see how he receives things and how the spirit works with him . . . it will be interesting . . . defiantly put our skills and abilities to the test! ha!

More things that happened this week: On Tuesday I was able to go on an exchange with Elder Greene in Beaver Creek. We biked . . . it is a love hate relationship . . . I love moving and being active, but I hate going into lessons drenched with sweat . . . reminded me of my time in Moreland . . . I have conquered my fear with riding a bike again although I noticed that my arms were locked the entire time I biked! haha! We had a powerful lesson with a part member family there and invited them to come to church. We talked about overcoming trials and about the atonement. Beforehand Elder Greene had no idea what to teach them. After we asked questions and got to know where they were at spiritually we let the spirit guide . . . the spirit was so strong. Elder Greene told me afterward that that was the most powerful lesson they had with them. I love that the spirit is the teacher and how when we act on its prompting we will always have powerful lessons.

We then had our temple trip on Thurs which was much needed. I haven't been in over 4 months!!! So grateful to go. We are so blessed to have a temple so close by! I love the spirit that is there and the many things that I learn when I go . . . such a blessing.

On Friday night, the stake presidency asked Elder Kaiser and I to attend a Tri-Stake (Beaverton West, Ceder Mill, and Hillsboro) 11 year old camp fire program and to share our testimony's on how the things that we have experienced and learned in the scouting program has helped us with our missions. I had no idea where to start or what to say. We only had a total of 3 minutes combined and we were both lost for words. Then I had an experience come to mind of when I was an 11 year old scout. It was when we got rained out and had to retreat to a ramada. It was when I had my encounter with a javelina. (Poor Brother Janes kept him up all night) I told them how I woke up to a javelina breathing heavily by our tent sounding like it was ready to charge. I remember thinking that I was going to die and how I went on my knees and prayed hoping that I was going to live another day! haha! I shared with them how scouting has helped me come closer to my father in heaven as I have done hard things and as I have prayed with faith for help and comfort from the savior. It was neat . . . the boy's really took the experience to their hearts. It was so nice to be reminded of so many fun and great memories of when I was a boy scout. So lucky to have been invited to go! Loved the skits and activities.

On Saturday we had our stake Just Serve project where we went to various schools in the area and cleaned and beautified the campuses. We had a great turn out and was able to get a lot of things done. It was a lot of fun to work alongside the ward members. Afterwards we were super excited for our 7 lessons that we had set up. We stopped by their first one and he wasn't home . . . so we pressed on and had a great lesson with Travis Johnson, a returning member, and took him to a baptism, Margie's (sweet lady in the Glenco ward, I was able to teach her on an exchange). The spirit was so strong . . . great experience. While at the baptism we had the rest of our appointments (5) cancel. It sucked to be honest, but we kept working hard and the day ended up being a good one. I know I say it a lot, but I LOVE being a missionary!!!

This week we have zone conference on Weds and more exchanges on Thurs and Friday. Another busy, fun-filled week! It is going to be great!

Scripture for the Week: 

So I have begun to read from the New Testament this week to study the life of Christ and to apply his example to my life. Many have probably heard this scripture, but I absolutely LOVE it!

Matthew 8: 14-16

"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven..."

May we all let our light shine and serve others around us with a smile so that others can see our good works and glorify our heavenly father.

I hope everyone has a fantastic week! I love you all so much!

Much love,
Elder Shaw

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