Monday, September 7, 2015

Happy Labor Day everyone! 

Hopefully everyone is able to spend the holiday with friends and family and are able to take some time to relax and enjoy.

This past week has been a blur! So many things happened this week and looking at the rest of the transfer right now things will continue to stay busy. Last week we were able to have MLC where we talked about some of the concerns in the mission and how to better train the new missionaries. We also learned that an additional 25 more missionaries will be coming to Portland this coming transfer! Crazy!!!! The entire mission will be training!!!! President would also like us to go on exchanges will ALL of the new missionaries and their trainers so this
week and next will be full of exchanges! Total of 5! I am excited though because I learn so much on exchanges! Another way to learn and to grow! Zone conference is also coming up next week and I am super excited for our temple trip this week! :) Staying busy, and absolutely LOVING my mission; the good times and bad.

We had several miracles happen this week! One of our part member families are progressing sooo well. The Horvaths, Kandi (less active) and Daniel (investigator) are going to be coming to church this coming Sunday as a family! We had an AMAZING lesson this past Saturday with them and Mama Morris. We finished teaching him about the plan of salvation and we asked him how he has felt as he, and his family have taken the missionary discussions. He said how it has helped him develop his faith in his Savior Jesus Christ. It was incredible! The spirit was soooo strong. Daniel was agnostic before we started teaching him. He has grown so much and I am so blessed to have been able to what him progress . . . what a blessing. We asked him if he would like to be baptized and he said . . . YES!!!! We will be setting a date with him this Saturday for Oct 10th! I am soooo pumped! I am so grateful for the Lords timing and I know that it is always on point . . . always!

The Cornell Ward is simply amazing! The members are incredible! So lucky, and happy, that I was able to stay here in Hillsboro for another transfer. It is going to be hard leaving. I remember when I first came to the ward there was a lack of motivation and drive for doing missionary work. It is completely different now. We had ward counsel yesterday and it was so awesome to see how the ward has changed for the better. The members are now excited to do missionary work, always asking if they can go out with us to lessons, visiting our investigators and fellowshipping them and always inviting us to have lessons in their homes. They have been doing such a great job with inviting their non member friends over and introducing the gospel to them!  It makes my heart feel so full and good! Ugh . . . I am sooo blessed! Miracles never cease.

Speaking of more miracles . . . on Wednesday this past week, we had all of our lessons cancel so we decided to finish our weekly planning part of that day to save us time on Thursday so we could set up more lessons and find more people to teach. While we were weekly planning I looked at our areabook and texted all of the former investigators. One by the name of Mark Morce, got back to us and would like to meet with us this week on Thursday! So pumped! Hopefully there will be something there . . . keep you all posted.

Had several funny things happen this week! So on our "Service Saturday," we were able to help a non member move from the Quatama Ward to the Bethany Ward. It was crazy because it down poured on us, but that wasn't the funny part . . . it happened after we finished moving. So the move took longer than we all planned so at around 2:30 we finally finished so we hurried and grabbed some Subway and then went to a park to eat. While eating at the park we had this young man named Tim come and talk to us.  He has some mental disabilities and was the sweetest kid, but the weirdest thing happened. We asked us who we were and we told him that we were the missionaries. It was funny! He responded back with saying "the missionaries," with his tongue hanging out at the end. We kept talking to him and then he asked an Elder if he would stick his tongue out. While he did, Tim put his hand in his mouth!!!  I died! Tim was then trying to get us all to stick out our tongue so he could touch it. It was quite funny! Love our friend Tim!

All in all we had a wonderful week! Doing our best to be exactly obedient so more miracles can happen. I am so grateful to be serving a mission. My capacity to love has increased so much. I love the people that I serve and absolutely LOVE being a full-time missionary . . . again, it is the greatest calling! Don't want it to end! If only I could have you all up here to enjoy it with me!!!

For my spiritual thought for the week I would like to talk about how we all can be missionaries and enjoy all of the joy that comes from missionary work. I will base the thought upon an article in the New Era for the Month of August tiled, "Just be You". So the article gives us three ways on how we can share the gospel with others:

Number one: Live the Gospel! "The best way to teach the gospel is to live the gospel every day, because if you want to become a light to others, you have to fan your own spiritual flame first. As you live the gospel, you’ll realize that your example and your attitude are more than enough to inspire people to change for the better..." If you want to have your friends convert to the gospel you have to be converted yourself. Preach my Gospel states that we can't convert others beyond our own conversion. As we live the principle of the gospel we will come closer to our Savior which in turn will help others do the same as we live what we believe. As members of the church our friends notice a difference in us. We radiate a light that people recognize and they are drawn to it. Let your light shine as you live the gospel. Always remember that people watch you and to always make sure that you are setting the proper example. "If the Savior stood beside me would I do the things I do?"

Number two: Talk with people. "If you want to influence people for the better, they need to know who you are first. You don’t necessarily have to be loud, chatty, or even outgoing. You just have to reach out and show some love and friendship to those around you. Show people that you care. As you get used to talking with people, this also gives you the opportunity to be open about your life and the things you believe in. That doesn’t mean you need to teach them missionary lessons or anything. It just means being yourself . . . " I have found that there are no coincidences! The people we work with, interact with, see in the store etc., they are placed in our paths for a reason.  That reason is to share the gospel with them. Sharing the gospel with them doesn't mean that you invite them to take the missionary discussions. Share the gospel with them in your conversations. For example you could ask them what they did for the weekend and you could share with them that you went to church etc. Or it could be when you are in the grocery store and you could see a young family struggling trying to keep their kids behaved. You could then start up a conversation about how the gospel blesses families and how there is a temple nearby where families can be together forever etc. Make the conversations natural! Talk with people the way you would talk to an old friend. It is as simple as that.

Number three: Keep it simple . . . simple as that. Share a simple testimony, simple truths, and simple invitations. :)

Always remember that all of your missionary efforts are never wasted! Sometimes it just takes time . . . invitation after invitation and seed after seed. We are reminded in Jeremiah 16:16 that there are many "hunters" that shall hunt in the mountains, hills, and out of the holes in the rocks. May we look for missionary opportunities and "hunt" for those who will accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. I promise that you will find so much joy in missionary work and that your testimony will strengthen . . . I know mine has.

I love you all and I am so grateful for your love and support. I hope everyone has a wonderful week! Make it a great one! ;)

With much love,
Elder Shaw

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