Thursday, September 3, 2015

Happy September!!!

This past week has been incredible! We have been very busy, but I have been having so much fun! This week we had several meetings. We had a leadership meeting on Wednesday to talk about ways on how we can train and help the many new missionaries in the mission. It went great! Elder Kaiser and I came out of the meeting with several ideas to help the new missionaries and our zone be unified in the work. President Ballard also instituted a mission wide fast for Friday where we fast to find more people to teach, and then on Saturday where we dedicate the entire day to finding. It was an amazing experience . . . it’s really weird . . . I actually like tracting now . . . ? (I can't believe that I just said that!?!) We have had sooo many miracles and also funny moments! Here are a few!

So Elder Kaiser and I had the idea to have a zone blitz on Saturday where we would, as a zone, go into areas that were struggling to find new investigators and just tear it up! (Note: blitz is when you go into an area with at least another companionship and pair up with another missionary and split up and find as much as you can). If only you could see the sight!!! It was empowering! 20 missionaries in a single area tracting and contacting people! I was soooo pumped! We divided and conquered! We spent just an hour doing this and had huge success! I absolutely LOVED it! The missionaries were pumped to do missionary work, everyone was able to learn from each other, a lot of finding was done, and I could feel the zone unity! It makes me soooo proud! They are like my kids!! I have grown to love the missionaries that I makes transfers bitter sweet; bitter because they leave, but sweet because I get to love more missionaries! Anyways, it was such a great experience that we suggested to the district leaders to have a district blitz after every district meeting for an hour! Everyone loved the idea! We will be able to find more, learn more, and build unity! After the zone blitz we went to other areas in our zone that were struggling to find new investigators and blitzed with the Elders there! 
Zone Blitz!
Funny experience . . . so Elder Prestguard and I were tracting and we knocked on this door and a friendly man answered the door. We told him that we were missionaries going around sharing messages about Christ. He let us in and told us that he would love a message (it was weird because this never happens). We went inside and he sat us down at a table. He then made us a plate from dinner (hamburgers . . . not hot dogs haha), and we began to ask him if he knew any members of the church. Then, he told us that he was a member . . . I died! Ugh soooo funny yet sooo awkward!! It was so cool though. For the rest of the blitz Elder Prestguard and I got an investigator and his family, as well as 2 more families who wanted to meet with us later in the week! By the end of the day, as a zone, we found 5 new investigators and 47 potential investigators! Miracles! The experience really helped me to be confident with tracting and to just be myself when I talk to strangers. It was a ton of fun getting to talk to random strangers and talk to them about the gospel! Such a neat experience . . . I LOVE WHAT I DO!!! Never want to be released from my calling (don't have to worry about it because I can still be a missionary even without the tag! ;) My testimony has been strengthened this week as I have opened my mouth more and shared the goodness of the gospel! I absolutely LOVE this gospel it is soo good!

This week I have learned a lot about how sacrifice brings forth blessings. Originally, we were going to just tract in our own area for finding Saturday, but spent all of our day helping other companionships in the zone find new people to teach. We also had to take more time away from the work either to take Elders’ places, attend meetings, give missionaries blessings, take care of some zone business etc; but I couldn't have been any happier! The Lord has blessed us with the time and energy to not only accomplish all of those things but to also get work done in our own area. With all of the things going on, we were able to have 16 lessons, found a new investigator and 5 potential investigators, and were able to contact 10 part member families and start the discussions with 2 of them! I have come to know the Savior this week because I have served him. If you want to be happy, if you want heal your soul I can promise you that as you serve others you too can be lifted. At first it was really hard . . . in my mind I had all of these things to do, but as I trusted the Lord and made my will His and served, I was able to get all of the things done that I needed to accomplish that day and then some. It was hard at first because I can be selfish at times. There are so many times when I am thinking of the things that I do and how they are going to benefit me but as I have thoughts of others, more than myself, I have been able to be spiritually healed and was able to receive so much strength from my Savior to keep going and to keep working hard. Life is hard, but as we lose ourselves in the service of others we can truly find ourselves! This life is so short. It doesn't matter how much money you make, what clothes you wear, how popular you are. What matters is the service that you give to others because the service that you give to others makes an eternal impact that will last forever. What matters is when you stand before our Savior Jesus Christ at the end of this life and share with him the ways that you served him by serving your fellow brothers and sisters. I want to do all that I can to be ready for that day. I promise you that giving service to others can heal your mind, heart, and soul, and can help you be your happier self. I have never been happier than I have on my mission. It really is the best two years. Although it is very difficult, I have been able to find myself in the service of others.

A comment was made during Sunday School this past Sunday that really stood out to me. We were talking about teaching the gospel and that how when we teach we are representing the Savior. I then thought of the covenant that we make when we are baptized specifically stated in the sacramental prayers. I recalled when it says, "to take upon them the name of thy Son." It clicked! As members of the Savior we represent the Savior in all of the things that we do. It made me think of the primary song, "...If the Savior stood beside me would I do the things I do..." It was a great way to reflect and see where I was spiritually and if I was doing a great job representing the Savior in all of the things that I do. Thank goodness for the atonement which helps pick up my slack! :) This week I would like to issue a challenge. Will each of you go out of your way this week to serve others and to represent the Savior the very best you can? Share your experience with each other! I know that as you take this challenge this week to look for ways to serve others that you too will be lifted.

I apologize for this preachy e into the missionary mode. I love each of you so much and appreciate all that you do! Keep doing the very best you can each day and remember to not beat yourself over the small stuff! Have a wonderful week! 

Be good to yourselves and to others!

Sending all of my love and best wishes,
Elder Shaw

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