Monday, December 14, 2015

I hope everyone was able to have a great week and had time to relax and enjoy this wonderful Christmas season. Another week has already escaped me...It feels like only yesterday that I was emailing home. 

This past week has been crazy busy. As you all probably know, Oregon has been experiencing a ton of rain and some flooding. I don't know where it all comes from? Canby hasn't been too bad. We have had a couple roads that have been closed down for a couple of days, but have re-opened since. Driving has been a little bit scary...this Arizona driver isn't fond of hydro-planing. :/ The rain keeps coming and coming. Hopefully we will have a dry, sunny Christmas! ;)

Although this week has been extremely busy with teaching appointments, meetings, and service it has been such a wonderful week full of learning, growing, and miracles! I will dive right in:

On Tuesday, we had a mission-wide tour, where we were able to hear from a member of the 70, Elder Arnold. Our conference lasted from 7-5:30: we had a quick leadership meeting from 7-9 in the morning, then we had the bulk of the conference from 9-3, and then a short MLC for zone leaders and sister training leaders with Elder Arnold from 3-5:30. It was incredible! I learned so much. He reminded me a bit of Elder Holland...he has some fire when he spoke...I loved it! He said that he wishes that he could be a fly on the wall in this mission for the next 18 months. He said that we have so many good things coming our way! So grateful for President and Sister Ballard for all that they do for us to lead us where our heavenly father wants us to go. I left the conference feeling energized and super excited with the work that we have been doing. Elder Arnold's words were inspired and everyone that was present felt inspired and enthused for this wonderful work. Oh I also forgot...Elder Arnold pulled all of the zone leaders and sister training leaders aside to interview them...I WAS INTERVIEWED BY A 70!!! SO COOL! I wasn't even nervous at all! :) He asked me about how the zone was doing, how my family was doing, and how I have been enjoying my mission. It added a lot of fire to my flame of missionary work! I left feeling pumped for this work and determination to keep working hard, strive to be perfectly obedient with the little things, and to endure and give the Lord everything I have for this wonderful work. We will set some baptismal dates! :)

Speaking of baptismal dates...the following day on Weds we were able to set one with Darrell for the 6th of Feb!! He was so proud! We have been teaching him principle by principle and he has already grown so much. We are so excited for him! We finished teaching the 1st lesson with him so we will re-cap and simply teach the other 4 lessons one step at a time to make sure he fully understands what we are teaching! Super exciting! 

In between of our appointments on Weds we had 2 district meetings where we did the training and practice on how to become a successful missionary, and on how to use the new christmas video's produced by the church more effectively to help us find, teach, and baptize. All of the district meetings were wonderful! We have some amazing missionary's here in OC and the Lord has blessed us in so many ways. We have several baptisms coming up in the next couple of weeks...its crazy...on the 26th we have 8 baptisms set as a zone...that alone is 2 above our mission's weekly average of baptisms...I am speechless!!! HOW ARE ALL OF THESE MIRACLES HAPPENING??? We are so blessed.

On Thursday we had the entire day to work in our area...can I get an AMEN! :) We had lessons with our investigators: Drew Talley, Fabian and Lucia Sifuentez, Paul Sowards, and with some of our less actives: Loren Shepard, and Bro and Sis Morehouse. The day flew by so fast!! We were running everywhere...a mile a minute! The lessons were great! Drew shared with us a couple of his concerns and we helped him focus on prayer and reading the scriptures. He told us that his is getting really close to baptism. We are still shooting for the 26th of Dec to dunk him....we shall see how this week goes. He is sooo ready!!!! We also were able to have dinner with the Sifuentez family and talk through Fabian and Lucia's concerns with the holy ghost and prayer. It was such a powerful lesson...the spirit was so strong...we all could feel it! We will be teaching them the plan of salvation tomorrow and will hopefully set a soft baptismal date for them to be baptized. I have a feeling that it will be a powerful lesson! :) Paul is doing great! He is going to go before the high council in these coming weeks to see if he can be cleared to be re-baptized. He should be baptized if all things go through, this coming March or April. We are just as excited as he is. Such a great guy...we are so proud of him! We then went about sharing Christmas cheer and messages with Loren and the Morehouse's. Both lessons went great and really got us all into the spirit of Christmas!

So one of the best things happened on Friday...I was able to go to the temple! I love going to the temple! I always feel uplifted and peace whenever I go; but the best thing happened. After our session I was walking towards the entrance/exit and who did I see? NORMA AND MAMA MORRIS!!! So a brief background...While I was in Hillsboro I lived with the morris's and every Monday evening for family home evening, the Thomas's and Norma would come over for a lesson and then to play games. Norma has been working on receiving her endowments. Before I left Hillsboro I promised her that I would be there no matter what. It was so cool to have been able to watch her as she checked in at the temple for the very first time. My eyes got a little misty to be honest. It was such a sweet blessing seeing Norma and Mama Morris at the temple. It bore witness to me that there aren't any coincidences in the gospel and that our heavenly father is looking out for us! It was pretty cool how of all the day's I was at the temple on that date and at that time I got to see them. If I was just a minute later I would have missed cool! I know that our Heavenly Father is looking out for us! 

After the temple we went to Deseret Book and I saw another member from my Greenie area, Estacada! I saw Sister Thompson as I was at the check out line. It was real neat to talk to her and see how she was doing and how my home ward in Oregon was doing. Again another blessing to see so many people that I love! It was an amazing day!!! 

On Friday evening we had our ward Christmas Party! It was great! We had 4 of our investigators come: AJ (new investigator), Tracy, Casey, and Darrell! (Drew wasn't able to come due to work). It was so neat! All of our investigators were sitting by members! We were able to weave through the crowd to see them and give them hugs! Such a blessing! While we were socializing they showed a short Christmas program by the primary where they reenacted the nativity. It was so cute. It was a great night that really got me in the Christmas spirit! 

Saturday morning we had a stake meeting, SPC with a breakfast at 7 and then a meeting from 8-9. Elder Smith was able to share his testimony there for that last time as a missionary and did a great job! It was a short and sweet meeting. Afterwords we raced back to Canby, changed, and then raced back up to Oregon City for the final district meeting for the week...yay! We shared our training and practice and before we knew it District meeting was already over. It was great! It got us all pumped to do missionary work and to share glad tiding of great joy! ;) I was then asked to help sing at a baptism and had a solo...I didn't think I could sing...I guess I could carry a note thanks to my dad! ;) I really enjoyed it...super weird...before my mission I didn't like to sing and now I love it! Weird how things change with confidence and a little bit of work! ;) The baptism was great! I always love going to baptisms. The spirit is always so strong! After the baptism we had to get our oil changed in Oregon City and after about 30 minutes we were headed back to Canby. We had time to see the Martin's, a part member family before dinner. They are a older couple and Bro Martin's name is Steve Martin! haha! Bro Marin is 94 years old and has had 6 hip replacements, but is still kicking. His wife is a non-member from Canada who loves it when we stop by, but isn't interested in taking the missionary discussions. It was so funny...we knocked on their door and waited, but looked like no one was home. While we were headed back to our car they pulled up and she looked like she was scowling at us. I just smiled and waved! She then recognized who we were and then smiled and waved back. In my mind I was waiting for her to pull out a gun and make shots in the air to tell us to go away when she ended up being the sweetest lady. We shared a Christmas message with them and they left them with our number and a Christmas card. They are great! We then had dinner and then had a lesson with the Talley family! It was a great day!

On Sunday after church, we had a fireside in the evening where all of the Canby missionarys: us, Canby 2nd Elders and the Spanish Sisters sang with some of the Canby 2nd members about missionary work: "All Times, All Things, All Places." It was great! The spirit was so strong. While singing I looked out in the audience and saw that their wasn't a dry eye in the room. It was really touching! I love being a missionary sooooo much! I'll say it again...THE BEST CALLING EVER! 

So those where the highlights for the week! Things are keeping busy here! I can't wait to take a short nap today on tired ha! 

I hope everyone was able to have a great week and that it was filled with fun, joy, and laughter! Thanks for supporting me and for being such a blessing in my life.

I would like to end with a short message that I got from my studies this week:   

I found this quote by Elder Bednar and absolutely love it!  

“We should not underestimate or overlook the power of the Lord’s tender mercies. The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us in the troubled times in which we do now and will yet live. When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome, and when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance."

I know that we are never alone. Our Heavenly Father is cheering us on and our Savior is pulling with us our trials and challenges in this life. I know that the tender mercies are all over us! Look for them in your life and have joy! 

I love you all and hope that we can all find the many tender mercies of the lord! May the lord bless you! 

With love,
Elder Shaw 

1 Nephi 1:20

"...But behold, I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance."

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