Sunday, July 31, 2016

Happy Pioneer Weekend!!!

I will keep this weeks email brief:

On Tuesday I had my last zone meeting and I was able to bear my
testimony. I was surprised. I keep it all together! :) I feel so numb
to it doesn't feel like I am going is soooo weird.
My mind tells me that I am going home, but my heart make me feel like
I am never going to leave. It is so nice that we only say "see you
later," rather than "goodbye," in this gospel. Oregon and its people
will forever be in my heart.

It feels like I haven't been in Estacada all last week. With zone
meeting on Tues, exchanges on Thurs, VC trip with Sarah and James
Dysart on Friday, and my baptism on Sat, the week flew by soooo fast!
I was able to take a quick tour of the mission. Hehehe! It has been so
good though. It feels like everything is falling into place. I have
been able to wrap up and tie some loose work here is almost
finished I can feel it.

Sarah Dysart will be baptized this Sunday, the 31st, so some of her
family members could come and support her...she is sooo ready. We had
a wonderful lesson at the visitors center this past week. Very spirit
filled! She is excited to be able to do baptisms for the dead shortly
after her baptism.

The baptism was crazy awesome on Saturday. So excited for Tia...boy it
was fun baptizing her...she is a nut! Haha! It went great until...! I
said it perfectly and got her down in the water and brought her back
up. She was stable and on her feet before I let her go. It went
perfect, but then I guess she just slipped and splashed everywhere...I
was so embarrassed....not quit sure if she did it on purpose?? oh well
that is Tia for ya. :) It wouldn't have been her baptism if it didn't
happen! Haha! We love her!!

This week I have a departing interview with President Ballard on Tues
and we have a ward party on Saturday and the baptism Sunday. I have a
feeling that this coming week is going to fly by...hopefully I will
have time to take a breath, reflect, and enjoy. It is great to be a
missionary! <3

I shared a talk yesterday and would like to close this email with some
of the thoughts I shared. I talked about how we are all modern day
pioneers and how we can listen to the promptings of the spirit and
receive guidance, direction, peace, and comfort. Boy does the spirit
make all of the difference. I am so grateful for the gift of the Holy

"To be a Latter-day Saint is to be a pioneer, for the definition of a
pioneer is “one who goes before to prepare or open up the way for
others to follow.” And to be a pioneer is to become acquainted with
sacrifice. Although members of the Church are no longer asked to leave
their homes to make the journey to Zion, they often must leave behind
old habits, longtime customs, and cherished friends. Some make the
agonizing decision to leave behind family members who oppose their
Church membership. Latter-day Saints move forward, however, praying
that precious ones will yet understand and accept.

The path of a pioneer is not easy, but we follow in the footsteps of
the ultimate Pioneer--even the Savior--who went before, showing us the
way to follow." (July Ensign 1st presidency message)

We have a lot of different choices that we have to make in this
journey in life...not all of them are easy. Sometimes we don't know
where to go. As we are obedient and strive to have the Holy Spirit
with us everyday it will be given us where we should go? What we
should choose? And how we should be?

How do we recognize when the spirit is prompting us to do something?
How do we know that it is the spirit prompting us?

=>Moroni 7:12-13

"Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is
evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and
fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin,
and to do that which is evil continually.

But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good
continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do
good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God."

I love you all! I hope you have a wonderful week...I guess I will be
seeing you all in 8 days!?!?! ;)

Elder Shaw

Monday, July 18, 2016

What a week! 

This week has been full of so many different emotions. Happiness, sadness, excitement, nervousness...way too many! I just want to skip the next two weeks, but I have to face it and put on my big boy pants...It's been tough...

It has been incredible week as far as the work has been! We had 6 investigators at church this past Sunday!! We had several people show from Job Corp (it is like a camp for troubled teens): Homer, Jacob, and Eddie, we also had Jason Lazott, Kim James, and Jenna one of the bishops son's girlfriends that we are trying to work with. :) We also had several less actives: Sister Egge, Bro and Sister Higley, the Millers, Brother Barbara, Mary, and Linda (both have been coming consistently now! Yahoo!) It was a very special Sunday! The spirit was so strong...darn these emotions...I swear that my eyes just leak's the worst!!!

Sarah Dysart will now be getting baptized on Jul 2 year mark...WOW! She was willing to be baptized on the 23rd, but we had to push it back a week to make sure we could teach all the lessons and that she will be ready. We will be taking her to the family history center on Weds and the visitors center on Friday!

I got a call this past week from Sister Jones and Clemence in the Oak Hills ward (ward right by Skyline) and they told me that one of their investigators will be getting baptized this coming Saturday and that she asked them if I could baptize her! Her name is Tia Chambers and wow has she come a long way. I met her when we first started youth sports and we hit if off well. I AM SOOOO EXCITED!!!!! Brother Tolman said that he can take me this Saturday! Off to Cedar Mill I go!

We have dinner with the Ferguson Family this coming weds! They are such an awesome family. They LOVED the BBQ last Monday and really want to get involved with the ward...I wish I had more time to see them go into the water of baptism. It is going to happen!!!! We have sooo many people that we are close to setting more dates with!! I am going to have to get a yearly airline pass to Portland so I can come back to all of the baptisms!!! We have also been able to begin teaching the Somerville family. Dylan Somerville is a non-member who is 16, his dad is Michael Somerville who has been inactive as well as Rebecca Somerville, his grandma. We had an awesome lesson this past week with Sister Pierce and will be going back this Thursday! I also got in touch with Nina Gandert, an investigator that I taught here when I was a Greenie. I had the prompting to call her on Thurs and I was so happy I did. She has been going through a lot and could really use us visiting her to get her back on her feet. She had an Aunt that passes away last week, and she went to the coast this past week to visit a friend who drank too much who gave Nina a black eye and a broke leg. She was in bad shape. We gave her a blessing and will be stopping by this week to check in on her.

I had my departing temple trip this past was soooo good! Again here come the water works! We had a chapel session at 10:00 before our session at 10:30, where the temple president and his wife, President and Sister Pond addressed us as did President and Sister Ballard. We, the elders where President and Sister Ballard's 1st group of missionaries "Cradle to Grave," as president calls it which made the meeting more tender. Also Bingham Ballard was able to receive his endownment at that departing missionary temple session which was so cool! When I entered the Celestial Room President Ballard was waiting there and he gave me a big hug and told me that he was so proud of me for my efforts and growth and said that he loved me and was so grateful for all that I have done on my mission. I was doing my best to hold back tears...I really felt my Heavenly Father accept my efforts as a full-time missionary as I had laid my sacrifice of my efforts on the alter of the temple that day. It was a wonderful session and experience. President Ballard then had us all circle up and he answered any of our questions about the temple was sooo neat. Afterwords we had lunch at the temple, which was really yummy! I got to see Marilyn Jones there as well as several members from the Skyline Ward: Jade Thelin and his wife as well as Bishop Wilson and his wife. I love to go to the temple!! I can't wait to take my family to the Portland Oregon temple...I guess I can never say goodbye, only see you later! ;)

On Saturday we had a baptism for Jesse Arango! We had over 70 people show up. We had several non-members show up and we were able to do a presentation while Jesse was changing about the Restoration of the Gospel. It went very well. The spirit was so strong! I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It really brings families together.

These next 2 weeks are packed! I have several lunch's set up with members in previous areas. Sister Gibson from Hazeldale, the Talley's from Canby, and several others that want to see me before I leave. We also have our Zone Meeting tomorrow where I will be giving a departing testimony which is crazy. We have exchanges this week and I will have my departing interview next week...the finish line is in reach...trying to find the time to do so many things and trying to keep my emotions in is going to be hard leaving, but I can always come back and visit! ;)

I would like to close with an experience that I had this past Saturday:

We had a lesson up at Job Corp at 7 on Saturday. It is 26 miles outside of Estacada! You just follow HWY 224 down for 26 miles, it is a beautiful drive! Right as we were leaving Estacada I looked at how much gas we had. We had enough for the trip there and back, but I felt the spirit tell me that I needed to go fill up so not postponing the prompting we turned around and quickly filled up at a nearby shell station and we were on our way. There are no gas stations up 224...We had a wonderful 1st discussion with several new investigators up at Job Corp. We left at 8, but before we left we stopped for a bathroom break before our long journey back to Estacada. We had several other things that we had to get done that night so I usually stick to the speed limit and race home, but the spirit prompted me to take my time getting back and to enjoy the beauty around me, so instead of going 62 mph I was going 45-50 mph. We were only 10 miles out of Estacada when we saw a terrible car accident that was blocking the HWY. Two cars were involved. There was a family of 4 in one: a father, mother, and 2 sons ages 10 and 7, in the other were two men. Alcohol was involved. We ran to the scene to see if there was anything we could do. They were all in bad of the men, Josh was stuck inside one of the cars and wasn't doing too good, the other man and the family where struggling on the side of the road. 911 was called and the police and ambulance was on their way. The little 7 year old boy, his name was Keegan, was unconscious. CPR was being performed, but nothing was working. Elder Hansen and I ran over and started to give him a blessing. Elder Hansen anointed and I sealed...When I put my hands on his head I felt that he was already gone...I was lost for words...the only thing I could say was "Let Gods will be done." It was a traumatic experience to watch someone so young, someone so innocent and pure die before your eyes. I was choking on my tears...I had to be strong, I couldn't break down in front of this family. They needed our strength and hopefulness. What killed me was to see Keegan's 10 year old brother cry out, "Dear God please let my brother live." We were doing our best to comfort the family telling them that it will all be ok and that their family will be together again, but all that we could really do was to wait and pray for a miracle. Finally almost 30 mins later the paramedics arrived. They called for 4 Life Flights. The Father, Mother, Josh, and the 10 year old boy were Life Flighted out of there. The other man was taken to the hospital via ambulance. From the tragic accident, 2 died, Keegan and Josh. That was one of the longest nights in my life. Terrible images are still in my head. My heart aches for that family. They closed the road until the next day. They told us that we had to leave the scene. Where would we go? How will we get back home? It was already 9:45. It was dark we had no idea where we were. We had no cell phone reception so we couldn't tell anyone where we were. Our GPS wouldn't work either...Miracles never cease. We traveled up 224 and low and behold we have a family up by Job Corp who are members. The Wilson's. They moved up here a year ago, another blessing. We finally found their house and they welcomed us in and we told them what happened. They pulled out a map and told us that their was only 1 other way home which was to go around Timothy Lake, up close to Mt. Hood, down HWY 26 to Sandy and then from Sandy to Estacada. The trip is very dangerous at night, lots of gravel roads and cliffs, and would take about 2 hrs. We said a family prayer and off we went. Angles were protecting us and guiding us that night. I could feel them. We got home around 1 A.M on Sunday morning.

Although this experience was painful to witness, I learned a lot from it. I am so grateful for the gift of the spirit who comforts us, guides us, and prompts us. I am grateful that we were worthy and willing to listen to the promptings of the spirit which ultimately saved our lives. What if we didn't fill up? What if we went the speed limit coming back from Job Corp? Things would have turned out differently. We could have been involved in the accident. We could have been stranded on HWY 224 throughout the night with no one knowing where we were. Since we listened to the spirit we had a full tank of gas to make it home that night, we arrived to the scene of the accident 5 mins later, and we were able to comfort people in their times of need. Angles were with us that night. I am so grateful for the Plan of Salvation. I know that family's can be together forever. I know that all of the things that are unfair and not right that happens in our lives can be made right through the the atonement of Jesus Christ. We can be healed physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally through the atonement of Jesus Christ. Life is so precious. We never know when it is our time to leave this life. That could have been anyone involved in the accident. We need to live life everyday to its fullest. Make sure that we are kind to each other, love each other, serve each other. Live your life with no regrets.

I love you all and I want you to know what a blessing you are in my life. Please share your love with others and let's help each other strive to be more like our Savior Jesus Christ.

With love,
Elder Shaw

Monday, July 11, 2016

Happy 7 ELEVEN Day!!! 

The day to hit up all of the 7 Eleven's and get a free slurpy! :p

Another week bites the dust...I can't keep track of time anymore...It just has gone by sooo fast. There are SO many things that I have to get done in the remaining 3 weeks of my mission. It doesn't feel like I am going home feels like I have a lot of time left with all of the things we are doing and accomplishing....yet I can also feel it because of how exhausted I feel everyday...the struggle is real, BUT I am going to sprint hard core to the finish! :) Kick it in Elder Shaw!!!

I was able to go to the temple this past week for our quarterly temple trip. It is always so nice to go to the temple. I always feel so refreshed when I leave. We have our departing temple trip this Friday which will be exciting. Brigham Ballard, President and sister Ballards son is leaving for Canada on his mission in mid August. He will be receiving his endownment that session...who knows...Elder Ballard might be there!?! ;)

This past week have been the same old same old. We have been visiting and teaching a lot people. Sara is still on for the 23rd...we might have to push it back a week...time will tell. We have been busy catching up on the discussions and have been answering several of her concerns. She has a good heart and desire to follow the Savior. It goes to show that we need to "Doubt our Doubts, before we Doubt our Faith." We need to start were we are: cling to the principles of the gospel that we know to be true and then CPR (church, prayer, read) and patiently wait until we receive the answers. We don't achieve conversion overnight. It takes time. We achieve conversion by being obedient, doing the lords will, and putting our faith and trust in the Lord during the bad and the good.

We also saw April this past week. She has had a rough life. We were able to teach more about the plan of salvation and we were able to give her a blessing with bro Tolman. She will be baptized...she just has a lot of things to work through. She is incredible!

We were able to go out with the relief society this past week for covenant path. We went with Sister Richards and Sister Rex. I love them so much!!! We had a blast and we were able to see a lot of less active sisters. All three of them came to church this past week! IT WORKS! :)

Three awesome Missionaries! Great to see Tanner!

So I had a neat surprise on Sunday. Elder Tanner Olsen came to church here in Estacada! It was sooo good to see him again. I wish we had more time because Sunday's are usually crazy and we had a couple investigators there so we had to make sure that they got taken care of. I should be able to see Tanner today. We will be meeting up for lunch in sandy and then we will be going up to mt hood one last time. :)

This evening we will be going to a bbq put on by the Elders Quorum Presidency at Eagle Fern Park. It should be a lot of fun. The Ferguson's and the Arango's will be there too! I love the Ferguson Family!! I wish I could stay longer to see them progress more towards baptism. They are such a sweet family. We will be having a lesson with them this tues! They have no religious background except that they believe in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. It has been so cool to teach them. We stopped by on Sunday after church and invited them to the BBQ! They are super excited and they were so happy that we were able to stop by. Moments like this....I wish I had more time on my mission...this family will be baptized!!! :)

Well I hope that everyone has a wonderful week! Remember who you are! Keep the Faith! And always remember to NEVER QUIT! ;)

Here is a thought from my studies this past week. I was able to revisit some conference talks. I love the talk by Elder Renlund "Latter-day Saints Keep on Trying." He says,

"My invitation to all of us is to evaluate our lives, repent, and keep on trying. If we don’t try, we’re just latter-day sinners; if we don’t persevere, we’re latter-day quitters; and if we don’t allow others to try, we’re just latter-day hypocrites. As we try, persevere, and help others to do the same, we are true Latter-day Saints. As we change, we will find that God indeed cares a lot more about who we are and about who we are becoming than about who we once were."

I know that this gospel is a gospel of transformation. It can change us from bad to good, to good to better, and from better to best. We need to continue to endure and help others on our way. I know that God cares more about who we are then about we we once were. I love you all and I am so grateful for your love and support.

With love,
Elder Shaw

P.S make sure that you get your free at Slurpee's 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016


We had another incredible week here in Estacada! We were able to set up a baptismal date with one of our investigators, Sara Dysart for the 23rd of July!! We are sooo excited! We were also able to meet and teach a wonderful family, The Ferguson's! We had a lesson with them on Weds with bro Trujillo and hit if off well. They don't have a solid background in religion so we have been teaching them as simply as we can. They really enjoyed our lesson and they even asked us when church was. They will be baptized sometime in they are solid! Tony is the husband, Jennifer is the wife and they have a son and a daughter: Tyler and Olivia. Such a neat family. So happy to have the privilege of working with them and to help them come to know who their savior is and how much their Heavenly Father loves them. We are stoked! April Newton is on her way toward baptism. We have been having wonderful lessons with her at sister bethea's house, a less active that we teach. April has had a rough life and in our last discussion we were talking about the Holy Ghost and the comfort and peace it gives us. She then brought up baptism, but said that she wasn't ready yet to set a date. We shall see how this week goes. We are shooting for her to be baptized on July 30th, but will push it back if needed. We also have been able to stop by several more less actives. 

I got to see my little sister Egge! She hasn't changed a bit! She is a hoot! We were also able to teach Gena and after the lesson was able to hold her pet snakes!! They were soooo cool. I wasn't even scared...I loved it! We were also able to set up a lunch and lesson with Preston Marshall, a less active that we were working with when I was here 18 months ago. I guess we were the last elders who would stop by and visit has been like that with a lot people here. :( We made a Scottish Lunch where we made potato dough, fried some duck eggs, and made some more haggis! Wow...that food definitely has an acquired taste! wasn't my favorite. It was a good experience though. We also had a less active pop up in our areabook that the ward nor us even knew about. Katie Paulson recently moved from Vancouver and is trying to get her life back in order. She is solid. We had a lesson with her on Saturday and committed her to come back to church. She was there Sunday! She really wants to change and wants to be more involved in the church. She is awesome!!

We were also able to do a lot of service this week. We were able to help Melodie on Tuesday and was able to share with her a message. She is sooo good to us. She always drops off food and is such a sweetheart. Hopefully we will be teaching her and her husband soon. We also were able to help the Haggstroms finish their pool in their backyard. It was a lot of work! They are such a neat family!

I hope that everyone has a wonderful 4th of July!!! Our's was sooooo sweeeet! We had a pancake breakfast at the Mt. Hood Stake Center at 9 am. We were able to help serve the food and clean up afterwords. There were over 500 people that showed up. It was great. Since today is also our pday we had to get all of our shopping, emails, and laundry done etc, while also celebrating the 4th! It has been crazy, but a blast. After the breakfast we shopped and ran some errands. We then when to the Estacada Timber Festival in the afternoon until 4 when we had 4th of July Dinner with Bishop Hawkins and his family. At the Festival we were able to watch the timber competition with the Browns (I will try to send some videos), and Elder Hansen and I went on the "kamikaze" the ride that is usually at all carnivals that look like hammer heads. I wasn't been scared! It was SOOOO MUCH FUN!!! I was screaming and yelling having a good old time. It was a blast. I will send you some pics and a video. :) Dinner at Bishops was wonderful! It has been gorgeous here, perfect temperature with sunlight....I hope it cools off in AZ or I am going to die....anyway it was perfect. We had yummy food and it was sooo good to talk to them. They are part of my family up here in Oregon. It felt like home. We are going to go with the Browns to watch fireworks tonight. We able to stay out until 11 tonight! It should be fun!

Yes, It's a snake!!
Here is a short and sweet thought going along with America's birthday!

America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” -Alexis De Toqueville

2 Nephi 1:7 "Wherefore, this land is consecrated unto him whom he shall bring. And if it so be that they shall serve him according to the commandments which he hath given, it shall be a land of liberty unto them; wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity; if so, it shall be because of iniquity; for if iniquity shall abound cursed shall be the land for their sakes, but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever."

I hope that everyone stays safe and has a wonderful week. 

I love you all!
Elder Shaw