Monday, September 29, 2014

Hey all!

I hope everyone had a great week last week! Hopefully the weather will cool down soon! Bring on the Fall! ;) Wow! I can't believe a week has already pasted! I swear that the weeks go by faster and faster!!

The work in the Estacada ward is picking up fast! We started this new program for the ward to get more referrals. We just visited one family and received 5! We also gained 4 potential investigators and are meeting with them this week! We are keeping busy! The field is ready to harvest!!! 

Portland Temple
So were you able to watch the Women's conference on Saturday?! It was great! I loved the talks and I can't wait till this weekend for conference! Elder Olsen was battling sickness on Saturday and since we have Wi-Fi in our apartment we just went to and watched it live and ordered pizza. That was fun! I made sure that he pushed the fluids and brought on the vitamin C! I was also able to deep clean the entire apartment. Surprisingly it was a productive day!

 I am proud of my family! Every time I look at my name tag I smile! It has not only has Christ's name on it, but it also has my family's name on it! I am so lucky to have the parents and siblings I have. We are so truly blessed! Many people out here are from broken families. I feel so blessed to have the love and support I receive from my family.

I am super excited about conference this week! What a blessing to hear from our prophet and receive direction from our heavenly father! Make an effort to watch conference. Sacrifice your weekend so you can watch conference with your family! I promise you that as you do, the Lord will make sure that the things on your “To-Do” list will be accomplished. You will begin next week with so much enthusiasm and will feel refreshed. Your spiritual batteries will be charged!

This week I wanted to talk about trails. I love this quote from Elder Neal A. Maxwell:

"The soul is like a violin string: it makes music only when it is stretched. God will tutor us because he loves us. Because our lives are foreseen by God, he is never surprised by developments in our lives...developments are foreseen by God, though not necessarily caused by him." 

The trials in life help us stretch. The trials that we receive in life also help us grow and reach our true potential. It isn't comfortable or easy to be stretched, but God will help us! In our life "battles" the Lord will fight for us and we will hold our peace! (see Exodus 14:14) If we rely on Christ through our trials he will deliver us. Don't be afraid of the trials. We all will face them. Think of trials as a way of growth and a way to strengthen ourselves. Life brings many hardships, but luckily we don't have to go at them alone. The savior is always there waiting for us to come to him! If you have a couple of minutes watch this Mormon message. It is great! "The Will of God": God uses love-inspired correction to guide us to a future we do not or cannot now envision but which He knows is the better way for us. 

Always trust God! Never Quit! Continue to have faith in him! There is so much power in daily prayer and scripture study. As we do the basics in the gospel we are able to have the spirit leading and guiding our lives on our journey back to our heavenly father!

I love being a missionary! It brings me so much happiness and joy! I know that our Heavenly Father is in the details of our lives. He knows us: our needs, dreams, goals, and desires. I have been able to see how the Lord prepares his people. I have been able to see so many of his tender miracles, they are all around us!

I love and appreciate all of you! I can feel all of the love that our heavenly father has for each and every one of you individually. He knows us better than we know ourselves. 

I hope you all have a fantastic week this week! Always keep on the look-out for the lords tender mercies for they are EVERYWHERE!

Elder Shaw

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hey everyone!

Sorry I wasn't able to write you all last week. It was a crazy week, but one of the best since I have been out on my mission. I'll start from the beginning...

On Monday, my companion had a birthday! The senior couple in Estacada (Elder and Sister Peterson) had us come over to their apartment and made breakfast for us. Then they took us to the Zoo. It was loads of fun! Elder and Sister Peterson are hilarious! They have so many funny stories to tell. I am so lucky that I have had the chance to work with them! They are like my grandparents in the mission! Then that night for Elder Olsen's b-day dinner, we went over to the Anderson's, (a young couple in the ward) with the Spanish elders and the YSA elders and had a b-day bash! That day was a blast!

Mary's baptism!
This week is my first transfer...don't worry I'll still be in Estacada with Elder Olsen, but we are the only companionship that is staying together in our entire zone. We are getting another Spanish missionary in Estacada. He will be with the Spanish elders training while he waits for his visa. That means 7 full time missionaries in the Estacada Ward! Yessss! 15 missionaries are leaving the mission, but 24 are arriving! Wow! The rest of the week was busy with preparing Mary for baptism and making other visits to our other investigators and RCLA's. The baptism for Mary was simply amazing! The spirit was so strong.  I was so blessed to have been a part of it. I know that the lord prepares his people. He loves us infinitely!  He has prepared Mary for baptism. I am going to remember that day forever! Now just like President Gordon B. Hinkley said, "A new member of the church needs three things: a friend, a responsibility, and constant nourishment from the gospel." We are trying to build relationships with the ward so that when we leave Mary, she will stay active. It has been a blessing to watch someone's testimony grow in the gospel and to feel the love that God has for his children.

Concerning our investigators, we had a lesson with Mina and taught her the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The lesson went so good! We might have another baptism coming up?!? :) We have taught her the restoration and the plan of salvation. She has a daughter and is a single mom. The biggest thing with Mina is to make sure that she has good fellowship with the ward members so that when she is baptized she has the support she needs to stay active. It is crazy how the biggest part of missionary work, re-activation and new converts, relies on the ward members. As full time missionaries, our job is to invite, help, and teach. Members invite, fellowship, and find. You all have done the bulk of the work!  We all have important roles as members of the church with missionary work. We all can be missionary's now! You are all so amazing and very inspirational. Think of all of the souls that you influence every day and pray to see what you can do to help them. :) Temple work is an easy way to do missionary work. You can do baptisms for so many people without having to find them! It's awesome! We are so blessed to have a temple so close by. I know that it can be hard to find time to do so, but I know that as you make an effort to go the lord will bless you I know it! The lord is just waiting to drench you with blessings (Haha with the rain;)

I know that this church is true! I know that as we serve other people we will be strengthened in our difficulties and insecurities because you come to know God as you serve. I am grateful for all of your love and support! It doesn't go unnoticed! I know that as we do our best we have nothing to fear. I know that the Atonement is real and that it covers more than our mistakes. It gives us a fresh view of ourselves, and the world. Our insecurities will fade away and we can have greater confidence in ourselves and most importantly in the Lord. I know that the lord loves all of his children infinitely! Come unto Christ and what your life change for the better!

Moroni 10:32

          32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves
          of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and
          love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient
          for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace
          of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.

The leaves are starting to change color is so beautiful out here in the country! Today it is in the low 60s and I am not even cold! Bring on the snow! Haha Hopefully not too soon. The fire has burned over 5,400 acres, but is over half contained. It is staying away from the city so no problem here. The smoke and ash is clearing up a little bit depending on the wind. I haven't been able to run in a while because of the quality of air, but hopefully I can start back up again! My knee is doing very well. Sometimes I forget which knee it is!

I love you all and I hope that everyone is doing great!

"You are a miracle and you can do anything!" -Michael Baser

Lots of love,
Elder Shaw

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hello All,

I am happy you didn't drown with all of that water! Haha AZ needed it!   Great opportunity for service and missionary work! So excited for you!  It has been a little warm, smoky and hazy here in Estacada.

Our car was covered in ash when
we woke up! The wind is blowing west
so most of the smoke is leaving now. 

So we woke up yesterday morning to the smell of smoke. At first we thought it was one of our neighbors smoking, but then realized that it had to be from much more than that. We learned that a forest fire started just outside of the town of Estacada (6 miles from us).  Since it has started it has already burnt over 1,000 acres. There is ash everywhere and it is hard to breath. The sun is blood red (its kinda creepy). The members in the Estacada ward are from all over and some of their homes are in danger. Some people have been evacuated, but so far people have been ok. It is just sad because the once beautiful forest is going to be blackened and burnt, never able to be the same again. Yesterday during Priesthood, Bishop Hawkins went to the pulpit and told everyone to get their families and return home to prepare for the fire. Thank goodness several weeks back we had a lesson on Emergency Preparedness.  It has been crazy with all of the weird things happening. We are in the last days. I just wanted to let you and the family know that we are alright here. Don't go worrying!!! The Lord will take good care of us, just like he took good care of you! I am not worried at all!

Oh how I love bishops! :) They are great! I love working with Bishop Hawkins! He is such a hard worker. There are a lot of needs here and Bishop Hawkins always tries to go above and beyond! Bishop's do so much for their wards! I always try to show my appreciation for them. 
Elder Olsen's 21st B-Day!

Shout out to my fantastic grandparents! I love you so much and I hope you are doing fantastic! Love ya muchly! 

Sorry for the short e-mail, but to celebrate Elder Olsen's B-Day we are spending the day with the senior couple, the Peterson's. We are going to the Zoo, the mall, and to breakfast and lunch!  It's gonna be so much fun! I love having the senior couple living just below us and love working with them! They are fantastic!

This week I am not going to be able to send my weekly e-mail because we are leaving the apartment at 8. Sorry! I'll send a good one next week! We are getting ready for Mary's Baptism this Saturday. Super busy, but oh so exciting! We got a new investigator and the work is speeding up!

I miss you all and love serving The Lord and I know that he will provide for us!

Love you!
Elder Shaw

Brother and Sister Peterson, myself, and Elder Olsen.  Happy Birthday Elder Olsen!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hey all!

Mt. Hood
Wow! I can't believe a week has already pasted! It looks like you guys are being hammered by rain! Yay!! Maybe it can help us get out of the never ending drought...Arizona is stealing all of Oregon's rain! It has been toasty up here! It has only rained a couple of times since I
have got here, but come winter we will have loads of rain so I can enjoy the sunshine now! :) (I also heard that it snows in Estacada...maybe I'll finally have a white Christmas?!?) Anyway, I simply love it here! I love the people so much it's creepy! I love teaching, helping, and inviting (spirit does the teaching thank goodness!). It is also very beautiful...I never thought I would love the country more than I do the city. I can't wait till fall so I can see all of the beautiful colors!

Last p-day our district went "larping" 
(live action role play). 
It was so much fun!

The work here has, and I love it! We are preparing Mary to be baptized, we are working with some other investigators, and mostly working with less-actives. It is crazy how a testimony can be strong at one point, but then also fragile at another. WE NEED TO BE
CONVERTED TO THE GOSPEL or we will fall! We need to have a thanksgiving heart always and strive to see the best in people and in ourselves. We need to pray and keep the faith in Christ when life gets hard OR easy! We can't just go through the motions of life and lay back by doing what is least expected of us because that is how Satan gets us! If he sees your door to your heart opened just a crack he will slowly, but surly get himself in. We CAN'T let him do this! He may have power to bruise our heel, but we have power to break his head! I pray that we continue to study the scriptures, pray alone and with our families, come to church and the temple as much as we can so when life gets rough we will be able to stand firm in the gospel.

There have been so many miracles that I have been blessed to witness on my mission thus
far. I have been able to see how the atonement 
transforms and blesses lives. I have seen families once apart, come together by the feelings of the Holy Spirit. I have felt so much love
that our Heavenly Father has for each and every one of his children. I am so blessed to be able to have the opportunity to be a part of the Lords work. Thank you all for your love and support...I can feel it!

P-Day at Mt. Hood
Yesterday we had fast and testimony meeting. I felt the spirit so strongly and I remembered why I wanted to go on a share that I know that The Lord lives and loves us and that his atonement is real! The spirit prompted me that I need to always share my testimony
of the savior, and my heart started to race and I knew that I needed to go up and bear my testimony. I couldn't say no. I was overcome with so much emotion that tears started to stream down my face (dang genes). I know that our testimonies are one if the strongest things we have to share the gospel with others and although it isn't easy to share it sometimes it is always worth it! My testimony is simple: I know that our Savior lives and loves us! I challenge each and every one of us to share our testimonies. It is the greatest anchor and weapon we have!

I love each and every one of you! Keep doing what is right! The Lord is always there to help! I hope you all have a great week!

Lots of love,
Elder Shaw

P.S. Sorry I don't have a lot of time to respond to everyone's e-mails this week. I love them so much and I appreciate hearing from you!  Add me on Facebook! We are at Mt. Hood for p-day!  ;) Love you all!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Hey everyone!

What a crazy week it has been! I have been able to enjoy the Oregon weather, as it has been raining cats and dogs! :/ Literally! So many dogs and cats here! haha! I am glad to hear from you and I love you all so much!

So this week has been the greatest week ever!!! To start...WE HAVE A BAPTISMAL DATE FOR SEPT 20!!!!!! Mary, one of our investigators agreed to be baptized! The Lord has prepared Mary in so many ways. The lord IS in the details of our lives! He knows us and what we are going through! I have seen him help Mary and prepare her to make this great covenant with him! Miracles always happen when we are obedient and humble. One of my favorite scriptures is found in Alma chapter 26:12 :

"Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever."

I know that in the strength of the Lord we can do ALL things! He knows how to strengthen the weaknesses in all of us. We just need to let his light lift us up. He believes we can do hard things if we will trust him and walk forward with faith. I have seen the Lord strengthen me every day! It is so great to know that our redeemer lives and love us!! 


I was able to drive a tractor when we did service for the Steen's on Saturday! Haha It is kind of like the quad! Sister Steen gave me those boots to wear so I wouldn't scratch my legs!  It rained like crazy!  Elder Olsen and I were soaked!! So much fun!  (Mom and Dad say that for this city boy, this is a tractor!)

Serving in the Estacada Ward there are a lot of needs that need to be met. Being here has taught me the importance of service and charity. (See Moroni 7:45-48) "Because I have been given much I too must give!" Throughout the week I have had many opportunities to serve the members and less actives up here! It is such a humbling experience! We all go through trials in our lives, but we know that the Lord is there to help relieve our burdens.  It breaks my heart how so many people in this world don't know that there is someone that loves them so much and cares about them. Jesus Christ makes all the difference in our lives! Life isn't easy, but enduring it well makes it all worth it! So, Don't you Quit!! ;) Keep sharing your testimonies and always set a good example! You will be blessed with the Spirit to lead, guide, and comfort you! 

I hope the weather down in AZ is getting better! I learned that there is a temple dedication coming up in Nov! ha I wish I could be there! (Great missionary opportunity! ;)

May the lord bless you with your efforts! I love you all! You all are awesome! 

Lots of Love,

Elder Shaw