Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hey all! What a crazy week it has been! 

Very full of mixed emotions...

First off...I am doing loads better! Thanks for your love and prayers! I have felt them greatly this past week. I have been off the pain medication for several days know, just being taking Ibuprofen for the pain. Each day I have been having more motion in my arm which is great. Since the accident, I have had some headaches here and there and sometimes I have a hard time remembering the "little things", but besides me and my crazy brain, I am doing FANTASTIC! I know that the Lord has helped me in so many ways! His love, comfort, and protection is great! He loves each of his children so very much!

On a sad note, my companion transferred yesterday which was tough...It stinks that I only had 6 weeks with him. I don't know the area as well as I would like to, but I know that the Lord will qualify me for his work and that he will help me. The Moreland ward also lost a very special senior couple, Elder and Sister Thomas. I loved serving with them these past 6 weeks! They will be greatly missed. Also, for the time being, we won't be having another senior couple take their place which is a bummer...I love serving with senior couples! On a brighter note, our ward finally has a ward mission leader! Yay! A lot of changes! My new companion is Elder Skinner. It was funny! When I first got to Portland he was actually in my 1st zone! It was nice to already know somewhat of my companion...makes things a bit easier. Also, I already know EVERYONE in my district! Sister Porter, who was also in my first zone is now in Milwaukee! Super cool, to already know everyone that I will be serving with.

The work in Moreland is being kicked up a notch! The Lord has blessed us with 3 new referrals who are super excited for us to teach them!!! All three of them referred themselves on mormon.org! One of them already wants to be baptized on Feb 28th!!! Carol, a sweet lady that also referred herself to us, is progressing so much! She is recently widowed and has great faith! She has been investigating the church for three weeks now and hasn't missed a Sunday of coming to church!!! We have been having the lessons with her and we followed up and asked her where she was at with reading the Book of Mormon and she said that she was already on Mosiah 18!!! Wow! We just gave her the Book of Mormon a week ago and she is almost a 1/4 of the way done! We had an awesome gospel principles class where Elder Stone and I talked about covenants, or promises we make with our heavenly father. Carol was there and she was rockin! We talked about baptism, our first covenants that we make with our father in heaven and I heard her whisper that she wanted to be baptized! We will be setting a date this Friday when we meet with her!! :) The Lord prepares the hearts of his people to receive the gospel! We are just instruments in his hands! We just have to extend the effort and he WILL take care of us! Also, the POWER OF PRAYER is sooo powerful! ;)

Another AMAZING thing that has happened over the weekend is that I had the honor and privilege to attend the temple for one of our less actives we have been teaching! He has grown and has come such a long way! I loved spending the time at the temple on Saturday...such a sweet spirit there! Also, tonight I get to go AGAIN and support another less active member that we have been working with as she takes out her own endowments. The entire family has come from inactivity back to the church! Another daughter will also go to the temple later this month so I get to go back AGAIN!!! I love temples so much, I guess, that the bishop asked me yesterday to talk in sacrament meeting on the temple and the influence it has had in my life...not my favorite thing to talk in sacrament meeting, but I LOVE the topic! Hopefully I won't get too emotional! ha! The Spirit can do that to ya sometimes! So I will be speaking on the 8th of Feb. It has been such a sweet experience watching the people that you have grown to love progress and come closer to our savior and redeemer, Jesus Christ. That is MY purpose as a missionary! I love the work so much!

This past week has been very emotional recovering from my injury, transfer, and insecurities. I had a lot of rest which was hard for me! You know when there are soo many things you can do, but don't have the energy, or capability to do them. Satan kept putting thoughts in my head that I was a terrible missionary and that I wasn't good enough. It was the worst feeling ever. Nothing was getting done and I could feel of all of the people that I needed to help and I couldn't do a thing! It was awful! I realized that in order for myself to help others, I had to first help myself. In Doctrine Convents section 4 verse 2: "Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day." I had all my heart, might, and my mind (some of it haha), but I didn't have my physical strength. I couldn't serve God or others to my best ability because my body needed to rest.

With transfers, I remember when I first got to Moreland and I just felt through the spirit that I was going to be with Elder Stone for just 1 transfer so I knew that I had to go to work. I had 6 weeks to try to get the area down. I did my best to remember names, people, places, and the ward. I remember when transfer calls came that I felt a peace with myself and my situation. The Lord will NEVER leave us! If we listen with a prayerful heart to the promptings of the spirit we will be guided and directed in ALL that we do. We can receive comfort and peace through our Savior Jesus Christ.

This past week I have been relying more in our savior Jesus Christ. It can be hard to trust him at times, especially when we don't know all the reasons behind our situations. I promise you that as we keep fighting and endure that we will climb up the mountain of our trials. I am grateful for the trials that we face in our lives because we can more fully experience the good. We have the opportunity to rely more on the Lord and come nearer to him! This past week has been one of the hardest so far on my mission with recovering from the bicycle accident, BUT my testimony of the savior's love/atonement and the power of prayer have increased in so many ways. A mission is hard, but boy is it worth it. You learn the things you need to grow up and strengthen your testimony in the gospel.

Thank YOU for all of YOUR love and prayers. Keep doing what is right. Try harder and harder each day and NEVER quit! Blessings are waiting right around the corner for you I KNOW it! ;)

I hope you all have a wonderful week! I love each and every one of you so much!

Much love,
Elder Shaw

Monday, January 19, 2015

Obedience Brings Forth Blessings! ‏

So I hope this email makes sense . . . I am on a lot of pain medication. I am as high as a kite . . . I'll get into the details later.

Well . . . what a crazy couple of days it has been. We have been working very hard here in Moreland. Once my head would hit the pillow, I would be out! We have gotten 3 new investigators! The Lord has helped us so much with his work. We just have to be willing to act on his prompting and be willing to work hard and do his will. They are all such wonderful spirits and I am so excited to be working with the investigators by helping them come closer to the lord. We had two of them come to church these past Sundays. We have also started to teach a family whose mother, when she was 14, lived with an LDS family when she was homeless, in Provo, Utah. They are really nice and loving and hopefully we will be able to see several baptisms coming up here real soon. I have also learned that a family that I started to teach in Estacada will be getting baptized, hopefully, by the end of this month. We also get to go to the Temple this Saturday to go see one of our, once less active members here in Moreland, take out his endowments!  Super exciting stuff!  We had 16 lessons planned out this week, but were only able to go  to 12 of them . . . this leads into my story.

So, it was Friday night and we were biking around like crazy trying to see everybody and invite them to our ward "Movie Night" that we would be having on Saturday, and then while we were racing downhill, disaster struck! I hit a pot-hole in the road and I flew over my handle bars and face planted into the cement with my bike landing on top of me. I remember very little what happened next. I just lied there and waited for someone to come help me.  I remember everything being all fuzzy.  They thought I had a concussion.  There were two dudes on the road that saw what happened. One called 911, and moments later, I had my very first ride in an ambulance! I met the driver Brandon, and the person helping me, Marty.

I then remembered that things don't happen by coincidence and I began talking about the gospel with them! There are no excuses people! I asked them what their religious background was and I learned that Marty was born Catholic, and then grew out of it. He believes that there is a God, but hasn't found a religion that is a fit for him. Boy do I have a gift for him!!!!  ;) THE GOSPEL!!!!! He then told me about his 18 year old daughter who was going to college who wasn't making the best decisions. I taught him about agency and told him that God gives us agency because he loves us and that he wants us to learn and to grow. They were both very nice. Hopefully seeds were planted there! Then I was moved from a stretcher and met one of my nurses Brandi, who gave me my CT scan. 

I talked to her about her family and she told me that she had a 20, 17, and 15 year old son. I talked to her about how God gives us families so we can be happy. She told me that she lived in Oregon City and that she had the missionary's over a couple of times. She would be the perfect Relief Society president!!!!! She looked like a perfect Mormon mom! I love her, she was great! After waiting for over 2 hours in the hallway for results, I learned that I have a radial head fracture on my elbow, a big, plump, fat lip, and an abrasion on my chin and swelling in my arm. I look like the deformed man from the “Goonies” . . . my face is healing though . . . sorry no pictures! I am not confident. I go to the arm doctor on Wednesday morning to find out what will happen. I got the car I wanted though . . . but it came with a price! HaHa! Don't worry Mom, my knee wasn't hurt in the accident, my face and upper body took most of the impact!

VooDoo Doughnuts!

Saturday and Sunday I just slept, ate, and slept and ate . . . I made sure that I went to church to partake of the sacrament though, . . . NO EXCUSES!  HaHa!

This week’s lesson is obedience! Listen to the Lord, his prophets, his leaders and teachers, your parents and obey the commandments! The lord will bless you. If I didn't wear my helmet I probably wouldn't be here to tell this tale! So make sure you were your helmet and seat belts!!! ;)   
(See Doctrine Covenants 130: 20-21)

I love you all! Keep being awesome and stay obedient! 

Obedience brings forth blessings! When we are obedient the Lord protects and blesses us! 

Keep you guys in my thoughts and prayers always! I love you!

Elder Shaw

Monday, January 12, 2015

Happy Monday All!

I have never been more excited for my P-Day for two reasons. 1) We are going to downtown Portland and 2) I am in much need of a break! We have been busy, busy, busy. We had a lot of meetings and appointments this past week. I can't wait to just have a couple of hours to just relax and prepare!

So this past week has had its ups and downs. On one end of the spectrum, two of our progressing investigators are taking a "short break" from the lessons, which was hard to hear especially when they were doing so well. Satan is working really hard here. There is so much potential for growth in the Moreland Ward and he has been doing everything he can to stop the work from progressing, but we all know the end result . . .he WON'T prevail! We just have to put our faith and trust in the Lord and trust that things will work out. On the other end of the spectrum, we received two new investigators, one from church headquarters and the other one just came to church today! Talk about how the Lord prepares people! When we are doing the right things the right things happen! They are great, and we are super excited to start working with them. We have also received, through our own efforts and the ward, more people to teach. We have been biking like crazy! Go, Go, Go, Go! It’s great to be busy in the Lord’s work! I wouldn't be able to do his work without him. He has strengthened me and qualified me for his work in so many ways! I just need to stay diligent and continue to work hard and I know that the Lord will provide for my physical needs.

Also...I GOT TO MEET ELDER M. RUSSELL BALLARD!!! We had a mission wide meeting with him where we discussed the missionary work in the OPM. I remember when he walked in and spoke to us. I could feel the spirit instantly and he looked like he was glowing. I started to choke up a bit. We were able to take zone pictures with him, and then he addressed us. It was crazy. Before, I thought apostles weren't really human. I thought that they were so spiritual that they were out of this world, but meeting with him, I realized that are just like us! He is a loving, caring, and funny grandfather. It was an out of this world experience. I could feel the love of Christ when he spoke. The spirit was so strong. I left the meeting feeling super energized to do more of the Lords work, more equipped to teach effectively, and more courageous to teach boldly. I never knew someone that could be so bold, yet so loving! He was also very humorous too! It was a great experience that I will always remember . . . who knows? Maybe next time President Ballard could get the prophet, President Thomas S. Monson, to speak to us??? :)

So in the spirit of being in Portland, I am going to start by sharing some of my "weird" experiences for the week! :) So this week’s weird experience is having a returning member tell me of his relapse to his addiction to heroine. It was way weird. It was hard to give him advice, especially when I have never experienced an addiction to heroine. We just testified of the Savior’s atonement and sent him on his way to our Bishop for some guidance and counsel. It is tough when we teach people that have experienced some things that I would never have dreamed of. I am clueless on what I can do to help them, but I know that the Spirit knows all, and as I rely on it, I can be guided and directed in what I need to do and say to help these people. Also a gift (I am not sure if it is) that I have developed while I have been on my mission is to distinguish the smell of alcohol and marijuana. It was funny, we were talking to a guy and afterwards I asked my companion if I was smelling alcohol and marijuana and he said yes...it is sad...I am slowly starting to lose my innocence . . . NOOO! The lessons you learn on your mission...haha! I am so sheltered!

    I love this young man right here! He has helped and encouraged me to set a better path for myself! Elder Rhett Shaw, I can not thank you enough!!! - Nina
Every day I keep on being reminded on how the Lord truly knows us and that he has a planfor each of us. Serving here in Moreland has been one of the most challenging, craziest, weirdest, and hardest things I have ever done, yet also so rewarding. I have found so many reasons why the Lord has placed me to serve here; things that I need to learn, attributes that I need to develop, relationships that I need to grow. There is always a reason behind everything in our lives and if we pay close attention we will see that we do have a loving Heavenly Father who knows what is it that we need. We just need to trust that he knows what he is doing, which I know he does. Several of our investigators that I was working with in Estacada disappeared and recently reappeared here in Moreland. It wasn't a coincidence that I was sent here to Moreland! I know that the Lord knows each of us perfectly and that as we keep the faith and continue to work hard that we will receive the things necessary for us to be successful servants of the Lord. Remember: when you are doing the right things, the right things WILL happen! The Lord has a plan for each of us!

I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your love and support. Continue to do those things that will help you come closer to the Savior, Jesus Christ. When it gets hard, don't you ever quit! Keep pushing, and I promise you good things will happen! ;)

You are all in my thoughts and prayers always! I hope you all have a WONDERFUL week!

Love you!
Elder Shaw

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sorry it's late and sorry that it will be short!

This morning we went to Mt. Hood to go hiking. It was beautiful. While going over there, we went through Sandy which brought a lot of awesome memories back to my mind of my time in Estacada! It was so nice to spend a day back in the country.

We have been super busy here lately. Last companionship inventory I cracked out the whip! We got down to business and straightened things out. Before I got here, there wasn't a lot of activity happening. There is so much potential for baptisms here! We could have 4 baptisms lined up here soon . . . hopefully! We have been working real hard and it is awesome to see that when you give it all up to the Lord, that he blesses you, and his work. We have been able to start a lot of the missionary discussions recently and we have a new investigator, Carolina, whose fellowshipers are the Tupou family. (My favorite Tongan family! :) All of them, including Carolina, came to church on Sunday! It was awesome. Our meeting time is now at 1pm . . . yuck!

This past Sunday 
we were at the church from 8-6 . . . it was a long day. (Yes dad, I did go to choir practice, even though I don't sing as good as you!) I taught Gospel Principles and the Young Men yesterday too . . . I thought it went well. I taught about the power of fasting and shared several fasting experiences that I have had. I got emotional at some parts, but I tried to be tough. :) It was an awesome experience. I could feel the spirit so strongly, as I bore testimony! I love to teach the gospel!

Our District at Mt. Hood
Just been trying to organize the work here and to get it back on track. It has been difficult, but there has been so much good that has come from it! We have been building up our teaching pool, and this week we had 15 lessons! (This has been great, because before, we only had an average of 7 or 8). Thank goodness for the comfort and direction prayer gives me. It has helped me be not being so stressed. When you trust the Lord and seek him through prayer, I know that we can gain much comfort and our burdens can be lightened. We just have to turn to the Lord and trust him!

I love you all and I hope you have a wonderful week! The Church is True!

Love you always and forever,
Elder Shaw