Monday, July 27, 2015

Wow...I can't believe that I have been on my mission for a year . . . 

I am full of mixed feelings. Most of it is shock...shocked that the time has gone by sooo fast, but I also have a part of me that is freaking out . . . I only have a year left to give it all to the Lord. I only have a year to wear this wonderful name tag, to give all of my time, attention, and energy to the is a weird feeling that is hard to describe. Anyways, I am super excited for the upcoming year to continually work hard and give more of myself.

This week has been a busy one and it will only get busier. This week we were able to go through our entire area book and do some "spring cleaning." We contacted ALL of the investigators and invited them to take the missionary discussions. We were able to get some new families to teach. We LOVE part member families! We can get the family active AND get some possible baptisms out of it! We set up lessons to teach the Smith family: father is less active and the rest of the family aren't members, the Horvath family: mother is less active father and daughter aren't members, and the Mitchell family: all non-members.  Super excited! Miracles for dayz! If there is a will there is a way.  ;)

We were able to teach 25 lessons this week in between of several district meetings and stake meetings. We were able to help out the stake with our Stake Fair this past Saturday. Our zone helped set up, serve food, and clean up after the event. It was a lot of fun and we had a huge turnout! Soooo many people! We had several of our investigators that we invited come which was awesome! :)

This week we will be having an exchange with the AP's on Tues, District meetings Tues and Weds, MLC all day Friday, and DLC on Saturday. In between all of that we will be busy contacting potential investigators and teaching! Going to be another busy week! Love keeping myself busy and running.

Today for P-Day we will be celebrating my year mark!!! Where??? You guessed it! Mt Hood! We will be going up there around 11 to have lunch at Calamity Jane’s and then we will either be going on a hike or going to the alpine slides on Mt Hood. We will be meeting the Milwaukie Zone Leaders, Elders Petersen and Erickson, in Milwaukie to conserve our miles and then going with them up to Mt Hood. Super excited! It will give us all time to take a break and to enjoy.

Quick Thought for the week:

During my personal study I was reading several conference talks. I loved "Stay by the Tree," by Elder Kevin W. Pearson. He mentions 6 important principles that will help us endure to the end. The first one is "Don't forget to pray," pray for the strength to endure. Ask Heavenly Father for the things that you stand in need of and have the faith that you will receive them. The second thing is to "Come unto Christ and be perfected in him." I love this scripture in Moroni chapter 10 verse 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." We can come unto Christ by denying ourselves of all that isn't godly: sin, judging, pride etc., and then love God by obeying the commandments and by doing our very best by becoming more Christ-like. Heavenly Father requires OUR best effort, not your friends or your families, your very own best self; THEN Christ grace is sufficient for you, and from that grace over time we can eventually become like how God is-perfect in Christ. Number three: press forward in Christ. This leads to one of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon found in 2 Nephi 31:20-Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. We can press forward in Christ as we continually receive constant nourishment from God by studying the scriptures daily. Christ can help us have more hope and a love of God and for all men as we apply the atonement to our lives. The fourth step is the Book of Mormon. Read from it daily!! I promise you that as you do so that you will receive so much strength and peace. The Book of Mormon has blessed my life in so many ways as I learn from the many different experiences contained in it. Number five, don't be distracted or deceived! Satan will work so hard on us to forget the many things that we have learned in the gospel and will try his hardest to keep us from doing the basics: prayer, scripture study, and church attendance. Do everything that you can to not be deceived or distracted always remember the basics! Finally, we need to stay by the tree. For me personally that means to endure, keep going and to never ever quit.  Living the gospel is tough, but we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. I am so grateful for that knowledge! I am so grateful for the savior and his infinite atonement. Christ helps me to keep moving forward, although at times it is extremely difficult . . . we are never alone as we face the many difficulties in life. Trust the lord and keep doing your very best each day and he will carry us.

Sorry for the short e mail this week! I hope everyone has a wonderful week! I love you all so much and pray for you daily. Thank you so much for your continuous love and support. It helps me keep going!

All my love and much more,
Elder Shaw

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Happy Monday everyone!!!

Hope everyone had a great week! Another great week is yet to come! :)

This past week has been busy, but great! With attending several leadership meetings, training a new zone leader, working with the new zone, building up our teaching pool, and teaching 20 lessons we have been go, go, go. Time always flies by so fast! So a little run down on how the week has been . . .

Monday was the 1st official "Transfer Swap." I surprisingly liked it a lot more. It made saying, "see you later," a lot easier on me. We met at the Lake Oswego stake center at 3pm and had an hour to say goodbye, take pictures, and talk with a lot of other missionary's. 

See ya Laters!
Then when it was 4pm we gathered around the hallways and sang "Called to Serve," with our mission lyrics and greeted the new missionary's through “the tunnel” and also said short goodbyes to all of the departing missionary's as they were heading out to the van. It was like ripping off a Band-Aid. It stung at first, but then after a while it got better. After the transfer swap, Elder Kaiser and I headed back to the Morris's had our annual transfer dinner with them to introduce the elder and then had family home evening with them, the Thomas's and Norma. Then, Tues-Thurs we were able to contact and meet with all of our investigators and set up weekly appointments with them . . . YES!!!! Finally!! It feels great to get things a bit more organized. The Eller family is praying for a date: Jai and Stephanie, and Jai's daughter Lexya. It was awesome. So we just began teaching Lexya when she showed an interest in going to primary and now she is just on fire. She is 10 and makes it to church each week, no matter if Jai or Stephanie come. She reads from the Book of Mormon every day and has that burning desire that every missionary craves. While we were talking with Jai and Stephanie about prayerfully setting a new date, Lexya said, "Can I come to watch my parents get baptized?" I said, “Lexya, not only can you come, but you can be baptized as well." She nearly flipped out of her chair! She was soooo excited! She will be the driving force with getting Jai and Stephanie going. We also met with Teri, Rolando and Adelene, and contacted several other investigators and set up weekly lessons with them. The goal this transfer is to get some baptisms!!! :) Going to roll up our sleeves and give it all we’ve got! On Friday, we had the privilege of hearing from an apostle of the Lord, Elder M. Russell Ballard. This has been his 2nd time visiting the mission since I have been here. He stopped by to visit with the grandkids and we had the golden opportunity to hear from him. He opened the conference up with several questions and then we had a Q and A and he left us with a blessing. It was short and brief, but very powerful. It was what I needed. Right after the conference, we had a leadership meeting with him and I will always remember what I learned. We asked Elder Ballard what his motivation was to keep going and to loose himself in the service of others. He said one of the most profound things on my mission. He pulled out a picture of the Savior and said that the Savior keeps him going. Every time that he feels weak, or tired, he remembers the Savior; he goes to Gethsemane in his mind. What an amazing example. It allowed me to reflect and refocus on why I came on a mission and gave me much more needed strength. It brought into question, how much do I really love the Savior. It was exactly what I needed. I am at the point where the mission just feels and seems like it is my new life and I began to just go through the motions. It helped me to focus more on my purpose, gave me a boost of strength and encouragement, and it helped me remember how much my Savior knows and loves me. Everything that I experience, whether it has been good or bad, has been felt by my Savior. He has been there for me. I am not on a mission for me, but for him. I owe him at least that. So grateful for his love and strength. When I am weak he helps me to become strong. 

The rest of the week we had the annual Hillsboro Air Show, going on Saturday and Sunday which was an excellent opportunity to talk with people and find more people to teach. Not only was the show amazing, but we were able to have great conversations with many different people. It was a blast. Also, we have been working real hard in the Cornell Ward to contact the many potential investigators in our area book. We would pray on who to visit and then after we have chosen who we should stop by we would contact all of the other potentials in the area. It has been very successful. We had a woman named Ava who invited us to come back and have a lesson with her and the rest of her family. It was a miracle! I have been praying hard to have more faith with finding and heavenly father blessed me with a tender mercy. I have finally developed the drive and faith to find! :)

That is pretty much it to report on this past week. Just working hard on making sure that our area can stand as an example to the other areas in the zone so we can motivate the other missionary's to continue to work hard and find success. At times it can be very stressful, but I love helping out with the different companionships in the zone and watch them succeed. That is the reward; helping others reach their true potential (Plus side, I get lifted too! ;)

I hope that everyone has a wonderful week this week! Always remember the Savior. He loves YOU! Reach out, and cry out to him and watch miracles happen. We can reach our true potential as we are humble and draw close to him by prayer, scripture study, and by serving others! Always have an attitude of charity and watch your life become filled with joy!

Scripture for the Week:

Matthew 16:25
"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and
whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."

May we lose ourselves in the Lords work as we do small acts of service every day. It is when we lose ourselves that we actually find ourselves.

Have the best week ever!!

Love you all!
Elder Shaw

Monday, July 13, 2015

Hey everyone!

Soooo I am staying here in Hillsboro! Elder Petersen will be leaving though. He will be going to Milwaukee and training a new zone leader. I will also be training a new zone leader . . . yikes! :/ I will be training Elder Kaiser! Funny . . . he was also trained in Estacada! A new thing that the mission is doing is that they have done away with transfer meeting so we will be having "transfer swaps" and will be having p-day the same many things to do, yet so little time . . . oh well it will be an adjustment, but change is always good. Since we won't be having transfer meetings and the departing missionaries won't have an opportunity to give their testimony's they created a fireside the Sunday before transfers for members, less actives, and investigators to come (I think I have mentioned it  before). The sad part is that missionaries aren't allowed to go :( I will be able to have a short time today to say my goodbyes to so many missionaries that I love. It's going to be a tough day, but as we all know that there are never "goodbyes," just "see yo-laters!"

Hillsboro East District

Hillsboro West District
Another change that they have made to the mission is that they no longer have spanish missionaries separate from the english. They dissolved the 2 spanish zones and then mixed them with the 9 english zones! So now instead of being over just 16 missionaries I will be
over 20! Exciting stuff! English and Spanish are now one! Also the OPM is getting swarmed with new missionaries! Over 24 this transfer and for the transfer in August: 31 new missionaries!!!! The entire mission will be training!! Bring on that Greene Fire!!!!

This week we will be getting down to work! I love taking over an area because we work, work, and work! :) We will be meeting and setting up 2 set appointments a week with all of our investigators, 1 lesson to read from the Book of Mormon, and another to teach a lesson. (It is so important that investigators get comfortable with reading the Book of Mormon and developing good study habits!) We also have several meetings to attend. Elder Ballard will be coming to the mission again this Friday, so we will be having a mission conference early Friday morning and then later in the day we will be having MLC with Elder Ballard! So cool! I get to have the amazing opportunity to have a mission leadership conference with Elder Ballard. Super excited!

Just a lot of changes happening . . . just trying to remain above the water! Full of different emotions . . . sadness, excitement, stress, happiness . . . I am a mess! I am super excited for our zone! Although a lot of my friends will be leaving, I will have the opportunity to make more. It is nice that there will only be 3 missionaries that I won't know in the Hillsboro zone this coming transfer . . . that will help me get on my feet! Thank you tender mercies of the Lord!!!

Not a lot of things planned today for p-day. We will be playing racket-ball with a part-member family, the Thomas's (we usually play with them every Monday), stopping by some of the people that Elder Petersen would like to say goodbye too, and doing some laundry, emailing, and cleaning.

Oh and I forgot to mention . . . Travis Thomas agreed to take the missionary discussions! When the Thomas's lived in California, the missionaries asked Travis if they could "practice" teaching the missionary discussions. He agreed, not showing much interest in joining the church, but today he agreed to take them so we will be meeting with him every Sunday with the Thornbrue's!  This could be it! :) He has been an eternal investigator for a while now . . . maybe we can change that! ;)

I hope everyone has a wonderful week! Always remember that you are loved and that when things get tough . . . like I always say . . . NEVER QUIT! ;) Come unto the Savior who knows and loves us perfectly and draw to him for strength and comfort! I know that he will help us because he continually helps me!

Love you all!
Elder Shaw

Hillsboro East District: (left to right) Elder Beamer, Freshour, Greene, Tanner, me, Petersen.Sister McLaughlin, Porter, Berry, and Mackelprang

Hillsboro West District: (left to right): Elder Stone, Frost, Lund, Meredith, Petersen, and me. Sisters: Kalonihea and Beutler

Monday, July 6, 2015


Hey all! Can't believe that it is already Monday! Time flies! We have already reached the end of the transfer already...we shall see what happens.

This week has been another blur. We had several meetings this past week. On Tuesday we had several appointments with recent converts and our investigators and had to make sure that everything was in order for zone conference on Wednesday.  Then on Wednesday we had zone conference for most of the day. It was bitter sweet. Our training went really good! We were asked to do the training on bold commitments. We only had 10 minutes, so we just followed the spirit and it ended up turning out amazing! Crazy how much I have changed on my mission . . . can't believe that I will be hitting my year mark this month . . . wow . . . Also I was able to see and hear a lot of my best friends bear their testimonies before they go home this transfer. I was an emotional mess. I brought a small package of tissues just in case...yeah I ended up using all of them.  :/  I have 4 companions including my trainer Elder Olsen who will be returning home . . . it is bitter-sweet. They are off on their next adventures.  :)  Loved working with them! On Thursday, we went on an exchange with the Hillsboro elders and I went over there with an elder who is struggling with his mission. We had several great conversations. He lacks confidence and is way too hard on himself . . . it reminded me of myself at the beginning of my mission. I was able to help him out as much as I could and tried to light back the fire in his heart for his mission. So blessed to be working with such amazing missionary's!  On Friday we played catch up in our area: we finished weekly planning, visited with some of our potentials, investigators, and less actives.  Great day!

Just Horsing around!
Hope everyone's 4th of July went good! Mine was definitely one to remember! On Saturday, we met at a member’s house in the Hillsboro ward at 7:30, had breakfast, and got ready for the parade. It was a blast . . . so the missionary's are now famous . . . We run the city! Just kidding! Haha! It was funny . . .people actually wanted what we were handing out: Popsicles, “Just Serve” cards, and candy. (And yes Dad! I almost ate it all myself!  ;)  Some members from our ward, the Thornbrues, Burkes, Bolingers, and the Thomas's (love them all), had water guns waiting for us and completely drenched us . . . I LOVED IT! :) Afterword, we ate lunch which consisted of hotdogs (hehe), potato salad, watermelon, salad, and chips. Yummy!  Since all of our investigators were either out of town or were busy we weren't able to spend the 4th with them, but we went over to the Deweys, members of the Glenco ward, and chilled there until service later that afternoon. We played dunk ball, Uno and hanged out. I was even able to take a nap!  

Around 5, we went over and helped the Hillsboro elders catch chickens and get them into the coupe . . . let’s just say that I am the new father hen!  Haha! I had a big stick and herded them safely to their coup. No chickens were hurt in the process!  Then the Deweys took us to Red Robin for our 4th of July dinner.  Us, Hillsboro, and Glenco elders, and the Quatama sisters, had dinner with the Deweys! Had a lot of fun, but my stomach acted up again . . . After dinner and a short break, we all pilled into mama Deweys van and went around the neighborhood finding fireworks! It was a lot of fun! One of my favorite 4th of July's!

The Parade Brigade!
Anyways, had a wonderful week! Sorry that I am keeping it short and sweet this week. I will be going with Elder Olsen down to Estacada to meet up with the Peterson's to spend their last p day with them. We will be going out for lunch and then visiting people over there! I am so excited to be going home!  (Estacada!!!) As crazy as it is, I absolutely love it!

Short thought:

          Since I have been on my mission I have found that we receive so many
          blessings when we are obedient. This past week I had to stand my
          ground and go against popular opinion to remain obedient and let me
          tell you I am so happy that I did!  I know that obedience brings
          forth blessings and that there will be times in our lives were we need
          to stand up for what we believe in. Always remember that the savior is
          standing there with you! As long as we do the right things we will
          always have his aid on our side. So grateful for my upbringing, and for
          parents who taught me how to be obedient. Remember that although the
          world values may change, the lord's standards never change. May we
          continue to be obedient, loving and stand up for what is right.

Hope everyone has a wonderful week! Make it one of the best! Love you!!!

All my love,
Elder Shaw