Tuesday, September 22, 2015

It's been a Miracle Week everyone!!!

We set 2 baptismal dates this week, one with Daniel Horvath (Oct. 17th) and the other with a recent new investigator, Siana Peterson (Oct. 24th). We had 5 investigators at church this past week with several less active members too! In total we had 25 lessons this week! Fire is catching! (Shout out to HG fans! ;) The work is finally exploding and the ward is so excited to do missionary work! I couldn't be happier!

Here are some quick highlights of the week:

On Weds we had our zone conference! It was really long, but very good! It went from 8-5. We talked about obedience, being consecrated, and focused on becoming master teachers (focused on PMG chapter 10). President asked Elder Kaiser and I on the spot to go up in front of 75 plus missionaries and do a role play. I was nervous, but let the spirit guide and I guess it turned out really good. Everyone did a S.W.O.T analysis on it (strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat) and, for the most part, there was a lot of good things said. It was
really fun! I LOVE teaching!

On Thurs and Fri we went on a back to back exchange. On Thurs I went over to the Glenco ward with Elder Prestguard and on Friday I stayed in Cornell with Elder Reeves (a greenie) both new missionary's! It was a cool experience! I learned a lot from these wonderful new
missionary's! It was so refreshing. It was nice to be with someone who had as much (or even more;) enthusiasm for the work. It was so powerful! We worked very hard and saw several miracles. We have one more exchange left to do before the transfer ends (what...already???). I will be going with another new missionary on tues. Super excited!

On Saturday we had "Service Saturday" for a couple of hours were we helped some members clean up their backyard. It went well. The rest of the day we were jammed packed with teaching appointments.

So a funny story for the week. Daniel Horvath came to church with his 3 kids; (Kandi wasn't able to come to work due to work) Jocelyn (8), Ellie (2), and Daniel (6 months). He came a little bit late so we went out to help him wrangle the kids inside. We then found a spot in the overflow to sit and everything was going fine and dandy. While listening to one of the talks, Ellie (you know those trouble two's) threw a tantrum and while doing so, little Daniel began crying. Chaos. Dan was doing everything he could. I asked if I could help him and he said sure. He went to go un-buckle Daniel out of the car seat and then gave him to me to hold and to give him his bottle. So I don't know if a lot of you know this but, in the missionary white handbook it clearly states that we can't hold children . . . awkward. I looked around for someone that could come to my rescue and no one . . . so I took one for the team and held and fed him. I looked up at the stand at Bishop Matteson and Brother Barns who were laughing hysterically at me as they watched me awkwardly feeding a baby! Haha! I just smiled and acted like nothing was wrong which made them laugh even harder haha! It was funny though! After he was done I sat him up and he spit up on my suit... oh well...! It was worth it!  #thankgoodnessfordrycleaning

Had a wonderful full week! Looking forward to this week! Crazy how fast time has flown by. Only 2 weeks left of the transfer already and only 6 full transfers left after this transfer . . . . if only time could slow down!!! It's a bitter-sweet. Anyways, I am absolutely LOVING serving my savior Jesus Christ. Such a sweet experience! Although it had been difficult, and although there have been sacrifices that I have had to make, it has been so rewarding. You truly find yourself when you lose yourself in the service of others. What an awesome experience!

Scripture for the Week:

Mosiah 7:33

"But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all diligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage."

Hope you all have a wonderful week! I love you all so much. "Keep to the fight, it's when times get tough that we mustn't quit!"

All my love and best wishes,
Elder Shaw

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Greetings from Oregon! 

Colors are already changing and I am sooo excited for autumn! Time to bring out the sweaters and scarfs (it hasn't cooled down that much yet ;). I have been told that it is going to be a cold winter . . . we might even have snow!?!?  We shall see.

This past week has been another one of my favorites on my mission. The week went up and down, but it is interesting that as I have tried to stay optimistic and not get discouraged over the small things I was able to focus on so much good that happened all around me! Don't sweat the small stuff, keep working hard and never quit! ;)

We were able to have several lessons with our investigators and have seen the work in the Cornell ward progress as members have been inviting their friends to hear the missionary discussions. Like I said...It has been crazy to see how much the ward has been more missionary minded since I started here. The ward is finally finding joy in missionary work by talking to their neighbors, inviting their friends to church activities, and (or) to meet the missionary's. We received a new investigator from a family who we will be teaching this weds. We are sooo excited! Her name is Ciana Peterson and she is sweet. It was so cool to watch the ward bring her in. She went to young women and is planning to come to mutual this week. We had a family offer to pick her up on Sundays and take her to church and she is thrilled. She absolutely loved coming to church this past Sunday! She seems super solid. We also had another family invite another non-member family to church today and it was so nice to meet them! We will have to pass them off to the Brookwood sister's since they live just outside our area, but we were so grateful to have met them! We had our ward correlation meeting this past week and talked about our ward mission plan and it is centered upon inviting: inviting non-members into members’ homes, ward activities, church, and to meet with the missionary's. It makes my heart feel so good to see and witness a ward that has been fired up to do missionary work! I am complete! hahaha! Another miracle we had this past week was when we were contacting part member families. We set up a time to meet with the Mitchell family. Kim is a less active member and Ed is a non-member. Ed answered the door and was so sweet. We are hoping that meeting with them will get us somewhere. We also had a less active we have been trying to find, Tina Sides and her boyfriend Nathan, attend the Orenco ward this past week. The sister's contacted us and we are planning to stop by this weds with Sister Morris to meet them and hopefully set up the lessons. Nathan is looking for religion right now and is investigating many different faiths. Well . . . he has found the right one...he just doesn't know it yet! ;) Tina and Sister Morris know each other which is great so we are crossing our fingers that all will go well.

So a weird experience this week . . . so we met the former investigator, Mark Morce, (that I talked about last week who wanted to meet with us) at the temple this past Thursday to meet him and see if he wanted to meet with the missionary's. It was a crazy. So we were talking with him and he told us that he has been to church, has taken the missionary lessons, and has read the Book of Mormon. What he said left me speechless . . . . He then told us that he prayed about the Book of Mormon and received an answer from our heavenly father that the book wasn't true . . . . WHAT??????? IMPOSSIBLE!!!! We then asked him about his experience about coming to church and asked if he felt anything when he attended . . . he said no . . . then we asked if he could feel anything while we were on the grounds of the temple and he said . . . I don't feel anything . . . awkward! We invited him to re-read the Book of Mormon again with an open mind and to attend church and see if he does indeed feel something. We will be meeting with him again in two weeks and follow up with him. I am thinking that next time we ask him how he received a testimony that Jesus is the Christ and try to see how he receives things and how the spirit works with him . . . it will be interesting . . . defiantly put our skills and abilities to the test! ha!

More things that happened this week: On Tuesday I was able to go on an exchange with Elder Greene in Beaver Creek. We biked . . . it is a love hate relationship . . . I love moving and being active, but I hate going into lessons drenched with sweat . . . reminded me of my time in Moreland . . . I have conquered my fear with riding a bike again although I noticed that my arms were locked the entire time I biked! haha! We had a powerful lesson with a part member family there and invited them to come to church. We talked about overcoming trials and about the atonement. Beforehand Elder Greene had no idea what to teach them. After we asked questions and got to know where they were at spiritually we let the spirit guide . . . the spirit was so strong. Elder Greene told me afterward that that was the most powerful lesson they had with them. I love that the spirit is the teacher and how when we act on its prompting we will always have powerful lessons.

We then had our temple trip on Thurs which was much needed. I haven't been in over 4 months!!! So grateful to go. We are so blessed to have a temple so close by! I love the spirit that is there and the many things that I learn when I go . . . such a blessing.

On Friday night, the stake presidency asked Elder Kaiser and I to attend a Tri-Stake (Beaverton West, Ceder Mill, and Hillsboro) 11 year old camp fire program and to share our testimony's on how the things that we have experienced and learned in the scouting program has helped us with our missions. I had no idea where to start or what to say. We only had a total of 3 minutes combined and we were both lost for words. Then I had an experience come to mind of when I was an 11 year old scout. It was when we got rained out and had to retreat to a ramada. It was when I had my encounter with a javelina. (Poor Brother Janes kept him up all night) I told them how I woke up to a javelina breathing heavily by our tent sounding like it was ready to charge. I remember thinking that I was going to die and how I went on my knees and prayed hoping that I was going to live another day! haha! I shared with them how scouting has helped me come closer to my father in heaven as I have done hard things and as I have prayed with faith for help and comfort from the savior. It was neat . . . the boy's really took the experience to their hearts. It was so nice to be reminded of so many fun and great memories of when I was a boy scout. So lucky to have been invited to go! Loved the skits and activities.

On Saturday we had our stake Just Serve project where we went to various schools in the area and cleaned and beautified the campuses. We had a great turn out and was able to get a lot of things done. It was a lot of fun to work alongside the ward members. Afterwards we were super excited for our 7 lessons that we had set up. We stopped by their first one and he wasn't home . . . so we pressed on and had a great lesson with Travis Johnson, a returning member, and took him to a baptism, Margie's (sweet lady in the Glenco ward, I was able to teach her on an exchange). The spirit was so strong . . . great experience. While at the baptism we had the rest of our appointments (5) cancel. It sucked to be honest, but we kept working hard and the day ended up being a good one. I know I say it a lot, but I LOVE being a missionary!!!

This week we have zone conference on Weds and more exchanges on Thurs and Friday. Another busy, fun-filled week! It is going to be great!

Scripture for the Week: 

So I have begun to read from the New Testament this week to study the life of Christ and to apply his example to my life. Many have probably heard this scripture, but I absolutely LOVE it!

Matthew 8: 14-16

"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven..."

May we all let our light shine and serve others around us with a smile so that others can see our good works and glorify our heavenly father.

I hope everyone has a fantastic week! I love you all so much!

Much love,
Elder Shaw

Monday, September 7, 2015

Happy Labor Day everyone! 

Hopefully everyone is able to spend the holiday with friends and family and are able to take some time to relax and enjoy.

This past week has been a blur! So many things happened this week and looking at the rest of the transfer right now things will continue to stay busy. Last week we were able to have MLC where we talked about some of the concerns in the mission and how to better train the new missionaries. We also learned that an additional 25 more missionaries will be coming to Portland this coming transfer! Crazy!!!! The entire mission will be training!!!! President would also like us to go on exchanges will ALL of the new missionaries and their trainers so this
week and next will be full of exchanges! Total of 5! I am excited though because I learn so much on exchanges! Another way to learn and to grow! Zone conference is also coming up next week and I am super excited for our temple trip this week! :) Staying busy, and absolutely LOVING my mission; the good times and bad.

We had several miracles happen this week! One of our part member families are progressing sooo well. The Horvaths, Kandi (less active) and Daniel (investigator) are going to be coming to church this coming Sunday as a family! We had an AMAZING lesson this past Saturday with them and Mama Morris. We finished teaching him about the plan of salvation and we asked him how he has felt as he, and his family have taken the missionary discussions. He said how it has helped him develop his faith in his Savior Jesus Christ. It was incredible! The spirit was soooo strong. Daniel was agnostic before we started teaching him. He has grown so much and I am so blessed to have been able to what him progress . . . what a blessing. We asked him if he would like to be baptized and he said . . . YES!!!! We will be setting a date with him this Saturday for Oct 10th! I am soooo pumped! I am so grateful for the Lords timing and I know that it is always on point . . . always!

The Cornell Ward is simply amazing! The members are incredible! So lucky, and happy, that I was able to stay here in Hillsboro for another transfer. It is going to be hard leaving. I remember when I first came to the ward there was a lack of motivation and drive for doing missionary work. It is completely different now. We had ward counsel yesterday and it was so awesome to see how the ward has changed for the better. The members are now excited to do missionary work, always asking if they can go out with us to lessons, visiting our investigators and fellowshipping them and always inviting us to have lessons in their homes. They have been doing such a great job with inviting their non member friends over and introducing the gospel to them!  It makes my heart feel so full and good! Ugh . . . I am sooo blessed! Miracles never cease.

Speaking of more miracles . . . on Wednesday this past week, we had all of our lessons cancel so we decided to finish our weekly planning part of that day to save us time on Thursday so we could set up more lessons and find more people to teach. While we were weekly planning I looked at our areabook and texted all of the former investigators. One by the name of Mark Morce, got back to us and would like to meet with us this week on Thursday! So pumped! Hopefully there will be something there . . . keep you all posted.

Had several funny things happen this week! So on our "Service Saturday," we were able to help a non member move from the Quatama Ward to the Bethany Ward. It was crazy because it down poured on us, but that wasn't the funny part . . . it happened after we finished moving. So the move took longer than we all planned so at around 2:30 we finally finished so we hurried and grabbed some Subway and then went to a park to eat. While eating at the park we had this young man named Tim come and talk to us.  He has some mental disabilities and was the sweetest kid, but the weirdest thing happened. We asked us who we were and we told him that we were the missionaries. It was funny! He responded back with saying "the missionaries," with his tongue hanging out at the end. We kept talking to him and then he asked an Elder if he would stick his tongue out. While he did, Tim put his hand in his mouth!!!  I died! Tim was then trying to get us all to stick out our tongue so he could touch it. It was quite funny! Love our friend Tim!

All in all we had a wonderful week! Doing our best to be exactly obedient so more miracles can happen. I am so grateful to be serving a mission. My capacity to love has increased so much. I love the people that I serve and absolutely LOVE being a full-time missionary . . . again, it is the greatest calling! Don't want it to end! If only I could have you all up here to enjoy it with me!!!

For my spiritual thought for the week I would like to talk about how we all can be missionaries and enjoy all of the joy that comes from missionary work. I will base the thought upon an article in the New Era for the Month of August tiled, "Just be You". So the article gives us three ways on how we can share the gospel with others:

Number one: Live the Gospel! "The best way to teach the gospel is to live the gospel every day, because if you want to become a light to others, you have to fan your own spiritual flame first. As you live the gospel, you’ll realize that your example and your attitude are more than enough to inspire people to change for the better..." If you want to have your friends convert to the gospel you have to be converted yourself. Preach my Gospel states that we can't convert others beyond our own conversion. As we live the principle of the gospel we will come closer to our Savior which in turn will help others do the same as we live what we believe. As members of the church our friends notice a difference in us. We radiate a light that people recognize and they are drawn to it. Let your light shine as you live the gospel. Always remember that people watch you and to always make sure that you are setting the proper example. "If the Savior stood beside me would I do the things I do?"

Number two: Talk with people. "If you want to influence people for the better, they need to know who you are first. You don’t necessarily have to be loud, chatty, or even outgoing. You just have to reach out and show some love and friendship to those around you. Show people that you care. As you get used to talking with people, this also gives you the opportunity to be open about your life and the things you believe in. That doesn’t mean you need to teach them missionary lessons or anything. It just means being yourself . . . " I have found that there are no coincidences! The people we work with, interact with, see in the store etc., they are placed in our paths for a reason.  That reason is to share the gospel with them. Sharing the gospel with them doesn't mean that you invite them to take the missionary discussions. Share the gospel with them in your conversations. For example you could ask them what they did for the weekend and you could share with them that you went to church etc. Or it could be when you are in the grocery store and you could see a young family struggling trying to keep their kids behaved. You could then start up a conversation about how the gospel blesses families and how there is a temple nearby where families can be together forever etc. Make the conversations natural! Talk with people the way you would talk to an old friend. It is as simple as that.

Number three: Keep it simple . . . simple as that. Share a simple testimony, simple truths, and simple invitations. :)

Always remember that all of your missionary efforts are never wasted! Sometimes it just takes time . . . invitation after invitation and seed after seed. We are reminded in Jeremiah 16:16 that there are many "hunters" that shall hunt in the mountains, hills, and out of the holes in the rocks. May we look for missionary opportunities and "hunt" for those who will accept the gospel of Jesus Christ. I promise that you will find so much joy in missionary work and that your testimony will strengthen . . . I know mine has.

I love you all and I am so grateful for your love and support. I hope everyone has a wonderful week! Make it a great one! ;)

With much love,
Elder Shaw

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Happy September!!!

This past week has been incredible! We have been very busy, but I have been having so much fun! This week we had several meetings. We had a leadership meeting on Wednesday to talk about ways on how we can train and help the many new missionaries in the mission. It went great! Elder Kaiser and I came out of the meeting with several ideas to help the new missionaries and our zone be unified in the work. President Ballard also instituted a mission wide fast for Friday where we fast to find more people to teach, and then on Saturday where we dedicate the entire day to finding. It was an amazing experience . . . it’s really weird . . . I actually like tracting now . . . ? (I can't believe that I just said that!?!) We have had sooo many miracles and also funny moments! Here are a few!

So Elder Kaiser and I had the idea to have a zone blitz on Saturday where we would, as a zone, go into areas that were struggling to find new investigators and just tear it up! (Note: blitz is when you go into an area with at least another companionship and pair up with another missionary and split up and find as much as you can). If only you could see the sight!!! It was empowering! 20 missionaries in a single area tracting and contacting people! I was soooo pumped! We divided and conquered! We spent just an hour doing this and had huge success! I absolutely LOVED it! The missionaries were pumped to do missionary work, everyone was able to learn from each other, a lot of finding was done, and I could feel the zone unity! It makes me soooo proud! They are like my kids!! I have grown to love the missionaries that I serve...it makes transfers bitter sweet; bitter because they leave, but sweet because I get to love more missionaries! Anyways, it was such a great experience that we suggested to the district leaders to have a district blitz after every district meeting for an hour! Everyone loved the idea! We will be able to find more, learn more, and build unity! After the zone blitz we went to other areas in our zone that were struggling to find new investigators and blitzed with the Elders there! 
Zone Blitz!
Funny experience . . . so Elder Prestguard and I were tracting and we knocked on this door and a friendly man answered the door. We told him that we were missionaries going around sharing messages about Christ. He let us in and told us that he would love a message (it was weird because this never happens). We went inside and he sat us down at a table. He then made us a plate from dinner (hamburgers . . . not hot dogs haha), and we began to ask him if he knew any members of the church. Then, he told us that he was a member . . . I died! Ugh soooo funny yet sooo awkward!! It was so cool though. For the rest of the blitz Elder Prestguard and I got an investigator and his family, as well as 2 more families who wanted to meet with us later in the week! By the end of the day, as a zone, we found 5 new investigators and 47 potential investigators! Miracles! The experience really helped me to be confident with tracting and to just be myself when I talk to strangers. It was a ton of fun getting to talk to random strangers and talk to them about the gospel! Such a neat experience . . . I LOVE WHAT I DO!!! Never want to be released from my calling (don't have to worry about it because I can still be a missionary even without the tag! ;) My testimony has been strengthened this week as I have opened my mouth more and shared the goodness of the gospel! I absolutely LOVE this gospel it is soo good!

This week I have learned a lot about how sacrifice brings forth blessings. Originally, we were going to just tract in our own area for finding Saturday, but spent all of our day helping other companionships in the zone find new people to teach. We also had to take more time away from the work either to take Elders’ places, attend meetings, give missionaries blessings, take care of some zone business etc; but I couldn't have been any happier! The Lord has blessed us with the time and energy to not only accomplish all of those things but to also get work done in our own area. With all of the things going on, we were able to have 16 lessons, found a new investigator and 5 potential investigators, and were able to contact 10 part member families and start the discussions with 2 of them! I have come to know the Savior this week because I have served him. If you want to be happy, if you want heal your soul I can promise you that as you serve others you too can be lifted. At first it was really hard . . . in my mind I had all of these things to do, but as I trusted the Lord and made my will His and served, I was able to get all of the things done that I needed to accomplish that day and then some. It was hard at first because I can be selfish at times. There are so many times when I am thinking of the things that I do and how they are going to benefit me but as I have thoughts of others, more than myself, I have been able to be spiritually healed and was able to receive so much strength from my Savior to keep going and to keep working hard. Life is hard, but as we lose ourselves in the service of others we can truly find ourselves! This life is so short. It doesn't matter how much money you make, what clothes you wear, how popular you are. What matters is the service that you give to others because the service that you give to others makes an eternal impact that will last forever. What matters is when you stand before our Savior Jesus Christ at the end of this life and share with him the ways that you served him by serving your fellow brothers and sisters. I want to do all that I can to be ready for that day. I promise you that giving service to others can heal your mind, heart, and soul, and can help you be your happier self. I have never been happier than I have on my mission. It really is the best two years. Although it is very difficult, I have been able to find myself in the service of others.

A comment was made during Sunday School this past Sunday that really stood out to me. We were talking about teaching the gospel and that how when we teach we are representing the Savior. I then thought of the covenant that we make when we are baptized specifically stated in the sacramental prayers. I recalled when it says, "to take upon them the name of thy Son." It clicked! As members of the Savior we represent the Savior in all of the things that we do. It made me think of the primary song, "...If the Savior stood beside me would I do the things I do..." It was a great way to reflect and see where I was spiritually and if I was doing a great job representing the Savior in all of the things that I do. Thank goodness for the atonement which helps pick up my slack! :) This week I would like to issue a challenge. Will each of you go out of your way this week to serve others and to represent the Savior the very best you can? Share your experience with each other! I know that as you take this challenge this week to look for ways to serve others that you too will be lifted.

I apologize for this preachy e mail...so into the missionary mode. I love each of you so much and appreciate all that you do! Keep doing the very best you can each day and remember to not beat yourself over the small stuff! Have a wonderful week! 

Be good to yourselves and to others!

Sending all of my love and best wishes,
Elder Shaw