Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sorry this email will be short...not feeling as energized to write my book this week hahaha! 

So good to hear that your training meeting went well. The stake presidency down there will be soooo awesome. We are going to get a new stake presidency here in the ceder mill stake in 2 weeks. A lot more changes! :) 

I was able to send an email to grandma. Good to hear that she is making great progress!

Hope that Callie gets better! A lot of sickness is going around here...not as much as it is in Arizona should all move up here!! ;) It is the best!!! 

This last week went very well. We were able to teach 15 lessons this past week which is unheard of here in the skyline ward! Miracles!!! We were able to find 3 new investigators this week...we shall see how it goes! We were able to get in with 2 less active and part member families that the ward has had a hard time contacting! We are super excited. The ward is very strong. It is WERID! So all of the less actives are part member families. They are all grouped together. We are working more and more with the ward and it has been so cool to see how the ward is beginning to trust the missionaries more and more. 

So a weird story for the week! We have been teaching Arnold Leppart (part Mem) and we had an appointment on Tuesday with him and I had elder Prestgard with me.  We saw Arnold on Sunday when we helped out again at faith cafe and things seem to be going better. He is great! He comes to church every week, but his biggest concern for not getting baptized is that he won't be able to do a lot of his community work like the faith cafe without criticisms or judgments from other faiths. Since we have been going to the faith cafe other people from the different religions have been super nice and accepting of us...I think that he notices it and hopefully he will see that they will love him and accept him no matter what and if they don't then they aren't a real friend. We have loved it so much! Super nice to be able to be involved with the community and to meet so many different people of different faiths. 

Cool story about the faith cafe this past week! So we aren't allowed to proselyte, but if people have questions we can answer them. So we had this guy, Douglas who asked us for a Book of Mormon! Apparently his girlfriend lives in Salt Lake and is "trying to become Mormon", and he's curious about the Mormon religion. He told us that he might want to be a Mormon too! We gave him the Book of Mormon and gave a brief intro and gave him our number so we could keep in touch. It was awesome! 

Well it was a great week! We keep on keeping on and sprinting to the finish!!! 

I love you all and hope you have a great week!!! 

Elder Shaw

I loved this quote from one of my favorite talks by Pres. M Russell Nelson, "The Price of Priesthood Power," he said,  "...we are here to qualify ourselves day by day for the positions that our Father expects us to fill hereafter...” Our decisions determine our destiny. So great to know that we have something we are working towards...eternal life! => live with our families and God forever! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Happy Earth Day!

First off I want to say how proud I am of my lovely sisters! So exciting to hear that Chelsey is officially a RDH! YAHOOO! All of her hard work is paid off! Also, so great to hear that Callie got into the Mayo Clinic and will be able to continue to learn and become an amazing nurse she has always been destined to be ;) and of course how can we forget that Brittney will be going to Nationals in Tennessee this June for HOSA. Wow....I have a lot to live up to with the examples my sisters are setting.  So happy for them and ALL of their accomplishments. Shine bright my darlings. ✨💃🏻💃🏻💃🏻✨

Had a bitter sweet week this past week. Three of our five investigators in our teaching pool dropped us. It was very sad, but we have planted good seeds in their hearts and when the time is right they will know where to go...darn agency. :) It wasn't sad that they decided to stop meeting with us, what was sad was that they withheld countless blessings from our Heavenly Father. We were talking with one of them about the Plan of Salvation. She told us how her and her family are bitter towards God because of the recent passing away of their loved ones. We bore our testimonies of how we know that death isn't the end that there is more life to live and how our families can be together forever. The spirit was so strong yet she didn't accept it. She just wasn't ready, it wasn't her time. We will keep in contact with them just to check up on them and let them know that we are here and ready to help and teach them when they are ready. 

Although we had to drop 3 of our investigators we were able to see several miracles. We were able to get in with a less active/part member family, the Miners. Such a sweet family. We have a return appointment next Sunday and will be taking Sister Allen the Primary Pres with us to help the kids get back into primary. I love the members in this ward. They are super chill and are so willing to help us. We have been able to help get them excited to do missionary work. More of the ward is on board with helping us find and teach investigators! We are super excited to see what blessings and miracles await as we keep working hard with the members in finding and fellowshipping! 

Oh my gosh we had zone conference this past week and then it hit me that I only have one more left....ugh....when the departing missionary's where bearing their testimonies I couldn't stop crying!!! It is going to be very hard to leave when it comes time to....oh well I will cross that bridge when I have to, right now I am going to act like I'll never go home...sorry mom! I am never going to leave Oregon!!! 

We were able to volunteer at the Oregon Food Bank this past Friday and boy was it fun! I loved it!! We all looked like cafeteria ladies with our hair nets, aprons and gloves. At the end of the shift we were able to send off almost 2 tons of food and per person, we were able to feed 210 families! So neat. We will be going every Friday to help out. We were able to talk with several members of the community which was a lot of fun. They know we are the Mormon Missionary's now! 

After church on Sunday, we were able to help out at the Faith Cafe (like a soup kitchen) and was able to serve dinner to the homeless. It was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed talking and visiting with them. We will be trying to go every Sunday if our schedule permits. I loved it! 

Well that's pretty much it from last week. We have a couple of investigators that we tracted into last week that we will follow up to see if they are really interested. (Keeping my fingers crossed). We also have another "eternal investigator" that we will be teaching more along the same lines as Rob Collins. We will teach the missionary discussions and hope and pray that it will go somewhere...we just never know when they will be ready, but I have faith that God knows and that as we love and invite miracles will happen! 

Now to end this email off with some spirituality!! 

So I have been going over the conference talks and I loved the talk on "choices" by our beloved prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. I loved how he talked so simply and with great power! It reminded me of how my day to day decision really do determine my destiny. I loved how he compared it to the book "Alice in Wonderland." 

"...Most of you are familiar with Alice in Lewis Carroll’s classic novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. You will remember that she comes to a crossroads with two paths before her, each stretching onward but in opposite directions. As she contemplates which way to turn, she is confronted by the Cheshire Cat, of whom Alice asks, “Which path shall I follow?” The cat answers, “That depends where you want to go. If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter which path you take.” Unlike Alice, we know where we want to go, and it does matter which way we go, for the path we follow in this life leads to our destination in the next life..."

"...May we choose to build up within ourselves a great and powerful faith which will be our most effective defense against the designs of the adversary--a real faith, the kind of faith which will sustain us and will bolster our desire to choose the right. Without such faith, we go nowhere. With it, we can accomplish our goals..."

My favorite part was when he said, "May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong...if we choose Christ, we will have made the correct choice." 

I know that choosing the right isn't always easy, but choosing the right is ALWAYS right!! Sometimes that chooses that we have to make are between what is good, better, and best! Always remember to turn to prayer whenever you are having difficulty knowing what path you should take. I know that as we put Christ first in our lives that we are ALWAYS making the correct choice. He will never lead us down the wrong path. Follow him. Although it is a simple request it isn't always easy, BUT he will help us. I am grateful for the gospel and for the knowledge I have of the atonement that whenever I choose poorly I can always, Repent, Reset, and Refocus my sights on my Savior. He is the light and the way! 

I hope everyone has a great Earth Day on Friday...always remember to recycle and to wash out all of the cans and bottles that you do recycle ;)...dang the inner Oregonian is coming out...#hippy #takeCareoftheEarth #GoGreen! (I am not a tree hugger! just got to take care of our planet! Ha)   

Love you!!!
Elder Shaw

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

WOW!! I feel like I am going to die...dang this week was hectic.

We have been able to see a lot of miracles! We have
been talking and have been trying to share the gospel with everyone,
trying to meet with all of the ward members to help boost up their
morale with missionary work, and have been able to enjoy another visit
from Elder Ballard, a member of the quorum of the twelve apostles.
Since I have served here he has been able to come 3 times and I was
able to shake his hand again. Boy oh boy, the spirit that you feel
when you are in the same room as an apostle of the lord...I will never
forget these experiences. I am so lucky!!! It was, yet another,
amazing experience.

These past two weeks we have been able to try to get in contact with
all of the less actives and part member families in the ward. We have
been working with the sisters and were able to put a huge dent into
it. We should be finishing up with it by this week.  We have been able
to meet with most of the ward council and was able to push the
Covenant Path with them by presenting it to them at ward council on
Sunday. We are getting ourselves organized for many miracles to
happen! We have been working closely with the Sisters, Bishop, and our
Ward Mission Leader to help kick things off in the ward and to get
everyone excited about missionary work! The sisters and us have been
able to set up a Book of Mormon class every tues for everyone and
anyone to come and read the scriptures with us and to invite their
non-member friends, we officially set up morning sports every Saturday
so the youth could invite their friends to play volleyball and to meet
the missionary's, and we are meeting with all the youth on Tues for
mutual to present and kick off missionary work. We will be asking them
some of the questions they run into from their non-member friends,
teach them how to bring up the gospel in a day to day situation, and
will help them and give them the tools to more effectively share the
gospel.  Tracting is not at all affective here so we have been trying
to get creative by working more with our ward council and with the
youth. We are hoping and praying that things work out.

It was so cool!  So this past Sunday was Elder Valentine's first
Sunday in the field, and both of ours here in the ward. With it being
fast and testimony meeting, we planned, as the sisters and elders, to
share our testimonies with the ward. We tied in missionary work with
our testimonies. I shared an experience that I had before my mission
with participating in missionary work. I talked about how we can act
on the promptings of the spirit, open our mouths and invite, and pray
for missionary opportunities. I shared how I felt prompted to invite a
lot of my non member friends to my missionary farewell. Several came
to my farewell. I then shared with them how 6 months later I received
word that three of my best friends were baptized. How the lord can
bless us with miracles as we act on the promptings we receive! WOW!!!
It was awesome! The rest of the meeting was centered upon missionary
work! It was so cool to watch and see more hope entering in the eyes
of the members here. It was such a difference from our first week
here. It was super sad...our first week we had members telling us left
and right that we don't baptize here, but plant a lot of seeds, and
that people just aren't interested. It was sad to see their lack of
hope. After yesterday everyone seems to be more optimistic and
hopeful. Bishop Wilson and our Ward Mission Leader Brother Jamison
have more of a spring in their step and are pumped!! We are sooo
excited to see what will await us as we continue to press forward and
build the ward up here. I have already fell in love with the members.
I know why I am here and what I need to do. I am so grateful to be
serving and learning and growing. These past 2 weeks have been
difficult, but they have been some of the most joyous weeks in my
mission. I can't wait to see what is yet to come.

I want to wrap up this email with something that I learn from the
meeting that we had with Elder Ballard and our ward leaders.

I loved when Elder Ballard told us that It doesn't matter about our
accomplishes in this life, what matters is how many souls we are able
to touch and bring closer to Christ. I have been pondering  on this
ever since. When all is said and done, when we die and move onto the
next life, it isn't going to matter what kind of house, car, job,
money, or things we had. What will matter will be our inner commitment
to brings souls unto Christ.  Did we make the effort to share the
gospel with everyone we met? We need to pray for missionary
opportunities EVERYDAY!!!! Call and pray for those blessings THEN act
on the promptings of the spirit. Keep things simple. Excersize faith
and then relax and do the will of the lord. The Lord is cheering for
us to open our mouths and to share with others the blessings that come
from living the gospel. Because we have been given much we too must
give. What helps motivate me to share the gospel is to think and
imagine my life without it. Where would I be? How would I feel? This
gospel makes all of the difference. We know where we came from, why we
are here, and were we are going after this life. We know that families
are forever. We have found purpose. It is our duty as members of the
church to help others, to lift each other's burdens, serve and love
each other, and to share the gospel with them. We don't have to be
perfect at it we just need to try because after all "a saint is a
sinner that keeps trying." There are so many blessings that come from
missionary work. "How great shall be your joy..." (D&C 18} Your
testimony will increase and Heavenly Father will open up the windows
of heaven and pour out so many blessings! BEING A MISSIONARY IS THE

I hope that everyone has the best week ever and that we all take the
time to reflect and ponder how much this gospel blesses or can bless
our lives. Take things a day at a time and rely on Christ who is a
sure foundation set for us. "We can do all things through Christ who
strengthens us!" I love you all so very much. Hope everyone is healthy
and happy. Always remember who you are and your worth...and as always

Elder Shaw

Typical Elder Shaw!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Happy April!

Boy oh boy. This past week has been the shortest, yet felt long with all of the things that we were able to accomplish. My brain is still scrambled. Opening a new area is difficult, yet this past week has been on of my favorites on my mission. General Conference was the bomb! 

I really hope that this email will make sense. My mind has been going a mile a minute and it has been difficult to sort things through. Just feeling very unorganized, which isn't my favorite feeling. 

Right now we are living with the Sunset Hill Elders. It has been so much fun! I love Elders Anderson and Prestgard. It has been so cool because I have been able to serve around them so far since they started their missions. Actually for my entire district I have been able to see when they started their missions...feels super weird. It has been really cool to watch them grow and see their confidence increase. OUR DISTRICT IS INCREDIBLE. I LOVE all of our missionary's. 

So a quick run down for the week. On Tues evening we were able to have dinner with Bishop Wilson. He is awesome. We were able to introduce ourselves and build the trust in the ward. We talked to him about the covenant path and we will be presenting it in our ward council this Sunday! Very exciting. 

Missionary work in the Skyline Ward has been in an all time low. There hasn't been a whole lot of member missionary work. The sisters here have been struggling to find people to teach. We are focusing on working more with members and build their trust in the missionary's so they can trust us with people to teach. :) The ward is awesome though. They really want to help us, but don't know how. Hopefully we will be able to find families to teach! :)

On Weds we were able to tract...A LOT! At the end of the day we were able to find 2 new investigators!!! We are starting to teach a part member family: Collins/Thomas family. Rob Collins, the father is a non-member. We will be having family home evening with them every week and go through the missionary discussions (good practice for my son too!;) We also were able to get a return appointment with Lakshmi! So this was a miracle. We were tracting off of Stonebridge Pl and with no luck we felt prompted to knock on this door. Lakshmi answered and we were able to talk about how the gospel blesses families and gave her a Book of Mormon and set up a return appointment. It turns out that she works for Intel and was home for the day because she was sick. She seemed very interested and was very nice. She has a husband and a daughter and son. We will see them this Sat! 

On Thurs we had our new missionary meeting. It went well...I completely forgot how mine feels like ages ago and so many things have changed. We then were able to do some weekly planning before dinner with the Elders Quorum President, Brother Marostica! Soooo funny story about that...Brother Marostica is my dentist here!!! I met him a year ago and the last time I went to the dentist it was really funny. He told me that he was in the Skyline ward and that it would be awesome if I was able to serve here. Low and behold here I am!!! :) I LOVE the Marostica family! They are great and are so sweet and good to us. Very excited to work with them! After dinner we were able to meet with him and discuss some people that we could visit. It has helped a lot. Hopefully they will pan out far no luck....none are interested ;(. 

On Friday we had our district meeting. I will say it again...I LOVE MY DISTRICT!! It was a lot of fun and we have so many great ideas to find more people to teach. We are starting a Book of Mormon class every Tues night at 8, we will be starting up morning sports with the youth on Sat so they can invite their non-member friends, and we have started "Chalk in the Park," where we draw out the plan of salvation on the sidewalk in different parks in our areas and leave our number and the plan of salvation pamphlets. We were able to kick it off on Friday and it was awesome. We handed out a lot of pamphlets and we got calls from excited members who absolutely loved the idea! We will get things rolling here!! 

Saturday and Sunday we went out tracting between conferences. Wasn't conference AMAZING!!! I can't wait to sit down and read and mark them all up! 

I loved President Uchtdorf's talk: "He Will Place You on His Shoulders and Carry You Home." Here are some of the highlights from the talk: 

"There is no life so shattered that it cannot be restored...Our Savior, the Good Shepherd, knows and loves us—he knows and loves you. He knows when you are lost, and He knows where you are. He knows your grief. Your silent pleadings. Your fears. Your tears. It matters not how you became lost—whether because of your own poor choices or because of circumstances beyond your control. What matters is that you are His child. And He loves you. He loves His children. Because He loves you, He will find you...So what must we do?
His invitation is simple:
 “Turn … to me” [Joel 2:12].
 “Come unto me” [Matthew 11:28].
 “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you” [D&C 88:63].
This is how we show Him that we want to be rescued...If you cannot say you know God is there, you can hope that He is. You can desire to believe. That is enough to start.
Then, acting on that hope, reach out to Heavenly Father. God will extend His love toward you, and His work of rescue and transformation will begin."

I know that Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father loves us so much. He wants us to come closer to them. They have given us so much! Our families, the earth, the gospel and most of all the atonement. May we turn to them, come unto them, and draw near to them. In doing so they will draw even so nearer to us. The handle is on our side and we have to choose whether we want to let them in. 

Well we are super excited for the upcoming adventures that we will have this week. I love it here! Elder Valentine is incredible! He came pre-trained! Hopefully we will get settled in to our new place this week (sounds like weds) and find more people to teach! 


Elder Shaw