Monday, June 27, 2016

Back in the Good O' Woods of Estacada!

This past week has flown by so fast...I don't know where the time went!?! I feel like one of the luckiest missionary's ever to be able to come back to where I started my mission to see the changes and growth in the ward and in myself. Not only was I super excited to see everyone, but the ward was excited to see me! Elder Hansen and I were asked to speak on Sunday and share our testimonies and it truly felt like my homecoming talk...WEIRD! I am not ready for that! This week we have hit the ground running! The elder before us only taught an average of 2 lessons a week...this past week we taught 20!! We had 6 member presents, 2 other lessons, 12 RCLA's, and we found 3 new investigators as well as 2 new families to teach!! In ward council this past week Bishop Hawkins called us the energizer bunny, we keep going and going. It was such a blessing to see a lot of the less actives and former investigators this past week as well as meet new members, new investigators, and watch in awe some of the less actives come back to church. It has been a real blessing to see some of the fruits of the efforts here. I know that we can sometimes feel like our efforts aren't good enough or that all of our hard work may not pay off sometimes, but the blessings come. When I shared my testimony I was doing all that I could not to get too emotional...I only got choked up 5 times no big... ;) I guess I have gotten a little tougher!

ITS THE FINAL COMPANION! Elder Hansen is incredible! He is a farmer from Logan, Utah specifically Hyde Park, Utah. He is so funny, is a hard worker, and a great comp to end my mission with. Another blessing!

The Brown's are incredible. They aren't the Peterson's, but they have brought so much good to the ward. So sad that they are leaving on July 20th. ;( We aren't sure if they will have a replacement so it may just be back to 1 set in Estacada now that the Spanish is gone. The cool part is that I will be able to go to the departing temple trip with the Browns and bear my testimony with them. Sister Brown is from Mesa, Arizona!!! So is such a sweet lady with a great sense of humor. Elder Brown is the prankster and jokester. We love them so much and work really close with them. We have our nightly prayers with them and for p day this morning we were able to hang out with them. Such great people.

So Monday we rushed over to Estacada...I forget how Estacada is in they middle of nowhere. A lot of travel time, but boy did it feel good to drive into town. It has felt like nothing has changed. It is so cool. When we have been going around town I have been able to talk with people (non members) that I did when I was a Greenie. They were so happy and surprised to see me back. It feels like home! So we got here and dropped off our things in our apartment, but then we learned that we would be moving into the Spanish Elders apartment which is a lot cooler and nicer (apartment number is now #104 mommy;) We scrambled and moved all of our stuff downstairs and tried to get things settled in our new apartment. We then raced over to a dinner that we didn't know we had (the area was sooo disorganized!!). Our 1st dinner back was with Marilyn and Tom Jones!!!! I was dying inside!! So excited to see them. It was sooo funny...on our way to dinner we saw a butch of little kids jumping on the trampoline nude and I told Elder Hansen "Welcome to Estacada!" I was dying laughing!!! Marilyn and Tom are doing sooo good. They were so surprised to see me again. We were able to have dinner with them and we set a date for Tom to receive the Melchizedek priesthood for July last Sunday of my mission. They are so sweet...I love them sooo much! Both have been coming to church weekly...another tender mercy to see them grow and their testimonies strengthened...I felt like a parent!

Kinda cool so we had Sister Billows text us when we got here and asked if we could come over and have a lesson. What is funny is that my first dinner on my mission was with the Billows so that was sweet! BOTH of them came to church this past Sunday!!!

We were able to teach and catch up with Gena Chasteen, Sister Felicia English, the Darity's, Edie Karlin, the Steens, and the Higley's this past week and invited them to church. It was so good to seem them all again and to try to finish what we started here. I love them all so much. It was like catching up with family, but things were different...I was different. I could feel how I have gained so much confidence and a burning testimony on my mission. The atonement has really changed me and it was really cool to have a lot of the members comment how I have grown. :)

This past week we were able to meet with some new investigators. Sara Dysart, April Newton, and Troy Schupp. We are planning to set some dates here this week with Sara and April. April is already praying about getting baptized! So much potential here. We also have a lot of youth from Job Core coming down to attend church and wanting to meet with us! One week there was 12 people from Job Core coming down to attend church with us. We were able to meet with Keith and Zedekiah and will have lessons with them both this week probably on Thursday. Soooo much potential that we are busting out the seams! We got a referral from Bro Trujillo the elders quorum president of a family, the Ferguson's who were interested in learning about the church. We will be going and teaching them with bro Trujillo this weds. WE ARE SOOO EXCITED!

We were able to do service for several non members this week. We did service for a family we met, the Haggstroms and started teaching Matt (the dad) the restoration and gave him a Book of Mormon. He was really interested and him and the family were so good to us. We will hopefully teach the family this weds. We also meet a gal, Melodie and was able to help her on her clients property. She takes care of a man named Gary who has altimeters and Parkinson's and keeps the property ship shape. When we got there we shoveled rotten straw and oh my smelt so bad!! I was dry heaving and was dying....I had to smile and say, "It's soo good to be back in Estacada." Elder Hansen was laughing sooo hard because he was use to it...I had to laugh. We will be going over there Tues and hopefully will be able to teach her. She has been taught before so we shall see how it goes.

One Sunday we were able to have dinner with the Browns who invited the Higley's and the Lazott's (Summer and Jason got married). As you know the Higley's are less active and Jason is a non member. After our yummy dinner we taught the gospel of Jesus Christ and had an amazing discussion. Jason and most especially the Higley's really opened up. I was is so sad to see and hear of some of the terrible things that happen to people. My heart just aches...I couldn't imagine how the Savior feels. It was a humbling week. I am so grateful for my savior who knows and loves me.

Something that the Browns shared with all of us at dinner really stood out to me this past week. "Are you a part of the INN crowd, or one of the STABLE few?" Referring to Jesus Christ's birth it really makes you think about where we are at spiritually compared and where we are at in the world. Where are you? In the Inn or with Christ at the Stable?

Until next time! Have a great week!! I love you all!!

Elder Shaw

Monday, June 20, 2016

Back to Estacada!

Well transfer news is in and I will be getting transferred for one
last time. You are not going to believe where I am going....I AM GOING
BACK TO ESTACADA FOR 6 WEEKS!!!!!!!!!!  I got an email this past
week from President Ballard asking me if I would be willing to go
back. Recently, the missionary's down there haven't been doing squat
and the missionary's have lost the trust in the ward. My job for the
next 6 weeks is to work my butt off and gain the trust back and get
things moving. That is my plan and I am sooo excited!!! I will be
white washing in (where 2 brand new missionary's go into an area)
which I am excited about because I will be able to just jump right in
and not have anyone to hold me back. My comp is amazing too!! Elder
Hansen! I was able to serve around him in Oregon City and he is such a
great, hardworking missionary with a lot of humor! ;) We will have a

Also quick update with the Skyline Ward...this next transfer the ward
will be losing the sisters. There are only Elders in the ward now. I
am so excited/proud to have Elder Valentine take over the area. His
new companion is Elder Vincent. Elder Valentine will do a great job,
hopefully things will keep moving forward. This past week we were able
to do a lot of service! We were able to help out Jeff with his yard
again on Weds, go to the food bank, volunteer at an 8th Grade end of
the year party which was fun, help out at the blueberry farm, pick up
llama poop :/, help out at Bob the bike guys, and move bark dust for a
less active family in the ward where we were able to get in contact
with another less active family. Service for dayz! It was a fun filled
week...on a sad note we had to drop Nels, our atheist that we are
teaching. We taught him the doctrine and there is only so much we can
do. It comes down to praying to know if the things we teach are true
that is how we find truth is by asking the source who won't lie to us
and is all knowing. We will keep in contact with him though...such a
sweet man.

You aren't going to believe what I did on Sunday...I sang a solo...:/
I usually don't sing, but it was TJ Kennedy's farewell so the
missionary's sang "I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go." I was asked to
sing the verses and then all of us came together on the chorus. I
guess we did a good job...ugh it was my first time ever singing in
sacrament meeting so I was super nervous...oh well happy it is over!

Today is going to be very crazy and busy...I have to finish backing
(since we got the official news last night and I was running around
getting pics with members here), sister Allen who I love and will miss
in the ward gave is Columbia passes so we will head over there at 9.
We will then try to get together one last time as a district before we
all get split up ;( so sad...this has been one of my favorite
districts. We will be meeting up at 11:30 before transfers and will
eat at the Beaverton sub shop. Then we will be off to transfers and
then I will pick up my new comp and we will start heading down to
Estacada and get to work (the only drawback of going to Estacada is
that you are literally in the middle of nowhere...oh well it will be
fun...AGAIN! ;)

I love you all so much! Thanks for all of your love and support!!
Here is a short thought that I would love to leave with you from a
mission tour that we had this past week with Elder Nielson. It was
pretty amazing! Here are some of my notes:

Atonement 2 Parts:

Redeeming Power: sin, cleanse, repent, forgiveness, baptize, and saved
by grace.
*we access the redeeming power by REPENTANCE
-helps us become good from bad

Enabling Power: strength, load, change, become, changed by grace,
*we access the enabling power by submitting cheerfully and with patience.
-helps us become our best from better and good.

Mosiah 24:15
Mosiah 3:19- the natural man is like a flowing river. We need to
change the flow of the river. Natural Man means opportunity to change
and become better.
Mosiah 27:25

****when a trial comes submit cheerfully and be patient****

I learned even more about the atonement from Elder Nielson,
specifically about the enabling power. I have felt my savior Jesus
Christ carry me in some parts of my mission as I have accessed the
enabling power of the atonement. Patience is required, but as we
submit to gods will cheerfully we will be able to be strengthened and
changed from good to better to our best.

Have a wonderful week!

Elder Shaw

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Happy Father's Day Daddy's!

Also Happy Flag Day tomorrow. Be Patriotic! Whip the American flag out and wave um! ;)

Oh my gosh!!! I can't believe that we will be half-way through the month this week. Where does the time go? So I heard that it has been super hot in AZ...mmmm I might not come home until the end of the year when it is cooler. Ha! It has been gorgeous here. It has cooled off a bit and has been sunny. Summer's here in Portland are simply put, "Perfect!" Not too hot, not too cold, everything is's the best!

Another Day of Service!
So this week was crazy! The 1st part of our week was rough. We tracted a lot of Tues and Weds with no luck. All of our lessons cancelled! ;( What was going on? We were being obedient, and diligent. It was already Thursday, we have been working our butts off and we haven't taught a single lesson? We couldn't quit!! We kept knocking and talked with everyone. Thursday afternoon we were tracting on NW 125th Ave. The 1st 20 houses that we knocked on people either didn't answer or weren't interested. Right when we were about to leave I had a thought come to my head actually a poem that was my Great Grandma's "Don't Quit." So we kept knocking and pushing ourselves and MIRACLES!!! We found 4 new investigators and was able to teach 7 lessons that day!!!! God hears and answers our prayers. We need to keep pressing forward especially when we feel like we are going to quit because that is when miracles happen. I have seen it so much on my mission. NEVER GIVE UP!

Guess who?
2 Nephi 25:23 "For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." I know that as we labor diligently and do all that we can do that the Lord is able to step in and make up the difference. If our best is 90% Christ will take care of the 10%, if our best is only 5% then Christ will do 95%. We need to not only do our best, but also be patient for the blessings that our Heavenly Father will pour on us. "Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven, but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ they come. It will be alright in the end. Trust in God and believe in good things to come." -Elder Jeffery R. Holland. I know that as we apply the atonement in our lives everyday through prayer and by the way we live that we can partake of the enabling power of the atonement that is available to each of us. Christ wants to help us. We need to come unto him.

So the Car Wash....WAS A SUCCESS!! We had over 20 non-members show up and we washed at least 30 cars. We had so much support from the members in the ward. They loved the idea so we will be doing a car wash once a month in the summer months here! I will attach some pics. It was a lot of fun!

The Allens
The work is progressing here!!! This past week we had 4 investigators at church!!! YAHOOOOOO! We have been pumping up the members to reach out to their neighbors, going into their homes and teaching the restoration, been texting members uplifting scriptures and motivating them to do missionary work and.....IT HAS BEEN PAYING OFF! The Sorenson's invited a non-member friend to church this past Sunday and her and her son came! Her name is Arpitha! She is a single mom with 2 kids and comes from a non-Christian family. She is so sweet and we are looking forward to teaching them here soon. We also had several less actives come to church. The ward was soooo excited! They are beginning to see that they can do missionary work!! It's sooo exciting!! More success is right around the corner. ;)

At the end of the week we were able to teach 17 lessons and was able to find 5 new investigators. We got in with some part member families which is super exciting. Not only was it a successful week, but we had so much fun as always. So many laughs. I will send you some pics and a video!

I love you all so much! Have a wonderful day, week, and Father's Day!

Elder Shaw

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

June is HERE! 

So is the heat! It has been in the 100's over the weekend. It makes Oregon feel like more of my home haha. I am sooo happy and blessed that we have a car. It has been super toasty and add the humidity it hasn't been my favorite. Our apartment, like most places here, don't all have AC so it has been super warm and muggy. EVERYBODY and their dog left this weekend for the beach. It was super funny tracting...almost NOBODY was home. They all left trying to escape the heat. On the bright side I was able to get some color so I am not so pasty white.......maybe even a tan? ;)

It was a busy, fun filled week this past week. In the ward we have been starting ultimate frisbee every evening for family home evening. It has been soooooo much fun! The Kramers in our ward have kicked it off. We will be playing tonight at 7 and will have a lot of non-members there. We are stoaked!

This past tues I went on an exchange with the Sunset Hill Elders. I went over there with Elder Prestgard and I'll be honest, I LOVED being on a bike. (Probably because I knew it wasn't permanent). It was super hot though. We were running to and from our appointments. We had some service with a less active where we trimmed some of her bushes and trees back. We had a couple lessons with some investigators and MRL's with members. At the end of the day I was so salty (not attitude of course, but because of sweat and heat;). It was a fun exchange full of little miracles.

On Wednesday, we finished the exchange and then went over to Joan's Blueberry Farm to help her weed and get things prepared for the blueberry season among us. It was great to be in the sun and we got a lot accomplished. She is the sweetest lady. The sisters have been trying to teach her, but she is a very free spirit-> very much into nature and animals. After service, we went on a split with Bro. Defnet and Bro. Jeremy Thelin to cover two lessons we scheduled that day. Bro Defnet went with Elder Valentine to teach Nels and Bro Thelin and I went over to Hennilee's house. We were able to see the entire family: Kayla (age 11), Kyle (age 6), Hennilee and we were able to meet the dad Grant. We taught a short lesson since they were super busy and set up a return appointment for this tues at 5. We are hoping that this is one of the families that we have been praying for to teach and baptize. After our short lesson I took bro Thelin tracting and he was impressed with what we did. I also the some of the greatest conversations with him. Again, love the Thelins. We then reunited and then Bro Thelin took us out to Shari's which was the I have fallen in love with their s'mores pie shake...mmmm it is soooo good!!!!

Thursday I had my last zone was weird so I tried not to think to much about it. I had my last stewardship interview with President Ballard. I love him!! So grateful to have had him as my mission president these past 2 years. I have learned much from his example and service. He talked about how he has a special place in his heart for me and for those that come to the field with me since we were his first group. We then talked about the area and I guess I am doing an amazing job with the members? It is so easy to feel like your efforts aren't taking things anywhere, but it was so good to hear how it has been making an effort. The ward loves us yay!! We then talked about how next transfer would look like. It is in a toss up. I could stay and Elder Valentine could leave or he could stay and I leave. I am pushing to have Elder Valentine stay because I know that as a new missionary have the opportunity to take over an area can be difficult, but all of the things you learn and grow makes it worth it. We shall see what happens?

Friday Food Bank! Nice to escape the heat and participate in the fresh alliance at the food bank. Always a blast. We then went tracting some more and had a couple of member referral lessons. Then on Saturday we had our morning sports with the youth and played some tennis at the park and did some Zumba. It was a blast! Then for lunch we had jumba juice. I got the usual Caribbean Passion...mmmm so good! We then met up as a district and had our weekly "chalk in the park," (where we draw the plan of salvation at several parks in the area) and then did a "car wash demo at the church. Everything seems to be coming together which makes me less stressed and even more happy. We then had our usual Saturday blitz. We went to the Sunset Hills area and I tracted with Elder Anderson. I had 3 awkward moments in the row when we went tracting. I was talking to this lady who was doing some yard work outside and asked her if she needed any help. She said no and then I was trying to strike up a conversation with her, but then she literally ran inside the garage, closed it and slammed the door behind her...mmmm awk. The next house we knocked on a crusty member (we don't know if she is active or not) she answered and told us that she was already LDS...mmmm awk. Then the last house we knocked and I rang the doorbell, but you know sometimes the doorbell likes to stick and so I accidentally rang it again...AT LEAST 3 times. There was a party going on inside that we didn't know of so I guess I was just adding some more music to the party. Hehehe! After the blitz we contacted some less actives and then had dinner with our bishop. He smoked the best chicken ever. Mmmmhmmm goood! We love the wilsons. After dinner and our message we were able to swing on their 3 swings which was know me always making things goofy. :)

Sunday Funday! We had a great fast and testimony weird that I only have 1 more...ugh I got a little emotional, but kept my cool. The services were great! We then met for choir practice and prepared for our performance next Sunday. We also were asked to sing with the primary on Father's Day "We'll Bring the World His Truth." I love that song...I hope I can keep it together!

Things have been pretty fine and dandy here. Just having the time of my life. Today for p-day we are going over to Justin and Ashley Thelin's home to play in their gym, volleyball outside, and to gorge ourselves in Kalua pork! 😋 it's gonna be fun!!

For a thought this week I would like to leave 2 quotes that I found that I absolutely love!

President Gordon B. Hinckley has said: “It is very important to be happy in this work. We have a lot of gloomy people in the Church because they do not understand, I guess, that this is the gospel of happiness. It is something to be happy about, to get excited about.”

“… Service keeps us from forgetting the Lord our God, because being among and serving our brothers and sisters reminds us that Father is ever there and is pleased when we serve, for while the recipients of our service are our neighbors, they are His children.” Elder Neal A. Maxwell

Giving service=receiving happiness

I love you all and I am grateful for your love and support. Special prayers to Lana Tucker, Packer Family, and many others who are going through some difficult times. We love you, the lord loves you and knows your pains and sufferings. Keep pressing forward with a steadfastness in Christ having a brightness of hope and love for God.

Love you!

Elder Shaw