Monday, August 15, 2016

Keep Working to the End!

Area:  Leavenworth, Kansas    
Companion:  Elder Tuala

It's kinda crazy that it's come to an end just like that!  Two years of being in Missouri and Kansas and it just ends...  The great thing is that these two years were such a great molding phase of my life.  They have helped me become someone so much greater than I was before and for that I am eternally grateful. :).

My plans for this last week are pretty simple!  Keep working to the end!  We have appointments throughout the days to help keep us busy and my mind off of things.  One of the members I am close with in Kearney is coming up to have lunch with us on Tuesday so I'm excited for that!  

Again, I am so eternally grateful to my Heavenly Father and to my Savior Jesus Christ for this amazing opportunity to serve the people in the Missouri, Independence Mission.  I have been able to cultivate through the spirit, a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Who knows where I would be right now if it hadn't been for this decision.  When you get lost in the work of others, you truly do find yourself (That is a sneak peak into my homecoming talk).   

Love you all so much!!!  See ya in a couple of days! :D

Elder Shoemaker

Monday, August 8, 2016

Feeling Christlike Love......

Area:  Leavenworth, Kansas    
Companion:  Elder Tuala

Hello!  Not to sure how long this will be, my patience with writing emails is very limited, haha!

As far as the Walker connection, we are for sure related!  Haven't found out the details.  They do have the same William Holmes Walker book that we have, a hard bound one.  I'll see if I can find out more!

I'm pretty excited to be returning home, Fast Sunday was a really good day for me in receiving answers about some of the questions that I have about returning.  The Savior sure does work in mysterious ways. :). The missions returning home with me are Elder Michaelson, Elder Walker, and Sister Prior.  There are only 4 of us coming home that day and the rest that I went into the MTC with will be returning home the next week after that.

I have realized what missionary work is truly about this week.  We have been working really closely with this man in the ward who has been a member just over 4 years.  He has a serious addiction problem to various substances and is quite open about it.  We told him that we are more than willing to come over whenever he needs us to.  We got a call from him at about 6:30pm yesterday but we weren't able to get back to him until 8:15pm because we were in an appointment.  He didn't answer his phone and he told us if he doesn't answer his phone it is probably because he is drunk.  So we went over to his house and we found him drunk, just completely plastered.  He has been drinking since his teenage years and he is probably in his 50s or 60s now.  He has a big desire to quit, but he just can't figure out why he keeps doing this to himself.  It was a very humbling experience to see him in this position, we wanted to help in anyway we could.  I think this is when I have felt the most Christlike love for someone while on my mission.  I just want him to be able to work toward the right direction and he wants it to, the addiction right now is his first priority and that's hard to see.  Hopefully over the next coming years he will be able to make the changes he needs to in his life.

I love you all!  See ya in 10 days!

Elder Shoemaker

One of the many prisons in this town. This one has held many famous
people such as, Michael Vick, Al Capone, and the Boston bomber...

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Lorin and Lovina Line....

Area:  Leavenworth, Kansas    
Companion:  Elder Tuala

Well, I had a big email typed up and then it got deleted because my iPad spazzed out so that sucks!  We will see how much patience I have to try and type it all back up...  :P.

We had some good service opportunities this week!  We helped this one guy move and his house was just infested with mice!  When they were moving the couch, two mice came running out of the bottom of it and the owner kept trying to stomp on them. Haha! He was yelling at us to stomp on them too, kinda funny!

We also helped another family move all the stuff out of their house because they were getting their carpets cleaned.  This house was pretty run down and treated very poorly by the people living in it.
There was an older lady that was living their and she was wearing a shirt that was really baggy and to short to cover her stomach, so I got flashed about 20 times by her every time she would bend down to
pick something up...  But! We got the job done and dipped out of there pretty quick.

We also did some service at a truck rally in a small town around here. It was pretty sweet, reminded me a lot of the cache county fair.

We got a new ward mission leader this week!  He is a great guy and is living here for a year by himself because both him and his wife are active duty and his wife is still in Korea with the rest of the
family.  He drive this sweet Tesela that we got to ride in down to the truck rally.  It goes 0-60 in just over 4 seconds.  You will have to go and check them out online, it was like riding in a space ship.

Also, at church today I was talking with one of the members who's last name is Walker.  Turns out she is a distant cousin to us!  She is related to Lorin and Lovina!  Pretty crazy, it's a small world.  She has some relatives in our stake back home as well.  I don't have much information, but we are going to swing by sometime and talk to them a little bit more soon.

Well, that is about it for the week!

Love you all!

Elder Shoemaker

Monday, July 25, 2016

A Visit from Elder Anderson

Area:  Leavenworth, Kansas    
Companion:  Elder Tuala

This has been a really great week, full of lessons and teaching.  It has been awhile since I have had a week this busy, the Lord truly did bless us this week.  This was my first full week of walking in 15 months because we are now on part time car.  It has been good to get to know more of the members in this area and to build those relationships.

The weather has been super crazy this week for walking.  It has been in the 90's every day with 80-100% humidity which makes it around 100-120 degrees.  The humidity just makes you sweat a bunch so that by the time you make it to your appointment your shirt is completely soaked through with sweat, but it's all part of the experience!  Haha!

This past Monday Elder Anderson of the Quorum of the Twelve came to the mission and spoke with us for a couple of hours.   We all got to shake his hand which is always an awesome experience.  What he talked about that made the biggest impact on me was about doing the right thing.  He said that we need to be OK in life with not knowing.  Not knowing what happened to the guy that you shared a message of hope with, or the lady you helped down the street, or the guy you gave that pass a long card to.  It can be easy to get discouraged when we don't see results and we can give up.  He talked about how it is OK to not know what happens, our faith will grow as we have these experiences.  This week I have been trying to have more experiences that I will not know and it has been going great.  :).

We had such an amazing lesson with a lady named Debra this week!  She lives just below us in our apartment.  We went over and had dinner with her and then she started asking questions.  At the end of the 2 hours spent over there, we needed up teaching the whole restoration, plan of salvation, and even went into the temple!  She committed to come to church and she showed up!  :D.  The only thing is, is that we will be passing her off to the Leavenworth 2nd elders because she is in there area.  But she is an amazing lady!  We are excited to see where she ends up.

We also have some fun opportunities of service with a guy named brother Lee.  This week I took out his fuel filter on in 77' Chevy and next week I will be putting in a new one for him.  Nice to get my hands dirty every now and then!

That was about all of our missionary experiences this week!   Hope you all have a great time and enjoy the last couple weeks of summer.

Elder Shoemaker

Monday, July 18, 2016

Last Transfer - Leavenworth Kansas

Area:  Leavenworth, Kansas    
Companion:  Elder Tuala

Welp, I got trunky transferred!  Haha

I'm now in Leavenworth, Kansas which in about 45 minutes north of my last area.  Completely different area than my last area!  This is a military town, there is a military post here and also a prison here. Almost all of the members are military and only live here for about 3 years or so.  Crazy thing is, I was the district leader over this area a little over a year ago in Parkville so I have been on exchanges a couple of times in this area!  It is nice to already know some of the streets and one or two of the members.  I'm excited to see what Elder Tuala and I can accomplish here.

Oh!  Yes, my new comp is Elder Tuala.  He is Samoan and is from California.  He is 25 which is pretty nice because he is way chill about everything.  He is one of the most humble companions I have had on my mission.  I am follow up training him, but he already has pretty much everything down, he's great!  I'm so greatful to have him as my companion and we are going to be getting a lot done here!  :D Hopefully I can keep the weight off, last time I was with a Polly companion I put the pounds on pretty quick! ;D

The lessons I learned in my last area were: don't waste time, stay obedient, be a good influence and example,  attitude is everything, and be responsible for your own choices.  Lenexa was tough for me, it was definitely my refiners fire!  I struggled with my testimony, why I was out here, and what in the world I was doing.  I had a bad attitude and that effected my whole outlook on everything I was doing.  I forgot to look outward, instead I was looking inward at myself...  Me, me, me...  I couldn't figure out why things were going the way they were going.  I needed to get out of myself and go and serve!  That is what I plan on doing here in Leavenworth, I don't care what I did in the past, what people say about this area, or if anyone gets in my way.  All I'm going to do for this last 5 weeks of my mission is serve the Lord with all my heart, might, mind, and strength.  Leave it all on the field and have no regrets.  That's why I'm here, to serve the Lord.  :).

My first day here in this area we ran into a lady that wanted to bash with us!  Haha...  I've really realized that with time coming to a close, I don't have time for that crap.  She is not who I am searching for at all.  I cut it to a close with her pretty quickly, swallowed my pride, and we went out and about our way.  :P

This area doesn't have to much going on right now as far as anyone teaching super solid.  We are working very diligently and we are already seeing the blessings as people are starting to pop up out of the wood works.  Also, members here are really on the ball when it come to having a desire to do missionary work, I'm excited to start working with them and see what we can get going there.

Leavenworth is so different from Lenexa, but it is a good change and I am happy to be here until I die off and come home!

Love you all so much  and thank you for the support!

Elder Shoemaker

Elder Tuala my new companion!

 Posterity Picture
Elder Tuala (I'm follow up training), Me, Elder Thompson (I trained him), Elder Wood (Elder Thompson trained him), Elder Model (Elder Wood trained him), and Elder New (Trained by Elder Model)

 Member in my last ward took us on a killer ride in this Jaguar!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Lenexa, Lessons, Laman and Lemnuel

 Area:  Lenexa, Kansas      
Companion:  Elder Bradley

Hello Everyone!!!

For the 4th of July this past Monday we had a good time playing basketball at the church like we do every week.  We had plans to go over to a members house at 3pm and to hang out with them and have
dinner and games there for a little bit.  They had a bunch of teenagers there who all wanted to go play basketball at the church so we went and played for another hour or so.  Dinner and games were pretty fun at the Coopers house!  We didn't get to go to any fireworks as we still had to be home by 9:30pm.  All of Johnson County also has a no firework policy anyway.  Off our back patio we could see fireworks off in the distance that we watched for a little while before we went to bed.  That was about all we did on the 4th.

We had MLC this past Wednesday which was really good!  We talked about having faith unto miracles.  This is something I really needed as I have been struggling in seeing miracles in the missionary efforts in this area.  I know that it is because I have not been looking hard enough for them!  I look back on the things that I have learned here in this area and realize that I have been more like Laman and Lemuel. I experienced miracles, but I didn't let them effect me.  I was going through them and not letting them go through me.

Mormon 9: 20-21 
And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust.

Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth.

But we know that God wants us to experience miracles!

2 Nephi 27:23 
 For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith.

I have been learning a valuable lesson here in Lenexa, that is to stop complaining, check my attitude every now and then, make sure my heart is in the right place, and get to work!  I feel like the experiences and the stress of this area really tore me down to a point where now I realize that I am nothing as a missionary without God's help.  I am so grateful for what I have learned and am still learning here.  :).

Transfers are this week on Thursday!  I'll let you know if I get transferred or not!  That day will mark my 5 weeks left...  It is very likely that I will get transferred because I have been with Elder Bradley for two transfers and in the area for two and a half transfers.  But, you never know what president has in mind for us missionaries!  This will be my last transfer before I go home! :O. Kinda crazy to think about...  Oh, and also to go along with that news, I got a trainers call.  I will be training a new missionary or follow up training for my last transfer so I most likely will be in a new area. ;P

I officially gave my last zone training this past week!  That was nice to know that I would be done with those after that.  They are great experiences and all, but I was kinda ready to be done.  It will be
nice to be on the receiving end for my last zone training.  :).

We got word that Elder Anderson of the Quorum of the Twelve will be coming to our mission on the 18th of July, so that should be good!

That's about it for this week!

Love you all!

Elder Shoemaker

Ps: there is a family that just moved into the ward out here who were in our ward 4 years ago!  I didn't recognize them, but we put connections together and figured it out.   Their names are the Hulls.

Elder Shoemaker and "Dory"

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July!

Area:  Lenexa, Kansas      
Companion:  Elder Bradley

Happy 4th of JULY!!!!!!! 

We have been doing a ton of service this week!  It seems that everyone and their dog is moving this week.  We have helped about 5 different families move, so that has been nice!  One of the families that we have helped move has family in Utah who are members but this family we helped were not members. We finished moving them in on Saturday and asked if we could come back to share a message with them about Jesus Christ and they gladly accepted!  We will be returning to teach Kate on Tuesday so we are excited about that. :)

Other than that we have been teaching less actives and have been trying to find through them, but no success in that area yet.

This week I have also been studying a lot about Joseph Smith and his trials that he went through.  One of my favorite phrases that describes the kind of man that he was is found in the Doctrine and Covenants section 135 verse 3: 3 "Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it..."  It is truly a blessing to have the Liberty Jail in our mission and to be able to experience and see what he did has really been a strengthening point to my testimony.

Thanks for all the support and love!

Elder Shoemaker