Monday, December 28, 2015

First SNOWFALL!

Area:  Kansas City, Missouri (Fleming Park Ward)
Companion:  Elder Monroe



 Hello family!

It was really great to talk to you all!  It was fun to see everyone and see how everyone has changed.  You all look so great!

Also, I decided that I would not buy the suit and just wait it out the 8 months.  I can make due, that money will be better used somewhere else.  But I did buy a new pair of shoes today. :)  Thank you!

We finally had our first snow this morning!  That was fun to see.


We had a crazy lesson with Heath this past week...  We went with our ward mission leader.  It started out really well but then Heath started saying some really not necessary things about Joseph Smith. Our ward mission leader was asking him where he had gotten that information from and Heath started to turn red, got really jittery, and stood up and said that he needed to go and pray in the other room. He came back and said that our ward mission leader had a really evil spirit and that he didn't want to talk to him any more.  So we just said a prayer with him and left.  It was a really weird experience!

That's about all that I have got for you this week since we just talked on Friday.

Love you all!

Elder Shoemaker

Amey, our recent convert, got this for her husband but it didn't fit him so she gave it to me!  Isn't it nice??  There is another member of the ward that is really good with tailoring clothing so I am going to have her do that to this baby.


We had a great Christmas!!  This Santa bag was left at our door anonymously.  The people are so kind to us here.


From our Facetime call on Christmas Day!  First family photo in almost 5 years....
Gotta love a lifesize Landon!


Monday, December 21, 2015

Facetime for Christmas

Area:  Kansas City, Missouri (Fleming Park Ward)
Companion:  Elder Monroe


Hello Family and Friends!

I don't really have to much to say because I want to tell you all the stories in person on Christmas!  I did have a pretty eventful week.
  • Arm wrestling a drunk guy
  • Visiting Kearney again
  • Recording a new shoot for the zone.......and some fun other things!  

I'm excited to see and talk with you this week!

We will be face timing at our bishops house between 7-8pm Missouri time.  We are planning on being at his house at 7pm so it will probably be closer to 7:30pm-ish Missouri time.

Not really to much more to say...

Love ya!

Elder Shoemaker

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Angel Gabriel and a NEW companion

Area:  Kansas City, Missouri (Fleming Park Ward)
Companion:  Elder Monroe


Hello everyone!  This week was transfer week.  My new companion is Elder Monroe!  We were  in the same MTC zone so we have known each other since then.  We served in the Kearney 3rd ward together for about 3 months (he was one of the other sets that was there) and then I was his zone leader for another 3 months in the Farr West zone so we have some good history together.  We are super excited to be serving together and see what experiences it will bring.  We are still in the Fleming Park ward as well.

I don't understand Missouri weather...  Two weeks ago it was floating around freezing but for the past two weeks it has been in the 60's. It is supposed to drop here in the next couple of days.  We haven't gotten any snow at all, just a ton of rain.

This past week while I was still with Elder Behymer, we had the opportunity to go on a team up with a member of the stake presidency. We had a bunch of appointments set up that night with less actives and one active member.  We had one of the most spiritual lessons with him in this elderly lady's home who is really active in the church.  She lost her husband about a year ago and that has played a big part in her life lately.  We shared a message of God's love for her and she just broke down and was bawling the whole lesson.  The member of the stake presidency played a huge role in that lesson as he testified of how much she is needed and loved and how she is never alone.  That was a pretty sweet experience and I don't think there was a dry eye in the room.

This week was the ward Christmas party and it was polar express themed.  It was awesome!  We had one of our new investigators grandsons come and he is now an investigator.  It was really great to see how true fellowship and sincere care for someone can lead to much greater things.  The new investigators name is Jake and he is 11, he lives with his grandma, Becky.  We are teaching that whole family in that house.  There are also another couple in that household, it is such a great experience to be teaching this family.  They are RLDS and can see that their church is changing doctrine and moving a different direction so their hearts are open and ready to hear the gospel.  Jake has even expressed a want to be baptized already!

We are also teaching this guy named Heath.  He is searching every religion and I mean every religion for true answers.  We are having a great time teaching him but sense some insincere questions that have been planted into his head by friends.  He is a great guy and we love teaching him.  We will see where progression goes for him at this point.

On Saturday we decided it would be a good day to go out to a little town of population ZERO on the outskirts of our area.  I have never been there and there are a bunch of people on the ward roster that I didn't know who lived out there so we thought we would go and meet them. Turns out that everyone who lived out there were all less active and not really interested at all in hearing anything from us.  There was even one lady who yelled at us to get off her property and then proceeded to take our pictures as we were walking away (I didn't know we looked that good!) to give to the police (since we caused so much heartache I guess...).  Some people are just out there to be angry and they will find anything to be angry about.  Can't we all just be happy?  :-)

We had a great stake conference this Sunday with the Kansas City Stake.  There were some great talks on personal worth, sustaining your leaders, and about just being a good active member.  Our stake presidency is just amazing.  It is really cool be able to work so close with them on such a consistent basis.

As we were at transfers one of the sister came up to me and said, "the Dukes say HI!"  That was pretty cool that they were up at the Liberty Jail.  It is a small world!

Well, that is about all I've got for you this week!

Love you all!
Elder Shoemaker

While at the Christmas party I got recruited to be the angel Gabriel
because I was the only one that could fit into the white pants they
had.  That was an interesting experience!  Haha!  This is also Elder
Monroe, my new companion!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Joy to the World

Area:  Kansas City, Missouri (Fleming Park Ward)
Companion:  Elder Behymer




Hello family and friends!

This has been a great week!  I don't really have to much to say since I sent an email last Wednesday.

We had a great experience last Friday with going to a nursing home and playing music for the old folks there.  I still had the Cajon so I was able to bring that and play for some of the songs as well.  They all really enjoyed listening to the music.  A 95 year old man pulled out his harmonica and started playing with us.  It was great to see him enjoy himself like that.  He had just enough wind to get the reeds in the harmonica to vibrate, but he loved every second of it!

I did receive both Christmas boxes this past week.  Thank you so much! :)  I am also sending a box home with some stuff in their that I don't need right now, so if you could just stick it in my closet that would be great.  Also, their is the gifts for Meghan and for Josh in it.

Oh!  You should invite Mason over for the Christmas phone call.  It would be great to see him as well.

Today for P-day we are heading to the Kansas City Zoo with the whole zone.  It is our last P-day before transfers so we thought we would go out with a bang.  Elder Behymer, my companion, is going home this week which is crazy!  This is the first missionary I have killed.  It has been a good experience!  He has set a great example for me.  He is finishing strong and hasn't slacked off one bit.  It really has been great to see.

How do ya'll like the Christmas devotional?  I thought it was fantastic!  We were able to watch it with our assistant ward mission leader and his wife and less active boy.  It had such a great message and the music was fantastic as well!  The organist was going ham the whole time!

Well, That is about all I got for ya this week!  I guess we will see if I get transferred, I probably won't but it is a possibility.  I'll send you a picture with my new companion next week.

Love you all!
Elder Shoemaker

Thank you for the wonderful "Christmas from the Cabin" tree!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

All Mission Selfie

Area:  Kansas City, Missouri (Fleming Park Ward)
Companion:  Elder Behymer


Hello family and friends!  This has been one eventful week with many more to come this week.

For Thanksgiving we had three full meals...  It was a killer!  We ate with the McCarty family, Amey our recent convert, and the Taveli family.  I had so much gratitude for everyone who was so willing to give during this holiday season.  They treat us just like family and we always enjoy ourselves.

Today, we are heading to the temple!  I'm actually typing up this email on the drive over to the temple, aren't iPads just so sweet?  We are going with Amey and a couple members of the ward to do baptisms for the dead.  We helped her get some of her family names for today and this should be a fantastic day for everyone involved.  I'll send some pictures as well today.

Yesterday we had our all mission conference over in Independence! That was a great time!  We received some great training on the doctrine of Christ, the Sabbath day, and the Book of Mormon.  We were invited to read six pages of the Book of Mormon a day and we were promised that if we did that for our whole life that we would not fall away from the church and that we would always have a testimony of the Book of Mormon.  So, I invite each one of you to give it a shot!  Try to read six pages of the Book of Mormon each day until you finish it, it should take you about 12 weeks to finish it.  Your testimony and understanding of the doctrine of Jesus Christ will explode!  :D.  We received some great insights on the Sabbath day as well that provided some great things to think about.
  • The Sabbath day has been set forth from the beginning of time for a reason, why?
  • Why was the sabbath day "Hallowed?"
  • The overarching message of this past general conference was keeping the sabbath day holy.
They are teaching this so evidently because ithas become and is becoming a huge problem in the world.  The Sabbath day has become a great day for shopping sales, extra work time, and a great day to get the things done that didn't get done throughout the week.  As members of His church, we are to be that light and beacon to the world and to not follow what the world teaches.

During the conference we were also able to do a zone talent.  All the zones in the mission put one on and some were really funny!  Some also were very spiritual.  We sang a song from the forgotten carols called, "I can not find my way/three kings" and it ended up going really well!  We got a lot of compliments on it from everyone.  I was also able to sing a short little solo which was supper nerve wracking!  It was a good growing experience for me.  I was also able to find someone who had a Cajon, which is a percussion instrument.  We put it in at the end of the song and it added a lot to the energy of the music.  We also took an all mission picture around the Christus statue as well that I am excited to see.  The photographer also took a selfie with us as she was 20 feet up in scissor lift that she is going to send to Salt Lake.  She said she thinks it is the first all mission selfie taken!





Justin and Regina didn't come to church on Sunday because they had to take some family back to Sedalia who were over for Thanksgiving.  That means that they can't be baptized this Saturday, so we are still working with them on setting a new date for them to work toward. Other than that they are doing really well!

We had an amazing lesson with Spencer and Angela this past week as well at the visitors center in Independence.  We went through the display of God plan which is based on the plan of salvation and they both really enjoyed seeing that.  Afterward they had a Polynesian choir Christmas program that was really cool to watch!  Angela is from Hawaii and she was singing right along with it.  They sang most of the songs in Hawaiian and in Samoan.

That was about our week!  I'll send some pictures and a short video as well of me jamming on the Cajon.

Love you all!

Elder Shoemaker




Thanksgiving Leftovers!


Monday, November 23, 2015

Wonderful Birthday Week with a Baptism

Area:  Kansas City, Missouri (Fleming Park Ward)
Companion:  Elder Behymer


Hello everyone!

I have had a wonderful week!  Amey was baptized!  The baptism went very well and there was a good turn out from the ward.  She is a fantastic lady and will do a lot of good within the church.  Her father baptized her which was really great to see his excitement to do so.  Her progress in just the few weeks I have known her has been amazing and she continues to surprise us.  

Thank you so much for the birthday box!  It was a great boost in my day, as they always are.  I do have a picture for you...  Oh, and yes, you can go ahead and send the christmas box and both socks.  Elder Behymer will be ok, he will be home for Christmas anyway!  

 Justin and Regina came to church this past week!  They are still on track to be baptized on December 5th.  We are so excited for their progression.  Also, we are working with a part member family and Spencer and Angela came to church.  Spencer is the member.  We taught them a lesson on Sunday that went very well and had them both in tears by the Joseph Smith story.  Things are looking up for them.  We also had another lady named Connie come to church.  She has been investigating for awhile but can't be baptized because of some circumstances.  

For Thanksgiving we are having dinner with Bishops family.  We also were invited to about 4 other dinners.  I think we will be well taken care of that day!  Hopefully I won't blow up...

I have a special request for my room at home.  I would love the picture "Oh Jerusalem" in a frame above my bed.  :)  My favorite picture!   

I don't really know what to say to the ward...  Maybe just share one of my experiences that has stood out to you that I have sent home.  Maybe one on the atonement?  You can use the phrase that I have shared before, "The mission doesn't change you.  The atonement changes you and the mission field is just a green house for change."

I don't really have to much more to share from this week!  Love you all! 

Elder Shoemaker 
 
 
Elder Behymer, Amey, Arron, Me!
 

Elder Shoemaker sportin' a few things that he received for this birthday!  Handmade hat and scarf from his Aunt Kristi, USU Sweatshirt and Rudolf socks!


Monday, November 16, 2015

Heavenly Father is just so good to us....

Area:  Kansas City, Missouri (Fleming Park Ward)
Companion:  Elder Behymer


Hiya!!

This has been a great week full of some amazing things!  Miracle are just so eminent in life if we just open our eyes and look for them. Heavenly Father is just so good to us.  We must be the spoiled children, because I sure feel like he is spoiling us!

With the world series here I couldn't help but join in on the celebration and buy a shirt!  I think I am now a KC Royals fan, sorry!  :-)  We just got over the craze of the BYU and Missouri game, I can't tell you how much blue we saw here.  I ran into a lot of people from Utah who came over here to see the game, pretty cool!  There was also a huge tailgate at the Independence Stake Center and Visitors Center. I even ran into people who came to our ward this Sunday who were from the Mendon area!  I gave them the inside scoop of where all the good hidden church sights are at.

We had the great opportunity to have interviews with President and Sister Vest this past week.  Those interviews have really helped me change my perspective on missionaries.  Sometimes I feel like all I see is a bunch of young missionaries who aren't doing what they should.  I forget to look at what good they are doing.  It can be hard to look past some of the conduct of the missionaries and focus on their hearts.  I am getting a lot better at having sincere love and interest for each missionary I have stewardship over and it has been a great learning experience for me.  The Lord seems to always put us in the areas where He knows we will learn and grow the most.  He truly is good to me.

Crystal is doing great!  We are really focusing on how we can help her first kick some bad habits.  They truly do take away our agency and tear us down.  We are working through some of the church programs with her and have some great ward support that can really relate to her. She is just the sweetest lady!  I asked her where she sees herself in 20 years and her response was, "I will be an old yoga lady that works in her garden all day."  Haha!  That helps you see the kind of person she is.  We have also really been focusing on raising her self worth and how she sees herself.  We left her with the commitment to write one thing she loves about herself everyday in the front cover of her Book of Mormon, we are doing it right along with her as well.  I really emphasized on how we are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves, but how can we do that if we first don't love ourselves?  I absolutely love meeting and teach this lady.

Justin and Regina now have the same last name!!!!!!  They were married last Friday.  The missionaries have been meeting with them for about three years now and have been trying to get them married, but with their situation it was impossible.  The Lord provided a way for them!! They are still doing really well and are progressing very quickly again.  With a little firm love and a little push they are starting to kick the bad habits as well.  We have had some great lessons with them lately and they are on track to be baptized on December 5th!  They are already talking about how fun it will be to go to church and be a "real Mormon family."

Amey is doing very well (yes, that is how you spell her name :-))! She is getting baptized this Saturday at 10am.  She has come a long way and loves being called Sister "so and so..."  She has been pretty sick these past couple of weeks but she will come around here soon. It should be a great baptismal service.

 As I was studying this morning I came across this scripture in Alma 36:30 "But behold, my son, this is not all; for ye ought to know as I do know, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land; and ye ought to know also, that inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence. Now this is according to his word."

I love how basic and simply that is said.  If you keep the commandment you are blessed!  If you don't, you won't be blessed and will also "be cut off from his presence."  The gospel is not complicated, Heavenly Father doesn't make it hard for us to be happy.  He wants us to be happy and to prosper and so He has created a simple plan and very basic way for that.  How blessed are we to be able to have that knowledge?  Isn't the gospel amazing?!

That was basically our week!

Love you all!!

Elder Shoemaker



Monday, November 9, 2015

I am loving the area!

Area:  Kansas City, Missouri (Fleming Park Ward)
Companion:  Elder Behymer


Hello!  Another week cruising right on by!

We had a fantastic Sunday this week.  I loved the lesson on self reliance.  It was really good to think about goals in life and how we can develop our lives.  We also had an investigator come to sacrament, so that was good!

I am loving the area!  It has been a little weird only having to drive 5 minutes from appointment to appointment instead of driving 20-30 minutes, but it is great!  We get to teach a lot more people.  We live in a town called Blue Springs, just outside of our area.  It can be weird sometimes driving on the boarder of my old area, but it makes it a little easier navigating where we are at.  Kinda nice!

We finally got into a lesson with Justin and Regina!  They kept having things come up, but we finally got to talk with them.  It was good to see them again.  Their progression from when I last saw them has dropped dramatically.  It was interesting to see how neglecting your spiritual side can effect your whole life.  They dropped so fast from where they were.  I am excited to help them get back to where they were when I last saw them.  The lesson we had with them was awesome! Because I already had a previous relationship with them I was able to be really upfront and bold with them.  We set some great goals with them and they are now on baptismal date for December 5th!!  We are so excited for them.

We have another investigator named Amey.  She is super solid and is going to be baptized on the 21st of this month.  We just finished up all the lessons with her and are now working really hard to build and strengthen her testimony even more.  It is going to be a great baptismal program, we have had quite awhile to prepare it.  We had a great lesson with her a couple of days ago and she brought up the new change in the church regarding LGBT rights and their children joining the church.  Satan really is milking that one for all he can!  She was so hung up on that almost to the point of not wanting to be baptized because of that.  With some scriptures, prayer, and testimony she got over it and understood it.  I sure hope that concern doesn't keep coming up with others, it sure is touchy to deal with!

We had one training this past week that went really well!  That is always one of my favorite things to do as a leader.  I love learning the principles at MLC (mission leadership counsel) and then being able to bring them back to the rest of the missionaries.  I trained on accountability to the Lord.  As a leader you deal with a lot of missionaries that really hate numbers.  We use numbers to track our investigators progression and it is a very basic, simple, easy way to track someones progression.  I talked a little on that and then also hit on taking the responsibility for what you have done and not blaming it on anyone else.  I shared the story of Adam and Eve and how they would blame others for their sin.  When Eve took the fruit she said that "the serpent beguiled me!" and when Adam took the fruit he said, "The woman thou gavest me..."  It was never their own fault.  We can learn from that and take the responsibility for the things that we do, whether they be good, or bad.  The principle of accountability is an eternal principle.  We had one missionary fall asleep during my companions training...

My companion is awesome!  He is a little interesting at times and sometimes tries to explain things and makes absolutely no sense... but I love it!  He has been out for 23 months, so I am going to be killing him off next month at the transfer.  My first one!

This week we had some great miracles!  Last night we were trying really hard to hit our finding goal this week of finding two new investigators and we haven't found any all week.  We got a random text from a part member family that asked us to come over and teach them a lesson and we were able to set a return appointment with them for later on this week!  We had that happen again with a different family yesterday as well!   We were so blessed in our efforts this week.

"Some blessings come now, some blessings come later, and some blessings don't come until heaven.  But for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come!"
- Jeffery R. Holland

Thank you all for all you do!  I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family who support me so much.  :-)

Love,
Elder Shoemaker


Monday, November 2, 2015

Transfer to Fleming Park

Area:  Kansas City, Missouri (Fleming Park Ward)
Companion:  Elder Behymer

Hello everyone!!

Well, it seems like everyone is anxious to see what is happening to me!  I am now in the Kansas City Zone serving as a Zone Leader in the Fleming Park ward with Elder Behymer!  My new area is literally 15 minutes away from my first area, Independence 4th ward.  It is a little less populated than Independence, but not by much.  Back to the city life...it is going to take a little while to get used to living in the city again.


Yay for the KC Royals!  I'm happy that they are finally done, because it was so hard to meet with anyone on the days that the Royals were playing.  Good for them!

Oh, the "Juahova witness" picture was legit, the guy thought we were Jehovah Witnesses.

Mom, my ring size is  8 1/2. :)

Oh, and you asked for B-day/Christmas present ideas.  All I could really use are some postage stamps and maybe 2 long sleeve white shirts for meetings and what not.  Can you try and find some that are a thicker material but still the non wrinkle?  Just so they aren't see through with my garments.  I could also use some new ties, I always like those.  :)   

Hope everyone had a happy Halloween this past weekend!  Basically all we could do is visit member families because everyone who we would talk to would just get mad at us for talking to them on Halloween.  So, we spent the day with various members and then we had to come back to our apartment after dinner so we weren't out with the trick-or-treaters and also the trouble makers.  People out here  go all out on Halloween, kinda cool to see.

Well, when I got to this apartment it wasn't exactly the most clean or organized thing in the world...  Something that I have learned out here is that if you want to feel the spirit, you have to create the environment for the spirit to feel comfortable.  If we look at the inside of the temple, it is super clean!  So, throughout this week I have been getting up early so that I could have a half hour each day to clean this place up!  By the end of it all I probably threw out 10 trash bags full of garbage and miscellanies junk!  Missionaries would just shove stuff into the recesses of this place, pretty nasty.  But, today we are going to do another sweep clean to get this place up to ship shape in Bristol fashion.

Ok, you are all going to be blown away at how the Lord orchestrates his work when you hear this story.  Do you all remember Justin and Regina from Independence 4th ward, my first area?  Well, right after I left that area I had heard that they had moved to a town called Sedalia, MO.  I heard someone mention their names while I was at a leadership meeting so I quickly found out that they were actually in Kansas City!  Turns out they actually live in Fleming Park!  Mind blown!  Yes, I am again teaching them.  They are working on getting married in the next few weeks and they they will be baptized!  I worked with they for 6 months in Independence and now get the opportunity to finish the job.  I am so excited to help them continue down this path.

We had a pretty fun ward party the second day I came into the area.  It was a good opportunity to meet everyone and for everyone to meet me.  I also saw a couple of youth from the Independence 4th ward there so that was fun to catch up with them!

We had the great opportunity to take the sacrament to a young family whose little boy of 2 years old just got diagnosed with Leukemia.  :(  I absolutely hate cancer.  It was hard to see this little boy all hooked up to the IV's and just sitting there not really knowing what was going on and just playing with his little trucks.  It was a good opportunity to reflect on the plan of salvation.  I have no idea what I would do in that situation if I didn't have the knowledge of the gospel in my life.  The gospel blessing individuals and families in so many different ways!

Thank you to all who have sent letters to me this past week!  It has been wonderful to hear from everyone.  I really sincerely appreciate it.  It has been a great pick me up for me and to receive an update on everyone.

Matthew 16:21-28:

21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
24 ¶Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

This is some of my favorite scripture in all of the standard works.  Especially verses 24-26.  Are we truly representatives of Jesus Christ in our everyday actions?  Words?  Deeds?  These are great questions to think to ourselves and ponder on what we need to change in our lives to become more in tune with the spirit and centered on Jesus Christ.  I am so grateful for the Savior and for what he means to me and has done for me.  As we try to become better day to day, or Heavenly Father will bless us more and more.  We need to have action associated to everything we do.

Thank you all for everything that you do for me!
Love,
Elder Shoemaker


Here is Bishop Walkers family (from Kearney, MO).  In the back left the girl behind Sister Walker is Abigail, the girl we were teaching. Left to Right:  Sister Walker, Abigail, Camille, Mary, Bishop, Me, Dan




Bishop Walker is up on one of the most spiritual men I have ever met in my life.  He let me have an interview with him the night before I left and he gave me some amazing insights and words of encouragement. He has also taught me many life lessons that I will keep.  This is one family I will stay in touch with.



Monday, October 26, 2015

I've been Snap Chatted!

Area:  Kearney, Missouri      
Companion:  Elder Hansen

Hello family and friends!

I have been enjoying the wonderful weather here.  It has finally really started to cool down a bit and it feels wonderful.  The leaves are starting to turn and what not, but nothing beats a northern Utah fall and winter!

Glad to hear that you were able to get together as a family and go to Grandma and Grandpa Walkers house this past week.  Looks like Grandma had a nice time being able to see everyone.

I wasn't able to find anything out specifically on any of our ancestors while up in Hauns Mill.  We had to rush while we were up there.  We actually weren't able to go to where the actual mill was because of time and miles.  That will be a sight that I will have to go back and see and spend some time looking around the town.  There is a cemetery in that town that has a lot of those who were killed at Hauns Mill.  Who would of thought that the little town of Breckenridge, Missouri would have so much history!  Population... below 500.



 
What a great and crazy week!  Transfer calls are tomorrow and actual transfer day is on Thursday.  It is very likely that I will be out of here... six months in an area is typically about the cap to how long
you stay.  I may be in a new part of Missouri or Kansas on Thursday!

We had a fantastic lesson with Selena on Monday at the Independence visitors center.  We had her in tears as we sat beneath the Christus and talked about the gospel and the Savior's love for her.  She knows in her heart that this message is true and that it will benefit her life, she just needs to take the next step and act on the invitation to be baptized.  She is getting close though!

I went on exchanges up to Maryville earlier this week, about a 2 hour drive for us from Lawson.  It is up on the Missouri, Iowa boarder.  It was pretty sweet up there.  It reminded me a lot of Logan actually. There is a little college up there and a bunch of students walking around and a nice little town like Logan.  That was a good time up there.

We had a great opportunity to take a less active, George and his family dinner this past week.  About two weeks ago he said that him and his family haven't had a steak dinner in years.  So we thought we
would prepare them a good meal.  We brought over a steak and potato dinner, I even made that corn salad recipe you sent me Mom.  It turned out wonderfully and they were very appreciative of the dinner.

I had a good opportunity to learn a new skill this past week.  I learned how to put up a wire and barbed wire fence.  We also herded the biggest pig I have ever seen in my life!  No joke that it was about the size of a cow, just not quite as tall.  HUUUGE!!!

We went over the the Walker family's house last night to teach and to talk about how their missionary work is going.  We are still working with Camille, their daughter, to teach Abigail some more.  We got news last night that Abigail doesn't want to take the lessons anymore. That was a bummer, but there is no doubt in my mind that she will accept the gospel somewhere down the road in life.  It has helped her too much and she has felt too much good for her to just brush it off. While over there we got shown a picture.  It was a picture of Elder Hansen and myself at someones (a guy named Jon that we tracted into) door with the caption beneath it, "Juahova Witnesses."  They took the picture through a set of blinds! haha! It was crazy how the picture got into our hands. The son-in-law of Bishop was on snapchat, the app, and saw on his story that picture!  It is pretty funny to see what people think and what people will do and say when you aren't looking. I have the picture and I'll send it to you.  The life of a missionary in a small town. 

"If you are going to do it, at least spell it right!!



I gave a talk yesterday in Sacrament meeting.  It was on President Uchtdorf's talk, "It Works Wonderfully."  It went pretty well!  I had just gotten the assignment about 2 hours before the meeting so I was scrambling to put it together, but it all turned out alright.  My speaking skills have definitely improved!  I truly have seen the promise made in Ether 12 come true in my own life.

Ether 12:27:  "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

Love you all!

Elder Shoemaker

PS.  This iPad keyboard works wonders!  Thanks Mom and Dad!

Monday, October 19, 2015

The NEW Far West Missouri Stake

Area:  Kearney, Missouri    
Companion:  Elder Hansen

Hello!

Yes, the packages did make it.  They are still in the mission office because they can't forward them, but some sisters are going into Independence today and will be grabbing it for me while they are there.  It is kind of far for us to drive down there without a good reason or meeting or something.  Thank you so much for sending that!  It will help out a lot. :). 

The barn looks great!  I am excited to see what that place will look like by the time I get back, it is progressing right along!  Hopefully you can get the roof on before first snow fall comes.  

We had a wonderful multi stake conference this weekend.  The reason it was a multi stake conference was because we are no longer in the Liberty Stake.  Elder Hansen and I are now the zone leaders over the Far West Missouri Stake!  First zone leaders ever in this stake.  It was interesting when they announced it, they announced it as a new stake and not a rededicated stake.  The last time it existed was in the early 1800's.  We are excited to be in the new stake working with some great new leadership.  Elder Arnold of the 70 and Elder Meredith who is an area 70 came to do what was needed under the keys of President Nelson.  At the end of the meeting I was able to go up and talk with them and gave them both a good hug.  It was so amazing to see the impact that they had on those who attended.  They both didn't prepare specific talks but left it open to the spirit.  They addressed some really random things and diverted from topics quickly, but you could tell that they were truly men of God and that they had a love for us as individuals.  There were people bawling as they went up to hug these men and I heard them talk about how much they were touched by what was said and that it was exactly what they needed.  I truly saw the countenance of the Savior in both of them as they hugged and comforted these people.  It was an amazing sight to see. 

Today we have plans to go up to Hauns Mill!  I am really excited to head up there and see what is there.  If I am correct we have some ancestry there, right?  I will do my best to send pictures of it back today.  

I learned a great lesson this week.  The love of God toward us was eminent as I took a look back on this week and all that has happened.  This week every single one of the the 4 appointments we had set up with our investigators fell through at the last minute.  We were even in the car with the members on the way to pick up an investigator to take to the independence visitors center and she canceled.  It seems as though there was a lesson to be learned for me.  I learned that even though we had prepared each lesson and role played and did everything that has been asked of us, appointments still fell through.  The Lord knew that we were ready to teach these lessons, but He wanted to see if we still would prepare lessons even with all of them falling through.  I was grateful that I could show the Lord that I was ready and ready when He needed me.  As we live our life ready for whatever may come, the Lord knows he can count on us and He will count on us.  Do we live worthy to be called as an apostle if we were needed?  There is no reason why we shouldn't be living in such a way!  This life is a life of progression, not perfection.  That comes in the next life.  We sure can do our best to be who our Heavenly Father wants us to be.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is true!  The wonderful message that we share is that He lives, the Savior is with us and always will be.   We need the Atonement as well as He needed the experience of the Atonement to descend below all things the be able to succor us when needed.  

I love you all!  

Elder Shoemaker 

We did some fun service at a barn and then had a Dutch oven dinner afterward.  
Elder Hansen, Elder Bradley, Me, Elder Beyeler 


Monday, October 12, 2015

Zone Conference and Pizza Crust

Area:  Kearney, Missouri  
Companion:  Elder Hansen

Hi from Buddy, Bob, and Billy... about the only three names in Missouri so that covers everyone saying hi to you.  What a friendly state! :D

This week sounds like it has been a busy one for everyone!  That is great that Mattie and Mitch were married this past week.  An exciting moment for everyone, I'm sure.

We had a great week as well!  Always busy as usual.  There is never a dull moment in the work of the Lord.  We has such a great lesson with Abigail this week.  We had a lesson plan to teach her but right when we pulled in we felt like we should just go in and talk with her about whatever she needed at that time.  We ended up having a lesson about prophets, the Book of Mormon, and why the restoration was needed.  The spirit was so strong!  We had both Abigail and the friends she brought along in tears.  She is having a tough time right now whether to go with what her family is telling her, or go with what her heart and mind are telling her is true, which is our message.

We had a great zone training this week!  We had the privilege of having President and Sister Vest come and sit in on the meeting.  It is always a delight to have them there.  They are so full of insights and their presence is good because then we don't have missionaries messing around.  Our zone is so big that we had to hold our meeting in the chapel!  We realized that this zone is 1/4 of the missions missionaries, kinda crazy and hectic, but it has been s really fun time and a great learning and growing experience.

I had a wonderful surprise on Sunday at church.  Dillon and Daylin both were back in town for the weekend and they came to sacrament meeting!  It was really great to them and to catch up with how they are doing.  They are still happy as ever and enjoying school.  As I was talking with Dillon I figured out that one of the missionaries that is teaching him his new member lessons is a friend from high school!  Isn't that crazy?!

We had a once in a lifetime experience this past week with pizza crust.  We were going to a sketchy apartment building, that we try not to spend any time at, to go and try to contact a newly moved in member.  I started backing in the truck into a stall and this guy came out on his balcony and was eating a pizza.  I asked him how he was doing and his response was, "Are you a Mormon?"  I told him that I was a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  He replied back with some not so nice words but basically just told us to not talk to him and get out of sight.  So we kept moving on to the apartment we were there to find and the newly moved member ended up not being home.  As we were walking back to the truck we heard something hit our truck.  Elder Hansen yelled out, " hey, don't throw things at out truck!"  ......And this guy stopped midway going into his apartment and all of a sudden was no longer Mr. Tough guy anymore.  He became a very pleasant guy who was willing to even come down and get the pizza crust out of the bed of our truck!  What a guy!  I'm sure he felt a little silly and hopefully a little humbled by two 19 year old boys who caught a fully grown man throwing a pizza crust at our truck.  He has caused trouble for other missionaries in the past so hopefully he won't any more.

We had a great service opportunity this Friday and Saturday also to do some service at a living farm activity they had going on.  It was basically an antique show with old tractors mixed with an activities
fair for everyone to see how things were done back in the good 'ole days. On Friday we showed everyone how to dip candles and on Saturday we showed everyone how to churn butter.  That was a pretty fun time!

Today we have a pretty fun p-day planned.  We are going to some property owned by members and going to go "camping" for the day with one other companionship.  Should be a good time!

Well, that was basically my week!  Fully of many different things.

Love you all!
Elder Shoemaker

PS:  it would be great of you could purchase those items for my iPad for me because there is not any stores around here who sell decent quality stuff like that.  Haha!  I have the iPad mini 2 by the way. Also, I was wondering if you could get a separate Bluetooth keyboard that I could use to type my notes and emails with that would be great.

Picture of our Zone -- It's HUGE!



This is from back in March at our zone conference with Elder Renlund (new apostle)
and his wife.  I'm in the right middle on the right side.



Monday, October 5, 2015

Fantastic Conference Weekend

Area:  Kearney, Missouri  
Companion:  Elder Hansen
Hello!

Yes, Elder Hansen did get his letter from you.  He was very appreciative!  :-).  Thank you so much for doing that.  It really lifted his spirits.

What a fantastic conference weekend!  We sure did have a great time being with various different families and such this week.  The first session on Saturday we spent with a less active named George.  That went pretty well and it was good to see what he was able to get out of that session for him.  The afternoon session we went and watched up at Bishop Walkers lake house in Altamont, which was amazing!  Abigail was there as well and watched both sessions with the Walker family.  She seemed to really enjoy what was said.  After the session we were able to teach her a lesson and recommit to a few things.  She is progressing right along!  We then drove to Cameron and watched the priesthood session in the church building there with our Bishop.  A missionary with down syndrome wanted to sit with us so we let him right in!  About halfway through the session I look over because I hear some whimpering...  I see him crying on Elder Hansen's shoulder because his stomach hurt from eating to much ice cream earlier.  He kept saying he was going to throw up so Elder Hansen sent him to the bathroom.  Haha!  That gave us a good chuckle.  He was so cute.

On Sunday we watched the morning session with the Bingham family! That is who you got the picture of us from.  That family is super cool.  One of their daughters has a friend who she always brings to church and she wanted to watch conference.  After watching conference we were able to teach her a lesson.  Her name is Selena.  The lesson went really well and we have a return appointment with her this Thursday!  We are excited to see where she will be after a couple of weeks.  We then went to the Roberts family home to watch the afternoon session with them and their 4 crazy kids.  That family is super fun! We had dinner with them afterward which reminded me of Sunday dinners at home, roast and potatoes!  Yum!

So the new apostle, Elder Renlund, came here to the MIM a little while ago so I got to shake his hand and talk to him for awhile at lunch.  I loved the way that he presented his messages.  It will be great to have him as an apostle.

We had a great zone conference this past week as well!  We were just filled with all sorts of spiritual enlightenment this week.  President Vest asked myself and Elder Hansen to conduct the meeting.  That was a good experience to learn how to do that.  President gave an amazing training on the different things we need to put on the altar of sacrifice to become a more consecrated missionary.  Any streak of disobedience, fear, romantic passions, pride, negativism or sarcasm, and mediocrity.  He truly is an inspired man!  I feel like before I came out on a mission I was content with who I was.  Now that I am out here I have had time to have a good self examination and have realized that there are a lot of things to work on to become someone much better.  Little by little I have been able to work on them, it is great!

I really loved the talks in General conference about mothers.  They expressed what a mothers role and what our mothers feel for us in a way that I have never thought of before.  I just wanted to express my love to you Mom!  I am so grateful for your never ending sacrifice for each one of us boys you and Dad have raised.  You are a great example to me of unconditional love and sacrifice.  You always know what to say and what to do to make us feel better.  I love and appreciate you so much! Proverbs 22:6 :-). "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

That was about all that happened this week!

Love all of you!

Elder Shoemaker

PS: Will you check our supply closet to see if there is an invisible shield for an iPad mini 2?  I could use one of those for this baby. Also a case that is conservative and has a cover that flaps over the screen?  I would really appreciate that. :-). Thanks!

Here is the Bishops lake house that we were at on Saturday.




Ariel shot of the KC temple!


Monday, September 28, 2015

Muddin', Hypnotizing Chickens and Miracles

Area:  Kearney, Missouri  
Companion:  Elder Hansen

Hello family and friends!  We had a great week full of muddin', hypnotizing chickens, and miracles!!

It was interesting this week being in the trio this week.  They live in Kearney, which is still in our area, just about 20 minutes from where we live now.  It was a good opportunity to help out these two missionaries as one has been out for 6 weeks and the other 12 weeks.  It was also a good opportunity to help the one who is a district leader.  We had a fantastic miracle happen!  Bishop Walker texted me and asked if I wanted to go on splits with him one night.  Of course I said yes because any time I can spend with him you know you will be edifying and you will learn a lot.  We visited a less active returned missionary father who married a non member and she brought in two kids into the relationship.  One of the kids was at the lesson we had along with the father.  This is the Jackson family.  We has a great lesson
with them and they were familiar with both of us because we have been teaching the father for about 2 months on and off.  The spirit was so strong and I felt very prompted to invite the son to be baptized!  So I jumped on that and he said yes!  When I was showing him the picture of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus Christ, he pointed to the picture and asked who He was, I told him Jesus Christ.  It is just amazing to me that a 14 year old, not knowing who Jesus was, but so willing to follow something because he has had good feelings about Him.  That was a great experience and it seemed to rekindle memories in the fathers brain from his mission.


We haven't heard to much from Abigail this week.  We are going to try and watch a session of General Conference with the Walker family and have Abigail over there too.


We had a great experience last night with finding a new family to teach!  We felt like we should go back to that house where we did service on the farm a few weeks ago and just see how they are doing. They let us right in and we had a great discussion about the church and its programs.  They have a deep interest in family history and all that.  We tied in the Book of Mormon and invited them to take the lessons and they said of course!  We have a lunch appointment with them this Thursday and we are very excited!  Right now we are teaching the mother and her father.  Their names are Ken and Monica. They have three teenage daughters as well as a nephew living there who have potential too!


We have a member in our ward who is a green beret and has a ton of useless knowledge.  He mentioned one time how you can hypnotize a chicken and it will stay completely still and soundless.  I asked him how to do it and he told me.  I just had to try it after that!  I have a video to send you of it.  :-D


Elder Shoemaker the chicken whisperer?



We also got invited to serve food at a truck muddin' event!  That was pretty sweet and reminded me of going to the rodeo back home.  I have some pictures and a cool video to send you of that too.  These guys go all out!







Elder Hansen is doing well.  It is great to have him back with me. {Elder Hansen needed to go home for a week due to family circumstances}  Every day he seems to get better and better with a few hiccups in between.  Just happy to have him back out here!  His card will probably be arriving today.  Thank you so much for sending that for him, I know he will be very appreciative of it.

As I was reading in Alma 1 this week, this scripture stuck out to me:
 

25) "Now this was a great trial to those that did stand fast in the faith; nevertheless, they were steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God, and they bore with patience the persecution which was heaped upon them."

This scripture was given in the midst of all an apostate time.  They were struggling with what to do and with staying on the right path. But, nevertheless they stayed on the righteous path and prospered just as promised in the Book of Mormon.  Sin brings us temporary joy and happiness but never ending torment.  Following the commandment brings us true eternal happiness!


I love you all so very much!


Elder Shoemaker

Monday, September 21, 2015

STAYIN' in KEARNEY!!

Area:  Kearney, Missouri  
Companion:  Elder Hansen

Hello!

Drum role please............  I'm still here in the Kearney 3rd ward with Elder Hansen!  I love it here so much so we were both happy to get that call.  The crazy thing is, is that the Liberty North zone which we had stewardship over and that had 7 companionship's, and the Liberty South zone which had 9 companionship's, got mashed together to make up the Liberty zone!  Another two areas were opened as well, so there are 19 companionship's in elder Hansen and my zone this transfer!  That's a whopping 38 missionaries we have to keep track of.  I have no idea how President Vest keeps track of almost 300 missionaries, we can barely do 38!

Abigail is on date for October 17!  We are so excited for her to make this next step.  The hardest part is to get her mother and father to O.K. Her to continue to take the discussions.  She is so ready right now at this time in her life to take the discussions as she has a wayward brother who is wreaking havoc on the family.  All she wants is to be a good person and she understands that the gospel will help her do that.  Pray for her and for her parents heart to soften.

This scripture fits perfectly this week.
 

Mosiah 23:21-22
21 Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.
22 Nevertheless--whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people.

We go through many things in this life that we do not understand.  I think Nephi puts it in the best terms: "I know that he loveth His children; Nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things" (1
Nephi 11:17).

I love you!

Elder Shoemaker





Monday, September 14, 2015

Visit to Adam-Ondi-Ahman

Area:  Kearney, Missouri  
Companion:  Elder Hansen

A special treat from Elder Hansen and Elder Shoemaker
Sure do miss THAT face and his happiness!! 


This has been one interesting week.  Full of just about everything. First off, Keegan dropped us.  That was kind of a bummer because he was so ready to hear the Gospel, but sometimes our natural man doubt if we let it will override our spiritual side.  All part of life.  He will accept it later on in life, I'm sure of it!  But for now, the seed has been planted.

The weather has been fantastic these past 3-4 days!  In the 70's with really low humidity.  Now I remember why I like Utah weather so much more, because there is no humidity!  I sure hope it stays like this and that fall is coming.  Logan canyon is looking beautiful, it always does in the fall.

Elder Hansen nailed a rabbit yesterday while driving the truck!  We can add that to the squirrel, birds, and tons of frogs I have hit while driving it.   The animals around here are everywhere!

We helped out with a kids eagle project Saturday morning.  We cleaned up al old ball field laying asphalt, spreading gravel, and trimming trees and bushes.  It was pretty fun!  I enjoy doing physical labor, especially when you don't get to do it very often.  I felt like we were building the field of dreams!

Mosiah 16:5
"But remember that he that persists in his own carnal nature, and goes on in the ways of sin and rebellion against God, remaineth in his fallen state and the devil hath all power over him. Therefore he is as though there was no redemption made, being an enemy to God; and also is the devil an enemy to God."

I love this scripture!  As I was reading it this week, I kept remembering something a member told me while out here.  "This is a life of progression, not perfection". That perfection will come later in life but for now all we can do it to continue to progress each day. When we show our Heavenly Father that we have a desire to change and be better than we were yesterday, He blesses us.  I love the principle of desire...

Today we are going to go up to Adam-ondi-ahman with the whole zone!  I am pretty excited about that.  I'll try and send you some pictures today if we stop somewhere that has wifi.  Transfers are also this Thursday and I could stay or I could go, we find out Tuesday night.

Love you all!
Elder Shoemaker









Preachers Rock!


You can see preachers rock on my shoulder with all the other
missionaries on it.  From where I was standing I could hear them talking in just a normal voice.  About 200 yards!




Monday, September 7, 2015

Mission Leadership Counsel and Zone Training

Area:  Kearney, Missouri  
Companion:  Elder Hansen

Hello!

This week we had a great MLC (mission leadership counsel) at the mission home that went really well!  It was cool to see how the spirit works on people and how it can work on a whole counsel. We were working on a solution to figure out how to best improve the mission and as we counseled together, President Vest left the room to go counsel with the Lord.  When he returned the counsel and President had come up with almost the exact same ideas on how to help.  It was so cool!

We gave Zone training this week that went really well.  I gave a training on missionary countenance.  I read a section out of the white handbook and left everyone with an invitation.  That was to not quote unapproved movies, music, and to not use slang.  I gave them the promise that if they did this, they would begin to see miracles that they had never seen before.  Heavenly Father would see them trying and bless them because of it.  The response thus far from the missionaries is that it is really hard!  But that they are seeing many blessings from it.  I was thinking about how this would apply to each one of you at home.  As we shift our focus and view from worldly things to the Savior and as our mind focuses and ponders on the Savior, he will in turn bless each one of us.  Our understanding of the Atonement will increase and our appreciation will deepen within our hearts.  :-)

We had a fantastic lesson with Keegan and he is progressing so well.  His questions and understanding of the gospel are right in line.  He has a sincere desire to learn and grow spiritually which is always so great to see.  Our goal this week is to put him on date to be baptized!

We did some sweet service for a family on a farm.  That really is the life!  They had about 20-30 chickens with another 10 baby chicks, and a duck that was raised with the chickens so he thought he was a chicken.  They also had a lot of goats and baby goats!  The set up that they had was pretty sweet.  This family was from Spain and we met them through a member.  They have a lot of questions and want to have us over for dinner so we are hoping to be able to start teaching this family of 7.

"For how knows a man the Master whom he has not served...?"
     -  Elder Maxwell 

Luke 22:42 
"... Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done."

As we follow the example of the Savior, we will start to know our Heavenly Father.  His desire is to bless us, to help us, to exalt us!  He receives happiness when we are happy; as stated in Moses 1:39,
"For behold this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life or man."

Love you all! 
Elder Shoemaker