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


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

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!