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


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.  :-)

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 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!
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.