Monday, August 15, 2016

Keep Working to the End!

Area:  Leavenworth, Kansas    
Companion:  Elder Tuala

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

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

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

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

Elder Shoemaker

Monday, August 8, 2016

Feeling Christlike Love......

Area:  Leavenworth, Kansas    
Companion:  Elder Tuala

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

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

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

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

I love you all!  See ya in 10 days!

Elder Shoemaker

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

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Lorin and Lovina Line....

Area:  Leavenworth, Kansas    
Companion:  Elder Tuala

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, that is about it for the week!

Love you all!

Elder Shoemaker

Monday, July 25, 2016

A Visit from Elder Anderson

Area:  Leavenworth, Kansas    
Companion:  Elder Tuala

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elder Shoemaker

Monday, July 18, 2016

Last Transfer - Leavenworth Kansas

Area:  Leavenworth, Kansas    
Companion:  Elder Tuala

Welp, I got trunky transferred!  Haha

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elder Shoemaker

Elder Tuala my new companion!

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

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

Monday, July 11, 2016

Lenexa, Lessons, Laman and Lemnuel

 Area:  Lenexa, Kansas      
Companion:  Elder Bradley

Hello Everyone!!!

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

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

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

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

But we know that God wants us to experience miracles!

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

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

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

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

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

That's about it for this week!

Love you all!

Elder Shoemaker

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

Elder Shoemaker and "Dory"

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th of July!

Area:  Lenexa, Kansas      
Companion:  Elder Bradley

Happy 4th of JULY!!!!!!! 

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

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

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

Thanks for all the support and love!

Elder Shoemaker

Monday, June 27, 2016

faith AND grace

Area:  Lenexa, Kansas      
Companion:  Elder Bradley

Hello again!

We had a pretty good week.  We had interviews with the mission president and his wife this past Friday, that was really great!  I was able to talk and express some concerns and struggles that I have and they always are there to help and are concerned about me.  They are great people.

We had a fun service opportunity on Saturday and a place called "Farmstead".  It is a small version of the American West Heritage Center basically.  They were having a fishing tournament for kids and their parents so we went and we're all score keepers for the different teams.  It was a fun event and it was nice to be around some fishing as that is something that I have been missing. :P

Oh!  I got the package that you sent me, thank you very much Mom!!!  I have not yet received the letter with the motorcycle title in it but hopefully this week and I will get it back to you as soon as I can!

This week in church there was an RM that just got back and gave his homecoming talk.  It was really great to hear from him.  We swung by his house a little later Sunday evening to his open house and talked with him a little bit more.  I think I am going to pick his brain to see what helped him to stay focused and also to adjust.  His is going to be playing for BYU football as a defensive lineman in August.

We weren't able to see any of our investigators this week. :(. It sucks to not be able to see any of them, it can be tough to keep your spirits up and want to keep going when you see little to no result from the efforts that you put in.  That is where faith comes in and also the grace of the Savior to help you to keep going and knowing that you are making a difference.  We are just about at the point where we will drop almost all our investigators.  We are trying to find new ones, but that is always a struggle!

That's about it in the life of me!

Love you all!!

Elder Shoemaker

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Missionaries Desire.....

Area:  Lenexa, Kansas      
Companion:  Elder Bradley

Well, it's official!  The trunkiness is setting in...  I'm getting tired of writing emails! :D. Haha!

This week we had another general authority come to our mission! Elder Hemula of the 70 came and spoke with us.  We had a zone conference on Tuesday in which he spoke to us for about 6 hours and helped us understand the principles of repentance, faith, grace, mercy, and many others that were very enlightening to me.  One of my favorite things that he said was that repentance is our ability to be able to get back up and try again after we have messed up.  The Lord doesn't expect us to be perfect right now, he realizes that it takes time, grace upon grace.
One thing about Elder Hemula is that he truly has a love for the scriptures.  He has studies them so much and he's become such a student of the scriptures that when we would ask a question to him he would throw out about 5 scriptures for us to look up from right off the top of his head!  It was so cool to see.  He has quite a way of explaining things in a way that you understand at the end of his explanation, while he is explaining it I would get lot a little but he would bring it all back and make some sense of it.  He always took the long way around when explaining things which was always a big help.  I have loved getting to listen to the apostles speak so frequently while on a mission, it has helped me to realize that these men are just like you and me; no different.  They have lived their life is such a way that they are truly becoming more and more like the Savior each and every day and they have been called to the calling because they set such a good example and they help everyone along the way.

We are still trying to work very closely with Mahogany and Malachai to help them reach their baptismal date of July 4th but as of right now we haven't had much contact with them because they don't answer the phone and we haven't been able to catch them while they are at home so we are not quite sure where they are at in regards of still being baptized on that date.  We are hoping and praying that they will make it!  This ward hasn't seen a convert baptism in over a year so it would be really good to get that ball rolling.

Elder Bradley and myself have been struggling here in this area with keeping hope that we can baptize someone here together.  It is our desire to do so, we are just having a hard time getting there.  We have been a little negative lately and I have been praying for some type of uplifting experience to happen so that I my have a positive attitude.  Last night, Elder Bradley and I were talking about the experiences we have had in the Kearney 3rd ward when we both served there and then out of nowhere we got a call from Bishop Walker last night!!  He is a man that truly follows the spirit.  I was going to email him today and talk to him about a few things but he covered it all when he called.  We talked for about 20 minutes and he brought back so many good memories and shared also the success that is going on over there!  It brought some hope into me and also kick started my faith that things can happen here!  It truly was a tender mercy of the Lord.  :).

The bugs have come out to play here in Kansas!!  I wake up every morning with a new bug bite or two...  We have soaked our apartment in Permethrin and we bug spray up every day, but you can only do so much. The chiggers will get ya like crazy!  They bite you everywhere...  And I mean EVERYWHERE...  :O.  The lightning bugs are really cool at night though, it looks like the grass is flickering on and off.  If you catch one you can squeeze their behinds and than wipe the glowy juice anywhere you want and it will glow for a few seconds, pretty sweet!

That's about all I got for y'all this week!  :D

I love and appreciate you!

Elder Shoemaker

Elder Shoe with Mitch Mathews from the Kansas City Chiefs

We went to this week overlook tower in a park that is near our apartment 
that is about 30 feet up and I snapped some pics, check out Kansas!!

Monday, June 13, 2016

I am the SUM total

Area:  Lenexa, Kansas      
Companion:  Elder Bradley

Hello Everyone!!

That is pretty sweet that Elder Cook came up there to Paris Tabernacle and talked to everyone up there.  How cool!  I love being able to hear the prophets and apostles.  That is something that is really cool about serving a mission, you get to hear from them in person often.  Last week we were able to hear from Elder Souarez and this week Elder Hamula is coming to the mission to give a two zone conferences and he will also be at our MLC this Wednesday where we will be able to have a more intimate setting with him.  I am pretty excited about that!

This past week we were able to go on exchange with the assistants and we also went on another exchange with a district leader in our zone. Those went well!

We were able to put our investigator Mahogany and her 8 year old son Malachai on date this past week!  We had a really cool experience with them.  They have been taught by missionaries before in KC, KS and have had a baptismal date before but she got nervous so she didn't go through with it.  She is really excited to be baptized and she set her own date for July 4.  We are excited to help her reach this date and to help her overcome the struggles in their life.  She will benefit so much from the gospel!

Thanks for the pictures and the videos of cuzins kamp!  Looks like another successful year.  Glad that everyone had a good time, I'm excited to have cuzins kamp at a place that we can call ours, kinda fun.

Here is something to think about this week, "I am the sum total of all that I have thought, done, said, seen, heard, and felt in this life and before."

Headed into Independence today to do a few things for pday.  Nothing else really to say!  Love you all!!!

Elder Shoemaker

Our zone!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Focusing on the Individual

Area:  Lenexa, Kansas      
Companion:  Elder Bradley

Hello Everyone!

 I'm still in Lenexa for another transfer!,  it will be interesting to see what president does to me on my last transfer, kinda curious!

We had an awesome week!  We had service, teaching, finding, beer, and a general authority!  A little taste of everything this week.

We have been trying really hard to get some service here in the area as that is a good way to build trust and to also find.  We had a member call us up and except our offer to go and help an older widowed lady rip out some old steps out of her yard.  That was a really good opportunity to get to know the member a lot better and to build a relationship with the older lady as well.

We had a really cool experience this week running into one of the investigators from another ward that we had met a couple of weeks ago to give his buddy a blessing.  This guys name is Justin.  He was at an apartment complex that we were walking around at and he recognized us. He had a beer in his hand and he has been trying really hard to stop drinking.  He is about 40 years old and has been drinking for about 25 years of his life so it has been a huge struggle for him.  I asked for the beer and dumped it out and he said that he was so glad that he ran into us because that was the first beer he has had in two weeks.  He said that he wanted to go to the addiction recovery meetings and start going to church so that he can change his life.  The Sister Missionaries haven't been able to contact him for two weeks so this was a big blessing to them.  It was really cool to see how the Lord orchestrated his work through us.  It has been a rough last couple of weeks as far as being able to teach and find, but experiences like this really make everything all worth it.  I am really starting to understand and apply the principle that everything that the Savior did was for the individual.  I'm going to focus more on the individual and reaching out to the individual because that one person matters.

We also had a really good lesson with Mauricio this week.  We had the perfect member with us that could relate to him and was able to say exactly what he needed to hear.  He was able to get him to understand why he needed to read the Book of Mormon and how that would change his life for the better.  We are excited to see where it goes with him!

We had a special visit from President Suarez (member of the Seventy) and Elder and Sister Rosson (member of the Seventy) to the MLC (Mission Leadership Counsel) this Saturday.  It was so cool to hear what they felt we needed specific as a mission.  They talked a lot about love, being bold, setting goals, planning, and securing our own personal testimony.  We have zone training this Tuesday and we will pass on the information to the rest of the missionaries in our zone!

That is about all I have to say this week!

Love you all!!!

Elder Shoemaker

Monday, May 30, 2016

Finding, Service and Tornado's

Area:  Lenexa, Kansas      
Companion:  Elder Bradley

Hello Everyone!!

This has been a really great week!  We were able to find several new investigators and actually teach some lessons this week which is always nice!  Their names are Lexi, Mahogany, Wolfred, Edgar, and Larry.  We have been taking out the priest age young men in the ward here with us for a couple hours during the week so they can experience a little bit of all missionary work and they seemed to really enjoy it and because of that we were blessed with a lot of finding and teaching opportunities.

We have been trying to find new ways to talk to people in this area and one of the ways we are trying is to go and walk around at the parks that are in our area.  There are always a lot of people fishing and it is really easy to talk to someone about fishing and the conversation usually quickly leads to why we are dressed in a white shirt and tie and out walking around at a park, works pretty well! There are some really cool structures around this part of town, I'll send some pictures and videos.  We also saw a herring catching some fish which was pretty sweet!  Then we got down poured on out of nowhere which tends to happen out here quite a bit because the weather is so unpredictable.

There was a pretty sweet funnel cloud that formed right above where we were driving.  We got out safe, but it was pretty sweet to see the clouds spinning so fast and how dark it got.  The closest tornado that has touched down was about 20 miles away.

We had a fun couple service opportunities this week.  One was singing in a nursing home with several other missionaries.  During the opening prayer an old lady snuck up behind me and started hugging me from the back and I didn't know what to do...  I just had to pry her off of me because even as I walked away she latched onto me!  Then after I got her off of me she started to go for another missionary but the lady in charge was able to get her before that happened. Haha!  I also got kissed on the hand by a lady that wouldn't let go of my hand...  But other than that the singing went really well!

The other service opportunity We had was helping a guy clean up his duped so that he could sell it this week.  We painted, cleaned, and did a little demo to get some old stuff out of there.  It was a nice break and also nice to be able to get my hands dirty.  Not to many people in this area have us help with anything because they are all pretty self reliant and don't want to ask for help, or they just pay someone else to come do it for them.

That's about all that happened this week!   Transfers are this Thursday and we find out on Tuesday if we are leaving or not!  I may or may not leave, who knows?!

Love you all!

Elder Shoemaker

Monday, May 23, 2016

Missionary work requires patience....

Area:  Lenexa, Kansas      
Companion:  Elder Bradley

Well, yet another week in Kansas and the work continues to move forward.  Sometimes slower than at other times, but it moves forward.

These past couple of weeks have presented a challenge while here in this area.  The ward is great, the weather in nice, the people are nice, but no one seems to want to listen to what we have to say...  We haven't been able to find new investigators for the past two weeks and the ones that we do have are really busy with graduation right now or being sick that they haven't been able to meet.  We have spent a lot of time trying to contact unknown people on our ward roster, walking around parks in the area, and talking to everyone we see.

We did have a really cool experience on Saturday night as we were driving back to our apartment, we saw Mauricio with one of his friends out and about playing basketball at a park next to our apartment.  We went over and had a good time with them and played some basketball. It was a really good opportunity to build our relationship with him and to also put a good taste in his friends mouth about us missionaries.  We have an appointment with him this evening so we will see how that one goes!

We had an awesome ward counsel on Sunday!  The bishop is really gung ho about missionary work land is trying to get the rest of the ward counsel on board with it all.  We don't really get to see him much at all, but he is helping us out a lot in that regards.  The bishop has a lot of faith that if the ward is doing all that they can, then the Lord will bless the ward one way or another with someone to start being taught.  This ward hasn't seen a convert baptism in just about 2 years so their hopes are a little down right now.  We have been trying really hard to raise everyone's vision and to instill some hope and faith in the ward members.  We have some good things in the works and also a ward party on Memorial Day so hopefully some things will get rolling there.

That's about all I have for you this week!!

Love you all!

Elder Shoemaker

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Mission is Wonderful!

Area:  Lenexa, Kansas      
Companion:  Elder Bradley

Hello Everyone!

This has been a pretty great week!

We were able to teach our new investigating couple that we found a couple weeks ago.  We taught them on Sunday and it went really well. We were able to have a young couple come with us to be a fellowship for them.  The couples names are Lucas and Kelsey and they are in their late 20's.  We are hoping to get them to our ward party on Memorial Day so that they can get some more fellowship and some integration into the ward which will eventually lead them to come to church is the hope.  :).

We had a good lesson with Patty this week as well!  She is the 80 year old investigator that we have been teaching for awhile.  It was a really good breakthrough lesson where we found some really good
concerns that she had.  It was a good eye opener for us to know how to help her.  We are hoping to be able to get her to the independence visitors center in the next coming week or so to help her feel the
spirit and to address her concerns.

We had a wonderful stake correlation this week that went nice and smooth.  :).

We came across some pretty drunk guys this week!  They were a hoot. They had some very interesting things to say... :D

Elder Bradley and I are doing great!  Loving it in Lenexa and enjoying who we are with and where we are at.  I also just had a temple recommend interview from president that went well.  It was really cool to see how much my testimony has grown and those topics of the questions that are asked.  The mission is wonderful!

That is about all I have for ya'll this week.

Love you!

Elder Shoemaker

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Power of Imaging!

Area:  Lenexa, Kansas      
Companion:  Elder Bradley

Hello Everyone!

This has been a wonderful week.  I had a lot of fun, interesting, and great things happen to me this week.

This week we also had a big funnel cloud that was forming right over our apartment!  It was pretty sweet!!  We are entering into tornado season and I have yet to see one while out here; I wouldn't mind seeing one!  :O.

We had an amazing lesson with Mauricio this past Monday.  He has so many questions that he wants to ask so it gives us a good opportunity to answer his questions with a gospel principle and teach him that way.  We invited him to be baptized but he still has some questions about that and isn't quite ready to commit to that next step.  We have another appointment with him on Monday that we are very excited for!

I was able to go on exchanges this week with Elder Anderton again.  It is always a great experience and a great time reflecting back on the times that we had while we served in Kearney.  We also were able to find a new investigator named George!  He is in his 60's and had so many good questions about the temple, families, missionaries, baptism, and many many more things.  He has met with missionaries before about 7 years ago and knows some members of the church.  We are excited to see where he goes from here.

This Saturday was a great day of service!  Elder Bradley and I have really been trying to get some good service opportunities here in this area.  It can be pretty hard because most of the people here are well off and very self sufficient.  This Friday we received two texts from different people asking us to help them move on SaturdayOn Friday we also made contact with a less active family who needed help setting up for a garage sale on Saturday!  All three of those service projects lined up just right.  We literally didn't take off our service clothes all day because we were going from place to place, it was great!  We were able to build a lot of member trust and some great relationships with those individuals that we helped.

Sunday we had an amazing ward counsel that was completely centered around missionary work and the efforts within the ward.  This ward has not had a convert baptism over the age of 9 for about a year and a half.  We have really been trying hard here to just get someone to church, but the struggle is real.  Things are starting to spark with the members and we feel that converts will began coming to thins ward and the ward counsel sets this example.  We are really excited to see what happens!

I have been thinking a lot about the power of imaging this week.  As I was learning how to play on the drum line as a snare, we were told to imagine ourselves playing in perfect unison with perfect form in our brains before we started practicing and rehearsal.  We also watched videos of those we really looked up to and wanted to be like and tried to imitate them.  This week, every night after my prayers and before I fall asleep, I have been imagining each one of the people I am teaching entering into the baptismal font dressed in all white walking into the water towards me.  I then recite the baptismal prayer in my mind with their name and imagine them being baptized.  I also imagine the lessons that we teach them and how they will go.  While doing this I have felt a greater love for those I am teaching and also a greater desire to want to help them.  The spirit is entering into my life more fully as well.  It is amazing!  Imagining who we are and where we want to be will create a pattern of success in our brains that in turn, turns into the way our brain begins to think and the way we see individuals and ourselves.  Having this eternal perspective will help us be successful in life in anything that we do, spiritual, physical, work, academics, social, political, and anything else you can think of!  The power of the mind is real!!

I love and appreciate you all and the support/love that you give to me.  Keep going strong!

Elder Shoemaker

PS.  Mom,  6:30pm Utah time for Mother's Day Facetime!  I'm excited!

Hairless Kitty Cat

Funnel Cloud

The New District!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Transfer Week!

Area:  Lenexa, Kansas      
Companion:  Elder Bradley


Transfer week brought some great surprises!  My new companion is Elder Bradley from Howell, Utah!  It is a little town by Tremonton, so not to far from us!  What is really cool is that Elder Bradley and myself served in the Kearney ward together for 4 months but with different companions.  Actually, while we were there, Elder Monroe (My companion in Fleming Park) was Elder Bradley's companion.  Small missionary world!  :D. We are way to similar and are having a ton of fun together.  We work well together and we feel that we will be able to accomplish a lot together this transfer and hopefully in more transfers to come!

Elder Torrico and myself had an amazing lesson with a guy named Mauricio that we are now teaching!  He is 21 and is newly engaged. His questions were right on point with our topics and it was really cool to see how the Holy Ghost was leading the conversation.  It is always really great when the investigator can grasp the concepts that we are teaching, it makes things a whole lot easier!  Mauricio understands it logically, our next step with him is to help him understand it in his heart, that is when true conversion will take place.  We taught the restoration and he was amazed with how it all
was put together, he said that it helped him put things into perspective and that things were starting to make sense in his mind. That was a good sign!  The lesson was stopped abruptly when he got a call from his fiancĂ© because he was 45 minutes late to picking her up... But for some reason the Holy Ghost had us talk about prayer and how important that is at the beginning of the lesson instead of at the end, it was amazing to see the lesson unfold.  Probably the best lesson I have had since I have been in this area.  We have a return appointment with him tonight!

This has been a great week getting settled in again with Elder Bradley and trying to get thing flowing here in Lenexa.  This week we found three new investigators, their names are Patty, Lydia (Patty's 10 year old daughter), and Wyatt.  We are pretty excited to go back and teach them come this week!

That's about all that happened this week!  Sorry it's not too long.

Have a great week!

Elder Shoemaker

Elder Bradley (New Companion) and Elder Shoemaker

Posterity Picture!  Me, My son, My grandson, and Great grandson

The zone just before Transfers!

Monday, April 18, 2016

A Baptism....and bye bye Elder Torrico

Area:  Lenexa, Kansas      
Companion:  Elder Torrico

What a crazy busy week full of news that caught us off guard...  Elder Torrico got a trainers call this past Friday so that means we will be splitting up!  We were only able to be companions for 4 weeks which wasn't enough, but it is what the Lord needs right now.  I am anxious to see who my next companion will be, I'll let you know next week who I am with!

This week we were able to contact two referrals that our investigator that dropped us gave to us.  They were also theology majors and both worked at the same catholic school.  They were really cool!  They are in their mid 20's so we got along really well.  We were able to be really open with each other and they understood everything that we taught which was nice.  They weren't really to interested in coming to church or taking the lessons on consistent basis, but they were grateful for us talking with them and helping them understand more of what we believe.  They were really interested in the Book of Mormon and wanted a copy for themselves.  I also learned a lot about Catholics and what they believe so that was interesting!  We are hoping to be able to go back and teach them sometime soon.

We weren't able to contact Michael this week, which we were bummed about.  :(. We will keep working on trying to get in contact with him.

This week we were able to go on exchanges with some elders in our zone.  I was with an elder who has been out for about 3 months named Elder Christensen.  Great guy and really positive about the work!  We had a couple really cool experiences together while out and about.  We came across this group of young high school kids who all looked an awful lot like Will Smith...(the actor).  We got to know them a bit and then they really started asking some sincere questions.  By the end of it we had been there for an hour and what had started out with 4 kids ended up being 7 kids!  They all wanted copies of the Book of Mormon and we're all interested in learning more about the gospel because they saw how happy we were and how we weren't much older then them.  We are going to continue to try and keep in contact with them.  We also made contact with a new less active family to start working with!  We were really excited about that!

On Saturday I was able to go back to my previous area and see one of my investigators get baptized!  He is a 9 year old boy named Michael who is the nephew of another lady (Amey) that I helped baptized while I was there.  It was so great to see all the ward members and to see him take the next step in his life.  There was a lot of non member family that attended the baptism and some other investigators were brought as well.  It was a very spiritual time for the family and it made a big impact on a lot of the people that attended the baptism.

Saturday as well we were able to make contact with some former investigators that were in our area book.  Their names are TJ and Brianna.  They have a young family and have been taught almost all the lessons before but then just lost interest.  We have a young couple in the ward who knows them so we took them with us over there and it went great!  Our first really lesson with them will be on Wednesday and we are pretty excited about that!

That is pretty much all that has been going on this week!  We are anxious to see what transfers bring.  This time with Elder Torrico has just flown by so quickly!

Peace out, love you all!

Elder Shoemaker

Monday, April 11, 2016

Being a Missionary is the BEST!

Area:  Lenexa, Kansas      
Companion:  Elder Torrico

Yet another week zooms right on by!  This week his full of adventures and miracles as always, being a missionary is the best!

We had a miracle happen this Tuesday with finding a new investigator through a referral that we received through the church website.  He had entered his name into the church system saying that he wanted to learn more from the missionaries and BAM!  We showed up on his porch. His name is Michael and he has a big family of 5 kids with one on the way with his "baby momma" as he would put it.  When we walked in he was right away interested in what we had to say.  We taught him the restoration and he was very intrigued  with the message that we shared with him and was eager to read from the Book of Mormon.  At the end of the lesson we invited him to pray and he said that he didn't feel comfortable because he felt to weighed down by what he had done and he didn't think that God would want to hear from him.  I walked him through the section in the pamphlet that talked about praying and showed him how easy it was.  We also emphasized how God loves us and does not want to condemn us, we are his children and he wants to hear our prayers.  That seemed to help and he said that he would close our next lesson and he wanted to hear us pray a couple more times before he would try.

Our investigator Kirsten, dropped us last week. :(. That is always a sad text to get, but we move on from that seed planted and try and find the next one that is ready to sow.  We asked her if she had anyone that she knew who would be interested in taking lessons from the missionaries and she came up with two people that she knows who said they wanted to meet with us!  That was an awesome miracle to have.  We are a little concerned however, because her two friends are theologist and we are not quite sure what their intentions are...  We have a meeting with them this Tuesday evening, so we will see what happens there!

This Wednesday we had MLC again!  It rolls around so quickly every time!  I can't believe that it was my 11th MLC that I have had.  There was a really big emphasis on how we need to not just be doing missionary things, but that we need to be becoming a missionary.  It may start with just acting like a missionary in the beginning but as we progress on in our mission it needs to become who we are and who we are becoming.  That is what the 8 hours of training was put into a really tiny nut shell.

We had our zone training the next Friday after MLC and that went really well!  It was such a different experience with these missionaries as they all really wanted to be there and listen and get something out of what we were saying.  It was a nice breathe of fresh air!  We have had multiple companionship's talk/text us about how grateful they were for the training's and that the spirit was so strong for them to learn and absorb what was shared.  They are always a little grueling as we train these missionaries for about 3-3 1/2 hours straight.  Overall, this experience went really well!

We are really struggling with finding solid investigators here in this area.  It seems that most missionaries that have been here in the past really liked to tract and we have little to no results from that.  We are really trying to get this area organized and put back together as far as getting to know each ward member, finding less actives and part member families to work with, and eventually gaining referrals from them!  It is fun mashing all the things I have learned in each one of my areas into this ward and really try and get things rolling!  I'm excited to see what the Lord has in store for us in this area as we work diligently.  :).

That is about all that happened this week!  I am excited to see you all in a month on FaceTime for Mother's Day!  I can't believe that is already sneaking up on us so quickly.  I also can't believe that this will be my last call home before I will be home!  Time is flying by so fast right now it's insane!

Thank you all so much!

Elder Shoemaker

 One week old puppy....

Couldn't resist holding this Gecko...........

Here is some of our zone, some left early from zone training so they missed the picture. 
Can you spot me?

Monday, April 4, 2016

Good ole' General Conference

Area:  Lenexa, Kansas      
Companion:  Elder Torrico

Hello everyone!

I am still absolutely loving it here in Lenexa!  I have determined that Kansas is a lot better to serve in than Missouri, haha!  I love it here!

I have been able to meet some of the ward members this week and they are all really wonderful.  We are working right now on getting our ward roster updated and figuring out some target families that we want to start working with.  We are going to be doing the same thing that I started doing while in Fleming Park and that is to go and visit every person on the ward roster that we don't know anything about.  We have already seen success in finding investigators through this as we found a new investigator named Kirsten on Wednesday while trying someone on the list who ended up not living there.  Kristen answered the door instead!  She is in her mid to late 20's and is a Catholic school
teacher at an elementary school.  We started talking to her about her beliefs and we shared a little bit of the plan of salvation with her. She said that she has always wanted to meet with missionaries before and that she has had a ton of questions because she said that she wants to be able to stand up for Mormons because we get such a bad wrap sometimes.  Anyway, the conversation leads to us talked to her about what we do as missionaries and that we would love to come back to teach her more.  She agreed and was excited to get started on reading the Book of Mormon, she even asked us what she can do to be prepared for the next meeting that we have set up!  She is so prepared and ready to hear the message that we share, she truly is a blessing from the Lord!

We had a return appointment with her and she happened to have a friend in town from Columbia who wanted to join us as well on Saturday.  She didn't feel comfortable with us bringing someone from our congregation, so we just met them at Pandora Bread and had breakfast and a lesson.  Well, her friend is a philosophy major and with that she also thinks she knows everything about everything when it comes to religion.  We had several opportunities to put her in her place during the discussion as she was just trying to catch us in our words.  She wasn't very sincere and was just asking questions that her philosophy professor had given her so she didn't actually care about the answer, she just wanted to see if we knew the answer.  Kirsten on the other had was all eyes and ears for the conversation!  In the hour and a half we were there we taught her all of lesson two and then all of
lesson one back to back!  She was very interested and very committed to pray and read the specific chapter we had given her to read before our next visit.  She also said that she may watch a session of General Conference!

I also met one of our other investigators this week, Patty!  She is in her 80's and was previously RLDS growing up, but recognizing that they are quickly falling apart.  We had a wonderful lesson about prophets and apostles and she said she would watch all of the sessions of conference to seek for her answer of whether she should be baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I am confident, since she did watch all of those sessions, that she did receive an answer just for her.  There were many marvelous talks regarding that, I am so excited to go back for our return appointment to see what she thought about the whole thing.

This past week I had an interview with my mission president, President Vest.  I love the insights that he always gives to me, he always know what the right things to say are.  It's almost like he is inspired or something! :P.  We started talking about how my experiences as a Zone Leader have helped me learn and grow and he talked about a few things that really lifted my spirits and gave me encouragement to keep pushing forth and working hard to the end.  I expressed some things to
him as far as feeling a little "trunky" with the end of my mission drawing near.  He said that he needed me to keep working hard to the end because there are a lot of missionaries that look up to me and he than thanked me for being a quiet and spiritually tall leader.  That really helped me out and helped me want to push forward to the end. It really is hard to stay 100% focused when you can see the shore on the other side so close!

Even with all these thoughts of home coming into my brain, I know deep within me I want to finish strong.  I was raised that way by my parents and grandparents!!  We don't give up when we are almost to the end, that would be to easy and we wouldn't grow nearly as much as we could if we finished strong!  It can be easy to get lax on the rules and a few of the things we are asked to do, but I am determined to push to the end with all my energy and try my best to use this prime time of my mission to the fullest, this is where the most growth and strength will come to me.  Thank you everyone for all the support and love that you have shown me!

Elder Shoemaker

The sweetest lady in our ward!  :)

Monday, March 28, 2016


Area:  Lenexa, Kansas      
Companion:  Elder Torrico

This past week has been a really hectic one!  We had our emergency transfers on Monday night so we didn't really get to much of a p-day, so we were given permission to p-day on Tuesday for a little bit so that we could have some time to relax and what not.  The reasoning behind the emergency transfer was because the Elder that I swapped out with had some feelings for one of the Sisters in the zone that he was serving in...  I promise, it wasn't my fault!  Haha.

When I got to this apartment I wasn't surprised with how dirty it was...  It seems that no missionary knows how to keep their apartment clean!  My new companion likes to keep things clean like I do, but his past companion just didn't really seem to care to much about cleanliness so it was hard for him to keep the apartment clean all the time.  We spent probably about 6 hours this week just cleaning our one bedroom apartment from top to bottom!  We ended up throwing away about 10 bag of garbage along with other boxes full of crap that missionaries leave behind that no one ever uses.  It feels so much nicer to have a clean apartment, I don't know how people live in filth all the time.

I'm loving it in Lenexa!  It has been such a blast getting to know everyone.  Lenexa is definitely the rich part of Kansas and it is so much cleaner than Missouri!  There is actually a trash system here in Kansas, in Missouri everyone just throws it on the side of the road in trash bags.  The people over here are just a lot nicer as well and it is just more pleasant to be here.

I feel like now I kind of understand how to do missionary work, it sure has taken me awhile to somewhat understand what it is all about. On Tuesday, my first full day in the area, we went and played capture the flag with the youth of the ward so that I could get to know the youth and also get to know all the auxiliary leaders and the bishopric.  It was a great opportunity to build some trust with the ward and to also have a good time.  We are really going to put an added emphasis on the youth and doing missionary work as it seems to go a lot better with them.  They are a lot less fearful and love to talk with their friends about the gospel all the time!  They are great examples to the wards and the members of the church.

I haven't really had much of an opportunity to meet many of the investigators in this area yet, but I am looking forward to meeting them.  Sorry I don't have to much info about that for you all.

This week we also had a ward party/fundraiser for the young woman in the ward for girls camp.  It went really well!  It was a spaghetti dinner with a silent auction and the youth also performed some of
their musical talents for everyone.  It was a great opportunity for me to meet a lot of the ward and there was also a lot of non members there so we got to talk with some of them.

Sunday was really great!  I loved meeting all the ward members and getting to visit with a few of them.  It is always a slow process getting to know everyone's names and which family each one of them belong to.  I was able to bear my testimony this week during fast and testimony meeting.  As I was reading in the New Testament during the sacrament ordinance, I felt the need to turn to where the Savior is actually resurrected seeing as it is Easter!  In Matthew 28:6 we read: "He is not hear, for He is risen..." I shared this with the congregation and what it means to me.  The Savior truly did rise again on the third day!  What a wonderful message that we have and one to rejoice over!  We know that because the Savior Jesus Christ was resurrected on the third day, all of us who have ever lived on the earth will also be resurrected!  That truly brings joy into my life, and it also brings joy into the life of others just as much.  HE LIVES!

In 2 Nephi 2:8 we also read: " great the importance to make these things known unto the
inhabitants of the earth..." It truly is so important to spread this message with all we know, love, and care about.  I have found so much happiness as I have shared this message with all we have come in contact with, it is amazing how by sharing this message with others it in turn brings joy into your own life.  God truly does want us to be happy and to bless us!

I love you all!

Elder Shoemaker

ps.  That is pretty cool that part of one of my letters was in the ward bulletin!  That was pretty cool to see.

My new companion - Elder Torrico and me!

It snowed again Sunday morning!  Then, by the end of the day it was
about 60 degrees... Kansas and Missouri weather is absolutely nuts!