Monday, February 29, 2016

Mission President Curve Balls.....

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

Hello Everyone!

We have had a great week that has resulted in a lot of wonderful little miracles that have happened!  One of those was that the 9 year old that we are teaching, Michael, has said that he wants to be baptized!  We just need to have him confirm things with his mom and set a specific date for him.  Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later.  Darcio was not baptized this past week as much as I would have loved to see that happen.  We have bumped his date back to the 12th of March, but will probably have to bump it back a little further because we haven't been able to see him for awhile.  He was at church with his family this Sunday though!

We made contact with a guy named James who I have been trying to make contact with since I have been in the area.  I had contacted him one time and then it has just been impossible to catch him ever since that.  We had a fantastic sit down lesson with him.  He is in him late 20's early 30's and has such a sincere desire to follow God.  We asked him to say the prayer after we taught the restoration and as he was offering he, he broke down into tears and started repenting without him realizing it.  He was praying about how he had strayed from the path, but wants to get back on.  As he was crying he grabbed his Book of Mormon and held it next to his heart.  This guy is so awesome!  We are excited to see where he goes from here.

Well, this is transfer week!  We find out if we are getting transferred on Tuesday!  :D. I love this area and my companion, but my guess is that I will be leaving.  I have been here for three transfers and two of those have been with the same companion.  But, you never know with President Vest, he likes to throw curve balls sometimes! Stay tuned next week to see what is happening.

Elder Shoemaker


Monday, February 22, 2016

Tender Mercies can be fun too....

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

Well hello there!

This week has been an interesting one.  We have been very blessed with teaching opportunities and with being able to see progression happen with those in whom we are teaching as well.  We also have experienced the frustration with canceled appointments and investigators falling through, which always happens but in still never fun.

First of all, we had a big miracle happen on Sunday!  We have been working with a less active, part member family that has been recently returning to activity and we are also teaching their son.  Yesterday they came to church but they actually stayed the whole three hours!  I have not seen them actually stay the whole time because they feel like they don't know anyone who is in those third hour classes.  The comment that the guy we are working with said was just amazing as well.  The topic of the discussion was prayer and he talked about how prayer has helped him return to activity and has helped him decided to continue down the road he is on because it just feel right.  This guy has been less active since he was 18 and now he is 31, so that was just so great to hear come out of his mouth.

Angela's progression is also moving right along.  We invited a young couple in the ward to start fellow-shipping Angela and her husband and so they invited them over for dinner yesterday along with another young couple in the ward.  They were able to get some great fellowship and after they had dinner they asked us to come and share a message with them all.  We shared a message on the Book of Mormon and its divinity.  After the message we had most of them in tears, which was really good for Angela to see the sincerity that we all had for the Book of Mormon seeing that is where her struggle lies.

We were also able to have dinner with and active family in the ward who is a fellowship for another one of investigators and they were able to get that investigator to come over as well to dinner!  That is the best to see member of the ward inviting each other over for dinner.  There really isn't anything better than seeing members do missionary work and wanting to do it!  We were able to have a great lesson on the plan of salvation after dinner.

We went on a couple of exchanges this week with some missionaries in our zone.  This transfer our goal was to go on exchanges with every missionary in our zone so that we could build a relationship and get to know each one of them individually.  They have all been going really well!  Our perspectives have changed on who some of these missionaries are which is good and we were also able to see what we can do to help each one of them individually.

Oh!  We got news that Elder Stevenson will be coming March 12!

Last Saturday was a pretty rough day for us.  We had all our appointments fall through and nothing was working.  We were street contacting for about 4 hours and that wasn't working.  Then we had dinner with a member family.  Then our appointment fell through again and all the active member families were all at an elders quorum activity, so we could go and visit families...  We were kind of down on our luck so we just started to drive around and came across a lit basketball court at a park.  There were two guys playing basket ball, so we figured that we would go and play ball with them in hopes that they might listen to us or at least make some kind of impact.  We went down there and played them, showed them up and beat them pretty good, and then they left.  Elder Monroe is a pretty good basketball player as he played in high school.  Nothing really came of it, but who knows, maybe something will later on in their lives when they see two missionaries walking down the street.  At least we had a way to release our stress and frustration.  That was a tender mercy from the Lord.  :). (Tender mercies can be fun at the same time, right?)

As I was reading in the Book of Mormon this week, 2 Nephi 29 really stood out to me.  That chapter talks about how some people will say that we don't need anymore scripture and that the bible is enough. Yes, the bible is a fantastic book that has helped millions of people, but God loves all his children and so he blessed those in America with the same teachings, it was just in a way that they could understand! What a blessing it is to have the Book of Mormon in our lives today. The blessings that come from reading it, studying it, pondering on it, whatever it may be and endless!  Our Heavenly Father truly has blessed us with more of His truth that we can treasure up in our minds continually.

That is all I have for you this week!

Love you all!

Elder Shoemaker

I have the flag hanging over my desk, thanks Mom!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Opposition in LIFE is essential!

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


I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day.  It was pretty uneventful from my side, but we got loaded up with a bunch of sweets from the awesome ward members here.  

Yes Mom, I did receive the flag!  Thank you for that.  I also did receive the letter and I appreciate that as well!  

This week has just been so good to us.  We have been able to visit all of our investigators, members have been wanting and able to come out with us, and the blessing from the Lord are just so eminent in our lives right now.  At church we were able to see three of our investigators come!  We had Michael, Darcio, and Angela there.  They all always enjoy church and get along well with everyone there.  

Darcio is still set for baptism!  We have a lesson with him tonight so we will be able to check up on everything and also finish teaching what we have left for him.  We have had some concerns with him as far as making his date, but the Lord is hearing and answering our prayers and Darcio is chugging right along.  We are so excited to see the joy that this will bring into that family.  The Atonement already has made a huge difference in this families lives and it continues to each and every day.  I love being able to see it from an outsiders prospective so closely.  

We are still working with Michael and trying to set him on a baptismal date.  He really enjoys church and all the friends he has made there in primary.  He is such a well behaved kid and very outgoing.  The gospel would suit him well and also his family.  We will be working on sharing the message that we have with his mom as well.  We are excited to see what happens with him in this coming week! 

Angela is a tough cookie to crack.  She acts like she understands everything and gets everything, but in reality she may understand it but she doesn't internalize it so it is not making much of a difference in her life.  It is also hard to get her to take some action as far as changing.  She is just content with her life right now.  He husband, who is a member, is helping a little with that but doesn't want to push her to much, which is understandable.  We have another lesson with her on Tuesday in which we are just going to focus on the blessings that comes from living the gospel and making covenants.  We are hoping this will help her get over her complacency and make the next step in her life and be baptized!  We will see how that goes.  

We find a new investigator last week!  Josh finally panned out, the guy we met in the parking lot.  He is a full of energy, questions, and sometimes illegal substances... But hey!  The gospel is for everyone, right?  Who better?  We have another appointment with him this Tuesday.  The last appointment we had with him was crazy!  At the end we were able to buckle down and teach him about the Book of Mormon and invite him to read it.  He said he would and so we are auction to return on Tuesday.  

This week I have been thinking a lot about adversity, seeing as that is what the lesson was on this Sunday.  Our Elders quorum teacher presented a great analogy that has stuck with me and has had me thinking a lot.  If we are an astronaut and we go into space, over time our muscles atrophy.  That is because there is not gravity, nothing to push agains our body, no opposition.  Here on earth we have gravity so we have to opportunity to grow and get stronger, more fit, and improve.  From this we can see that opposition in life is an essential part of who we are and who we are becoming, it helps us grow!  It is a much needed part of God's plan that I know can sometimes suck, but we grow even strong afterward.  

I am great full for this opportunity to be serving the Lord!  The gospel is true and the atonement changes lives.  Think about what opposition has done for you throughout your lives and you will see God's had in your life.  

Love you all!  

Elder Shoemaker

Life as a missionary!  Really interesting perspective. {Audio only, don't get dizzy watching!}


Chillin' with my homie!

Just looking classy as always...

Monday, February 8, 2016

Leading as the Savior leads...

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

Yes, I am feeling a ton better, pretty much back to normal now.  I just had some bad food and now that it is all out of my system life is good!

This has been a fantastic week!  We have had a ton of success with the people that we are working with and we were able to teach a lot this week to those that we have right now.  We are teaching a guy named Darcio who is not a member.  His wife Josephina is a member and is returning to activity.  We have been working with them since I have come into the area and their progression has been a slow process, but it has been amazing to see them get better and better each week. Darcio is now on date to be baptized on the 27th!  It is so good to see that he has that desire to come closer to his Savior.  Yesterday at church Elder Monroe got asked to baptize him!  I was so excited for him because he hasn't been able to physically baptize anyone yet while on his mission.

We are also teaching Amey's nephew who lives with her most days out of the week.  He is an awesome kid, his name is Michael.  He is 9 years old and retains almost anything you tell him and can recite it right back to you.  He is progressing right along and we are working toward getting him baptized as well.  We just have to get it cleared through his Mom first before we can put him on a baptismal date.  Pretty excited about teaching him!

This week we had zone training.  After receiving some amazing training from our Mission President, the assistants, and few other missionaries at MLC, we were excited about presenting the information to the rest of the zone to help train them in what the Lord saw that our mission needed at this time.  We spent a lot of time in preparation for the training and such.  That was one of the hardest zone trainings I have had to give before.  There was only about 1-2 sets of missionaries that would willingly participate in the conversation and so it made for some long and slow hours as we presented them.  At the end as we were driving home one of the set of missionaries that participated said they got a ton out of the meeting, which we were glad.  One of the missionaries presented a really powerful lesson on leadership that I have ever heard before.  (To preface this we have been having a lot of problems in our zone with missionaries and their actions) He said, "Sometimes in leadership you feel rejected and you see a lot of who you thought were your friends turn their backs on you and it makes things really tough.  But that is nothing different than what the Savior went through!  Peter and Judas both turned their backs on Him.  I think that as a leader you have the opportunity to come closer to the Savior than you ever have before because you go through similar things as He did, but on a smaller scale."  I loved his perspective and it will forever change the way I look at the opportunity to be a leader for the rest of my life!

This week we were also able to take a part member and less active returning to activity family in the ward to Liberty Jail!  The tour went so well and the spirit really touched the family.  At the end of the tour as we talked about what Joseph Smith went through they all were in tears and just had so much love for this Prophet of God and what he did for us.  It was a great spiritual experience that we felt very blessed to be able to have with this family.

We got news this past week that Elder Stephenson of the Quorum of the 12 is going to be coming to our mission in March for an all mission conference!  I am so stoked to hear from him and to learn straight from the mouth of an apostle.  This is the first member of the 12 that has come since I have been here.  I am super excited!

That is about all that happened this week!  Thank you for all the emails and the love!  Have a great rest of your week.

Elder Shoemaker

Would it be possible for you to send me out a full sized Missouri State Flag?  :-)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Priesthood Blessings....

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

Hello family and friends!

My email might be a bit short because I am not feeling to well right now.  Sorry!

This has been an interesting last couple of days!  Yesterday at church I started to feel a little queezy... I figured it would go away with some time and just laying down.  At dinner it really started to hit me.  I started to get light headed and my stomach was cramping super bad, so I went to the rest room and threw up like 3 times...  Yeah, that was great!  First time I have done that on my mission.  We went home after that and I slept the rest of the night.  I woke up this morning feeling a lot better but still just sticking to the saltine crackers and water.  I think I just ate some bad food.

We had a pretty cool experience with a part member less active family. The wife was sick so we went over to give her a blessing.  After the blessing we felt prompted to ask the rest of the family if they wanted blessings as well and we were able to give them all blessings!  It was a huge step n the right direction for them.

We went on exchanges this week with district leaders in our zone. They went really well!  Funny story with one of the district leaders. We were riding bikes this Elder had taken some laxatives because he hadn't been able to go for about 3 days... (Poor guy).   As we were riding he looks over at me and said, "I just pooped my pants!"  I was laughing so hard for about 10 minutes.  We rode to the nearest gas station and called some other Elders to come and pick us up.  That is one of those stories you won't forget.

Well, That is about all that happened this week.  Sorry for the short email!

Love you all!

Elder Shoemaker

So much missionary CHARM captivated in one picture.....
Can hardly stand it!!!!