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!

Monday, March 21, 2016

19 months and an Emergency Transfer!!

Area:  Lenexa, Kansas      
Companion:  Elder Torrico

Yeppers, it is me!

Yet another week has past and they seem to fly by so quickly!  We had a pretty great week this week.

We got a call this morning at 6:30am from the assistants to the presidents (in whom we are really good friends with) and they told us that our companionship was going to be effected by an emergency transfer that president wanted to happen.  So, I'll be heading out to Lenexa, Kansas to serve with elder Torrico (I'm super excited to be with him!) and elder Monroe will be staying in Kansas City with elder Greenburg.  We have no idea why it is happening and neither do the assistants, but it will sure be an adventure!  We meet them in Independence tonight at 8pm to transfer.  I'm bummed to leave Elder Monroe as he has been the longest companion that I have had, but I'm excited to go out to Lenexa.  It is the rich part of Kansas so it should be a good time, I might even die there!

Earlier this week we went on exchanges with the assistants and it was awesome!  I went to their area, which is Blue Mills, with Elder Butterfield.  Elder Butterfield, Elder Anderton, and Elder Monroe have become some of my best friends, they are such great guys.  While on exchanges we did some service for the bishop in their ward, who is polly, to help him clean up his back yard from old scrubs and branches.  We started to burn everything and about 30 minutes later a fire truck rolls up and tells us that we can't burn at the area that he was living in.  So, the bishop goes and breaks it down with a stick and then presumes to continue to feed the fire for another hour before he finally let it burn out.  It was so funny to see how much he didn't care at all, those pollys can be a little stubborn sometimes.  :P

Oh, by the way a member from this ward is shipping home my ukulele for me sometime soon so be expecting it on the porch.

Well, I don't really have to much time today as I am packing for the transfer.

I love you all!

Elder Shoemaker

Elder Shoemaker, Elder Monroe, Elder Butterfield, and Elder Anderton

It snowed this week!

Monday, March 14, 2016

A 10 second Interview

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

Hello everyone!

This week was wonderful!  It was full of service, meetings, and some fun events.  We also were able to have an experience that may not every happen again in my lifetime.  I'll talk a little bit more about that in a bit.

This past Monday a great service opportunity came up!  I was really excited to help this guy out.  When we got to his house he had just gotten some new baffles for his Victory Motorcycle.  I absolutely love this guys bike as it looks amazing and sounds amazing!  It is about a $15,000 bobber bike that has this sweet vintage white paint job that looks so good!  Come to find out he had no idea how to change out his new baffles, so I offered to help him try and figure it out.  Well, it wasn't hard at all and we were able to get them changed out in about an hour or so!  We also took out his converters that are built in there for emissions purposes but Missouri doesn't have emissions so we took them out to make his bike sound a lot louder as well.  His new baffles were just about wide open enough to stick a soda can down. The bike sounded so sweet afterward.  He said that since I had done most of the work that he just had to let me ride it...  I wanted to so bad!  But with mission rules we are not allowed to, so I didn't.  But he did say that if I was ever back in the area after my mission that he would let me ride it to my hearts content!  The Lord definitely placed that tender mercy in my path as I haven't been able to work on a bike for over a year and a half!

We also had Mission Leadership Conference this past week.  It was really great and there was a lot of information to pass along to our zone in zone training this week.  Zone training went well, not as well as we would have liked but they are getting progressively better than they have been.  There just isn't very much participation on the missionaries side sometimes and it just ends up feeling like a lecture rather than a training/discussion.

I was laughing pretty hard at that story that you shared with me about the bishop!  I really liked that one and may have even slipped that story into my email to the mission president this week...

So, now to the meat of this week!  We were able to have Elder Gary E. Stephenson of the 12, Elder Wilford W. Anderson of the 70, and Elder Donald D. Deschler our area 70 come and visit with us for a few hours this past Saturday!  When they first arrived you could just feel their presence in the building.  He requested to shake each one of our hands and how cool was that!  It was just such a cool experience to be able to look into the eyes of a special witness of the Lord and get to speak with him for a few brief seconds.  After he finished shaking our hands, he commented how much he enjoys having 10 second interviews with all the missionaries he meets.  He said that by shaking our hands that he had an interview with our soul as he gazed into each one of our eyes...  That blew my mind!  How cool is that?! There was some great things shared in the conference, but I wanted to share with you some of the things that helped me the most.

With anything that we learn in life there are three ways to learn them.  We can either learn them with just head knowledge.  Head knowledge is just with our mind, it make logical sense, we understand the reasoning behind it.  This is very important, but also can be very harmful if only head knowledge is present.  Next, heart knowledge. This is what creates a true desire.  A want to learn more and internalize it.  This leads us to questions and a desire to want to do more.  Last, we have soul knowledge.    This is the most important part!  This is where we take action.  We understand, we have a desire, and now we take the next step in taking action to do so.  This is where we practice!  "Faith without works is dead."

Those were the main things that I wanted to share with you today.  The apostles truly are called of God!  Figure out what aspects of the gospel have yet to reach the should knowledge and work on one of those things this week.  :).

I love you all!

Elder Shoemaker

One of the guys we play BINGO with each week for service

Monday, March 7, 2016

Do we all have our antennas up??

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

Well, transfers went well!  I am still in the Fleming Park ward with Elder Monroe!  That blew everyone's mind.  4 transfers in this area and 3 of them are with Elder Monroe.  He will be my longest companion that I will have had on my mission and I will be his as well.  This is a 7 week transfer as well due to the 3 week switch on MTC time.  Kinda of crazy to think that the next area that I go to will probably be when I die as a missionary...  I don't even feel like I have been out for very long!

We have had some really great experiences this week.  Again, most of our appointments fell through due to sickness, laziness, and who else knows what kind of excuses come up.  But, we had some good opportunities of service come up this week.  We helped this RLDS family move for most of Saturday and afterward they fed us pizza. Elder Monroe walked right up, grabbed a piece of pizza and chowed down. Everyone looked at him and said, "since you partook before the prayer, you get to say it!"  I was laughing so hard!  Here we are, Mormon missionaries supposed to be setting this great example, and we get called out.  It was a really funny and ironic situation.  After, Elder Monroe said, "I didn't know RLDS blessed their food..."

We also ran into probably the craziest guy I have ever met on my mission, and I have met some really crazy people!  He claimed to have just gotten out of jail and that he was now a self proclaimed Reverend whom now goes by the name of Reverend Peace.  He babbled our ears off for over 30 minutes before we could even realize....we were just trying to somewhat even follow what he was saying!  We didn't catch any of it, but it was mostly on Gods, yin yang, and death.  He also had the worst bipolar I have every seen where he would cry out of the middle of nowhere.  Just start bawling!  He ended up being homeless and had met with missionaries a lot of years past.  He must have got the crazy bug from all the time he spent incarcerated.

We had a part member, less active family do something really cool this past week.  We were talking with them and they said that they were fasting for a client that they had at their hair salon who they thought needed the gospel.  They were trying to figure out what would be best for her and how they could help her out.  They had never fasted before so they just went for it.  That was really cool to hear!

We had the coolest testimony meeting with probably my favorite family in this ward last night.  They have a less active son that we are trying to help return to activity and he is coming along.  It was so powerful!  It brought back the many memories of the testimony meetings that we would have at cuzins kamp.  Almost everyone bore very powerful testimonies and personal stories of how the atonement has changed their lives and how change is possible and that forgiveness will come. After the testimony meeting we had a little jam session with a bunch of instruments that they have.

As I was thinking this week about what the gospel is all about, I kept having the following phrase come to my mind given by an Elder M. Russel Ballard.  "I say we keep our antennas up!"  We need to reach out with love to everyone that we talk to, meet, have interaction with, whatever the situation may be.  The gospel is about love and that is what our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are all about!

1 John 4: 7-9
  • 7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
  • 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
  • 9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
Do we all have our antennas up??  (link to the article Elder Shoemaker is referring to:

Elder Shoemaker

Love you all!

Our last p-day together bowling before transfers!