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!  :)