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