Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Change Is a Part Of Life...

We're all sad that President Shumway is leaving.
President and Sister Shumway
(image via deseretnews.com)

We're excited for President Loveland to come.
President and Sister Loveland
(image via deseretnews.com)

We're very excited for the Arkansas Bentonville Mission.
Following is President Shumway's information/thoughts about the creation of the "new" mission:
"...the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission will officially cease to exist on July 1st, 2015. The Mission Home will be moved from Tulsa, to Bentonville, Arkansas which means the name of the mission will also change. The Oklahoma Tulsa Mission will become the Arkansas Bentonville Mission. There are no boundary changes. The Mission retains all of it's stakes and wards as presently constituted.

The First Presidency approved this change just a little over three weeks ago and so Sister Shumway and I are busily trying to close down the home in Tulsa and move furniture and office equipment to our new home in Bentonville.

This has been a long and complicated process but we have felt the Lord's hand, and His promptings, as each phase was completed. This new and more central location will mean much less travel for the Mission President and it will be much for efficient for the communication challenges that naturally exist in such a geographically large mission.

Our thoughts and emotions are tender as we think back on the 50 year history of the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission. This mission home has welcomed thousands of missionaries through it's doors. And it has bid an emotional and tearful goodbye to that same number. We are honored to be here at this time and we are well aware of the obligation we have to end strong as we remember the efforts given by everyone who has served and labored here in the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission.

At the same time, we are excited to work towards the motto of, "End Strong, but, Begin Stronger." We will try and create as much momentum as we can so that the new Arkansas Bentonville Mission will carry on the tradition of hard work and obedience established by so many." (May 24, 2015)

Monday, June 29, 2015

You Won't Want To Miss This!

Last week, my sister found some pictures from a family vacation we took in January of 2001, when I was only four years old. During this vacation we visited Liberty Jail and Independence, which are LDS Church History sites in Western Missouri.

We also visited sites in and around southwestern Missouri. These pictures were taken within the boundaries of my current area. Interesting to think that 14.5 years later, I would be living near these places, serving as a full-time missionary for the LDS Church! I hope you enjoy a "blast from the past".

George Washington Carver National Monument

Precious Moments Chapel Fountain

Precious Moments Chapel Statue

Precious Moments Chapel Walkway

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Working Hard in New Area!

My new area is awesome! There is a place called Fidelity in our area, and Diamond, and Sarcoxie....and, in the Young Single Adult ward there is the whole Joplin Stake and half of the Monett Stake, so we have everything everywhere in the northern part.

I'm serving in two wards right now :j....well, a ward and a branch. There are not a lot of Young Single Adults in this part of the mission, but we're planning on going to Kansas to find some of them.

We're trying to work as hard as we can because neither of us know anyone in our area. We put the ward/branch roster on our GPS, so we know where every member lives. We don't really have any investigators right now.

We hang out with the Spanish missionaries a lot. It makes it easier with the single sisters in our areas because the Spanish missionaries cover the same area as we do and we become able to enter into a single sister's house. It's nice. The Spanish elders have the same ward mission leader as us.

The members are feeding us a lot! They have my birthday covered already. The best thing about this area is...we have unlimited popcorn!!!!! I love popcorn! It's delicious.

We live in a duplex :D. It's nice, big, and comfortable. We have two bathrooms, a large study room, etc. No mountains....it's actually pretty nice.

I love this mission. It's amazing!

Friday, June 26, 2015

New Mission Name - Arkansas Bentonville!

They moved the mission office on Saturday. So as of July 1, I will be serving in the Arkansas Bentonville Mission, with a new mission president.

My mom found an article about our new mission president and his family. It can be found here: http://ldsmissionaries.com/children-return-to-farm-while-father-is-mission-president/

We are getting excited to welcome him to our "new" mission!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Fireflies, Spiders, and Ticks! Oh, my!

Fireflies are becoming more numerous here, so that is good. Spiders are also becoming more numerous...so that is not so good. I found a tick on my hand. We took it off (the correct way, don't worry), and killed it with fire...and then my companion flushed it down the toilet.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Transfers, Tornado Alley, Mission Goals!

Guess what?!?!?! Both my companion and I are getting transferred.

My companion is going to be a zone leader in Oklahoma. (Of interest, he will "go down in history" as the last district leader of the zone.) The zone is tiny enough that they're only going to have a zone meeting every week instead of a "combined district meeting". Basically the same thing, but instead of my companion being in charge every week, it is going to be both the zone leaders.

I'm going to Missouri, and TORNADO ALLEY! I am so excited! It is very sad to leave my area...and Arkansas, too. I have loved my 7.5 months here. But I am super excited to serve in Missouri! I've heard that my new area has a huge Spanish population! That'll be fun! If you count my new ward boundaries, I will now have served in all four states in the mission! It's amazing!

I can't wait to go to my new area. I know my new companion, and I know we will do great there!

The mission goals are doing well, also. We've broken mission-wide records for the past few weeks in the OTM. It's awesome!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

We Met Our Goal...Almost!

We were pretty successful in our goal for this week. We didn't quite reach the goal, but we tried our best. We talked to two people who were moving here, and we offered to help, but they were almost done. We gave them a #BecauseHeLives card. 

We went back on Sunday, and we talked to them about the Book of Mormon. They were extremely interested, and want us to come back to help them learn more.

We made a huge effort to have our investigating families attend church, but this week, one of them had a baby, and they couldn't make it. We're going to get them to church next week.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Baptisms at the Temple!

My companion and I went to the Oklahoma City Temple with the youth.  I was able to baptize some of the young men for their ancestors, which was amazing.

We then went to Cici's Pizza for dinner, where we conversed with the youth.

It was a long trip to Oklahoma, and an even longer one coming back. Our driver took a wrong turn and had to take a more roundabout trip to our apartment. We went through Missouri to come back to our area.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Last Zone Conference for OTM...

We had our last zone conference with our out-going mission president...and the last zone conference for the Oklahoma Tulsa Mission. It was very sad...and very awesome. I was able to see a couple of elders from my MTC district there. I also saw one of my former companions. It was nice to see all of them.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Rain, Flooding, Spiders, Fireflies,...and Brisket!

The pond next to our apartment complex flooded due to much rainfall. Some of the trees were halfway immersed this week. It was insane. We had a ton of rain.  It rained every day. We had a 24-hour flash flood warning on Sunday. Some members couldn't come to church due to flooding.

We also had a ton of spiders. I've seen at least two spiders every day for this past week. Half of them were in my apartment. Scary.

On the bright side, we did see a ton of fireflies, too. I love fireflies.

I tried a new food. It's called brisket, or something like that.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Mission Life is Awesome!

My companion is superb. He is very obedient and tries to do the best he can. It's really awesome.

Our investigators are doing great. Two of them want to come to church. We met with another when we were biking to a member's home. Another individual was baptized and confirmed. This whole stake is progressing. We've had a baptism in this stake every week for the past three weeks. It is so cool.

The mission is so awesome! I love it! We had an exchange with the zone leaders, and it was awesome.  I love this area.  I think it is going to have a temple soon....there are a ton of members of the church here. Most of them are from BYU and BYU-Idaho.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

New Mission Is Genuine!

The Arkansas Bentonville Mission is definitely genuine.  It will open on July 1st when the new Mission President comes. 

The Assistants to the Mission President called and told us that our area is going to be their area. We don't know what's going to happen at transfers, but I think that my companion and I are getting shotgunned, but I don't know for sure. It is crazy. We are trying to find a ton more potentials for the Assistants, and it is really hard.

I don't know why the Church Headquarters didn't say anything about the new mission, but we know that our Mission President has found the Mission Home and is working on transferring the Mission Office. It's amazing. I can't wait.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Miraculous Day!

We were trying to contact a referral this week, and instead we found a lady who is originally from out of the United States. We tried to set up a return appointment with her, but her husband said no. 

We proceeded around the block speaking to everyone we encountered.  We came across another lady, and it turns out that she was the referral that we needed to contact, and we had a wonderful lesson with her. We even have a return appointment for her. 

Afterwards, we went to get our bikes, and the first lady mentioned waved hi to us. As we were biking past her, she motioned for us to come over. We went over and it turns out, she wants to be a Latter-Day Saint! Her dad is a branch president in another country, and her siblings are going on missions! (Her husband isn't interested and is of a different faith.)

It was great! It was a miraculous day!