Well … this is it. This is officially my last email and I have so many thoughts going on in my head I hope I can clearly explain how I feel at this moment in time.
For the last 18 months I have served my Heavenly Father in the Peru Piura Mission. I still remember when I received my call and opened up the envelope in the backyard of my house ... and could not for the life of me pronounce the name. I imagined I was going to Machu Picchu or something like that and would be eating Mexican food for the following 18 months. After getting to Peru I realized that this was not the case.
I landed in this beautiful desert scared to death and having no idea what I was getting into. I received my first comp, a latina, and could not speak to her whatsoever so I acted out everything. I stumbled over my words, trying to get to know the people who surrounded me … and literally felt alone and lost. But ... it is crazy how a land that was so unfamiliar and scary to me has come to be my home ... and is now filled with many people who I love and cherish. Learning to communicate with these loving people has been the hardest thing I have done in my life, but I can testify that the Gift of Tongues is real!
As the months have flown by, I have been through many ups and downs. I have laughed, cried, been rejected too many times to count, and have prayed harder than I ever have in my entire life. But now I have come to realize that a mission is meant to shape and form us into the sons and daughters of God that Heavenly Fathers sees us as. Every challenge has taught me something and formed me into the person I am today. A mission is not easy … but EVERY DAY is worth it!
More than anything I have come to have a firm testimony of this gospel. I know it is true and now want to share it with EVERY person I see! It blesses and changes lives. And, it is the only thing that will bring us true joy in our life. I have seen it change people and, more than anything, it has changed me. It is incredible how the first convert of your mission comes to be … YOUR OWN SELF.
I will never forget coming home sunburned in my sand covered, broken-down shoes, and practically falling asleep at my bedside while saying my prayers. It is the most rewarding feeling ever … and it is incredible the energy Heavenly Father gives us to get up the following day bright and early at 6:30am and then do it all over again. Although being obedient was sometimes tricky, you learn that Heavenly Father blesses those who are faithful and willing to obey.
I love this work … WITH ALL MY HEART!!! I cannot believe I only have a week more of it and hope to enjoy every last minute. It has changed me for the better. Currently, we have a few investigators that plan to get baptized by the end of March. Although I won’t be present, I know that they are making the most important and rewarding decision in the world. Kati, Angelo, and Lukas are those investigators … please keep them in your prayers as they take that big step. I have loved ending this special time in the land of Talara. It has come to be one of my most favorite areas. I am sure going to miss these incredible people!
To end, I only want to say:
Soy Hermana Shumway. I have served a mission for 18 months, had 13 transfers, 11 companions, and 4 areas. I have been a representative of my Savior Jesus Christ and have pinned his name to my shirt every day for the last 547 days. I have laughed, cried, and been rejected more times than I can count. I have come to understand that my Heavenly Father loves me and knows me personally. I now understand the healing power of the atonement and know without a doubt that my Savior Jesus Christ lives. I also know, without a doubt, that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and restored Christ's church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to the earth. I know he translated the Book of Mormon, a book that powerfully testifies of our Savior. I know that God answers prayers and that he never leaves us alone. I can now say, boldly and confidently, that this church is true. And it is the only true church on the earth!!!
I love you all and thank you for all your support and prayers!
XOXO, Hermana Shumway
Getting ready for the beach ... this is how we do it
It is always one of our favorite places to visit
I love how unique it is here
United in work and play
Finding our zen moment ... hahaha
My comp is just the greatest ... I will miss her a lot
Perfect way to end the mission
Pretty good leaping pic ...love the shadow!
I love it here!!!
My friend Leslye got baptized ... she has been listening to the missionaries for two years
Preaching the gospel with my pal Maryuri!
El Libro de Mormon ... these are my people and this is my second home
My two pals - Hermana Parks and Hermana Glunt
Kids having fun with kids
My comp ... I will miss her so much
Prez y wife
Pic with the Assistants ... gotta take it seriously
Another pic with my pals the assistants ... this one shows more of our true selves
Look who showed up at the door to sell his lobsters!
Had to take a pic #PeruMoment
A random contact (the two teens in the back) wanted a pic with us!
This gives you a glimpse of what I looked like each and every day ... our pals (Richardson, Leslye, and Isaac) just happened to catch us in action while contacting someone in the street ... such a privilege to share our message of the restored gospel