(EMAIL SENT JANUARY 11, 2016)
Gee Whiz Facts -
1. A little girl in our branch sat by me in church and asked me if we talk English where I am from. I told her yes, and she said "And you understand each other?!"
2. We bought a pizza earlier this week, and as I was eating it a cockroach snuck out of my cheese.
3. Reached my 16 month mark. Honestly, it was more of a heartbreaking feeling kind of day. The less time I have the more I realize how incredible and a blessing it is to be a missionary.
4. I have come to realize that however much sunscreen I put on but it just doesn't seem to keep me from getting sunburned.
This week we spent many days walking up and down our long area, following up on our contacts, and praying for miracles. It was a harder week for us, because when all was said and done, no one came to church. We called, passed by, sent members to pick them up, and in the end, no one showed up. It definitely has been a challenge in this area, and in almost my entire mission, but we know that everything happens for a reason. But by far the he hardest thing for me this week was seeing how one of our investigators couldn't come to church because her Dad wouldn't let her go.
Her name is Alma, she is 14 years old, and I think I have mentioned her before. She is progressing little by little and the last lesson really impacted her. We taught her about Joseph Smith and the spirit was so strong when we shared the first vision. Her mom, who was cleaning the house, even secretly stopped cleaning to listen. She felt the truth of it, and Alma wanted to pray to know if he really could have been a prophet. We also invited her to church and she was really excited. But when we showed up Sunday, her father was very drunk and wouldn't let her go. Her mom felt so bad telling us on the doorstep that she wasn't allowed to go and said Alma was crying inside. I wanted to cry as well. I couldn't believe it. My comp and I went to church alone, and honestly I just wanted to cry. It was so sad! We are praying her dad opens his heart to our message and lets her go.
Overall, it has been a hard week. But the trials always come to make us stronger. And this week we witnessed that miracles come after the trial. Monday, after our P-Day, we went to a new part of our area to knock doors. We first went to follow up on a contact and got very rejected. We knocked a few doors after that, and door after door got rejected. We finished knocking all of the doors, and walked away pretty broken down. BUT ... as we were walking out of the area we contacted a family. Their names are Jose and Acni. They are not married, and have one son and they were the first people to listen to us that night. We visited them a few days ago and they are great! For the longest time Acni has had the question of which of all the churches is true and why are there so many? We had the answer, and they couldn't believe it when they heard about Joseph Smith. Jose read and reread James 1:5 and told us that of all the churches they have listened to, no one has ever invited them to ask God directly for an answer. They said they would do it and we have another lesson scheduled during the week! Miracles come from trials.
So they are a new family we are teaching. Also, our other investigators are doing pretty good. No one has come to church yet ... but poco a poco. It has been tricky even finding them at home, but hopefully this next week we can find them! Two of them had a baptismal date but they didn't come to church last week so now we need to schedule another date.
Our branch is doing okay. Many members are coming to church and we are trying to reactive the less-actives. So far we are teaching one less-active 16 year old. His name is David and he is very timid with us ... but way cool! I just crack jokes with him and little by little he is opening up with us. He did come to church last week which was great!
Overall, we are trying to get things moving here in Talara. This area is hard because many people spend their time on the beach ... but we are contacting many people in our area and praying for someone who is prepared for this gospel. We know they are out there!
I love you all! Pray that we will find someone who is ready for this gospel and that they will come to church!
The miracles are out there. We just need to look for them!
XOXO, Hermana Shumway
P-Day at la playa ... the beach!!!
Look at this cool crab ... nice!
Having fun in the sand
Look at this cool rock shoe ... same sole as me!
Boy oh boy ... do I ever love this place!
Hola from Talara!!!!!!!!
Shout out to my familia!
This cute little kid wanted to take pictures with me at the beach ...
He was ssooooooo adorable!