A day in the life of a Fort Worth missionary. . . as posted by his parents

Monday, April 30, 2012

Full Schedule

Dear family, Elder Payne and Elder Shoemaker are doing great here in Stephenville. This past week went so well it seemed like me and Elder Payne were in all the right spots at the right time. I have talked to more people this week than I ever have - it was so awesome. The Assitant's challenge to talk with every living soul has amazing benefits. This past week we visited quite a few families in the ward and taught them too, wether it was after dinner or just stopping by. We are develpoing better friendships and it is making it easier to have members connected to the investigators we teach. This we know will help to prepare those we teach for baptism because it gives the support for their conversion and a friend to ask questions. I finished the Book of Mormon two days ago for the first time on my mission. It was an amazing experience and I have gotten so much more out of it than I have ever before. I started over the next day and I am already finding new things that stand out. It is helping me so much and making my testimony grow stronger as I read and study. Sorry mom, I was not able to get your email last week. It sounds like the CEFY was awsome. And also the time out for women. I bet Sis Jones did an amazing job. She was such an awesome seminary teacher and is supper good with all of the youth. I am not sure if the Browns know Elder Paynes family but I will show him a picture and see if he recognizes them. I bet you are doing an awesome job with the lawn dad and I bet you do it better than me. I actually started doing patterns because one day I saw you do it diagonally and I thought it was awesome. I started doing it when I mowed and it actually made it a lot more fun to me to be able to turn it into an art project rathen than just a chore. Haha. I am glad to hear that your lesson went well in Sunday School. To anwser the question about the ward accepting the missionaries well - they actually do an amazing job. Bishop Graff was actually a Mission President and loves to work with the missionaries. We have actually had to gain the trust of the ward because almost a year ago the Stephenville area was considered outer darkness for missionaries. The Bishop noticed how things were going and told the president that he needs good misionaries. President sent in a missionary who had been an assistant who actually trained Elder Ericson. So Stephenville has been booming with missionary work and the ward is starting to work harder to help the efforts. Famiy Book of Mormon studying sounds like it is going great and also the Book of Mormon Challenge sounds sweet. I wish I would have taken more advantage of those challenges because they are not just so we can have prizes but for the benefit of reading. I Love having the Book of Mormon as part of my studies and it really helps me to become a better teacher and also is a strength to my testimony. This week has really turned out awesome and we had a great Sunday with a lot of teaching and the talks and lessons were perfect for the investigators that attended and also for the members of the ward. Hope things go awesome this week. We already have a whole bunch of appointments set up this week so we will be working super hard. Love, Elder Shoemaker

Monday, April 23, 2012

Busy, busy, busy

Dear family, This past week was a pretty trying and hard week. We had preparation day on Monday, district meeting on Tuesday, new missionary meeting on Wednesday, interviews on Thursday, weekly planning on Friday, correlation meeting on Saturday and church on Sunday. All of these ate up a lot of each day throughout this week so we had to work extra hard to meet our standards of excellence, meaning we should teach 20 lessons a week and meet key indicators which show that we are working and we still managed to meet them. It was an amazing answer to my prayers because it was a super busy week. It has showed to me that we should make sure to plan our days well so we can be effective and say to people when we meet them that God has sent us here specifically today. It is awesome to say that and really helps me and Elder Payne to be effective missionaries. We have really been helping those that we teach to prepare for baptism by really focusing on their needs and making sure that they have friends in the ward that they can be fellow shipped by and also helps the conversion process better because we cannot keep teaching everyone that has been baptized. We help those that have been baptized by having them join us in teaching appointments and having them see the influence of their strong testimony and it also helps the people we teach see how much the gospel can change their lives. Gospel studies have been way more effective this last week I have been applying Preach My Gospel to help me be a trainer and the things that me and Elder Payne study and role play have been more spirit guided and really help me to teach and also learn. I love how the spirit is working not only when we teach others but also as I learn and teach myself and also help Elder Payne become the type of missionary to be ready to teach others well. I will probably finish the Book of Mormon this week and that has been an amazing testimony builder for me. I have said this before but I really love the Book of Mormon and how it has blessed my life and how much it can influence everyone's life who sincerely reads it. Those hike pictures look awesome. I have never hiked in that area and it looks so amazing. CEFY sounds like it is going to be a blast. The Slaugh's place is so perfect and I bet the youth will love it. For your lesson this Sunday dad, my studies have always been more effective when they start with a prayer and end with a prayer. It shows Heavenly Father that you are really ready to heed the promptings of the spirit. The spirit really helps me to understand the things that I study. Also, another thing that really helps is that I use a study journal. Preach My Gospel talks about how if you show that you treasure insights and spiritual experiences by recording them, you will be more apt to receive experiences like that. I love how these thing have made my studies more effective for me. These principles can also apply to more than gospel study, but also for school tests and other studies. Anyways I hope that helps. I love you all and hope things go great for this weekends CEFY. Love Elder Nathaniel Shoemaker

Thursday, April 19, 2012

April 16th, 2012

Dear family, This past week went by so fast and I feel like I wrote yesterday however things just worked out and we were able to teach so many different people. Elder Payne is doing great. He is almost done with the 29 day challenge and is working hard on lesson principles so he can teach better when we go out to appointments. He has gotten already so much better since he got here we will even end up saying what the other would say when we kindly interrupt each other. Our unity is getting much better and make the lessons go a lot smoother. I have had those hard time so frequently but I can never remember the details because when good things happen they take over. Anyways to help investigators progress towards baptism we have been applying what we have learned during the twelve week program and making sure not to forget what we learned in the previous week. It seems to just make thing go smoother and allows the spirit to be there ten time stronger. Gospel study has been so amazing I really love the time I have to read the Book of Mormon. I am almost finished studying it again and it is amazing how the things that I read stand out to not only me but the people that we see that day. This last week was amazing and this next week is super busy with missionary meetings but I hope me and Elder Payne will still be able to teach as much as we have even with shorter days. > > > > It was really awesome this past week. We were able to set two firm baptismal invitations with investigators that had a firm yes to the invitation to be baptized. One example was we had an appointment set up that dropped on us an hour before. So we went to our backup appointment and after that we felt prompted to go and check on the investigator that the appointment fell through with. We went and knocked and ended up teaching the lesson. It was with Jerry Boykins daughter. He is a recent convert. She firmly accepted baptism and when we told her that her dad would be able to baptize her she almost began to cry. The spirit was so strong and it was such a great lesson. We also went to another investigators house and her son was there we asked him to join in on the lesson and we again felt prompted to invite him to be baptized and he was so ready to accept that he took what we taught as truth but understands that he must have a spiritual witness too. > > > > Anyways about the graduation gown I think it might be in either Justin's closet or I think I might have let Sister Halter borrow it for Elise's graduation. I know i did not pack it away but make sure and check every closet like the library or the front closet too. It sounds like the yard is looking so nice. I love the picture. The grass looks so amazingly green and the flowers look beautiful. I would love it if you sent a picture of the back yard especially with a super fancy mow from dad. haha You should get Justin on it along with the other lawns that I used to mow. Also I would love the picture because I guess green grass does not exist here. haha. I am excited for the Time out for Women and the CEFY. They are both marked on the calender I. brought from home. It is so funny how all those yard projects work out haha It is how the missionary work is turning out here for me and Elder Payne. To answer your question dad, Elder Payne is just as devoted to living obediently. He got here and was ready to work. I love that about him and am glad to be his companion. I forgot to bring my camera today but Ii will make sure to send some pictures next time. How is the preach my gospel FHE going? I would recommend chapter 5. It is on the Book of Mormon and will really help to get more out of reading in the BOM. Also IIwant you all to find someone that you can invite to have the missionaries come and teach maybe even have them for dinner and then have a lesson afterwards. Okay well sorry i have to say bye. I love all of you - even you Justin. I hope you have a wonderful week and be a member missionary! > > > > Love you son and your missionary, > > > > Elder Nathaniel Shoemaker >

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter 4-9-12

Dear family, I have about 8 emails from this past week that I just finished reading finally. So I apologize if I cannot write as much. This past week was a truly amazing and hard week of missionary work. Elder Payne and I were able to teach so much and it was crazy and stressful all at the time when we kept meeting all of these new people. It however really opened my eyes to how much talking to everyone helps missionaries to grow and learn. This Saturday we had the baptism for Jerry Boykin. It was a baptism that was not scheduled, but we met the set goal this week of 1 baptism! We are excited because we have baptismal dates lined up and we are working to help them meet those dates along with other investigators by emphasizing how important a true conversion is. Not just getting baptized for the missionary, but to be baptized to come closer to Jesus Christ. One amazing spiritual experience this past week was through fasting. An investigator that we are teaching named Mario is getting ready for baptism but needs to be married first. He had been having complications with his girlfriend and she did not really think he was changing. He fasted along with us on Saturday and he said she was shocked by what he had done and really changed her perspective and we may even meet with her tonight! Gospel study has been so amazing and I have been focusing on more focused studies and it has really been effective for me as a missionary. I am doing fine on the aspect of the tornado as it did not effect Stephenville, and there has not been one here in a long time. I will not be helping to clean it up but I am sure others will be there to help. Anyways, I will try and answer questions I remember and then talk about some experiences from this past week. I did get the package- it was like Christmas getting it. And yes dad, I got your letter. Thank you also for the part from Stake Conference. We had one here recently and it was just as awesome. I do get the Ensign. We actually have a huge stack in the apartment. It is awesome to read all of the past talks. They truly are more scripture for us today, so it is important to listen to the direction given. I love conference because it really helps, especially revelation for this day and time. Thank you so much for the package and sending the email letter. I'm not sure why I did not get it. The Easter treats are awesome. I really have enjoyed holidays on my mission. Not saying I would not want to be with family - it's just that as missionaries we are isolated from the worldly parts of holidays so we can focus on the true meaning of why we even celebrate them. Even 4th of July, but especially Easter. I want to let y'all know that I truly do know for myself that this church is true and thank you mom and dad for giving me the environment and the ability to find out for my self. I know truly that the Savior did suffer specifically for me and that helps me to try and do what's right because everything I may do wrong is more that he had to suffer. I have also been keeping a constant journal daily. It is hard to include a whole week in letters home, but I try to at least talk about the awesome experiences in email. There are the hard times out here and I do have them, but I really cannot remember the details. I do remember the amazing experiences I have and I can remember them well. Anyways just real quick - another awesome experience and great spiritual builder for me. We went in to teach a lesson and one of the people in the home did not really want us there but kind of forced himself to be because he wants Christ in his life. He said he wanted to kick us out but did not. We started into the lesson and really it was not what we said but the spirit which was so strong that it touched him along with his girlfriend. All the credit goes to the spirit and it ended up turning the guys view around and he ended up with a big smile on his face and did not want us to leave. It was so awesome and shows how strong the spirit works! Hope y'all have an amazing week. Love, Elder Shoemaker

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Missionaries are safe in Texas

We were in a bit of shock to see the news reports of the tornadoes that hit the Fort Worth/Dallas area of Texas yesterday. Our fervent prayers and thoughts went to all the people in the area and that of our missionary serving nearby. We've received news from the Mission home that ALL the missionaries are safe. We hope all of you will continue to pray for the victims of this terrible disaster as well as the efforts of those elders serving in this area. Their message of hope and comfort will be a blessing to the people of Texas. Our heart goes out to all of them. We love you Elder Shoemaker. Be safe. Love, Mom

Tornadoes hit Texas --

New Companion - March 1, 2012

Dear family =),
     I am training now!!!!!!!!!! My trainee is Elder Payne.  He is from New Mexico and is one of seven children. He is number 6 with a younger twin brother. He is so excited to be on his mission and this past week has been so great we have worked hard and have been super obedient. We have also been playing racquetball together in the morning and are getting a super intense workout. Conference was so amazing and I loved Elder Bednars talk in priesthood. It's right now my all time favorite talk ever. All on conference was amazing of course and went by soooo fast.
    This past week has been a very trying and exciting week. It has been crazy to take the reins of being a trainer but I am not going to doubt what the Lord wants me to do. I have relied a lot on Him this past week to help me out and know what to do. 
From conference I have really learned how, as a missionary, I can be an example to those that we teach in Stephenville. Also conference has really helped me to be more outgoing and learning to be friendlier, which is something that my trainer told me to work on.  I've noticed how it has helped me to teach more effectively because I am more comfortable when talking with investigators, my companion,  Elder Payne, and church members. 
We have been helping our investigators this past week to prepare for baptism by getting stronger commitments from them and making sure to always commit them to something when we teach. It shows the Lord how willing they are to do basically what He asks them. In return we have noticed how the Lord works in their lives and prepares them to make that first step. Gospel study has been so effective.  It helps to prepare me in more ways than one now, not only to teach investigators but also to teach and train Elder Payne.  I am happier than I have ever been and I love being able to bring people closer to God and Jesus Christ!
The investigators in this area are doing so great.  There is this one guy named Mario that is doing so good and I can tell because Satan is working hard on him, but the Lord and I and Elder Payne are working ten times harder. We had a great lesson this past Saturday. The spirit was so strong as we taught the Plan of Salvation and then afterward we showed him the baptismal font and the spirit just grew stronger and he was so excited. We are teaching him tonight and he is scheduled for baptism on the 14th of April!
I am sending some pictures and hope to hear from y'all next week.  I have not gotten any emails today but I understand with this very busy weekend that just passed. I hope pole vault is going awesome Justin.  Keep setting records and goals! Scout camp is coming up fast and sounds super awesome along with the CEFY. 
Dad you super stud all those hike and working to support and show love for your family. Thank you Mom,  Dad, Justin, Spencer and everyone else who has blessed my life and made it possible to be in Texas!

Love Elder Shoemaker