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

Monday, August 27, 2012

In the Service of the Lord

Dear Family and friends!,
Wow. It seems like BYD Sunday is every week but I guess not,  that is just how much time flys by out here.  I feel like I am going to be back at home tomorrow and it actually is legitimately scaring me. There is so much to do and so little time. This is helping me to realize that I need to keep working and use my time in the most effective way. I am excited that y'all got my letter and I hope the youth will learn from it. I am actually going to write a letter to the bishop this week or next too.
Anyways enough about that. Yes, Elder Fa'onelua is a rugby player and his coach is actually waiting on him to get back and play. My companion is very excited to be home but also wants to stay longer if he could.  He actually requested to stay longer too. We are doing great and enduring to the end. We are working as hard and effectively as possible. I actually looked at my planner for this week and there are already so many appointments set up throughout the week.  I have never seen it like this and it will definitely make this next week more effective than before. We were actually able to find 7 new investigators this Sunday. They are actually baptist students at the local university so we will see if they will progress as investigators. We will definitely be tested on our knowledge because their majors are in church history!
Well summer just whizzed by and school already started and a full on immersion into a crazy load of classes  Justin. Hopefully you will also be able to squeeze some fun stuff in there too. That is exciting about the presentation that you get to do dad - it sounds like fun. I am also excited to hear about Eric and continuing his missionary work. I hope I will be able to keep doing that and work with the missionaries in the ward too. It also sound like Austin and Justin are stepping up as role models in the ward and being good friends. By the way is Bro. Smith, Austin's dad, a member yet?
Thank you so much for all of you support and prayers.  I can see them taking effect in the missionary work that is taking place here, One thing that has helped me is truly relying on the Lord and promptings of the spirit. In Alma 26:12 in talks about Ammon boasting in his God. It also talks about how he is nothing compared to the greatness that has taken place. I hope y'all know that when we have this kind of humility it will help us to strive to be more obedient to living the commandments, and also one thing too, it will give you the strength to reach out and have real missionary experiences. I want to let y'all know that missionaries not only come to dinner to get food, but to also offer their services, not just to mow the lawn but to teach someone that we know who can use the gospel in their lives. The missionaries would love this. They may not be perfect but what they teach is, and everyone needs it. I love y'all. And I cannot express the joy I have being in the service of God.

Elder Shoemaker

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Change for the Better

Dear family and friends and all around ward family,
         Apologies if my letters have been short or impersonal, I will make sure to answer all questions and be more informative about the past week.
        I will start with this last week. It honestly started off very hard.  We started the week off with high expectations (which in the end it worked out) but they got shot down with two very ineffective days. We analyzed the beginning of the week and decide to just get out and work. We parked the car for a day and went out and WOW! - found so many people and flipped the week back over. We had Zone Conference this week on Thursday.  It was an all day thing from 9-4. There was a story shared about two fishermen. One who took all day for his fishing trip however he only fished for 2 hours because he took his time getting there and preparing to go. The other fisherman took all day too but was on the water with his line in the water as much as he could.  It felt like a slap to my face - not that I ever wasted time but I realized I could have my line in the water longer. I payed attention to what I was doing and focused on having my line in the water longer. One amazing example was the day after Zone Conference. We went to stop by some people's house but they were not home. There was a street close by called Brenda Lane. I had remembered seeing the name before and knew we needed to tract that street. Funny thing though - that street name was not on any records I looked at, but it was where we needed to be. We knocked three houses and at the third house was a lady that was outside that said "not interested" right away. However, we were persistent and talked to her more. We ended up teaching the Restoration to her and it was an amazing spiritual lesson. As we were finishing, her boy friend drove up hopped out and said right away, "okay you guys need to get out of here" I thought he was serious at first, then he laughed and said just kidding.  We then taught him the Restoration and at the end of the lesson he said there was something different about Mormons eyes and they both said they are excited to read the Book of Mormon. Anyway, we also found more people that were so ready to learn this past week. Me and Elder Fa'onelua were also able to teach the Sunday school class on Sunday and we also were invited to a Seminary Fireside to speak. I used part of what i have in my letter that i am writing to dad for the youth (by the way sorry I have been pretty slow on that dad.  I have been learning to manage my time and have been super busy as the District Leader and it has taken a while to get things strait with Elder Fa'onelua but now we seriously are getting along way better than I have with anyone.  It is so great and I will be very sad when he goes home) We currently have 8 baptismal dates set for the month of August.   It is so awesome. We have to make up for the last to months. Overall we had an amazing and trying week. If I could do one thing it would be to slow down time because things are going by way too fast.
       I will be sending pictures this week with my letter that is written to the youth.  I just printed them off today. I lost my computer cord for my camera so I will have to use snail mail.  Surprisingly, the temperature here has been great  - actually cooler than it is at home, but the humidity makes it feel just as hot. It sounds like the ward camp out was fun but short at the same time.  There should be a better turn out with the breakfast idea. It is crazy to hear about all of the young women moving up going to college and Brianna and Cheyenne entering YW.   I will definitely have to make sure to wish Chelsey Happy Birthday and also I cannot believe they have almost been married a year. It feels like it was yesterday.
        Here in Temple we only cover the temple Second Ward. The members here are amazing we went on exchanges every day this past week besides Monday. We have also been super booked on dinners and I have been having to watch myself. We are luck though.  We have a work out room that we get up at 5:50 every morning to go and use to stay fit an healthy.
       I have had to do an evaluation of my mission lately.  I felt like I started off super strong,  then when I got here I was not growing as much as I wanted to.  I know it cannot be blamed on companions but last transfer was very difficult. Also the beginning of this transfer, but now this past week has really changed a lot of things. Me and my companion are getting along great and doing awesome. Thank you for the letters today.  It is great to here about missionaries lives being changed by their missions and mine truly has made me so different in an amazing way. I have to admit I have been slacking on my journal but that is going to change especially now that I have confessed.  Haha. Anyway, I am sure you noticed my progression slow for a little but all is well and I truly am getting lost out here and I love it.

Love your missionary,
Elder Shoemaker

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Lord "has our backs" and the work goes forth.

Dear Familia y amigos, 

WOOOOOOOOOOOW! Justin looks like a super stud. Make sure you watch him. All those girls are going to want to date him haha.

I bet Priest Lake was a ton of fun.  It looks like y'all had a great time out on the boat and also fun with bike rides and swimming. Did you know Priest Lake is my all time favorite vacation spot? Not to put aside Mexico because that was amazing, but I really enjoy Priest Lake. Anyways I am glad to see the pictures and I love actually being able to see mountains. -  haha.

That is very exciting to hear about the  class reunion (Sunnyside 82'). I bet is was cool to see where everyone is in life, and also sad to see what some have done with their agency. WHAT? Eric is already back that is so awesome I bet he has changed so much. My mission has changed me so much too. That is exciting to hear about the family Book of Mormon reading. One thing that has been so great being able to read the Book of Mormon over and over is that it has strengthened my testimony and has helped me to understand how I can help others gain their own personal testimony.

Well, this past week has been full of finding new investigators that are very sincere and have a lot of potential. We have been getting outside in the hot sun and talking to everyone that we see.  It has proven very effective and I am super excited to start working with new people, especially because of the fact that we found two families this week that we are starting to teach. It was kind of frustrating again as we did not have anyone come with us to church and we had very solid commitments from them. However, we have made the goal of inviting everyone to church and setting a high but reachable goal for sacrament attendance of non members this week. I am super excited and ready to go out this week and talk with every living soul and find, teach, and baptize. Elder Fa'onelua is an amazing companion. I have learned so much from him and have been able to find more ways to fulfill my responsibilities. An experience that was a very spiritual and a great learning experience happened this last week. As a result of turning in a mileage report late we found out we had to park the car until the report was turned in. I learned to be more organized and prompt. I also learned that the Lords work will continue to move. We had already planned for the next day when we found out this news and it was amazing to see that the appointments that day were centralized and withing walking distance. We also had an exchange for the evening to go to other appointments. It was great to see that the Lord has our backs allowing us to continue his work.

Hope Y'all have an amazing week.

Love Elder Shoemaker

New Companion - August 6, 2012

Dear Dad, family, and friends,
        My new companion is Elder Fa'onelua. He is from New Zealand. He has the coolest accent ever. He has been on almost all his mision and has 5 weeks left. It is so cool serving with him and learning from him too. It sound like the hike went very well and sounds like everyone had fun. I also bet Priest Lake will be fun too.  I cannot believe that mom found a picture of my hair ugggggggggh! (Nate got a permanent in 2008) haha. It actually looks pretty cool.  I i should not have let the kids who made fun of it get to me to cut it and should have kept pulling it off.
            This past week has been so great. I am so excited for the opportunity that I have to be with Elder Fa'onelua here in the Temple 2 area. I have learned so much this week from him already. It is different being with a missionary who has been out longer then me. There is so much he has taught me. Elder Fa'onelua is doing great.  He has a very powerfull testimony and a great self conversion story that helps him to relate with the people we teach. I have been doing so much better at talking with everyone and I have talked to more people this past week than I ever have in a single week. It has been great and I am looking forward to working with new people. The area is doing well and we are excited to find the elect that are ready to hear the gospel. One spiritual experience that I had was as we were coming in a little early one night we were trying to decide who we should see. We listend to the promptings of the holy ghost and found ourselves at a recent converts house. While we were there we found out a name we came across in our records that morning from 4 years ago, which was his mother. We set up through him to go and see her the next day with him. It was amazing how it panned out and how we came to be there that night.
       Y'all will have to make sure and send me some pictures and I will make sure to send some also. I have some people waiting on me for the computer so I have to go.
Elder Shoemaker