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

Monday, October 29, 2012

"The CUBE"

Joshua TX and the Currant Bush

Dear family and friends,
This past week has been so amazing -one of the craziest and best weeks.
We had transfers and I moved to the wonderful country area of Joshua,
TX. Here I get to live with members out behind their house in a
converted barn. At first I was shocked but now it is my favorite
apartment. It is called "the cube". It has everything that we need and
nothing more. Lets just say it is pretty small. Ha ha. The ward here is
so great. It is small but very welcoming and so friendly - I love it. My
new companion is Elder Dunn, he is from California, and my favorite
thing about him is he is very friendly and has a major love for the
scriptures. He is also a convert to the church and I truly have a
major respect for converts.
Ever since I have been here things have been hopping so
quickly. We have tought a lot and have helped so many people in so
little time. Also, Sunday was absolutely amazing. It seemed like
everything there was all directed towards me. There were also 9
investigators at church - the most I have ever seen in any of my areas.
They were all excited to be there but not as excited as me. This area
is booming and we have been blessed in so many ways. There are 5
people that will be baptized on the 10th of this month and we just met
one of them just this past Friday. His name is Mike he was being
taught by other missionaries but came down here and we had dinner with
him and his member girlfriend and committed him to being baptized.
They already have plans to be married in the temple and Mike is super
It was so exciting to here about all the stuff at home. I feel like I
was just in Webelos with Alan yesterday. Wow! There is going
to be a new Stake. I am also super excited to really see the efforts
the ward is putting into the youth. It was that part of my life where
I really made the decisions that have affected where I am now and I am
so grateful for my leaders. This week I was thinking about Austin
Stephens. Is he doing okay? Also, could you send me his address as I would
like to write him. I was also wondering if there would be any way I
could borrow the GPS? This area is super big and it would really help
to keep us in our mileage limitations and also allow us to work this
amazing area even better.
I just want to let y'all know that my last area was very hard. There is
a talk by Hugh B. Brown I may have mentioned it before, and it is called
"The Lord is the Gardener", and I feel like I am the currant bush. I was
cut back and now I am here in this area to grow how the Lord wants me
to. I am doing very good and building up my defenses so I can continue
through my mission super strong.
I will send pictures next week. I love yall so much! thank you for the
scriptures Dad. I have been writing them down and actually two weeks
ago I used one as a main scripture for district meeting.
Elder Shoemaker

October 22nd. 2012 - HOPE

Dear Dad and family,
Sorry I missed your letter last week. That is very exciting about your test and I was not surprised to hear that you passed. I bet you are also getting a very good workout with your biking.  The other day I was thinking about how long you have been biking to work.  Ha ha. That mission statement list and your studies sound so great. One thing I would definitely add to the list is obedience.   That is something that is very stressed out here in the mission. One statement that my trainer told me was obedience brings blessings and exact obedience brings miracles. That hope quote was just what I needed.  This past transfer has been one of the toughest. Me and elder Stanworth get along great.  The work here has been hard though. I however have learned a lot here and I HOPE that this area will benefit from me being here. Also, as I will be transferred this Wednesday to the Joshua area in the Fortworth zone as the District Leader, I hope I can grow there and trust in the Lord as the gardener.
One thing that I was wondering is if you would be able to send me an absentee ballot so i could vote?  It may be too late but hopefully I can get it. My new address will be 924 Conveyor Dr. Joshua, TX 76058.
I am always very excited to hear from y'all.  I will be sending some pictures in a separate email. I wanted to end today with something I came across in my studies that stood out to me. It was an article about talking about our church life with others. This is from M. Russel Ballard. "Rather than simply responding to a series of random questions, it might be helpful to first take 30 seconds to establish a foundation. That can be as simple as explaining that we embrace Jesus Christ as our savior an accept the Bible's teachings about His birth, life, ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection. We also believe that the Christian world departed from the truths Jesus taught in the Bible and that the Church he established needed to be restored." This is something I am going to try and use in my missionary efforts but it can also be used at home with friends and family when talking about our beliefs and helping people know we truly are Christian.
I hope y'all have a great week and I will make sure and let you know about my new area.
Elder Shoemaker

Thursday, October 18, 2012

More blessings than you can receive...

Dear mom and the rest of family and friends,

The women’s retreat sounded like it turned out great and the women sounded like they had fun. I bet the variety show was a crack up and had everyone laughing. The leaves are changing colors here too. It is actually very comparable to home here besides the humidity and winter is the best week of the year. It is cooling down and will make the days a little less sweaty. It also sounds like working at Lewis and Clark is going great I feel like I was just getting dropped off there for first grade with Mrs. Reynolds and crying all day ha-ha. It also sounds like your calling in young women’s is truly inspired the youth leaders have a major affect on the youth’s lives. It really helped to shape me into the kind of person that could go out and serve the lord.

The mission age change was so inspiring and will be so good for families and for the church. It will allow sisters to get back at an age that does not feel too old and for young men it will majorly increase their knowledge and get them prepared to get a good education. It was really weird - it feels like my learning might have paused out here but I have learned so much more than I ever have before. I am very excited about Justin being able to go out sooner too!

I would like to share a spiritual experience that I had before my mission. This goes out to anyone that may struggle to pay tithing and also all those trying to save up for their missions. (Justin, and other youth). My last summer before my mission I had just earned a pretty good amount of money, as I was looking at how much I had in the bank.  I calculated how much I still needed to earn and I still had quite a bit left to go to be ready. I had been doing good on paying tithing and I had set aside my tithing already. It was really hard to go and give it to the bishop but I remembered the blessing promised in Malachi 3: 7-12 - more blessing than you can receive. That next week I had so many people call me to help them out with what I did for my business, that I had to decline some of them. The next months I earned more than I needed and the wonderful members of the ward also contributed to my mission fund too. Thank you everyone that allowed me to work for them so I could come out here and serve the lord.
Elder Shoemaker

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

General Conference - WOW!

Dear everyone,

Conference was absolutely amazing - it was truly one of my absolute favorites. In preparation for conference, I came up with a list of things I wanted help on and also desired revelation. One thing I am really working on is humility and developing that strongly in my life. The conference started off perfect.  Almost everything that I wrote down was answered with Quentin L. Cooks talk.  That was my ultimate favorite out of the whole conference. The conference to me seemed to be focused on humility and doing what that Lord has in store for us.

There are a couple talks I will reread when we get the November Ensign but overall conference again was like Christmas for me as a missionary.  We even had members make lunch for us in-between on Sunday, and on Saturday we went to Cici's Pizza for free because our Ward Mission Leader owns it.

We are emailing on Tuesday because the library was closed yesterday. I am currently on an exchange with Elder Brown for the next 24 hours meaning I am in his area working there and his companion is in my area working with Elder Stanworth. As a District Leader I go on exchanges with the Zone Leaders once every transfer and a transfer is every six week if y'all did not already know that.

That is so exciting to see Justin’s first date pictures.  He looks a lot older and very manly. Ha-ha also the Strong girl and younger Volmer's daughter look very similar to their siblings. I bet Justin will get his license soon and that is going to be so cool that he will be able to leave out on his mission so soon. I will be writing him a letter soon so keep a heads up. Ha-ha the flamingoes also look super funny and I like the chairs on the front porch too. I did get the package and thank you so much.  I will definately keep yell updated on the flonase I felt like I could breathe so much better that day.

I bet the Women's Retreat will be amazing and dad I have no doubt that you will do great on your exam. It was very inspirational for me when I saw you go back to school and it really helped me to develop a better work ethic when I was at CBC. I again cannot send pictures but I will make sure to do it ASAP. I love you all and will definately make sure and include you in my prayers.

Elder shoemaker

Monday, October 1, 2012

Just What I Need...

Dear Mom and Dad, family and friends,
Thank you for always writing to me.  There are some missionaries that are out here that don't have people to write or their parents are not members, so it is hard for those parents to know what to say. It seems that y'all always know what to say in your letters that helps me to get my week started off right. 
This past week was kind of difficult.  We have stopped teaching in a couple ghetto areas. Yeah, we can teach a lot of lessons but they do not lead to baptism because of availability to get to church and keeping commitments. We did not rule out any investigators, but we are getting ready to receive the blessings from fasting about where we need to be at certain times of the day to find the elect. 
I love being able to write every week because it allows me to get a lot out and also have spiritual experiences with my letters home and also to President Sagers. I am still learning a lot from other missionaries. One is a convert who's parents are not members. I look up to him a lot and have a lot of respect for him. Also,  there is something I can learn from companions  I serve with.   I am learning to really think about others and to just stop complaining about things that do not matter. 
The Temple 2nd ward is doing great.   There was a change in the bishopric yesterday and that is always exciting. 
As far as meals are concerned, we usually cook separately,  but sometimes I make breakfast and occasionally dinner when we don't have them. I have been doing pretty good on staying the same weight and that is something I told myself that I would not get fat on my mission.   Ha ha. 
Our lessons have been going very well, especially when we have members with us.  It is so amazing. I am constantly doing better and better with talking with people and my goal from this week is to talk with every living soul.  I gave a training on it in one of our district meetings and promised if Elders will do it for three days straight, they will teach more lessons than ever before and also find new people that are ready for the gospel. 
The ward mission leader here is always willing to help out, but is also busy too.  He is there when we need him though. I would love to be able to be a ward mission leader when I get home.   
It's also getting cooler here and it seems like summer just flew by which is really nice.   
I actually kind of predicted and was wondering when Grandma and Grandpa where going to get I-pads. 
That is really cool to hear about Justin's first date and I will be excited to see pictures.  Speaking of pictures,  I left my camera in Fort Worth and will get it back tomorrow so I can start sending pictures. I did get my contacts and I can see so much better.  Thank you for getting those and other things that I need. 
I want to make sure and say Happy Birthday to Dad.  I did remember and said happy birthday on the 19th so again,  Happy Birthday.
I would like to end with a very special and spiritual experience. The past week had been pretty rough with finding and teaching.  Last night all of our appointments cancelled on us.  I was frusrated at first but then realized we needed to be somewhere else. After thought and prayer, I thought "where does God need us to be right now?" We then went to an investigators house where we knew we needed to be. He was coming out right as we got there. I shared with him how my mother decided to become a member and I just felt the Holy Ghost speaking through me. I asked him how he felt after I read a scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants, and he said it sounded like Gods words.  We told him he can find out that they really are.   We will be going back this week to teach him again. 
Thank you for raising me in the gospel and I am so grateful for the opportunity to pay it forward out here.
Love Elder Shoemaker