Monday, June 15, 2015

Gratitude

So I was reading in the the Gospel of Luke lately and I came across a passage that I think is rather interesting. It's When Jesus is going through Galilee and Samaria and he runs into ten Lepers. They call out to him from afar and ask to  be healed. Christ tells them to go and show themselves before the priest. As they go and do that, all ten of them are healed. It was a miracle! But I think happened next is something even more amazing.

Out of the ten, only one stayed behind and thanked Jesus for what he had done.  The other nine had run off enjoying their new-found health. I began thinking: "Which of these lepers am I?" Am I the one who stays and says "thank you," or am I the one who leaves to enjoy that I got what I wanted?  So, I've made a resolution to be that one Leper, instead of the rest of the crowd.

I know that everything in my life which is good is come of God and that he is more than willing to give us blessings.  So then I sing my thanks unto my Lord and God for he is truly magnificent!  With him all is possible and I can stand taller than I ever have before! Always remember to pray and ASK and IT SHALL BE GIVEN THEE. And always remember to be thankful for what you are given.

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ Amen

Monday, March 23, 2015

In Russia!

Sorry I haven't written in so long I just found out that my email from last time didnt actually go through. So I'm gonna go ahead and take some time to explain everything that has happened over the last 2 weeks!! and don't worry, we have pretty reliable internet (so I've been told) so my emails will hopefully all go though.

 SOOOOO I'm in Russia now!!!!! And I think I may be going crazy from that little fact! I landed here on Wednesday night after more than a day-and-a-half flying basically, and for the first time ever, the jet lag I had was EXTREMELY BAD!! haha I feel like I'm tired 24/7 and I have no idea whats going on. I got to St. Petersburg and we all stayed at the Mission President's home for the night because it was so late at night already. When we got back to the apartment, we had some introductions and found out where in the mission we would all be. I also found out that I would be in KALININGRAD!!! Woot it's actually not even in mainland Russia. Its more south and indents in to Poland actually. We finished up the night with dinner ( Russian dinner of course) and had some interviews with the Mission President. Then it was off to bed!

In the morning, we got to meet our companions!!! I'm gonna miss Elder Manning. I'm now companion with Elder Niu!!! He's a great guy and he's a great trainer. After getting some final paper work finished. We and got something called Chuda and had to leave for the airport right away 'cause our mission field is actually an hour-and-a-half away by flight. Yeah more planes......... I did a lot more sleeping. While I was at the airport I actually met this woman and her child and got their phone numbers and they said we could come over when we were back in St. Petersburg! It was a huge blessing and I'm just so very happy for that has happened already.

So as soon as we got here, we got a call from our mission president that he needed us to throw together a last minute fireside! Elder Marchinka of the Seventy was coming to visit and it was actually really cool. We had it at the meetinghouse. Kaliningrad is one the only areas in our entire mission that actually has a church house! It's actually really cool. The fireside went over well and I got to meet a lot of the ward members. We're a little small here but the members are so strong and faithful. At first being here was really stressful, what with the language and the culture shock. And I'm still stressing out a little bit. But its better by just taking a moment to pray.

Gotta go bye.

Elder Shaw

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Count Down Begins

AHHHH! SO MUCH IS HAPPENING!!! I leave for Russia in only 12 DAYS!!!!! AHHH!! :D We are going to be getting our travel plans sometime this week and I am just freaking out! Its also been a very crazy week! SOOOO let's go ahead and start at the beginning!

Wednesday: Its P-day and also the introduction of a new district!! This new district will be the last ones before we leave to the field! They're super great and nice new missionaries that I feel are going to really excel in their respective areas! They are in the same place we were in when we first entered the MTC, with us being the oldest district now. I've introduced myself to them and let them know that the rest of the district here is here to help them. Tonight we had TRC again and we got to teach a husband and wife who actually got to serve in RUSSIA!  All in all, the day went pretty well!

Thursday: So the day started off to kind of a rough start because we had forgotten to turn on the alarm clock so we kinda slept in a little bit. We all got up and started headed to breakfast. From there forward, the entire day was just kinda hazy. Elder Hess had a doctors appointment for hurting his should so he went to go have a few x-rays done. When he got back he said that his Librium was almost torn so they just need to figure out what he's going to do and make a choice.

Friday: During class today, we were just reviewing complex sentences when the door started to open. Our teacher, Brat Frolick did a little 180 and started talking in English and sounded a little shocked. Then walked in PRESIDENT BURGESS and he basically just asked us if we would read a few scriptures and then give our input and talk in front of the entire MTC at the MISSIONARY CONFERENCE on fast Sunday! Needless to say we were freaking out just a little bit. We accepted and he left, leaving us in an awkward silence. Finally it was just a "Did that just happen?" Hahaha

Saturday: Skip to Sunday

Sunday: SOOOO today was the big day!!! We all got up and I honestly couldnt control myself. I was just over the moon about being able to speak in the conference. We all went in and got front row seats that had been reserved for us!! You know youve made it big when seats are reserved for you at the MTC! Hahaha so the time came and basically they had us move to a bunch of seats just beneath the podium so everyone could see. We all then just started bearing all testimonies and what our missionary purpose meant to us. When I got the mic, I just talked about why Im here on my mission and how I want to share that infinite love of Christ with just everyone. Everyone deserves that chance. Everyone deserves to be forgiven. Everyone.

Monday: We said goodbye to some of the Elders today, Elder Lord and Elder Wride, who had to have their departure date postpone due to circumstances. They left at 3 am today and they stopped by and said bye to all us elders. I also ran into Elder Rylie Corbin today! He is headed to the New York North mission. I got to talk to him for a while and just catch up. We also entered the exactly two weeks till our departure date!!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Power of Faith

I am so sorry I didn't write last week everyone! It's been so busy and so much has happened that I just dont know how to write everything down!! So for this update I'm just gonna write some of the major key points that have happened over the last two weeks!!

 So about two weeks ago on Thursday, One of our sisters got sick. Sick to the point of throwing up and asking for a blessing. All the Elders were really worried and all agreed to give her a blessing. She needed to go to the bathroom with the other sisters, so all the Elders stayed back in the room. While they were all in there, we decided to pray. I remember just getting on my knees and begging, just begging Heavenly Father that she would be healed, that he would make her whole again and all would be well once more. I just just kept begging and begging for everything to be fine again and I just felt so helpless. Then, I dont even know when, I remembered the scripture where the Centennial sent for Jesus and asked him to heal one of his beloved servants. As Jesus was coming up on the home the Centennial said "Please don't go into my home for I am not worthy to have thee in my home. But just say it shall be so and I know that as soon as ye say it, it shall be." And Jesus turns and says that he never found such faith before. I started just praying for more faith, for Heavenly Father to help me have more faith. I just sat knelt there praying for a good 30 minutes before the sisters all returned. I was still a bit worried, but we gave the blessing. She had asked Elder Manning to give the blessing, and as soon as he started saying the words, it hit me: that this was my sister. This was my sister and my brother who was giving a blessing of healing. I could feel them in all of their entirety. I could feel their spirits and their feelings. Their joy, sorrows, and entire being. I could also feel the intense love God had for them. Everything that he gave and everything he hoped for them. I could just feel it all and I started shaking under it. I felt such joy and happiness in all things. The creation, the fall, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I felt such a rush of gratitude and I knew that everything would be fine. After the blessing, our sisters went to bed and the next day, the sister was feeling much better and has been healthy ever since. 

Another big point was my first lesson with me being the one to plan and teach it. ALL IN RUSSIAN. At first I was extremely worried. My Russian wasn't too good, and I kept making like a hundred mistakes. So when Brat Gill, one of my favorite teachers pulled me aside and said he was going to be teaching me how to go through the study cycle and I would have to give a lesson to one of our  investigators, needless to say, I was freaking out. I really didn't want to mess up in front of him and I also didn't want to mess up in front of Edward ( our investigator). I decided that the lesson was going to be focused on faith. I started preparing the lesson with Brat Gill giving me pointers and then it came time to give the lesson. I messed up a lot on the grammar and I forgot to extend a commitment, but when I bore my testimony, using words I didnt know I knew and I could just feel the spirit so intensely  and I also knew that Edward could too. When we got out of the lesson, Brat Gill said I did a great job and I just felt so confident that I could definitely mange this lesson. 

So those are just two really big points in my otherwise two busy weeks. On the side note, I'm now Senior companion and District Leader so just a lot happening and getting ready for a new district this week. I hope all is well at home and just know I love you all!!!

Elder Shaw

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Week 4

Heyo!!!! How's it going everyone! Things are going pretty fine here at the MTC and I do apologize because this blog post is going to be very very short!

Wednesday: Its P DAY again! I really love P day because one we get to go to the temple! Woot woot, and two, I get to hear from all of you!!!! I really love receiving letters and emails from all of you and I miss you all tons! Tonight was TRC, where we get to teach actual people and its really cool. Well we met with Nicole and Amanda who both served missions in Vladivostok and they were really considerate. I felt like I could really talk to them in Russian freely and it went very well. I could feel the spirit so very strongly that it just made the day for me.

Thursday: Today was full of its ups and downs. The extreme up was as we were walking by one of the newer district classroom, the teacher called at us to let us know that her roommates were Nicole and Amanda from the night before!!!! They apparently told her that the lesson with us was one of the best lessons that they had ever had before! what? Yeah they felt the spirit so strongly and thought my companion and I had some of the best teamwork ever. Which was kinda of fun, because the night before at the end of the day, we kinda got into a argument. I don't even remember what it was about. Don't worry we talked it out and made up.

Friday: Today we taught our investigator Olea again and we got her to agree to baptism she seem super excited and had actually read the scriptures all the way through 2nd Nephi! Go Olea!

Skip to Monday: SOOOOO today we got to host the Senior Missionaries again and take them to their rooms. Its so very nice to be able to meet all these new adults who have decided to serve for a second time. After that, during our study session with Sister Erying, we spent a good part of the time talking about Russia and her mission to SAINT PETERSBURG!!! yeah she's one of the cool ones. Anyways we just talked about Russia for a little bit and then she helped do effective study. After all of that, We kinda just went to bed early.

Tuesday: So at the Devotional tonight, we had an Elder from the Quorum of the Seventy come and talk to us about the importance and power behind daily scripture study. He started saying how one of most difficult things about scripture reading is actually understanding what is being read. There is a lot to be learned from the Book of Mormon, and it can get tricky to read it all on our own when we have no idea or care about how relevant it actually is to us. Try reading the scriptures each and every night and talk with others about what has been read. You can read many blessing that way.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Stand Tall and Stride Forward!

Hey everyone!

Missing you all lots and I am definitively receiving all the love here at the MTC!!!! This week has been full of many, many blessings and also many trials. But I have learned so much in this last week than I ever thought possible!

Wednesday: So today we welcomed the new district into the zone! We are no longer the babies of the zone!!! That is until some gives a really powerful talk, then we're all pretty much babies. They are really nice and super excited to learn Russian...( just they wait hehehe) No but really they are super prepared and ready for action. All of the sisters even took Russian in College already!!!!!! But they said that what they were learning here was never in college, and its so much easier to understand. Some blessings come from being faithful and can blossom in certain places!

Thursday: So today I got another chance at teaching Ola, our investigator from last week and this time I didn't freak out!!! We taught about prayer and why it was important to continue to bring our hearts closer to God. I felt the spirit so much and I knew that Ola was understanding it to. She agreed to pray with pure intent and also read the scriptures every night.

Friday: We found out today that we were being kicked out of our building and moved to one way far away from our classroom, the cafeteria, and the gym. At first we were all really upset that we had little to no time here in the building and we had just started making it feel like dom ( Russian word for home) that we didn't want to leave, but we prayed about it and decided it was the right thing to do. We also had another lesson with Brat Gill where I feel like I was just not advancing! Russian was just not coming to me and it was killing me!!!! But Brat Gill assured me that I was doing great actually and that through my personal reading times where I studied the text books, I knew and understood stuff that he was just getting into in his college class!!! I felt blown away cause I understood stuff just in a different way.

Saturday: So our seniors elders and sisters in the zone started packing up to leave on Monday and on Tuesday..... I honestly felt so torn apart. These guys had been there with us from the beginning and they were the ones who looked after us. They taught us and shared their testimonies. I'm gonna miss these guys a lot.

Sunday: Elder Manning is the new DISTRICT LEADER!!! I'm super happy for him and I know he's gonna do great. We also had a devotional tonight that was about companions and it was sweet and a little cheesy, but the meaning was still the same! They talked about how it was important to respect your companions and work together rather than apart. So with Elder Manning, I think we're gonna do just fine.

Monday: Elders Brown and Crabb left today and the mood of everyone was really down. We all loved those two so much but we know that they are off to do much good. We had a little meeting this morning, between three zones and ours, where we just bore our testimonies and our goodbyes. I talked to them about the temple dedication video they showed us the first week in. The one in Kiev where they showed the youth putting on a culture festival. Well I compared them to those youth, how because of their work that the spirit and truth of the gospel will grow throughout the land. I know I hate saying goodbyes but just this time its fine, because I think of the people in Russia who get the most wonderful opportunities, to say hi.

Tuesday: We had Sisters Martin and Hansen leave today which was crazy because I really connected with Sister Martin. We are gonna meet up one day and just have a general good time. We also had a devotional where they talked about Esther and being afraid. What I got out of all of it was that we are all like Esther right now. We have been told of the truthfulness of the Gospel and it is up to us to stand for it. We must stand tall and stride forward into the king's throne room and stand our ground. If we fall into fear and do not act, we will miss our opportunity to help him who needs it at that time. God has prepared people all over the world to receive the gospel and he is counting on us to give it to them. So I leave you with this: if you will not stand for what's right, who will?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Starting to Understand Russian!!!!

Hey Everybody!!!! This has been one awesome week here at the MTC!!!! So here is how my week has gone!

Wednesday: So it my very first P- day and I have come to learn that they are awesome!!!! We started the day off by going to the temple which was super fun and then we got to eat in the Temple Cafeteria for the first time! Afterwards, got to come back and relax and read all of my emails and talk to some of you guys. I miss you all and I hope everything is going well on the outside. Later that night we had our final meeting with Casha (our investigator) and got him to commit to Baptism!

Thursday: We started off the day with a bit off a bumpy start. The alarm clock that elder Hess brought ( the SONIC BOMB....evil) would not stop going off. When we tried it just got angry and turned to a higher pitch! We had to unplug it and it still took a minute for it to stop! After that we meet with our new teacher, BRAT GILL!!!!! He is super smart and will only speak Russian, not even hinting English to us. I was able to talk with him some what but I was still pretty lost at what he was saying. Needless to say we got very good at charades. We also learned that we would have THREE new investigators!!!!! I'm super excited to start working to bring them the gospel.

Left to Right: My companion Elder Manning, Elder Nielson, and Elder Hess

Friday: So we learned that we were gonna be teaching Ola today. She is a fairly young investigator from Russia but has very little education. We found out that she cant read very well, but has a strong desire to learn about the gospel. It was hard at first because we normally had the investigator read the scriptures and some of the pamphlets to get a better understanding of what we were trying to say. It was hard and the lesson didn't go so well. That was really hard because I was the one who was leading the lesson! But I prayed about it and I'm making plans so that next time, I can be fully prepared to help her and get her to understand.

Saturday: I'M STARTING TO UNDERSTAND RUSSIAN!!!! Today while in class, we had a little "bus stop" training where we tried to get an invitation to teach in between a bus stops time ( usually 3 - 5 minutes) During the demonstration, I got called to be the example and I got carried away and started having a full on conversation with Brat Frolick about the gospel and what it was!!!! I was so happy 'cause I understood what was being said and what to respond with.

Sunday: It was a pretty chill day. Elder Manning wants me to let you guys know he says hi. I finally got to see MEET THE MORMONS and it was really good and super funny. I think that its kinda of funny what some people think about Mormons. The devotional tonight was also hilarious because the speaker kept making a few jokes but also left some great lessons. He said that we made a choice to go on our mission and that we all left stuff behind whether it be family, a girlfriend, or just the general chance to feel warm again! But truly I am happy to be here and I know my Father in Heaven will bless me. my family, and my friends when we do "what is expedient of us".

Our Branch Photo!

Monday: We met with our second investigator, Edward, and it went super great!!! We just talked about how we are the children of heavenly father and he loves us individually. He had a little hard time with that because he grew up in poverty and a really bad section of Russia. Well I decided to share 2nd Peter Chapter 5 I think where it reads about how through our struggle, if we endure to the end, our trials will be become our strength and Edward was really moved by it. We got him to pray about!

Tuesday: We had our devotional tonight and it was given by Elder Katcher of the Seventy and it was about how our missions can be either good or bad, but it's our decision, our choices that can make them so. So instead of writing the usual daily update I want to bear my testimony as I did that night. I may not be the strongest, I may not be the most compassionate or most in tuned with the spirit. I make so many mistakes and feel doubts and anger at so many. But I know in my heart, that this choice to serve a mission and, more importantly, serve the Lord was the right choice. I know that Christ, The Savior of the world did walk on this earth and that he did take on all of our sins and iniquities. He endured through our pain and sadness. Every aspect of our fear and doubts,he understand and he is there for us. There is a God, and he is our Heavenly Father. We are all of his children and he loves all of us. Every Single One of US. We have the chance to follow the Lord, thing is It HAS to be our decisions, our choice to follow. I know , my choice and I'm never going back. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

First MTC Blog Post!

Hey everyone and greetings from the MTC! So much has happened here already and its a lot to take in!

Wednesday: So I entered the MTC and already I met someone going to the same mission as me! It was during admittance that I found out that the missionary in front of me was going on the same mission as me. When we got to the classroom, we found out that we were going to be companions!!!! His name is Elder Manning and he is pretty awesome. He comes from Idaho with a family of 14 kids, him being the youngest!!!!!! We met the rest of the district which consists of three sisters and two elders. Right away we got thrown into learning Russian with our teacher and it was so random! All the words seem to change constantly and at any moment depending who is saying it and what they are saying! The food is delicious and very filling. I think I'm gonna like it here!

Thursday: So today I woke up at about 6:30 thanks to Elder Hess's (roommate and in our district) evil alarm clock which can literally wake up the entire floor. It threw his companion, Elder Nielson, out of bed and onto the floor! We then went and meet with the rest of the zone which includes the leaders Elders Crabb and Brown and Sisters Martin and Hansen. I also ran into Hemana Prows today! They're very great and super funny. I can feel the spirit at work when they speak whole sentences in Russian! Speaking of which, Today we learned how to pray in Russian and were told we we're gonna start  teaching an investigator on Friday!  His name is Cesha and he speaks only Russian!!! Lets just say I was freaking out!!

Friday: Today was super stressful! Elder Manning and I started prepping to teach Cesha today, but the words were just not coming to us! We decided to teach him how to pray (since that's all we knew haha) and find out more about him. He isn't a member of the church but he seems very interested about the doctrine, but just has some questions about the holy ghost and praying. When we got in the conversation just started flowing and you could feel the spirit working to bridge the language barrier.

Saturday: It has been by far the most spiritual day I've had today and I have to thank my entire zone. I've gotten praying down in Russain and I feel like I can do it confidently. Tonight is where the big stuff happened because Sister Robb ask for a blessing from the elders in the zone! We all got together during the end of the day and I got to participate in the blessing. Right after that, the rest of the sisters stared asking for blessings one by one. At the end, Sister Martin stood up and asked if I would give her a blessing as well!!!! My first ever blessing!!! I was freaking out, but I said yes and let me tell you now, one of the most humbling and spiritual moments of my life. I felt the spirit leading me what to say and I started tearing up a bit. Sister Martin started tearing up as well and when I finished shook my hand saying it was on of the best blessings she has ever felt and it just made me so happy inside. After that we decided to watch a mission episode of the Kiev Temple dedication and the youth culture show they had for it. All the youths spoke about how happy they were to have a Temple close by finally and I could really just feel the pure joy in all their hearts. Afterwards we started bearing our testimonies and finally went to bed.

Sunday: Today was pretty relaxed and just learned how Sundays are done. I saw the Joseph Smith Movie for the first time and I just gotta say that I know that Joseph smith was a true prophet of god and he did restore the gospel to the this earth. In the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Tuesday: On Tuesday we had a devotional be Elder Russel M. Ballard! And I got a second row seat. He quite literally would look at me sometimes!!! His spirit and testimony were strong and inviting. The talk he gave reminded me that while I am on my mission I am here, not to serve myself, but to serve God and my fellow men. He said that if we ever feel down or over worked, we should try writing letters to Joseph Smith as he was in Liberty Jail, trying to cheer him up!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Elder Preston Shaw's Mission Blog

Elder Preston Jay Shaw has begun his missionary service.  Feel free to follow this blog by submitting your e-mail address to the "Follow by Email" option to the right >>>.