Elder Kyle Shannon :)

Elder Kyle Shannon :)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Week


This week has been so freaking good. The work was super slow this week because the little town we cover of about 700 people were all gone for Christmas. So the work was really slow but we ended up getting by. 
Tuesday after district meeting we had a lunch at the senior couples house with our district. And it was sweet. We were at there house for most of the day. We got caught up talking for ages and lost track of time. We finished around 4 o clock that evening. That was basically the highlight of the day. But the closer we got to Christmas day the more people we noticed weren't home so it was pretty tough to find things to do. It got frustrating at times. But all we wanted to do was just make it till Christmas and after that most people will have returned home. 
Thursday was a pretty sweet day as well. We showed up at a members house just going to visit because we really didn't have anything else to do so we would just stop by to see how they were doing. It was about 6 in the evening and they were preparing dinner and when we showed up the invited us to join them. We tried to talk them out of it because we wanted to be nice and not to interfere with there dinner. But we all know, that when missionaries show up to a members house and they are in the middle of preparing dinner and they ask you to join them randomly, you really just want to yes. So anyways we ended up eating with them for a nice Christmas eve dinner. So I was really pumped about that. 
Then we have Christmas day. Oh I have been waiting for ages for this day to come. I have had 3 packages sitting next to my study desk at our flat just waiting for me to open them. Friday was the day I could. Christmas for us is just another day off. We had 4 meal appointments lined up. 2 breakfast, 1 lunch, and 1 dinner. I have never eaten so much in such little time in my life. Elder Shumate and I were stuffed. We got to our dinner appointment and my companion couldn't eat anymore.  I took one for the team and tried to eat as much as I could. After that when we got in the car and looked at each other and said "lets go to sleep". So we went back to our flat at about 7 and passed out for the rest of the night. We were so tired. But the day was awesome. 
We went to our ward mission leaders house to open our packages. And every family we went to visit gave us gifts as well. Most of it was chocolate but they gave us heaps. We will be able to survive off that for the next 6 months like honestly. We are just freely handing out chocolate to anyone we see. 
We were able to skype home the next day which was super exciting. That was the highlight of my week. But freak it was such an awesome week. First Christmas on the mission was a success! Its crazy to think I have been out for 5 months now. Time flies by so fast. I just really love it out here. Even though it can get tough at times, I am still enjoying every minute of the mission and there is no place I would rather be right now. I don't have much else to say for this past week. New years is going to be pretty sketchy because everyone in our area has a WOW problem. So there is going to be heaps of drinking and the police are setting up stations where they to check to see if you have been drinking. I have had to do it twice already. Its pretty interesting haha. So this will be an interesting week to see how things go this week. Thats all I have. I love you all! 

Elder Shannon

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Transfer Week


So this past week was pretty busy. It was transfer week. Transfer week is always busy so we didn't get to have really anytime to proselyte in our area for the first few days of the week. The week started off pretty good on Tuesday. We were expecting to get transfer news that day sometime in the afternoon. I predicted that we were going to lose 3 sisters from our district and get 3 new ones. So basically get a brand new district. But earlier that morning we had district meeting. It was a mean district meeting. We normally have assigned topics for district meetings but I just said screw it, we are doing something else. Our district has been struggling heaps lately. The work has been super slow for all of us and I could tell that the missionaries were getting down on themselves for it. I decided to focus on getting them motivated to keep on pressing on with the work no matter what. So I showed them a video called "The Atonement and Missionary work. It is probably the most motivational video I have ever seen. It brought tears to  me eyes hard out the first time I saw it. Its about a 10 minute long video but it is so awesome! After I played it in district meeting everyone was crying. I was crying, the sisters were crying, the senior couple was crying, my companion was crying. EVERYONE WAS CRYING! Hah but it basically turned into a testimony meeting the whole time and it was honestly one of the most spiritual experiences I have ever had. It made it even more sad because I figured some of the sisters would be getting transferred so it turned into a testimony meeting for everyone. So that was awesome. 

Later that day we got transfer news. My companion and I are staying and 3 of the sisters left. So it was pretty sad when I found out they were leaving because they were all so awesome. Haha it was funny I used the excuse of the sisters getting transferred to shout me lunch for the last time. So I got free lunches of whatever I wanted. I know, I’m a terrible district leader. Later Tuesday night, the stake provided a Christmas dinner for all the missionaries in the zone so that was really fun. 

Tuesday was pretty busy and then on Wednesday we were driving all over the place running last minute errands the day before transfers so we didn't get to do any proselyting than either. Thursday was transfer meeting all the way down in Auckland. Said goodbye to some great missionaries and said hello to the new. Also that was the day I got all of my mail which I was so stoked for. And than the weekend ended pretty normal. Friday and Saturday were regular days for us. Sunday we finalized our Christmas day plans with the members. We have several meal appointments which I am so pumped for. We just get to hang out with members all day. I cant Wait!. 

I have yet to open up my packages because I am waiting to open them on Christmas. Its weird having it be a hot Christmas. No snow. Just humidity and heat. Christmas is celebrated the same here except they open presents in the morning the go to the beach in the afternoon. That to me sounds like a great Christmas. But all is well on this side of the earth. Time just keeps flying by. Almost been out 6 months now. Crazy!!! Oh and I totally forgot. But on Wednesday, we attended one of the coolest baptisms ever! It was the zone leaders baptism and the lady they were going to baptize wanted to do it in the ocean so they did it there haha it was so cool! And the other cool thing about it was that on of the ladies daughters who was 10 sat in all of the lessons decided she wanted to get baptized with her mom as well. So it was so cool. I was so jealous of them. 

Thats all I have for this week. Here are some pictures from the past week.

Elder Shannon                   

Sunday, December 13, 2015

I Love to See the Temple

Malo Su Fua
(hello in Samoan)

This week was so freaking good! I would just like to start off by saying how great the temple is! It made me think how lucky we have it in Utah. We had to drive for a total of 5 hours to get to the temple. But it was so worth it! The spirit I felt in the temple was unreal. When we were in the celestial room just waiting and I looked around at all of the other missionaries and it was just so cool to be with other missionaries and feel their spirit in one room at the same time. So the temple was awesome! Afterwards President bought all the missionaries ice cream! ha he is the man! It was cool because I had heaps of questions I needed answered for that week so I was able to ponder on them in the temple. 

Thursday was a mean day. We had trade offs with the zone leaders. I stayed in our area and my companion went to their area. Anyways we were going to one of our appointments and we have this one guy who is super keen to listen to us and so we were planning on setting him for baptism. When we get there his whole family was over. We got talking to them and we started talking to his partner and his daughter and we started talking about the plan of salvation and they started to get really interested. So it went from one man to a whole family! We were so pumped! So now we have a whole family to teach. We have been waiting for something like this to happen for ages and we feel like we are starting to see the blessings from being obedient and listening to the promptings of the holy ghost.

The rest of the week was pretty simple. Nothing super crazy happened this week. I am running low on time today because we have our zone p day and so everyone only gets limited time emailing…ugh! This upcoming week is transfers and everyone is making their predictions for who is going to get transferred. It’s funny because that’s all everyone has been talking about for the past few days and they are all super anxious to see if they are getting transferred. We will find out tomorrow the transfer news. I don’t know if I can wait that long, haha. It’s driving me nuts! 

Everything is going pretty well in NZ! Im learning more and more about the culture everyday! It’s so cool to learn about. It doesn’t feel like Christmas. It’s way too hot for it to be Christmas. I miss the snow. ha I never would thought I would be saying that but I do. Dang it I have to go. Next weeks email will be longer but for now. I say, so long and until next time.

Elder Shannon

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Why Why Why


Man, I don't even know where to begin aye? Its been a crazy busy week. Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty normal days. Wednesday night was pretty cool. Our ward mission leader in one of our wards texted us and asked if anyone was feeding us. We said no hoping that he was going to feed us haha. So invited us over for dinner because is wife and kids are out of town. We went over for dinner and we started talking about how the work was going and other missionary stuff. After we talked about mission stuff, we started to get personal with him. He opened up with us about how he didn't go on a mission and all this stuff. It was really cool! We talked to him like we were all best friends. He's 25 years old. So he’s super young we ended up talking the rest of the night with him which was cool. 
Thursday we had zone training. The zone leaders were talking about driving incidents that have happened in the pacific missions. They gave us all these statistics about driving and how we need to be more safe when we are driving. Later on they go on to say one missionary has passed away due to a car accident in Vanuatu. All of a sudden my heart sank and got this weird feeling in my stomach. My first transfer I was in a trio and the Elder that was with us was a visa waiter to Vanuatu.  I started to think if it was him. I told my self no way it was him.  I went about my day as normal trying not to think much of it.
Around 4pm that day, I get a phone call from the assistants. One of the assistants was my zone leader in my first area and he served with the Elder in Vanuatu as well. He asked me if I had heard about him and I said no I haven't heard anything, I just heard that someone passed away. I told him I thought it was Elder Ratu who was one of my companions. The Assistant Elder Pinono took a deep breath and said it was him. I busted out in tears. That ruined my whole week. Me and him were tight. I didn't know what to do. I've never been in a position like this where I have had someone that close to me be gone. It ripped my heart out. He was like my best friend. He was so cool. We would talk about how he would come back and visit me while I’m on the mission because he is from New Zealand. I get emotional talking about it. It was super hard to get over and still is. Out of all people it was him. I am gonna miss him. 
To make things worse, we had to attend a Tangi (funeral) that same night. I told myself that I will just have to forget about this for now and move on. The Tangi was sweet. There funerals are way different than ours. It’s a three day event. They hold it in a Marae which is a Maori meeting house. They do several ceremonies throughout those 3 days. And in order to enter the Marae you have to be welcomed in by a lady who is singing something in Maori.  Before you enter you have to take off your shoes.  After that you go around and meet the family and greet them, except you don't greet with just a hand shake. For the females you kiss them on the cheek and for the males you hongi. A hongi is where you lightly touch your nose and forehead to theres. It sounds really weird and it is kinda weird when you do it the first few times but its really cool. So we did that to like over 200 people which took ages... ugh. But it was a sweet experience for us to get more involved with the culture. So that was cool. We did that all day Thursday and Friday. 
We also had stake conference this week which was pretty cool. It was probably one of the best stake conferences I’ve been to in a while. The weekend was petty eventful. Everything is really good.  Our area is doing a lot better now. Things are starting to pick up. Oh and once P-day ends at 6 tonight we will be driving to Auckland to spend the night with the missionaries and than tomorrow morning we will be heading off to Hamilton to go to the temple. Im so excited. I can’t wait to go to the temple. It feels like its been ages since the last time I went. Thats all I have for this week!

Love you!
Elder Shannon         

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Rottweiler!


This week is has been quite the experience. So much has happened this week but it is hard for me to explain all of it. On Tuesday we had trade offs with the zone leaders that day. It was mean! Me and Elder Cunningham (who is one of the zone leaders), we smashed our area. It consisted of talking to drunk people, People who are high, and running away from several dogs. But it was a solid day. I love trade offs because I learn so much and it has helped me through out the rest of the week. It was also the stake temple week. So all the wards went down to the temple in Hamilton for the week. They would stay there for a whole week and go to the temple almost every day. It sucked because we had hardly anyone to go visit or to feed us. So that complicated things heaps this week. 

Then things with our ward started to go down hill. We had  person pass away this week from our ward. One man was old and had cancer. Everyone kinda anticipated he going to pass soon so that wasn't to shocking but still sad. Than the next night one lady had a severe stroke that caused some serious brain damage and since than it hasn't looked good since. She is on life support right now but they are thinking about pulling the plug soon because she would be in to much pain just to try to fight through it. Luckily our bishop didn't go to the temple so he was able to attend to the need s of everyone who was in distress. And because every one was gone we had to help him with almost everything. 

On Friday our bishop left his car at the chapel because he was with another person in another car. Well later that day he came back to find out it was stolen and later found that the people who stole the car stole everything from inside of it and than burned the car.  It was a super stressful week for our ward and trying to figure everything out. 

Back to missionary work - Friday was so freaking cool! While we were doing weekly planning, I started to feel that the work we have been doing wasn't sufficient enough to the Lord. So I started pondering about what we have been doing wrong and why it wasn't good enough. After about a half hour or so I got the weirdest desire to go and do some door knocking. Like I was getting pumped just thinking about it. I was getting excited. Me and my companion had printed off a few maps of streets in our area so we could keep track of all the doors we had knocked on. And to this point we had almost knocked on every single door in our area. So as I started to ponder on which street we should go tracting on. I felt strongly to go to a street called Otiria rd. This street is long-ish and is straight for a while too. So we parked our car at one end of the street and started knocking on doors. This is where ish gets real - We are going to the third house on the street and as we approach we see a dog sitting on the front porch. We don't think much of it and start to head towards the house. The dog sees us and starts to walk towards us. This dog was massive as! It was a black Rottweiler. Normally dogs that are used to keep people off there property are chained up right? Well that's not the case here. The moment the dog got up my companion started booking it down the street. I thought the dog was nice and was going to come to us so we could pet it. Thats not what happened at all. The dog started running at me. So I figured if I didn't run he wouldn't chase us. I was wrong. He came after me and I got scared so I held out the book of Mormon in front of me hoping that it would stop the dog or something like that. But that didn't work either. So I got the adrenaline rush of a life time and ran the fasted I have probably ever ran in my entire life. The dog was so close to catching me and biting me! I was so freaking scared. We out ran the dog and it finally stopped chasing after us. It was scary as…  I was shaking afterwards and told my companion that was the scariest thing ever. That dog wanted to kill us. So every dog we come across I legit get scared now. I hate it!!! 

Anyways, back to tracting. Me and my companion went for a solid 2 hours on that street talking to everyone at there door step for at least 5 minutes. It was mean! We got 4 return appointments with people and we were super pumped. When we finished we looked back at how far we went. I’ll just say that we could no longer see our car anymore. It was so small. We lost track of time and just put in work. It was one of the most successful days I've had as a missionary so far. We smashed that street. We were so pumped after wards. Just that day alone has filled our week with stuff to do and people to visit. We are slammed this week. Like to the point where we won’t be able to get everything done because there just isn't enough time to fit it all in. Me and my companion are starting to get along really well now. Things are overall really great. I had a sweet experience driving to church yesterday. As we were driving, the spirit came out of no where and just hit me as I was driving. I almost started to cry, that's how powerful it was. I realized how important the Sabbath day actually is and how great it is to partake of the sacrament. It was so weird but it was so cool. That was something cool that happened. That's all I have for this week! Love ya! 

Elder Shannon

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

I Love It Out Here!!

Nov 22, 2015
Kia Ora

This week has been a pretty solid week. Tuesday really got the week going for us. It started with a sweet district meeting. My lesson basically went for an hour and a half and we had a sweet discussion. The spirit was so strong. Like it got to the point where I was no longer standing up leading the lesson. It just turned into a discussion. It was so freaking cool. Everyone was talking and had insights to give. We lost track of time and had to end it haha. But it was awesome. 

After district meeting we had an appointment at 2 with this lady named Jo. We taught her the restoration and we were planning on inviting her to be baptized but I felt prompted to ask her if the missionaries in the past asked her about baptism and she told us they did and that she just isn't ready yet. But she still wants to have lessons and stuff but me and my companion are really hopping she sees how important the gospel is. 

Later that day we found someone who was interested in talking with us about the gospel. His name is Shannon and so when we met him it was pretty easy to start a friendly conversation with him haha. He said he was busy but he told us that he would take our phone number and he would call us. So we are waiting for him to contact us. That really got our week of to a good start. 

The rest of the week we have been working with heaps of less actives and doing a lot of tracting. Through tracting we have found heaps of less actives through that. So that’s who we are currently working with right now. We are almost out of doors to knock. Our faith is being tried over and over again. We are constantly praying for something good to happen because all we do is knock doors and nothing comes of it. Our members have been slacking in doing there part of the work. We gave talks on Sunday on how the members can improve the missionary work. I was so excited when the bishopric gave this for our topics. Me and my companion smashed the ward. We decided that the ward needed to step up there game because we cannot do this alone. I was straight forward with them and just simply said. "You guys are not fulfilling your duty as members." Thats what I said. Than I gave them the quote by Joseph Smith in PMG saying "After all that has been said, the most import duty is to preach my gospel." That does not just go for missionaries, its goes for member as well. I asked the bishop after sacrament meeting if I was to harsh on the members and he said no that was perfect. Afterwards members started coming up to us and saying they are going to do all they can to help us. My companion and I got so pumped! We just hope they actually do help because we are becoming very desperate and we need there help. 

I finally worked things out with my companion. He started to realize what happens when he tries too hard and doesn't listen to the advice I have to give  him. He learned the hard way and he apologized for it. So everything is all goods between us. We were able to get along much better this week and we have started to come closer as a companionship. Things are starting to go upwards right now. Hopefully we can carry that with us this upcoming week. 

Something that has been really interesting going on in the mission field is what we are hearing about the world right now. We are hearing everything and we all think the second coming is going to happen very soon haha. Nah, but for reals the world is going crazy and you probably already know that. Ronda Rousy lost her fight and everyone freaked out about that.   Anyways, I’m still learning heaps and my faith is being tested every day! Staying focused  on the work is the only thing I can do at this point. I have enjoyed every minute out on the mission so far. Freak I love it out here! That’s all I have for this week! Love ya! 

Elder Shannon

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Everything About This Gospel Makes Sense


Well this week has been a rollercoaster. I feel like my faith has been tested over and over again. One day will be awesome and then the next day will just be terrible. And then it starts over again. It didn't make it easier that my companion is brand new. Still trying to get him used to the mission and how things work. So that has been quite the task for me this past week. But overall I feel like I've grown heaps over the past few months! 

It’s weird when I look back on the times when I doubted myself and think, Why was that so hard? It’s so weird to see how you progress as a missionary and how much you learn in such a short period of time. I am so grateful for everything I have experienced so far. 

Anyways back to my week. Me and my companion have done heaps of door knocking. That's actually almost all we did this week. Door after door we get nothing. One day it will be a such a harsh no, the next day everyone will be willing to talk with us, then the next day will back to the no. It’s super frustrating. So many people could have been saved but they didn’t… they didn't want to listen. It’s alright though because when I see them in the life after this I will say to them "I tried to save you, but you didn't listen". Lol. Nah jokes. We knocked about 70 doors this past week and only got one return appointment with them. So we are really hopping that he is the answer to our prayers. 

Oh and the prayers. I Pray so many times throughout the day just asking for help. I just want someone to listen to us!!!! I have learned patience and how to love the people even when they can really make you angry. Which I am so thankful for because it helps me stay focused on my purpose. My companion is starting to get under my skin. He is constantly questioning everything I do. He purposefully annoys me. And he is pretty immature. Like last night I was talking with one of the zone leaders about my district and we had the door shut so that obviously meant that the meeting was private. He just walks in and tackles me onto the bed that’s in there right in the middle of our meeting. So I am trying to figure out how to control the kid. But I still love him and I am doing my best to help him out. It’s just the little things he does that drive you crazy. He gets frustrated when we don't do what he wants to do. Ok i'm done going off about my companion.

Thursday morning got off to a strange start though. The assistants drove 3 hours to have a comp study with me and my companion and they didn't even warn us. But it’s good. It just surprised me and my companion. Something cool about this week was our church attendance was way up this week. My companion and I and the senior couple have been working with several less actives and almost all of them came to church. It was one of the highest sacrament meetings that the ward ever had. So it was sweet. Our mission gets to go to the temple in December which I am pumped for. I miss going to the temple when ever I wanted. So I am really excited for that. 

It’s crazy how fast time goes by out here on the mission. I have been out for 4 months now. It's weird to think about. Still have a long ways to go, but I’m glad I am nowhere near ending. I love this gospel and I am so happy to share it with others. This is the only true church on the earth today. There is nothing that can bring more joy into our lives than the gospel. Everything about this gospel just makes sense. When ever I question something about the gospel. I almost get immediate confirmation that it’s true because I find my answers through the Book Of Mormon and let me tell ya, its an unreal experience. 

Well there is nothing else I have to say. Things are going pretty good here on the other side of the world. That’s all I have for this week! Love ya!

Elder Shannon      

Sunday, November 8, 2015

I'm A DAD!!

Kia Ora

This week has been full of adventures. I don't even know where to begin. Monday thru Thursday we were with Elder Chong-nee because his companion went home last Monday which was awesome. I miss being in a trio. It's much more fun and the work is more effective because you have three brains and not just two. So that was pretty cool. 
We had the chance to go to Cape Freaking Reinga!!!! Its the very tip of New Zealand! I have pictures I will try to send. But if you look up pictures yourself, it's absolutely beautiful. It was unreal. It was a once in a life time opportunity. Most people in New Zealand never get to go there because it's so far away so we were super excited when we got to go there. It was a long drive but totally worth it. 

Monday night though we got a call from President about transfers. My companion was getting transferred to a new area and President asked me to train! I was super pumped. I don't know what it's like in other missions but here they call the person who is training the dad and the trainee the son. And it gets more into depth with moms and brother and sisters and stuff like that. So I now have a son haha. My family now has begun. Well at least my mission family. 

Wednesday we spent most of the day getting ready for transfers on Thursday. We had to go get a trailer and stuff and we had to clean our cars and houses. So we spent most of the day doing that. Preparing for it sucked. We were up till midnight trying to sort everything out. So we didn't get to bed until one in the morning. And the worst part was we had to wake up at 5 so we could leave by 6;30 to make it to Auckland in time. The drive was alright. It was long!  Ugh... And pulling a trailer with the crap car we have sucks. It felt like the car was going to explode every time we accelerated. But it was cool. It was nice to see other missionaries again haha. 

Going into the meeting not knowing who my companion was, was killing me! When I finally got to see and meet him it made everything better. He's the man. Trying to get him to adjust from the MTC to the field is a struggle. He is still stuck in the MTC and is struggling to accept what the mission is actually about. And he is constantly questioning everything we do. But I'm just being patient with him. He is honestly the man though. He just has to get used to everything and he will be awesome. 

Friday during our weekly planning we made the decision to start from scratch. We are going to knock on every door again and hit up every potential we had in our area book. So the past 3 days all we have been doing is door knocking. We haven't found any success yet but we are hoping for something soon. But its awesome taking the lead full on. And being a trainer has made me strive to be a better missionary in every aspect. I want my companion to be the best freaking missionary in our mission. He has some serious potential. And the weird thing is, is that I kinda feel like a dad. Haha I like the mission terms. They just make the experience so much better. 

Oh the mission field is a great place. Im loving every bit of it right now. Yeah we struggle as missionaries at times, but the great thing is, is that there is someone who is there just waiting for us to ask for his help. Thats what's so great about this work. The Lord is always there to help. And thats' why it's so important to be obedient. So you can have that connection with the Holy Ghost and our Heavenly Father. We have had some pretty sweet experiences with less actives though. Our success with less actives has been awesome. When you get a less active to come back to church, its like the same feeling you get when someone gets baptized. That's all I have for this week. 

Elder Shannon      

Sunday, November 1, 2015

All Black Everything!!

Nov 1, 2015

Kia Ora,

So many things have happened this week. First of all, The All Blacks made it to the championship game. They were going to play Australia for the championship. It’s the biggest rivalry in all of rugby. So you could imagine that people are going to be locked in to see the game. That’s all everyone has been talking about. 

As missionaries there is almost no way to avoid it. Every house we go to they are watching rugby. All the games are on at like 3 am so people watch them during the day or at night. Long story short the All Blacks beat Aussie for the championship. This country has gone nuts!!! They have won 2 straight world cups. It was pretty funny too. The game was early Sunday morning at like 7. People were later to church. Some people didn't come till after sacrament because of the game. So our sacrament attendance was really low yesterday. And the reason I’m emailing later than normal is because we just dropped off our zone leader at the bus stop to go down to Auckland because he is going home. The best part is, is that the other zone leader is going to be with me and my companion until Thursday. Thats when transfers is. So this week is going to be very anticipating for everyone to see whats going to happen. 

This last week was pretty great. Tuesday I took my district out to dinner at a BBQ place in the town of Paihia. It’s the resort town very rich there and very beautiful. Everything is right by the beach so it's pretty cool. Thursday we had zone training which was pretty mean.  On Saturday me and my companion went out with the sister missionaries and that was a freaking blast! Haha sister missionaries teach so differently too. It was so weird, it’s not bad, but I wouldn't have expected it to be so different. 

Everything is going really well right now though. I'm starting to learn more about the Mauri culture and it’s super interesting. I feel like I’m starting to become a part of it in some way. So its really cool. All their traditions are super cool. The people are super close to the spirits. That's kinda their culture and so they base a lot of their traditions of of family and ancestors. So I get to hear heaps of stories about older generations of people. 

Dang these letters get harder and harder to write every week. Oh last night was pretty fun. Because our zone leader was going home he burned his suit last night and we just hung out for his last night. I know I keep going back and fourth in between things but me and my companion came up with a huge list of potential investigators and its pretty freaking long so we are pretty excited about that and hopefully we can finally get some one to teach. My companion has been up here for 6 months and hasn't taught anyone in the past 3 so we are hopping to change that this week. Another thing I’m excited for is that I get to go down to transfers. I’m excited because when you serve in the auckland area, you get to see other missionaries all the time. In the north you hardly get to see your district. So going to transfer meeting will be so great just to see other missionaries haha. 

Thats all I have for this week. I love you all and miss you! 

Elder Shannon 

Monday, October 26, 2015

We went and sat down and Talked....


This week was pretty cool. In one of our wards there is this Mexican American lady who married a guy who served his mission in Michigan and they found each other and got married. But that doesn't matter. She had us over for dinner Tuesday night and she loves America. She made us American hotdogs with some sloppy Joe meat. Oh and they had REAL ketchup! It was so amazing. I forgot how much I miss American food! Its hard to get American food here in New Zealand. They are probably one of my favourite families. Since her husband served in the U.S. he got into football and so it was cool cause we are able to take about something that I know haha. They are the kind of family that I can just joke around with and make fun of each other! They are so awesome. I can just be myself and it makes it so much better. 
Man I can’t think of what to write in my letter right now. The week was pretty normal. I don't have a story to tell like I normally do. We did visit quite a few less actives this week and when we went over to there houses me and my companion decided to go in and just be friends with the family. We didn't want to pressure them into doing anything. It was cool because we went and sat down and talked.  Talked about normal stuff and didn't shove the gospel down there throat. It was very effective. After we shared a spiritual thought like we normally would. And come Sunday we had three of the less actives we visited came to church so it was super cool. 
Yesterday was pretty good. Church was super good and just our day in general was awesome. We got some quality visits in. Later towards the end of the at around 6, the zone leaders texted us to come spend the night in Kaikohe because that's where all the other elders stay. They all live right next to each other. So we went there last night and just hangout with everyone. We live so far away from everyone its nice to see other elders. And none of them are in my district so I can’t doing anything with them so it sucks. It was a good night. 
Oh haha I totally forgot. We had our interviews with president this week. I can’t believe I forgot about that. Interviews were awesome! Being able to talk to president about whatever was nice. I had heaps of questions and so it was nice to finally have them answered. The words he spoke to me were very inspiring. He motivated me to do so much and to continue to keep working hard. I also got to interview with his wife and that was awesome. As a mission we are trying to read the BOM in 90 days. So she asked me how that was and we ended up getting into a deep discussion on what we were reading about and it was the coolest thing haha. We lost track of time because of the discussion we had. But it was overall really good. President told my companion he will most likely get transferred because he has been in this area for 6 months now. So I’m probably getting a new companion in 2 weeks. 
This morning was pretty cool, we got to play some touch this morning and that was really fun. Touch is like rugby, the rules are a little different and its basically 2 hand touch. I’m running out of things to say so this letter will be a little shorter this week.

Elder Shannon

Sunday, October 18, 2015

It's the White Shirt and Tie


This week I have learned a great deal. Being a district leader just keeps getting better and better. The only thing that sucks is preparing for district meetings but that's about it. Other than that I can do what ever the freak I want! Ha jokes. Nah but its awesome having a district full of girls because every time me and my companion go over to  have a comp study with them they always make us food so its awesome. So I have comp studies with them pretty often haha. 

Anyways on Wednesday one of our less actives we are working with right now had a court case that day and he asked for us to come and support him. He got caught stealing over $3,000  worth of stuff. So for him going in to the court case things weren't looking to good. Odds are he is going to jail for who knows how long. So we go to the case with him and he wanted us there because he wanted to show everyone there that he was looking to change. He really wants to change and by having us there he hoped it would have an effect on the judge. 

The moment we walked in wearing a white shirt and tie everyone looked at us wondering why missionaries were here during a court case. Fast forward a little bit. The judge is talking to J about what he has done and what his punishment will be. The judge said "We could end this whole thing right now by just throwing you in jail. All I have to do is say it." This is when things got cool. J stood up and started to speak about his efforts in trying to change. He started to cry and explain that we have been able to help him. It was super cool because the tide had changed! We all thought he was going to go to jail going into the case. The judge decided to give him a chance. So he has to do community service and he cant leave his house. So it was super cool. Afterwards him and his family expressed there gratitude for us showing up and supporting him. His sister and mom are both active members. They told us that having us there changed everything. They felt more comfortable about the situation. J admitted to what he has done and felt comfortable doing so.

My companion and I have gotten really close with this family over the past few weeks and they are so awesome. This experience taught me that the effect missionaries have on people. By being my self and who I am has brought greater success for me as a missionary. And I have seen people change because of it. Just by being worthy of the holy ghost to have it by your side at all times is a huge blessing. Because people can feel that spirit. People look up to missionaries. More than I thought. Before I came out I always talked about going out and serving the Lord and changing peoples lives, but I don't think I knew what the truly meant at the time until now. Hearing what some of these people go through has changed my life heaps. It's changed my perspective on people. 

There is no time to waste out on the mission field. People are counting on us whether they know it or not. We all have a story, some good and some bad. There will be days when times get hard. We may not know what to do. But the lord knows. And I KNOW that I have been sent here for a reason. I'm not here just to baptize. I'm here to change someone's life and help them become a better person. They need people dressed up in a white shirt and tie. The knowledge we have is far greater and more precious than anything on this earth. Yet it's so simple.

Me and my companion are struggling, the work is getting slower and slower. We've knocked on almost every door in our area and have found no success. We just keep getting doors slammed in our faces. We share half of our area with a senior couple, who are just awesome, and they are having the same problem we are having. We have both run out of ideas. The people in our area are struggling to find jobs, trying to support themselves. Most people who do have jobs have like 2 or 3. They start early in the morning and get home late at night. Trying to catch people at home is nearly impossible. We have no idea what to do. Our ward doesn't seem to care either so that makes it harder. It's been super frustrating. Other than that, I'm doing really well. Just trying to stay positive. 

We did have some luck towards the end of the week. We had an investigator we dropped text us asking us to come "teach her about god'. So that was pretty cool. We also found another new investigator. We have been trying for weeks to catch them at home and we couldn't. We finally got hold of them and we are going by sometime this week to see them. Hopefully we have some success this next week. 

Tell everyone I love them and miss them dearly!

Elder Shannon


Sunday, October 11, 2015

It Just Keeps Getting Better and Better!!


This week started off pretty well for me. I had my first district meeting as district leader this last Tuesday and it was awesome! We talked about our purpose as missionaries and we got in a deep discussion about it and it was so awesome. You could tell everyone was feeling the spirit because everyone was participating and getting involved. We didn't even get to cover everything I had prepared. It was one of the cooler discussions I’ve had out on my mission so far that have been with other missionaries. 

After district meeting we went on splits with the zone leaders. My companion was sick so him and one of the zone leaders just stayed with him back at the flat. So it was me and Elder Chong-nee who went on splits. We went up to there area which was about an hour away from our area. But it was awesome because we had to do a lot of driving to get around everywhere and so we had some time to talk. He doesn't really like his companion so he told me that it was nice to get a break from his companion. He is an awesome Elder. We get along really well and we both wish we were each others companions just because we get along really well. Oh and he is Samoan too which makes him that much cooler. That day was a good day. 

The zone leaders area is beautiful! One of the areas they cover is called Opononi, its right by the ocean and the town overlooks the bay.  He took me to a cool look out point were we could over look the whole bay. It was so awesome! We ended trade offs later that night. The next day I woke up sick. My companion and I had the flu and so we were stuck in our flat all the way up till Friday night. So we didn’t do anything at all really. On Friday night, we decided to have our bishop come give us a blessing because conference was the next day for us and we were worried we were going to miss it because we were sick. We felt much better on Saturday from the blessing and we got to watch conference. We just watched it at our chapel with our ward. 

Conference was so mean! So good. It was cool watching as a missionary because I had nothing to distract me from any of the talks. This was also pretty cool, some of the questions I had going into conference were answered in some of the songs that were sung which I though was pretty cool. But my testimony was strengthened so much from it. Like it was unreal. I felt like a new person when it was over. I can’t get over how great conference was! I wish it would keep going. Everything is going really well though. The work is still hard but me and my companion are making it fun for ourselves. We are getting along just fine. We joke around a lot and have some fun which keeps us going when days get hard. 

My district is doing awesome! They are all working so hard and they keep me going as a missionary. Thats the good thing about having sisters in your district. They bring you food when you are struggling or you are having a rough day so its pretty cool. The other cool thing is that I’m not allowed to council the sisters with there problems so I don't have to deal with the drama as much which is nice. The sister training leaders handle all that stuff. 

The life of a missionary gets better and better each day. There are days where we will be driving home at the end of the day and we haven't had much success that day and than randomly I will smile and just think to myself how awesome it is to be here to serve the lord. There is nothing better. 

Other than that not a whole lot ha s happened just because we've been sick all week. Me and my companion are excited for this week because we are going to pick up the slack from being sick so we are super pumped. 

I love you so much!    

Elder Shannon


Monday, October 5, 2015

Fifteen Scoop Champion!!


This week has been very tiring for me. The amount of driving I have had to do this past week has been unreal! On Wednesday we had an MLC meeting which is meant for all the zone leaders to attend, but President wanted the district leaders to come as well. The meeting is all the way down in Auckland and it started at 9 am. In order for us to be there on time, we had to drive down Tuesday night and sleep over with some other elders in the area. It was kind of cool because we felt like business men traveling to our meeting haha. 

The meeting was cool. President told us that we are no longer looking to plant the seeds. We need to baptize! "The field is white and ready to harvest". Thats part of our mission vision. Our goal as a mission for this next month is to baptize 55 people. Thats our goal. So he is really pushing baptism heaps. The standards of excellence is for each companionship to baptize 2 people every month. So things are really starting to pick up in the mission. It’s cool because I get to basically hear all the behind the scenes of the mission. 

We spent a few days in Auckland this past week. Other than that, that was pretty much my week. The whole district leader thing is getting better. It can be stressful at times. When I have to do mid and end weeks I spend most of my time writing down numbers and talking on the phone. By the time I finish its almost 10:30 and I still have to write in my journal and get ready for bed. My companion is from New Zealand and we get along pretty well. I do get annoyed sometimes because he expects me to respond after everything he says. But I’m doing my best to love him. For the most part though we do get along. For some reason the mission gave us a massive house and its just the 2 of us that stay there. There is 3 bed rooms and we have 2 living rooms.

Right now the work is slow, very slow. All we do is finding... Finding new investigators is hard. Its hot and very, very, very humid. So its frustrating when no one wants to listen to you and its hot and humid. But we keep trying. We are working with a few people to get over drugs and alcohol, one of them is named J. He is not a member but he wants to come to church, he just wants to quit his addictions before he starts coming so once he quits we are going to try and set him for baptism. He is doing really well. He smoked weed for sometime and so did his girlfriend. After the missionaries before us talked to him, they helped him through his addiction and he broke up with his girlfriend who was also addicted to weed but she didn't want to give it up. So its cool cause he is doing it a lot by himself which is awesome to see. But other than that not a whole lot is happening. 

Everyone in the other ward we cover are almost all members haha and I’m being serious. So there is almost no work to do over there. Oh and this is way cool. Do you remember that All Blacks player from forever ago and he decided to serve a mission? His name was Syd Going. Well His family is in our ward! There family is massive! They make up half the ward. But its cool because I didn't even know till I asked my companion why the name "Going" sounded so familiar. And than he told me ha. 

Both of our ward mission leaders are awesome. They really like the work and like to come out with us to help.

Our K's for the car are limited to 2,600 k's per month and they disappear really fast. So we have to be super careful with how we use them. Dealing with the sisters in my district can be hard. One of the sisters has gotten caught with another elder doing stuff. Her punishment was that she got sent up north away from everyone. She’s super cool and regrets what she has done. Also the sister training leaders had to split up one of the sister companionships mid way through last transfer because they did not get along and I heard it was pretty bad to. I have to figure out how to handle all of it. One of the sister’s is Sister B, she is the one from Herriman haha, funny how we ended up in the same district. The others are from Utah and one of them is from Australia. I was reading my Patriarchal blessing the other day and it talked about being a leader and protecting the daughters of God so I’m applying that to all that's happening right now.

This is also really cool. Just before I started to email we went to an Ice cream place with the zone leaders and my district to do this challenge where you have to eat 3 liters of ice cream (15 scoops). The fastest anyone has ever done it was in 20 minutes flat. So I decided to do it. Very few have finished it. It either ends up melting or people throw up. The Ice cream place is famous for it and its been in the news for anyone to come and try it. So I decided to do it. They put it all on 2 ice cream cones and it takes about 20 minutes to make it. They have to stack it and make sure it will stay in place while I’m eating it. Only one of the people there can make it. They were shocked when I told them I wanted to do it. But 20 minutes later I’m holding 15 scoops of ice cream on 2 ice cream cones. I have pictures, but the computer I’m on won’t take sd cards so I will have to show you next week. Long story short, I finished it in 16 minutes and 28 seconds. Broke the record! I was so pumped! They asked that we email the picture that we took of me with the ice cream and send it in so the can post it up in there shop! So I’m pretty pumped about that. I’m not feeling too well right now though. My stomach hurts pretty bad. 

That's my week!  We will be watching conference this weekend and I’m excited for that. I love you heaps mom! I miss you!

Elder Shannon 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

My First Transfer


This week has been the most emotional feeling week I've probably ever had my entire life. Emotions were all over the place. This week was transfer week, and its funny because Pres. calls the missionaries who are getting leadership roles on Monday and those who are transferring get a call on Tuesday. So those 2 days missionaries call each other to try and find out information about who's going where and who are the zone leaders and district leaders so its kinda funny to see all the elders trying to find out info. So it was pretty exciting. 

So at this point me and my companion aren't getting transferred and we aren't supposed to anyways because I have to finish my 12 weeks of training. We were excited because everything was going really well and this was my companions last transfer and we were going to go hard his last transfer. Wednesday morning comes around. At around 7:30 in the morning we saw we had a missed call from President, we call him back and he doesn't answer. Me and my companion start thinking of why he would be calling because all transfers were over with. He finally calls us back and wants to talk to me. He asks me how I was bla bla bla, He than says to me "Elder Shannon, I have a new assignment for you." I say "okay" He went on to say "I need you to go up north, I need you to go up north and be a district leader in Kaikohe." I was shocked. I told my companion and he started freaking out! President told me that he needed me up there and that I would no longer continue my 12 week training. I had know idea what to say to anyone I talked to. Once my companion realized that we weren't going to be together we both started to tear up. I was looking forward to killing my companion. He was proud of me though but we both new it was going to be hard to say goodbye because I would never see him again cause he is from Australia. 

Word spread pretty fast around the mission that I was going to be a district leader. So I quickly packed my things and got ready to leave. Thursday is transfer day. We showed up to transfers and everyone was looking at me and it was so weird cause I didn't know what to do!!! I go and meet up with my zone and we had a little meeting with everyone who was transferring before we all left. After the meeting, I went to everyone in my last zone and said goodbye. It was hard because I got so close with a lot of the elders in that zone. But the hardest one was my companion. We looked at each other and both started to cry knowing we will probably never see each other again. At this point I have felt every emotion. I was excited, happy, scared, nervous, terrified, sad, angry, etc... 

Long story short I am now up at the tip of New Zealand serving the lord. I have a car again because our area is massive. We cover 2 wards that are super small. One of them is close to being changed to a branch and the other has about 40 people that come to church on average. So things are different up here. The population is mostly Māori. My new companion is Elder Blandford. He's really weird and pretty slow. He's supposed to be senior companion but he's not all there in the head so I have to take charge of everything and on top of that I have to figure out how to be a district leader. 

The work is slow, very slow here. My district is full of sisters, no elders so that makes it harder cause I have to deal with drama. That makes me "Relief Society president". That what everyone calls me now... Its hard getting used to everything because I just finished getting comfortable with my last area. So its going to be a difficult transfer, but I understand there is a reason that I am here so I’m going to make the most of it. There is also a rumor that I might be a zone leader in a transfer because my companion has been serving up here for a while and he thinks he will leave and one of the zone leaders leaves this next transfer so that's why that rumor is going around. People are also calling me future AP. So this is all so crazy, I don't know how to deal with it all but I’m trying my best. Other than that, that has been the highlight of my week. I don't know what else to say. 

I love you mom and I miss you! Talk to ya soon!

Elder Shannon 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Baptism this Week :)

Malo (Hello) 

This past week was a solid week. We went to visit our Investigator R everyday this past week just to make sure he was still ready for baptism. I love that kid so much! He is so awesome to talk to and his testimony is so cool. He made the decision to get baptized all by himself which was cool. His parents aren't members but his Aunt and Uncle are. The cool thing is that his mom is starting to get interested in the church. She has a strong testimony of the gospel, she just hasn't prayed to ask Heavenly Father but she said she would so hopefully something comes of it. 

Wednesday was a pretty normal day for us. We had zone conference on Thursday and so the Zone leaders told everyone to call it an early night so we could prepare for it. And what they meant by that is that they wanted to practice the haka because we were performing at the conference for Sister Balli's birthday. So all the Elders came over to our house to practice and we practiced for a solid 2 hours. We wanted it to be perfect! After we practiced we all went to bed. 

Thursday we had zone conference. President and Sister Balli both spoke along with the AP's. Zone Conference was held at our chapel. One of the Samoan wards in the stake was assigned to feed us and the meal was amazing! So much food. Anyways after conference we all went into the gym. We got up on the stage where the ground was hollow so when we stomp it would sound really loud. We killed the haka! It was so intense! You wont understand how intense it is unless you are part of it! One of the Elders got it on video and I’m waiting for him to send it to me so I can show you. But it was so sick! So Thursday was really cool. 

Saturday was the day R was getting baptized. It was cool to be a part of from the beginning. From finding him to teaching every lesson. Watching him progress towards baptism was awesome. Being there and being part of the baptism was super cool. After the baptism we went to the Crossfit gym which one of our members own and we got to perform the haka for Mihi Nemani. It was her birthday so we did it for her. She posted it on youtube. It titled "Missionary bday haka" it should be one of the first things that pops up, if not add Mihi Nemani to the search as well and it should come up. 

Sunday I had the opportunity to give R the confirmation blessing and that was a super cool experience. I put my hands on his head and words just started to come out of my mouth. Crazy how the spirit works! After church there family invited us over for lunch. They had heaps of food! They kept telling us to eat. I was so full and they still wanted me to eat more. It gets so frustrating cause they expect you to eat everything. 

Just as we were about to leave they gave me and my companions some flower crown things and a necklace made of shells. The last thing they gave us was sweet. Its this precious stone that is super rare that they put on a necklace and its meant for our wives. So who ever my future wife is I have a gift for her haha! 

Thats my week! Nothing but a smile on my face all week. It was super exciting with everything that happened. Transfers are this week and that means we have to drop my Elder Ratu at the airport tomorrow morning. Super sad. We don't want him to leave because we were like the Three Musketeers! On the other hand though. This country is going nuts right now. The Rugby World Cup started this weekend. You have Samoans cheering for samoa. Tongan Cheering for Tongans. Everyone else is for the All Blacks. So there is a lot of opposition in the country right now haha! Its pretty crazy. Everyone gets way into it. The games are super late at night and early in the morning and people stay up all night to watch the games! Its so crazy. So church attendance was low on Sunday for every ward. 

Everything is good so far out here in New Zealand. Still can't upload pictures to the computer yet. Im still trying to figure that out. This church is true. My testimony has grown so much being out here. Me and my companions are still getting along really well. To the point where I see them as brothers and not companions. We are constantly learning from each other everyday. I love you all and I love receiving emails from everyone. So feel free to write me whenever you wish! Talk to you all soon!

Elder Shannon