Elder Kyle Shannon :)

Elder Kyle 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

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Samoan Trades


This week has probably been the slowest week that I've had since I've been out. But it was still a solid week. Tuesday was pretty cool though. The Samoan Elders in our district have been struggling to find people to set for baptism. This led to one of the Samoan Elders, Elder Saulo and my companion making a bet that if Elder Saulo takes me that we will set someone for baptism. So we had trades offs that day for about 8 hours. But it was cool cause that meant that I got to go and experience a different mission almost. But the only thing that sucked was that I didn't know how to speak Samoan hahaha. 

We went out visiting families and such like normal. We then received a referral to go visit the family. Long story short, they wanted to get baptized, which was really cool because Elder Saulo and his companion were really struggling so it was cool to see him so happy for the baptism. The other cool thing about trade offs with him was that they had a member feeding us that night so I got to go to that. I’m starting to get comfortable with the food here. At first it was weird but now I’m getting used to it. 

Another cool thing is the area I’m in I have been able to see a few of my teachers from the MTC!! Two of them are in my stake and so I get to talk to them often and that's really cool. But other than that the week was pretty normal. We bike almost all the time. But because our are is so small its hard to find work to do so there will be days where we will plan to walk and visit a few less families and we focus more on trying to find people on the street to talk to. Thats also hard to because our bishop and stake president want us to focus more on less actives instead of finding investigators. 

Me and my companions are still getting along really well, we have heaps of fun when we are out and about which makes the work easier. Our investigator R is doing really well, we have one more lesson to teach him before his baptism. His baptism got moved to this Saturday because his Uncle wouldn't be able to make it on Thursday but that's not a big deal so its all good. 

We have zone conference this Thursday and our zone gets to perform the Haka we made so I’m excited for that! My other companion Elder Ratu leaves next Tuesday to Vanuatu which is sad because me and him got along really well. Thursday night we had a cool experience. One of the families in our ward was preparing to go get sealed in the temple this last Saturday. So they have been looking forward for this moment for along time. But Thursday night there family got really sick and they thought it was going to prevent them from going to the temple so they were super nervous. Around 8:30 that night they called us to come over and give the whole family blessings. 

The family is Maori and the Maori people have a super close connections with spirits and as we were giving a blessing to the mom, which my companion Elder Faamau was giving, he talked about there ancestors and how they were watching over them. Once we finished giving the blessings we asked them is they had had anyone recently pass away and they said yes. We felt the spirit so strong that night we were giving  the blessings! The mom said she was able to feel there ancestors there in the room with them which was super cool. When we walked out side,me and my comps started talking about how strong the spirit was and how cool of an experience it was. The blessings helped them and they were able to go to the temple and get sealed which was really cool. 

Everything is going really well over here and I’m doing awesome! Im almost done with my first transfer which is crazy!!! Time flies being out here Anyways I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Love, Elder Shannon          

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Weekly Update

I don't even know where to begin how to describe my week. By far the most spiritual week I've had so far! It began Tuesday morning in our district meeting. My companion Elder Faamau is the district leader and he was teaching us about personal accountability and it was pretty sweet what he taught. He had all of us crying by the end of the meeting and it really got me thinking about the person I was before the mission. Looking back on it there are so many things I would go back and change. 

Later that day at about 8:40 pm we went to Subway to get some cookies. After which we were going to head back to our flat. When we walked out of subway my other companion Elder Ratu wanted to take the long way home instead of cutting through the parking lot that would have saved us 5 minutes, but we went around instead. As we are walking on the side walk we see this lady who is drunk about 100 ft in front of us. As we were approaching her we said "Hello, How are you?" She stopped walking, looked up at our faces, than she looked down at our badges. When she saw our badges and realized who we were, she took off her glasses and started to cry. She told us that she had been looking for people like us. She said that the way she is living isn't what she wants with her life. Me and my companions looked at each other in awe! The spirit was so freaking strong! We ended up talking to her about what was going on in her life. After all of that we asked her if we could stop by her house later sometime this week. Haha this is where it got super weird. We told her we would come back the next day at 2 pm. When we said we were gonna come over she thought we were going to have sex with her!!!! Like WHAT???!!!! My companions and I all looked at each other not knowing what to do! After a while we ended up sorting it all out. We found out she wasn't in our area so we referred her to the zone leaders who was in her area. But that overall was a pretty cool experience. 

The rest of the week carried on as normal. Once Sunday came, Thats when my next experience happened. Once we got home from church, and we didn't have any appointments for 2 hours. But the zone leaders had one before we did. The Zone leaders are Elder Pinono and Elder Taimani. Anyways as Elder Pinono was walking out the door, he felt prompted to ask if I wanted to come with them. I said yes. On our way over they were telling me about the person we were going to visit. Her name was Jenna and she was one of there investigators. In there last visit she got upset at something they did and I won't go into detail on it cause its personal but we were going to figure out why she was upset. We walk up to her door and the front door is open so we knock and ask if we could come in. There was no response. Then her kids com running around the corner and tell us to come in. We walk in and Jenna is sitting on the couch watching tv. She wanted nothing to do with us. After about 5 minutes of talking to her trying to get her to communicate back to us she starts to explain what had happened and she was mad. She was using some vulgar language. Like she was super mad. It got to the point where I thought she was going to pull a gun out of her purse and threaten us to get out and never come back. I was so scared. But that didn't happen. After the Elders apologized for what happened she expressed to us that if I wasn't that she would have kicked them out and smashed the windows to the car. After she told us that we all took a deep breathe and gathered our selves back together. Once we did that, the spirit entered the room so fast and we started to teach her about temples and families. Before all of this she didn't want to investigate the church after what had happened but the spirit said other wise. We ended up meeting with her for a total of 2 hours and it was probably the strongest I've ever felt the spirit. It was incredible. It was definitely a testimony builder for me. 

I'm so thankful for the opportunity I have to be in a trio cause if not, that experience wouldn't have happened. This Gospel is so true. Its PERFECT! But we as member are not. That's why we need to strive to be the best we can be and obey the lord and his commandments. Everything is great here. Our investigator Richmond wants me to baptize him on the 17th of this month so I'm excited for that. Sounds like everything is going great back home! I miss all of you and love you! I'll talk to you all soon.

Elder Shannon