Monday, December 24, 2007
Christmas Letter 2007
December 24, 2007
Dear Family and Friends:
It is not by choice, but by commandment of my “Senior Companion” that I send this greeting or salutation. As you know, Sister Shumway and I are now serving a mission in Australia. We are in a small City (Alice Springs) in the very middle of the Continent. We are 1000 miles from the Zone Leaders, and 1000 miles from our Mission President. How Sweet It Is! Many blessing have come into our lives. We moved from Blanding, (the city I love) to the Wasatch Front, where every car on the freeway is out to kill its neighbor and every breath you take puts you in peril of lung cancer, and where they still live the Law of Moses, (An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth). We moved there to be with our children and grandchildren. Sister Shumway thought it was great.
We were there for about 4 months, long enough that the children were truly thrilled when they watched our airplane slowly disappear into the sunset. Some positives that have come out of this are:
• We no longer have to paint, clean, garden repair, finish, refurbish and sell real estate that we purchased in partnership with some of our children.
• The next time we move, it will only involve three suitcases apiece.
• Laura no longer feels obligated to ask us to baby sit for her three children, who are beautiful and doing very well with their social life and school. Also, fortunately for Laura, she won’t be able to have me repair any more $10 leaks that turn into $500 leaks under the touch of my masterful hand.
• Arah and Steve no longer feel obligated to allow us to spend a few minutes with Gavin (4 almost), who would really rather spend time with the neighborhood kids.
• Mike no longer depends on us to entertain his girlfriend Emily, (who is a beautiful girl) while he is away with his band or Texas Hold’em?
• Julee and Zeb no longer have to worry about Ayden (10 mo.) learning to say grandpa and grandma before he can say dada, or mama. While we have been serving the Lord, Ayden has learned to walk, and we didn’t have to witness his crying every time he fell down.
• Lisa and Shawn no longer have to deal with any of Keely (4) and Ben’s (8 mo.) grandparents bugging them, because all four of us are now 10,000 miles away. What a beautiful thing it is! Keely is now in full control of her entire household and Ben has learned to crawl.
*Check all their Blogs out to see how they are doing.
Our Mission is going well. President and Sister Quinn are marvelous. They let us cover our own gas, groceries, apartment (they call it a flat here in Australia) and utilities, along with anything else we may stand in need of. They haven’t complained even one time about the cost it has been to us. Honestly, we will be forever grateful to them for allowing us to be called into this amazing mission. We have met some wonderful people and been privileged to be see several investigators come into the Church. The Elders in our District are amazing young men. Our District Leaders (we actually have two of them) and their two companions are hard working, gifted and inspired. We truly love them.
We have already had a memorable Christmas in Ankgula (see blog), been able to participate with the baptism of 14 wonderful souls, started a literacy class and enjoyed sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with several others. We testify to all of you that Christ is our Father in Heaven’s gift to us and it is only through faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end that we can fully take advantage of the supreme gift of all. We wish you all the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for all eternity.
In closing, we are thrilled to be where we are, doing what we are doing. We are too busy to miss any of you….and maybe we will just stay. After all, how else can we spend Christmas day sweltering in the sweat of 100 degrees? “Merry Christmas, Mates! No worries!”
We love you all,
Elder Jim and Sister Lynda Shumway
P.S. If you would like to serve in Australia start filling out your papers right now and apply for your passport It takes about 10 months of being prodded, poked, shot and radiated by the medical profession to prove you really want to spend a few months here. Then there are the extensive missionary forms on the computer that have to be filled out. (PLEASE don’t forget your username and password once you’ve set it up!) After this the Bishop and Stake President can then verify that you a “member in good standing” who might not embarrass the church too badly. Also, be sure and get your fingerprints to the FBI, have local and state police clearances done early and get your International Driver’s License. I guess the rule is… if you have ever had a parking ticket don’t bother to apply. It is amazing to me that the Church asks every “Senior Couple” (why can’t they call us “mature couples” or “just couples”?) to think about a mission….. and then demand a doctoral degree, perfect health and a 6 digit bank account before they will even consider us for the calling. Whatever happened to the old “If ye have desire, ye are called to the work”? --Elder Shumway
What’s this about a six-digit bank account and doctoral degree? Do you know something I don’t know, Elder Shumway? And by the way, it’s not a sweltering 100 degrees. It’s a most comfortable 75 degrees. We haven’t used our AC for three days and nights. --Sister Shumway