Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Latest and Greatest in my Life

Bought a NEW CAR

2007 Mazda3, 4 cylinder, 2.3L. Manual. 
Any suggestions for a name for him?


Yeah I totally joined that bandwagon of returned missionaries working for vivint... But in all seriousness I love this job. I love the people I work with and I have the best shift. I work graveyards. It's awesome. 


I adopted Shredder from a friend who called him "Fishy".


Andre, Joe, Dennis and I took this picture for my best friend who is on a mission in Peru! 
(Not pictured are Brandon and RJ.)  


Friday, July 12, 2013

The Story of My Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Chapter One: Guatamala City, Guatemala CCM 

On March 5th, 2013 I was set apart as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by my stake president.

 I said goodbye to my mom, my brothers and sister-in-law, and my best friends. I put on a name tag and boarded a plane to a foreign land. 

I was joined on the flight by around 30 other North American missionaries who were headed to various missions in Central America. During my layover in Los Angeles, California, I had the opportunity to get to know a few of the other missionaries. Three stood out in my mind and became great friends over the course of the six weeks we were in the CCM together. The first was Elder Peterson. We talked a bit on the flight and he seemed very quiet and reserved. Over the course of the six weeks he became like a little brother. He was 18 when he arrived in the CCM and had a birthday in the m as well. He was very supportive and helped me feel at home.
(Elder Peterson is the one with the glasses)
The next amazing person I met was Hermana Nielson. In the airport in LA we bonded over our disgust at eating McDonald’s and I ate all her fries while we talked about music, and our families, and things we were so excited for. It took one hour, and we became best friends. We spent the next six weeks growing closer and closer. We did everything we could together. She did my hair, sang for me, and I ate half her ice cream every meal. She was my saving grace in the CCM. I consider her to be my sister. The day she boarded the bus to head to the plane for Nicaragua was so hard for me. She had been an amazing source of inspiration and love for me. We took care of each other and I will always love her for being there for me.

And the third person I met during the layover was a tall, awkward, annoying elder named Elder Turley. He irritated me so much that first evening because he would not shut up. He was talking and making jokes, and I was just annoyed by him at first. But by the end of the CCM he was one of my best friends. He never gave up on trying to get me to laugh, and I am so glad he was as persistent as he was or else I would never had realized how incredible he is. We had these random “no smiling” contests, that I almost never won because he had this ability to make me smile no matter how upset or irritated or whatever I was. (I don't have a picture of him unfortunately...)
Distrito Mateo
 I made many other friends in the CCM and we had a lot of adventures together. Everyone at the MTC made me feel very welcome. Even the kitchen staff, and Carlos, the head chef. They took excellent care of me and made sure I never ate a bite of pork because I am allergic. The greatest thing they did for me though was on my birthday. They actually surprised me by making me a pink pig face birthday cake! I was so surprised and touched, I almost cried. They even attached a little note that said, "This will be the only piggy you ever eat!" It was so cute!
My teachers were also super supportive. I had a few different teachers while at the CCM. One I had the entire 6 weeks was Hermano (Brother) Lopez. He is incredibly intelligent when it comes to anything gospel related. He was incredibly in tune with the spirit, and he always knew exactly what to say. He was a rock for me from the beginning and I am so grateful to him for all of his support and encouragement. Another teacher was Hermano Chavez. He was with us for less than 2 weeks but he was incredible! He served his mission in El Salvador and he immediately became my go to guy for any questions I had about El Salvador. He is an amazing person and I am so grateful I had the opportunity to become friends with him.  
The CCM was an amazing experience and I cannot express how grateful I am to have had that opportunity.  
Chapter Two: Metapan, El Salvador 

On April 16th I left the CCM in Guatemala, and took a bus with a group of missionaries to Santa Ana, El Salvador. I arrived and met my mission president and his wife. The next day I was assigned a companion and an area. I was assigned to a little town about 2 hours north of Santa Ana called Metapan. Metapan was absolutely beautiful and the people were amazing.

Distrito Texistepeque

My district leader Elder Urban

While walking around the streets of Metapan I began to notice a pain in my back. I took ibuprofen all the time and was constantly icing my back. The pain gradually worsened until I could hardly sit for more than 30 minutes and cried whenever we walked a good distance. Of course, it began to weigh me down emotionally. After days of consideration and prayer, I decided going home would be the best option for me. So when an opportunity presented itself, I took it. I accepted the offer to go home and began the process.

Chapter Three: Coming Home 

On May 10th, I was driven to the airport in San Salvador and waited for my  flight. I prayed before the flight for an opportunity to share my testimony with someone, and I was blessed to be able to share my testimony of the Book of Mormon with an amazing woman from Missouri. I was thanking my Heavenly Father for that experience when I met a man during the layover in Houston and ended up sitting next to him on the flight to Salt Lake. He was a member and I was able to answer some of his questions during the flight, and I bore testimony to him about the priesthood. Both experiences I hold dear to my heart and I hope to one day meet those individuals again and find out what became of our conversations.  Those two conversations on the flights home made the whole thing complete in my mind. I knew that the spirit had guided me in those moments and was so grateful for them. I had read in Preach My Gospel just days before that "You can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when you feel the Spirit working through you." I knew that the Lord was pleased with me, and I knew that I was doing what the Lord wanted me to do. Choosing to go home was not an easy decision to make, but the Lord led me in it and I know that it was the right thing for me.

Chapter Four: New Adventures 

Since I came home, I have been extremely blessed. I have a new job and am working towards buying myself a car and progressing in my life. It has certainly been an interesting year so far and I am looking forward to new adventures to come.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Eduardo's baptism

Eduardo (the shorter one) and Luis (is a recent convert who invited Eduardo to listen to the missionaries.)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Welcome to El Salvador!

Hermana Shoop arrives at El Salvador Santa Ana Mission 4/13
Pres and Sister Cordon welcome Hermana Shoop

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Priesthood Power

> So my favorite talk in Conference was Elder Eyrings talk and also
> Elder Falabellas talk. Look them up and reread them if you get the
> chance. Sunday night after conference, Presidente held a devotional
> and he mentioned that someone at the CCM had invited a bad spirit in.
> He said that at 10pm he was going to hold a prayer to cast out the bad
> spirit. It was shocking to all of us because we had heard nothing of
> it before that. So at 10, Presidente comes down and we are all
> kneeling silently as he tells us about a dream he had after he was
> called to be the CCM Presidente and before he moved into the CCM. He
> said that in the dream there was a mob of angry people outside the
> gate trying to get in, and just inside the gate were Lamanite and
> Nephite warriors defending the CCM. He said that the Presidente before
> him had had the exact same dream before he was Presidente. He then
> cast out the evil spirit, blessed us and sent us to bed. It was a very
> powerful prayer and an amazing story. It is cool to know that we are
> being protected. I love you all and will write you next week from EL
> SALVADOR!!!!!!!!! Dear Elder me a lot. I love you.
> LOVE, Hermana Heather Shoop.

> Hermana Heather Shoop
> El Salvador Santa Ana/Belize Mission

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Week 3 CCM

> So on Sundays here we go to sacrament, and everyone has a talk
> prepared, because they announce the speakers in the meeting without
> telling them before hand that they will be speaking. I told my teacher
> on saturday that I hadnt had a good sunday here yet because I spent so
> much time worrying about them calling me up to give a talk. He told me
> not to worry about it, and said that I would not be giving a talk the
> next day. I had the best sacrament meeting because I was so relaxed
> and not worried about anything. THEN they called my name... Hermana
> Shop... Shup...? (The Latins NEVER say it right). I had a mini heart
> attack in my seat, but I went up and I gave a talk on how God reveals
> the gospel in every dispensation, IN SPANISH. It was terrifying but I
> felt so good afterwards. I am just glad that Hermana Nielson had her
> talk ready for me to read, because I only wrote about a minutes worth
> of it, and so I gave her talk (But almost all of the Nortes talks are
> the same because we basically copy them out of Preach My Gospel.).
> Yesterday I had the MOST SPIRITUAL DAY since I have been here. I got
> one on one lesson during Book of Mormon study time, on the Atonement.
> And then I got private language tutoring. And then our night teachers
> gave the best lesson on How the Book of Mormon answers questions of
> the soul. And we each got to bear our testimony of the Book of Mormon.
> It was so happy. I loved it. I love you all. 
> Hermana Heather Shoop
> El Salvador Santa Ana/Belize Mission

Birthday Story

> So on my birthday, I awoke to my Latina roomates and Hnas Nielson and
> Quarez singing Happy Birthday to me. It was a pretty much normal day
> after that but then at lunch everyone was acting super weird. Then
> they all DISAPPEARED. I could not find my companion or anyone. Then
> Hermana Nielson comes out of the kitchen and takes me by the hand. She
> leads me back into the kitchen where all my missionary friends and my
> friends on the kitchen staff are all singing to me. Then I see a PINK
> PIG cake! I almost started to cry. The kitchen staff had found out
> that it was my birthday and because I am one of their favorite
> missionaries (and they make me special meals everytime there is
> pork...) they had made me a chocolate birthday cake. They said that
> this would be the only piggy I will ever eat. It was very nice. Later
> I found out that they broke a rule doing that but because they are not
> members they did not get in trouble. That was the best part of my
> birthday. Im trying to get the pictures that the kitchen staff had
> taken of it.... Well I have to go, but I will write letters soon. I
> love you all! Hugs and Kisses!!!!
> --
> Hermana Heather Shoop
> El Salvador Santa Ana/Belize Mission

FW: Foto de Grupo

Our missionary is in this picture.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Week 1 at the CCM

I have been doing good during the day at the CCM (MTC in Spanish). I
have found a friend in Hermana Nielson because we have a lot in
common. She loves music and both of us miss it so much. They took our
ipods and cameras away and put them in a vault because apparently
those things have gone missing in the past. You wouldnt think we would
have that problem here but we do.
-The Norte sisters (North American) live in a house around the corner
from the CCM. It is temple housing for the Guatemala Temple. Because
of how full the CCM is we stay over there. Security guards with huge
rifles and handguns are stationed all along our route to and from home
so we are always protected. Living in the Casa is the worst because we
cannot unpack. There are no closets so we live out of our suitcases.
We sleep in barracks and have to constantly lift our bags onto our beds
if we want anything out of them. The showers are the worst part
though. There is nowhere to put your stuff to change into and the
water trickles out. Even with the lack of water pressure there is
always hot water. The other day the CCM Presidents wife, Sister
Nicolaysen asked me what it was like over there and I told her
everything. She told me that they were planning on moving us over to
the CCM housing in a few weeks, but after talking to me she is trying
to get it pushed up to next week! Our teachers here are amazing! We have a day teacher,
Hermano (Brother) Lopez who is so doctrinally smart we are convinced
he is going to be the prophet one day haha. And our night teacher,
Hermana (sister) Melgar is the best spanish teacher. She helps us alot
with pronunciation and grammar. They are the best teachers in the CCM.
the first day we got here I immediately learned that it is rude to
leave food on your plate or throw it away. So I eat a ton! The chef
here knows I cant eat pork and so he makes me a special dish of
chicken everymeal. The kitchen staff all know me by name. I eat only
fruit for breakfast and vegetables whenever possible. I have also been
drinking a ton of water. Last thursday we began teaching our
investigator Pedro. We gave him a Book of Mormon and already asked him
to be baptized. He is talking to his family about his interest in the
church and we will ask him again tonight. On sunday we had exchanges
and I had a Latina companion who taught me a lot of spanish. I havent
gotten any letters yet and I heard that the DearElder letters always
arrive on thursdays. But we can only send mail out on Wednesdays, so
try the regular mail and I will let you know how fast it gets here. I
love you all! I only have 30 minutes to write and my pday changes
weekly, next week it is tuesday. I love you!
Hermana Heather Shoop
El Salvador Santa Ana/Belize Mission

NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

I made it!

Hola mi familia! I made it to the CCM in Guatemala! The first things
we were told was that it was disrespectful to leave food on your tray
or throw it away. So I am stuffed full at every meal, or I starve
because I just take fruit. We were also told to NEVER drink the water.
They gave us water bottles to filter the water though. We were also
told we should not shake hands with anybody at the CCM, which I was
perfectly fine with! But then they said do not hug your companion, and
then I was sad. Me ompañero es Hermana Quarez donde Morgan, UT. She
was the one I friended on facebook because she was afraid to fly
alone. My first friend at the CCM was Hermana Nielson from Salt Lake.
She went to BYU to sing. She is really fun to be around. Yesterday we
were all exhausted from flying all night. They let us go back to our
casa at 7:30 and I was asleep at 9. We are staying in temple housing
around the corner from the CCM until there is a bit more room in the
actual CCM. So right now we are living out of our suitcases and dont
have closets. They also took our cameras away because a lot of them
have gone missing in the past month and so they dont want ours to be
stolen. I love you and will write on Monday, I think. That is our
PDay. I love you!
Hermana Heather Shoop
El Salvador Santa Ana/Belize Mission

NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

My "Farewell" Talk

Back in the Saturday morning session of General Conference, Sister Ann Dibb gave a talk that some of you might remember. She told a story of a time that she went shopping at her local grocery store. While she was waiting in line, ahead of her stood a confident, happy young woman wearing a T-shirt that read, “I’m a Mormon. Are you?” Sister Dibb said she admired the young woman’s confidence and conviction, and wondered how the young woman came to possess such confidence in her identity as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sister Dibb then said, “I couldn’t help but wonder what meaningful phrase I would figuratively choose to have printed on my t-shirt reflecting my belief and testimony. In my mind, I considered many possible sayings. Eventually, I came upon an ideal statement I would proudly wear: ‘I’m a Mormon. I know it. I live it. I love it.’“

Rereading this and considering my talk for today, I thought to myself, “If I were to choose a phrase for my t-shirt, what would I choose?” and I came up with this, “I’m a Mormon. I don’t have sister wives. I don’t have horns. But I do have a Savior, and a really good book.” 

I chose this phrase for a few reasons: first, I am a Mormon. Second, it gets the most common misconceptions about members of the church out of the way immediately. Third, it testifies that I have a Savior, whom I love and am grateful for every day.  And it states that I have a really good book, The Book of Mormon, that I know has the power to better people and change lives.

I am not afraid to bear testimony of the Savior and of the Book of Mormon to anyone. 400ish all at once is a little more intimidating, but here I am.  

When Brother Labrum gave me the topic for my talk he invited me to share how my testimony has been strengthened, when it had been questioned, how my testimony has grown in preparing to serve a mission, and how I made the decision to serve a mission.

Looking back on my life, I can remember several occasions where my testimony has been strengthened, the earliest memories coming from primary. I remember one day in my 10 or 11 year old class, we had a substitute teacher. The lesson began normally with a prayer and the instructions to “sit down and be quiet” but after that it was a very memorable lesson, and if you know Joe Belnap, you know that memorable is actually pretty normal for him. He asked all of us if we would believe that he had a ten dollar bill in his pocket. Immediately, all of us said “yes”. It was an easy enough thing to believe in.  Then he asked us if we would believe that he had a million dollar bill in his pocket. Of course, we all said “no”. He then proceeded to teach us a lesson on faith. He taught us that we don’t always have to see things to believe they are true, and sometimes the most believable things are false. Joe then pulled everything out of his pockets, phone, keys, and a million dollar bill. I remember going home from that lesson thinking that my faith and my testimony, while seemingly impossible to others who don’t have the blessing of the gospel, like that million dollar bill, was very real to me.

Then I grew up a little, and moved into young women’s where I was taught by so many inspiring women. Each of them contributed to my testimony in their own way, by example, lessons, music, girl’s camp, firesides, but mostly by being my friend. When I was struggling and at my lowest in young women’s and in the church, one leader in particular stepped up and made me feel loved, respected, and helped me to renew my testimony of the church and of the Book of Mormon. I was in 9th grade, and had been having a really hard time dealing with the accidental death of someone I felt very close to. I was upset and was questioning why Heavenly Father would let someone so good pass away, and I began to doubt a lot of things. My testimony was wavering and I was slipping. But my Mia Maid’s advisor in the 33rd ward helped me back up. She saw that I was struggling and stopped to listen. Her advice to me went something like this, “Heather, go home, read the Book of Mormon.” I followed her counsel. To quote Ezra Taft Benson, “There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book (A Witness and a Warning, pp. 21-22).” With serious study of the Book of Mormon my testimony of it and of Jesus Christ was solidified. Thanks to a leader and a friend, I know without a doubt that the Book of Mormon is true.

I also know that Jesus Christ lives, that He is the Son of God, and that He carried out the Infinite Atonement. There have been times in my life when my values were questioned, or I’ve been picked on by others or have just felt alone. I know that that Jesus Christ has felt exactly what I have felt. I know that He knows how it feels to be hated, criticized, and mocked. Speaking of how the Pharisees viewed Christ, Spencer W. Kimball said,

“His every word was criticized; he was accused of being a deceiver, a glutton, a winebibber, a common person associating with publicans and sinners. They called Him a Sabbath breaker, a usurper of authority, a tax evader. They charged Him with heresy and sedition. He was said to be and ignoramus, a blasphemer, and was accused of being born of fornication” (Elder Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Report, April 1946, p. 44-45).

Sometimes it is easy to forget that Jesus did not live a life free from suffering until he was in the Garden of Gethsemane. No man descended lower than the Savior of the World. And because He led a life of suffering, He understands our suffering. One of my favorite quotes comes from Chieko N. Okazaki’s book “Lighten Up!” It reads,

“We know that on some level Jesus experienced the totality of mortal existence in Gethsemane. It’s our faith that He experienced everything – absolutely everything. Sometimes we don’t think through the implications of that belief. We talk in great generalities about the sins of all mankind, about the suffering of the entire human family. But we don’t experience pain in generalities. We experience it individually. That means that He knows what it felt like when your mother died of cancer – how it was for her, how it still is for you. He knows what it felt like to lose the student body election. He knows that moment when the brakes locked and the car started to skid. He experienced the slave ship sailing from Ghana toward Virginia. He experienced the gas chambers at Dachau. He experienced napalm in Vietnam. He knows about drug addiction and alcoholism… He’s not waiting for us to be perfect. Perfect people don’t need a Savior. He came to save His people in their imperfections. He is the Lord of the living, and the living make mistakes. He’s not embarrassed by us, angry at us, or shocked. He wants us in our brokenness, in our unhappiness, in our guilt and our grief” (Chieko N. Okazaki, Lighten Up!, p. 174, 176).  

I know that the Savior knows exactly how I felt in my darkest moments, and I know that He is willing to lift me up and save me in my imperfection. And I know that the Atonement is a vital part of the Plan of Salvation.

When I was at girls camp my last year in young women’s, I was the oldest girl there and therefore, I took it upon myself to be the leader and example to the younger girls. So one day at camp we were gathered together by the leaders for an activity that none of us knew about. We were instructed to sit down at a table and go around and each share a favorite scripture, and one at a time, the leaders began taking each of us up a short trail on the mountain. Slowly girls were leaving our group, and quickly we ran out of scriptures to be shared. I remember scrambling to keep the scripture thing going, I probably shared ten scriptures that day, and Sarah Crandall did as well. We went back and forth for a while, trying so hard to keep the girls focused on the scriptures. We got down to about twelve girls left and I got the idea to sing some hymns, so all twelve of us began singing “I Know That My Redeemer Lives”.  I will never forget feeling the spirit that strongly. We continued to sing hymns until it was just Sarah Crandall and myself left at the bottom of the hill. When they came to take her, we hugged and parted, not knowing what would happen on this adventure the leaders were taking us on. She left and I had a minute to pray and thank Heavenly Father for the spiritual experience I was having.

The leaders then came down the mountain, blindfolded me, and then led me up the mountain with me holding onto a rope representing the iron rod. One of the leaders represented the Holy Ghost and the other was representing the temptations of the devil trying to get me to let go or take a wrong step. And at the end of the rope, I took off my blindfold and saw all of the other girls and a tree covered in gold wrapped gifts, representing the tree of life.

This experience was meant to teach us about holding fast to the iron rod. But I learned a different lesson. From the beginning of the experience when we had all sat down at the table until the moment the leaders came to bring me up the mountain, I had had a most spiritual experience. That day, I felt my testimony of the Holy Ghost grow, because I learned to recognize the spirit. That was the first time I remember recognizing immediately that what I was feeling was the comfort of the Holy Ghost.  

Two years ago, even though I had a testimony of Christ and I knew the Book of Mormon was true, I had absolutely no desire to serve a mission. When I was little I would often follow my brother Garrett around wherever he went and would copy whatever he did, but I never imagined that I would one day follow him right out into the mission field! My desire to serve came after I spent about 4 months last year watching and helping a very close friend prepare for her mission. I during those 4 months, I gradually began to want to go on a mission, and after lots of prayer I came to the realization that I wanted nothing but to serve a mission. The only problem was, I had just barely turned 19. I struggled with the idea of waiting two more years to go, and so I prayed for patience, and for experiences that would help me to prepare for my mission. My prayers were answered without me even realizing it. I was blessed with so many experiences and opportunities that I am sure will help me at some point, whether in the mission field or life after the mission.

Some of those experiences include: walking around Cabo San Lucas, Mexico alone and unable to understand most of what is being said to me; navigating airports on my own, and on a separate occasion, with three bags while pushing a wheelchair. Then in July, I spent a long time praying about what to do with myself. I didn’t know what to do, mostly pertaining to my education. I didn’t know what degree I wanted to get and I was praying for guidance to know what would be a good fit and the right path for me. And one night while on my knees I got a very strong feeling that going to school in the fall was not the right thing to do. So I deferred my enrollment for a year, and began job hunting. I applied at many places and waited for something to open up, but nothing really came. I started to get this nagging thought that I needed to get a passport. I found an excuse for my mom to help me get one and so we went and got it done. So in September, my passport arrived at my house and I had nowhere to go with it. Then in October, my life suddenly had a direction. 

During the Saturday morning session of General Conference, I was working as an assistant debate coach at a debate tournament. It was the first one of the season and I was enjoying judging and getting to know my debaters. Everything was going great and I had a little break around 10 am to sit in the coach/judges room and chat with my dad, who was kind enough to be one of my judges. After a few minutes I walked over to help a coach with something and as I was walking back to the table I had been sitting at, my dad stood up, came over, and shoved his cell phone into my face. I read the tiny screen, showing a text message that said that the age requirement for missionaries had changed. It said that men can leave at age 18 and women at age 19. My first response was to ask him, “Are you serious?” His only reply, “Look who it’s from.” I read my mom’s name at the bottom of the screen and burst into tears.

President Monson's announcement made me happier than I have ever been. The Spirit confirming to me that I should serve immediately was so strong. Later when I watched the recording, I felt like the change had been made for me. Of course, so did most of the 18 and 19 year old girls at BYU.

As I reflected on the months since I had decided I wanted to serve a mission, I realized that I had been 
gradually preparing to serve without knowing that I was being prepared to do so. That alone has strengthened my testimony in Heavenly Father’s love for me; and in His plan for me.

I would like to share with any of you who are struggling with your testimony, a bit of what a wise woman once wrote to me. She said, “If you ever have a question… Remember that a 14 year old boy… turned to the Lord when he had a question. If you ever feel alone… Remember that Heavenly Father and the Savior love you. The Savior loves you so much that He was willing to come to Earth to show you the way home and in the process, He gave His life for you.  If you ever need to feel the Spirit… Remember to open your scriptures. If you ever need to know who to follow… Remember to follow the prophet. The prophet will never lead us astray and will always tell us to do things that bring us happiness and lead us to our Heavenly Home. May you ever be converted unto Christ and keep Him at the center of your life” (A letter to me from Hilary Weeks).

In True to the Faith, a testimony is defined as “a spiritual witness given by the Holy Ghost. The foundation of a testimony is the knowledge that Heavenly Father lives and loves us; that Jesus Christ lives, that He is the Son of God, and that He carried out the Infinite Atonement; that Joseph Smith is the prophet of God who was called to restore the gospel, that we are led by a living prophet today; and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Savior’s true Church on the earth. With this foundation, a testimony grows to include all principles of the gospel.”

My testimony has been shaped by so many wonderful and also trying experiences over my life. I have gained knowledge about the gospel through experience, study, and by revelation. 

I know this Church is true. I know that the Book of Mormon is a true testament of Jesus Christ. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet on the earth today. I know that Jesus Christ lived and died for us, and that he knows and loves each and every one of us. I know that Heavenly Father knows me, loves me, and knows where I can best serve Him. And I am excited to go serve the people of El Salvador and Belize.

At the beginning of my talk, I told you what my figurative t-shirt would say, and I still stand by that, but, during the next year and a half, I am excited for my shirt to literally say in bold letters on a black badge, “Hermana Shoop; La Iglesia de JesuChristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias”.

I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ouch. Shots suck.

Today I went into the Health Department for my last missionary immunizations. Hepatitis A/B and Typhoid. The lady there warned me I might get sick from the typhoid shot. Both shots hurt like crazy but the Hep A/B one was the worst! Like peanut butter was being pushed into my arm through a straw!

I went home afterwards rubbing both arms. And check out where the nurse put the bandaid!

See that little red dot about an inch ABOVE the bandaid? That is where I got poked. 

I went on with the day as normal, but my mom insisted I take ibuprofen. I did. I got home feeling just exhausted, so I went upstairs to sleep. But I could NOT find a comfortable position since I am a side sleeper who just had both arms injected with vaccines. Laying on the bed, I got hotter and hotter. Checking my temperature, I found I had reached 100.5'F. Soon it was 100.8'F.

By 11 pm, while I am writing this post, I found I have reached 100.9'F. Joyful. It's definitely time for bed.

BUT Thank the heavens ALL my shots are DONE (Until I come home and have to receive the Hep A/B booster).

Thursday, February 7, 2013

I am so excited!

I am so excited for my mission! I cannot even tell you how ready I am to leave!

Look how pretty it is in El Salvador! This picture is of Coatepeque Lake. GORGEOUS! 

The ruins of Belize. 

The Tazumal ruins in El Salvador. 

 People tube through these caves in Belize! Maybe after my mission when I make a return trip I will try it out! 

And then there is the mall in Santa Ana. As you can see, Payless, Cinemark, Radioshack... 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Crazy Waiting

I am going nuts spending all day in my house alone. Dinglehoppers are starting to look like forks! 

I am just waiting for my mission report date (MARCH 6TH) to come along. Every so often I have a day where I get to go out and do something to prepare, or just have a little fun. But aside from those days, I sit at home from about 12:00 (after I have finished all of my morning chores and studies) until about 6:30 when my mom comes home. Then we *might* get to go out to the store or watch a movie. This waiting thing is hard. But it will all be worth it when I get to go to the El Salvador/Belize Mission!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

I've been inside!

Last night, I went through the temple to receive my living endowment in preparation for my mission. It was so amazing; words cannot express the joy that I felt while inside. My sister in law, Caisa, told me afterwards that as I finished, I had a huge grin on my face. But how could I not smile? It was a wonderful experience that I will be able to reflect on every time I visit the temple. 

During my session I was joined by family and friends. Thanks to all of them for coming and supporting me. And Camille who was home sick, but sent her love. <3

Friday, January 4, 2013

Temple Day!

I love to see the temple, I'm going there today! I'll covenant with my father, I'll promise to obey.

I created this image a long time ago for a young women's project I was doing. That "someday" is today. Today I will be going through the temple to receive my endowments. I am so eager and excited to go, and to be there, surrounded by my closest family and friends.