Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Settling in...

Sorry I didn't write yesterday, the library was closed and we couldn't email so we got permission to email today.  The girl I told you about in our Christmas call (let's call her "M") when we visited with her before she was really anxious.  She's calmed down a lot.  We got some members over there to fellowship and that really helped her.  We taught her the restoration and extended the baptismal invitation and she accepted!  Hopefully everything goes well.  We still have a lot to teach her but we have high hopes.  The Senior Couple in our area got a new investigator who they are trying to transfer over to us who is golden, so we will see what happens there.  Things have been going well!

One thing that I have been starting to study about is the relationship between power, faith and knowledge.  I haven't been able to delve too deeply into it, but what I have learned is that the most important of them, and the way you receive the other two, is faith.  I will keep looking into it and I will keep you posted on what I learn.  

PS  One of our less actives told me to tell you guys that you did a good job raising me.

I love you!

Elder Shields

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Phone Call…

Merry Christmas from our favorite missionary!

Our family Christmas photo!
Cheers went up as soon as we saw Elder Shields on the screen.  After many attempts at a three-way Skype, Lauren and Tyler ended up face timing the call.  Not ideal, but the whole family was together in one room for a time.

Jake shared some experiences he had at the MTC, including an intense verbal fight, where he and his district left the scene and had a devotional so as not to be negatively affected.  He also told of his favorite song "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" being sung and comforting him.

Jake looks and sounds great.  He is very happy with his companion who we found out is serving as the District Leader right now.  They have a lot in common and like to share random facts that they each know.  Jake says Elder Dudley is a hard worker and respects his knowledge of the Gospel.  The work is slow; he says that the people respect what they are doing, but are not that interested in what they have  to say.  He did share one sweet experience of contacting a girl who is interested in their message.  They tracted out her dad, who then referred them to his daughter.  Jake was teary as he shared that she has anxiety and is fearful when it comes to going to church.  He can relate to her in a way that others can't and feels grateful to be able to work with her.

When asked what he is looking forward to doing or seeing on PDay, he said they would probably go check out all the alligators!  He is literally in Jake heaven with all the reptile animal life he is surrounded by.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Made it to… Southport, North Carolina!

Me and my trainer Elder Richard Dudley, from Calgary Canada

Me with my Mission President Dennis R. James and his wife Jan James

I'm in heaven, Greg is an alligator who lives nearby.  North Carolina has been great, there are so many animals all over the place, including frogs and snapping turtles!

Monday, December 14, 2015

And he's off…

Pic snapped in the Atlanta airport by a family friend (Russ Ence) who was on his flight.
We waited patiently in bed this morning for our airport phone call from Elder Shields.  At 6:17 a.m. we were eager to answer the phone.  Jake was at first emotional upon hearing the sounds of home, but quickly recovered and was happy, excited and eager to get to North Carolina.  We were able to patch in Sarah and Maddie, while Paul, Matt and I piled on our bed to chat with Jake.  All were able to send their love and best wishes.  Jake was sweet to let the other missionaries use the phone first so our call was short with the hope of more time during his Atlanta connection.  Because of a crazy snow storm and a delayed departure there was no Atlanta phone call.  But…we did have a text exchange with our friend Russ Ence who was on the flight with Jake.  Here is our exchange:

Russ:  So- I'm on a flight to Atlanta this morning.  Sitting in my seat awaiting take-off.  When suddenly, a procession of about 25  missionaries comes down the aisle.  A good looking "Elder Shields" among them!  We chatted for about a minute while he was stalled in the aisle.  He looks great.  Happy.  Ready to go!  Just thought you might like to know.  Tell "Mom" all is well.  I'll try to catch him for moment in ATL.

Sandi:  This is Sandi, I happened to have Paul's phone.  I am so jealous.  Thank you so much for the text!

Russ:   Jacob has a great smile!

Sandi:  It is my favorite, he lights up, with his missionary spirit, I can only imagine.

Russ:  I'm going to go ahead and wire the Atlanta airport to get the font ready.  No doubt there will be  someone from the back of the plane ready for baptism by the time we land (ha, ha)!

Sandi:  Ha, ha, a pic is coming soon, right?!

Russ:  Maybe a pic in Atlanta- deicing now.

Russ:  I snapped this picture.  He may not have time to call he said.  They're off to catch a connection.

Look out North Carolina, Elder Shields is on his way!  Can't wait to talk to him on Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2015

The District...

My MTC District
Elders Kloepfer, Schmidt, Jensen, Shields, Garrick, Bush, and Sorenson
One of the main highlights of the MTC has been teaching investigators.  Some are actors and our teachers role playing, and some are real.  We are not suppose to know which is which, but it is pretty easy to guess.  One of ours is an agnostic pacifist guy, he has been difficult to teach but he has been receptive.  He asks such hard questions.  One was about how Nephi killed Laban, and if God was all powerful, why did Nephi have to kill Laban; why couldn't he be delivered in another way?

Teaching the investigators has been awesome when there is a good lesson, but when it doesn't go very well, that's when it's hard.  I will keep working at it, and Heavenly Father has been helping me not to worry so much and have more confidence in myself.  I still have a lot to learn but I will be OK.  I've felt my angels and your prayers.  Don't stress about me guys, I am OK and my district has my back 100%.  I can confide in them and they are there for me just as I am there for them.  We all are going to help each other through.

I love you and will write you next week from North Carolina!


Friday, December 4, 2015

First Letter Home

Me and my comp Elder Garrick.  We have been working hard together and learning a lot from each other!

 Hey Family!

The MTC has been absolutely amazing, I love it here! My comp is Elder Garrick and he is a great guy, he's from Arizona. Anyway, the first day was a really humbling experience, I realized how much I need to learn, but as I have humbled myself and received the spirit I have been enhanced in ways I have never thought were possible, my mind has literally been opened and the spirit has helped me learn so much. I was called to be a district leader and and it was scary, but I also know that it will be good for me, I have been able to grow and learn to love my district more than ever. I am confidant we have an amazing district. I love the guys I'm with and I have learned so much from them.

I love you family,

Elder Shields

Sunday, November 22, 2015


Elder Jacob Nile Shields ~ North Carolina, Raleigh Mission

Good afternoon Brothers and Sisters it is a pleasure to stand before you this day, really nerve wracking, but still a pleasure. For those who don’t know, I have been called to serve in the North Carolina Raleigh mission and I leave on December second.  I’m a crier, so I hope I can get through this OK.
            I have been asked to speak on Elder Hugo Montoya’s conference talk titled “Tested and Tempted but Helped.”  One of the statements from Elder Montoya’s talk that I liked is when he says that our trials can “give us strength and growth as we successfully overcome them.” I feel I have experienced that in my life. He also taught that us that our trials and “burdens are not to be carried alone.” Alma taught, "as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light.” I have learned the truth of this principle as well and feel it is so important that we seek to bear one another’s burdens."
In Elder Montoya’s talk he gives us four points that can help us help each other lighten our burdens. First, he teaches us to go the second mile. When he say says this what I think he means is that it is important to make an extra effort to help others and to better ourself so that we may be more receptive to promptings we may receive to help others.  Next, he teaches us that we should smile. What this means is that something as small and simple as a smile can really help brighten someones day. And it doesn’t have to be a smile. Any small act of kindness can make a considerable difference in someones day Third, he teaches us that we should express and show compassion. He teaches that it is important that “we express words of consolation and comfort to those who are suffering or experiencing affliction.” Finally, he teaches us to invite others to come to Christ. The absolute best way for us to have our burdens lifted is through the atonement of Jesus Christ. It is very important for us to help others who do not know about this gift to learn about it so that they may utilize it in there lives as well.
            I am grateful that Brother Mecham gave me this talk as my topic. I feel it has significant application to my life and what I have experienced the past several years. I know that the principles Elder Montoya teaches in his talk are true.
In my life I have been tried and tested. A few years ago I really struggled with anxiety and depression going through high school. I was doing a lot of asking at the time and not a lot of work to go along with it, I didn’t feel like I was getting answers to my prayers and I stopped feeling the spirit. I felt like God had abandoned me. For about two years I struggled to feel the Spirit and I couldn’t help but feel like there was no God or that he was punishing me. Then a little more than a year ago I made the decisions to go on pioneer trek. I had a great time with my ma and pa and my trek family. It wasn’t a huge turn around but it was a step in the right direction and during that time my heart softened a little bit and I started to question my previous thinking; I started working towards finding myself; slowly but surely I began to find my way back. When I started attending college I decided to take an institute class, or in other words my mom helped convince me to take an institute class, and I was able to open my eyes more and look back on the previous years and see just how wrong I had been.
My Heavenly Father and Savior had never abandoned me. They were always there. Watching over me. They let me be tested and tried, but they had never left me.
Because of the trials I went through I was strengthened in ways I couldn’t have been in any other way.  These trials that I faced were the most challenging I have ever experienced in my life, and at times I wondered how, if ever, I would make it through, and why I had to go through it.  At the time it didn’t occur to me that what I was going through could actually be for my benefit.  As it says in D&C section 122, verse 7-

“And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” 
Heavenly Father gives us trials so we can grow and learn from them. They’re not punishment, they are there to help us grow. And I can testify to you as well that He will not give you a trial and leave you to it on your own. He will always be the first one to help you if you ask for Him. The scriptures teach “Ask and ye shall receive,” and I believe this is true.
One of my favorite hymns is “How Firm a Foundation” and the verse that sticks out to me the most is when it says “fear not I am with thee oh be not dismayed, for I am thy God and will still give thee aid, I’ll strengthen thee help thee and cause thee to stand, upheld by my righteous omnipotent hand.”
I absolutely love how this hymn is worded; there are few things better than being upheld by our all-powerful, infinitely loving Father in Heaven.
One thing that is important to understand though is that we shouldn’t expect a heavenly army to come down and aid every time we experience trials, even though that would be awesome. Through my experience I have learned that Heavenly Father works mostly through other people. The most touching experiences I had were when I reached out to others for help. But those people can’t help us unless we make ourselves known. We don’t have to suffer in silence, and I can promise you nobody else wants that for you either. As we do our own work, seek help from others and ask Heavenly Father for guidance, direction and support in faith, great things can happen.
I would like to testify to you now that I know without a shadow of a doubt that this is the one true church, and we have very loving heavenly parents above and a loving Savior who died for us and through his atonement can we be made clean again. I know that President Thomas S. Monson is a true living prophet of God on the earth today, and that Joseph Smith was the true prophet of the restoration.
I would like to thank you all for the support that you have given me, and helping me get to this point, I love you all and I will report back to you in two years. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.   

Friday, September 25, 2015