What of the
Norm and Luana Shumway
New York City, N.Y. 10023
5 November 2007
We are now well beyond the halfway point of our mission. It seems like we have been quite busy, but when we survey the landscape we realize how much yet needs to be done. We hope that Church representation at the United Nations will become an ongoing function and that couples who follow us will enjoy the work as much as we do.
As an organization, the United Nations leaves much to be desired. It is inefficient and inept in many ways, and its agenda changes little from year to year because of its inability to bring matters to conclusion. Yet its peacekeeping activities and development initiatives have been welcomed in many parts of the world. However, from our perspective it is obvious that several of its economic and social undertakings run contrary to the doctrines of the Church.
We have busied ourselves in attending meetings of the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the myriad commissions, conventions, councils, committees, conferences and caucuses which are part of the U.N. family. We have finally gained some understanding of the procedures and terminology of this massive bureaucracy located on the banks of Manhattanfs East River.
When not attending meetings or attending to office duties, we have devoted our time to visiting ambassadors in their various missions. These visits have been very successful in allowing us to make friends, build bridges of understanding and cure misconceptions about the Church. We have developed some very positive relationships and have seen the Spirit touch many hearts which before were hard and unreceptive to any degree of Church-related influence.
We also host the U.N. diplomats socially. We staged a picnic during the summer which several ambassadors and their families attended. We will soon take some two dozen of them to dinner and a show at Radio City Music Hall – the annual Christmas Spectacular, which is a premier social event in New York City. We enjoy watching them develop appreciation for the Church as they come to realize that we do good things in their countries, and that we are not gweirdos.h
We believe that President Hinckley was inspired when he sanctioned this program of government relations. We can readily see how it helps the enhancement of the Kingdom throughout the world – both now and in the future. We feel the Spirit directing us in our daily work, and are aware of many doors that have amazingly been opened to us. Our testimonies and feelings of gratitude have grown by our service in New York City. Our lives have indeed been blessed. Thanks for your assistance and prayers.