Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Few More Pictures...Good Times!

Bus Rides from the MTC to Sao Paulo Temple

Buddies at the MTC - Sao Paulo

Carson with twins - Elders Steele

Carson and his buddy

Loving the Cobblestone

Intructor and Comp in the MTC

Sunset in Cruz Alta

Apartment after hard days work

Spire Maintenance Sao Paulo Temple

Monday, June 25, 2012

Service Gets Family to Church

We asked Carson a few Questions.  His letter is below. 

Do you know a lady named Chris C KI,  (she sent me a friend request on Facebook)?
Yes, I know her, she's like our favorite mom in the ward! Always feeding us - haha

How was your week?
So good, worked so hard!
Are you eating better? I want you to add some protein to your diet.
eh, rice and beans and cereal and Top Raman haha, and yes, occasionally meat.

Do you want me to send you soem peanut butter or canned chicken or some stuff like that?

Just send a care package like the first one, it was so good! Love the treats, maybe some drink mixes and some peanut butter would be good.

Glad to hear you got your package. Was it the big one? Yes, big care package!
Did you share with your companion? Haha yes I did.

Any requests for your next package?
Peanut butter, drink mixes, candy, photos of stuff like lake powell, food, Food is good! Dryer sheets maybe.
Hows your new place?
Love it! So much bigger and better!

Hey Family!
     So my companion is getting transferred tomorrow. He´s the next lider de Zona in our zone. So I´ll be getting a new companion tomorrow. All I know is his name: Elder de Sa.
     This week was really good, we worked super hard! The ward is starting to come together well. we had a family home evening in the chapel with the whole ward and a lot of people showed up, so that was good. The language is coming well, I can understand almost all of it, but they do have a strange accent here and different words. So dad and I will not always understand one another in Portuguese. Have Tay continue to do good things, he´s a great kid! Someone got transferred early this last week, so I got some more letters and packages. 
     To answer dad´s question, we ARE allowed to wear our missionary badges for baptisms. They said it´s okay so that the people can see our names and remember us. I have been printing out some of my pics as well at a little shop near the internet cafe. then I will remember people cuz I write names and locations on the backs of them. 
     Dad no need to be worried about the heaters we have. I read the boxes this last week and they do NOT emit Co2, so we´re all good there;  and this last week got super hot again. It´s  seriously just like utah weather here. We wake up to cold and clouds, by noon it´s blazing hot and clear, and night time is nice and cool.  So weird. 
     Our families are doing just great! They are super into the church and so looking forward to the temple next year. I´m not looking forward to explaining the whole area to my new comp tomorrow, that´ll be a party haha. I will have Elder Moroni write in my other journal tonight and put address and stuff. and we will take some pics. Tay sounds like he´s killin it in the pool! and yeah, that kearns pool sounds like a workout! That´ll be good for him, make him stronger. The Manti pageant sounds good and sounds like mom and Hailey are looking forward to a good time at girls camp.
     The water situation here is so sweet! We can drink whatever water we want here. It´s purified. There is only one zone in our mission where president said that the americans need purification.    
Today won´t be super long, but here is a cool story. 
So this last Friday we went to the house of a part member family. They were doing some cement work in the back. I dunno what I was thinkin', but I just jumped right in and started working in my church clothes. Got cement and stuff all over myself. My companion probably thought I was crazy. They loved the help though, and got it all done so much faster.  Then Sunday, that whole family was in church. for the first time. and the son had been baptized like 2 years ago. The Bishop was amazed that they were there. I love the feeling afterwards. so that´s always a good idea for family home evening.

I have 6 more weeks in Cruz Alta, then probably being tranferred.Kkeep praying and reading scriptures! It´s strenghthened my testimony so much! So President Ribeiro is leaving next year, and I heard the other day that with the new President, my mission is being changed to the Cruz Alta Mission.
covering the same area - random thought.

I love all of you! keep up the good work in softball Hailey! Let dad coach ya, even if he´s hard on ya! Kill it in the tournament and have fun at girls camp!
Tay keep gettin' huge and working hard in swimming! Then we can both go to Utah afterwards, and you can be on a swimming scholarship!


Elder Shepherd

Thursday, June 21, 2012

MTC Pictures AND Pics of My First Area

Out my MTC Window at Night - Sao Paulo

The Front of the MTC

The Sao Paulo Temple (The spire had scaffolding on it)

The Gang at the MTC

Another shot of the Gang! We all study together

The Porto Alegre Temple

Cobblestone roads- I'll get used to them!

A little fun with a member youth

Church House in Cruz Alta - literally a house

Inside the Chapel - much smaller than my home ward.

My first baptism

Another Day picture from the MTC Window
Sao Paulo Temple - spire getting serviced

Missionary Training Together- Think "GroundHog Day" : )

Monday, June 18, 2012

"Some People I knew in Heaven"

The first part of this weeks email had answers to some of our Questions:

Did you get your braces on?  
I didn´t get braces - the lady was crazy and thought she could rip me off cuz I'm American. That is what my comp told me.  haha.

How's the companions?
They´re good! I´ve been teaching them English.
Are all 4 of you staying together in the new apartment?
Yes - we´re all moved into it now. 

Do you ever cook real food, besides Top Ramen?
Nope! haha But I might buy sandwich stuff today.

How is the family getting ready for baptism?
eh more or less on track, gettin ready haha.
Do they laugh at you speaking Portuguese?
Eh sometimes when say a wrong word haha
Do they teach you words or trick you into saying stupid things?
They help me, they´re good about that

Are your thermals good in the cold? 
Perfect. the thermal garment bottoms are really short, but they´re good. 
Did you buy blankets there for your bed?
Yeah, we have just over a million blankets here, so we´re all good there. haha

Hey Family!
     Sorry you haven´t gotten the SD card yet, I sent it along with the mother´s day card. 
     I don´t know why but I was thinking of the time dad and I went fishing with Jack [on the way to send you an email]. and Jack went in the river trying to catch a fish with his hands hahaha. So funny.  Time is seriously flying,. the days that I work hard and fully engage I don´t even remember. But when we walk a lot and aren´t 100 percent focused my mind starts to wander, and the days go by soooo slow. 
     So we were in the house of Claudia and Vilmar. She is a member but hasn´t been since she was little. He isn´t a member. They´re like in their 20s. We always say the first prayer and challenge them to say the last. We challenged her to say it, then just bowed our heads and waited, for probably 3 minutes in silence. She didn´t want to do it. Then she just started going.Probably the most spiritual moment yet. The spirit was so strong in that room. I´m confident he´ll get baptized shortly. 
This week was crazy! We moved finally, but it took like 2 whole days not including p-day, cuz we only gotta use a truck for like 1 hour. We had to freaking carry the rest of the stuff 3 blocks by hand, so that was fun!     
     The language is coming, but really slowly. We had our interviews with President on Thursday.... he is way cool, a great president. he brought some packages and letters with him. I got the package you sent with the candy and chips and photos! Thanks so much! I got like 5 letters and the package, so that was a good highlight for the week!

     My companion and I are probably doing roughly 20 lessons a week. not bad but not good enough. We´re gonna try and work harder this week. We have 2 heaters in our room, but we keep the door open to try and get the CO2 out, good heaters. 
     The scout trip sounds like it was a blast! Tay sounds like he had a good time, and he´s getting big so I need to start doing some sit ups and push ups here.  And Hailey! congrats on making the All-star team! Now just pop some home runs in the tournament!!!

     That is soooo sweet you got a gun for the broken bike! You won that trade right there. that´s the ksl magic! haha. love using that. God works in mysterious ways, and that´s why that man was there. Crazy. Some of these people I feel like I knew in heaven, seriously. They love me! And I love all of them! We teach and teach and teach, and 98 percent of the time the people love it! They are so open to everything.
The weather here is just like Utah, but yesterday I was in the biggest rain/thunderstorm of my life! It was literally raining golf balls, so my umbrella was virtually useless! One of the members saw us down the road and fed us some chicken and rice for dinner so that was good. It was actually the member we just baptized! They are so excited about the church, and to go to the temple next year to be sealed. 

     My testimony is growing so strong here. I can actually go through the Book of Mormon in Portuguese and know what´s going on now. Preach my Gospel is such a big help. Have Tay try and work on studying that. especially - chapter 3 about the lessons. Having my scriptures in English,  pre-marked with all of these would have been such a big help! I use different colors for each lesson. I´m sending money to the office in santa maria for a leather Book of Mormon in Portuguese. cuz all they gave us is a paper one and it´s already dying. I can use mission money for whatever, but we don´t have tons. so I´m slowly saving. I will try and write you a letter today! I am seriously so busy I never have time to write! Thanks for everything! And happy Fathers Day dad! You´re the best anyone could ask for. Thank you for supporting me in coming here. It´s the best experience. Thank you for your time money and efforts in getting me here as well. Oh, and feel free to play with my money in the investment market to make me some more :) haha
k I gotta go!
 Bye for now!
Elder Shepherd

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Manaus Temple Dedicated

We've asked Carson to answer some questions which he said he will do at the first of his emails: 

Did you watch the dedication of the Manaus Temple?
We watched the dedication yesterday. It was so cool! There is a temple in the jungle! I think that´s a joy for those ´people. A true blessing. It was messed up so it was all in English here.  haha. One of the veteran missionaries translated it at the pulpit for our Stake. I thought Elder Uchtdorf gave a phenomenal talk, in the final session, about the faith of the people.

When will you get transferred?
I get transferred in like 8 weeks haha. So I have a while here. with Eder Moroni.

How is the family doing that you said was going to get baptised this week?
The family is solid. We have family home evening with them tonight, and we taught them about the Temple before the dedication yesterday. They´re already making plans to go to Porto Alegre next year to go through [the Temple] together.

How are you feeling about the language,understanding vs. speaking?
The language is okay. I understand what´s going on 99 percent of the time, but when I say stuff I feel like I don´t know enough [words], so i´m probably 75 percent speaking. When it comes to lessons I know what to say, but when it comes to normal conversations I´m lost, so I just nod my head and look at Elder Moroni haha.

Hey Family!
     This week was pretty lame. No one was home or they didn´t want to hear us, so not a lot of lessons haha. We haven´t moved yet, the contract was having issues, but we´re moving tomorrow. Lake Powell sounds like it was a blast! Any bad sun burns? That's horrible you had another bad wind storm.  I´ve been staying as positive as I can, it´s gettin' tough cuz it´s absolutely freezing here right now! This past week got down to -4 celsius. So we called Sister Ribeiro [Mission Presidents wife] and she told me if I bought heaters she´d pay me back haha. You´ll get pictures of 'em. I love the weather though. The Brazilians literally freeze but I´m good. They hate the cold haha.
      I did back up [the pictures I sent you to] my thumb drive. Tell Hailey good luck in her recitals! She will do great! You should print out some pictures, and keep all of them on the computer.  Sorry to hear about Randy's boat. Sounds like it was a blast though. Sorry my emails will be short, sometimes,  cuz a lot of people have emailed me. We went and played bball at the church for like 3 hours this morning. Lots and lots of horse haha. It´s fun playing with the Brazilians, they make me teach them to dribble and shoot for like an hour and a half haha. We had a talent show this week to try and get the members pumped up! It was sooooo good, tons and tons and tons of people came. A lot tried to sing American music, lots of little girls haha. I played the piano, my comp did some comedy, Elder Ferreira did magic and Elder Nascimento did some break dancing. It´s all on video and pictures on the next SD card I send. haha.
      I can imagine what Tay packed in his bags for the bike ride. I hope he doesn´t freeze to death! I´m glad Austin was a big help, all my friends are leaving! It´s crazy! Has dad made a map yet? We also had an English class last week, on Saturday. Guess how many people came??? 4..... the Elders.... hahaha so I just taught them English. more advanced stuff cuz they all can have a simple conversation already. So the English class was good. we´re trying to do more social activities with the members to get them involved. You didn´t answer me about braces, so I´m getting them on on Friday. That´s when my companion has his next check-up.
      Okay I gotta go! Sorry, it´ll be bigger next week! Hopefully something more exciting happens during this week! I love you all!

Elder Shepherd

Monday, June 4, 2012

Answers to Fasting and Prayer

Hey Family!

I haven´t gotten any of your packages or letters yet cuz the next transfer is in 3 weeks. I´ll get everything then. You can attach the paragraph thing as a word document. I sent off the sd card last week so you should be getting it next week. 
We had our second baptism yesterday morning before church. Talk about a miracle. They´d come to church with their son, who is a member, and he baptized his dad yesterday. We worked with them and they made their decision last week and baptized them yesterday! So cool! Next week, instead of sacrament meeting, we´re watching the dedication of the Manaus Temple. That´ll be really cool I think.
We haven´t moved into our new apartment yet... hopefully we will this week! We don´t eat a lot of fruit here, mostly rice and beans and a lot of BBQ meat! So that´s good.  I eat cereal every day for breakfast (brazilian frosted flakes) and Top Ramen every night for dinner haha. The milk here is 100 percent pasturized, so it stores for like 6 months at room temperature, and it´s super cheap. Tastes fine haha. 
So I think I´m gonna get braces down here! Weird but I wanted your input first. They´re free to get on, and cost 90 Rais a month to keep updated. They´re so cheap cuz a ton of brazilian missionaries have them (including my companion) and there is a place in every city that the mission has corresponded with. So I have plenty of money to get them, and I really want to. I´m almost positive I will, but I want your input.
The power of prayer is incredible. We fasted and prayed for the family we baptized, and it was a miracle. Continue to read scriptures every night as a family. I don´t know why but on the lesson we challenged for baptism I was prompted to share a scripture in Malachi, talking about how the lord sometimes asks things of us that we don´t completely understand. They totally understood it, and felt the spirit so strong.  The picture attached is of the family yesterday. the son baptized the dad and Elder Moroni, my companion, baptized the mom. 
This week we´re starting from scratch. so that´ll be fun. The rich people don´t even want to listen to us here, and the less rich people always let us in. I´m trying to search for a family, cuz a family will be a lot more interested in learning about eternal families in lesson 2. We always start with the restoration the first lesson, and go into it as far as it looks like they´re into the lesson. A lot of the time we do the first 2 parts and they are half asleep haha.  Mr Tennis will be a good mission president; that´s cool he´s going to Fiji. 
I don´t print your emails so you´ll have to do that, but they´re all saved in my inbox. I don´t know my Bishops name haha - so I´ll get that this week and send it to you next. 
The names of the Elders in my apartment are:
Elder Nascimento from Sao Paulo
Elder Ferreira from Brasilia. , me and my companion.
My shoes are all holding up just fine, the docs are a lot better in the rain and cold. The suitcase is fine as well, just the little tear in the corner.
Yeah we´ll re-dedicate the city for the work this week.  There are some solid members who love the missionaries though. I have a journal I´m keeping with every detail of baptisms. We´re really trying to inspire the members to help us get refferals. A lesson with a friend member in attendence is sooooo much better. They may already know a little bit of why we´re there and the happiness they can feel inside the true gospel. Split up your emails into stories and questions. Then I will just copy all of your questions and paste them, then answer - way easier. Sorry not a lot of time today.   
I love you all!
Elder Shepherd