Monday, July 30, 2012

Message at Church was Perfect

I had an inquiry from someone reading the blog regarding their daughter being  called to your mission. So tell us what you can about the sisters in your mission, what cities are they in and how many are there in your entire mission?
They randomly move around just like the Elders. So the cities change. There are like 20, I think, maximum.

Number of Brazilian Sisters vs. Americans

Total Baptisms per month for your mission?
Usually like 40 or less.

Anything else you find interesting about the Sisters working in the Santa Maria Mission?
Not Really. Haha. I don’t know too much more about them. Same rules and everything.

How is your family you found last week?  Are they still up for baptism on the 11th?
Yes! All is well with them! They came to church yesterday and it was awesome.

Will it snow in your area?  
No. a lot of people remember the only time it has snowed here. Like 1978 or something. Lots of snow that day - randomly.

How was your week?
Really good. and super fast.

Do you have fruit like you did in Sao Paulo?
It´s the cold season so we don´t eat a lot of fruit. but the fruit we do eat is great.
 Do you go to grocery stores or do they have open market kind of shopping?
We go to a store called Nacional. It´s owned by Wal-mart.of course .haha

Do you hear anything about the Olympics there?
Yes everyone is always watching them. So I feel like i´m pretty updated.

Who are you teaching?
We have a couple good families right now, and a young couple. We try to not focus on children alone, without their families. 

Who is close to baptism?
The family mentioned above. August 11th

Have you seen how the gospel is blessing lives of those who have not had it? 
Yes we have that incredible family. They said that they almost got a divorce and were fighting a lot. The day we knocked on their door they said that they´ve felt more peace than ever in their lives. We´ve also reactivated a huge family who were all baptized about 30 years ago; the mom and her 3 daughters were baptized. They´re all married and moved on now, but we caught them all at the mom´s home together for a dinner and taught them the importance of our baptismal covenants. They are all very excited and they´re all married now. Awesome family

Are you looking forward to a transfer?  : )
Oh yes. I´ll be getting myself some packages and letters.. Transfer is next Monday. I´ll be sending you and SD card with one of the Sisters that´s coming home. She lives in Washington. I´ll give her dad´s cell number.  haha Maybe she´ll mail it to you from there.

Hey family!

This week went by so fast. I really feel like there isn´t enough time in the day somedays. I got a weird flu sickness Tuesday that has been killing me haha; the other three got it first then passed it along to me. Lucky me! Mom´s (high school) reunion sounds crazy. It´ll be weird when I have them, that´s for sure. With all the girls who´ve already gotten pregnant in my class, and all the missionaries going out, there will be some good stories for sure haha. 
The family that we´re going to baptize is awesome. The message in church was perfect too. It was all about families, baptism, and eternity this week. So they came on the perfect week. We have noite familiar [family Night]with them tonight. So I´m looking forward to that. She made lasagna last week, so i hope she does something good again haha.

No one else is really progressing. No one wants to come to church; it´s hard for them cuz they live so far from the chapel and have little kids with no car. Out of all of our members, only like 5 families have cars. So we can't really offer rides to anyone as well. but we have been praying for them and I have a feeling that they will come next week .A  really good feeling. 
Everyone here is all about the Olympics. so that´s sweet cuz we usually end up watching them in investigators homes for a while 'til they´ll focus and let us have a lesson. Looks like USA basketball will walk to the gold. Watched Brazil soccer destroy someone yesterday. that´s like all anyone cares about here... Brazil and soccer. haha. 

I have a feeling I´ll be with Elder Sa for one more transfer, so I´ll let you know next week! Sounds like the backpacking trip was a lot of fun. I´m jealous. And Taylor sure loves that hammock huh? haha have a great week!
I love you all!

Elder Shepherd

Monday, July 23, 2012

Amazing Family

How was the week?
Really good! We met an amazing family with an amazing story. I´ll write below

Anything new and exciting?
Eh, not much. I love studying in doctrine and covenants

What's the weather like there now?  
Right now it´s super hot. The weather is bipolar here

Have you gotten anymore of the packages I've sent?
Nope, I will get them in 2 weeks.!

Hey Family!

     This week went by so fast, I swear I don´t have enough time in the day sometimes. So we met this absolutely incredible family. They lived in the state of Santa Catarina about 4 years ago and met the missionaries there. The missionaries taught them and got the couple married. Then he got emergency moved for work to another city that didn´t have our church, so they just kinda fell off the path for a while. Well they moved here about 4 months ago and we knocked there door the other day. They let us right in, gave us a glass of coke (which i gladly accepted) and some weird cake stuff. Anyways, they said that they had been wondering if there was a church here in this city, because they noticed a significant change in there family when they stopped talking to the missionaries and moved. 
They have a 9 year old son who reminds me of Cole, just a little smart guy. So we taught them 3 lessons this week and committed them to baptism on the 11th of august. They are a way sweet family!
     We finally had an investigator come to church, his name is Jackson. He´s about to turn 19 and the thing he liked most about us was the fact that we´re about his age and we´re out preaching. He said he´d love to have this opportunity. So he will be a great baptism, and I won´t be surprised if he ends up serving a mission eventually. 
     Have I mentioned that we eat a lot of rice and beans here? Well we do. haha. I´m excited to get your care package. It sounds like Hailey had a blast up in Idaho! Congrats Hailey! Keep working hard so you can impress the coaches for Viewmont! Tay sounds like he´s tearin' it up with swimming, but just remember that I´m always the older brother. so no matter how huge you get I still have authority haha. The stake softball tournament sounds like it ended wacky. We always have that kind of luck though. Do you think that our ward will split cuz of all those new apartments? I´d assume so. 
      Cole is a little brain! haha He knew the story of Helaman and the Stripling Warriors and I didn´t even know that story 'til high school. He will be a great missionary. 
You guys should have a great time hiking in the Uintahs! I´m jealous, but not really, cuz I feel like the dang streets here are like hiking the Uintahs anyways! haha. Should be fun though, as long as Tay´s friend isn´t a wimp. 
     Church moving to 2:30 here hasn´t really helped much. People here are accustomed to taking naps after lunch on Sundays, so we had about the same turnout as usual. We are really focusing on teaching the importance of church, and that revelation is often received at church. So hopefully these next few weeks we get a better turnout. I have 2 weeks from tomorrow left in this transfer, but I have a feeling I´m gonna be with Elder Sa again. He is way cool. I´ll definitely remember him as one of my favorite companions, I can already tell. He was a electrician for cars before his mission. so the other day he fixed the dashboard lights in some lady´s car. I sat in the passenger seat and looked as busy as I could. I just said to him not to touch the red and blue wires together, cuz that´s what they say in the movies. 
     Tell me how batman was!!!!!!!!!!! Send me a copy of the synopsis! haha I´ll try and resist not driving to the cinema 2 hours away to watch it in the meantime. 
I hope you´re all doing well and have a fantastic week! I love you!

Elder Shepherd

Monday, July 16, 2012

Baptizing Sister Melissa

Elder Shepherd and Elder Sa: Readying to Baptize Sister Melissa

Teaching from the Bible

How was the last week Carson?  
Great! we´ve been working really hard and have a lot of new families.
Any new investigators to church with you? 
Only one, and it´s cuz she´s the grandma of our baptism Saturday.
Are you and Elder Sa still teaching 20 lessons a week?
Yes, usually 18-21
Are you still eating at the ward Mom's house (Sister Chris)?   
Yeah we stop by like once a week.
How many are coming to church on a weekly basis?

Roughly 80;so like 20% of the ``members``.
Have you broke off and ever starting kicking the soccer ball with the kids in the streets?  
Umm yes! haha. sometimes I can´t resist.
What's the weather like now?
Freezing. But I love it.
Are your shoes, clothes and stuff holding up?
Yep. it´s all good.
Have you been pretty healthy?
Nope. haha I´m gaining a lot of weight I think. So i´ll start eating better.

Sounds like everyone is doing well! no bad sunburns or injuries haha. It´s all great down here in the southern end of the world. It´s freezing right now, cuz the homes here aren´t insulated. I love it though. My companion is not used to the cold, so he´s having a little bit more of a difficult time. This week went really well. we had a baptism yesterday, little girl named Melissa. but the next step is to baptize her whole family. I think we will. my companion and I are like the 2 tallest people here in Cruz Alta haha. I´m really excited because next week church is going to now begin at 2:30PM  instead of 9AM. I think that will make it a lot easier for our investigators to attend. It´s just so dang cold in the mornings here, so hard for them to get up and get their whole family going. That´s definitely our struggle right now. so many good investigators and so many lessons: but no one wants to come to church. So we´ll keep working on that this week. I really like to use the Bible when we teach because everyone here has somewhat of a testimony of the Bible. So I'm learning how to navigate through that really well.
So do we have 2 giant tv´s upstairs now? sweet gaming room now huh Tay? haha i´m glad Austin [Phelps] and Bryan [Nance] got off well. Let´s hope they have a great time in the MTC. 
So right now I´m studying in D&C. I found an interesting scripture that will be really good to demonstrate for young men getting ready to serve missions. D&C 11:21. Read through it. Very true. 
Sounds like Nat and Jack are doing well.  Sweet that they got a piano! That should be great! Cole will be a piano master! Tay sounds like he´s tearing it up in swimming! I´m way stoked for him! Sorry my emails have been short. Not a lot of stories! I write all my thoughts down though, so you´ll be able to read them when I get home haha! Keep working your butt off in softball Hailey! Sounds like you´re doing great! I love all of you!

Elder Shepherd

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Steady Doing the Work!

A few questions and Carson's Answers:

How's the new companion?  Do you still have the same other two living with you & your Companion?
He is way good! and yes, we have 2 more living with us. Their names are Elders Nascimento and Santana.
Santana is from Manaus so he was super pumped about the Temple.

Did Chris (the Facebook friend mom) tell you I sent her a message?  She said her family adores you and that you cook when you are over there.  Do you cook there?  What do you cook?
Yep! I cook different stuff! Pizza, hamburgers all sorts of stuff, haha.
Are you still eating Frosted Flakes and Top Ramen?  
Yep, my favorite!

I loved the story about the blind man & deaf woman you are teaching.  Amazing story.  How is their teaching coming along?
They´re coming along. They´re super catholic, so it´s difficult.

Hey Family!
     This week was really good! Today will be short, sorry. Lot´s of stuff to do before 6PM. 

      So yes, our focus right now is on activating people! It´s so hard! So we have a lot of great families that we´re teaching right now, but no one is grasping the concept of COMING TO CHURCH! We´re really trying to press the importance of that in the first lesson now cuz they just don´t get it! It´s also hard cuz it´s freezing here right now and no one has a car. So it´s a long ways to go at 9 in the morning. But we´ll get it. Try and include my families here in your prayers! Sounds like Phelps farewell went well! That´s good! I wrote Cole and Tate and Grandma letters today! So they´ll get them hopefully before Cole´s baptism. Thanks for sending the care package...I should be getting it in like 4 weeks, haha. 
     Time is flying here, it really is. I feel like I just emailed you yesterday. The trick is just to get engaged in the work. Church is really fun here, cuz half the time it´s us 4 missionaries doing everything except for conducting sacrament meeting haha. 

     This is the deal.... the prophet said that every young man should PREPARE to serve a mission, but it´s also true that a mission isn´t for everyone. That´s my take on it. but a mission is definitely for me! I think we have a baptism next Saturday, little girl who´s mom asked us to do it. She´s only 9, and comes to church every week with her mom. So not a difficult convert. 
No interesting stories from this past week, just a lot of hard work! I love it here, the people are great. We play a lot of HORSE on p days and some random soccer games to avoid physical contact. 
     Crazy how Nance and Phelps are going off on their adventures in 2 days!!! They will do great. Mission life is just great, it´s definitely going to be the best, hardest, most fun and difficult time of my life! It truly is hard work. And without a work ethic missionaries struggle. It´s all about the work. I love it! The more I just speak the language and work, the faster the time goes by. Tay has a great work ethic with swim and all, so he will be great! Hailey´s softball sounds like it went well, for the one game that didn´t get rained out. And Tay´s email about sports was well needed. I miss my sports haha! Well, sorry this email is short, I hope there is more exciting stuff this week!
I love you!
Elder Shepherd

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Everybody at the Hospital wants a Blessing!

Hows your new companion Elder Sa?
He is awesome! He's from Sao Paulo and was a convert at 16. Way cool. more details next week on him.
What families are you teaching and where are they at in their baptismal preparation?
We have several new families right now! The biggest thing for them that is hard to grasp is the fact that God allows more than just the correct religion to exist on the earth. We are conquering this question usually without fail. some people go into a lot more detail than others. 
CARE PACKAGE REQUESTS:::  Okay, I want STICK deodorant. they don´t have it here and I´m on my last one. so send those please. and Oreos. that´s all (oh and the stuff from last week).

Any suggestions for leaders to help missionaries prepare before entering the field?  
I think that a really good idea would be to ask a lot harder questions with a lot more detail involved. I don´t think a lot of the missionaries are completely grasping the concepts in the questions. and without a work ethic, it is really hard out here in the mission field. I am so grateful I know how to work. There are days where all I wanna do is come home for the first 3-4 hours, then I lock n load and it all gets better for the day. I love it here. The people are so welcoming. It´s really hot right now. so hopefully their winter starts at some point soon. 

To answer mom´s question, yes, the first three months have gone by SO fast. I really feel like I left you guys yesterday. Girls camp sounds like it was fun, and exhausting! Love the stories. Hailey way to go in softball! Keep it up! Sounds like your team did really well!

Hey Family,
The power of the priesthood is real! Here is a funny story about it:
     So we were eating lunch in the house of Joel e Marlene. They are both members (60 years old or so) but she doesn´t normally attend [meetings]. anyways, we gave there 25 year old son a blessing cuz he was having body pains all over. the next day it turns out that he was completely fine! So Marlene decides to go to the Cruz Alta hospital and advertize the power of missionaries! haha She went around telling everyone in the hospital that there were these missionaries with healing powers in her neighborhood! So we received like 1,000,000 phone calls, and had to go to the hospital to explain that we couldn´t do this. And we had to tell her that we couldn´t perform blessings like this. It was pretty funny after the fact. 

     This week was really good. My new companion is from Sao Paulo. Elder Sa. He and his brothers are members, but his parents are not. They received the missionaries like 6 years ago (my comp is 22) and were converted. His full name is Ermilson Alves Oliveira de Sa. Way cool! He is the new Lider de Districto[District Leader] in my district. He has 7 months done of his mission. We teach way well together. Only problem is that he and I are both not good at knowing where certain scriptures are! So that is going to be our focus these next couple of weeks. I am understanding Portuguese fluently now, and almost there in speaking. Elder Sa knows like 5 phrases in English, so that is helping me a ton to do better cuz Elder Moroni loved to speak English. 

     Is Cole stoked for baptism? That´s way exciting! Tell him that I wish that I could be there! I miss those 2 little guys so much! I am terrible at writing letters, so I need to send them another one. 
     One thing I'm bad at is picking up names when we do street contacts! I don´t know if they´re saying their name or if they are just talking - haha. So i need to practice that. They have some really strange names here. We are teaching  a blind man right now, his name is Mister Harvey. it´s actually one of the most spiritual lessons we have - when we teach him. the spirit works extra hard with us and with him. Wanna know what´s even more crazy? His wife is deaf! I have no idea how they found one another, but the lord lead us right to them. My companion and I were seriously just lead to this home. I love teaching them. We say things and then he signs them to her. So great! Katie will love hearing that! 
     Just tell Austin to engage in the MTC. It´s going to be hard, but if he engages it will be much much easier. SPEAK YOUR LANGUAGE. That is definitely the best advice I received and that I can give. Great advice. 

Well, I love you all! I´m so happy to hear all of the stories and that everyone (including Sammie) is alive and doing well!

Elder Shepherd