Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rosario do Sul - My New Area

A river beach in my new area - Rosario do Sul - Elder Florencio, Elder Mason, Elder Ferreira and Elder Shepherd

How is your new area?
      SWEET! Good BBQ.

What is it like in your new area?  Gauchos?  Small city or large city?
It´s got a lot lot lot more farm land. And yes, only Gauchos haha. City of roughly 40,000. So not a ton. And literally no large buildings. Our 3 story apartment is the biggest.

What is your new companion like?  Where is he from?
He is way way way cool! He was a semi-pro soccer player when he turned 13 til he turned 17. Then they were going to sign him to a contract and start paying him. He decided on the mission instead so he never signed on. He´s going to play Pro after. The team is called Santos. He´s from Sao Paulo in the capital area. He is definitely the definition of humble. We get along SO well.

How many missionaries are in your new city?
There are me and my companion in half the city, and another companionship in the other half. What I hate about it is that we live in their area, so we have to walk like 15 minutes just to get to the start of our area.

How are your allergies in the new area?
Haven´t had anything yet cuz it´s been pretty rainy. We´ll see when the winds start up again.

How was the day of moving to your new area?
So boring. I was just on busses all day, but got here all safe and sound.

What is your apartment like?
It´s HUGE! But it´s really old, and they´ve jacked up the rent so we are searching for a new one right now.

Tell us all about your new area, people there, etc.
So the city is called Rosario do Sul. It is really ``Gaucho`` here. So lots and lots of cowboys. The 20th of September is like the Gaucho holiday. So last week there were tons of parades around town and lots of parties. So we didn´t teach much. I took a ton of photos. Cruz Alta was the wealthiest city in the mission and Rosario? May be the poorest,  so it was a big difference. I´m in a branch. The city is divided into two branches and train tracks separate the two. Our branch has a really low frequency [attendance], so the missionaries will do about everything. There was a huge churrasco [BBQ] last week in our branch. I took some videos of all the people dancing and lots of pics. No money today so I´ll send my card next week I promise. We don´t have a branch president here, but the district president lives in our area so he just runs the sacrament meeting. He´s the only one with a car in our area, so that´s part of the problem with people not coming to church. We have just enough members for the missionaries to get lunch every day though :)

Did you get any packages when you had your transfer?
I got the package you sent my with more medicine and the study book for the Book of Mormon! Thanks for that book. I´ll be using that every single morning for a while.

How is the new ward?
Getting stronger. But we´ll get things going. We have a family ready for baptism already. Don´t ask me how we did it. I think they were just ready for us 2 [me and my new companion] to be together, that´s how the lord works.

How many members are there?
We have about 30 active members. Three complete families.

How many families are you teaching?
Just that one family. We cut all of the rest of their investigators because they didn´t have any desire to come to church and my companion said they´ve been taking lessons for 2 months or more. So we invited them last week and said if you don´t come to church this Sunday then we can´t be coming over any more. We´ll pass by again in a couple of weeks.

Did you teach 30 discussions this first week?
We taught about 28. It was rough! Lots of empty spaces for farm land, so a lot of walking. Good thing about this area though is that it´s in the frontier so we didn´t do mountain hiking like Cruz Alta haha. The roads are all cobblestone though.

Did you know there is a golf course south of town right before the dirt strip airport?
Here? or where? haha if you mean here then no, I didn´t know that.

Is it colder there? I read somewhere that it is one of the colder parts of Brasil.
It´s colder here yes. It is the coldest area of Brasil; not too bad though.

What is your companions full name, where is he from?
Micael Melo Ferreira. Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo mesmo.

Well hello!

     Wow this week was quite a change. We had Zone Conference yesterday too, which was so good. We learned the importance of using the Book of Mormon and how to use it more effectively. Bruce R Mckonkie said that when Christ comes the Book of Mormon will be known more around the world than the bible. How crazy is that? And it is our responsibility as missionaries to bring the fullness of the message it contains to people. My companion is a really good guy!  We´ve got a family ready for baptism right now. They will be getting married legally next week, then we´ll have their baptism in 2-3 weeks. It´s a family of 4. The Dad said he was baptized when he was 8, but there are no records here. So we´ll do some research, and if not, we´ll baptize him again. They loved church on Sunday and we taught them again last night.
     Did you know in 3rd Nephi it talks about Christ visiting another people in the Americas? And that there is a written account from them that hasn´t been revealed to the world yet? I´m so stoked for that to be revealed and to read it. The church has so many things we can discover through reading and studying. How Joseph Smith translated the book of Abraham and Moses and we have those books in the Pearl of Great Price. He also translated the prophesies of the Prophet Joseph of Egypt, but that hasn´t been revealed to the world yet either.

     So mom´s friend´s son, Elder Mason, he lives with me. The other missionary here, Elder Florencio, is training him. He learned a lot in the MTC so he will be a really good missionary. He went to Davis so he knows a lot of the guys that I know. He´s a sharp guy, really intelligent. Elder Florencio is from Joao Pessoa, so like on the equator in Brazil. This week went by really fast cuz we were working really hard and teaching a lot.

     I´ll try and attach a photo. They´ve got a HUGE river here with a beach. So we took some fun photos this morning. The city is so big I don´t know if I´ll have time to pass through all of it by the time I leave.  Like I said, not a lot of inhabitants, but there is a lot of farm area. I think more people here drive horses around than drive cars, pretty cool. I hope one day we´ll have a member that lets us use his horse.

     I sent a letter off to Hailey for her birthday this morning. We are going to start running every morning to the beach and back. I need to lose my fat. I feel so unhealthy which is weird cuz I´m eating really good.

     I feel my testimony grow every single day. Just seeing the people and how they change with the gospel in their homes is a testimony builder. Even if people don´t accept it I know they eventually will because of the difference in their home. The Book of Mormon truly is the keystone of our church. Make sure you are all reading it every day. We can find answers to literally anything through reading. Maybe mom can find comfort for her swollen lip in the Book of Mormon as well haha. Sounds like that [water skiing – 3 stitches to Melanie’s lip] crash was nasty! Oh the fun memories of Lake Powell. I´m looking forward to going there the summer I get home.

We are over 1/4 the way done right now and I feel like I left yesterday still! That is so crazy to me.  
I feel like I need more time!

I love all of you!

Elder Shepherd

Monday, September 17, 2012

Loved My First Area

 How was your week?
It was a really good week. We taught about 30 lessons and found some new families.

Are you staying there or getting transferred?
I´m being transferred to a city called Rosario do Sul. It´s about 6 hours from here, So I´ll be traveling all day tomorrow haha. I´ll tell you more about my new companion next week. 

Did you pay her or FedEx for getting the package?
Yeah it was like $50 bucks haha. So we´ll need to think of some new ideas for that. 

What did you think of the stuff in the package?  Did you share anything with your companion?
I LOVE the socks. That will help a ton. I´m good on Oreos for now. I REALLY WANT THOSE DVDs THAT I SENT LAST WEEK. And I want like more gummy stuff. Fruit snacks and Dots and stuff like that! Thanks!  And yes I shared with my companion. 

Hello Family!

     Like I said above, I´m being transferred tomorrow morning. So all day today I´ll be passing houses of people here and saying goodbye, haha.  I will probably end up crying at some of the homes.
     This week went by so darn fast. It was pouring rain almost all week so I loved that. I´m going to attach a photo of where we slept this past week. We had to go to a city that is really close to here to do a baptismal interview. The interview went really late and we missed our bus, and the missionaries [there] are sisters there so we couldn´t sleep at their place. We ended up sleeping the night on the benches in the chapel. That was really exciting. Talk about the most comfortable bed I´ve slept in Brazil haha. So the transfer will be interesting. I don´t know anything about my companion, but I know that this is where the Lord needs me at this time. Elder Sa will be a trainer of an American again. It´ll be sad leaving here cuz these people have helped me so much with learning the language and they´ve been so warm and welcoming. I have really learned a lot about how to have patience from these people. We´re going to pass by Chris Klein’s last tonight cuz we´re going to have a little food party and say our goodbyes.
     Tay sounds like he´s getting going on college classes in school. Dude focus a lot for those classes, cuz they will pay off once you go up to college. We need to go together to the U after my mission. I´ll be your swimming coach there! haha. We will definitely have to do that all-night softball tournament with our family when I get home. We´ll get Katie involved.

The Chapel Benches where Elder Sa and I slept last week.
     Hailey that is so good that your Arthritis is doing better! Make sure you are always praying to Heavenly Father and asking him for continued progress. If you have the faith for it, He will bless you to be rid of it altogether. I know that the power of prayer is so real. My companion and I have been praying specifically for things, and every time we ask to find a family or a person it seems like within an hour we always find what we asked for. If we have the faith and are keeping the commandments, God will always answer. So make sure you are continually obeying the commandments, then, when you ask for strength He will give it to you. 

     Nothing super exciting happened this week, so this email is rather boring. No investigators came to church, so there really isn´t anyone progressing to talk to you about. What dad said about the people [members] not obeying the commandments;: we have been really looking into that because I know that can be a major hold back. One thing we´ve been doing is really trying to get the Ward involved. It´s been working, but really slowly. I feel like when I leave and after some time this ward will get BOOMING! My companion and I have several dates marked for baptisms, so he will be baptizing them with his next companion. I know I didn´t have a lot of baptisms here, but I re-activated 5 families. So I feel like that was my calling here. I am trying to always be looking for what the Lord wants me to do. The more I try and tune in to the spirit, the more I can really feel him talking to me. I know He´s listening and He´s always there, It´s just people have to do their parts. When we humble down and really do our best to be on the Lord´s errand, He will be there for us. It´s like asking your boss for money without working. It doesn´t work like that. We need to do our parts and I have found that out. The days that I really try to lock and load during study time, I feel like I have so much more energy during the day. And I feel ready to respond to the questions that we encounter throughout the day.

     I´ll take a lot of pictures with people today and I´ll send a card home next week. I´ll make sure to describe everyone and everything in the pictures for you before I send it. Sorry this email is boring! It´ll be way more interesting next week and I´ll tell you all about my new companion and my new area. I love all of you! Talk to you next week! Happy Birthday Sunday mom! I sent you a letter this morning so I hope you get it soon!


Elder Shepherd

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dividing in Panambi

District Conference

Uhh Sword of Laban?

Elders of Cruz Alta

Back home in Utah - this past weekend - White Pine Lake with Taylor, Hailey and Melanie

Did you get your package from Chris K?  It is her birthday Monday - September 10th, so wish her a happy birthday and take her something nice.
I still haven´t gotten it. It´s supposed to come today is what she told me. She said it got caught up in Sao Paulo with customs. 

Are you there for at least 2 more weeks?  I was calculating at 24 weeks you could have a change.
Next Monday is transfer. So you´ll know where I´m going to be in my email next week. Every transfer is for 6 weeks, and we have one transfer of 5 weeks per year. 

What Bon Jovi song have you learned?
I honestly have no idea. One of the young men in the ward showed me how to play it and he wrote down the lyrics, so they are weird. And he just told me it was Bon Jovi, so maybe it´s not even him. haha

Do you have a washer & dryer, or do you have to hang your clothes to dry?
We have a washer, and we hang dry our clothes. They usually dry in a day or two with this hot weather so that´s good. 

How are you doing? Are your allergies doing better? Shoot me the name of any drugs you take so I can make sure I'm up to speed.
My allergies were up and down this week cuz we had days with wind and days without. I don´t have my medicine with me today so I don´t know the names. I´ll bring ‘em with me next week.

Hello Family!

     Crazy week here! I spent 4 days in a city called Panambi on a division. There is a new missionary there named Elder Probst and we traded companions so I was with him there all week almost. President called and asked me to go there and practice training, so who knows maybe I´ll be a trainer next week. I guess we´ll see. The city there is really weak with members. They´ve got about 10 active members out of 150 or so. The church house there is just a little house. The city is about the same size as Cruz Alta, and I honestly think the problem is that we need more missionaries there. In my email to President today I´m going to talk to him about it. The people there were really warm and welcoming, it´s just hard for 2 missionaries to do that large of a city alone. 
     Elder Probst was in the MTC with Elder Mason.(who mom told me about). He showed me pictures of the African missionaries who came with almost nothing. He said that he (Elder Probst) was the Zone Leader in the MTC and that they got the 2 missionaries all that they needed for their missions, plus an extra $$ per person for extra supplies, a really cool story. 
So I saw some NFL highlights in a house! How about that giant field goal by the Niners kicker huh? I´m jealous of that right there. It was like a 62 yarder. Other than that division, this week was pretty un-eventful. The city there was really cool. They have a Supermarket like Wal-mart there call Cotripal. I´m pretty sure Wal mart owns them. Dad you´ll have to look into that, but it was just a GIANT store. Like it makes all the stores here look like little houses. 
     The hike you guys went on looks way cool [White Pine Lake, Tony Grove area by Logan]! I´ll be used to hiking when get home. Panambi was seriously built on the side of a mountain. So that made the day awesome haha covered in sweat and all. And looks like school got off to a nice start. Yeah I remember it was always nice to have easier classes those last periods of the day. 
The lotoja sounds like it was crazy! But I´m glad Jack and Justin finished that´s way cool! It´s too bad that someone had to put stuff on the roads. Sounds like some high school kids´ ideas... I won´t comment further.      
     Finally the Aggies pulled out a win against Utah! Hopefully they have a great year. and hopefully BYU can get the win with Riley. I´m just pulling for one of those 3 teams haha I´m not declared yet. I´ll decide when I get home. Time this week really just felt like a blur. I feel like I´m living Groundhogs day to the fullest. Funny how I remember that show. 
     How´s the presidential race coming? Is either one of them pulling in front? I have heard from the members that it´s looking really even still. I´ll try to send another camera card off next week or the following. Hopefully I’ll have time if I get transferred. 
That´s funny that Tay thought that he was babysitting Cole and Tate.  haha I dunno if Nat would ever leave them in the back yard alone hahaha. [Tay babysat the dogs but he though Nat was leaving the kids in the back yard.] Our ward there sounds like it´s getting massive. Are we gonna be better for basketball when I get home? Hopefully! Hailey it sounds like your talk went really well! Good job! Keep it up! Talking in front of people is fun huh? Now it´s Tay´s turn for a talk in church. I´ll email Bishop haha. 
     So here is what I want in the next package. We can have movies about the church and president has cleared these. I want The Other Side of Heaven, The RM, and The Best 2 Years. Also I´d love a CD by the 4 ordained! President said we can watch these movies on p-day! So that´ll be fun! Thanks!

I hope this week goes by really well! I miss you all!
Elder Shepherd

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Advice: Study Preach My Gospel - Focus on Restoration

What miracle medicine did they give you at the hospital for your allergies?  Was it something that fixed it just that time or did they give you some to take regularly?  Was it a shot or pills or what?
No it´s just some cheap stuff that I can spray up my nose and it goes down my throat. it works well though and only costs 6 Reals. Then some cough syrup. So basically just the nose spray was what he gave me. 

Did you get the package from the Mission President; the big one or flat one, or both?
What stuff is your favorite in them?
Yes, I got the giant package and had already gotten the flat one. I love them! My favorite is Starbursts, Peanut Butter, and the Oreos. I´d love to get cheap ties too. My companion wants like 5 DI ties haha; he wants more. I REALLY like those little peanut butter packets that you sent, and they should be a lot easier to send in smaller packages. 

How's the 3 Brazilians you live with?  Do you eat together, or just you and Elder Sa?
It´s fun living with them, haha we never speak English unless I´m helping them practice. So it´s really good for me cuz I´m required to speak Portuguese all day long with 3 Brazilians. So we have lunch with members every day. Some days are split and Elder Sa and I eat one place and the others at another place. 90 percent of the time we all eat together though,  at the same member´s house. 
Lunch at the Bishops on Fathers Day
Carson, Elder Sa and their buddy!
Elder Sa - DL,  Carson, Elder Moroni- LZ

Zone Conference
Hi Family!

     Sounds like you met Sister Taylor. She´s way cool. Yeah it´ll be SWEET to send a package with her. So sent a giant one again with TIES (DI), PEANUT BUTTER, OREOS, and TONS of gummy stuff... Oh and I really want pens. like those Pilot pens that I brought with me. They don´t have them here and I really like them! haha Cheryl will love me now cuz I can play a Bon Jovi song on the guitar and sing it. Elder Costa taught me. I think I´m gonna get a guitar here, but not for a while. I´ll keep practicing with the lent one that we´ve already got. SEND YOUR EMAILS TO ME ON SUNDAYS! I´M IN THE LAN HOUSE EARLY TODAY AND ONLY HAVE THIS EMAIL FROM MOM AND NONE FROM DAD. I´m not always going to come here at the same time. Anyways, why is sister Taylor coming back? Just to visit? Already? That´s what I want to do! But we´ll see when it gets closer to coming.

     I´m not wearing cowboy boots yet, but I´ll definitely buy the gaucho clothing. It´s way cool! Yes the city I´m in is really big, there are 4 wards and like 14 missionaries. I´m gonna have to get back on here after lunch to finish this email. Today we´re going to go eat Xis for lunch. Pronounced shis. It´s like their version of a hamburger, so I´ll have to compare it to my restaurant. (Mcdonalds). 

     Just got back on and read dad´s email. haha we played basketball one day before a zone conference behind the church here. They asked me if I played and I said if you count playing on the girl´s team at Utah State? Then they all just laughed.  But anyways, it sounds like Kyle is getting ready to go! That sounds so cool! Tell him to just go all out into Preach My Gospel! He needs to get the lessons down with scripture references, that´d help him the most; and really focus on the Restoration. 

     Sorry I have no idea about the questions you asked about the pictures. My pen drive isn´t with me today, it´s somewhere in the house So I can´t look at the pics, but no we didn´t get a dog here, don´t worry. And it wouldn´t be hard to get a dog here since they´re just running the streets everywhere. Sounds like everyone is getting REALLY excited for school haha. That´ll be fun. I haven´t gotten a call about the package yet, so we´ll have to see if it´s here today.

     This week went by well, but it is blazing hot again. We taught 31 lessons this week, so that was the highlight of the week. We also had 4 investigators in Sacrament meeting. I have a feeling that I´m going to be transferred on the 17th, but we´ll see. I would love to go, but I´m going to miss this ward a lot. I´ve really grown up here, and it will always be a special place to me. If you guys come pick me up after [the mission] we definitely need to pass back through this ward. Almost everyone has invited us to come eat with them haha. I did over 100 street contacts this week, and let me tell you about a workout there. Doing contacts in the blazing hot weather isn´t super fun.  I´ve gotten in a better habit of using sun screen. My allergies were a little bit better this week because there wasn´t a lot of wind, just tons of hottness.
     I attached some photos. The first is with Moroni and Sa, second is on father´s day here at our Bishop´s house, and the third is with a handicapped young man in the ward. He is my best buddy here. He was born 3 months pre-mature. He´s way cool! And he loves music so he always sings for us. 

I hope all is well! Have a great first week of school! 5 months away tomorrow and it seems like I left yesterday. Time flies when you´re working hard!

I love you all!

Elder Shepherd