Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Members Helping with Missionary Work

How do the people dress there?
Normal like there. Some wear cowboy clothing, just like you see it in the movies.

Do you have some lady's who are like your moms in Rosario?
for sure. there are a couple, but not like i had in the last area.

How did this week go?
Very well. My investigators are coming along very nicely. 

Do people decorate for Christmas?
Kinda, but it´s really weird seeing everyone with Christmas lights and Christmas trees because it is so hot here. They all have snowy decorations, yet no one has ever seen snow before. So just a little different. 

Has Elder Mason been able to work or has he still been layed up?
Yeah he went out and worked this week. He´s looking fine now. 

Are you able to get out and do some exercise and work out a bit?
Eh, if you count resting my body and my eyes and doing exercise in my dreams as exercising then yes! haha

Do you wash/iron your own clothing or do you have someone that does that for you? 
Yes we do all of that on our own. It´s really not a hassle though. 

You had an old beater washer/dryer in your last apt.. did you just take those with you?
Yes we have an older washer. Then we just hang the stuff out to dry. It´s so hot though that usually it dries in an hour or so. 

Hello Family!

Joao  Marcelo and Jessica behind Carson kneeling, and Party after their baptism

Joao Marcelo, Jessica with their mother Mariza,  Elder Avelar left and Elder Shepherd
This week went by really fast, but we had quite a bit of success. We had our baptisms for Joao Marcelo and Jessica on Saturday! It was so great. I attached a photo of them and then the party we had in the chapel afterwards. Sorry for not emailing yesterday, all of our emails were shut down til about 7:30, but I had a family night set up, so I couldn´t come back to email. There were SO many people at the baptism. We spent a lot of the week inviting people and getting the branch excited about the missionary work. We had about the same amount of people there as we normally have at church on Sundays, so it was a large success. These two will be awesome in the church. They both have already said that they want to serve missions. The mom in the picture is Mariza, she is Joao Marcelo´s mom. Jessica lives with them as well, but she is Mariza´s niece. Sorry the photo was taken on my companion´s camera, so the quality isn´t super good. My camera died and I forgot to recharge it the night before, so I just had to pass all of the photos over to my card. We are really seeing a lot of progress here in the branch. My first Sunday the attendance was 42, then this Sunday we are all the way up to almost 70. So people are really getting excited about missionary work.

There was only 1 baptism in my branch all of 2011, and has only been 4 this year until now. We baptized those two on Saturday, and this Saturday we have two more that will be baptized and then next Saturday we have 1 that´s ready to go. So we are seeing a lot of success right now, relying heavily on Heavenly Father. We are doing our part, and His promise is that He´ll do His. This next Saturday we have the baptisms for Rogerio and Junema. She is Rogerio´s mother-in-law. Rogerio will be legally married this Friday, then baptized on Saturday. His wife, Loriane, was baptized some 5 months ago when they were separated. It´s amazing what the gospel has brought into their lives. They got back together because of it, and now they are getting married. We have another couple, Vanderlei and Mari, that will be married legally on the 21st of December, and baptized on the 22nd. So right now everything seems really far apart, but that´s how it goes when no one wants to get married in this blasted city. It cost 22 bucks to get married here, but costs almost a thousand to get a divorce. So everyone gets scared because of that. Right now we are really focusing on incomplete families. So we´ve really been helping them out. That was President´s counsel to me last week when he came and gave us our monthly interviews. I´ve been trying to focus on the heads of the families, because if they come, the whole family comes. It has been working really well. 

Sounds like Thanksgiving went well. Tell grandma Frome thank you! and tell grandma and grandpa Shepherd thank you!  If people want to do presents, just have them give you money and put it into my account. It´ll be much easier and won´t have to worry about shipping anything expensive. Tthen i can just get things here that I need!  I never buy things right off of my card, I go to a bank and just pull it.
We have been passing a lot of members and inviting them to do visits with us. So that is really helping our investigators make friends in the church as well. I hate how fast time goes by during the days sometimes. I feel like I have so much to do in so little time. Last night we had a way fun family night. It was with Jurema and all of her kids. So there was like 20 people there total. When we got there it all seemed tense, so we started the night as quick as possible. No one really sang the hymns with us, so I decided I’d change up the message I was going to give. I gave a message about the four principles of happiness: Faith, hope, charity, and love.

Boy did that change the mood. I asked everyone what they were most grateful for; they all responded that it was their family. Then I explained how each principle leads to the next one, and that we can´t have love for our family members without the other 3. It got everyone thinking. Then I ended the message on that note. We did some jokes and got everyone laughing after that. We played some ``magic`` tricks to get all of the kids laughing. I love little kids. so much.

I think that they think I´m an alien or something; I´m like a giant white creature to them. ha-ha. I ran around and played tag with like 10 little kids as my companion talked with the adults. Then we ate some treats and left. I made two giant chocolate cakes (on orders from Jurema.  ha-ha). It was a really fun night. I’m excited for their special days on Friday and Saturday! I´ll send pictures of the wedding and baptism next week. This week should be really good as well. We´ve got several key appointments set up, and they will all be baptismal committing lessons. The worst thing someone can say is `no, not right now``. Thank you for all of your love and support!  I love it. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and blew lots of money on Black Friday!!! Talk to you next week. The church is true.


Elder Shepherd

Monday, November 19, 2012

Yes I'm Fluent I Understand it All

How is Elder Mason doing with his burns?  He did tell his parents that he is doing better. We had to take turns taking care of him all week at home while 2 others went out and worked. I think his foot will be good to go this week sometime. 

Your new area - do you feel safe during the day or just at night?
Other way around; during the day is the only time we feel safe. Night time is crazy here. There isn´t really a police force in this city. So it´s basically the idea of anything goes. 

Have you gotten anymore letters or packages?
I get letters at random. No new packages. Today I got the October soccer letter. I always get those. 

What is the temperature there now?
Hot Hot Hot. When it rains it just feels hotter because it gets so humid. You sweat sleeping, walking, in the shower, just non-stop sweating. 

Do you do anything for Thanksgiving there (probably not because it is a holiday here)?
We work, because thanksgiving doesn´t exist here. Well, not on the same day at least. 

Are you understanding everything everyone says now in Portuguese?
Yes I´m fluent. I understand all of it. 

Hello family!

Today will be short because not a lot of things happened this week. I spent a lot of time working in both areas and my companion would stay with Elder Mason at home.  He´s getting better though, I think he´ll start working again sometime this week. He tried to work one day last week and his foot got way worse. All of the skin started to come off. My companion is coming along much better. He is becoming more and more comfortable with the lessons. We have 2 baptisms this Saturday already!!! I´m really excited for those. They both had dreams as their answers. That right there is an undeniable testimony from the Holy Ghost. I just have taught my companion that he needs to think less and less about what he´s going to say next. Just listen to what I´m saying, then the Holy Spirit will guide him
to testify of what I´ve said and then to continue with the lesson in a manner that it is adapted to the investigator´s mind. 

We had 7 investigators in church yesterday. I was very grateful for that. I have fasted and prayed many times for these people. The only thing that is faulting with many of them is that they aren´t legally married yet. This past week we started the marriage papers for two couples, and this week we will be starting one more set. So in the month of December we should have quite a few people coming unto Christ. I had to give a 30 minute talk in church yesterday. It went a lot better than I planned on. I gave the restoration lesson, but before hand I asked everyone to think about their feelings they had on the first time that they received that message.

Afterwards, I asked a question if people were feeling the spirit. I knew they all were after the first vision. Then I asked them if it was fair that only they knew about that message, if God only loves us in the church and no one outside of it? I told them that all of us are missionaries in one way or another. And that we have an obligation to invite our friends and neighbors to come unto the same happiness that we have. It isn´t fair that only we have it. A lot of people were crying during the message. It had a spirit really strong. This Saturday we will be baptizing Jessica and Marcelo. They are both part of an incomplete family. Very active in the church already and very excited to be baptized.
The couples we are teaching that will be married are Rogerio and Loriane, Vanderlei and Mari, and Maria and Adao. I´m very excited for all of them. They have all committed to baptism. We cannot mark a specific date yet though, because the marriage papers never go through in a consistent timing. So right now it´s just a waiting game. I´ve been teaching an English class the last few Saturdays and we are getting a really good turn out with investigators. It´s just really hard because they´re all at different stages of learning. We´ve been able to teach the people the messages at their homes because of them coming to our classes, so I look forward to having more and more investigators there each week. We also usually have a good turnout in members as well. I think I have a large purpose in this area to re-activate people. 

Good work in swimming Tay! You gotta keep working hard. It´ll pay off I promise.. Remember how in 7th and 8th grade I didn´t make the basketball team? Then that summer I was in the gym all day every day and finally made it in 9th grade? The work pays off buddy! Keep workin’ your tail off and you will for sure see the results that you want! And Hailey keep doing good in school and with softball and dance. Remember, in whatever you do your goal should be to be the best!

It sounds like Thanksgiving will be a little more calm at home this time around. That should be easier for preparations. Tell everyone I said hello!

Thank you for all of the prayers and support. I feel them most on the days that I am exhausted, I always get a second wind. I know that is because of the prayers I am receiving from home. I love all of you! Have an awesome week!


Elder Shepherd

Monday, November 12, 2012

Working Hard in Rosario

Jose and Ionara, and of course - Me

Parade of Gauchos  (Cowboys)

Eliane and her whole family! I love them!

Pedro, Vanisa and their family

Dad and I have been wondering about letters.  Have you been getting our letters?  
Yes - but I randomly get them. I got the package that you sent here today. It took 31 days. So a lot longer for things to get to here than to the other areas

How is your new area?
Very good. The branch is really weak though. We´ve been talking about things with the mission President. I like it a lot because there aren´t a lot of hills.

How is you companion doing?
He´s doing well.  

Obama is going to be president for another 4 years.  Did you hear this?  If so, what do you and the people of Brazil think of this?
Yeah we heard about it the next morning. For me it´s fine because no one even knows what´s going on down here.   

How are your clothes & shoes holding up?
Everything is really good. I´ve repaired some seams in the pants at times and the backs of some ties. Everything else is just dandy. 

Where should we send your Christmas package (in the next couple of weeks)?
Here to Rosario. Remember the address:
Elder Carson Shepherd
Caixa Postal 40, Centro
Rosario do Sul - RS

What have you been eating there in Rosario?
Just lots of fried things and sandwiches and crackers at home on our low budget. With the members the meals are just typical. We eat usually a plate of beans and rice and a couple pieces of thin beef; nothing to special, but it´s way better than nothing. 

How is your new companion coming along.. are you getting along? : )  And that new area, are you finding it dangerous or just have to watch what you are doing?
Good, and yes we get along just great. We won´t have any problems, just a lot of encouraging him right now. The new area is for sure a lot more dangerous than what I´ve been in my life. Before opening the door people make sure we aren´t police. We are always careful though, and I have now memorized what neighborhoods to not go into at night.

Are you enjoying the package that mom and I sent out with Sister Taylor?
It is awesome.

Have you received letters there in Rosario do Sul?
Yes I have just received a couple from you guys. I think that maybe the letters are getting held up somehow because I for sure haven´t gotten all of the letters you´ve sent me either. 

How are your lessons/ Preach my Gospel coming?   Are you getting them down?
I have all of them memorized with all of the scriptures as well. It´s not too bad, just had to get the language down first. 

This transfer has been crazy so far.  

This week we did a lot of running around. I was still trying to meet a lot of the members and the inactives so that I can see the needs of the branch and who needs visits and what not. We will be having a baptism for a young woman in the branch in these next few weeks. Her parents didn´t want to sign the papers and wanted her to wait ‘til she turned 18, but I gave a message about procrastination and they said they will sign it now. She is at church every week, so I´m positive she´ll make an instant contribution to the branch.   

We practice teaching for 2 hours every morning, but it is very different teaching me than teaching an investigator. I made a rule for him last night that from now on he has to teach the restoration every day when we give the message after lunch. Then he will practice with other people. I told him that all I´m going to do is bare testimony and help him when he´s lost. I told him that people will understand if he messes up, and that they will help him as well. This city has terrific people that are always willing to help us out. They are warm and always understanding. The only pain here is that we don´t have bikes. So sometimes we literally have to run from one appointment to another. 
We taught about 31 lessons this past week, and worked very hard. I was also doing part time divisions during the days with Elder Mason´s companion. I´d guess that I taught almost 50 lessons this past week. We will see some success and some baptisms coming out of my area here in these next couple of week, I´m confidant of that.  Sorry today is short. We just did a lot of sweating and teaching this week. We had 3 investigators at church, but next week there will for sure be more. Our branch has an attendance of about 40 people. So not super weak, but there really isn´t a lot of priesthood.  

I love you all!

Elder Shepherd