Sunday, December 22, 2013

This was just a killer week and I´m dead tired today

Zone Conferfence in Sao Gabriel

 How was your week?
This was just a killer week and I´m dead tired today. My email is going to be lame and super short cuz I need to go sleep. 

Is your ward growing?
Yes it is, and the members are really locking in and helping us. 

Are you close to your numbers to form the stake?
YES!! I think it´ll end up being formed and announced at the end of March, but by the end of this month we should be really close. I´m excited to see what happens. 

How is your new companion?  Where is he from?  What is he like?  How long has he been out?
He´s really good. He´s a really quiet guy. I like him. He´s from Piracicaba, Sao Paulo. His name is Julio Costa da Silva. He´s been out for exactly one year. A great guy. President just called him the other day and told him he was coming here. He´s really good though, and extremely open to learn. 

Are your baptisms getting any closer?
Yes! Finally! We have a date marked for this Saturday. Leticia finally accepted and we´re going to baptize her. I think Elder Costa da Silva was the answer.

Hey family! 
I´m sorry but this email is going to be short. I´m worn out this week from stress and just running around. We had zone meeting this week and it was good stuff. We were in Santa Maria on Monday and Tuesday for leadership training, then we had our zone meeting on Friday. I gave a training to my zone about the member missionary work in our area and the goals we´ve established. This is a sweet little picture of our zone at the meeting I love you all. Have a great week! Give grandma a huge hug for me and tell her that there will be a letter in the mail.


Elder Shepherd

Monday, December 9, 2013

We just need to go to their homes, hug them, and call em back home!!!

How was your week?
It was really good. We worked really hard and have people to baptize soon!

Are you getting transferred?
Nope. I´m going to stay here in Sao Gabriel til the end. My companion is being transfered to Sao Borja tomorrow, cuz that is President´s other project to make the Stake. My new comp will be Elder Costa da Silva. I don´t know much about him.  President wants me to be here for the formation of the Stake. I´m excited. 

Did you get any of your Christmas packages yet?
Nope. We´re going to Santa Maria tonight for leadership training, so hopefully there is something there :)

Did you do any traveling this week?
Yeah I went to Santa Maria for 2 days. It was good. I divided with Elder Allen, from my group. He´s also just worn out. 

Hello family!
Well we worked really hard this week. We saw a group of young men boxing in the park during the week with a teacher helping them. We went and talked to the teacher and offered the chapel as the place where they could hold their practices. There is a group of almost 30 young men that are at the church each day practicing. It´s way cool! The teacher lives here in an apartment in the center of the city.Two young men from soccer came to church with us yesterday. We have their baptismal dates marked for the 21st, which is the first day of summer here. Their names are Marcelo and Artur. They both play basketball, and played on the state champion team here in Rio Grande do Sul. They´re 17 years old. I told em I´ll have to play with em on a Saturday morning on of these days.    We´ll have to fix the rims at the chapel.  

I dunno much about my new comp so I´ll have to tell you bout him next week. I heard he´s a quiet and has about a year on the mission. More details to come for sure. President is finally putting sisters in Rosario, so I am super excited for that one! He´s putting a great sister in the mission there, Sister Cidrao. She´s way good and baptizes a lot so we´ll get things going there. Elder Sol is the District Leader there, and he´s already worked with me so he´s already doing great work there. 

Elder Dias and I went to Rosario on Saturday to do divisions with the District Presidency. Then we went to all of their homes and called them back to church. A good part of them came to church yesterday and are already receiving designations and calling.  We have about 13 active men, but we hope to have 20. There are about 50 who are in-active with many reasons why they´re not coming. We just need to go to their homes, hug them, and call em back home!!! I really want to help our home ward with that when I get home. 

 Leticia came to church again yesterday... She might be the most frustrating investigator I´ve ever had, she´s coming to church and obeying the commandments... she just won´t be baptized. I don´t get it! She knows it´s true.   We challenged her yesterday, again, to be baptized by the end of this month. I think we´ll be able to have a baptism on the 21st. 

We went and ate at a little market with our district today. Like everyone is getting transfered out and President is giving us a whole new group of YOUNG missionaries to train. Like all of the ones staying here are going to be trainers. I´m pretty excited.  President is going to let me just focus here in Sao Gabriel to help make this a Stake. We´ve got 3 weeks!!! 

Well family, I´m really excited to talk to you all again on Christmas.   

I love you all very much. Have a fantastic week. (I´m jealous of the snowfall, save some for me to board a little) 

Be safe! Don´t let Hailey drive.....

Elder Shepherd

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Valmir Prayed for Help the Night Before...

How was your week?
Good! But I am completely dead today. We worked hard this week. We walked and walked and walked and walked and walked and walked...........etc..............

When is the next transfer?
Next Monday. So I´ll let you know if I´m going to stay here or get transferred next week.

Do you have Christmas decorations up in the city you are in?
Yeah here in the center there are decorations up. It´s really weird though because they have decorations as if it´s cold and snowy here. Like they want to make it seem like an American Christmas that you see in the movies, even though it´s 1000 degrees outside. It´s cool though. We´ve got a choir presentation all set up to sing in the central park on the 21st. It´ll be so sweet. The other Americans and I are going to sing some English music, then we´ve got the members ready to sing several hymns with us. 

Where did you travel to this week?
I stayed here this week and a zone leader from Alegrete came here, Elder Freires. This was his first area in his mission and he´s going home next week, so he wanted to visit people that he´d baptized and taught here. It was cool cuz he also helped us find some people that had been taught almost 2 years ago. 

Do you still go over and play soccer with the teenagers that come to seminary?
Sometimes. We´re leaving that more for the members to organize and take care of now.

Hello family!

So, like I said above, I am completely worn out this morning. We had a tiring week. My area has a neighborhood called Bom Fim. It´s a giant neighborhood with lots of farms, so lots of spacing between houses. We walked to the END of that neighborhood twice this week. I think I´m in need of some knee replacements.

The reason why we went there twice is because the first time we had lunch there, then the next time we went there to teach a man that we´d met the first time. We were walking down the street after lunch when a man called out to us from his home. His name is Valmir. Turns out that he´d come to church several years ago, but was never baptized. He told us he was in a bad depression and had prayed for help the night before. We are NEVER close to his home, so it was God who´d put us in the situation. He took it as his answer and listened to the message.

We´re teaching another couple, Vanessa and William. They´re a reference from a couple in our branch. We had another sweet family night with them this last week and they´ve already both received their answers that the church is true. Vanessa dreamed about seeing the First Vision. It was really cool teaching them that lesson. I sure hope that we can get their marriage papers turned in soon. I´ll be in division with the Zone Leaders in Santa Maria this week. I leave tonight and won´t be back here til Friday.

Thank you for all of your help with that! The number of baptisms is going up throughout the entire mission as well as the attendance in the majority of the wards and branches. We are really seeing the difference and it looks like our trainings are really working out. I´ve been so blessed to help the missionaries learn to work with the members. The secret of success is with the members. The Elders in Rosario are going to baptize two men next Saturday because of the man that we re-activated there. The blessings of re-activations are FIRM Baptisms.

It is getting really hot here. Like smoking hot. I think I sweat off all of my fat by now. I´ve lost 7 kilos since I got to this area. I TAKE MY BRACES OFF A WEEK FROM WEDNESDAY!!! That´s just a great feeling. Got my teeth all fixed up as a missionary haha.
I love you all very much! Have a great week! Be safe!


Elder Shepherd

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

We Were Able To Reactivate a Man who was a Patriarch

How was your week?
It was really good! I had a really good division with the zone leaders in Sao Borja and we ended up marking 3 baptismal dates with the members there. I also finally got to see monkeys while I was there. I´m WORN OUT from riding buses. I spent more time on a bus than in the field. 

How was the 12 hour bus ride to get to your destination for this week?
LONG. I felt like I was on the airplane coming to Brasil again. It was worth it though, because it was a really effective division.

Is your church participation growing?
Yes! A lot! Here and Rosario are going crazy! I feel really confident that the stake will be formed at the end of the year. 

Hello family!

So we had a SWEET week! I did my division in Sao Borja and got home Friday afternoon. Friday night there was a Gaucho Dance at a place here in Sao Gabriel. We had 25 investigator COUPLES there, along with the sisters. It was soooo cool! The District President, Evandro, gave us 10 minutes to talk at the microphone to everyone. It was so productive. There was a dance group that came and put on a show, and the president of the dance group got up all teary eyed after we talked and said that he never imagined the Mormons to be what we showed them we are. He loved it and we all signed a Book of Mormon and gave it to him after. All of the member couples from Rosario came too! It was a dance just for adults. Our teaching group is now massive! My comp and I have to divide to do 2 family nights tonight at the same time cuz of the amount of people who came. I´ll be going with a young man who´s preparing for a mission, Lucas. The members are so excited about the missionary work here now, they invited literally all of their friends for the dance. It was a really nice dance, so everyone came all dressed up like a high school prom. I´ll let you know how these people progress as we teach them.

So, the next highlight of the week was that I went on a division to Rosario do Sul with President Evandro. We watched the first branches meetings, then ate at a member´s home... who I love! Then we did some visits to less-active families. We were able to re-activate a man who was a Patriarch for the stake 15 years ago. He´s been in-active since the stake fell through 15 years ago. He came to church and was already called to be the Branch mission leader, just like Alcino who we re-activated in Sao Gabriel. That way the missionaries will be responsible for him and always be at his home. His name is Delci. He was so ready to come back to church, he just needed a little push. All we told him was that Christ is calling him back to church, back to the work. We left the Work of Salvation DVD at his house for him to watch until Wednesday, when the missionaries have their first meeting with him. He said that he has a whole group who said they´d come back to church the day he came back. How cool! Some of the members cried when they saw him walk into the chapel with us in the afternoon branch. We have now found the 2 missing puzzle pieces in Sao Gabriel, Alcino, and Rosario, Delci. The work is going to get BOOMING now! It really does look like everything is on track for the stake to be formed at the New Year!

Tomorrow I´ll be going back to Cruz Alta, on a division with the Zone Leaders there. That city is full of huge hills, so I´m not excited for that. It´ll be cool to be back in another city where I´ve already served though. 
Well, I only have 3 and a half more weeks of my braces! I have a check-up this weekend, then their taking them off in a few weeks and I´ll get a permanent retainer on the bottom and a removable one on top. The mission made me a beautiful man (or at least let me think that) haha. Sounds like everything is going well at home in the sports world....NOT! My teams are losin man! It´s time for me to come home and help em out haha. Lemme know when you send my package so I can time how long it takes to get here. Thank you! Have a great week! I love you all!


Elder Shepherd