Friday, March 29, 2013

The Lord Puts Us into Situations for Us to Learn Things

Do you have lots of fruit in season (I know how much you love fruit)?
Yes, it´s always in season for all fruits here! (Except for watermelon, that´s from December to April)

Do you know why the visas are taking so long for Brazil right now?
I have no idea. There are supposed to be 14 Americans entering our mission on the 8th, but only 2 of them have visas and are in Sao Paulo. The rest of them are all in Provo waiting. 

How are the braces?  Can you tell if they are moving?
Yes they´re moving a ton. Hopefully they put the over-bite device on in a couple months. They said that the teeth all have to be into the right place before they do the device.

Do they do the same things there with your braces as they did here with them?
Yes, just tightenings and they put on new elastics and new wires. I think elder Mason is looking into it. I go eat lunch with him every p-day. 

We had a really great week. We found some less actives that we went and visited who have a little 10 year old nephew, Kaiki, who lives with them who was never baptized. He´d been to church a million times and loves it there, but his mom doesn´t let him go alone. He came with us yesterday and he´ll be baptized on Saturday. His two aunts are also just totally stoked about coming back to church. The two that we baptized at the start of the month, James and Douglas, both were ordained deacons and the Ward is helping them out a ton. Hopefully they´ll pass the sacrament next week.  They love coming to church and always make their moms call us to come over.  Hopefully we can get their families to come to church with us one of these days. We had an older woman, Vera, come to church with us too. She´s way way interested and has already read to 2 Nephi in a week. She committed to a date for the 13th of April because of General Conference on the 6th.    
The Lord always puts us into situations for us to learn things. Something I´ve really learned during my mission is the gift of patience and the gift of understanding. I get so frustrated when I feel like I´m doing everything I can, and we just aren´t teaching things the way I want to teach them. But I´ve really been working on focusing on the Spirit, that the Lord´s will is what we need to be doing, not my will. We´ve built some really good teaching patterns though, and it´s helped us a lot. If I have one true convert out of being in this area, it´ll be me!
My testimony has grown a lot here, and I´m sure that´s why the Lord sent me to this area.  We´ve knocked just about every door possible in the area, so now we just go for references and use the members as much as possible. I´ll be shipping out in 2 weeks so that´ll be a good, refreshing experience.

Really not a lot of new stuff to say. Just a lot of tracting and teaching. Not a lot of people really progressing. We´re just taking what the lord is giving us and we´re baptizing and helping those who are ready.    The majority of our contacts have already spoken to missionaries, so now the question is what went wrong the last time they talked to us. What were their difficulties with our doctrine. We have been making lots of fliers and passing them around and just trying to get people to accept a 5 minute lesson. We´re teaching a lot, but I feel like a lot of the time it´s just because people don´t have an excuse to not listen. There are several that do invite us back, so the problem here, like other areas, is getting people to come to church. It´s not going to be as difficult to leave this area as it was my other two areas because this area already has tons and tons of members. In my other areas we baptized families and a lot more adults, here it´s been a lot of youth. I know that these youth will be the future of the church here though, especially if the ward continues to integrate them as they´re doing now. 

I got a letter from Elder Matt Grayston today. I sent President Morris a letter finally too. I never have any time for writing so I never think about it. Hopefully he gets that in the next few week.  If anything interesting happens this next week I´ll for sure let you all know.   All the missionaries are now allowed to email friends. it was a letter that the Presidency just sent out to all the mission presidents, so you can tell people to email me!
I love you all!

Elder Shepherd

Monday, March 18, 2013

I Burned a Shirt on the 14th

Carson celebrating the one year mark and burning a shirt!

Another angle on the shirt burning

Part of the area the missionaries are working!


How was your week?
Great! it cooled down quite a bit so now it´s more bearable.

When are the next transfers?
We´ve got 3 weeks left. I will know when I email you on April 8th. We had our monthly interviews with President on Tuesday and he said he was gonna be moving me to an area that needs help. 

The baptism of your soccer junkies looked like it was good.  Is the other boy still taking discussions?

Yes he is. We´re trying to talk to his parents now because they´re the only reason he´s not baptized. 

How is it with those boys you baptized?  Do they do regular weekly young men activities?

It´s really good. The ward is helping them a lot. They´re making really good friends with the other young men at the weekly soccer nights as well.

Do you rest quite a bit on Pday? 
Yeah we go back home after we email and we sleep.

Do you have a washer and dryer still? 
No, dryers basically don´t exist here. All the apartments have a washer though.

Hi Family!

Well we just had a fantastic week this week. We had 6 people in sacrament meeting! The painter that dad wrote to, he came yesterday with his wife finally. We also had 2 young men and a young woman and her mom there. Those 4 are all new investigators. We focused this week on getting and contacting a lot of references and it for sure paid off. Adalberto, the painter, just needs to make a good friend or two in the ward. We are meeting with a young couple, early 20´s right now. They both have smoked for a few years, but are super open to the idea of stopping when they feel that the church is true. The spirit has been really strong the 3 times that we´ve met with them and they both comprehend the messages entirely. We´re meeting with them tomorrow [along] with a couple in our ward.  What´s good about this couple is that they already have the desire to get married. That helps the process quite a bit.

I also burnt a shirt on the 14th!  [Annual missionary ritual celebrating their one year mark] That was fun. We did it at a less-active family´s home. They loved it! I just found an old shirt in our house and burnt it. Those are the first 2 pics. The third is of a favella area that we work. Our area is like half rich, and half super poor. 

So yeah, sorry this week isn´t very long. We´re working really hard and seeing success. Hopefully I´ll be able to baptize again during these three weeks. I feel like we will!.Sorry today isn´t super exciting. I hope all of you have a great week!
Keep up the hard work in school and sports! and not dance!!! ;) I love you!

Elder Shepherd

Monday, March 11, 2013

We Baptized 2 Young Men, Soccer Players

Did you baptize those 3 soccer boys? More lessons to their families?
We ended up baptizing 2 of them. 
Awesome Young Soccer Players baptized!

What do you eat for Lunch and DInner these days?
Dinner I usually just eat a sandwich. I usually am not very hungry to eat dinner cuz the lunches here are really good. It´s still lots of rice and beans, but they always make a good chicken for us.

Do they have Chinese restaurants? 
I saw one at the mall here the other day. I think we´re gonna try and go eat there when we receive our money the next time. 

How was your week?
Really frustrating. The baptism was really good though.

Have you ever come across Elder Rawlings (Kevin & Bonnie's nephew)?
Yes I think I have. I forgot to ask him about them haha. I´ll ask next time I see him. 

Are you walking everywhere or do you ride the bus some?
We took the bus today to come to the center, but usually we just walk everywhere. We don´t have enough money to pick up the bus. 

How are your clothes and shoes holding up?
Everything is just great. I usually wear the Dunham shoes every day because they´re the most comfortable, so they´re getting worn out. I´m sure they´ll last to the end of the mission though. The Doc´s are good for the winter, so I´ll use those a lot in the winter. All of my clothes are just fine, only a few stitching repairs have been necessary on the pants. Good thing my mamma showed me how to sew!

Hi Family!

So this week we started a new teaching group and just basically started the area over again. I have been studying a lot of modern day talks this week and it´s helping me a lot with my knowledge of the gospel. I really don´t have a lot to say today cuz we just went back to the basics this week. We are trying to teach the parents of Douglas and James right now. they are the two that were baptized on Saturday. The ward gave them little scripture bags, ties, and triplices. So they´ve got a great group of friends already going here in the ward. Their families are really hard to get a hold of, so it will be a while. The only time that they can meet with us is on Saturdays, and that´s if we´re lucky. Both the mom and the dad work all week and don´t get home til we have to be in for the night.

It sounds like Hailey had a good tournament down in St. George! That´s so cool! Good job Hailey!

We found 2 families this past week that I feel can advance in this gospel. We found one of them through a reference from a member and the other one was on a list of less-active members. The dad of the second family was baptized about 20 years ago but stopped coming around the same time as well. He and his wife are taking the lessons really well, so hopefully we can get their marriage papers started soon. They´ve got 6 children, 3 with baptismal age. The first family was really fun to meet. We had a family night with some members that live in front of them and the members invited them. We´ve just taught them that time and we passed their house again this week and taught them the Restoration. Hopefully they´ll be at church this week. We didn´t have any investigators at church yesterday. We did have an attendance of 200 people more or less though. So that was good.

Well, I love you all so much. I hope you have a great week. The church is true. Say your prayers!

Elder Shepherd