Monday, April 29, 2013

I'm Just Shot! But so Excited

How was your week?
Really good, but really really really really tiring. We ran all over our giant area about 1000000000 times and now.  I´m just SHOT!  And this week will be just as hectic. 

So do you still have baptisms next week?  How many?
We have the family of 5 going to get baptized on Friday night, and Carlos (the man who smoked) will be baptized either Friday or Saturday. So 6 for now, maybe more. 

Hey Family!

So sorry, this week is going to be extra short! I have to go get my hair cut before bishop closes down the shop! He´s a hair stylist, so that is where all the missionaries go in this ward because he does it for free.

We had another great week. Yesterday was Stake Conference, so we had to bring all of our investigators to my last chapel, which is way far away! We still were able to have 8 of them there! We had the family of 5, Silvio and Anne, and Ruan.  Carlos wasn´t able to make it because he got a huge blister on the top of his foot and couldn´t work.  He is a construction worker, so he´s got some gnarly boots he uses. It was a good excuse though, and he accepted to be baptized this week!  We´re going to have 6 baptisms this week! SO COOL. Silvio is Carlos´ brother, and Anne is Silvio´s daughter. They are way cool and have no problems with the commandments. They might be baptized too this week, we´ll just see what happens and how the Spirit directs us to see if they´re spiritually ready yet.
Ruan is their nephew. He´s only 10 so we´ll need his mom´s permission for him to be baptized. He comes every week with his uncles and he has tons of friends at the church, so I don´t think that there will be any problems.

We have another family that we are teaching... Anderson, Carla, and Bruna. We challenged them to get married yesterday and to be baptized on the 25th of May.
They are loving the church and feeling they´re questions being answered.

One of our investigators, Helena, was rushed to the hospital this week. She had a weird infection inside of her, so she had a quick surgery done. She´s already told her daughter, Sandra (a member), that she wants to be baptized and she´s already been to church with us twice. She´ll hopefully be baptized during this month as well. My Dunham shoes are about having it, so I might have to get some new shoes soon. We´ll have to see how much longer I can get them to hold up. There are still a ton of Americans waiting for Visas to come to my mission.  

I have been studying the life of Christ in the New Testament a lot lately. It really is so cool all of the little details in his teachings. You really can learn from every verse. Elder Bednar says that one study session can be just one verse going into all of the details.  

Also, I thought of another package idea! Hot Chocolate mix!!! Like a hot chocolate mix from Starbucks would be amazing!   Anyways, I hope all of you have a fantastic week!   
Well I love all of you! Have a great week!


Elder Shepherd

Monday, April 22, 2013

We're Seeing Miracles Here with Our Collective Faith

How many active members are there?
That´d be a hard number to put. I´d say between 80-90

Are they helping you? 
They´re starting to help us quite a bit more. We´ll see how things get going. 

How was your week?
It was really good again! We had 11 investigators at church again! A few new people, and a few that could make it this time. Things are really exciting in this ward and the members are helping us so much right now. With that activity that I told you about last week, people are just excited about missionary work. I also had the privilege to talk in sacrament yesterday, and I spoke about Every member a Missionary. It was good, but bishop only gave me like 6 minutes so it went by quickly. 

Did some of your families keep moving along?
Yes! We also had another family there. Anderson, Carla, and Bruna. Bruna has been coming for a while, but then we gave a super spiritual message about the atonement this past week and they all came. It was awesome. We visited them last night with our Elders quorum President and his wife. Carla shared an interesting comment, she said that every time that they have prayed for guidance or peace in the home, we [the missionaries] literally come knocking within 5 minutes. They interpreted that as their answer, so we´re going to have to get them married so they can be baptized. it´s going to take a while though because they´re both from different cities, and we´re going to have to get a hold of both of their birth certificates. 

Do you guys all share food or do you buy stuff and eat what you buy?
Normally we just buy our own stuff, but in this house we´ve been sharing and saving money a lot better. All 4 of us get along well, which is RARE, so I´m really enjoying this area so far. 

Hi Family!
Sorry today will be short, not a lot of time. We had a really good week, like I said above. We had those two families at church, which were the majority of our investigators, and another man named Carlos. He is doing sooooo well with quitting smoking! We went there last night really quickly and he said he hadn´t put a cigarette in his mouth in two days! So so cool!
     WE have family night tonight with Helena, she´s the mom of Sandra, a member. She´s been at church the last 2 weeks and last week she asked us when we could mark her baptism. So cool! We did a fast as a Ward on Saturday for all of these people. We took around names of our investigators and asked the Ward to fast with us. We´re seeing miracles here with our collective faith; it´s been pretty amazing.

The mission seems like it´s only getting better and better, yet the time is getting shorter and shorter. I feel like I´m becoming the best missionary I can possibly be, yet it´s coming up in the second year. In chapter 6 of PmG it talks about Christ-like attributes and that´s what I´ve been studying every morning for the last while. As I have learned to apply these things into my life, I am seeing more success. Not only outward success, but I am feeling happier and more in-tune with the spirit as well. That would be a chapter that would be awesome for the youth to study. I´d recommend it.  I don´t have grandma Frome´s email, but tell her happy 80th birthday for me! I love all of you!
Have a great week!

Elder Shepherd

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I Probably Had One of The Best Weeks of My Mission Last Week!

How is the new companion, what is his full name, where is he from, how long a member etc?
Silas Pereira Lopes, he´s from a city in Sao Paulo called Presidente Prudente. He was baptized a year and a half ago, he´s 26 years old. His mom was baptized about 10 years ago with his 2 sisters but he never wanted to be a member. He has already graduated from college and specialized as a chemical engineer. He worked in a soda pop factory as a scientist before the mission.   He and I really get along. His parents are from India.

Elder Shepherd and Elder Lopes in Santa Maria

What did you think of the new ward? 
We started an activity with the ward when we spoke in sacrament meeting. We´re doing an activity called Missionary Family of the week.  Everyone loved the idea. I love the new ward!

Do you live in a different place now?  Any change in mailing address?
Yes we live like a 30 minute walk from my last apartment. No the mailing address is the exact same. 

How was your week?
Really good! Probably one of the best weeks of my mission.

How is your new area?
It is HUGE! It´s said to be the biggest area in the mission. and half of it is on the other side of a giant mountain. so lots of walking :)

Do you live with three others still?  If so, how are all the others (tell us about them)?
I live with Elder Matt Lipps from California and Elder Rodrigo Cuadra from Chile; he didn´t know Elder Gula before the mission though. They´re both really cool. Elder Lipps is a really quiet guy, but he works really hard. Elder Cuadra and I have been buddies the whole mission, so it´s a riot living with them.

How is your new apartment?
It´s messy. I went into an OCD cleaning mode today all day while the others slept. It´s big so there´s a lot of un-used space.

Hi family!
So like I said above, I probably had one of the best weeks of my mission this week! We had 11 investigators at church yesterday, and we had a sweet baptism already on Saturday! When I got here they were already teaching this woman, Marjara, who lives behind the mission home. Literally, she lives right behind the mission home and shares a driveway with it. No one had ever thought to teach them until the missionaries knocked there about 3 weeks ago. We went there on my first night and had a super spiritual lesson. We challenged her to baptism for that same Saturday and she accepted!
First Baptism with Elder Lopes, Sister Marjara

 We are also teaching her mom and her brother. Her mom drinks tons of coffee so she´ll be a little while. Her brother is so so ready! His only problem is that he only has one friend, and that friend happens to be a pastor in a catholic church. So right after our church he always goes to that church. We´re trying to get him more and more integrated with the members here. He answers all of the questions during the classes at church. His name is Liam and he´s 30 years old. Graduated from college, single, and totally ready for the church and institute.

Then we had just an amazing experience. There is a family that they´d already been teaching, but they didn´t want to get married. Marcio, Diane, Rafael, Tamares, and Adan. They are so perfect!  We taught them on Tuesday and on Wednesday.   They accepted to get married and we got their papers turned in on Friday.

The rest of the investigators that came to church were people that
Elder Lopes and I found during our work during the week. They´re all solid. We´re teaching these two brothers, Carlos and Valdeni, who live together, They were super interested in the message and both came to church, bringing their less-active brother and their nephew with them.

We taught about 40 lessons this week. The ward is all excited, it´s just a great feeling for missionary work right now!  Zone conference was yesterday, so that´s why I’m emailing you today. It was a sweet conference. I´ll miss our mission President a lot though, he´s really helped me change a lot of old habits and attitudes – [we’ll get a new President July 1.]. He´s going to live in Sao Paulo after so we´ll have to go visit him when you come get me. The conference was about the power of the scriptures! Really awesome!

Sorry this week is kinda short, it was really good though! I hope Hailey´s hand is feeling better! Stay away from boys still ‘til i get home. Dad sent me a pic of Tay going to a dance with a soccer girl! She´s a cutie! haha. I think all that I want in packages now is Beef Jerkey and DI ties! Try to get ties that have designs and images on them, the Brazilians love em! Thank you! I hope you´re all doing well and everyone is happy! I love you all very much!

Elder Shepherd

Monday, April 8, 2013

"Sometimes we need to be like a lightening rod and take the heat"

Elder Mason and Elder Shepherd out for some exercise

 How was your week?
Eh, it was a rough week. Lots going on and not enough time to think.

Did you get transferred?  If so, where are you going to?  When do you leave?
I´m being transferred to another ward here in Santa Maria. It´s called Itaimbé. My new companion will be Elder Lopes, I don´t know anything about him. I´ll let you know more about that next week. 

Which conference talk was your favorite?
I really liked President Dieter F. Uchtdorf´s and Apostle Robert D. Hales´ talks during Priesthood session.

Where did you watch conference at?
We watched it in English in our chapel. I sat with Elder Mason.

Are your baptisms still on for Saturday?
One of them is. Verá came to all 4 sessions of conference. She´s ready as can be! The other one, Sr. Godoy, fell through because he was hospitalized because of his cancer. 

Hey Family!

So this past week went really slowly. Conference went really well though and things got feeling a lot better. I think that this was a really great Priesthood Session. It got me feeling just pumped to go out and work! The ward I´m going to be going to is struggling a lot right now.  I´ll still be in the city though, so I´ll be able to come back and watch Verá´s baptism. I found out from the Assistant’s at the start of the week that I was going to be moved, so that just kinda dropped me like a rock.

It was so cool to hear how many missionaries are out in the field and being sent out. By the time I get home we´ll be closing in on 100,000 in the world! There really isn´t a lot of exciting stories to tell today. We did a lot of family nights and said bye to a lot of people this week. My companion is going to stay in the area, but he´ll be a senior now. I felt like the general topic during this conference was Families. Almost every single speaker spoke of the importance of children growing up in a really good family. Elder Hales said something so cool. It´s something I´ll never forget.  He said, ``Sometimes we need to be like the lighting rod and TAKE THE HEAT!``. We encounter so many people who just want to fight with us and tear us down. That´s fine! We can take it, because what do we have that they don´t... THE GOSPEL. It is the most powerful weapon in the world. They all spoke of how important it is for little children to feel safe and loved, and for them to be raised according to gospel standards. There are so many things attacking the youth of the church, and it´s so important to remain in Holy places. Something that I´ve noticed is that there is a difference between obedience and obedience with Exactness. That is something that a lot of the talks indirectly said. 

I´ll include lots more details next week about my new area and my new companion. I hope all of you have a great week! Keep me updated on the basketball stuff and any other sports stuff! haha.

I love you all!

Elder Shepherd