Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Huge Family Night at the Bishops!!

Family Home Evening

Did you have baptisms this week? 
No they fell through for this next Saturday. 

What is your favorite treat down there? 
They make a really good treat with like crackers and pudding. It´s really hard to describe in English but dad can help. It´s called a Torta in Portuguese. 

Do you drink Guarana? 
Not really, I´m basically off of the soda now.

How about doce de leite?
I always eat it with bananas and make sandwiches with it. It´s like Brazilian Nutella. 

And do you like suco de caju?
I HATE it. I´ve only had it like once. Water even has a better taste. 

How was your week?
Really good and really effective.

How's the companionship?  
We´re doing well. He´s a lot happier with the mission now, and part of it is due to the success we´re having together. He´s seeing the miracles of the gospel in people´s lives. 

How are the guys in your apartment?
They´re good. Elder Law is going home soon. We´re all good though and we all get along just fine. 

Hello Family!
We had another productive week this week. Our numbers dipped down a little bit, but we had a lot more effectiveness in helping our teaching group progress. I love reading the emails you send me.

Our baptisms all fell through this coming Saturday except for maybe 2. We´ve got one for sure. The family that I Skype'd you from, we´ll be baptizing her mom this next Saturday. It has been such a spiritual experience. She´s been involved with the church for 21 years, but never was baptized. We have left a string of spiritual messages with her and the spirit finally touched her heart.
We will for sure visit this family when you guys come pick me up. They are so awesome. The other awesome family that we´re teaching, Anderson e Angelica, is finally getting their papers ready to marry. They´re already basically members, they just hadn´t completely committed until yesterday. We have a family night with them on Thursday, since it´s a catholic holiday (Corpus Cristis) and no one works that day. They also invited us over for a CHURRASCO next Sunday for lunch. They love us! She gets a big smile on her face every time we come over, and I always play soccer out front with the little boy and girl. He is 8 and she is 10. Gustavo and Bruna. The missionaries originally were only teaching Bruna. When I got here we started to teach the whole family and we did a special fast just for them. Now they are seeing the miracles. It has truly been amazing teaching them. 

The first picture I attached is of a HUGE family night we did at the bishop´s house on Thursday. All of the families in the ward were there, plus we had 12 investigators and all of our recent converts come! It was so awesome. My companion and I shared the message of the Restoration, but we focused specifically on Joseph Smith and the importance of praying and receiving an answer and not believing in our words. We had 7 young women at church with us this week. All of them are really integrated with the young women´s president and all of the young women in the ward.  .   It has been awesome challenging all of them and watching all of them receive their personal testimonies. We always bring the young women´s president with us. Her name is Elaine. She´s from Sao Paulo, and has a daughter that lives in salt lake who´s married with an American. Elaine visits her every year and sometimes stays there for months, so she speaks English. They´ve got a son on a mission in Atlanta as well. So they are a really active family in the church. Her husband, Laurindo, is the first counselor in the bishopric. They help us a lot! 

Saturday night we had a ward talent show. It was perfect! So many people came and we were able to invite tons of investigators. A lot of ward members came and shared their talents. Elder Cuadra and I did a little act where we showed people the funny situations that happen with missionaries. We sat behind a bench and put socks on our hands and held them above the bench as little puppets. We shared a mic and did funny contacts and funny responses when we knock doors. The members loved it. I played the piano, but got too nervous to play the guitar. I don´t even know why because no one would have even understood what i was singing, so I could have sung whatever words I´d have liked. Elaine made fun of me a little because the whole ward was chanting for me to do it and I wussed out. It was a great activity though. I also got the pleasure of talking in church again yesterday! I talked for 15 minutes on LOVE. It´s such a simple word, yet so powerful. And when we really mean it when we say it, we SHOW it through our actions. Some people don´t understand that. I have come to a full on knowledge of that principle, and I have given it all to the Lord. 

The church is true. I love being a part of this gospel and seeing the miracles occur in people´s lives. I am grateful for all the love and support that you have shown me. I know that Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ, and that this is His church. Read the Book of Mormon every day, and share it at every opportunity. We should make it a goal to place books of Mormon everywhere we go when you guys come pick me up. I love all of you very much. Have a great week! Keep working hard Tay and Hailey! You´re all in my prayers.

Elder Shepherd

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Teaching a Family of 10 is a RARITY Here in Brazil

Barcellos Family with the Missioaries

Tell us about any investigators at church?
We had 9 investigators at church this week. It was actually a really successful week. We´ve got 2 baptisms set up for Saturday, so I hope they go through. Helena is the mom of the member who´s house I talked to you guys at. And Ane, a young woman who lives close to the chapel is at. We´re teaching Ane´s dad as well, and he´s coming to church, he said he´s just not ready for the commitment yet. The challenge is still on the table for him to be baptized on Saturday as well. His name is Silvio. We also had 5 other young women at church with us. Andrielly and Francielly are sisters and live right by the mission home. They have been to church before. We´re teaching the whole family but they´re most interested. They already have friendships in the young women´s organization. We had 3 other sisters there, Suelen, Cristieli, and Laryssa. They are all like 15-18 years old. The other missionaries were giving us some laughs cuz we had so many girls there haha; we´re teaching all of their families though. They all said they´d come to seminary tonight, so hopefully they go there and start building up friendships there. We just can´t make the same friendships with the young woman as we can with complete families and young men. We´ve made really good friends with their families though, and this week we´ve got a lot of lessons planned with the members at their homes. We´ll see what happens. Andersen and his daughter Bruna came again. The marriage is taking forever to start, so it will be a while longer until that family of 4 is baptized. They´ve all accepted though and Carla, the wife, came to an activity last Saturday and loved it! So they´re integrated very well as well. 

Tell me about the ward mission leader who facebooked me today and sent your abracaos?
He´s a good guy. He was re-activated about 8 months ago after leaving the church for years. His wife isn´t a member and only one of his teenage sons is a member; he´s good to go on visits. Usually I´ve had to mark meetings with the ward counsel and him separately because he lives so far away from the church and works a lot. He´s a really good guy though with an inspired testimony and he loves to go on visits with us after work. 

What is the weather like there?
It´s for sure starting to cool off. It´s really nice though because I was sick of the heat.

How was your conference?
Really good! We studied about the life of Paul the apostle. We looked into how he had so much success as a missionary and the attributes he applied to the work. I want to do my best to acquire the same attributes as him. 

Do you know what date you will get your new mission president?
They make the change on June 30th.

Hi Family!
We had just another great week. We had those 9 investigators at church with us.
The Barcellos family is such a great family, where I skyped on Mother’s Day. We always have family nights there and they´ve been so so supportive with the missionary work. They are really excited for the baptism of Sandra´s mom on Saturday.
We had a huge lunch at the Bishop´s house after church on Sunday. I shared the message after lunch. I shared Ether 12, about faith and miracles. We established a goal with everyone to have 180 people at church by the end of August. I feel like it will happen; we´re all going to fast every month and pray every night for that to happen. As missionaries we can baptize people, but the responsibility of the ward will be the re-activation.
Sorry this email is really short. We had a great week but not really any new stories. I´m really excited for the families that we are teaching right now. The family of 10 is a RARITY out here in the mission field, especially in Brazil. They´re taking the visits, so hopefully they will all come to church next week. The family that lives by the mission home really likes us, and has promised to come to church next week. One of our investigators fell back into his habits, so that was really frustrating, we´re trying to help him as much as possible though.
Hailey you better be staying away from the boys. No dating or anything til I get home. Keep workin hard Tay!
I hope everyone is doing well.
I love you all very much! Have a great week! Be safe!

Elder Shepherd

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

We Baptized The Whole Family

Hi Family! 

It was so so great talking to you guys yesterday! Sorry today probably won´t be very long because I basically told you everything yesterday! We had our baptisms! They were so awesome. 
Thursday Baptisms

Elders and Sisters

Today I wasn´t able to get a camera card off to you because we were helping the sister missionaries in my district move apartments all day. And I ran out of money paying for the bus! We´ll get more money again on Thursday, and then I´ll send one off to you guys! God has put some trials in front of me the last little while to make us prove our faith, but everything seems to be getting better.. I was so grateful to have baptized this family this past week. We had to baptize them on Thursday because the mom had to work on Saturday. It was a little different, but there were 50 members there! They are all so excited about missionary work, and I can just feel things are all going to continue to grow here. I baptized the 18 year-old son and the 10 year old son. Elder lopes baptized the mom and the 15 year-old daughter and we had the bishop baptize the father.   It was so awesome, and the ward did a little party for them afterwards for their wedding and baptism.

We ended up having 3 investigators at church on Sunday. There was no bus to pick people up this week and it was pouring rain. I guess the true elect will come no matter what, and those are the 3 that we really need to focus on.. Rough night last night for sure, I hated saying goodbye to all of you. That is what we call a TRUNKY NIGHT. I was kinda bummed that we weren´t able to talk to Nance, but it was so fun talking to Phelps and Trevor. I feel bad for my buddy Phelps. He´s such a great missionary, but he´s having some trials of faith right now.

The transfer came through today, and I´ll be here for at least one more transfer with Elder Lopes. Elder Lipps was transferred, but elder Cuadra will still be here with us. I love that guy! He´s the little Chilean behind me in the picture of the “mudanca” this morning. He´ll finally be a senior companion and his new companion is Elder Law, from California. He goes home soon.   Hopefully we´ll be able to inspire him to finish his mission off strongly.   

It sounds like mom had a good time with the girls on Saturday. It was so great to be able to talk to Grandma. I really want to spend a lot of time with her when I get home. She still sounds like she´s cruising around and getting a lot done. Sammie looked so FAT! She´s a cute little thing. She is for sure my best friend. We´ve got Zone Conference again next Monday, so I´ll be emailing you on Tuesday

 I love all of you, I´ll email you better next week! Have a great week!

Elder Shepherd