Monday, June 24, 2013

President Ribeiro Trade Tomorrow with President Parrela

Did you watch the broadcast to mission presidents & missionaries at BYU last night? 
If so, what did you think of the changes?
Nope we didn´t watch it. I didn´t even know about it, other than you asking about it last week. We´ll probably hear something about it this week. 

Hi Family!
     We had 2 more baptisms this week! 

Baptisms Saturday Cristieli and Kauã

So it was another successful week. I´m on early today because of the transfer. We have to get our bags ready and say bye to people if we´re transferred, so we came early. Hopefully I get to stay here. I don´t want to be transferred because I love this ward. I guess we’ll see what happens. Our 2 baptisms this week went smoothly. I baptized the girl and elder lopes baptized the boy. They´re brother and sister of the baptisms from last week. The mom, Luciana, is basically already a member. She has accepted everything. It´s really hard for us to talk to her husband because he is never home. . Maybe he´ll see the difference in his kids and he´ll accept shortly. I really hope so
 In reality this week went by really slow. I worked as hard as possible though, and we had 8 investigators at church with us. So that was sweet! There were so so many people at church this week, it was awesome! I think it´s cuz the ward knows that there will be some changes in the missionaries, and they love my companionship. We get tons of references, and always are inviting them to do visits with us.
The names of the baptisms last week are Larissa and Suelen, and the 2 from this week were Cristieli and Kauã. The first picture is of the baptism, and the second is right by a huge lake on the backside of our area.

Huge Lake in our Area

Our area is divided by some mountains, so we´ve got a lot of hill-climbing to do. That´s not too fun when we´re running from appointment to appointment. I am half-way done reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish right now. I read at least one chapter every morning out loud. I have already read it in Portuguese and English. President Hinckley made a promise that if you read the Book of Mormon out loud and study the language at the same time, you will speak and comprehend the language afterwards. I speak Spanish with Elder Cuadra every day. It´d be awesome to be fluent in all three of them when I get home.  

Tay, go try and get the job at Lagoon that I had!! Talk to Shane and tell him that you´re my brother. It sounds like Trek was a great time. I´ll never forget the time I went. It was a blast, and it really brings you down to earth about the sacrifices that the pioneers made. Watching 17 miracles just makes you think a lot about all that we are blessed with to live where we live and have the blessings of the gospel that we have. Poor little Sammie is just too chubby. I can just imagine her waddling up the hills. At least she didn´t have a heart attack.  

 It´s too bad we weren´t able to watch the BYU broadcast. We´ll see how our next president is with all of these kinds of things. I really hope that he liberates us to play sports!! The trade happens tomorrow. President Ribeiro and Sister go to the airport with the mission car, give the keys to President and Sister Parrela, and that´s that. They make a 5 minute conversation in the airport, and that´s all they get to talk. It´ll be interesting. They´re going to start by coming around to all of the houses and getting to know all of the missionaries.   Now all of my buddies are going to be coming home. Jake Gibbs and Matt Grayston come home pretty quick. It´s crazy. I love you all very much! Have a great week! I´ll let you know all of the news of the tranfer next Monday! 

Elder Shepherd

Monday, June 17, 2013

Last Meeting with President Ribeiro

Baptismal meeting Saturday
Baptisms Saturday
Elder Shepherd with President and Sister Ribeiro
How was your week?
The week was good though cuz of the Baptisms!

Did the Young Women get baptized this week?
2 of them yes! Next Friday 2 more will be baptized! 

How cold is it there now?
It´s like 40 degrees F. So not super cold, but with the humidity it makes it a little colder.

Hi Family! 
So obviously the highlight of the week was the baptism, but we did have a great week. We were finally able to teach the family of Claudia and Marko Aurelho on Saturday morning after trying to meet with them all week. They´re such a great family... I lied last week.... they´re not married :( I totally thought they were cuz they´re so formal and proper, and they both wear rings. So I thought they were. That´ll be just one more complication. I feel like it will all workout with them. One of the girls and her little brother will be baptized this Friday. 2 of the girls were baptized this week. I attached some pics to let you see.

The other picture was of our last meeting with President Ribeiro. It was really sad. Sister Ribeiro wrote in my log book for me. It´s going to be really weird. The new President gets here next Tuesday, and he´s immediately going to go around to all of the districts to get to know all of the missionaries. I think the mission slowed down quite a bit recently because of the change. The baptismal numbers have dropped a ton. My companion and I are still going strong though!

 I got my over-bite device put in this week and it is Killing me!!! It´s really painful. The pain has dulled a little now since it´s been a few days. It´s like wearing the head-gear, but permanently. haha. Beauty is pain, right?

So there are some members here, Elaine and Laurindo, they´re from Sao Paulo. We had lunch there yesterday and talked with them a ton. They´ve got a son in the Atlanta, Georgia mission right now. Their daughter lives in salt lake and is married there. They´re going to come pick their son up right when I get home, then go visit their daughter in Salt Lake. I told them we´d go eat with them! They lived in these two cities when dad was on his mission there: Sorocaba and Sao Jose dos Campos. They wanna know if you passed through their cities?? [I worked in both Cities but not sure I know them.] Laurindo got home from his mission right when you got there, so you maybe know them! I don´t know their last name, but they lived there at the time of your mission. 
Angelica and Anderson have set a date to be married and baptized at the end of July. That will be the next transfer, so I´ll hopefully still be here for that. They are already members, and their two kids, Gustavo and Bruna are their kids, they are awesome. Bruna´s already been chosen to give talks in primary haha.

We had a good turnout at the baptism. The ward is really excited about the work still. We´ve been coming up with a lot of creative ideas for the members to help us with references.   We´re finding a lot of success with the young men and women. They´re all excited about seminary, so we invite them to go there with their friends, then we teach them at the chapel afterwards. The youth who are already members are always good about helping us as well.

Next Saturday we have contacting at the park again. We´re going to hook an electric keyboard up to a loud speaker and I´m going to play piano to get people´s attention. President said it was a good idea, because preach my gospel says to use your talents to turn things into teaching opportunities. I´m excited! The mission is passing faster and faster. I hate to even think about coming home. If I could add a 2-year extension onto the mission I would. In the mission you have to live EVERY SINGLE MOMENT, because if you don´t it was a moment too late. I know that the church is true. I am so grateful to have you as a wonderful family. Happy father´s day yesterday dad! A letter will get there eventually haha! I love all of you and I hope you have another incredible week.

Be safe, have fun, and PRAY ALWAYS!

Elder Shepherd

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

We Were Able to Find a Ton of New People to Add to Our Teaching Group

How was your week?
Really good again!  We were able to find a ton of new people to add to our teaching group, which is becoming to be MASSIVE!

Did your baptisms go through?  If so, how were they?
They fell through again.  God had it happen though because now their little brother will be baptized with them and the whole family is now coming to church with us. God just wanted it to wait another week. So, we´ll be having 4 baptisms this Saturday. 

When are the next transfers?
On the 23rd of this month.  

Hi Family!
We had another really good week. We worked a lot with the members this week to visit the families that we´re teaching and it is really paying off. The 4 that are going to be baptized this week are Suelen, Crystyellen, Laryssa, and Kawa. They are part of a GOLDEN family. We´ve been teaching them for a little while and were finally able to teach the dad last night. It happened to be his birthday, so there were a lot of people there for us to teach. The Lord has really been blessing my companion and me.  We found another family that lives right in front of one of the members. The mom works in an internet café nearby, and I went in and just talked to her there. She told me she´d be glad to hear our message with her husband and 2 kids. We marked a visit WITH the member and it was so awesome. The dad´s name is Marko Aurelho, he´s a military captain. He´s got a guy that works with him who´s a member that´s given him a ton of church books and has explained a lot about the church to him already. The mom is Claudia. It´s a super good family and they´re LEGALLY MARRIED!  It´s a miracle, haha. We taught the Restoration and they understood it all. They weren´t able to come to church yesterday because they already had something marked, but next week they´ll be coming for sure. I have been trying to get a hold of the member who works with him to let him know what he´s doing for the Lord´s kingdom.  

We only had 7 people at church with us yesterday. Kind of a bummer, but this week will be a lot better. It´s because on Saturday night there was a dance at the church for all ages and it was packed! All of our investigators were there and it got done at like 11:30PM. So it´s kind of our own fault that everyone was sleeping in on Sunday. We stopped by the dance when we were on our way home to grab some food! That´s the best thing about going to the church activities. We put the dance on and set it all up, then when back out tracting. Great success.

We´ve got a lot youth going to seminary each night in the chapel. The members have been helping us a ton with the families that we are teaching. They´re really excited about the missionary work. The speakers for church didn´t show yesterday, so I gave my 4th talk here, gave the closing prayer, taught the new members and investigators class, and taught the young women´s class.
On Saturday we set up paintings in the park and did contacting there for 3 hours. I did like 200 contacts and got a ton of addresses. We do it at the park in the center of the city, which is just outside of our area, because people walk through there who live all over the city. Then we bring the names back to the mission office and send out the addresses to the different areas. It´s helped my companion and I find new people to teach, so I´m hoping it´ll help all the missionaries in the city. I even got names from other cities that we sent to the other missionaries.  . Everyone always comes up to us to ask us how much the paintings cost haha. The picture is of a vineyard. They make wine there! Its up in the mountains at the very end of our area. It was cool to go up there the other day. The sun was right in my eyes so the picture isn´t very good.   
 More and more young men are coming to seminary now because of all the new young women going. Who´d have thought?  ;)  haha. Tonight we´ve got a family night planned in Itaara, the other city in our area.  

I love you all and I hope you have a great week!
Work hard and read the Book of Mormon every day!

Elder Shepherd

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Helena Gets Baptized

How are your other families that you are teaching doing?
Really really well, we´re going to finally get the wedding papers in for one of the families this week, maybe two of them.
Did you have other baptisms?
YES!  We baptized Helena, the mother of Sandra (whose house I Skyped you all at)
Family Barcellos,  Helena's Baptism June 1
 Tell us all about the baptism you had Saturday?
It was incredible. About everything that could go wrong went wrong. The water heater wasn´t working and she was super worried about being baptized in cold water. We prayed and prayed for it to all work out. We heated up tons and tons of boiling water on the stove in the chapel and mixed it all with the water that was already in the font. By 430 (the baptism was marked for 4) the water was good to go. That was only in the matter of 2 hours. Satan did everything he could this week to make this baptism not happen and it DID! It was an amazing week. The Ward is so happy. I had the privilege to baptize her. It was just super spiritual.

Did you find some more shoes?
I haven´t really looked yet. I´m going to get everything I can out of the ones I have so that I don´t have to use my money haha.

How was your week?
The week was really effective, but not tons of exciting things other than the Baptism. We ate Churrasco at Angelica and Anderson´s after church yesterday. They love us. They are going to get their marriage stuff and hopefully turned in this week. The marriage doesn´t happen for 20 days, so Elder Lopes probably won´t be able to be here for their baptism. They are super integrated with the ward though, so basically already members. We have 3 young women who will be baptized next week. They have really good testimonies and are participating in seminary every night and going to all of the activities. They watched the baptism on Saturday and loved it.

Is the weather cooling off a lot?
Some days yes, some days no. It´s like Utah weather.

Did you get your package yet?
YES! Thank you so much for all of the pictures! That was the best package ever! Hailey, thanks for the chocolate pretzels! My companion and I shared them and loved them. I loved everything else in the package as well.

I put in a picture of the baptism.  It went by really well. There´s also a picture of me playing the piano at church.   
Playing the Piano at the Ward Talent Show
 I still don´t play for sacrament meeting, but that was at the talent show. The week went well but was for sure highlighted by the baptism.  Angelica´s nephew, Antonio, finally came to church with us; he´s 21, and very, very interested in the church. He works most Sundays, but it was awesome that he was finally able to come with us. Silvio came again. That was great. His daughter, Ane, will be baptized the day he accepts. She just doesn´t want to do it alone. We´re having a lot of success designating families to hold family home evenings in their homes and inviting neighbors and friends to come. It´s allowing the investigators to be a lot more integrated with the members. I have a feeling that this week will be another successful week. Our goal is to baptize every single Saturday in the month of June. I think we´ll get it. We´ve got people ready, we just need to help them take that next step and accept a date.

I love all of you very much! Have another great week!   

Elder Shepherd