Thursday, July 25, 2013

I took the challenge and climbed up and over the massive wall

How was your week?
It was really productive. We visited many less-active members this week to try and get people excited about church. Bishop is putting together a bunch of activities, which will help the members get more involved and invite their neighbors. 
Did you have any baptisms this week?  
No, but we have 2 for next Saturday.

So does your new mission president have different rules about sports, p-days, etc?
Yes, we can play sports! And we can listen to calm music! It was just hymns with president Ribeiro. Other than that it´s all the same thing. 

Hello Family!
We had another great week this week. We followed up a lot with the two families that are going to be baptized and married on the 3rd. The mom of one of the families, Angelica, called this week and said that she was backing out of the wedding, then just sat their quietly. Then she started laughing! Geez I think she almost gave me a heart attack. Everything is good to go and going as planned. We taught a family in Itaára that was incredible.
      God lead us straight to their house. We were walking, literally lost, in the middle of nowhere. There are huge trees all over the city and it was cloudy, so I had no way of finding my directions and Ileft my GPS in Utah. We saw a random street with a semi-high wall protecting it. I asked my comp if he thought the street looked good and he said yeah, but didn´t think I´d be able to scale the wall. YEAH RIGHT. So obviously I took the challenge and climbed up and over the massive wall. He followed. Turns out that it´s a gated community with HUGE houses. We knocked a door and the family let us right in. They lost their daughter in the boat fire, and have been looking for guidance. We taught them, Veronica and Joao Luis, the Plan of Salvation.  she believed it all and just hadn´t found a church that preaches about life after death. They let us know that they wouldn´t be able to come to church yesterday, but we marked to go there again tomorrow.

We marked with their neighbors as well, who live in the biggest house that I´ve ever seen in Brasil. We weren´t able to teach them last week, but they told us that they´d love us to come by this week. So we´ll be working there in Itaára all day tomorrow.

We´ve got two baptisms marked for this Saturday. Alan and William. They´re the brothers of those girls that we baptized a few weeks ago. Sons of the couple that will be married on the 3rd. They just needed to mix a little more with the other young men and they´re good to go now. They´re going to play soccer with us after we get off of the computers today. Not a lot of new stuff to say today.

One of the pictures I attached is what our investigator put on facebook in regards to the marriage and baptism... our ward mission leader showed us yesterday! So cool! He´s and awesome guy, Anderson, and overcome so many difficulties in his life. We´ve seen just an amazing change in their family. They´re so much happier now with the gospel in their lives.

The other pic is at a family night with the family we reactivated, Maicon´s family. They’re awesome. They came to church yesterday, and brought two of their inactive neighbors with them! It´s incredible how the gospel influences people to do good and changes people´s hearts.
Maicon's Family Reactivated

Sorry for the shortness of this email. Next week will be a gooder one. It´s cooled off a ton here, and been FREEZING cold in the mornings. good thing our shower burnt this morning, right? not. But I´ll fix it today.    

I love you all. Have a great week!

Elder Shepherd

Monday, July 15, 2013

We Ran All Over the Place to get the Marriages in Order

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How was your week?
So so good! Very effective and the weather cooled off, as an added bonus. 

How was playing soccer?  Is your companion way better than you or can you keep up with him?
I can keep up with him. It was really fun, I just got worn out really fast. my legs were sore all week, so we´re not gonna play today. We´re just going to sleep all day after we go to the market. 

Has your mission president let you get on Facebook since the announcement?
No. I don´t think Brazil will start doing that project until the end of the year. And on Facebook the missionaries will make separate pages, in which they can only add investigators, the mission presidents, and members of the wards. I will probably only take part in it for a short time before I come home. Taylor will take part in a lot of technological advances in the work though. 

You said you really liked your new Mission President.  How is he handling the mission & missionaries?
Really well. he did interviews and zone conferences all this last week. Looks like there hasn´t been anything too exciting or different up until now. 

Did you have baptisms?
Yes we had 2 on Saturday!

Did your investigators you talked about last week get their marriage papers filed?
Yes, two families!!!

Did you baptize the rest of that family?  Almost!!
Are you mid winter now, how’s the temperature? 
It´s cold one day, hot the next. It´s like Utah weather here. 

Do you use the overbite correctors that we sent? 
Yes. they´re permanent so I can´t take them out, they´re already changing my whole mouth. It looks better now though. 

What is your favorite scripture study lately?
I´ve been studying a lot of the missions of Paul. although his conversion was a miracle, his missions were even more incredible. He helped a lot of people, and baptized thousands... ALONE, and he didn´t even have the Book of Mormon, just a testimony and he was filled with the spirit. 

Hey Family!
What a great week we just had. We got the marriage papers in for Angelica and Anderson, and for Luciana and Cristiano. We literally had to run at times to get the papers all sorted out and signed by the right people. Angelica, Anderson, Bruna, and Gustavo will all be baptized on the 3rd of August after they get married. Luciana will be baptized the same time. Hopefully Cristiano. They have the cutest little daughter, Darla. She talks about church every day with him and got him out of bed to go to church yesterday. We baptized her other daughter, Dienifer, who turned 8 this past week. It was an awesome baptism. We baptized a young man named Maicon as well. We reactivated his whole family, then baptized him. It was an awesome baptism. Tons of people came out.

The other dupla [pair] baptized a man named Flavio. He is the one crouched down in the picture. The other picture is of Luciana and Cristiano in front of the cartorio after we put the papers in. I am so excited for them. Overall not a lot of other exciting things happened during the week. We ran all over the place to get the marriages in order, and had an awesome baptism. Last night at ward counsel we organized the wedding for the 3rd. Bishop Fabiano is going to marry them in the chapel, then we´re going to have the baptism right after, then a huge lunch with everyone! It will be so cool. 

The members gave us a ton of references again, but the majority of the references this week were for inactive families who didn´t even let us in to talk to them. Maicon´s parents, Daniela and Jonas, talked with the members and said it was just a miracle that God sent the two missionaries when he did. When we got there they were just ready to come back to church. She bore her testimony in relief society and told how she never imagined she´d be back at church, and that this time she is there to stay. We´re putting a lot of our focus into finding less-active families lately, and trying to bring them back to church. We had 113 people at church yesterday!!! It was so full that there was no room in the classrooms. That´s a good thing though. If we can keep the attendance up like this for a while, they´ll put the papers in to get a new chapel here. That´d be sweet

Not a lot more than that to say this week. I´m so grateful for all that you have given me. I know that through your prayers I receive extra boosts of energy throughout the days.  How´s Sammie doing? Still fat and happy?  

I love you all very much! Have a great week! Have fun at EFY Hailey! and Tay, keep working hard in Swim and you´ll get it!

Thank you all for the love and support! The church is true!

Elder Shepherd

Monday, July 8, 2013

Yesterday When I Saw them Come to Church I Just Felt So Happy!

How was your week?
It was really good. We found a lot of new people to teach. 

Any baptisms this week?
No we didn´t, but we´ve got at least one marked for next week!

How's the new companionship?
It´s going really well.   

Tell us more about your companion?
Hmmm, well he´s a really positive guy. He´s got a ton of energy. He´s the kind of friend you want when you need someone to pick you up when you´re down. Like last week when we had no one that came to church with us, I was ticked and just a little down and he was still pumped up and pickin me up. A great guy. 

Hi Family!
We had a great week this week. We had 9 investigators with us at church! We´re entering the marriage papers for Anderson and Angelica for sure this Friday. It´s marked and all of the papers are ready to go. They´ll be married in what will probably be my last weekend here. We´re setting the marriage and baptismal date for August 3rd. They were at church with us with their two kids. We went there last night and read A Proclamacao ao Mundo [Proclamation to the World] with them last night and talked about family relationships.

So this past week we worked in a city called Itaára again. I have heard that there are a lot of members there who are ready to come back to church, they just don´t know where to start. It´s a large city, with a lot of dirt roads and trees and large spaces where there are no houses. We were walking a long ways, literally lost in the trees, and came up to a house that looked familiar (I´d never seen this house in my life though) and we knocked there. There was a couple in there that were ready to come back to church! We just taught them a quick little lesson and left. They´re an older couple, who´ve been away from the church for a long time. He works for Herbal Life, so travels quite a bit. Yesterday when I saw them come into church I just felt so happy! The Bishop already interviewed him to get him ready for the priesthood. The woman, Alda, told the other sisters in the ward that they were just at home and two angels knocked on their door. How prepared can someone be to come back to church? We never know that´s why we have to “SEE MEN AS THEY CAN BECOME AS ACTIVE MEMBERS IN THE CHURCH, NOT AS THEY ARE”. I loved when President Monson said that. The man´s name is Arlindo. In the BYU transmission last week President Packer said that reactivating is as important as baptizing now. The faster we can get priesthood with these men, the quicker the work will advance here.

We had zone conference with President Parrela this week. He interviewed all of the missionaries in my zone the day before. My interview was for about an hour. I really like him! He´s a great guy, and has an awesome vision for the mission. He served in the Porto Alegre mission and his wife served in Sao Paulo Sul. We talked a lot about planning things out in our lives. How we need to set goals, and then do everything possible to achieve our goals. I think he´s going to move me during this transfer. I was the first interview he´s done during the whole mission

We´re still having a lot of success in the area and the members are loving us. We received a lot of references this last week, and a member called me like 2 minutes ago with two more references close to his house.  
We´re going to baptize the rest of the kids in the family of 10 this week. We´ve baptized 4 a few weeks ago, and this Saturday I hope we can baptize the other three kids. The mom wants them to be baptized, and she´s trying to get her husband to marry her so she can be baptized too.

I´ll send more information on that next week. I attached a pic of us playing basketball last week with some of the young me. WORKOUT. My legs are killing me! 

My testimony is growing stronger each day with all of my studying and the experiences that I´m having. I know that this church is true, and was created and organized to save families. I love this gospel.

I love you all very much, have a great week!.

Elder Shepherd 

Monday, July 1, 2013

New Mission President Elder Parrela, New Companion Elder Sol

How was your week?
It was very good. I am really liking my new companion.

Hows the Weather (it is about 101 degrees here in Centerville)?
It is cold, much better  than it was a few weeks ago.

Did you or your companion get transferred?
Yes, Elder Lopes is the new companion with Elder Law now and I have a new companion.He's been out 3 months on the mission. I am living with Elder Lopes and Elder Law. I kept our teaching group of families.

Is so, How is your new companion, tell us about him?
His name is Bruno Sol Bispos dos Santos. He is from Botucatu, Sao Paulo. He is very green in the mission but he is great!. We work together very well.   He was born in the covenant. His father served in Porto Alegre and his mother in Belo Horizonte. He is the oldest child in their family.

Hi Family,
So it will just be in Portuguese, so have fun translating. [Dads translation is what follows]
This is going to be very short as as well, because we are going to go play basketball  today after we sleep.  We had a very good week. I am happy mom is ok after her car accident.  I hope the government sends those illegals out of the country. This week was the first week that we have not had anyone at the church with us, just members. This made me very sad. I know that the Lord is testing my faith. Our entire teaching group is incredible. I thought we would have had more people there, but this week the timing was just off. Something that I learned is that everything happens on the Lords time, nothing more than this.  We will attend a wedding this week. Anderson and Angelica finally decided that they needed to get married so they could progress in the gospel. The way of God is not easy but it’s possible with much faith and patience. 

I really like my new companion. He loves sports and so I finally have someone with me that I can talk to about sports. I saw yesterday that the Brazil beat Spain in the “CUP” here.  All of the people were going crazy. It was awesome. I talked again in church. My Fourth time! I took a photo of me and my companion here in the LAN House. This transfer will be an effective transfer. The mission baptized 45 total in June and my companion and I baptized 5.  With 140 missionaries its a small number.  I think the new mission president will help a lot. I spoke with him yesterday!  He is going to be a very good.  He is retired military and worked as Coordinator of Genealogy for all of Brazil before that.  He served a mission in Porto Alegre and his wife served a mission in Sao Paulo South. She is from Cruz Alta, haha.  So basically, they are in their home area here.  

We attended the BYU Fireside yesterday. It was super good. I saw Austin Jelitto there on his mission [Washington D.C.], How crazy is that?

It’s going to be strange here soon. We are going to start using Facebook for one hour in the mornings talking to investigators and members from the ward.  I think at first it will be very different but in the future it will be very effective.
There were many announcements yesterday that the missionaries will like.  I think the church will continue to focus on Genealogy with the missionaries as a way to make contact with people. 

I love all of you very much and hope that all is going well.  Everyone have a great week.

Elder Shepherd