27 December 2010

Christmas in Argentina

What a blessing it was to call you guys on the phone! That was awesome! So I am pretty sure you guys want to know how Navidad passed here in Argentina. Well let's just say it is blazing hot and not that many people have decorations up but besides that it was amazing. We had to chance to visit a bunch of families, members and teach people the real importance of Christmas. Sometimes we get so caught up but I found that it is so much better to give than receive, especially something that you can´t tangibly hold on to...the Gospel. Well after an amazing dinner with Familia Garcete, we headed back to the pench and went to bed. The whole night you can hear fireworks and right at Midnight on Christmas Eve the whole country erupted with fireworks and M80´s going off everywhere. I felt like I was in the middle of World War 2. It was gnarly haha. Something I will never forget, and members told me that's not even close to the New Year's celebration. So I am looking forward to that. We had some miracles during this Christmas season, I´ve never seen members so generous as in this ward. We seriously walk by and they come out and yell at us to come in the house to drink something cold and to eat some cake hah. During the week we had a baptism of Yamila! She was baptized on the 23rd and confirmed this Sunday. It is amazing to see the gospel work in peoples lives and really change. She is one of the strongest changes I have seen in someone here in the mission. It just really tells you that the church is true over and over again and it makes you work harder to bring this blessing to other people. Just visiting people and spending Christmas in the street with people that are humble made my Christmas one of the best. It´s a bit different celebrating Christmas in the summer. Everywhere there is music playing and people outside enjoying the shade and drinking matte with the Family. It´s just a whole new culture and I love it. Then in the nights everyone is outside and enjoying time with friends, family and living life. That plus the Gospel equals what I want hah. I am just grateful for the chance to be here in Argentina. Even if the days are hard, being with someone 24/7, and having to leave things behind but it is all worth it to just be here with the people and teach them and see them enjoy the gospel and what it brings.

I miss you guys so much and it was great hearing your voices. Tell everyone thank you for the encouraging words and that I think about you guys all the time. When I talked to McKenna that made my whole year! I miss my bestfriend and little sister!

Elder Shepherd

20 December 2010

Christmas Wishes

Well I want to send a Christmas email to you guys telling you all how much I love you guys and miss you. When I came into the cyber I recieved a montón de cartas... oh wait, I should be typing in English hah. I got a lot of emails from family and friends and I really appreciated it. Thank you to everyone!

Well we had our P-day navidad today and everyone met in the offices to celebrate. This year was a bit more spiritual but never the less it was still fun and we got a lot out of it as missionaries. You really do have to realize the real meaning of Christmas which is our Savior Jesucristo. We had a gift exchange too and I recieved a mug which I guess will come to good use. Better than the Pan Dulce we had hah. Then we rushed back to the pench to do our emails to inform our family when we are going to call! So I am here right now letting you guys know that!!

Well the plan is that we are going to call at 12.00 so right at Lunch! Noon! I´ll be able to talk for 40 minutes maybe more depends.. I´ll be calling Soda's house!

Well I´m pretty excited to talk to you guys so my email is short this time but I want to let you guys know I love you all and thanks for all the emails from everyone. Remember how Christmas is a lot better when we give ourselves and do service for others and see how others grow. I have learned that so much here on my mission and during this time of the season. It is amazing to see the peace and hope the gospel brings into peoples lives. Remember the blessings we have because you don't realize what you have until they are gone!

Love you guys and can´t wait to talk to you at 12am !!!!

Elder Shepherd

13 December 2010

Well family what's up?

I can´t believe that it is almost Christmas? Time is flying here because it is hot and really I don't even realize that it is Christmas. There is only a few decorations here in Mariano Acosta but hopefully I will start hearing Christmas music! We had a stake activity with every ward bringing their own Christmas desserts. All the missionaries enjoyed some time with the stake for about 1 hour then we went back out to work and back to the pench! Well I have a new companion and this week has been a great week. We worked hard and guess what.. our baptism worked out perfectly! Lisette Diaz was baptized on the 11th of December and was confirmed a member on the 12th! It was an amazing baptism and I am so glad she has made the decision to be baptized and follow in the church. Her brother Eric is going to receive the priesthood too next week.

Well the week went great with the baptism. We also found a lot of new people to start working with, but of course it had to rain this Sunday!! So that means, everyone was scared and didn´t want to come to church! Brenda and Marcela still came! They seriously are members and Brenda is going to be baptized on 2 of January! I´m looking forward to the 23rd because Yamila and Marcos are going to be baptized then after their baptism we have a ward Christmas dinner!! Wooo I am stoked. This week our lunch list too got full of people. We have dinner for the 24th and lunch with the bishop on the 25th! I am excited to open up my Christmas gifts from the family!!!

Well I´m stoked from the baptism this week. I need to buy a thing to transfer my pictures from the SD card to the computer because I can´t find my cable anymore so next week I´ll send some pictures.

Thanks for everything and tell Soda thank you for the package!! I love it!


06 December 2010

Hey Family

Well right now I am enjoying the short time I have in the offices with A/C and emailing you guys. I spent the night here in The Offices. Its cool to see the backend of the mission.

Wow what a crazy week. Where do I start with this last week? Well last time I emailed I was in 9 de Julio for a little bit to stay there. Ended up I went to go work with Elder Baldomero in Chivilcoy for 3 days and I had a great time. We seriously worked really well together and had a great time. He is from Hawaii so he is already chill and a great guy. We tore it up with 24 lessons in 3 days and had some great lessons and sacked 2 fetchas with new people. His new companion is Elder LaTorre. But I had an amazing time in Chivilcoy and I am really wanting to go visit again someday. It really does feel like Southern California with a European accent. We had some great nights with empanadas, asados,and just talking about everything at night. Our window had a perfect view off the pizza resturant(that was super nice)and we just watched people hhah. Next I was sent back to 9 de Julio because Elder Baldomeros' companion returned. There it was me and 3 others elders and we had a blast too. I am sad to say but we didnt work a bunch because he was leaving and was visiting the people there. I got to know a lot of new people and for the 3 days that I was there I felt they took me in too. I already have a nickname and people that want to stay in contact. They all thought I was going to stay there but I told them I had to leave and head back to my area regular. I had a great time and I would love to go back to Campo.

Well Elder Bennett se va and I have a new companion right now who was the old secretary in the offices ( Elder Millard) so they just traded spots so I am excited to work with him in Mariano Acosta. We left in a hurry but I miss the people that we are teaching and we actually have a baptism this weekend and on Wednesday. I am hoping to make sure they all work out. I am pretty nervous to see how the future brings.

I was able to see Nelson Cisneros from Villa Celina in the transfer meetings. Hna. Cisneros made Milanesas for a bunch of missionaries and Nelson brought them and gave them to me to give to everyone. It was great seeing him but at the same time sad because I am not in that area anymore. I talked with Hna Cisneros on the phone of Nelson too, that was great. I really do miss them.

That's about it for the week. I can't explain everything because it was a great week but hopefully the fotos bring some actual proof from it. I received four packages at conference today!! Everyone was jealous hah. One from Soda and 3 from you guys. Thank you so much for sending me packages to support me.

Love you guys, enjoy this week and I will be talking with you guys in less thatn 20 days on the phone!!

Elder Shepherd

29 November 2010

Flash Transfer

Well I just want to say Hello from 9 de Julio in Campo!

So much has happened in the last 24 hours. So here I go!

So after church on Sunday we went back to the pench to change our clothes back into street working clothes for the mission. Then out of nowhere the assistants call and told us that they are coming by in 3 hours to come pick us up. Elder Bennett is heading to the offices to be the new secretary of materials! So basically it´s a flash too because he has to go to the offices to train. So I was thinking I was going to get a new companion right away and keep working in Mariano Acosta, but they told me to pack enough stuff to last me a week! The thing is that we didn´t know anything until the assistants picked us up. So we left Maiano Acosta in a hurry and we are driving to centro and we get a call from the assistants again and I guess I am heading to a bus station!! So I took a double decker bus for 6 hours to a city called 9 de Julio! So right now, I am here in 9 de Julio in a computer cyber emailing you guys! What a 24 hours right???!?! I´m still kinda shell shocked but I´ve learned I'll be in a companionship with Elder Boldumero from Hawaii in this area. So for now I am out here in Campo for one week until transfers next Monday, at which time I will be assigned a new companion to start working with back in Mariano Acosta! So I´ll let you guys know how it goes this week! It´s going to be weird and excited I hope hah.

Well this last week in Mariano Acosta was pretty normal. We had a great investigator assistance in the church again. We hit 7 even with some of our strongest investigators having other obligations. But the best news is that our Investigators Yamila and Marcos got married this Thursday! They are officially married and are able to be baptized in the future. We have their set date on the 23 of december! It´s awesome. It´s amazing how much the gospel can change the lives of people. Marcos told us he really is happy and content with his life right now.

With that, I dont know what to write more besides the fact I am 6 hours away from Mariano Acosta hah but we werent able to get Turkey for Thanksgiving. We ended up eating some Oreos and that's about it. Life on the mission! I can´t wait till Christmas hah. I´ll probably upgrade to double stuffed oreos or something like that! I´m sure we are going to have a great dinner with a family here. The weather cooled down this week so that was nice. Instead of it being 32º and humid we had temps of 24º !! It´s the best blessing in the world haha! Well thats about it for the week. We had the chance to head to another area to do some interviews for the Sister Missionaries. I love riding the train there. It takes about 30 minutes but you def have time to think. On the way back it was just about sunset and it was amazing outside and I really felt how blessed I am to be a missionary right now. Times are hard, usually everyday is a challenge but it´s worth it. I´m almost hitting 9 months now. Time has flown and has been really slow... but thats life and you just have to keep going along. The Gospel is evverything and we are so blessed.

Love you guys, I´ll get my mail next week since this week is a crazy week but I´ll talk to you guys next week.

Elder Shepherd

22 November 2010

The Fireball

Well this week we had a dope weekend with 9 people in church with us as investigators! We were going to break 10 but two of our investigators had to go out of town to visit some family. So with 9 people in church with us that is awesome!

Bueno we worked hard this week to find some new people and we did. We found a family from Bolivia but are living in Argentina right now and their 17 old daughter (Kateryn) and cousin (Mateo) came with us to church this Sunday too. She is excited to go to some activities with the Young Women in the ward. We are so blessed to have a strong ward. We hit 130 people in church this week. Every auxilary helps, is strong and its the closest thing to an American Ward hah. Even with a strong ward we have been working hard because there is a lot of potential here in the area of Mariano Acosta. Some other great news is that Yamila and Marcos are getting married this week and they are planning to get baptized in December. They are so ready for the Gospel! The funny thing is that some of their family was baptized by Elder Bush and I heard stories about that family from Elder Bush and it ends up I am in the area right next to his old area teaching some of the other family! Small world! We also have another family we are teaching and their daughter is wanting to be baptized in two weeks! The mom isn´t able to be baptized yet but she is working on getting divorced and to casarse (get married) with her boyfriend that she is living with right now.

So we got a lot of investigators in our pool right now and its looking good for the future! On the other side of the news it is getting hot! It got up to 30º yesterday and humid and its only going to get hotter! We got to the pench last night and got up on the roof and saw the storm come in. Pretty rad but then it started to rain but we just chilled in the pench before bed. I went on divisions with the Zone Leaders Wednesday and something hilarious happened... well to me but he asked me to come over and light the oven and I did but he left the gas on a little too much and a huge fireball came out and a tad of my eyebrow is fried along with some arm hair, haha. Don't worry Mom, I'm all good just a little mission crazyness. Also we bought some slingshots from some kids in the street. Well he is actually a member but he's a street rat, hah. For 2 pesos we bought the ¨best slingshots in the world¨ I am proud to say I am officially funding the slingshot business of Buenos Aires. What's more? Maxi our dog is doing great and loving everytime we come home from a long day of work. That's about it for the excited part of the week. Not everyday is super exciting but that's about it!

Love you guys.

15 November 2010

Visit to Lobos

Sounds like everything is going normal at home. Nothing much to report here besides another week down in the mission. Another great week with 8 people in church and they are all progressing! Marcos and Yamila are solid and are excited for their marriage date and baptism too! Marcos is coming along, he's a bit harder but he prayed with us last night so that is a huge step! We also had our other families in the Church along with our other investigators. We have a planned baptism this week for Liset a 11 year old girl and the trick is that the dad supports her 100% but the mom still thinks she is too young so we will hopefully have it worked out. The work is going really well here in Mariano Acosta and things are just coming out of nowhere, especially references from members which are the best! We are finding a lot of new people and working with them to come to church because that is how they are going to progress! Can´t wait to see what the week brings.

Tuesday I had the chance to go to Lobos, this little town in the middle of nowhere for Divisions... it's like a 2 hour train ride all the way there. I was expecting a pretty country area but it is like a suppperr nice city in the middle of nowhere. It felt like I was in a Argentine version of downtown Park City hah. I'll attach a picture too. But I went on divisions with an Elder from Peru, Elder Zamorra and we killed it and had a great day! Today we headed over to Moreno and went to go buy stuff but since we are guys, we just walked all around and didn´t buy anything... got back on the train and came back to Mariano Acosta defeated... but we had a awesome Milanesa sandwhich, cleaned the pench and crashed during a thunderstorm. Now I am emailing!

That's about it for the week. Just another week in Mariano Acosta and loving it!

01 November 2010

Tormenta Blanca

Another week down in Mariano Acosta.

So it´s been a pretty interesting week and I guess I´ll start off on Tuesday were we had a Tormenta Blanca in another area with the Sister Missionaries. It´s pretty much all the Elders in our Zone go and work in one area for a day. That is why we call it a White Storm, haha. We did really well and they have a bunch of new people to teach and they are pretty excited. They recently got sent to their area and the two of them are brand new too so they had to start from scratch. Also Wednesday was a pretty funny day too. Census Day in Argetina and we had to stay in the pench until 5 in the afternoon!! It was soo boring but we had some fun playing baseball, fooling around with this stray dog that is pretty much ours now and of coarse sleeping. It was nice to catch up on sleeping but really you will never ever catch up on the amount of sleep we lose on the mission. We named it Census P-day! The lady came by, clapped and we got censused but she totally butchered my name but who cares hah. I went on divisions this Friday with another elder in Marcos Paz. He's actually from Colombia and his accent is thick! Elder Hernandez and it was a pretty bad day to work because it was Raining... Raining hard but we still went out and we got soaked... I mean I was drenched like I jumped into a pool. So that was a pretty fun experience when it was over and when I was completely dry hah. The rest of the week went normal, working with our investigators and I have some great news about two of our investigators! They recently sacked a date for their marriage without us knowing! And they are excited to be baptized too. Just have to wait until the 25th of this month and they will be married! They are seriously studs, Yanina and Marcos. They have been coming to church often and have been really progressing in the lessons that we have with them. It's awesome to see them really apply the gospel in their lives. The ward here is really involved with missionary work too. We had 3 hours of just missionary work this Sunday. Elder Bennett and I gave them class the first hour then the 2nd hour too. Sacrament was under control by the Bishopric. A future missionary gave a talk as well as the bishop and a few testimonies out of the crowd. It was a great Sunday, a bit stressful but when it was over it was a pretty American Sunday if you ask me.

Well the weather is starting to heat up, the work is going great here in Mariano Acosta. It´s humid too soo I can tell the summer is going to be hoorrrribbleee. I'm going to die but what can I do?! nothing hah. Today we made BBQ Chicken Pizza too! A little taste of America... then you realize that you are back in Argentina hah. Also for Halloween we made some Masks... because we are poor missionaries and we have nothing else to do and we are pretty limited in celebrating Halloween hah. This week we ate a lot... they seem to think we can eat infinite number of empanadas and milanessas... I'm still human and I actually don't want to gain weight hah. Besides that, another normal week in the Mission. I can't believe it is Novemember already... it's flying by but at the same time it is pretty long... especially when the days are hard.

Well Love you guys and can´t wait to hear from you next week.

Elder Shepherd

25 October 2010

New Area - Mariano Acosta

Alright so I am in a new area!!

Mariano Acosta in Marcos Paz and I am companions with Elder Bennet from Boston Mass so he hates the Yankees so we instantly hit it off! I can´t believe I am in a new area right now it´s mind blowing. I am so used to Villa Celina and I´ll always say that is my Home. 

I´m really missing my old area and everyone but at the same time I am excited to head to a new area. This area is actually really strong. We have a strong, strong ward with everything working the way it should. The ward has about 120 active members with two people serving full time missions and a couple who served mini missions for 6 weeks. It was weird having to meet everyone again but at least people say, ¨Wow your spanish is good for just 7 months¨ I´ve been working on sounding Argentine. It´s difficult but it´s coming, hah. To tell how strong the ward is, we had 8 people come to church without our help -- yeah pretty gnarly. So the new area is more country side too. The area is so chill but it´s pretty big too with 95% of people being Argentine. No more Pan de Bolivia or other Bolivian and Paraguayan stuff -- bummer. I´ll try to send some photos next time because this computer is lame and doesn´t let me send fotos at all!

Well the best news is that Vanessa was baptized! I got permission from President to head back to Villa Celina to do the baptism. We arrived around 7pm but she wasn´t there. It ended up being 9 and it was time to head home to get back to our area before it was too late. I told them to wait a couple of minutes because I had to grab something in a classroom of the church. I really went and prayed and came out, got my stuff and left really sad. This baptism was everything for me and for her. We worked so much together and my wish was to be there for her baptism. So as we were leaving she arrived in a Remis and we held her baptism service! It really was a miracle to be there for her baptism. I never have seen her more happy before and she means so much to me to see someone come unto Christ like that. It was hard to leave after that but we are going to stay in contact through letters. She told me I was an angel in her life and that makes all the hard times seem like nothing.

Villa Celina had two baptisms this weekend, Vanessa and Bianca. I was there for Bianca but I am happy for her baptism and another daughter of God come into the church! 

I´m really missing my old area, even Hna. Cisneros came to the transfer meeting to see me go. That's how much they are family to me. 

But I´m off to a new area, it´s been hard to adjust but I just have to take it one day at a time. I´ll definitely have some pictures to show you guys!

Love you guys,
Elder Shepherd

18 October 2010

Wrapping Up in Villa Celina

What's up family!

Well I don't have much to say this email besides that it has been a long long week that I don´t want to end. I really don´t know where to start besides that this is my last couple of days here in Villa Celina and I do not want to leave. I´m excited to go but I never realized that I would be so sad to leave. The work here is great, the districts are doing well this week and the transfer is coming to an end. This next two days I´ll be visiting the families and converts to say good bye and to get the last few moments in with them. This Sunday was pretty nuts.. I haven´t really told anyone that I am leaving yet but some people know in the ward. So the word got out and I never noticed how big of an impact I had on people here. I brought my camera for some pictures after church and a lot of people started to ask to takes pictures and everything so I went with it and got some pictures in with families. I´ll have a lot more when I visit people. Doing work for almost 6 months in a ward and giving it your all is hard but I never felt so happy this last Sunday because everyone thanks you for everything and is sad that you are leaving. I knew they cared for me but not this much. I have been so blessed with a loving ward here and everyone one of them has impacted my life.

So this week the main thing I´ll write about is our Investigator Vanessa. So we have been waiting for her interview for baptism because she works in the capital Monday - Saturady so we got her interview in at 9:00 Saturday. It was so crazy because we had the interview setup with the counselor of the President after a whole week of confusion. Then Vanessa was going to show up late so we went to pick her up at the edge edge edge of our mission. Like we could walk 20 yards and be in North and the South mission! So we found her at the bus stop and went to the interview at the chapel and everything was going great and she is ready for baptism! She is going to be baptized this Saturday but I´ll be leaving... but I am going to ask President for permission to return to the area to do the baptism. She asked me personally that I would perform the ordinance. She says that I´m an angel in her life. She´s like my favorite person here in Argetina and I seriously love this person so much. I´d do anything for her and her family. So I am praying and hoping that I can come back to Villa Celina. She told me she´s going to send letters for christmas, my birthday, etc etc along with the family.

Wow it´s so hard to know that I am leaving because I know that I´m loosing contact with these people for a long time. I´m trying not to lose it between everyone so I can keep in touch with everyone after the mission too. Especially with my investigators because they mean so much to me.

So off to more work and to visit the families in the area then at 8.00 hrs at the offices we are having our transfer meeting. They cut it early this time because President has to leave to Uruguay for a meeting. I really wish I would be here until the 26th!!!!! but I hope everything works out that I can be here for the Baptism.

Hope everything is going great at home. My shoes are almost destroyed so if you can get the new ones to me, I would really love it haha. 

11 October 2010

Vanessa Getting Baptized Next Week

So another week already went by in the mission! Well I think you guys know pretty much everything so far hah! Besides that I´ll just do a run down of the week... Well today for P-day we played basketball with the American elders in the morning and it felt so good to play a sport besides soccer for a change. Then we bought our food and went to the pench and chilled for a while and now I am emailing!

The weather is starting to pick up with the heat! I´m starting to realize that I am in Argentina and yea it does get pretty hot. It´s starting to be an average of 25°C with humidy and I´m pretty sure it gets up to 37 average during Christmas time and Enero. The dogs are still the same, they are so much bigger here in Argentina too because I really think they are bears. If they try to attack you or bite, you really just grab a rock and chuck it at them and if they get hit it´s all good. Usually all the dogs are pretty chill but there are some that are from the Devil. During the week we had the regular routine of lessons and everything and our investigators are progressing pretty well. I´m really tired of people lying so lately we have been having the short visits with the bold, basically asking them what do you want to get out of us being here!

So our best investigator Vanessa is so close to being baptized she always asks me and I have never seen someone want to join the church so bad. We just have to do one more interview and she´s in the font. We had a great lesson last night with her and she told me I was an angel for her in her life and the family told me the same thing. This family in only 3 weeks have become the closet family to me here in Argentina along with my converts. Also I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting because it was the first sunday, and let´s say the members saw a soft side of me that day because I knew I was leaving. These people mean so much to me, it still hasn´t hit me that I am leaving.  I have a little something for everyone that I am going to leave behind. I have already received gifts from the converts which means so much. I´ll try to take some pictures but I can´t wait to show you guys at home. A lot of people are like ok, I´m adding you on Facebook and I say.. alright in 17 months hah. Worth the wait!

Two more weeks in Villa Celina. So many memories and people that I love. There are three worlds here in Villa Celina;  the chetto is a rich area where everyone are snobs, the humble people that are all ready to hear the gospel, and the Villa where people have the hardest lives and want to listen but can´t make it to church because they all have to work. The Villa is so amazing. It´s rough there, kids playing in the street without shoes, water in the gutters that looks like something from a different planet, walking down a dirt road with everything outside drinking mate listening to reggaetone and if you are out in the streets at sundown you are surely to be jumped..

Man I love my mission! So many people have affected my life and to see people change to come closer to Christ is the best feeling in the world.

Well give shout outs to everyone in the Family! McKenna do well in school and work hard!

Con amor
Elder Shepherd

04 October 2010

Heeyy!  How is the family doing back home in The States?!

It´s a great time to be in Argetina, the weather is perfect about 20ºC and the mission is going great. Well to start off the email.. conference was pretty awesome right? Wow it means so much more on the Mission too and you really gain the appreciation for the words of the Profetas and the Apostoles of the Church. The first session was my favorite, especially the discourso of Elder Holland. It really felt he was talking right to me because I know that you guys give up so much for me to be here on my mission and I cannot thank you guys enough.  Even in the hard hard moments I am still grateful for everything. Thank you family! Love you guys more than I love Asados here in Argetina or enjoying the beach... haha!

Well the conference weekend was pretty sweet.  We worked hard up to conference weekend because we wanted to watch all the sessions.  We were lucky enough to have it broadcasted in Ingles. All the American missionaries all watched it in a room and we all had a good time. Inbetween sessions we went to get something to eat and some ice cream from Argetina, yea the Ice Cream here beats anything in the world. I´m always stoked to eat some because it's rare as a missionary to get some hah. But the best part our conference was our investigators that came with us! Vanessa came with us with her family here from Peru and she loved it. After the conference she kept on asking me.. ¨So Elder.. when is my baptism?!´ She is looking forward to her baptism so much! We usually get to teach her only on Sundays because she works all day but she has Sundays off now so it's amazing to have come to church then at night go and teach her! Every lesson is amazing and spiritual with her. She is so funny and enthusiastic too hah. Straight up Capa.

There are still more dogs here in Argetina than people and it is a great time to be here in the Mission.  Our ward took a Micro or Bus to conference for the first session on Sunday and it was awesome. I just love being with the people here in the Ward. They really are like my family and I love them. I have great videos to show you guys when I get home! Practice your Castellano so you are able to understand when you see it ja ja.

Besides that it was a great week. The days go by so fast when you lose yourself in the work. This week was great but there are always obstacles everywhere. Sometimes I was discouraged during the week but you just keep on working through it and be humble and get on your knees and pray because realmente you are always not good enough. I prayed for something to work out at the end of the week all morning and night this week and really something did work out. Our Heavenly Father does listen to our prayers and you have to wait for the answer to come in His time. Remember to humble yourselves and be grateful for everything we have! I´ll have to show the notes of conference to you guys when I get home hah.

Well I love you guys so much and miss you a lot but I look forward from hearing from you guys every week. Like mom said, it's the same moon so I get to see you guys every night before bed. Thanks for all the sacrifices you guys do for me and throughout my life! Love you McKenna!

Con Amor,
Elder Shepherd

Keep it real back home! 

Little girl from the ward watching the Bolivian Parade

Young boys from the ward at the parade

Bolivian Parade

Bolivian Dancing Ladies

27 September 2010

Hey everybody!

Well first off I was super sick this week hah. I got some stomach bacteria and let's just say I lost about 10 pounds, but I am not sure, but it sure feels like it. Well there you go mom, I had to get the bad news for you out of the way first right hah.

Well it's been a pretty good week besides the sick part but we had some killer lessons, especially with members later. We are really working a lot more with some of the members here and they are studs. Especially this family from Peru. We are planning to have some baptisms in a couple of weeks so we are working hard with Bianca, Vanessa, Daniela and a bunch more. But we know that usually only a few step in the waters of baptism so we are always looking for more people to teach.

Well this week was pretty normal. Nothing new really happened besides the progress of our investigators. We aheaded to the Salada this morning ( a huge flea market) and I got a pretty nice Manchester United Jersey for 25 pesos.. but its not like American quality hah. During the week we have this crazy dog in the Villa that always looks for us and when we does he seriously jumps all over us. It´s pretty funny because when we see him.. its like oh noo... Chickatine.. and sometimes we start running for fun and of course he gets crazy!  The weather is starting to heat up. Time for the awkward sweating in peoples houses now. I´m not looking foward too it hah.

Besides that, like I said, a normal week here in Villa Celina in Argetina. Still can´t believe it, I´m serving my mission. It´s hard but you experience what only a few people can experience. It´s amazing to see the lives of people change and the worst feeling when something stops them from progressing and they don't want visits anymore.

Love you family!
Take care

Checking out the score at local WalMart

Yummy asada on the BBQ....with a little dirt

20 September 2010

Hey Family...how is everything going?!

Well another week in the mission field but what a week! Sounds like everything is full swing back home, tell McKenna her schedule sounds crazy but keep it up!

Well it has been a really nice week, weather wise, around 20ºC average and a great week in the mission. The area is really improving and we are working really hard right now. So we have been working with the Family in the Villa for 2 weeks now and Bianca is super excited to come to church every week.   We already have a baptism date set for her but the only thing that is holding her back is that she wants to finish the Communion that her school offers her; but, she says she wants to be baptized! This week we are going to have some killer lessons with members and really work with her. She is awesome and it is going to be a great week with her and the family. Usually the Grandma, Bianca, and her little sister come to church but the mom of Bianca hasn´t come yet but she is planning to come next week. I have the word next week though... but whatever, we will keep trying!

We have an awesome investigator too named Vanessa. She is from Peru and knows a family here in the ward so she already has great support from them. She showed up to church out of no where so we jumped on that and we are teaching her now! Although last Sunday she dissapeared! We heard that she left Buenos Aires to go find work but she came back this Saturday and we got in contact and she came to church!  We had a great lesson last night too with all her family that lives here.  She had so many questions but we were able to teach her the Plan of Salvation to answer everything! This family is so awesome!

So we are going to work really hard this week! Every week is hard but it's really a blessing at the same time. You really do get lost in the work and all you can focus on is the next cita or the next dia or whatever hah.

Villa Celina has been going great. The weather is perfect, the ward is awesome as usual and I can´t believe it is the end of Septiembre already. Time really does fly but to be real, its slow too haha. I´m not going to lie.. I am ready to have a good P-day of some rest because I´m feeling a little sick but I´ll be fine.

Nothing really more but I love my Area and the Mission. Hope everything is going well at home and I love hearing from you guys and what's happening!

Elder Shepherd

13 September 2010

I am staying one more transfer in Villa Celina!! We got the call Saturday night and the funny thing happened...our zone leader called and played a prank on us and told us the wrong news!  Everyone was freaking out, including me! We eventually got the correct information and I am here for one last transfer!

Well what to talk about this week in the Mission?  It´s all a blur right now.. time is flying but at the same time.. not hah. Well we taught a bunch of lessons and have some great new people but they aren't really ready at the moment.  We had a miracle in the Villa this week!  It all started when we visited a past investigator and her friend was there.   We end up talking with her friend too and get a "date" to pass by. We pass by but no one was there, so we sat down for a little while outside of the house to plan. Then a woman from Bolivia came outside and started talking to us.  She was baptized in Bolivia and we talked and talked and she invited us in.  We started teaching the Grandma, mom and daughter. The mom and daughter (Bianca) aren´t members and they wanted to come to church! So this Sunday we brought the daughter to church because the mom couldn't come...but the daughter came! She even wanted to see the baptismal font. We have a baptism date set for her on the 25 of September! I am excited to see her progress but I know Satan is going to work hard!! Also we have some great new investigators, some in the Villa and in Celina. The hardest part is bringing them to church but we are thinking of new ways to get people to church. We are still working with our old investigators but we are always looking for new people.

So what more? In the Villa there is a part full of Paraguayans and I have learned some Gutanei so I can communicate with them better haha. They are soo awesome because they love to play volleyball and they are soo chill and down to earth! One of our investigators is from Paraguay too! Shows how awesome they are! Elder Kupihea left for a new area and we have Elder Bush in the pench now. He has made a good first impression and knew Crew Naylor in the MTC. Hah we were almost robbed on the way here to the internet cafe. It´s ok mom, getting robbed is normal here.. ;)  But I haven´t been robbed yet so it´s all good. It's been a rainy day today but the week looks good. The temperature is perfect but it's humid and the Summer is going to be suuuppperr hot because of the humidity. Oh and CCR is playing on the radio.. hah!

Well that's about it for today.  Have a great week!

Love you guys!!! - Elder Shepherd


06 September 2010

Wow!  That is awesome to hear that Kyston got his mission call!! I got a letter from him last week. I was pretty stoked to see a letter from a bro from the states!! I hope everything is going well back home. 95 and sunny, something I really don't miss haha but it is starting to warm up here too. Give a good bye from me to the Lish Family and Katie. I can´t believe she is going all the way to Thailand!

Well another week in the mission and almost at my 6 month mark. Ya Fue mi mission! It 1/4 done already? I can´t believe it but at the same time it seems forever hah. The days are going great this week but it's still a hard time in the area right now. The doors aren't opening up as much as they usually are. We're having the same amounts of lessons but bringing people to church is getting harder and harder. Well the constant rain this week didn´t help that much either because the Argentines are pretty much afraid of rain and don't want to come out but you keep tredging through the mud and something will work out. Yeah my shoes are pretty much destroyed from the mud this week hah.  We have hit the limits of our mission both to the north and to the south. We can cross a street and hit the North Mission and South at the same time. We are trying to find some Paraguyans right now becuase hah they are ballers and are great people but we are looking for everyone! Everyone in the streets or just anyone we come in contact with. You really cannot miss an opportunity to share the gospel with someone. Even if 98% of those you contact you get rejected... that one person that has an effect is the best thing ever.

Even though we had a hard week we had a miracle too. We had the plan for 5 people to be in church but somehow everyone just had something come up or had to work on Sunday. It is so hard to see people that want to come but they seriously have to work on Sundays to provide for their family. It isn´t like the States were you work on Sundays to gain more money to be more comfortable.... these people HAVE to work on Sundays to survive. But at church we had one person show up out of nowhere! She is from Peru and just moved here and knows a family from our ward too. She is loving the church and we already have a lesson with a member planned for this week. She definitely is a chosen one ready for the Gospel. Even though our current investigators are struggling, we are still working hard with them too. Juan Pablo is having no support from his family and they are such a bad example for him because he has to rely on his uncle for everything. If his uncle wants something done, he has to do it.. The uncle is a member too but one of those ¨come for two weeks then be inactive for a couple of months¨. It is so hard to see him want to come but at the same time the example of his uncle and the family are rubbing off because he wants to wait and wait and not really come to church anymore! Ahhh soo lammeee! Lida finally got her job she has been studying for for a long time.  She has the bad schedule because she is new.. So she has to work on Sundays. In time she will be brought into the church... it is just hard because I was there the whole time answering all her questions and teaching her but really it was the Spirit.. In due time she will be a member of the Church. I know it!

Well that's it for the week. Today we had our Zone activity and played futbol, basketball, volleyball and went to Walmart with a couple of the Elders to eat at a McDonalds.   28 Pesos for a double cheeseburger, fries and the puniest 7up drink ever.... hah but it's all good. Time to work hard this week. This might be my last one here in Villa Celina!! I dont know, I´ll get the call this Saturday night. So next pday I will have the news.

Well I have learned so much in the last two weeks about how you just have to keep having confidence in the Lord even if it is a hard time in life. Just keep working through it because like it says in D&C 121, it will be only be for a short moment. I hope everything is going great at home. I love you guys so much and keep being strong in the church, it really is everything! Enjoy the blessings and have fun too!

Disfruta La Vida! Les Amo!

 Love you guys so much, thanks for all the support.

Elder Shepherd

30 August 2010

Well what a week, what a week! I´m not going to lie it was a pretty down week. Everything seemed to work against us. We had a planned baptism this weekend but it feel through because Juan Pablo´s family is giving him no support. He is so cool but also he wants to wait because he told us he feels like he is going at this alone, just with us.   He told us that we are his only friends right now. Another investigator Lida who is awesome too just finished up her studying for a job at the hospital and she is starting to work on Sundays! Then all our people that we taught this week are not progressing too. It seems like a dry two weeks. It is really hard right now but just gotta keep going. Time to tear is up this week and find new people and work hard.

This pench (apartment) is great, we are working hard and had a great lunch today hah. We ate at a restaurant and had some good food!!! I took a picture it was so good. 

The owner always greets us we walk by, and he gives us discounts too hah. My companion is Elder Cruz, I am sure I told you that and he is from Mendosa, Argentina.  We have a native in our pench. The pench is still a 4 man pench (Elder Kupihea, Elder Gonzalez from Paraguay, and Elder Cruz.  It is soo fun hah but we work hard too. We cleaned the pench today too, it was pretty dirty haha. But don't worry it's all good now. Today we are going to play futbol with the young men in the ward in about 30 minutes and then rest a bit then get back to work. What more, the weather is perfect right now, somedays it gets pretty hot but the normal is 15 degrees Cº.  The Villa is going good, it´s still a shocker seing how poor people are here but at the same time I love working in there because it is humble and the people are real. But they still have that mentality of living in a free area. The people in the Villa are pretty rough and live a hard life, a lot of cholos too. This might be my last 2 weeks in this area!! I am sad because I love these people and it is my first area. I was born here!

Well that is about it. A rough week but another week ahead to work hard. I got the package from the ward! Love it, got the notes from the kids. Tell them I said thanks!

I love you guys and always look forward from hearing from you every week. I can´t believe McKenna starts middle school today. Wish her luck from me and I know she will be fine. I want to know how she likes it and how different it is from elementary school hah.

Love you guys,

Elder Shepherd

part 2

Walking in the villa at sunset is pretty amazing too. There is always Reggeatone playing and kids in the street. I love it when the kids come up to you because they know you are the Elders. Well time to work hard!

23 August 2010

Hey, how's it going in Las Vegas?

Another week right? Wow time is flying by.. It is almost the end of Agosto?! Well this week has been a pretty good week, we definitely worked hard. We found a lot of new people to teach but only one came to church this Sunday! Talk about a week killer! We call Sundays, game days because you work so hard during the week and Sunday is the big day to see the people come to church. It is so hard though in the area for people to come to church though. Everyone has to survive and work on Sundays here, let alone the Iglesia is really far away. It is so hard to see people want to change their lives but have to work on Sundays... If I had one wish in this world it would be that the Ferria ¨Flea Market¨ is not on Sunday!! The area here is pretty populated with Bolivians so they are all working in the fabricas doing their thing then they go to a huge ferria Sunday to sell what they made. Everyone puts Addidas or Nike on a shirt and somehow that makes it legit haha.

We had a killer lesson with Lida this week with our relief society president. Lida is such a baller, she is from Peru and has the cutest daughter hah. She actually walked all the way to church with the kid and loved church! I told her it was the same in my city too and she was like  ¨ wow I love it ¨ especially for her daughter too. This next sunday we are cooking breakfast for her American Style haha and her sister wants to come too. We are going to invite the 19 year old daughter too. Still waiting for her to get interested.. she sits in with the lessons when she is home but really only wants to learn English from me hah. I´m going to get her to church.

This week we are going to blow the doors down and find a lot of new people. We have people to teach now but they are not progressing. It is just not their time yet.. its hard to say that because I want them so badly to find the gospel in their lives but just gotta keep trying.

So I got my haircut! It´s a Curt Whitaker buzz haha, yeah I got it short all the way around. The weather is starting to heat up so its nice. The weather is perfect but its humid so sometimes it gets too hot. Its crazy how last week was freezing and now its perfect. All I am missing is the beach! The pench is going great, we are having a lot of fun too hah. Somehow we are all talking castellano 24/7 but with a Brazilian accent as a joke hah. Just another week in Argetina.. I love it here. I am seriously getting lost in the work. All I can focus is bringing people to church, it is still hard as ever. Somedays you just want to get back to the pench but somehow the next day has something little that makes it all better. I love being here in the streets too, the kids playing futbol in the dirt fields or the enviroment here. Most of the area is really poor and rough but there are amazing people here. I still cannot I am walking in the streets of Buenos Aires speaking Castellano hah. Unreal!!

Well thats all I can think of right now hah, so much happens in a week. Just one thing to know. I love these people!!

Love you guys too back in the States!

Elder Shepherd

Marcella, me, Santiago, and Elizabeth (first convert family)
Boca Stadium

16 August 2010

It was great getting the email from you guys. Sounds like summer is going really well. Everyone is growing up!! It's crazy. It´s hard to think that I have been here for 5 months ya. Matt's heading off to the MTC? He is going to love it too. I had a great time at the MTC. McKenna is growing up so fast? Tell her to stop, she will be in Young Womens in no time. Yes I did receive everything in the birthday packages and everything is going great!  Thank you everyone for the birthday email and gifts.

Wow so a birthday week with the best ward in South America! haha. Where am I able to start? The ward is awesome and everyone remembered my birthday somehow.  I received a Torta from a couple of members and Hma. Cisneros gave me a birthday present! Everyone did something for me when we had lunch with them or just stopped by for a visit. I love this ward, everyone here are studs! One member wants to take me to Boca´s Stadium on a p-day for a trip or something.

Hermana Cisneros and her son

This week had been a hard working week but at the end of the week, no one was able to come to church! We had 10 people commit but every single one of them had something come up. Plus it was freezing so that did not help at all! We got up early to take people to the church but everyone we stopped to pick up was not able to come. Man, the hour of walking around and getting the bad new was killer. We worked so hard this week to find the people and to have them progress but at the end of the week it felt like it all went down the drain. It only makes me want to work harder this week! I´m so ready to bust the doors down and get people in the church! I wish the church was closer but you have to work with what you've got. It was still a great week though.  The members and recent converts are all awesome and are my family here. Everyone did something special for me hah, even the kids. I had some birthday dinners too. I´ll have to send the pictures another time, still waiting for the complete set of pictures to send you guys of the birthday week.

Well off to another hard working week. I just want people to come to church! They are so ready but it is just so hard for them. We found an awesome family in the Villa, we have a bunch of awesome ready people too! I´ll have stories about everyone when I have the chance to write about them but there are just too many people and I can´t write it in an email!

McKenna, I translated the email you sent to Marcella.  She is going to write you something this week.  Still waiting for the hard copy but it should come tomorrow, I hope.

What more?

The ward is awesome, I am everyone's son here hah. Everyone is taking care of us and tonight we have a Family Night with the ward, so I´ll have some more pictures to send next week. We have to do the lesson and games! I might even get my haircut by a teenager in the ward with his buzzer, who knows haha.

Well off to a week of success.

Take care everyone back home and keep it real!

Elder Shepherd

City of Buenos Aires in background

Cooking at our pench, in my In 'n Out hat mom sent me for my birthday.

Alley behind our pench

09 August 2010

Happy Birthday Elder Shepherd!!!!

Well, here I am in Argentina on my birthday.... emailing! Ha ha!  Thanks for all the emails and wishes for the birthday. I got the fotos and they look awesome. Thanks family! I am lucky my birthday falls on a Pday.  So today we ran to Walmart and now we are emailing. When we get back to the pench we are going to cook some Hawaiian food with the help of Chef/Elder Kupihea!  He´s going to hook me up he said.  We're going to have a mini party, as missionaries do hah.  I got the packages about two weeks ago and they were in good shape so thank you!

Tell Soda to have fun in Kiev, Ukraine.. wow that's pretty sweet. Summer is coming to an end, eh? Have a good last trip to Newport for me. I´ll be freezing my buns off but it's all good, haha.

Well this week has been really hard. We worked soo hard, but at the end of the week the people just weren't able to make it. We found an awesome complete family in the Villa and they said they have been waiting for a message like this. They weren't able to make it to church, but that just makes me want to work harder to bring that one family to church. The members in the barrio all want me over for my birthday haha. I've got to spread this out so it will be a birthday week! Nah, all I want is for my investigators to come to church! Best birthday present ever. It was a hard week but when you look back I had some great moments especially with the members and investigators and just being here in Argentina. I still can´t believe I am here. It´s feeling like home now but not Home Home, hah.

So I have been working hard with Elder Cruz. I´m leading the Area again and I´m doing so much work.  I got a call from President this morning wishing me happy birthday and he told me I´m leading the area for a reason.  He cried a bit when he talked with me.  President is such a sentimental man.  I love that man. He told me to work hard because you are a natural leader. He also told me Reese was one of the best missionaries he has ever seen. Make sure to tell Reese that. I've got some big shoes to try to and fill (but in my own way)!

Well, it is off to another week. I can´t wait to work hard and find the people that are ready for the Gospel. Even if it is hard, you have to go through the hard times to really appreciate that one person you can share the gospel with.

Well thank you everyone for all the birthday wishes and everything. It´s great hearing from all you guys! Sorry the email is so spread out. I´m super tired and ready to enjoy the 2 hours I have left of my birthday.

Love you guys so much!
Elder Shepherd or  ¨Sheffy" as the kids say it ¨´

Self explanatory
District Meeting without a companion
Real athletic creativity!
Yum, Pizza Time with Elder Kupihea!!!

Making empanadas at Flia Caranza's house
Elders Shepherd, Pickett, Kupihea

02 August 2010

Hey family!

How is everyone doing? I am here emailing right now and it is the beginning of a new transfer. I have a new companion!  His name is Elder Cruz and he is from Mendoza Argentina and can barely speak English, so it's time to talk Castellano 24/7. It will be hard but will be a blessing too.  First impressions are good but he is really shy and quiet but we´ll see what the week brings. It is a new start to the translado(6 weeks) so I´m ready to go work hard and start off the week well!

It has been an interesting week no?! A lot of changes but now I´m back on schedule but I still have to teach my companion the area again so it is a bit stressful. I've never been so tired in my life. The mission really wears you down. I understand now why they say.. You´ll never know what tired is until you go on your mission, hah.

This past week has been really fun. Elder Pickett was a fun companion to be with for the short time we were together. We had a lot of fun in the Pench and I have pictures to send you guys next week and don´t worry mom I'll be in the pictures!! We taught a lot of lessons and I´m learning everyday. It feels like I am climbing a mountain with the mission but you have to take it one step at a time. Castellano is coming along hah, slowly but I'm still amazed I can speak Castellano, what a blessing!

We have a promising tranfer ahead of us. Juan Pablo is on his way to being baptized. Tonight we are going to set a date for his baptism next week. We have a couple more investigators too. Lida and Elizabeth. Both are mothers from Peru living here in Argentina. They are so awesome and they are teaching me ¨Quechua¨ and I´m helping them with their english haha. They want to come to church and are really interested in the church and even have dates for their baptisms, but they dont know their work schedule. They get a call a couple of hours before and they have to go. This is what happened with them this week. They were not able to make it to church but she said they are going to go next week. Church is so hard for people because it is so far away and people aren't priviledged with a car here. It really is the bottleneck in this area. Without asistences, you cannot progress. So we are trying our hardest to bring them to church.

Well that's about it, just looking forward to this week. We had the transfer meeting today and it reminded me of 6 weeks ago with Reese. I wonder how he is back home in the world hah. I miss you guys and hope all is well. My birthday is in one week. I can´t believe it!! Miss you guys so much.

Elder Shepherd

26 July 2010

New Companion..New Responsibilities..Stoked!

I have so much to tell you guys! Wow here I go.

Well the first huge news is that I have a new companion! Elder Pickett. The mission had a flash and Elder LaTorre had to go to a new area to fix up the situation, and now I am with Elder Pickett. Yeah, I can´t even believe it still. We got the call on Wednesday at 3pm and had to be in the offices in less than an hour;  so we went back to the pench and left in the remis to the offices. Then I met my new companion. So I have a new companion! Elder Picket is from Murray, Utah.  It is nice to have an American companion, and he knows a lot of Spanish because his dad is from Argentina.

So with that change I am now leading my area! My head has never been so tired, I still have a headache and it is pday! Talk about a heavy load on your back,  ja ja. Well here goes the adventure!

Well I got sick, finally, on Tuesday so I was in the pench most of the day with gripe. It was a little case but I got over it fast and worked through it during the week. I am fine now so you don't have to worry. I recieved my packages too! Wow thank you guys so much for everything. I opened it due to the pressure of my pench mates but Im saving the stuff for my birthday to open up. I got the one from Soda and you guys. Thank you!

Well this week has been tough because I am leading it, so I´ve been a little stressed and worried.  My new companion and I are working well together. We´ve been having a hard time finding new people the last two weeks so we are focusing on revisiting new investigators. We have about 5 investigators but we really have to get them to church. Sundays always seem to rain so that doesn´t help at all either! We even went to the investigators' homes but the kids were sick or it was too hard to get to church. Well hopefully next week will turn out better. Catalino is more interested now and they told us they are going to come to church! Wow I hope it happens because if he does he is going to get baptized! I really want him to get baptized. The last 6 months no one has been able to help him make the baptism commitment. Just takes time for him.  Then we were going to help paint an investigator's living room (her name is Lili), but she has been busy.  Just so many obstacles for these people! We are so lucky to have everything so easy in the States, seriously. We have a new investigator, Jesus, and he is 18 and is a devout Catholic.  But he is interested and told us he feels peace. He said he will come with us to church. I can´t wait to bring him and have him feel the Spirit, the true spirit! Then during church this week, a random investigator came into the church from Bolivia, he is 20 years old.  He is the sobrino (cousin) of an inactive member. He is really interested and the ward took him in sooo well. He´s going to get baptized!

Well the week has been crazy!  We got stuck in a Bolivian parade for 20 minutes. There is a part in our area just for Bolivians. It was hilarious, a little dangerous, but I´m fine.  It was freezing yesterday and raining.

Elder Kamalamalama (L) - friend of Bret's penchmate,
 Elder Kupihea, from the Big Island, Hawaii.  Elder Kamalamalama is currently
serving in the Palo Verde Ward, Las Vegas Red Rock Stake

Well that is pretty much it, just another week in the mission. Elder Kupihea says hello and he can´t believe that you saw his friend from Hilo!!! How crazy is that.. small world. Was his name Elder Kamalamalama? I am pretty sure it was him but just making sure. How crazy is that!

Well, love you guys, I´ll talk to you next week and take care. The pictures are awesome. Tell McKenna she looked great and she is growing up so fast! Tell her to stop ja ja.

Elder Shepherd

Enjoy the photos!
This is the mercado where we shop for food.
Bus view on the way to the Capitol
Yes, mom, I'm eating tomatoes and onions!
Elder Kupihea and I enjoying a huge Brat!

19 July 2010

Rainy, Stanford, a Scare, But all is Good!

Hello Family!
Well it's a bone chilly rainy day here in Argentina. I´m in the Internet Cafe and it´s warm so I am happy. Sounds like you guys had a great trip to Cali. I´m still jealous but I´m having a great time here on the Mission.

Well, what a week! We had the emergency meeting for the mission on Tuesday.  It was just for some new teaching aids/skills to add to Preach My Gospel, so we didn´t receive anything new. It was fun to see everyone again before transfers which are in 2 weeks!  Where did this transfer go?

Then on Wednesday I had to go to the Capitol to do my paper work so it was awesome seeing the heart of the Capitol city! It really does feel like the Paris of South America. I met someone in the waiting line that is doing his paperwork to head over to Stanford! He was right behind my and asked the oh so popular question, ¨Why are you guys all called Elder?¨ hah. He started speaking English to me and I was surprised! I did the missionary thing and shared a brief message with him and then wished him luck as he went off to Stanford! Wow totally crazy right?

Here's the highlight of the week.  Basically during a lesson on Friday, I got a text message from a member.  I ignored it and wanted to wait until after the lesson to read it. Then I got a call from him, then a call from the Zone Leaders! So my companion answered the phone and I had to teach solo with the investigator. We talked about 3 NE 11 but after the lesson we had to run, I mean RUN to the pench! We got a call that the Elders in Villa Madero (other side of the area I'm in) were KIDNAPPED!  So we waited at the pench then we had to be evacuated to the mission office.  We ended up seeing the "kidnapped" Elders there, but they weren´t kidnapped but were robbed. It ended up that the man started calling people on the phone saying he was the holding the elders hostage and wanted 5 million pesos or he will cut off their fingers. So all the members and especially the Mission President went crazy! But everything is fine nothing happened besides getting robbed. We had to spend the night at the offices Friday night. So all is well now. It´s back to normal and we are working hard. I really missed my area and I was afraid that they were going to close down this area! I was devastated because I love my area so much!

The week wasn´t the best because of the interruptions to the work but we still pulled out fairly good numbers and we had a baptism! Benjamin Ruiz, 9 years old was baptized this Sunday! He´s a stud. His parents are inactive but he has a really strong sister and it looks like he´ll be active in the church. His sister wants to serve a mission too. She´s into the same music as me so it´s fun talking about music hah. We have some dates set for baptisms too but with the rain this weekend, no one wants to go to church. Hopefully next week we'll have better weather.  I had a great experience with someone this week too. His name is Catalino. The mom is baptized but she doesn´t go to church because she works on Sunday. So the family is not active and living the gospel standards.  Catalino knows the church is true but just doesn´t have that spark or testimony. He´s really awesome too, reminds me of Dad a little bit. Well we had a great lesson and I bore a super strong testimony about how Heaveny Father answers prayers.  He actually accepted a date for baptism. First time in like 6 months. No other Elders were able to do it. I´m super excited for him! I can´t wait to see how the next few weeks go.

Well that's about it. A rainy weekend but it was great being at church with the members. Mom, the Relief Society Pres says you´re welcome for feeding me. She´s a stud. She gave me a gift from the Relief Society as something to remember them by. I really do love this area and this ward. They feel like my family. Well off to another hard working week. Tell Claudia, Cage, and Ragan thank you for the letters, and Soda for the package! It was great receiving them!

Elder Shepherd

12 July 2010

Argentina Lost!

Wow sounds like an interesting time back home with you guys. Summer really is happening! It´s cold here so it doesn´t feel like you guys are actually enjoying summer weather. Tell the Shireys hello for me and I love them and miss them. Yeah you guys are able to send pictures through email. Just attach them to the email and I'll get them! Sounds like a fun day at Disneyland! I´m jealous.  The Shepherd reunion is coming up too? McKenna is flying up to Utah by herself?Wow, how old is she now? She's growing up like crazy!
Wow time is flying. I can´t believe it is the middle of Julio right now. I´ll try to send Soda a birthday card but I can´t find any places to send letters here. I´ll try to find something today during P day. I´m looking foward to my package! Hah yeah the kids are awesome in the ward and Hermana Cisneros is taking good care of me. She makes sure we have lunch everyday here in the mission. Tell McKenna to have fun while in Newport.  If you see the Loerwalds, give them a shoutout for me. I miss Ollie and Sperry too!  I´m looking forward to getting the letter from McKenna to Marcella!
Well is has been another week in The Mission. Argentina lost and everyone knows it. The whole area feels like the world ended and if you were a German you would probably have died that week. I remember drunk people yelling out they are going to kill the Germans. It was pretty crazy. I wore my Celestial blue tie that day to make sure but people still notice me as an American!! Summer time I´ll blend in better when I get more tan, hah.  
It´s starting to feel like a routine now but at the same time it feels like you do the same thing every morning but once you leave the pench and get out it´s a different world. We worked really hard this week and didn't have the success that we had hoped for.  We planned to have 5 people in church this week but it seemed like everyone had something come up during our stops before church. Someone had to run to Bolivia or someone died in their family or their husband didn´t let them or they had too much work. We had one investigator in church this week and he is ready to be baptized this weekend. His name is Benjamin and he´s 10 years old. Only him and his 17 year old sister are active in the family and the sister is such a stud because she told her mom she is only going to the LDS church and no other church. They live pretty far away too but they are able to take a remis. Then we have some new investigators but they aren't improving that much.  We have a 15 year old boy with a horrible life and he lives alone with his brother because their parents disowned them. He is interested in the church and is taking the lessons, but didn´t come to church this week. Ahh it is so difficult seeing people not able to make it to church. We are so lucky to live in America. We are working hard and finding new people but they aren´t like Golden to be baptized, they are taking awhile to progress, but they are progressing. Just waiting for the right time.
That's really about it this week. We worked hard. Our zone is doing the best in the Mission and we average about 28 lessons a week. I´m so glad it is Pday because I am beat! We are planning to make a pizza today and rest, rest and rest. I heard there is a New Preach My Gospel manual coming out and we might receive it tomorrow! Wow, it´s pretty crazy!! It´s been cold this week. Today I can´t even feel  my fingers while typing but it´s a different type of cold... like the Park City/Newport mix hah. Every member thinks I´m crazy because I´m never cold and they are all freezing and drinking their Matte.  
Oh yeah last week I had to give the lesson for sunday school in church. I can´t believe I stood in front of a class and talked for an hour in Castellano! Dogs are still everywhere and running the country. I´m ready for some warmth and my birthday!! I hope I get an Asado from a member hah. I´ve already invitations from members to go to their house for my birthday. I love the members here but I still wish I knew more Castellano! Sometimes it gets frustrating. 
Well everything is going great here in the Mission. It´s hard but it´s worth it. Have fun at the beach and enjoy the summer.  Just expect me to be living at the beach when I get back. haha

Keep it real back home Family, Love you guys!
Elder Shepherd
(who's birthday is coming up on August 9th, hint hint)

View from the back patio of our pench (apartment)

05 July 2010

How is it going in Newport?

It´s just another week in the mission. I cant believe it is July already and you guys are probably enjoying the beach. Lucky!

Eliana with Elder La Torre and Elder Shepherd
Well this has been a pretty interesting week but I´m mainly going to focus on our Baptism! Eliana was baptized this weekend! What a story because a week ago she had no interest in being baptized. At first we thought it was the husband but that wasn´t it. We passed by a couple more times to check up on her and see how she was doing and still no luck. We had a member stop by her house and she was able to boost Eliana back up and regain her confidence and said it was her decision not the husband's. There was a possibility they were going to get separated if she was baptized. So we were pretty freaked out about that. We visited her again and talked with the husband and he was totally cool with us.  He gave us his consent for Eliana's baptism! We were pretty surprised because we thought he was the problem. Well guess who was the problem? The Grandma... she was spitting rumors to her about being baptized. So we got to the end of the problem and worked it out. What a miracle! A week ago the baptism was off, and even 4 days before her fetcha was off. We just kept on being consistent and bold and eventually it worked out. She was married on Thursday and baptized on Saturday! Amazing.
Elder LaTorre, Eliana ,  her husband Herman , Elder Shepherd  
Along with the baptism it was a pretty good week. We had a lot of lessons with members and recently baptized members too. We are still trying to get Selana to church to get confirmed!  Her parents are being so lame. That is one of our focuses this week. Along with that we are trying to get another inactive family to church and get the husband baptized! He´s so cool but doesn´t have that spark like others do with the Gospel. He likes me a lot though so maybe I´ll have an effect on him with the Spirit.

Last night we were in a pretty ghetto part of the area and I swear we were going to get jumped about 5 times.  Everyone was drunk and just sketchy. It was at night too hah. All the Bolivian guys were drunk and looked like zombies walking around. You could have just blown on them and they would have tipped over. After finding the house we had an appointment at, we quickly entered and had an awesome lesson! There is a 17 year old girl that is a member there and she is a stud. Only member in her family.  She told her mom the only church she is going to attend is the Mormon church. Baller her 10 year old brother wants to be baptized too!

We had great lessons this week and celebrated my first baptism´s birthday on the 30th! Elizabeth's birthday was awesome, she made a cake and everything. I baked some cookies the best I could for her. It was a great experience to be with their family. Still working on the oldest daughter though for baptism, her boyfriend said he would be down to hear some of the lessons!
The town was dead after Argentina lost. It was a bad day because no one wanted to talk and the streets were empty. We actually got to watch the game at a member's home (Pres. Benton gave us permission).  The whole town was mad that day and for the rest of the weekend. They are still pretty depressed. I´ve seen kids just look at their World Cup magazines and just look like they saw someone die, lol.

Sounds great in Newport. It's like the same weather here. It's overcast and 65. The last few days have been pretty warm compared to the normal. It should be pretty cold right now. Tell the Gneitings hi for me and I´m holding the fort down here in Argentina. Tell the Shireys hi too!  I miss baseball games! We´ll def have to go when I get home. 
What  else... Heard some Bob Marley again, the Paraguyans are so cool. They play volleyball and listen to Regae. The ward is so awesome. I love these people and the ward is getting stronger because we have inactive families coming back two weeks in a row. I try to talk to everyone during church and I care for them so much. My companion is awesome and a hard worker.  I love the members and they all love me and always love to have me around. I have fun with them too hah. I can´t wait to tell you about the people when I get home and show pictures.

Still dogs everywhere and I´m loving Argentina. The work here is going great and I am working hard but also having a blast.  This is by far the hardest work ever.

Keep on reading your scriptures and being grateful for everything you have!

Elder Shepherd