21 June 2010

First Transfer/Farewell to Elder Gneiting/Scary Encounter

Happy Father's Day Dad!

Redrock Elders - Brooks, Gneiting, Hart and Shepherd
My first transfer, and everyone is staying!  I have the same companion, Elder LaTorre, and the same elders in my pench.  This transfer is going to have much exito!  Wow, so today was the last time I am going to see Elder Gneiting for 2 years.  We woke up at 5 am to take an hour bus ride to the transfer meeting.  It was nice to see everyone and had a great time.  Everyone leaving to go home tomorrow bore a super strong testimony, but Elder Gneiting's was the best.  It has been great to see him in the mission field and I can't believe we had a couple of contacts together one night in Argentina.  Pretty crazy right? I bet he'll be happy to be home tomorrow.  At transfer meeting I ran into some of the guys from the Redrock Stake serving in the same mission as me.  See photo.

Well, this week has been a pretty crazy week and I'll try to recall and write as much as I can:

(Top L to R) Elders ?, Selena,  ?,  Shepherd;
(Bottom L to R) Elder La Torre, Elder Kupihea
First off we had a baptism on Saturday.  We baptized a 9 year old girl named Selena.  Another elder was visiting her family, who are members, and found out Selena was never baptized.  During the whole week we were unable to see her because her parents were at work whenever we went to their home.  We finally got the mother's phone number on Friday night, were able to talk with her about having Selena baptized.  She gave the okay and we met the mother and Selena on Saturday morning to go through the interview questions, and Selena was baptized that night!  It was an awesome baptism but sad at the same time, because the mom just dropped Selena off and wasn't there for her baptism.

We have a strong baptism date with Eliana, a 30 year old mom with 4 kids.  She is really determined to be baptized in a RIVER hah. Like she won't be baptized if she isn't baptized in a river.  We were kinda shocked but it sounds pretty cool (literally).  We had a lesson on the priesthood to try to explain that it's not where you are baptized but it is how and by whom with the priesthood authority.  We will see what the future brings.  Her baptism date is next Saturday, so I'll update you about the river next week.

Alright, so since the World Cup is going on it is pretty much a mad house down here in Argentina.  It's like the Superbowl x100 every partido (game) Argentina plays.  It's exciting!! Argentina is winning their matches.  We sometimes catch the matches at a member's house if we stop by for a lesson or even at an investigator's house!  Everything is blue here.

We had a crazy experience with an inactive member this week.  His whole family are drug addicts, but he wants to stop but is having a lot of problems.  We have been teaching him because some of his Jehovah Witness friends are talking to him and causing doubt in his mind if the church is true.  He really wants to know which church is true.  So during one of the lessons I'm sure he was high, it looked and felt that way.  He was trying to explain one of his dreams and went into the kitchen and came back waving a butcher knife at us and explaining his dream.  It was pretty intense!  Sorry mom, I know you are probably freaking our right now, but it's all good.  He was explaining a vivid dream he had.  Later he broke down in tears and confessed he just really wants to be happy.  We want to help him, but with caution.  It's so hard to see people like that.

My companion was sick this past Wednesday so we stayed in the pench all day.  It was soooo boring but I got in a lot of reading.  We tried to go out for a bit but he couldn't handle it, after seeing a few contacts we went back to the pench.  Later in the week I got a little sick so these last couple of days were hard but we still worked and had success even with one day of no work!  It's been bone chilly too.  It's like when we lived in Park City plus the humidity of Newport Beach.  Not a good combinations, right!  This morning I was freezing but survived.  I'm learning.

This coming Saturday we have a ward family home evening planned and I'm really looking forward to it.  The members here are awesome, even if only 40 show up for Church on a good average day.  They are amazing.  I can't wait to show you pictures and explain who everyone is and their unique story.  They have all had an effect in my life!  I love these people and I want to serve them with all my energy.  The people in this area are really humble and everyday I get humbled because of what I see around me.  We have it so nice in the United States! One of the hardest thing for people attending church here is because the building is pretty far away for them.  Just be grateful for everything.

Tonight (Monday, 6/21) we are going to a member's house to help their daughter.  She wants me to teach her English because she has a test tomorrow!  That will be super exciting.  They live in the Villa which is the poorest part of the city, but the family are studs.  Elder Gneiting said in his testimony today, "There is no greater feeling".  I have felt that way too, and have tasted of the most rich joy in the world, right up there with my family and loved ones.  I can't wait to work hard this week.  Missionary work isn't easy and is the hardest thing I have ever done, but it is all worth it when you see the smile on some one's face after they have felt the spirit and eventually get baptized.  Nothing better than that.  Even if you are the hero of Game 7 of the World Series, hah!   I know....crazy right but it is true!!!!

Alright everyone at home... read your scriptures, be the best you can be everyday, and be grateful for everything you have.  We are so blessed!  We know of this gospel and we have to be grateful for that knowledge.  I want everyone to know this is really the true church, and I have witnessed miracles already that I can't deny.  I've only had a couple of months into my mission, and 3 weeks in Argentina, but if I didn't know this church was true, after the first day here I would have been home because this IS hard.  I do have a testimony and I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church and that is why I am on my mission, to share it with others in the land of Argentina.

Well, time to get in a short 1 hour nap before planning for the next hard week of work.  I heard some Bob Marley and a bunch of American songs in the internet cafe today.  It's pretty funny.

Enjoy the photos!

Love, Elder Shepherd

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