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