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 20ÂșC 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