Monday, May 23, 2016

Good couple of weeks

Letter from 5/16/16
Debbie is getting Baptized this week! 

Debbie is an investigator over here in Kalamazoo. Her daughter Melissa and Melissa's two sons 
are all members of the church and live with Debbie. So she has been learning about the gospel 
for quite a while now! But just recently she started having a desire to learn more and now comes 
to church every Sunday and has quit smoking, and drinking! We are super excited for her baptism 
and the spirit she will add to this ward. 

1. Tell about one or two missionary experiences where you saw someone feel the spirit.

This week we have been working a lot with helping those we teach to recognize the spirit. Because we can do all we want to help them feel the spirit but if they can't recognize when the spirit is testifying to them it making everything a little harder. We had a really great lesson with this lady named Ramona a few days ago and the room was just chalk full of the Holy Ghost! Ramona felt it and asked why she felt so good and we were able to have a really great lesson with her about the role of the Holy ghost in our lives. 

3. What is your favorite thing about Kalamazoo?
Kalamazoo is AWESOME! My favorite part is probably... that there's a TARGET. Sounds weird I know, but it is so nice to have somewhere to shop! 

4. How is teaching the missionary class going?
It's going well! We have a ton of fun teaching and love getting to hear everyone's insights as well. 
I love you all and  have a great week!
Sister Sheppard

Letter from 5/23/16
Hi  Mom!
This week has been a ton of fun! We went on Trade off's at the beginning of the week and I was able to go and talk to people all over Western Michigan campus for the day which was fantastic! 

 This weekend I get to go to Bay City. Sister Viehweg and I will be going back together for Donna and Breanna's baptism on Saturday. I am so excited, I can't wait! 

To answer you question, Melissa, Gage (14) and Morgan(12) that I talked about last week are all converts to the church. They have been members for about 5 years now, but stopped coming to church for a majority of that time. So it has been so exciting to see the progress that the entire family has been making all at once. Debbie her mom is doing great as well. She was baptized this past Saturday and when it came time in the program for her to be baptized she hurried right out of the room towards the font. After she was baptized she came up out of the water with the biggest smile on her face that I have EVER seen! 

The weather here is getting warmer and I am so happy to say that we have finally hit the 80"s. Whoo hoo! Here come the worst tan lines ever! 

Sister Burk and I get along so well that we make everything we need to do throughout the day a ton of fun. The one thing that we just started doing is while door knocking we only talk about the gospel. Usually it will be about a question one of us has about something we studied during personal study. But I've noticed such a change in our attitude towards door knocking. Sometimes it is so hard to want to go out and door knock for 7 hours straight, but now we have such a fun time helping each other answer the questions of our souls that the time goes way too fast!

You asked about our dinner appointments and they have increased. Now instead of getting a meal or two a week, we eat with a different family in the ward every night. It has been quite the change and so much better. 

The packages have all made it here safely:) Thank you so much for everything! Getting anything in the mail is super exciting but packages are seriously the BEST EVER. 

It has taken quite a while but we are so happy to finally be able to say that we have gotten to know the members better. Now that we have had a stronger connection with the ward, they are trusting us more and more with referrals of loved ones and close friends. Since almost everyone here is a convert to the church it is so easy for them to remember the important role that they play in helping the people of Kalamazoo come closer to Christ. 

 Sister Burk and I are serving in one of the few areas that have 7 sets of missionaries serving around us within a 30 minute drive so, usually every P-day we all get together and do something fun. It's nice too because we see the STL's and Zone Leaders all the time:) Usually for P-Day we just go to the church and play basketball and volleyball but we've gone to the beach and bowling as well so far this transfer. Both were a ton of fun. When we went to the beach as a zone and it was so fun to see all of the sisters in the zone. 

You asked if Sister Burk served in Kalamazoo before me or if we got here at the same time...
she was here before me. Sister Burk's trainer went home early when she was only 4 weeks into her mission. So at that point she was sent to Kalamazoo where she finished being trained by a sister who's trainee had also gone home. So Sister Burk has been in the area for almost 2 transfers and 2 weeks!

Sister Sheppard

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Where does the time go?

I LOVED being able to talk to everyone on Sunday! It is such a rejuvenation to be able to see everyone and know that you are all doing well. And thanks Dad, for sending that scripture, I'll be adding it into my notes on the subject of Humility. It's crazy the amount of things you can find pertaining to a subject when just using the scriptures. I've learned over and over again on my mission that we don't need technology in order to succeed!

It was so fun being able to talk with you all yesterday! Who knew time could fly by so fast? I don't think an hour and a half has ever been so short, but I am so grateful for the time that we had to talk and catch up on everything that has been going on.

Not much happened this week though, We had some really great lessons with Less Active families that we have been working with.

The Poveda Family is so much fun! We have been visiting them every Saturday since I have gotten here and they have warmed up so much to us, it's been fun to see. They have 4 kids, Wyatt (7), Olivia (6), Owen (4), and Emmy (2). They're kids LOVE the missionaries. Every time we go over they ask if we can stay for Dinner:) We went over this past Saturday and "helped " in the yard. Really we just played in the dirt with the kids and semi helped/ hindered Brother and Sister Poveda's work! Wyatt is super excited to be baptized though and so we have been really focusing on the importance of baptism and how important this ordinance really is.

We also saw an AMAZING miracle this week. Last Sunday, we went out to contact a few families and we were able to meet with 3 women in the ward that haven't ever let anyone in previously! Such a blessing! We were able to get to know these women better and really help them understand how they are so loved in this ward and by us as well.

I love being a missionary! There are always so many blessings that we see each and every day. God truly does touch our lives each and every day.

I love you! I hope your week is amazing and full of miracles!
Sister Sheppard

(The scripture Sydney mentioned was : Helaman 3:35 "Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.")

Monday, May 2, 2016

First week in K-Zoo!

Thanks for giving me questions! It's a lot easier than trying to remember what happened this week. Although this week may be the exception since I was transferred to Kalamazion! Also known as the K-Zoo:) 
1. How did the transfer go?
This new transfer is going to be full of fun and success! I can just tell. Lately this area has been struggling a little bit and so Sister Burk and I are excited to start implementing changes that we are hoping will help this area start picking up! Lately we have been focusing a ton on Less-Active members of the church. In the Kalamazoo ward right now, we are almost a branch and our goal is to make sure that doesn't happen! With more less active families than active, we have full faith that with the help of the ward we can bring many of these families back to church and help them get to the temple:) 

2. How is your new companion?
Sister Burk is so much fun! We get along really well. We have had a blast this past week getting to know each other as we figure out the area:)  is actually her third area although it's only her 3rd transfer! She's had quite a tough mission so far but is such a trooper. Also, She went to beauty school before coming out so she can cut my hair for free! Best thing ever!

3. How was tracking this week? Any uplifting experiences?
Door knocking here is very different from Bay City. We have houses that are HUGE and super nice, as well as Houses in the deep Ghetto. But we don't go there often so don't worry:)

4. Are you in a ward or branch?
The Kalamazoo 2-2  is a ward. Barely. But we are going to change that!

5. Any other experiences you want to share? 
Since we have been focusing a lot on meeting and getting to know the Less-Active families in the ward, we have had a lot of success this past week. We were able to meet people who normally don't open their doors to the missionaries and two of the families even invited us over for dinner. HUGE MIRACLE. 
Our Investigators in Bay City, Donna and Breanna Drouin along with Robin and Jake are all going to be baptized on MAY 28th. SO EXCITED!!! I got permission to go back and be there for the baptism!!! 

6. How did Sunday go? 
Sunday was great. It's always fun to get to know new people and to see the differences and strengths of each ward. This ward is so missionary minded! Already we have had such a support from the members helping us in any way that we can. As missionaries, we also get to teach Gospel Principles in this ward. So I will be teaching about the law of tithing on Sunday.

I love the quote Dad sent. I wrote it down and will add it to our quote wall tonight. It is such a small world that we live in! We were at a service project on Saturday and one of the members there, Brother Deiz, he knows the Bassett's! He served in their mission when Mark Bassett was a mission president. Crazy! 
Sorry My email isn't super long, some stories just take forever to write out when I know I can tell you in person on Sunday! 

Love you and talk to you soon! 

Sister Sheppard

Here is the quote Sydney is referring to:
"My invitation to all of us is to evaluate our lives, repent, and keep on trying. If we don’t try, we’re just latter-day sinners; if we don’t persevere, we’re latter-day quitters; and if we don’t allow others to try, we’re just latter-day hypocrites. As we try, persevere, and help others to do the same, we are true Latter-day Saints. As we change, we will find that God indeed cares a lot more about who we are and about who we are becoming than about who we once were." -Elder Renlund

Monday, April 25, 2016


Hi Mom! 
This week has been so crazy busy! Since we've known for a while that I was going to get transferred we spent most of the week saying goodbyes while also trying to make the week our most productive and effective yet. Very busy to say the least. 

I have been feeling better this week. The doctors are getting closer to figuring out what the problem is which is really good. I'm not sure what they're going to do since I am being transferred but I'm sure we'll figure everything out when I get there:) 

 Going to Kalamazoo is going to be SO MUCH FUN and I'm so excited! Of course I am super sad to leave everyone that I've gotten to know these past 5 months but it is going to be a lot of fun starting fresh as well. Sister Burk is the sweetest and I can already tell that we're going to have a ton of fun together this next transfer.                                               

     Promo Video for  Kalamazoo Michigan 
Sister Bates and Sister Wilcox will be staying together here in Bay City and Sister Bates will finish training on her own. However, I will be coming back to Bay city at least twice for baptisms of investigators that I helped find. SUPER EXCITING!

Jessica is one of our investigators here in Bay City. Sister Viehweg and Chatman met her in September and she's been meeting with the missionaries ever since. She's so awesome! She actually committed to a date to be baptized on Friday and we are really excited to see her progress even more in these upcoming weeks. Jessica has a 2 year old (Isaac) and a 9 year old (Dominic). We are at her house a lot and her kids love the missionaries! It's been fun to see them grow in the gospel and find their new family in the ward. 

I'm really going to miss the Drouins. Hands down. I LOVE THAT FAMILY. Donna and Breanna are both on date to be baptized on May 28th and we are hoping to push that date to the 14th this week. Donna sent me the sweetest message right after we said goodbye. Oh my goodness I love this family so much. It has been such a wonderful experience watching their family come closer to Christ together. I can't wait to come back in a few weeks for her baptism.

This week we were also going to put two of our other investigators on date as well. Josh White, and Robin. 
Josh is currently dating a less active member of the church and has been taking the lessons on and off for about 2 years. This is the first time that any missionaries have ever gotten him to commit to baptism though so we are super excited. Before dating Sarita (his girlfriend) Josh didn't believe in God at all. But he has changed so much over the course of these past few weeks and I know that by June 11th he will be so ready for baptism:) The coolest thing has been watching his love for the Book of Mormon grow. He has reached the point where when he needs to choose what to read, the Book of Mormon is always the book he chooses. 

Robin has also been being taught for quite a while. She has been given all of the lessons a few times but has been living with her boyfriend up until a month ago and so she hasn't been able to get baptized even though she really wanted to. But now she can. We are so excited for her and that she can finally take this huge step!

Lately I have begun reading the Old Testament. Wow, is it confusing, but I have been learning so much, especially about how important Family history is.. Trying to make a family tree of the people in genesis is hard, but genealogy is so so so important! How else are we going to know where we came from?? 

Kalamazoo is on fire right now, with the missionary work being done. Sister Bates's last companion had actually served in the exact are I am going to and so she keeps telling me of all of these wonderful people that I need to go visit.  Hopefully she wrote them all down since there were SO MANY!!!  Everything that I have heard about the area has been really good though and I can't wait to begin!

OH MY GOODNESS Sunday was hard since I knew am leaving,  but I'll see them all really soon.

I don't have my new address yet, but hopefully I'll get it in time to send it out to you:)

I love you! Have a wonderful week and I'll Skype you in 13 days! 


Sister Sheppard

Monday, April 18, 2016's been a while..sorry!

These past few weeks have been so crazy and full of fun! The weather is finally acting normal for once and it's AWESOME. Yesterday we even reached 85 degrees. Considering last week, since we were in the 30's, 85 is really good. Although, we are supposed to get another snowstorm next week so we are enjoying the good weather as much as possible while we can.

Our investigator Donna and her daughter Breanna just committed to be baptized on May 28th. We are so excited! Donna's husband Zach is a member who just recently started coming to church again about 6 months ago. Originally before we started to meet with Donna, she would leave the room any time someone began to pray. Now, she prays openly and is going to come to church on Sunday. We are so excited for their family and the amount of progress that we have seen inside their family unit is astounding. All we have done is show her the tools that she can use to know that The Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints is true for herself, she has done the rest! On our second meeting with her we walked in and she said, "I am so sorry! I didn't get to read too much of the Book of Mormon this week. I'll be better next week I promise. It's so good!" -(She had read to 1 Nephi 13 in four days:) 

We were also able to go to a Zone conference this week and it was SO GOOD. We learned so much from President and Sister Jacobsen that we are really excited to begin implementing in our area. 

Also, TRANSFER CALLS are this week! This transfer was a little different than normal since we have 7 weeks instead of 6 due to matching back up with the MTC. So this transfer seems extra long. It's good though, we definitely need the extra week to prepare for whoever is leaving.

Dad was released?! Oh man I'm sure that was so bitter sweet! Bishop Womeldorf will do so good though, and I'm sure that it will be so nice to have Dad home on Sunday's now:) 

That's so exciting that Nathan Coleman got his mission call! He is going to LOVE being on a mission. Best. Decision. Ever. But I'm not at all biased:)

I hope you all have an amazing week! 
Love ya! 

Sister Sheppard

Monday, March 28, 2016

Sorry for the no email last week! Sister Bates, Sister Wilcox and I all got the flu, so we were trying to email home really fast and then run home again. But other than staying inside for the first few days this week, we've been having a TON of fun! Being in a trio is definitely different but we are all figuring it out slowly but surely!

I LOVE SISTER BATES. She is my missionary twin! This week we have had so many instances where one of us will think about doing or saying something and the other will be doing that thing in the moment! It's so fun. 

So this week we have had quite a few crazy experiences! First off, our investigator Jessica and her step daughter Leah asked for blessing since they weren't feeling well, and then afterwards she said, "wow. God is here." so we are so excited to see what this next week unfolds as we teach her more about the gospel! She is also super excited for general conference just like us!!

We also, had a crazy miracle occur. One of the less active members that we have been trying to get in contact with these past couple of weeks, texted us out of the blue and asked if the Elders could give their family all blessings! Afterwards the KIDS asked if we could come back and teach them the Bible and Book Of Mormon stories! So we can't wait to see how the kids in this family help their parents come back to church and begin to come closer to Christ as a family. What better time than the Easter season right? 

Okay, super cool story though! So, in Michigan around Easter time, the Lamb of God performance is done here in Kalamazoo. It's a play all about Christ's ministry, death, and resurrection. <SO GOOD> But with this past Sunday being Easter and next Sunday being General Conference, It's is a really great tool for us to use on people's doorstep. I would encourage you all to listen to the music though! It WILL change your life!
      Anyways... One of the families that we are really close with, has this really cool music room. So today, the sister's in the Midland Zone are all going to go over and are going to listen to Lamb of God! We are so excited! Best P-day EVER!

Anyways... That's what's happening in Michigan! I hope you all have as much fun watching Conference as we will here!

Love ya! 

Sister Sheppard

Monday, March 21, 2016

Busy couple of weeks...

YAY!! i'VE ALWAYS WANTED SOMEONE TO SEND ME A FLAT STANLEY!! Haha My Comp.s and I are all super pumped to take lots of fun pictures with him! Abby and her St. Patrick's Day outfit is the best! LOVE IT!!! She is just the cutest.

This week has been so fun! As even crazier than usual! Sister Bates came to Bay City on Monday and we went to Lansing to get Sister Wilcox on Thursday! Both are wonderful missionaries and I am so excited to learn from them both!

Also, On Thursday while we were in Lansing Sister Rogers and I were able to be companions for the day! We had so much fun together! It was wonderful to be able to catch up and be together for the day. 

So for this transfer Sister Bates and I decided to make a goal for how we are going to become more fit. 3,000 pushup's by the end of the transfer! It's going great and we're at 80 so far!

Still trying to figure out the balance with three people teaching! But I'm definitely slowly realizing why I am still a part of this area. One of our investigators, Donna, is having us over for dinner this week! Her husband is a member and her daughter wants to get baptized! She just wants to learn more before she says ok. I have no doubt that they will be baptized together though!

Really exciting stuff is happening here right now! So glad I get to be a prmissionary and be a part of it all!