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