Denver Colorado

Denver Colorado

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mike's picture from Easter with Elder Gnehm

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

almost mothers day

Mom and Dad,
It really was great to see Elder Perry. Hints on transfers? President told me to buy a bike. In my interview, he's like "Elder, do you have a bike?" "No..." "I'd really reccommend you getting one." Laramie, here I come! Unless this is some sick joke haha.
That's crazy to hear everything that is happening in the world yet have absolutely no connection to it. I like it but I don't at the same time. It sure helps keep the Spirit though to not hear who got killed and what everyone's opinion on it is.
Well, on to my week. It was a bit slower but hey, what can you do? Last Monday, we ate with the Allen's, who seem like one of our regular places to go. The cool part was that he just bought a 3D t.v. and let us watch 5 minutes of a basketball game. Technology is crazy! It literally felt like you were in the stands watching that thing.
On Tuesday, we had missionary date night at the Olive Garden. Someone gave us $45 dollars to Olive Garden because they cancelled on us and man. It was the best! Somehow Elder Gnehm and I spent $47, but whatever. It was so worth it. We went with the Thornton Elders and a priest from their ward, just so we wouldn't look too weird. We had so many people come up and talk to us, it was awesome.
On Wednesday, I went on exchanges with Elder Mose out of the Thornton ward. It was quite something to spend a day with a Samoan guy, I'll tell you that. It was way awesome though and we taught 4 lessons that day, all of which were solid. It was definitely a fun day and he told me all of his stories from back home. Some day, I really want to go to the islands.
On Thursday, we did service for the Powers', which took us like 10 minutes of real work but we stretched it into an hour and a half, just so we could stay in shorts. It was kind of fun actually. We just kept finding more and more that we could do, which they just laughed at. Oh, I forgot. Our interviews with President were on this day and wow. It was awesome! That guy will be in the 70 some day. I already told you about the bike, so I just went to WalMart and picked one up. It was cheaper to do that then send Dallas' home and back. So I did it. I'm not sure if I ever told you about our shooting the basketball for transfer predictions, but mine said Laramie on bike. We re-shot them and I got the same exact thing. I'm a bit spooked. Then President tells me to get a bike, it's all coming together...Anyways, we had dinner with the Olson's, which was awesome as usual. We started a 1000 piece puzzle, which was insanely difficult.  We finally finished it last night though and I have pictures to prove it haha.
On Friday, we had the chance to visit the Garcia's for dinner. It turns out that he was having surgery that day and asked us for a blessing. It was my second chance to give one on my mission, so it was a pretty neat experience. They are a super nice family too and it looks like he's on his way to recovery.
Saturday morning, we had an 8 year old baptism of Isa Williams. It was full of her family, which her mom and certain relatives aren't members. When that happens, we give a 5 minute version of the first lesson while they get dressed after the baptism. The neat thing is that her mom was paying close attention and came to church again yesterday. She was really close to baptism a few years ago but a missionary pushed her too hard. We are really hoping that she is getting interested again, which is what seems like is happening. It is really cool to see her start to involve herself again and we are trying to take it slow but still help her progress at the same time.
Yesterday was really good. We had to get up at for a Stake meeting, which kind of stunk, but whatever. It went alright. I got called Saturday night at 9 to teach Gospel Principles, so I did it haha. I love the short notice but I think it went fairly well. I always have room to improve though. We had dinner with the Ence's, who are moving over to the next ward this week. He said something about Santa Clara having 17 wards now, is that true? He just said that's what his mom told him. Anyways, Elder Gnehm was feeling sick so I took that chance to work on the puzzle at the Olson's. Beats sitting home and doing nothing.
Anyways, that's my week. I love you all and look forward to talking to you this weekend!
Elder Shepard

Mike's Easter letter

Mom and Dad,
Speaking of snow, it snowed here on Saturday. Something is wrong with this picture. April 23, 32 degrees and snow? I think they mixed Dallas and I up on who likes what weather.I heard Derrick Rose sprained his ankle, that could kill the Bulls. So there is a reason that the Cubs haven't won all these years. Just another curse I tell you! I could see Jimmer going to the Jazz, he'd be a big draw and they could use a dominant PG. Too bad for Brandon Marshall, shouldn't have demanded out of Denver. No more Dodger Dogs??? I'll never go to another Dodgers game. Ha, you enjoy the Easter Card? We worked hard on it for sure.
My Easter was great, but I'll tell more about that in a bit.
Tomorrow is my 3 month mark, and time is flying! I can't believe I'm already 1/8 of the way done with my mission. Two years sounds like a long time, but the Lord truly helps you when you lose yourself in the work. That's a really neat story and I think with the big push for worthiness and temple attendance in General Conference, people really took notice.
Anyways, on to my week. Last Monday, we went to play Frisbee Golf for P-day. I'd never heard of this before, but quickly realized just how dumb it is haha. It was a fun one-time thing though.
Also on Tuesday, we had an appointment with James Campbell, our investigator who was reffered to us from HQ. We were all excited and were going to share President Uchtdorf's Sunday morning talk with him, but he didn't show. Lame. To cope with it all, we went to the Olson's and Elder Gnehm and I cooked a fine three-course meal. We volunteered because we are there at least 3 times a week and felt like we should do something for them. It tasted so good!
Wednesday night, we went to the Porath's house. It's kind of cool because she went to Taylorsville High and grew up in Murray. Her parents now live in Washington and I was like dang. You basically covered most of my connections in Utah. Anyways, her husband is a bit...crazy. He talked for an hour and a half straight about basically nothing. I'm not sure how we couldn't get even one word in but it happened haha. He's a nice enough guy, but...
On Thursday, we visited a less-active guy named David Baize. He was actually really happy to see us and talked about how he's descended from a bunch of Indians and wants to do their temple work. He's been doing his genealogy and wants to do the work for them personally. Naturally, that lead to he has to come to church and be worthy of a reccommend. We invited him to talk to the Bishop and hopefully he keeps that committment.
That same day, we visited the Christensen's. This week was their sons Spring Break, so he came home from Pennsylvania. It was neat to get to talk to him and we were able to teach Lesson 3 to them. He hasn't had the chance to go to church out there because his aunt that he's living with is Protestant, but hopefully he keeps his testimony up. The sad part was that his mom, who hasn't been to church in ages, said she would come with him and her husband. Only her husband showed up though. It was kind of a let down, that's for sure.
In our ward, there is a family named the Loftus'. I think I've mentioned them before, but anyways, they are super soft spoken but way nice people. It was her birthday this past week, and her husband got her a card that says, "The two words that every woman wants to hear." Can you guess what it is? She opened it and it said, "Nice butt". I would have never seen it coming from this guy! It was too funny.
Saturday morning, we went to help trim up a row of apple trees for our old bishop. Right when we got there, it started snowing. We just decided to work through it, which was kind of fun. Brother Voge is pretty quick, so it only took us 2 hours to finish up. The second we got in our car, it stopped snowing. Not funny, not one bit.
Right after that, we went to the Botts' for an Easter BBQ. The problem was that we did it around a campfire and we were seeing our Presdient that night, so not the best idea. Whatever, we just smelled like smoke. It was super fun though and there were like 6 different families there. We just shared an Easter message and it was about the closest I've felt to preaching to large crowds yet haha.
Saturday night, we were able to attend our Stake Conference Adult Session. Did I tell you Elder Perry came? Yeah, that was super cool. He broke through the crowds to talk to the missionaries and to tell us a few things. I'm not sure if it was chastisement or encouragement, but it was cool either way haha. Saturday night, he talked about strengthening families and how we can do it. He talked for 45 minutes and is probably one of the funniest people I've ever heard. His best joke was when he told the story of when he was called to the Quorm of the Twelve. He said he was sitting next to Elder McConkie in General Conference and that after the meeting, President Lee came over and said, "Brethren, what is that behind you?" They turned around and saw the MoTab. President Lee said, "That's right. Maybe you should mouth the words so you don't make them sound bad." It was too funny.
Yesterday, we got to the church 2 hours early for a good seat, and the whole chapel was still full! People sure get excited for an Apostle. It was cool to hear him talk and he shared a message about how we can stay strong in the gospel and talked about the purpose of Easter. It was such a cool experience.
At 1:30, we went to the Ricks' for dinner. They went all out, it reminded me a lot of home. Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, fruit salad, regular salad, gravy, rolls, and a big pie. It was so good! She even made us little Easter baskets, which was super nice. We played an hour and a half long game of Sorry, which I'm sorry to say I lost. I almost won but man, that game is all chance. I don't know how Dad stays the champion.
The rest of the night was spent with the Olson's (surpised?). We just hung out and started a 1000 piece puzzle. Those things are pretty hard haha. It was good fun though. I'll definitely miss that family when I get transferred. Oh, I forgot to mention, Friday night we ate with them and taught an Easter message.
Well, I hope your Easter went well and that your week will be good! Love you all!
Elder Shepard

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Elder Shepard's letter

Mom and Dad,
Ha, I guess I'd mob Jimmer too. He's a hero to BYU. That's all Bonds got? No justice around here. Holy cow! That's a huge building! Too bad BYU alone has 260 wards haha. That's really lame, I love the student wards.
I heard about the Cubbies in Denver, they dropped 2 of 3. I was rather dissapointed, but Rocky Fever is strong here! I see many bandwagoners joining soon. Sounds like some upsets brewing in the playoffs, but my Bulls stayed strong. I hope Boozer gets injured so we can take the title. Too many Obama supporters here if you ask me, the stickers are everywhere.
Did you get my Easter cards as well? We had some fun making those. That's good that Grandma got a good break, sounds like fun. Sounds like some big changes in the Bishopric! I'm glad that they kept Brother Hurd though, he hasn't been in long enough. That's really cool that ward conference went well. Always good when nothing bad happens haha. I've been feeling good, the weather is unpredictable, and our investigators are...interested? Not sure there.
So on to my week. We had dinner with the coolest nerds ever last Monday! It's okay, they even said they were nerds. They had a phone app that could guess any character off of any show ever. It even guessed Aunt B. They also have nerd-offs where they see who can read a 1,000 page book the fastest. It was way too funny.
On Tuesday I got to go on more exchanges. I went out to Riverdale for half of the day and then with Henderson for the other half. In 1 1/2 transfers, I've spent time with 7 different areas plus mine. Needless to say, I've seen quite a bit haha. It was cool because on Tuesday night, we had the chance to teach a lady and her daughter about tithing and the law of chastity. Right when we said it, they said they were willing to live it. I know one day I'll get a golden investigator like that.
We taught Lonnie Silas this week, who basically isn't progressing. We decided to be bold and tell him that he needs to do the things we ask him to do. Hopefully, he gets the message.
We did lunch with the Enwall's this week, and we shared a message about prayer. It was really cool because after we were done, he looked at us and said, "How did you know I was struggling with prayer? Who told you?" The Spirit really can guide our actions.
I also had the chance to teach District Meeting on Wednesday. I taught "Revelation through Prayer" and it actually went pretty well. I only had to fill 35 minutes, which was nice haha.
On Thursday, we decided to take a few hours and make Easter cards. It was actually super fun to do that. I hope you will be getting yours in the mail soon and I sent them out to other people as well. They may not care but hey, it gave me an excuse to have some fun.
Also on Thursday, we got our 3rd different car in 2 transfers. This car is a 2010 Chevy Malibu, which is great except for it is a V4. Who makes a car with a V4? Totally lame. Oh, and it has a bike rack, so we look even cooler!
That night, we had dinner with the Algers', who are a less-active family. I think I have told you about them before. Anyways, it was a good dinner and we shared a message on prayer afterwards. It was really cool because his wife and non-member son were participating and answering our questions. Who knows, something could be coming forth there. They're such a great family!
We stopped by Samantha Lor's house, who promised us that she would go to church 8 weeks ago. Still haven't seen her...We finally were able to catch her at home. We gave her a Book of Mormon and a Restoration pamphlet and asked her to share it with her husband. Her big hangup is that he is Buddhist and doesn't want to cause trouble. So I figure we baptize him and she'll come. Easy, right?
On Saturday night, we had dinner with the Allen's, but this time it was just the young adults there with our Zone Leader's. We had dinner and it was all fun, but most of the people feeding us were dating and did their own thing. Can I tell you, in 3 months, how weird that has become to me? I now see why missionaries come home so weird.
Yesterday, we went in to help teach primary again. It was their Easter program, so we helped narrate the story. It was really fun to go back in there again and it's so weird to see little kids basically worship you. I think there is something in the 10 commandments about that, but it's fun, so I'll let it go. So last night, the Primary President dropped by with cinnamon rolls and a thank you card. It's so nice to know that we are appreciated.
Our dinner last night was with the Delfin's, the Peruvian family I told you about. Unfortunately, we had taco salad. I mean, it was good, but last time was so good! I love that family though, they are way too nice to us.
So in our city, they have a trash pickup once a year that you can put big bulk items out. I couldn't believe how many people go around and steal other people's trash. It's so funny to watch! They take the metal and leave the rest, evidently it's worth a lot right now. I mean, I think working would be easier, but I guess dumpster diving is cool too.
This morning, I got up at 6 to go play tennis on the Carlson's private courts. Yeah, I guess there are some perks to serving in America haha. It was way fun, we played with our ZL's. Dad will appreciate this: One of the guys played Safety on the 2009 Sugar Bowl Utah team. He was wearing all of his stuff today. I mean, it was cool but yeah. It wasn't haha.
Anyways, that was my week. A bit slower but can't complain. I'm now halfway through my 2nd transfer! Hope my cards get to you soon and have a great week. I love you!
Elder Shepard

Friday, March 25, 2011

letter 3/21/11

. I heard Jimmer is on fire. I accidently looked at the front page of the Denver Post on Thursday and he was the whole cover. Not the sports, but the whole thing. I was amazed! Jimmermania sweeps the nation! Rise and Shout! Too bad for Utah State, real shame. I was almost cheering for them (not). I've heard about a lot of upsets, they sure weren't lying. Go Bulls! I hear that they lead the East as well. Go figure, all my teams start doing good when I'm not there. I call it the blessings of missionary work.
Ha, I didn't get to watch it, although I was offered. Satan works in powerful ways sometimes. At church yesterday, I think I asked about ten different people so that I could get the real story. It's funny how everyone tells it so differently, so I took all the stories and made my own assumptions.
. Haha, that is too funny. I did read that article in the Ensign, I'm so glad that someone followed it. It's weird how I've grown to love the Ensign...I read it cover to cover within 2 days of getting it. Man, it's great to hear about all these soon-to-be Elder's. The more I talk to other people and where they came from (even in Utah), I realize that I was at a great school for future missionaries. I'd guess that half of our Senior Class will go, which is way higher than anywhere else.
Anyways, on to my week. It's weird that this all seems to be going by so fast...Last Monday, we visited with a guy named Brian Barnum. He's 28 but has been inactive for 8 years. He was on the verge of going on a mission but chose not to. His grandma, who was raising him, said, "What will people think of me when they hear you aren't going?" That really put him off. He moved to Boulder about a year later and was "garment checked" by the girls in that YSA branch. He still lives a lot of the Mormon standards but doesn't go to church because of these experiences. He recently got a call from his grandma, saying she has cancer. That same day, Elders Gnehm and Goesch tracted into him. For that reason, he wanted us to come back and talk. Last Monday was the first time we had been over and it went really great. I think with a little more work, he will come back. He see's the importance, he just claims to be "too busy". Ugh. Satan.
Tuesday, I was on exchanges with the ZL's again. It seems like I'm always with them haha. It's not a bad thing though, I love those Elders. Elder Lassen and I were on our way to Commerce City (the ghetto) that afternoon but saw a huge plume of black smoke behind us. We didn't turn around because of an appointment, but on the way back we went to see what it was. It turns out that it was a trailer-home that was just scorched within half an hour. The sad part is that there was an old, disabled lady that died instantly. It was too bad. The Monte Vista Elders happened to be knocking doors in that area when it happened. They were about a block away when it blew up. The cool part was that they were going to go down that street, but both of them felt not to and they went the opposite way. Thank goodness for the Spirit. They did get some sweet video from like half a block away of all the flames and smoke though. It was nuts!
That same day, we went to visit a referral of the ZL's. She was given a Book of Mormon on her college campus and had read it. She said that she was "intrigued" by it and all the things that she had read. We talked to her a little more about it and she agreed to have us back the next night. It was a neat experience because that was my first time getting a first lesson appointment. I was pretty excited!
On Wednesday, we got to do "role-play" with the young men in our ward. They are planning on visiting all the less-actives of their quorm to try and invite them to one of their activities. The reason I tell you this is because these were some of the most awkward kids I have ever seen! It was unbelievable at how tense and just weird these kids got when it came to talking about church. It was just crazy to see the way they reacted to a simple, "hi, who are you?" from us. It did get a little better throughout the night, but you can only do so much haha.On to the musical fireside. It was a super neat experience. We taught the 1st lesson and put it to hymns and children's songs. At the end, we invited all the youth up and sang the EFY Medley. The Spirit was so strong and I don't think there were many people that left with dry eyes. It was so cool to see everyone unite and share a wonderful experience. I did sing, but only in our district's songs. No solo's haha. The really cool part was that Brighton had an investigator there who they have taught for about two weeks. After the meeting, he walked straight up to Elder Goesch and Elder Meyer and asked to be baptized. I think the fireside did it's job.
Anyways, I'm off to go do missionary stuff. Isn't it weird to think that I'll have been out 2 months on the 26th? Time flies!
Love you all!
Elder Shepard

Sunday, March 13, 2011

letters from Mike

Life is great here! The work is going really well. Twin girls?? No!!!!! I mean...good for them! I was hoping for at least one to play sports with but hey, they can play softball, basketball (kind of), soccer, all sorts of things. Tell Brittney congratulations for me and that I'm way excited for her!
 You think Utah weather is crazy? Try Colorado. On Friday, it was sunny at 12:15, fully cloudy by 12:24, partially sunny by 12:32, and hailing at 12:41. Yes, I timed it just to prove a point. It's nuts! And only going to be 20 degrees for a high tomorrow.
 Anyways, I'll tell you a little bit about my week. So we golfed 18, but right when we were about to start, the wind picked up instantly. It was going about 30-40 mph the whole time we were golfing. On the 18th hole, it died. So basically, I guess we just weren't meant to golf well that day. Or golf. It was still really fun though to get out and go with some other missionaries and relax.
On Tuesday, I was on exchanges with Elder Lassen (the ZL) while Elder Gnehm went with Thornton. He's such a great guy and just a little trunkie. I guess you're allowed to be when you go home in a month. Anyways, it was really fun to work with him and I learned a ton of great things from him. He's definitely the type of person that is an ideal companion for me. We were able to visit people and tract a bit. It's really weird because they cover the YSA branch, so I talked to people my own age. I haven't done that for 6 weeks and man. It was super weird. Oh also, if they have it at Deseret Book, can you get me "The Missionaries little book of inspirational stories"? It's a super good book and I would love to get it if they have it there.
So I told you about the 40 day fast last week (I think...). Anyways, that started on the 1st. Since then, we have had almost instant success. We are going to a family named the Davignon's tonight, who were baptized almost 2 years ago but never received the new member lessons and are now LA. They said they would love to talk to us though and sound like they would be willing to come back to church. Our Relief Society President actually found all of this out just because she had a prompting to go over there. We were able to get one of our investigators to church yesterday after she said a month and a half ago that she never wanted to come back. We doubled our lessons and found almost everyone home. The power of faith is amazing and I know that the Lord is answering the Eastlake ward's prayers and blessing each and every one of them.
So there's this lady named Pamela who has basically every disease known to man. MS, some kind of cancer, she broke her arm, one leg is paralyzed, etc. She's basically insane, but I blame that on the thousands of pills she has to take every day. We went over there to talk and she said one of the weirdest (funniest) things that I think I've ever heard. She said, "God is mocking me and hates me. But me and Jesus, we're tight. I totally feel His love." Now, let's pause here and realize that God and Jesus' love is the same thing. We tried telling her that but nothing would get it through to her. We showed her scriptures that prove that fact but she still wouldn't listen. Uh, okay. However, the investigator that came to church yesterday was her daughter. Her name is Rain Rogers and is 15 years old. She came to church once, but the girls sitting by her were all texting and not paying attention. Basically, a missionaries worst nightmare. We talked to her on Thursday though while we were over there and had a really good discussion. She agreed to come back on Sunday and we caught her after church yesterday. She said it was a lot better and that she really enjoyed it. Thank goodness we didn't have some crazy person bear their testimony.
Which brings me to a side note. Have you ever noticed that when people tell stories in testimonies, they always say, "the point of this story is that the church is true." How did that even relate to you driving down I-70 Tuesday morning and watching the sun rise?
Also on Thursday, I had the chance to teach the 1st lesson for my first time! However, it was to members. But they were LA. I justified it and counted it as my first time. It went really well and they were at church on Sunday.
I also got to do a service project for Sister Williams, an elderly lady who's husband is just a bit too old to do the yardwork. We turned over all of her soil, removed part of a fence, and planted a bunch of plants. It was really good but I was BEAT afterwords. I couldn't believe how hard that soil was either haha. She did make us waffles with a whole bunch of fruit though, so I would say the blessings were pretty immediate for our service.
Friday night, the Burch's took us out to Heaven Dragon, which is basically the best Chinese food I've ever had. That's not why I'm telling you this though. On the way there, their little girl (Jaleah) was being so funny. Jason kept on egging her on and she said, "don't make me mad in front of the missionaries!" We all laughed and she said, "What are you laughing at?" Naturally, her dad kept egging her on and she said, "You're making me argue in front of the missionaries! Stop it!" A 3 year old girl was saying this. Who would think of that? It was one of the funniest things.
Saturday was the big day. My first baptism! People were really great about it too. Our Relief Society room has about 45 seats and it was still standing room only clear into the hallway. It was such a great turnout! Everything went great, except we forgot the towels. So Brother Powers, the WML, said, "We will now have a thought by the Elders!" Talk about being put on the spot. We shared a message about the Book of Mormon and I think it went pretty well. We got the towels and everything was good to go. The 1st time, Aaron messed up the prayer. The 2nd time, Brandi's wrist didn't go all the way under. But the 3rd time, everything was just right. You should have seen the smile on both of their faces! It is what makes all of the "no's" that we get worth it. At each baptism, the Elder's get to teach the 1st lesson while the others get dressed. So we got to teach twice within 5 minutes. It was pretty awesome. After the service, we caught up with Brandi's parents. They said that they were "touched" by it all and were really happy that they came. We're going to try to go over there this week to talk to them. A cool side story that I just found out yesterday. Sister Doss, one of our Sunday School teachers, was prompted one day to go get a haircut. She didn't think that she needed one, but went anyways to a place that she had never been before. As she was getting it done, she was prompted to talk about her values and lifestyle but not mention the church she was from. The lady cutting her hair said, "I was meant to talk to you today. That's exactly what I needed to hear!" This was like a month ago. So Saturday night, Sister Doss was there and she looked around. It was actually Brandi's mom that had cut her hair! Talk about how the Lord prepares people in their own way.
So yesterday, Brandi got confirmed and all went well with that. It was Fast Sunday, so we heard all of the testimonies. Rain did come really enjoyed that part of it. However, the funny story of the day was from Elder's quorm. Some guy, from the middle of nowhere, starts talking about how there's a legend about where Mormon hid all of the plates he abridged and that it's somewhere in South America and that Discovery Channel did a special on it. Despite many attempts to bring the subject back, he kept taking it back out there. Eventually, he said that they were all put there by aliens and that the church is true and that people just want to discredit it. I wish I could describe it more, but out of the 15 minutes he was trying to explain it all, I was laughing for about 14 minutes of it all. I guess it just goes to show that people are weird everywhere you go.
Last night, we visited a LA named Jeff Ainscough. He is way nice, but drinks and smokes. The good part was that he let us in (kind of grudgingly though) and then opened up to us. He said he doesn't like how people are "holier than thou" and that he doesn't want to come back because of that. We talked to him about it though and had a really good discussion. He had some great questions and we were able to talk him into church next Sunday and he seemed really interested to read 2 Nephi 9, which is the message that we shared. He's such a great guy and just needs a little help to get back on the right path.
Anyways, I best be off. Have a wonderful week and I love you guys! Go Cougars!
Elder Shepard

Sunday, February 27, 2011

letter from Colorado

Okay, so now I'll start from the top. I think I told you about the balloons for the baby shower on my first day. Yeah, turns out there was more planned. We went to a member's house (the Allens') who couldn't wait for the greenie to show up. They gave me a Lightning McQueen sippy cup with a twisty straw and a childproof lid on it with green jello for desert. I guess it could have been worse if the whole plan would have gone through. They said they felt bad for doing too much to me though on my first day (thank goodness). Yeah, good stuff. Initiation is finally over though haha. We went to a family named the Powers' after dinner to discuss missionary plans and for them to get to know me. They are the Ward Mission Leaders and I think some of the most energetic, peppy people I've ever met in my life. Really great people though and they seemed excited to meet me.
So the first 4 doors I tracted were...interesting. My very first door, I knock. We wait. Hear footsteps. See someone look through the peephole. They walk away. So do we. The next house was a thanks but no thanks. At least they answered. My third door was an open and before I could say anything, a "Mormons. PFFFF." and a door in my face with a lock right behind it. Oookay. And the fourth was a no answer. Welcome to the mission field! ha.
Our other solid investigators, Brandy and Aaron Adams, are such great people! Aaron was a less active for about 16 years and just got the Priesthood on Saturday. His wife, Brandy, is the one being baptized on March 5th. The great part is that he will be able to baptize her! So exciting. They have a little boy, Jackson, who is 4 and a little girl, Lexi, who is 18 months. They are really great people and will make great members in the church. Anyways, the ward is awesome, Colorado is great and I can't wait to keep working!
P.S. I forwarded pictures of our first day here that the President sent us. Let me know if that worked.
Love you all!
Elder Shepard

Monday, February 14, 2011

letter from Feb 9, 2011

I do get to respond to a lot of people. Thankfully I can write fast. I wrote 7 letters last P-Day and have 4 to write today. People sure are showing the love, make sure to tell everyone it is much appreciated.
It was so weird on Sunday. I never once thought about football or, you know, the biggest game of the year. I woke up Monday morning and our service director mentioned it. I literally said, "wait, that was yesterday?" Who would have ever imagined those words from my mouth? Not me. All is going well, the work goes on.  Oh, and a heads up. I fly out at 6:30 a.m. on Monday morning (crazy right?) The long road to Denver takes exactly an hour and twenty-eight minutes. I hope that means they still give us food...But want to know what I'm not looking forward to? I have to be to the travel office at 3 a.m. which means I have to be up at 2 a.m. I may just have an all night gospel study session.

ps. My addon is: I got a call this morning from the SLC airport.  Wow is he excited to go and serve.  He slept from 10:30 to 1:30 this morning (usually he would go to bed at 1:30).  Well he is so ready to get busy and start teaching the gospel.  His address will change to:
                                                                               Colorado Denver North Mission
                                                                                       Elder Michael Shepard
                                                                                       1250 Main Street
                                                                                       Broomfield, CO  80020

Thursday, February 3, 2011

first letter

How the heck are ya? I'm feeling a lot better, although I should have been quarantined due to my fever...oh well. Now it's just a cough and a runny nose, it should get better soon. It's a really rough one though, I hope dad doesn't get it too bad. A girl? Have her write a letter and a send a picture, I'll see if I'll write back. Just kidding, but a letter would be better because I only get half an hour for email. Wednesday is my P-day here so yeah. Expect emails then. We got everything but can you throw my hair clippers with the 3/4 inch guard in my box? Totally spaced that one. Yeah...Kiana sent me the picture from the Wednesday game and I almost flipped when I heard about Saturday. Luckily, life goes on.
My companion is Elder Hunt. He's 21 from Twin Falls, Idaho and has Cistic Fibrosis (spelling?) but he almost wasn't able to come. Luckily they found a way to make it work for him. He's a really good guy who has a great sense of humor. The other two guys are Elder Meyer and Elder Brown. Elder Meyer is from Boise, Idaho and is going to play D-1 football when he gets home. He's only 18 but the First Presidency allowed him to have special permission so he could start his scholarship on time. He's a real good guy, super funny. Elder Brown is like the energizer bunny on crack. That kid is always going I swear. He's about 5'6" and I swear he could run circles all around me. Elder Meyer got the nickname "one-up" the first night from Elder Hunt, so he took the initiative to one-up him and make nicknames for all of us. The "Denver Elders" nicknames are Elder "One-Up" Meyer, Elder "Know-it-all" Brown (he's always correcting Elder Meyer), Elder "Cool-J" Shepard (like the rapper LL Cool J. Elder, LL, guess they sound alike), and Elder "Slacker" Hunt. Real fun guys to be around.
I think the hardest thing to get used to was "Elder" and "Sister". No one has names here. It's so weird! A typical day starts off at 6:30 with personal (shower...hopefully) time until 7, when we go to personal study. Usually we have breakfast at 8:15 (it's hard not to eat right when I wake up, so I usually am drowsy until then). We usually go into companion study for an hour, which could be early or late depending on where it fits. Then we have things called MDT (Missionary Directed Time) that let us choose how we would like to use it. We have two amazing teachers that usually come for 3-4 hours at a time, Brother Thomas and Brother Wanket. Brother Thomas is from Sandy and served in Anchorage, Alaska. He goes to BYU and has been teaching here for almost three years. He's a real laid back, funny guy. Brother Wanket served in the Denver South mission and has been home about a year. He was only converted a year before he left on his mission. A high energy guy who really knows his stuff. Oh, and also goes to BYU. Gotta love the BYU guys. We have lunch around one and dinner around six, and if we're lucky, they let us have gym time. It really breaks up the monotony of 12 hours in a hard chair with a desk the size of my hand. Also, who thought I could burn to death in January? Thanks to our 90 degree classroom, I can! Also helps the whole not falling asleep thing...not. Ha. But yeah. Really good teachers and experiences. The day ends with a planning session and a chance to have 45 minutes to yourself, which I take to write in my journal. Oh! One last thing. Our Sunday is broken up like old school church. Thank goodness for the 3-hour block!
I just barely got back from the temple and I chose to do sealings. It's the first time I've ever done it and I was blown away. I'll spare the details but it was definitely an amazing experience. Yesterday we did something called the TRC (Teaching Resource Center) and I was able to teach the first lesson. The Spirit really speaks to you if you are prepared for it. I was able to take the discussion a completely different direction than we had planned and it got this investigator so much more interested than she had been previously. We have had a fireside, a devotional, and LGM's (Large Group Meetings) that all focus on our purpose. Which is: Invite others to come unto Christ and His restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the End. From memory. Boo ya! And I've memorized the 1st vision. Remember when I couldn't ever memorize anything? I'm so good at it now. I know the Spirit is answering my prayers and helping my weaknesses become strengths.
Well, five minutes of email time left...I'll just end with a few more cool thoughts. "Every blessing is predicated on obedience". I've heard that quite a few times here and wow. It hits me just how important that statement is. When you leave the MTC, your district does a musical number. Army of Helaman was the one this week. They changed the lyrics with things like, "We are now the Lord's missionaries" and "Now that we are called". I think that's when it first hit me I was really a missionary.
Well, the newbies are rolling in. It's been a whole week! I'm no longer the newest elder here. I've made it past the awkward time! Feel free to post this full letter on the blog. I love you guys and you're in my prayers as well. I know I'm here for a reason and I've learned so much in only one week. Only 103 to go!
Elder Shepard

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mike's MTC Address

Well, the first big day has come and gone. The farewell went great and thanks to all those who came and supported me! I'm loved in so many places by so many people and I'm truly grateful for that. Anyways, for those who would like to write me in the MTC, this is the address. For those of you in Provo, remember there are same day deliveries. Which means I wouldn't mind some fresh baked pastries every now and then...

Elder Michael Lynn Shepard
MTC Mailbox # 193
CO-DENN 0214
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84604-1793

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Well, I gave in

To be honest, I've never really gotten into the whole blogging fad. However, I figure this is the best way to keep people updated on the happenings of my mission. So, I gave in. Here it is! Hopefully anyone who wants join will go ahead and click follow to see where my best two years will take me. This page will be updated with letters, pictures, and even has the Mo Tab to inspire. What's not to like? Well, that's all for now. 24 days and counting!