Denver Colorado

Denver Colorado

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