Denver Colorado

Denver Colorado

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