Happy thanksgiving homies!! I hope you all enjoyed your nice homemade meals and warm beds to nap in :))))
SO this week was another fun one! Its craaazy we leave in 2 weeks!!
We didnt teach a ton this week because of thanksgiving and devotionals and all that good stuff, BUT one of the lessons we taught is definitely one for the books hahaha! Ok so we had a sub for Hermana Ruiz, and hes this spaz from Guatamala ok. And hes one of those people who when you look at you start laughing kind of a thing because he's just soo funny and spazzy. (not to mention he talks soooo fast its almost impossible to understand and i have the worst nervous laugh in the world, so thats that) anywaaays, so he tells us we're all going to teach him for 10 minutes and we have 5 minutes to prepare, and he was playing a man he met out on his mission field Jota, who was an achoholic, innactive, had a big family, etc. WELL, we just planned a simple thought we were going to give him about God's love for him and as soon as we go into the room he is being such a little brat!! basically bagging on the church and how the members aren't nice and judgemental and just going on and on and me and my companera have NO idea what to do hahahaha like I literally was in shock i just didnt even know what was going on. and so finally I was just like ok well can we share a quick message with you and he was just like I dont see the point I dont like the missionaries and going on and on haha, and so then mi companera says ok well is there anything we can help you with?? and he was like "No you guys are girls you can't help me with my construction (his job)" and i look at him and his lip was quivering and I just LOST it in the middle of the lesson!!! You guys my nervous laugh is such a curse. me and hermana starling are sitting there in the middle of the lesson just laughing so hard it was horrrrible hahahahaah horrrrible he kicked us out hahahah. Funniest thing that has ever happened i wanted to die. But its ok cause the next lesson with him we redeemed ourselves so THAT WAS GOOD! I'm sure this experience will help me when I'm in Argentina!
So i guess im pretty fluent now, me and Hermana Birch literally have conversations in ESPANOL is our sleep more often than not hahaha so thats cool!
So yesterday was actually reallllly fun. We heard from Dallin H Oaks and he had a greattt messgae. He talked about how we should be grateful for our trials and adversity in this life. One of my favorite quotes evver is that "we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience." I LOVE that. Our whole point on Earth is to grow and experience as much as we possibly can, and having to endure trials is apart of that! If we thank God for the opportunity we have in front of us to further our progression here on Earth, and then ask for the strength to get through it, we will have a much better outlook on our trials. Having an eternal perspective can help us a lot through our hard times while on this earth, even though these trials seem like our whole world, they are really only a smallll point in the grand scheme of things!! so keep on holding on friends!! Podemos hacerlo!!!! (we can do it!)
After his talk we were able to participate in this SUPER COOL humanitarian project. We made 357,947 meals for children in utah who are in need of food. It was awesome. I was next to the cutest little chinese elders who barely spoke any english, and I know thats exactly how I sound like to people when I speak spanish so thats exciting haha. After that we went and had our supppper fancy, nice, relaxing thanksgiving meal of some pb& j sandwhiches in our classroom wooooo!! Considering I'm not only gluten free BUT also allergic to peanuts, I had the best thanksgiving dinner of a rasberry questbar and some almond butter haha. But it was honestly really fun! We watched the movie "meet the mormons" and took some snoozes on our classroom floor. Que bueno!! After that we all watched 17 miracles and ahh it was SOOOOO GOOD!!! so uplifting and motivating!! if those saints could endure all of those crazy trials to prove their faith, I can serve for 18 months!!
One last thing, my love for the Book of Mormon has grown soooo much:) I have such strong testimony of the power of it. When we read the Book of Mormon, we are allowing ourselves to recieve personal revlelation from God. The scripture 2 Nephi 32:3 has a whole new meaning to me, and I encourage eveeeryone to go read it!! Reading the words of Christ can literally give us the oppurtunity to recieve answers and direction for our lives, if we are sincerely reading, pondering, and praying about it. I love you all!! Have a good week! Ciao!
PS Thank you for your emails & prayers, I love them & appreciate them all!
Hermana Rio Savana Shepard
2005 N. 9000 E. unit 126
Provo, UT. 84602
Here's a link to what we did on Thanksgiving!
Elder Dallin H. Oaks MTC devotional:)
Hello hello, another week down! I dont even know where to start this week. Suuuuuch a funny week but also pretty hard.
Ok so on Sundays and Tuesdays we have choir, and on Tuesday they broadcast that choir performance and devotinal and so I finally convinced my companera to come with me and she didnt want to because she was afraid she would laugh on the big screen, but I told her there was no way we would be on the screeen first of all, AND if we just looked down the whole time we would be fine. WELL During the middle of the practice run (thank goodness) All of the sudden I looked up and saw a girl in front of me on the screen, and so I was like WOAH I wonder if I'm on the screen too hahaah and so as soon as I saw myself on the screen I completely gasped and turned to my companera and said so dramtically "THAT'S US!!!" and as soon as I realized I did that IN FRONT OF EVERYBODY I started BUSTING up laughing. like im talking, peeing my pants laughing!!!!! I firgured that the media would get a clue and take us OFF the screen, so Im just covering my face with the paper DYING laughing with my companera the rest of the song. WELL as soon as it ended (we are still dying), our friend Elder WU ( a 25 year old short, buff little asian man from hong kong:) points up at us from the bottom and starts giving us a hard time and pointing us out to EVERYYYYYBODY as the "girl with the RED face laughing" It was honestly the funniest thing that has ever happened to me! SO embarrassing! I guess the media KEPT coming back to us throughout the entire song!!! close up and everything!! while I am beat red crying laughing. I seriously can't even tell you how funny it was hahaha. we prayed soooo hard for the actual broadcast to NOT start laughing hahaha!
our teaching has come a long way this week! So our teachers act as "fake" investigators for us ( they play people that they had converted on their missions so thats cool:) and so our teacher Hermano Barret is our investogator Andres. Our first lesson with him sucked. the spirit totally wasn't there and we were so lost haha. Its becasue we had a bad attitude about him faking an investigator and were totally thrown off, no excuse but still. Our second lesson with him was sooo good though. It felt sooo real. the spirit was totally there, me and my companera worked sooo well together. It was probably our best lesson we ever taught about the Plan of Salvation. It was the best because he came and told us how great of a job we did afterwards. It made us SOO happy haha. Our real investigator Rosi, wants to get baptised too!! woooooo go Rosi. She's the sweetest.
We have this thing called Member TRC where we go and teach members of the church for 20 minutes, just basically chatting and then a spiritual thought. WELL our first one was the guy named Roberto from chille and a few minutes into the lesson we realize hes not a member!! his roomate was and brought him with him hahaha. It was the coolest experience though!!! The spirit was totoooallly there and we were able to talk to him about prayer and his relationship with God. It was seriously the coolest.
My spanish is totally coming along. I am SOO excited!!! I can 9/10 times understand everything our teachers are saying (and they speak FAST and fluent, refuse to speak english) and the spirit totttallly helps me know what to say during lessons. My spanish is alwasy the best though when I am testifying to my inverstigtors. it is the coolest.
ok so during our lesson with Andres, I was promising him that through the atonement of Jesus Christ, you can no longer have guilt, and instead of saying culpa ( guilt) I said cuerpa (body) hahahahahahh so I told him he doesn't have to have a body any longer it was hilariiooousss thank goodness I have a fluent companera who corrected it hahaha.
So dad, if we didnt know before that I was your daughter, we DO now hahaha! The other day I was SO over the top happy in the morning, like I'm talking chipper as can be, and I made my district sing called to serve at the top of our lungs and just have a good time. the next class block the elders in my distcrict kept telling me how happy of a person I am, and they were so glad and that I totally turned their day around hahaah I was like what? but yes, I am fully converted to being a morning person now!! I felt like my G!! (aka dad:)
I love my teachers I learn soo much from them! Teaching is still stressful, but its getting easier and easier. thats all I can think of! Have a good week and Peace homies! and email or snail mail meeeeeee!
Herman Shepard xoxoxo
sister Rio Savana Shepard
2005 N. 900 E. unit 126
Provo, UT. 84602
Some parts of mine (mom's:) & hermanita Shepards email:)
ME) Do you get to see Lauren & Ammon much?
me and ammon have gym, service, lunch, etc today its so fun!! my companera has the hots for his companion its funny haha
and i see lauren all the itme its the best! im sad shes leaving in a week and a half
an apostles coming for thanksgivinGGG!!
ME) An apostle????? Do you have any idea who?
no they wont tell us who, but we talked to the secretary and he said we are going to be sooo happy. so idk but im excited!!!
ME) So what do you do after you get off line today?
were going to go relax FOR ONCE so excited:) We NEVER do that. then i might go play soccer with this one elder, theres a juggling record I wanna beat! But I'm not feeling too hot right now, i hope im not getting sick, prayers would be appreciated!
ME)Ok TAKE 2 packets of that emergencC like after your done!!!! & maybe a tylenol w/it & you will be good:) & of course I will pray for my hermanita!
ME) IK as soon as your off I'll remember stuff! Uhhhhh it's not as hard as I thought it'd be to not text/call & track you LOL whenever, BUT I DO miss not being able to talk to you & have you here!!!!! It's hard!!!
i know! the Lord is blesssing us with strentgth!! I miss you & i LOVE all of your dear elders!!
i need to type this fast, but the other day when I went to the Temple, i was sitting there praying and i asked to feel grandmas presence more, and then all of the sudden i felt her near me and the words came into my mind, "Im with you Rio, and I will be the whole time" I teared up it was the sweetest experience
ME)Thats amazing Rio! Grandma loved you so much! I'm sure she is near you often!
ok im going to get off! I love you!!! I am going to go relax a little and write some letters!! Love love!!! talk to you in a week!!
ME) kk I HATE saying good bye for the week! HAPPY THANKSGIVING week! I am thankful for YOU very much! Be on the look out for lot's of little packages next week! LOVE you!!!!!
I love packages! love you guys!!! muchos besos!!!
Whats good!! Wow I feel like i've been here for aggeeeeesss haha. no but seriously. The days literally crawled by those first few days. But this week has flown by!! I feel like it was just sunday! Ummmm so lets see. We taught our first investigator last Saturday, Javier. I honestly cant remember how that lesson went haha. But for only being in the mtc two full day, our teaching in Spanish was pretty good!! Javier is so sweet and we adore him. We have taught him a total of four times now and we commited him to baptism on our last lesson! Whoop whoop go Javier!
Teaching has been a rollercoaster. Its hard for me becuase I know exactly how to go about it in English, but having to understand them perfectly and then teach about the gospel in spanish is pretty hard. But I can seriously testify of the gift of tongues!! There is no other way I'd be able to communicate like I am able to without it! Almost every single lesson we've taught to our investigators have not gone as planned haha. But every single time the Spirit is able to completely guide me in knowing what to say to these people, which is truly amazing considering half the stuff I say I havent even studied!! Its funny because times like those, I honestly cant remember what I had said, but I just remember the Spirit testifying of the truthfulness.
ALSO, the day our district had tried to speak the whole day in Espanol was the day my companera and I's spanish was soooo gooood and he commited to baptism!! It was such a testiment to me of if we are sinceerely showing the Lord that we are trying, he will totally bless us for it!! it is seriously so cool.
Inviting someone to Baptsim for the first time was the coolest experience. We were teaching about Christ when he was baptized in Mathew chapter 1 or 3 (I cant remember) verses 9-11 and then shared with him John 3:5 and then the spirit totally prompted me to invite him to baptsim. I've never felt the spirit like that before!! It was amazing. I seriouisly wanted to go kiss his cheek when he said yes hahaha!
Hands down, teaching is the most stressful thing to prepare for. We literally devote all of our many hours of study time to the investigators needs and trying to be intune with the Spirit as to what they need to hear. But every time, as soon as we step in to teach them, the spirit takes over and guides the lesson.
Of course we've had our fair share of not so great stuff. I called Javier, HERMANA like 20 times hahaha! BUT over all its been a great experience.
Oh and I lOVE getting all of the Dear Elders!!! All of my friends are jealous hahaha. They seriously make my day!!! I look forward to them like crazy!!
The days here are literally eternities, me and some hermanas ( hermana Dolton included teeehhe) wake up at 6 am, do a circuit in our stair well, then go to breakfast, study for 3 or 4 hours straight, lunch, gym, class for 5 hours, dinner, and then class for 3 more hours. The days are literally sooo long BUT I will say the Lord knows me!! He has completely given me strength to no longer want to nap and be lazy. I actually really enjoy all of our study and class time haha. Even though a mission is looked at as a selfless act, I honestly feel like thats not true. I am learning and growing SO much. I am benefiting crazy ammounts from being here!! I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve the Lord for a year and a half straight!!! It is honestly such a blessing and I love it!
Hermana Starling and I get along so great, i am so stoked to have a companera like her. We'll take these study breaks where we will literally run around the building for a few minutes because weve been sitting for hours haha. It seriously is a highlight of my day. We also like to sit in this one spot where theres a bump in the sidewalk, and say hi to elders right before they step there, and watch them trip and almost fall hahaha its kinda mean BUT sooo funnnyyy! Anyways!! She has such a strong testimony and love for God, I am learning so much from her!!
I think thats all the interesting stuff for this week!! Keep on doing you homies. Read your scriptures, go to church, say your prayers. Love you all!!
"mom, Can you PLEASE tell people that i tried REALLY hard getting back to everybody and i'm sorry I couldn't this week, I barely have an hour, but I LOVE the love! THANK YOU!"
hey people!! I feel like Ive been in the MTC for yeeearrsrs. It has been great though!! Ummm i cant really remember a whole lot haha lets see. The first day was sad but good. I am so grateful the Lord is blessing me with strength and comfort being away from home. We had this investigator work shop where as a group we taught three different investigators. You know the spirit is strong when you have your girl Hermana Shepard participating in a big group like that!! So that was really fun. The lunch was pretty horrible but hey it could be worse. uummm SO i looveve my companera Hermana Starling. She is soo cool and normal and we get a long great!! I couldnt be happier.
The first class yesterday was pretty brutal for me. I could barely understand anything and everybody else in my class is seriously almost fluent. they all kept saying "the gift of tongues is so real oh my gosh" and i was getting so annoyed and frustrated haha. I had to offer a prayer in spanish and i seriously wanted to walk out it was so hard haha even with reading it off of the spanish manual!!! I cant remember much of what we did after that, BUT we met our branch presidency that night and I was a little down and not looking forward to it. That meeting was everything I had been praying for that day!! WE went around and shared our testimonies and it was seruiously the best. It was great to see these other hermanas and elders speaking english for once, and kind of their background and story of why they are serving. I was kind of struggling with some of my district members ( i need to stop being so irratable haha) but seeing them in this setting truly made me finally look past that and just love them.
The mission seriously takes your comfort zone and throws it right out the window. You are called on at random times to pray in a language you dont know, bare your testimony to a group, have to talk tonss of people, prepare talks in spanish that you can be called on any sunday to give, and just a bunch of crazy stuff like that that i am so not used too haha. Tomorrow Hermana Sterling and I are teaching our first investigator about families and the plan of salvation IN SPANISH!! I am a little scared to say the least. Everyone says how bad you do on your first one so thats exciting haha. When we were at the temple today I was praying about Javier (our investigator) and what he needs to hear and its awesome how the spirit works. I was able to work out different phrases in spanish about the importance and blessings that come from eternal families it was great. ALSO I forgot to give you that happy ending to my horrible praying experience haha. Last night when we were saying our companion prayers, I offered it and was able to get through a prayer without the translation page and everything! I obviously couldn't say everything i wanted but it was enough and gave me confidence!!
I like my teacher a lot, she is super cute and just got back from brazil 8 months ago. She corrected my argentinian accent though haha but whatever i like how i talk!! Me and ammon eat pretty much every meal together so thats fun!! It's been great having Ammon here! And i see Lauren a ton because we are in the same zone!! Its the best. Love you all!!
PS For those who are new to an LDS Missionaries life, they get one day a week of "rest" or time off from their routine, & they call this their "P" day which stands for preparation day. The missionaries don't choose their "P" day while in the MTC, it is given to them, but once out on the mission field, it is almost always on Monday's, the only exception is when they are transferring areas, or maybe @ a conference, then it might be on another day during that particular week.
Missionaries get roughly one hour per week to read all their emails, upload photos, & send out their emails to their family & friends. Missionaries also use this "P" day to do their laundry, get to participate in an organized sport w/other missionaries, & once out in the field you also can do sight seeing w/your companion as long as it's in the boundaries of the area they are serving in, oh and they also do their grocery shopping on their "P" day:)
Anyway...I thought i'd share what "P" day meant....in case anyone was wondering:)
So, we had about an hour before Rio was reporting to the MTC...her time was 1:15 pm & after we packed up the car w/about 5000 pounds of her luggage & about 100 pieces of carry ons, & we went grabbed some lunch for the non junk food eaters (Mom & hermanita Shepard:) then circled the MTC a few times, & felt so sorry for all the families saying good bye to their missionaries......& then we realized that was going to be US in about 30 minutes!!! Ugh;/
So we drove up above the Temple, next to a bike/hiking trail & we sat there....just sat there for a few minutes w/out saying much. Then Rio asked to listen to hers & her dads "song" one last time before she had to go...he said "NO" & I said YES...she won't hear it again for 18 months & it's a special song to them <3
Well....that's when the flood gates opened up WIDE & lot's of tears started pouring down our cheeks:( It was very sad...but funny @ the same time! Hermanita Shepard was laughing, talking, & crying pretty much all @ once lol...she reminded me of what she was like on our drive home from getting her wisdom teeth taken out lol:) But it was mostly lot's n lot's n lot's of tears....happy tears & sad tears...
This was one of the hardest moments in our family's life. I (mother:) didn't want to let my baby girl go...I wanted to hold onto her forever, but I knew I had to let her go, Hermanita Shepard is on the Lord's errands, She has been called to serve & labor in Buenos Aires South, Argentina, she has a mission to complete, & I/we are so happy, & very thankful that she has chosen to do this. It's not going to be easy, in fact I think it's going to be pretty darn tough most of the time, BUT I know that she will LOVE it, she will grow, and she will help change lives for the good. Our family has already seen BIG miracles, & some very sweet & tender mercies in th less than 72 hours that she has been serving.
The church is true. The Gospel has been restored on this earth. The Atonement of Christ is real, & it's for EVERYBODY. The plan of Salvation is beautiful. Families CAN be Eternal. & sister Heramnita Shepard has a message to share w/the people of Argentina, the land of so many of her ancestors, & it's not a coincidence that she has been called to that country.
I (mamma:) am SO excited for her to get out to Argentina & experience life just a little bit like her maternal grandparents did, to get to know the culture more than she already does, & embrace the people there. I KNOW she will be a powerful missionary, & will gain a stronger testimony as she gives of her time, & talents 100% for these next 18 months!
Hermanita Shepard started this blog about a week before she reported to the MTC, & I will be keeping it up for her while she is serving:)!
I will be posting her emails, & some portions of the emails she sends me:) Along w/lot's of photos, and any videos she is able to send home:)
Please keep her in your prayers & thoughts from time to time, & maybe send her an email or two over the next several moths, I know she would love that! She also LOVE pictures, so even just a picture & a caption & email that to her any day of the week & she would LOVE that:)!
Also, once she gets home we will make this blog into a book, so any comments you post will be recorded & published for her to have forever & ever!:)
So, we flew up to UT a few days before I reported to the Provo MTC & it was an amazing time! It was so fun to hang out, see some friends, & just relax (well sort of!) in Provo before I reported! My parents met up in UT so they kept showing us stuff & places these to go!
We stayed in Provo @ a really rad place, it was perfect, a few blocks from Center st. & up down the street from BYU & the MTC!
Here are just a few photos of some of Rio's good bye's w/a few friends & fam:) & she got to see one of her BFF's serving on Temple square! It was so fun!
A few days before heading up to UT hermanita Shepard met up w/some of her auntie's & an uncle & her Oma & Papa @ Irvine spectrum. Luckily it was a busy day & so it wasn't too emotional...only happy "see ya in dos anos":) Hermanita Shepard is blessed w/a large family who love & support her TONS:)