Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Week 102 - The Last Letter

Hey Guys!

I was feeling pretty restless during last week. I still feel restless, but that’s part of finishing the mission.

In the last three months, I think I have given more service with Elder Cardona than in all the rest of my mission. We've built houses, we've dug wells. we've cut wood- you name it, we did it. We also had many miracles this past 3 months, loving people, receiving and bearing strong testimony that Jesus lives, and that this is church. It's been a very lively time on my mission. These last few months have been a spiritual explosion.

I was thinking today about the value of a testimony. This week we had a church activity where we bought 2000 matches and put them in a pot. We taught our members about the value of a testimony.  The activity was something like this:
I explained: "Our individual testimonies are like this individual match."
We turned out the lights, and I lit the match. It lit up the room.
I explained: "Now, when we are with 2 or 3 others, the light we give off becomes even brighter."
I lit 3 matches at a time, and it gave off a greater light.
I then explained, " Now, imagine 2000 people together that have this testimony."

I then set off the matches in the pot, and it literally produced a 6-foot column of fire. I honestly was not expecting such a big flame. The members reacted very well. though.

That's had me thinking about testimonies and the importance and the value of a testimony. There is a point that we can get to, where we no longer have faith in a certain thing, but we have a perfect knowledge in that thing. I do not know everything, and there is much I have to learn, but there are some things, concerning which, that I feel that I have gained a perfect knowledge of them and that I know that they are true.

I also realized that as much as I have shared my testimony to this people, I haven’t really shared my testimony with you.

I know that Christ is my Savior. He literally died for us and took upon Himself all of our sins, so that we can be clean. I know that this is His church today, because I have seen too much to not know. I have received many confirmations that this is all true. I was not there to see, but I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and the Son. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and though hail falls, though the earth shakes, and though I am made as Job in my afflictions, I know that all the work that has been done in this last dispensation is truly the work of God, and that I will never fall away. I know, with all the surety of my heart, that God loves me, that I am His son, and He desires that I gain eternal life. He also desires this for all his children. I am a disciple of Christ, and He has commissioned me to serve and bear my testimony of these things to all. This is my testimony to the world, to all those who have been within the sound of my voice, both through internet, or literally, here in Guatemala or there in the States. If you ever have difficulties, or your faith is failing you, remember that you know someone who knows that its true. I know.

I love you all. I have many imperfections, and God, through his great mercy, has shown me what I am now. He has also shown me what i can become, and I am sure He will show me more.

See you in 8 days!

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Week 101 - Don't Know What To Title This Email

Hey Guys!

Life here's pretty much the same. We're still in the coordination stages for all the cool things we want to do our last week. It's a long process, but it's coming together piece by piece. We're going to, on my last Saturday, have 5 baptisms, and then we're going to go to the temple with all the recent converts to do baptisms for the dead. There's a lot of coordination that has to be done, but it will be done.

You know what I feel like right now if you've been in my position before. 2 weeks before you go home, you feel like everything is just a blur, but at the same time, you can't help counting days and just waiting to go home. This week we got to know the new mission Presidents, President and Hermana Christensen, and we had short interviews with them. When they interviewed me, they basically just thanked me for te work that I've done here on the mission and told me that when I get back home, I won' t be able to find many people who really understand what I've been through or the way I think. 

I have no idea how things are or what it will be like when I get back, but we'll see. You might think that I act differently or weird when I get back, but that will be for 2 reasons:

1) I've been living in a very different culture for a long time. It will take me some time to adjust to being an American again.

2) Spiritual growth is a purifying process. When gold is purified, the purest part of the gold stays the same, but the little imperfections are slowly burned away. Much of the mission has been a process of purification for me. When a person grows spiritually, their personality and the inner essence of who they are basically stays the same, but they become more intelligent, more profound, and more focused on things that matter most. 

I really don't have too much to say. There are great things happening, we're gonna have 5 baptisms on my last Saturday, I feel time passing by, and I'll be returning from the unfamiliar-made-familiar country of Guatemala to the once-familiar-made-unfamiliar state of California.

See you all soon! Time goes by much faster than what you expect.


Elder Jeffrey Reed

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Week 100 - Working Hard to the Very End

Hey Guys!

My companion and I have the baptismal goal of 6 for this month, and we already have 5 of the 6 planned and committed to be baptized on the 22nd of July, my last Saturday in the mission. That week, we will also go to the temple with all the recent converts of this year and last year. (We were gonna go this week, but it got canceled because of temple remodeling and management, so we had to put it off for a little bit later. That gives more time to our recent converts to look for names. Luckily, I'll still be with them to go to the temple) In short, we've got a lot to do, and not enough time to do it. Life goes by fast, especially the mission.

I've never thought so much about my life and what will become of my future as I have been thinking about it this week and the past couple weeks. It's not that I'm worried or anything, it's just the most prominent thought in my mind Much of my last couple of weeks in the mission has been learning more about the basic principles of repentance so that I can go home being the best person I can be. I haven't ever felt such an itch just to be good. To be loving to others. To serve.

In the mission, as I have read and served and learned, I have almost accidentally learned a lot more about myself, even though that wasn't the initial goal. The initial goal was to bring salvation to others. Before, I was a young high school graduate without any real direction in my life, but now, I feel as if there is a clear path laid down before me and a clear path that the Lord wants me to take. Actually maybe the path isn't too clear, but the entrance to the path is, and I plan wholeheartedly on taking action and moving forwards and upwards as I get back. There were days when I worried that God was pleased with my service and that if I had become the kind of person He wanted me to become on the mission, but I don't worry about that anymore. I know, through revelation, that the Lord has accepted my service (or rather, will accept my service after I finish in 3 weeks) and I know that i have given all my effort and my might in these last 2 years to His kingdom. I have learned and grown, but I should not expect the learning and growth to stop here. If it does, I completely missed the point. But it will not. We all, no matter where we're at in our life, we have to continue growing upwards and onwards. And it can be a very joyful experience.

I am at peace with my God and with Guatemala.

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, June 26, 2017

Week 99 - the last month + picture

Hey guys!!!!

Ya. Ishkame'ek- Llego el fin. I don't know how many different ways I can say it, but I'm really in the final countdown now.

Don't worry, I’m still working hard, I'll keep working until I drop. The Lord didn't ask me to give 23 months, he asked for 24, and that's what I'll give.

We've got a couple interesting projects. We're working on taking all the recent converts and getting them to the temple. If all goes well, we're going this Thursday with everyone. It's going to be very special to have everyone who hasn't gone there, especially that we're allowed to go too.

This week was interesting because we worked very hard, without seeing too many results. One day, we were literally door knocking for 5 hours, and no one would let us in. I'm used to that by now, that's happened countless numbers of times to me in the mission. I don't complain about that anymore. After making a huge effort to find new people, a bunch of new people literally appeared out of nowhere, which is another testimony builder to me that God puts people He wants you to bless in your path. That's the way it's always been for me in the mission. This work isn't mine, and it never has been mine. It belongs to the Lord. I honestly think that that is the most important thing for a missionary to remember. This is not OUR time. Our time comes afterwards.

Love you Guys! See you soon!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Week 98 - Last interview with the mission President

Hey Guys!

So this week’s been pretty cool. They sent Elder Santos, one of my companions when I was in Puerto Barrios, to the Maya, so the district meeting was literally almost uncontrollable. Poor zone leaders. They also made me district leader for my last change, so I have to keep myself on my toes and work little harder to help not just my area, but 2 areas, so that’s interesting.

The major event of the week was my last interview with President Crapo. Normally, he doesn’t do them so early in the change, but that's because he will be going home 3 weeks before me so he did mine early. On Friday, I got together in the morning with elder Santos, and we went to Zona 10 of the capital. We got together with elder Nawahine, my companion from the CCM (the missionary training center), and Elder Suman, another friend from the CCM, and went and got doughnuts from Dunkin' Doughnuts.

From there, we all in succession had interviews with President Crapo. My interview was 3rd. We talked about my goals, about tips for dating and marriage, and things I have to do to maintain the Spirit after the mission. For me, it was a very spiritual and very faith-building experience to talk to my mission President about the future and know that there's a way to get through it.

From there, we went to go eat lunch at a place called TGI Fridays. I'm pretty sure it's a big restaurant in the States, but I had never seen it before, but I had a half back of ribs and a 1.2 pound hamburger there- it was literally the best food I've eaten in a long time. From there, we tried to get home, but there were no busses that passed to where we were going, the lines for the transmetro were super long, and there was a TON of traffic. We ended up being trapped in the city until about 7 a night, but that wa all right because we all knew each other from when we started the mission, so it was pretty cool to chill with the bros.

We've got a lot of cool projects going on right now. Thank you all for writing! See you soon!


Elder Jeffrey Reed

Friday, June 16, 2017

Week 97 - Jacob 7:26

"Y aconteció que yo, Elder Reed, empece a envejecer... ...el tiempo se me ha pasado,y mi vida también ha pasado como si fuera un sueño."

There is nothing weirder than knowing that you go home in 42 days, and that each day time goes ticking by a little faster. I am officially in my last change of the mission, and I have a month and a half left. The weeks go ticking by very, very fast. Any day now, I'm expecting my last interview with President Crapo. He goes home on June 30th, and 3 weeks later, I come home.

These are feelings you can't describe. In the mission you give all of yourself, and then they pull you out of your mission country. And you come back and you realize that time has passed you by when you get back to the States. Ishkaamek... ("It's all over" in qeqchi).

The work’s really great right now. There's been a lot of good investigators appearing out of nowhere, a lot of support from our ward, etc. This last week we had 2 weddings and 2 baptisms. I don't have the pictures, but I’ll send them to you when I get them.

Last week we had a three mission conference because Elder Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve visited Guatemala.  I “Be Still My Soul” in a quartet for the joint mission conference and got to meet Elder Renlund.  Also, I saw Elder Earl from Danville!  He is in one of the other missions.

I don’t have too much time right now, just letting you guys know that I'm alive, I’m doing well, and I'll be home soon!

Love you lots! See you soon!


Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, June 5, 2017

Weeking 96 - Chikingunya 2: Resurgence

Hey Guys!

Sounds kind of like a horror movie title, doesn't it?

Well, that's because it is. I've told you about this, but I told you about a year ago, the first time I had this sickness.

Chikingunya is one of the weird diseases that exists here in Guatemala that doesn’t exist in the United States. It is spread by mosquito bites and its symptoms are high fever, extreme pain in the joints of your body, excessive sweating, nausea, and migraine, all at once. It's literally the worst. I don't recommend it.  The point is that, more than a year ago, I had this for the first time. It had me out of commission for a whole week. This last week, I started having symptoms of this on Thursday, and the whole thing lasted about 2-3 days. Kind of a nightmare to be laying down in bed, and you want to get up and go work, but you can't because when you get up, your knees feel like they're 200 years old, and the room starts pulsing and spinning. Whatever. This time around it didn't last as long as the others.

Well, apart from that, interesting things that happened...

We finished building the house. :D

While we were walking along and talking to a contact, some guy ran up to a couple people who were close to us and threatened them with a machete.

While we were eating dinner in the house on Tuesday, some guy close to the house started screaming at the top of his lungs "YO ME SIENTO SOLOOOOO" (that means, "I feel alone") for about an hour and a half. Really weird. After asking the neighbors, we found out that that's normal, and that guys usually does that about once a month.

Something I’ve been thinking about lately is a promise in Doctrine and Covenants 50. I can't quote it exactly, but it says to the effect that a man who purifies himself of all sin and of all ungodliness becomes possessor of all things and that a person like that can ask in the name of Jesus and it will always be given unto him.

If there was any example of purity in the world, it was Jesus. He was pure, not just because he avoided sin, but because of his desires.  He desired ONLY what His Father desired. Being pure means taking of the sacrament every week and doing things to get better every week. It means laying down all your faults and all your flaws before Him and letting Him mold you and shape you into a better person.

Love you all! See you soon!