Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Week 73 - And a Happy New Year!

Hey Guys!

I had the opportunity to talk with the family yesterday. That was special- everyone looked happy and I feel like they're doing fine. 

Changes came by, and I'm still staying in Puerto barrios! I'm gonna be here until about February (I think.) It will be good. This week that's coming we have our concilio, so I have to go to the capital again to report. The weather is gonna start heating up again in about mid-January; right now its been relatively cold, so that's been nice. I've spent the majority of my mission in the two hottest zones- Zacapa and Puerto Barrios- so I've gotten really used to the heat. When I get back to California, I'm gonna need a jacket to survive in July.
We're working on  finding new people to baptize! We're also putting New Years resolutions to become better. You guys should too. But when you set it, don't set a meaningless goal that you're gonna forget about and then not complete. Make a motto for the year and then use that motto to develop different ideas for goals and help you improve in that thing through all the year!

Love you guys! I'll write  little more next week!

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Week 72 - Merry Christmas from Izabal

Hey Guys!

Well, I'm gonna be talking to my family for the 3rd time in my mission this Sunday :O Wow I'm old.

I can't believe I've seen a full year pass by in Guatemala. It's been the craziest year of my life. 

This Christmas is gonna be pretty cool.

Jodi's on right now! Recently, we figured out how to use the chat function on Gmail, so it's been cool the last couple weeks to be able to talk to her almost in live time.

This week we had a zone conference, and President gave us a lot of great instructions! He then let us watch a movie. I was surprised- we all thought the movie was gonna be Finding Dory or something like that, but it was another Disney movie I had never seen before, called Iron Will. It was about dog sledding- basically a movie that I think Dad would like a lot. You guys should look for it and watch it this week. After that, on the 6-hour bus ride home, I caught a SUPER bad cold, so when we were about 2 hours away from the area, I just went to the back of the bus and laid down and slept.

To sum up the change, it's been fun, but there have been difficulties. We've had to face everything as zone leaders: robberies, investigators, companionship problems (not in mine, but in others). But through all the physical challenges, I've been kept at peace with a verse of scripture that I like in 2 Nephi 2:24: 

But Behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

There's not too much more I can say. God does things for us because he knows what we need, he knows what he can give us, and he knows exactly how we can grow if we are willing to take upon the challenges in the manner of the Lord.

Well, I don't have too much time left. Whenever I'm gmail chatting with the family it doesn’t leave me too much time to write the letters. But I've got stories to tell when I call the family!
Love you all!

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Week 71 - Excerpts from Email Exchange with Elder Reed

I lieu of a formal email message, here are excerpts from an instant message exchange we had with Elder Reed this week:

[Regarding Christmas gifts sent to Elder Reed] "I got the packages!  There is nothing better than a ton of trail mix and new socks after a long year in Guatemala - I opened them already."

[Younger brother Brock sent him a URL link to look at some Pokemon]  "I can't go to that link- I'm a missionary.  There are people here who play Pokemon Go here (mostly in the capital) but there are a lot of thieves who use Pokemon Go as an opportunity to rob cell phones- they go to the places where the Pokemon appear and then rob the people."

[Looking for advice] - "What did you do, Dad, to get over the sheer exhaustion of being a missionary? I feel absolutely whipped when I go to bed and when I get up, I still feel tired from the day before."

[Wondering how the family is doing while he is Guatemala] - "When did the family get used to not having Elder Reed in the house? [my answer - never did]

[Discussing his work ethic] - "When I got to the mission, I was very very very very serious and hardcore about the work. I'm always hardcore about the work (in the mission, I'm known as that missionary who stops cars and motorcycles to talk to the drivers).  I've learned though that it's also important to take time to laugh." 

[Last comment]  "I also got the vitamins - Love the vitamins- the vitamins are my new favorite thing in life."

Monday, December 5, 2016

Week 70 - Fishing for Christmas

Hey Guys!

Just to tell you what I'm gonna be doing today: Elder Cabrera and I found a bunch of fishing gear, so we're gonna go to a local pier and see how the fishing is. If we get anything, we're gonna take pictures,  so you guys will see next week.

This week we had our district conference. (A district is like a smaller version of a stake, expect they don't have high priests most of the time and the district president doesn't have the keys to oversee the Melchizidek Priesthood) Our mission President came and very lovingly invited all the members to repent, and re-organized the district presidency. So a lot of things are gonna change in the district. I don't know how much that will affect our branch here in Puerto Barrios, but the good news is that the old district president, who is member of our branch, will finally be able to sit with his family in the congregation after 9 years of service. So I feel happy for him. (We'll also finally be able to visit him to get him inspired about missionary work, too.)

My mind has been occupied with Christmas and everything that has to do with Christmas lately. My notion of what a Christmas should be like has changed completely! Christmas, the way we celebrate it here in Guatemala, needs tamales and FIREWORKS! Imagine people shooting off fireworks from every street corner, starting at 12:00 at night, for an hour, 2 hours, or up to 4 hours without stopping! So yeah, we're super excited. There are families that are inviting us to eat with them already and everything. 

I haven't only been thinking about the secular part of Christmas, however. I've been thinking about the impact that our Savior had. The truth is that he came in super humble circumstances to the world. Even his name-  -JESUS- that name so respected to us- was a common name. It would have been like naming your child John or Frank or something really common. But yet, this man- born homeless, without even a blanket to put on top of him, so poor that his mother laid him in straw to keep him warm, became one of the most recognized figures in all the world. He was poor all his life- "birds have nests, and foxes have holes, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head." He died as a common criminal- crucifixion wasn't some kind of special punishment. He lived, he died, and if you look at his life like any other ordinary man, you don't see too much too different. But He was different. He is our Savior. He, for all that he did, took upon him the sins of the world, in a way that no one saw until after he explained it to his apostles. For me, He lived great, He died great, and he still lives.

Food for thought for today! Study Christmas this month! Participate in the program the church has for this Christmas! Love you all!

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Week 69 - Ralankil "Night of the Son" (Christmas in Q'eq'chi')

Chan xe'rin?
I'm learning another language!!! It's called Q'eq'chi' and it's SUPER hard to learn, but it's pretty cool. 

I don't have too much time to write this week, but it was pretty good. We had concilio, and we got a lot of new instructions to share with the zone.

Other than that, the week wasn't too interesting. But I want to tell you guys something I've been thinking about lately.

OK, so imagine missionaries stopping you on the street and talking to you, but the very instant that you talking to them, even in you're in a rush or in a hurry, a thought comes to your mind: "These people are servants of God." Even if you don't believe in God, you invite them to your home, and a couple days later, when they get there, when you hear the message, you feel the Spirit in your heart, you know it's true, and you want to learn more and read. You feel inspired to pray and to find out for yourself, and change your life.

For those who know what missionary work is like, wouldn't it be great to find people like that every day? That every single person who you talk to would be like that?

So I've been thinking. Why does it depend so much on the person? Normal people who don't have the gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives don't have the Spirit. They've never falt it before. So does it really depend on the "preparedness" of the person or does it depend on the spirit that the missionary brings? We should always be preparing, doing everything we can -members, too- so that when people see us, they know we're different. Do things that allow the Spirit to be with you, so that it can be your constant companion. Be Christ-like, and love everything around you. Cast out all negativity, cast out every angry thought, cast out all uncleanliness from your souls. Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.

I'm teaching the missionaries here to do that. I'm not perfect, and I'm still in the process, but I believe that this is the secret

Speaking of being Christlike, all of you guys should watch this video and think about what you can do to serve others. www.mormon.org -- watch that video it is the best video I have seen in a long time

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Week 68 - I Feel OLD

Hey Guys!

So, last week we had changes. My new companion is Elder Cabrera from Tegucigalpa. Honduras. I usually get along well with HondureƱos so I was pretty happy to hear that. Elder Cabrera is calm and he's a good worker. He likes to make sure that what he's doing is exactly for the salvation of the people here in Guatemala. He is 20 months into the mission, and is probably going to finish his mission here in Puerto Barrios.

We also opened up another area in Puerto Barrios! My old area was split in half again, and I was assigned to the farther and more dangerous part of the area. So I had to hand over all my old investigators to the hermanas.  I’m sure they’ll do a great job.  The good news is that we still have Entre Rios.

We've been focusing a lot with the members on an idea that we've had for Christmas. When Christ came into the world, he came to be the light of all, and we must remember that he also gave unto us to be the light of the world and to let our lights shine forth. Like the hymn says:

Brightly beams our Father's mercy from his lighthouse evermore,
but to us, he gives the keeping of the lights along the shore.

Dark the night of sin has settled, loud the angry billows roar;
eager eyes are watching, longing, for the lights along the shore.

Trim your feeble lamp, my brother; some poor sailor, tempest-tossed,
trying now to make the harbor in the darkness may be lost.

Let the lower lights be burning; send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman you may rescue, you may save.

Our Lord has entrusted us with His lights. What are we doing to let that light shine forth? Or have we been content to keep that light for ourselves, that only we benefit from its glow?
We need others to be able to see that light. But that others may see it, it has to be strong. Never stop feeding the fire of your testimony. There are two kinds of members in the Church: those who build a bonfire of a testimony or those who light a fire just big enough for their own needs and pleasures.

See "Patterns of Light" by David A. Bednar

Love you guys lots! See you next year! (for the family, Christmas!)

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 67 - Activity

Hey Guys!

SO, this letter is titled, "Activity" because those are exactly what I've been doing this week. When I first came to Puerto Barrios, the branch had not had an activity of any type in over a year, and the elders who were previously there complained that the branch president shut down all the activities. So I got to work on that. We gained the trust of the branch president, and instead of directly proposing activities to the president, we announced them in branch council so everyone could have an input, the first time we did it, the branch president was pretty unsure about the whole deal, but when he saw that it turned out well, he gave us more working space. Right now, we have prepared the branch to have 3 different activities every single week, in different parts of Puerto Barrios so that even the poorest members who live farthest from the chapel can participate. We've seen the attendance raise from 60-70 to 100-115 members who come every Sunday, and we expect to see more. 

Also, just thinking about activity in the church, and what gives people the drive to come to church to participate in worship every Sunday. Really, the reason should be that the members want to come to church so that they may learn of Jesus Christ and participate with their brothers and sisters in worship, but this is not always the driving force that makes people want to get up and go to church. But that's all right. God doesn't expect us to really know Him at first. He invites everyone, that they may FIRST come and SECOND drink of the water of eternal life. If God's intention is to invite everyone to come where He is, wouldn't it stand to reason that He wants everyone to feel welcome where He is? (2 Nephi 26:24-28).  One thing that you guys should do is go and make yourself feel welcome. And if you yourself don't feel welcome, remember that you are always welcome, and try to go make someone else feel welcome too.

Also, we’re having exchanges this week and I’m staying here in Puerto Barrios, but my companion is being transferred to another area.  My new companion is going to be a brand-new zone leader and I get to train him on how to do it!


Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, November 7, 2016

Week 66 - A week with the Assistants

Hey Guys!

Well I told the mission President about my idea of establish an official church group in the new area, and he said he was going to talk to the local district President about it, but he did say that it could be good to put a group there.   I still haven't heard about it since then, so I don't think it will happen during this change.

So I basically wasn't in my area at all this week: we had concilio, operations to get ingrown toenails taken out, etc. So for the majority of the week, I was in the Cap, with Elder Larsen and Elder Suman, the assistants to President. It was pretty cool to be with them, because they're both good friends of mine in the mission, and we started our missions together. They're both very good missionaries, and I enjoyed the opportunity we had to be able to work together.

Today for P-Day, we went to a place called the Castle of St. Philip, which was pretty cool. It was a prominent site of the Inquisition in the Americas. But our tour guide was super mean to us. I don't know why either, but whatever. It was pretty cool after we finished the official tour. Sorry I don't have any pictures, but my camera broke, so I don't have a way of getting any pictures. :( Maybe someone from the zone will be able to let us borrow his camera.

I finished Reading the Book of Mormon again! It's pretty cool to be able to start over again, and learn new things over and over again. Something I learned this week is found in 1

Nephi 2:1-2:
For Behold, it came to pass that the Lord spake unto my father, yea, even in a dream, and said unto him: Blessed art thou, Lehi, because of the things that thou hast done, and because thou hast been faithful and declared unto this people the things which I commanded thee, behold, they seek to take away thy life.
And it came to pass that the Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness.

Well, the question is, what is there to learn from this scripture? What you can learn is this: The Lord does not give further instruction to those who cannot follow the first commandment. Those who can and do follow the first Word they receive from the Father are those who are BLESSED with the opportunity to receive further instruction from the Father.

Food for thought.

Love you guys!


Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, October 31, 2016

Week 65 - An exciting plan

Hey Guys!

So, I want to talk today about a vision that I've had and shared with Elder Cardenas, the other zone leader. President has talked to us about opening other areas in Puerto Barrios, and we had thought about a second Puerto Barrios area, and a second area in Morales, but as we were working this week, we thought about something very different.  My area (Puerto Barrios) is VERY big.  It includes all of what is Puerto Barrios, and also another city called Entre Rios close by.  In Entre Rios, there is no established church organization. There are about 35 members there, of the which, 14-20 are active. Of the three families that make up this active member population, 2 of them have been sealed together in the temple.

Local Church establishments work like this:

Ward: the largest of the church establishments, which normally consists of in between 100-200 active members (this is based off of Guatemala figures, I don't know how it is in the rest of the world). The members here are usually very strong and faithful in the Gospel, and have a local bishop and stake president who preside over them and hold the keys of the priesthood for those areas.

Branch: The second-largest of the establishments, in between 50-150 people. These can be found in stakes or in districts alike, but there aren't usually as many priesthood holders or leaders in these.

Group: An even smaller establishment of members, that consists of in between 30-60 people.

Unidad (I don’t know how to say this in English): the smallest congregation of members that can exist, in between 10-30 people.

The idea that I have had is to establish an unidad in Entre Rios and get new missionaries there. Why? Because: 
1) Reactivation work will move forward VERY quickly if there is a place where the Saints can meet together. In a period of about 3 months, Entre Rios has the potential (just among inactive members) to become a group.
2) Baptisms will happen VERY quickly. There are many people there who "are kept from the knowledge of the truth, simply because they do not know where to find it." If you go and walk around there, people will ask you: "Who are you guys" Jehovah's Witnesses?" and when you explain that you're a Mormon, they stare at you, kind of confused, and say, "What's that?" People here have NEVER heard the message before.

I want those people to have what i have. I want them to have the Gospel. There's nothing that will bring them more joy and more hope than this message. There's nothing that will bring them more joy than the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation, and how they can have eternal life.

Now, the idea may seem a little far-off, and difficult to achieve, but President has talked with the leaders of Puerto Barrios about it before. I feel that this is a good direction to take. If not, well, President receives revelation for the mission, and the time has not come for those people. I'll keep you guys updated!

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Week 64 - S'mores

Hey Guys!

Abner wrote me! (Mom and Dad, Abner is one of my converts from my second area)
I lost his e-mail so I haven't been able to talk to him, but he's still faithful, still assisting, and he wrote me for the first time!

So we're doing pretty well down here in Puerto Barrios! 3 notable things that happen in our area:

1) It never ever ever stops raining. Many times we'll wake up in the morning to the sound of rain, look outside, and see a river where the dirt street used to be.  I'm considering buying a canoe. 

2) The branch here hardly ever has activities, so my companion and I decided to change that. At 6:30 this Saturday, we built a bonfire in the church parking lot, and we had about 30 people who showed up! We all had s´mores (half the people couldn't pronounce that), shared a spiritual thought of about 10 minutes about Christ's sacrifice, and how really every part of our worship should point to that, and then played games. It was super fun, and after that we had a really good attendance to church the following Sunday. This week, we're having soccer practices in preparation for a soccer match against the neighboring branch, Santo Tomas. (and we're gonna kill them, because Puerto Barrios is the best)

3) This week was particularly good because we had interviews with President. Recently, I've been working on improving the way I pray, I've had ideas and put them in practice, but I always felt like something was missing. and that is to "pray with all the energy of your heart". Have you ever felt like your daily prayers are becoming routine? That you've become so use to getting on your knees and praying that when you do so, what you say doesn't mean anything? That's the way I've felt. Praying- I mean really praying, every opportunity that you get, and having a spiritual experience, and being able to feel the Holy Spirit every time, is a LOT of work. so, when you go to pray, GET TO WORK. Pray with all the energy of your heart, and let every desire of your soul be to commune with your Father. That's when prayer starts to get effective.

That's my week for you guys! Thank you for all your support! Luvyubai

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Week 63 - Running and Seeing the Family

Hey Guys!

This week was one of the busiest weeks of my life! I've never had to run so much in my life! We've been running, working, racing to beat time. This week went by SUPER fast. We had a baptism this week. I don't know if I mentioned him in earlier letters, but his name's Mainor Cac. He comes to church in Puerto Barrios from Livingston, and one day, when I was with elder Santos and elder Elkins, he just showed up to church! So we invited him to be baptized right then and there, and he said, "Well, I would like to. No one's ever given me the opportunity before." :D so he was baptized last week.

This week, we had a trainer's reunion in ZACAPA, my first area! I was super hyped to see it all again, and when we got there, it was nice. The streets I had seen were the exact same, the buses costed the same, the sun was just as strong and it was just as hot as it was before. We went to the chapel and got ready for the reunion, and while we're waiting, in walks Elder Flores from the Dominican Republic, the first elder I ever trained! All my mission family was there!

This is my family! Look:
Starting from the left to the right:

Elder Reyes: my fourth trainee(son)
Elder Reed: me
Elder Flores: my first trainee(son)
Elder Wells: second trainee of Elder Flores (grandson)
Elder Dunn: first trainee of Elder Flores (grandson)
Elder Villagomez: trainee of Elder Dunn (great-grandson)
I feel old...

But it was super cool to get the family together. Those guys are all super cool. They're all great missionaries and are working super hard.

Either way, I'm out here loving life. Don't have too much more to say for this week, other than that it's super cool to be able to work with someone and watch them prepare to be baptized, and then do it because they really want to.

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, October 10, 2016

Week 62 - Not Sure What To Title This Week

Hey Guys!

I told you a little bit about the changes last week, right? Well, last Tuesday, while I was working with Elder Elkins, Elder Cardenas (the other new zone leader) called me and told me he was coming that day, not on Wednesday. So we rushed home, got Elder Elkins packed up and ran on over to Morales (70 minutes on bus) as fast as we could. When we got there, it was almost time to get to bed, but we got permission to stay there in Morales for the night. 
When we saw Elder Cardenas, the very first thing he did was come up to me, shout "HEEEEEEYYYCOMOESTAAAAAAAAAAAAA" and give me a hug. That guy is super super super super super super super super happy- honestly, I think he's insane, he's so happy. But almost immediately after planning the next day, we set new goals for the zone.

The next day, we had a district meeting with all of the zone (because we're also technically the district leaders for the Hermanas), and we explained the new goals and challenged them to live a much much higher mission standard. Missionaries in Zona Puerto Barrios contact at least 30 people a day, teach at least 5 times a day, etc. Immediately after we put this goal in practice and gave the elders a few helpful tips on how to do it, we saw results. Every area finished this week having in between 35-60 new investigators, and the number of people with baptismal dates doubled. That was pretty cool.

My new companion, Elder Reyes, is a good missionary. He's here to serve, and wants to learn how to do it better than any other missionary, which is good. As long as a missionary is here to work, and not to waste time, I get along fine with them. Maybe one of my favorite promises in the scriptures ins this:  "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."

I love that promise. Those whose hearts are pure, meaning whose innermost desires and actions are to serve the Lord our God, will see him. Likewise, those who are purely dedicated to Him will see the miracles that He brings to us. There's also the promise in John 17:3
"And this is life eternal- that they know thee, the only true God, and thy son, Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (I don’t know if that exactly how it reads, I was translating from Spanish) 

The plan that God has for us is that we can do more than just SEE Him- we can laugh with Him, be with Him, live with Him in pure happiness forever. That is because he is our Father- the Father that we've always had on our side, who's always willing and able to help us.
Be pure. "Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord." Someday, you will see God. Someday, you will have eternal life.


Elder Jeffrey Reed

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Week 61 - New Changes

Hey Guys!

SOOO, we had changes this week, and Elder Santos got changed to Zacapa. Elder Elkins got sent to Morales, and I'm the only one of the 3 of us who's staying in Puerto Barrios, AND I'm gonna be training another kid named Elder Reyes, from Nicaragua.

Wish me luck... I feel a lot more pressure for my job than I did before. And honestly, I'm gonna miss my companions. They were very fun.

Changes hit the zone pretty hard. There aren't enough hermanas in the mission to support the number of areas, so we lost a hermana area in Puerto Barrios. There are now just 10 missionaries in all of the Izabal department. The church is very small here- maybe a sum total of about 150 active members over a space of 400 kilometers. There are miracles to be seen here. It will require all our energy and all our patience, because the people here are also rather hard-hearted.

I loved the Conference! I hoped you all loved it too! What really touched me this time were the talks by Dean M. Davies and David A. Bednar.

Elder Davies talked about the difference between being a churchgoer and worshipping. There is a big difference between praying and saying a prayer. And I know that from personal experience. I honestly haven't been praying with all the energy of my heart lately, and that won't help us to obtain the miracles we need. I've thought about the many things I have to orient my mind towards God, and I'm going to try a new way of preparing myself to pray. I'll tell you how it goes later.

Elder Bednar spoke about something that really called my attention. Believing in Christ and believing Christ, as similar as the phrases may seem, are VERY different.

Do you believe that the promises Christ has made apply to you personally? Do you TRUST in his everlasting grace and his care? Do you believe that "as he was lifted up, even so shall ye be lifted up to stand before the Father at the last day"? Do you believe in MIRACLES? If you do not, you do not know the Savior yet. But there is still time. He calls all of us to Him, and has "not commanded that any man should not partake of his salvation, and his everlasting redemption". Desire the joy that comes from our Savior and his love, and ye surely shall find it. This is true, and I have seen it happen to others, and I know that what little I have felt is the start of the process.


Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, September 26, 2016

Week 60 - Concilios again

Hey Guys!

Just a couple things from the week:

Tuesday: We had a zone conference with President, where he explained to us what a doctrine is and how we can teach with them to better help our investigators learn and want to keep their commitments. It was super cool, and we had calzones afterwards.

Thursday: We were walking along the road by the beach at about 7 at night after a rainstorm, and a big blue crab scuttles out onto the road in front of us. We all stopped a minute to look at this thing. They literally can only run sideways, so we surrounded it to keep it from moving, and the thing started posing up like it wanted to fight. Elder Santos said, "kick it" so I did. I didn't mean to kick it very far, but the thing went FLYING. I don't know why it was so funny, but we were literally laughing about that the rest of the night. #stupidthingsthateldersdo

Those were the best things that happened this week. I have to get on a bus after I finish writing you guys and travel 7-9 hours to Guatemala City. We've got a monthly reunion (concilio)there, and this is the second time this change that we're going. And it's literally IMPOSSIBLE for me to sleep on buses, so I won't be able to get any sleep (though I really need it right now)

President Crapo said that the church had announced a new seminary program. Instead of Scripture Mastery, they're focusing more on the doctrines that the Church teaches. A doctrine is basically the "why" of everything. For example, if someone wants to know why they have to obey the Lord's commandments, the learn the doctrine of the Plan of Salvation: that it is because God has a plan for them and innumerable blessings in store, but that they must give the portion required to receive it.

We've seen a lot of progress as we've taught in this manner. People start actively thinking about why these things are important; so I invite you guys to also actively think about why you do the things you do. A faith in Christ means nothing if it doesn't mean something to you.

All right gotta go but I'll write more next week! LUVYUBAI

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Week 59

Hey Guys!!!

So we were super excited to baptize a ton of people in September- not just us, but the whole zone- and very few people have decided to take that step.

There were so many moments where we would have a person ready to make that promise with God, and then all of a sudden they turn back to their sins or the things that were more comfortable than following Christ. That drives you insane. And then when the zone you're in charge of calls you almost all at the same time and says, "Hey, Juan Jose isn't gonna be baptized" or "Hey, Mirna isn't gonna be baptized" or "Hey, the Santos family isn't gonna be baptized" or "Hey, Maira isn't gonna be baptized" or "Hey, Aleida isn't gonna be baptized..."
(AAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHH I’m gonna go crazy if this keeps up)

I love it here, but there are moments when the work's just hard. When you just get frustrated at EVERY turn you take.

But that's all right. I was just emailing with Jodi a moment ago about how the situations that God puts us in are the best situations that we can be in for our own personal growth and progress, but the situations that we put ourselves in aren't always. 

Every day, we commit sin. God does not want us to sin, because sin is a direct impediment to our personal progress and growth. That is why he expects us to repent. But if we do not repent, it's like digging a hole around yourself. Sooner or later, you're gonna stop digging, look up and realize you can't get out on your own.

This is a situation that WE put ourselves in. They were not intended by God, but God lets them happen because He knows that by letting Jesus Christ pull us out of that hole, we will learn better how to repent, and that will make our progress on the path He has planned for us.

Sometimes, something outside of our control happens. You may get sick, someone may die in your family, or a close friend. A natural disaster may hit. You may lose your job. Who knows what will happen, but many times these situations happen to us and we react badly. We doubt the love and mercy of God because we can't understand the plan that He has for us. 

GOD IS IN CONTROL. Don't ever doubt that.

When something bad happens, it is because you are capable of overcoming that thing. God knows you and loves you. Heaven is cheering you on.  Tomorrow the Lord will work wonders among you (vease el discurso de Jeffrey R. Holland de Mayo 2016).

Elder Jeffrey Reed