Monday, January 25, 2016

Week 25 - Trainer, Speaker, and Part-Dominican

Hey Everyone!

This change brought a lot of new things. God decided that after 3 changes with Elder Franco, I was ready for a new companion. So He sent me Elder Flores, a crazy but incredible elder from the Dominican Republic. And the other thing: he's brand-new. After almost 6 months (WOW WHAT HAPPENED TO THE TIME?) of living in Guatemala and thinking nothing but Spanish and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I am teaching a missionary how to be a missionary. I've learned a lot of Dominican words in the last few days. Seriously though, this guy's awesome. He's dedicated to the work, loves to laugh, and stops at nothing to figure out exactly what it is that our investigators need and how we can help them. I'm teaching him how to be a missionary, and every day I learn something new about how to be a missionary as well.
Since Carlos' baptism, the work's been a little dry here. We only found 2 new people to teach, though we looked all over. But that won't stop us. Really, the work's incredible. When you have a new elder with you, you get the opportunity to see what they expect of the mission. Elder Flores came with high expectations, and I want to make sure that he never ever has to lower them. We've been following the example that Alma set for us in Alma 8:10 this week. (in the Book of Mormon, everyone should read it, because it's wonderful)

One of the other things about people from the Dominican Republic is that they LOVE their country. Basically every 20 minutes, "Esta cancion es de mi paiz!" or "Man, la comida en mi paiz es literalmente la mejor del mundo." [translation: This song is from my country! Or Man, the food in my country is literally the best in the word.]  So now I'm going to start eating like a Dominican to see if the food there really is the best food in the world. I have yet to try any typical Dominican meals, but I'll let you know if it really is the best food in the world or not. 

I love you all! Remember, in whatever you do, put your heart into it, because when you do, literally nothing can stop you. When you work with your heart, you get results from the heart, and that can be anything from spiritual conversion to building a fence. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:21 But seriously, what you make important becomes a part of your soul. If you want to be the best cello player in the world, or make it into Pops concert, or whatever, that becomes an important part of your life. Your desires reflect what is important to you, and what is important to you reflects who you are and the kind of person you can become.

Adios for now! and keep writing! I love you!

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, January 18, 2016

Week 24 - Carlos Morales. Chikingunya. Trainer!

Hey Guys!

So guess what happened this week?

Carlos Morales got baptized! I haven't written about him before, but he's really cool. His uncle, Cristopher, is a convert of about two years, and is 20 years old. Carlos and his little brothers have had a really hard life, and after many challenges, they came to live with Christopher, their 20-year-old uncle and also their grandma. It was very difficult to get Carlos baptized. Although Cristopher is a member and a good friend, the grandma wanted nothing to do with us Mormon missionaries at first. For most of the time I've lived here and visited them I had never seen this person; only heard her shouts. As we kept visiting and teaching Carlos and Cristopher she stopped shouting as much, and one night, we actually saw her and talked to her! And it was a calm, almost friendly talk. The next time we saw her was the night before the baptism, and she had made us hot dogs! (Yep, they eat hot dogs in Guatemala). It's very cool to be able to work and teach them, and to see this special miracle. Carlos has a lot of faith, and this Gospel came very naturally to him. It's been very cool to see him accept the gospel and grow.

Bad news this week: One day, on divisions with Elder Aguilar, our zone leader, I started to have a killer headache. Then it started traveling, out of my head and into my neck (which is possibly one of the weirdest sensations ever) and before I knew it I was dying all over. When we got home, I could hardly plan, and as soon as we finished I went straight to my bed and collapsed. Chikingunya. Awful. Awful. Awful. Luckily, I recovered fairly quick, and now I'm working again at a basically normal level. 

Also, it's that time again: CHANGES.

Elder Franco, my first companion, finally left me here, alone, to fend for myself in Zacapa. And I'M TRAINING. Tomorrow, a brand-new Elder Juarez or Sanchez or Ramos (or some other Latino name) is gonna arrive here in Zacapa, and we're gonna take his suitcases and everything to my apartment, y despues, nos vamos! Trabajaremos como perros y empezaremos nuestro compaƱerismo. [Translation: “…and after, we’re off and running!  We will work like dogs and thus begins our new companionship.”]

What happened to the time?
I'll write more about my adventures the next time! I love you all! Thank you for your support!


Elder Jeffrey Reed

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Week 23 - English Class and Volcano Ipala

¿Que Ondas?

Hey guys! How is everyone? 

This week, after all the festivals and everything have finally died down, we've been able to work at a normal pace. That makes things a LOT easier. I've been praying hard over these people every day. At this point, life in Zacapa is WAAYY too casual for me. I don't remember if I've said that before in one of my weekly e-mails, but I'm way too used to this. Every day is preach, preach, preach, work, work, work, walk, walk, walk.  Some of the people love us, others run from us, others don't want to see us within 20 feet of them. But hey, that's mission life. It's hard. But what do you do when it's hard? You get on your knees and pray every night, every day, every opportunity you get. And then you keep teaching, and telling everyone you can to do the same.

So besides teaching the Gospel, I am also now an English teacher! This week, Elder Carter and I teamed up to teach English! In our first class, we had 15 people. People who know a lot of English, and people who know none at all. Our companions are Latinos, so they weren't exactly too helpful with running the class. Either way, because of the variety of people, we're going to split it up into two classes: one for beginners and one advanced.

I have one more change left with Elder Franco. He's been a good teacher for me.  He was patient with my mistakes, he basically taught me Spanish, and we've been able to work hard together. We haven't had too much success together, but I've learned a lot about the work.

I love you all! Keep writing, and I'll send you the news on what happens next week!

Elder Reed