Monday, February 29, 2016

Week 30 - Zacapa

Hey Guys!

So as I mentioned in the last week, we had a baptismal service scheduled for the 27th of February. Elder Flores and I looked everywhere to find someone who was ready, but we couldn't find anyone. Then we got a call from our Zone Leaders. They said, "Hey, have you guys thought about going to talk with Juan Ramon?" (Juan Ramon is an old man who loves to come to church, but never ever wants to be baptized) We told them we'd give it a shot, and went over to his little aluminum shack to talk with him. 

When we talked to him, he accepted us like he'd been waiting for us. He then told us that he had been talking to one of his friends in the ward, and that he wanted to be baptized. Elder Flores and I were both stunned. We didn't know what to do or say, except to invite him to the baptismal service on Saturday. He accepted, and we prepared him throughout the week to be baptized. And then he got baptized this Saturday! The Lord prepares people's hearts his own way, in his own time.

This week, I've been able to see the effect of prayer. We had been working hard together all this time, but nobody wanted to listen, nobody was progressing or accepting the message. We prayed hard all week that just 1 person could accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives, and we had this miracle here with Juan Ramon.

Thank you guys for writing and reading! Always remember to "watch and pray oft, that ye enter not into temptation" because really, God will protect you from all your challenges and from all the pains that the world can cause us. No one ever said this life would be easy, but no one ever said it had to be hard. It doesn't have to be hard if we depend on our Counselor and Savior.

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Week 29

Hey Guys!

Well, this week, we've had a lot of hardships, a lot of adventures, and a lot of good times. 
Its ben a rather difficult week for us. We've been looking for many people to teach, and we haven’t found anyone who's been interested. But we're gonna keep looking. We've been planning a fireside for the 11th of March and we're gonna invite literally everyone we find, so we'll see what happens with that.

So, everyone I've ever talked to about a mission always talks about that moment when they realized that they could speak the language. I'm here to put all the rumors to rest: that doesn't happen. I can't remember a defined moment when I could say I was fluent, because it doesn’t work like that. Every day, I've gotten more and more comfortable with listening to different words and thinking in a different way. And every day, I continue learning more. This morning while talking with Jodi a little bit, I earned that she's completely mastered "vos" which is an even more informal form of speaking to people you know well. So she's got Central- American Spanish down really well.

This week, I've been thinking a lot about the things that have affected me most in my life. And I've got to say, one of the things that affected me most was my last year in high school, with my mom and my choir family.  We, as teenagers don't know what we have until later on in our lives. And I can tell you, after living here in Zacapa for almost 7 months, you really don't know how good you have it up there in the USA. There's really something special about Monte Vista choir that's stuck with me. I still have O Magnum Mysterium, Stars, and A Spotless Rose stuck in my head. I can't make them go away, and I don't want to. There's something that you can feel there, something different, that other people don't have, and that you can't describe. I knew what that something was before I left, but as I've been out here, among the people of Zacapa, living in another world, I know even more now.

Mom, what you give them is more than the music, more than the family, more than the love that they feel every day when they walk in.  What you give them is the Spirit. I don't care who you are, Christian or Atheist, poor or rich, black or white, you can't deny that feeling you get. 

Last week I talked about giving service, and helping other people. My mom is an example of that.
If you have the time, thank her. You're going to remember that choir for the rest of your lives.

Elder Reed

Friday, February 19, 2016

Week 28

Hey Guys!

Keq'chi is an indigenous language in Guatemala. There are 22 languages in Guatemala; the dominant language is Castellano (or Guatemalan Spanish), but the other 21 languages derive from Mayan and all sound like a mixture of Spanish and Russian. It's weird.

So, to bring you up to speed: We're working a lot more with the members. We realized that we needed to do this because every less active that we've talked to stopped going to Church because they had a problem with a member. If the ward can't retain new members, the work will never move forward. It's been interesting to shift our focus, because it opens us up more to the people who live here already, their concerns, what they need help with, and many many many other things.

One thing I've learned from Elder Flores is that we always need to be ready and able to help others. We've had at least one service activity every day this week. It's a lot of fun, because you learn a lot more about the culture, like the food they cook, they way they build their houses, and really little details like that. You also learn what you're good at and what you're bad at. (For example, I can chop wood a lot better than Elder Flores, but he's better at washing dishes.) It's also made the work a lot better, because when we serve, we go from being the annoying Mormons who knock on people's doors and talking to people on the street to people who are willing to make your life a little bit easier. And people really appreciate it. We always have to remember, everyone has their own different challenges, and sometimes, the weight of a day can be a little too much to bear alone. You never ever ever know who has trials, or who's living in a world of hurt. Whatever you can do to lift another's burden makes another person feel better. 

I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be a Christian. As servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are supposed to take up our crosses (or deny ourselves of all ungodliness) and follow Him. I don't just say that because it's a scripture; I don't just say that because it's something that we missionaries say; I say it because it's true. When we follow Christ, we have to go where He himself went. He suffered all of our pains, He knew every one of our afflictions, and he paid the price for everything that we've ever done wrong. If we want to be Christians, we have to be willing to bear one another's burden, to mourn with those that mourn, and to comfort those that need comforting.

Go do something nice for someone else today. It makes a difference, even if you never see the results.
I love you! Than you for all your support!
Elder Jeffrey Reed