Monday, April 25, 2016

Week 38 - El Roble, Guatemala City!

Hey Everyone!

The last time you guys heard from me, I was taking my suitcases to the bus station to leave Zacapa. Now I'm in the inner city, Zone 6! The zone is small- there's only ten missionaries- but it's good. When I lived in Zacapa, I really got used to the heat. Here, the average temperature is something like you would find in San Francisco, and it's really, really cold! (ai ai ai esta temperatura me mata... pero bueno) Here, in the city, the church is MUCH bigger.

We've had a lot of success this first week together. My new companion, Elder Alvarado, from Honduras, is only one change away from finishing his mission, and he's what we call "baggy" in the mission, which basically means he's already got his suitcase packed and when he's not working, he's thinking about the airplane home. But that's all right- he still works, and he's a good guy. I think we're gonna get along fine. One of the things I've been thinking about is the kind of person that I want to be when I finish my mission (that naturally happens when you have a companion like mine) and what I've learned this week is that if I really want to be converted to the Savior, Jesus Christ and his teachings; if I really want to help people the same way that He helped them, it’s going to require a LOT more of my soul. It's one thing to be a missionary; it's another thing to be a disciple of Christ. I have so much more than I can give to the field and to the work if I really try. 

Another thing I've been thinking about is prayer. How many of you guys are praying every day to our Father in Heaven? I invite you all to pray often, alone and in family, private and in church. Now don't pray just to pray- or even worse, don't pray because I told you to or so that other people can see you- when you pray, pray with full desire and intent to receive your answers. Prayer is a sacred time; when we pray, we communicate with the all-powerful, all-knowing, Supreme Being; our Father in Heaven. When you pray, pray with this in mind.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Week 37 - My last day in Zacapa - Where to next?

Hey guys!

I'm moving!

I thought I was gonna be a bit more excited to leave Zacapa, but it's actually sad. I'm leaving behind good friends, a great people I've gotten to know, and good food. With every change, there's something good that happens. I'm honestly kind of depressed, but happy at the same time. I want to see what's ahead, but it's hard to leave this behind. #throwback8months

Life's full of changes. God never intended us to stay in one spot for the rest of our lives. If we ever want to grow, to change, or to become anything better than what we are now, we have to accept changes. Everything that has caused a change in my life has changed me for the better: all the times I've moved, the people I've gotten to know, even the language I speak has affected me a little bit. I can honestly say that I am the missionary and person that I am today because of the mistakes I have made, the changes I have experienced, and the things I have learned. 

I don't have too much to say today, just something that's been on my mind. God wants us to progress, God wants us to grow. How do we grow as people? How do we become better as human beings? I have grown to love the concept of repentance over the past few months, particularly because of what I have seen and what i have learned about how it works. Repentance is the power to become free of ever sin, scar, pain, or burden you have ever had. You do it by leaving behind the bad things you do, and replacing your old habits with new ones. Seems simple enough, right? Wrong.

When we really, truly repent, we become something new. The core of what we once were is completely changed. It's like polishing a shoe. If you just wash thd dirt off of a dress shoe, you're still gonna see the marks that are left from the day. But when you really polish a dress shoe, even if its really old, it looks like it's brand-new. (missionary experiences)
All of you who read this, go do something different with your life. The burdens that you carry, the pain that you have felt; it can all go away. You can be free. You just have to try.


Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, April 11, 2016

Week 36 - the end of Zacapa?

Hey Everyone!
Ok, guess what? i've now lived in Zacapa about 7 and 1/2 months (for all you who have been missionaries or will be, 5 changes) and this week, i finished training Elder Flores. When the next change comes, it is very likely that i'll be going to another part of Guatemala to serve. i'm not sure, but i've never seen a missionary stay in an area longer than 5 changes, so we'll see where the Lord says i should be next week.

The work here in Zacapa's been moving pretty slowly when it comes to investigators, but this week, three less-actives came back to church! we've been working to help bring in people that can be leaders and that can help these people be happier. i can't stay here in Zacapa forever to help people or play the piano in sacrament meeting, and neither will elder Flores or his next comapnion, or the next missionaries. Whatever i can do to ensure that the area becomes more self-sufficient, i will do. 
i've now completed a third of my mission. (wow, time flies!) in all that time, i've learned a lot, but i want to share something that i've learned that's become a part of me.
i am completely powerless without my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. i don't want that to sound depressing, but i went through a time period where i tried to convince people with my own knowledge and my own talent. But the work isn't about me. It's never been about me. It's not my mission. One of my favorite scriptures is found in Matthew 11:28-30: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." i have been awed and inspired by what the Lord can do in the lives of people. what has even more awed and inspired me is that God has chosen to use me as his instrument in helping the people. i still have a lot to learn, and a lot of peopel to find and help, but i know that God will help me.
Oh, why should we wander as strangers from Him
and turn from bounteous hand?
He'll restore and defend us, and set us free,
and beside Him we ever will stand.
I love you guys! Thank you for writing!

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Week 35 - Not My Final Week

Wow. Jodi's going home already?
:/ now I'm alone down here...
Hermana Reed, me quito el sombrero. Serviste con honor, y realmente pusiste el ejemplo por todos tus hermanos. ¡Siga a capitulo 2 de la mision!

So, how many of you guys saw the conference? I can imagine that Scorpion tried his best to hear the message that David A. Bednar gave about the Spirit. I personally loved the message that Jeffrey R. Holland gave us. And we all appreciate the messages our prophet, Thomas S. Monson gave us. Remember that it's your choices that allow you to follow Christ. We can talk about the things Jesus Christ did, we can marvel at the miracles, and we can be awestruck by the love He showed us by suffering for us, but all that means nothing if it doesn't show itself in our actions. Act. Do something nice for someone else. Preach the Gospel. It's not that hard.
Life here in Zacapa's basically the same. We've been extremely excited to go to the temple! For the first time in the mission, a zone outside of the capital received permission to go! And we leave tomorrow to go spend a day there!!! :D Whn I get back, we're gonna go to the temple every day for 3 weeks, asi que preparense mi familia.
I've been thinking quite a bit about how we become pure, and about what we can do to keep ourselves spotless from the sins of the world. Some people don't like the idea of sin, because it's the idea that we do things wrong and we have to acknowledge it. What we don't realize is how much power there is in acknowledging our weaknesses and being humble. I've got a couple steps to avoid temptation, sin and pride:
1) Get away from sin. Don't even put yourself near situations where you can be prideful or make bad mistakes. Where do you want to be when the earthquake strikes, and the epicenter or 250 miles away? That's the way it works with sin and the challenges of these days. If you want to live in safety from sin, go where there is less risk.
2)Fill our life with the good word of God. when you do this, you give your life direction. Go to church, go to the temple, pray with all your heart, repent, do good continually, never turn down anyone in need. You will have a continual inward flow of the Spirit in your life, and this will push out all the bad.

Elder Jeffrey Reed