Monday, August 29, 2016

Week 56 - Puerto Barrios

Hey Guys!

So... I got my changes! Tuesday morning, I was anxious to find out where I was going, so as soon as we got to the stake center where we have the change meeting, I asked Elder Larsen, one of my buddies who is the Assistant to the President where I was going. So he told me, "You're going to train again... ...and you're going to Puerto Barrios... a Zone Leader."

Literally, the most surprising change ever.

Puerto Barrios is a beach city with a TON of Caribbean influence. It took about 9 hours in bus to get from the capital out here, but it's super cool. It's hot, humid, and you're CONSTANTLY sweating. I have a coconut tree in the front yard again, and the house is one of the nicest houses I've lived in on my mission. There's a LOT of salsa music, Dominican culture, good food, etc. I look around, and I imagine that this is what my dad's mission looked like when he was in the Dominican Republic.

My companions are... Elder Santos and Elder Elkins! Elder Santos is a guanaco (that means he's from El Salvador) that I've known basically all my mission- I never thought I would be companions with him. He's a super hard worker, and he has 3 loves in life: peanut butter, Pop Tarts, and Eggo Waffles. And Elder Elkins is a gringo straight from the factory (Utah) who's got a big heart and a strong desire to serve the Lord- we're gonna be fine out here. We're working super hard and talking to everyone about the Gospel. 

I'm gonna be happy here. I'm gonna be very happy here. I've got a meeting in the Capital this week, so I won't be able to work very much in the area today. I've never been so pumped to get out and work and just DO IT! I can't explain it well, but it's like a super energy to work, to help, to play, to do everything that's part of being a missionary!!!
Alma 27:17-18

ALL of Alma 26 for all you good Scripture studiers

loving life😎


Elder Jeffrey Reed

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Week 55 - Mystery Changes

Hey Guys!

Well, we had changes this week, and I have changes! I still have no idea where i'm going or who will be my companion or what my assignment will be, so I'm actually pretty sad. I liked this area, and the people that I met are sincere followers of Christ. I have many good friends and people I have met here, so it’s pretty sad to leave them. I wasn't able to say good-bye to all the people in the Academy either.

The funny thing about this mission is that we don't find out ANYTHING about where we're going. It's literally like the army, where they can call you wherever you want and say, "You're needed in another place. Pack up your bags, finish pay the rent, pay the light and water bill, regulate all your personal affairs, because tomorrow the taxi comes to pick you up. Don't leave anything undone, because you're never coming back." And there's nothing you can say or do about it. you just follow instructions, hoping the future has good things in store for you, But I know better than get down about it, because "whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God." (Ether 12:4)

Well, I wish I could say more, but I'm still in the dark as to what's in my future. I'm going one step at a time. 

Love you guys! Keep writing! 


Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, August 15, 2016

Week 54 - Tired .... Tired ... Just Tired

Hey guys!

SO... half the zone disappeared this week because of emergency changes.  :/ 
Ugh. I hate emergency changes. It hurts the zone a TON. It hurts the mission a ton, too. And it's just frustrating to see that other elders aren't focused on the work like they should be. But there's not too much that you can do.

Good news: I was able to see Abner Elel (that guy who is my sister's ex-companion's boyfriend who got baptized in June) FINALLY receive the Aaronic Priesthood and bless the Sacrament. That was a cool experience. It's been great to be able to continue in the area.

We're getting to the end of training with Elder Villar. I've been in this area 3 changes now, and I don't really want to leave. I love the people here, the members, the converts that I've helped come to Christ.  There have been happy times and sad times here. But it's all part of the mission.

We also had a cool service project this week! There's a kind of weed here called monte. It's literally jungle vine. This grows very, very, very fast, and if you don't do anything about it, it has the strength to rip up trees, tear holes in walls, etc. We cleared out an old lady's house that had become infested with this. That was a cool experience. There's nothing like hacking away with a machete through vines all day.

To be honest, because of everything that's happened lately, I've been TIRED.  When bad things happen to someone or happen AROUND someone, it makes it a lot harder to feel the Spirit and to keep moving forward. To be honest, I had no idea how I was gonna make it to the end of this week, I felt so emotionally and spiritually drained. I just felt and kept wondering if I wanted to continue, if it was really worth it to talk to the next person, because they were probably gonna say no anyways. But I did keep going. It's hard to be a missionary sometimes. When you contact as many as 50, 60 or 70 people in a day and NO ONE wants to talk to you it drains your willpower. But it's good. It helps you understand what Jesus did, and how frustrated and discouraged he must have felt when no one seemed to listen to him.

Thank you guys for writing! I love you all, and keep writing!

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Week 53 - Early New Year's Goals

Hey Guys!

Recently, I've been contemplating who I am, what I want to be, and what I need to be before I get back to California (that's in forever, but it doesn't feel like it anymore). I'm not typically a super-urgent person, but recently, I feel rushed, like I'm running out of time or something like that. This time I have to be a missionary is super precious, and a half of it's already gone.

Right now, the work's been a little hard for us. I've endured rejection and insults on a daily basis for a while now, and I've gotten a little too used to it. Rejection's got a bad effect on missionaries: it makes them tired, it sucks away at their energy. My least-favorite word is the word NO. Those who have not been on missions don't realize what it is to go a whole day, talking to everyone, looking to share with everyone, and everyone says, "no, I'm too busy" or "no, I'm not interested." Those are the polite ones. The meaner ones shout, cuss, and throw things. I think one of the things that you learn on the mission is not to get angry with petty remarks from other people, no matter what they say. The goal is to reflect the Savior in all things, and that means if they beat you, if they spit on you, if they condemn you- you stay quiet. You don't revile them back. No matter what they say or do. Even Paul couldn't do that perfectly. (Acts 23:1-5) 

Well, it's been difficult, but I have something that makes me get up every morning and hope that the next day will be better. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is life after death; it is eternal joy and happiness with your family and loved ones; it is facing all the trials of life with positivity and hope; it is a continual change for the better. A man does not enter the kingdom of God because of the things he has done: if it were so, repentance would be impossible. God measures a man by the quality of his heart and the type of person that he becomes during his life. To learn more about it, read Matthew 20:1-16, ponder what it means, and what we can do to be better people and to become what we need to become to be worthy of the kingdom of God.

Love you all! Thanks for your support!

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, August 1, 2016

Week 52 - Answers to Questions

Hey Guys!

How's life? Good? Today I got a couple questions from Scorpion, the living legend, so let's see what he's gotta say.

1. What funny thing has happened to you recently?
I don't know if you guys heard about the whole end of the world thing, but supposedly the end of the world was gonna happen July 29th. My companion and I have been laughing about that all week.

2. What disappointing thing has happened to you recently?
We invited a lot of people to be baptized this week, but no one accepted. That was fairly disappointing.

3. Did you ever see Hermana Bertha on the mission before she went home? Where was it and how did it feel to see someone from home?
I saw Hermana Bertha one time, early on in my mission. i don't remember if i was still in my training (I think so, because I remember that she commented on my Spanish) but it was pretty cool to see someone from home. We never really talked too much before the mission, but it was cool to find someone who knows where I come from.

4. What is your favorite thing to eat these days?
I eat anything and everything. I don't care if it's cow stomach or pig face, I'll eat it, and I'll think it tasted good. (I've eaten both while I've been here) 
If it's edible, I like it. One of my favorite foods is mojarra, which is fried fish (including the head)

5. What is the strangest thing you've eaten on your mission so far?
Food doesn't seem strange to me anymore. I suppose for all you Americans that revolcado would be strange (that is a stew made of pig face, brains, and kidney) but I don't know what else would be strange.

6. What are the members like in your area? Are they helping with the work? Have any of them adopted you?
Well, there's the Casasola Family. They give us a LOT of food, but it's not like they adopted us, it’s more like having a good friend. The members are pretty cool, and they don't help too much, but whatever they can do, they do it.

7. Are there any interesting historical places in your area? If so, what is it and why is it famous?
There are no famous historical sites in my area. There is Barrio Quintanal and the Joya, which are famous for being MS territory (a gang).

8. What do you hear about the Olympics in Guatemala? DO they send athletes and are they excited to watch?
The Olympics are this year???? I haven't heard anything...

I hope that gives you a couple of insights into my current life. Gotta go right now, but I'll try to include a more spiritual thought the next week! LUVYUBAI

Elder Jeffrey Reed