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

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Week 58 - Magic Potatoes and The Brooms

Hey Guys!

So this week was pretty cool. Today for P-Day we went to a really cool river called Las Escobas (which means the brooms; I'm not sure how they name things out here, because whenever the name isn't the name of a Catholic Saint or some Keq'chi name, it's something simple like the Doors or the Brooms). We explored there a bit and had a barbecue, so it was a great P-Day. 

This week, we found and tried two weird fruits that I had no idea existed. One is called masapan (breadfruit) and tastes like as bland potato when it's fried. The other is called nuni (I don't know what it's called in English) and it looks like a potato, but is the most horribly bitter thing you could ever eat. Supposedly it's a Cure-All, but I never want to try it again...

Recently, the mission has put a lot of emphasis on the importance of the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is the key to our religion. If you want to know if everything is true, just read the book. From there, if you know this book is true, you know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that the church actually is everything it claims to be. AND the book has a lot of spiritual power, too- just reading it helps your faith in our Savior grow.

For example:
Mosiah 3:17,19

And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.
For the natural man (meaning the sinful man) is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

Super cool.

This week, Elder Elkins and I (Elder Santos was away on divisions) were reading this book with an investigator whose wife had died a year ago. He really misses her, and wanted to know where she was. So we read Alma 40:11-12:

Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and resurrection- Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of alll men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.
And then it shall come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and all sorrow.

We talked about the promise of this scripture with the man. Jesus came to earth to pay the price for our sins. Even if we cannot comprehend the difficulties, the deaths, or the terrible things that happen to us, we CAN comprehend that this life is NOT the end. Christ has many great things in store for his followers, and the peace and happiness promised in this scripture is only the first blessing. In this moment, we promised to that man that his wife was a good person, and, for having tried to follow Christ all her life, she was in that paradise of peace and happiness, and she was waiting for the new life promised by Christ's resurrection. 

The man listened intently as we talked, then read the scripture again and again. He then looked up at us and said, "Elders, this scripture is wonderful." Those words were all we needed to hear- knowing we had brought a little comfort to a man who had wanted it for a long time.

The work is good. The food is good. The beach is good. The people are good. What more could I want?

Love you guys! See you next week!

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, September 5, 2016

Week 57 - Meet the Zone

Hey Guys!!

Well, this week was EXHAUSTING. We had a zone leader council this week so we were out of our area for 3 days. But it was SUPER cool to be at that meeting. With just the Zone Leaders there, you feel a different spirit. The instructions are more specific, and they help you become as edified as your companion. Tomorrow, we have a Zone meeting, where we relay the instructions we received to our zone, but we do it in a way that will help them the most. In the conference, we talked about our baptismal goals and the things we have to do to keep ourselves progressing. I'm going to strive more to have the Spirit with me as I work.
Ok, so I don't have too many pictures from the week, but I'm gonna tell you about the zone a little bit.

1: Elder Santos (ZL1)
-from Santateca, El Salvador
-has been on the mission for 13 months
-loves peanut butter
-Companions: Elder Reed and Elder Elkins
I've known this guy practically all my mission. He's a good friend, we get along well, and we work in a very similar manner. 

2: Elder Reed (ZL2)
-from Danville, California
-has been on the mission for 13 months
-loves watermelon
-Companions: Elder Santos and Elder Elkins
Well, you already know me... jajajaja

3. Elder Elkins (Cm)
-From Kaysville, Utah
-has been out on the mission for 2 weeks
-loves being clean
Companions: Elder Santos and Elder Reed
Elder Elkins is a classic new missionary (the members say that Utah missionaries are "from the factory") He loves football and baseball, and has boundless enthusiasm for the work. He's here to serve.

4: Elder Nawahine (DL)
-from Laie, Hawaii
-Has been out on the mission for 13 months
-loves food TOO much
Companion: Elder Montes
This guy was my companion in the CCM. He's the same as always: funny, laughy, always singing- he just eats too much food. He doesn't ever worry if what he's eating will make him sick or not.

5: Elder Montes (Cm)
-from Lima, Peru
-has been out on the mission for 5 months
-doesn't really eat food
Companion. Elder Nawahine
This guy is a quiet little Peruvian. He's been in his area for a while, and is a very drastic contrast with elder Nawahine. 

I don't have time to describe the rest of them to you, but I'll send more in the next!

Elder Jeffrey Reed