Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Week 73 - And a Happy New Year!

Hey Guys!

I had the opportunity to talk with the family yesterday. That was special- everyone looked happy and I feel like they're doing fine. 

Changes came by, and I'm still staying in Puerto barrios! I'm gonna be here until about February (I think.) It will be good. This week that's coming we have our concilio, so I have to go to the capital again to report. The weather is gonna start heating up again in about mid-January; right now its been relatively cold, so that's been nice. I've spent the majority of my mission in the two hottest zones- Zacapa and Puerto Barrios- so I've gotten really used to the heat. When I get back to California, I'm gonna need a jacket to survive in July.
We're working on  finding new people to baptize! We're also putting New Years resolutions to become better. You guys should too. But when you set it, don't set a meaningless goal that you're gonna forget about and then not complete. Make a motto for the year and then use that motto to develop different ideas for goals and help you improve in that thing through all the year!

Love you guys! I'll write  little more next week!

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Week 72 - Merry Christmas from Izabal

Hey Guys!

Well, I'm gonna be talking to my family for the 3rd time in my mission this Sunday :O Wow I'm old.

I can't believe I've seen a full year pass by in Guatemala. It's been the craziest year of my life. 

This Christmas is gonna be pretty cool.

Jodi's on right now! Recently, we figured out how to use the chat function on Gmail, so it's been cool the last couple weeks to be able to talk to her almost in live time.

This week we had a zone conference, and President gave us a lot of great instructions! He then let us watch a movie. I was surprised- we all thought the movie was gonna be Finding Dory or something like that, but it was another Disney movie I had never seen before, called Iron Will. It was about dog sledding- basically a movie that I think Dad would like a lot. You guys should look for it and watch it this week. After that, on the 6-hour bus ride home, I caught a SUPER bad cold, so when we were about 2 hours away from the area, I just went to the back of the bus and laid down and slept.

To sum up the change, it's been fun, but there have been difficulties. We've had to face everything as zone leaders: robberies, investigators, companionship problems (not in mine, but in others). But through all the physical challenges, I've been kept at peace with a verse of scripture that I like in 2 Nephi 2:24: 

But Behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

There's not too much more I can say. God does things for us because he knows what we need, he knows what he can give us, and he knows exactly how we can grow if we are willing to take upon the challenges in the manner of the Lord.

Well, I don't have too much time left. Whenever I'm gmail chatting with the family it doesn’t leave me too much time to write the letters. But I've got stories to tell when I call the family!
Love you all!

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Week 71 - Excerpts from Email Exchange with Elder Reed

I lieu of a formal email message, here are excerpts from an instant message exchange we had with Elder Reed this week:

[Regarding Christmas gifts sent to Elder Reed] "I got the packages!  There is nothing better than a ton of trail mix and new socks after a long year in Guatemala - I opened them already."

[Younger brother Brock sent him a URL link to look at some Pokemon]  "I can't go to that link- I'm a missionary.  There are people here who play Pokemon Go here (mostly in the capital) but there are a lot of thieves who use Pokemon Go as an opportunity to rob cell phones- they go to the places where the Pokemon appear and then rob the people."

[Looking for advice] - "What did you do, Dad, to get over the sheer exhaustion of being a missionary? I feel absolutely whipped when I go to bed and when I get up, I still feel tired from the day before."

[Wondering how the family is doing while he is Guatemala] - "When did the family get used to not having Elder Reed in the house? [my answer - never did]

[Discussing his work ethic] - "When I got to the mission, I was very very very very serious and hardcore about the work. I'm always hardcore about the work (in the mission, I'm known as that missionary who stops cars and motorcycles to talk to the drivers).  I've learned though that it's also important to take time to laugh." 

[Last comment]  "I also got the vitamins - Love the vitamins- the vitamins are my new favorite thing in life."

Monday, December 5, 2016

Week 70 - Fishing for Christmas

Hey Guys!

Just to tell you what I'm gonna be doing today: Elder Cabrera and I found a bunch of fishing gear, so we're gonna go to a local pier and see how the fishing is. If we get anything, we're gonna take pictures,  so you guys will see next week.

This week we had our district conference. (A district is like a smaller version of a stake, expect they don't have high priests most of the time and the district president doesn't have the keys to oversee the Melchizidek Priesthood) Our mission President came and very lovingly invited all the members to repent, and re-organized the district presidency. So a lot of things are gonna change in the district. I don't know how much that will affect our branch here in Puerto Barrios, but the good news is that the old district president, who is member of our branch, will finally be able to sit with his family in the congregation after 9 years of service. So I feel happy for him. (We'll also finally be able to visit him to get him inspired about missionary work, too.)

My mind has been occupied with Christmas and everything that has to do with Christmas lately. My notion of what a Christmas should be like has changed completely! Christmas, the way we celebrate it here in Guatemala, needs tamales and FIREWORKS! Imagine people shooting off fireworks from every street corner, starting at 12:00 at night, for an hour, 2 hours, or up to 4 hours without stopping! So yeah, we're super excited. There are families that are inviting us to eat with them already and everything. 

I haven't only been thinking about the secular part of Christmas, however. I've been thinking about the impact that our Savior had. The truth is that he came in super humble circumstances to the world. Even his name-  -JESUS- that name so respected to us- was a common name. It would have been like naming your child John or Frank or something really common. But yet, this man- born homeless, without even a blanket to put on top of him, so poor that his mother laid him in straw to keep him warm, became one of the most recognized figures in all the world. He was poor all his life- "birds have nests, and foxes have holes, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head." He died as a common criminal- crucifixion wasn't some kind of special punishment. He lived, he died, and if you look at his life like any other ordinary man, you don't see too much too different. But He was different. He is our Savior. He, for all that he did, took upon him the sins of the world, in a way that no one saw until after he explained it to his apostles. For me, He lived great, He died great, and he still lives.

Food for thought for today! Study Christmas this month! Participate in the program the church has for this Christmas! Love you all!

Elder Jeffrey Reed