Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Week 102 - The Last Letter

Hey Guys!

I was feeling pretty restless during last week. I still feel restless, but that’s part of finishing the mission.

In the last three months, I think I have given more service with Elder Cardona than in all the rest of my mission. We've built houses, we've dug wells. we've cut wood- you name it, we did it. We also had many miracles this past 3 months, loving people, receiving and bearing strong testimony that Jesus lives, and that this is church. It's been a very lively time on my mission. These last few months have been a spiritual explosion.

I was thinking today about the value of a testimony. This week we had a church activity where we bought 2000 matches and put them in a pot. We taught our members about the value of a testimony.  The activity was something like this:
I explained: "Our individual testimonies are like this individual match."
We turned out the lights, and I lit the match. It lit up the room.
I explained: "Now, when we are with 2 or 3 others, the light we give off becomes even brighter."
I lit 3 matches at a time, and it gave off a greater light.
I then explained, " Now, imagine 2000 people together that have this testimony."

I then set off the matches in the pot, and it literally produced a 6-foot column of fire. I honestly was not expecting such a big flame. The members reacted very well. though.

That's had me thinking about testimonies and the importance and the value of a testimony. There is a point that we can get to, where we no longer have faith in a certain thing, but we have a perfect knowledge in that thing. I do not know everything, and there is much I have to learn, but there are some things, concerning which, that I feel that I have gained a perfect knowledge of them and that I know that they are true.

I also realized that as much as I have shared my testimony to this people, I haven’t really shared my testimony with you.

I know that Christ is my Savior. He literally died for us and took upon Himself all of our sins, so that we can be clean. I know that this is His church today, because I have seen too much to not know. I have received many confirmations that this is all true. I was not there to see, but I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and the Son. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and though hail falls, though the earth shakes, and though I am made as Job in my afflictions, I know that all the work that has been done in this last dispensation is truly the work of God, and that I will never fall away. I know, with all the surety of my heart, that God loves me, that I am His son, and He desires that I gain eternal life. He also desires this for all his children. I am a disciple of Christ, and He has commissioned me to serve and bear my testimony of these things to all. This is my testimony to the world, to all those who have been within the sound of my voice, both through internet, or literally, here in Guatemala or there in the States. If you ever have difficulties, or your faith is failing you, remember that you know someone who knows that its true. I know.

I love you all. I have many imperfections, and God, through his great mercy, has shown me what I am now. He has also shown me what i can become, and I am sure He will show me more.

See you in 8 days!

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Week 101 - Don't Know What To Title This Email

Hey Guys!

Life here's pretty much the same. We're still in the coordination stages for all the cool things we want to do our last week. It's a long process, but it's coming together piece by piece. We're going to, on my last Saturday, have 5 baptisms, and then we're going to go to the temple with all the recent converts to do baptisms for the dead. There's a lot of coordination that has to be done, but it will be done.

You know what I feel like right now if you've been in my position before. 2 weeks before you go home, you feel like everything is just a blur, but at the same time, you can't help counting days and just waiting to go home. This week we got to know the new mission Presidents, President and Hermana Christensen, and we had short interviews with them. When they interviewed me, they basically just thanked me for te work that I've done here on the mission and told me that when I get back home, I won' t be able to find many people who really understand what I've been through or the way I think. 

I have no idea how things are or what it will be like when I get back, but we'll see. You might think that I act differently or weird when I get back, but that will be for 2 reasons:

1) I've been living in a very different culture for a long time. It will take me some time to adjust to being an American again.

2) Spiritual growth is a purifying process. When gold is purified, the purest part of the gold stays the same, but the little imperfections are slowly burned away. Much of the mission has been a process of purification for me. When a person grows spiritually, their personality and the inner essence of who they are basically stays the same, but they become more intelligent, more profound, and more focused on things that matter most. 

I really don't have too much to say. There are great things happening, we're gonna have 5 baptisms on my last Saturday, I feel time passing by, and I'll be returning from the unfamiliar-made-familiar country of Guatemala to the once-familiar-made-unfamiliar state of California.

See you all soon! Time goes by much faster than what you expect.


Elder Jeffrey Reed

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Week 100 - Working Hard to the Very End

Hey Guys!

My companion and I have the baptismal goal of 6 for this month, and we already have 5 of the 6 planned and committed to be baptized on the 22nd of July, my last Saturday in the mission. That week, we will also go to the temple with all the recent converts of this year and last year. (We were gonna go this week, but it got canceled because of temple remodeling and management, so we had to put it off for a little bit later. That gives more time to our recent converts to look for names. Luckily, I'll still be with them to go to the temple) In short, we've got a lot to do, and not enough time to do it. Life goes by fast, especially the mission.

I've never thought so much about my life and what will become of my future as I have been thinking about it this week and the past couple weeks. It's not that I'm worried or anything, it's just the most prominent thought in my mind Much of my last couple of weeks in the mission has been learning more about the basic principles of repentance so that I can go home being the best person I can be. I haven't ever felt such an itch just to be good. To be loving to others. To serve.

In the mission, as I have read and served and learned, I have almost accidentally learned a lot more about myself, even though that wasn't the initial goal. The initial goal was to bring salvation to others. Before, I was a young high school graduate without any real direction in my life, but now, I feel as if there is a clear path laid down before me and a clear path that the Lord wants me to take. Actually maybe the path isn't too clear, but the entrance to the path is, and I plan wholeheartedly on taking action and moving forwards and upwards as I get back. There were days when I worried that God was pleased with my service and that if I had become the kind of person He wanted me to become on the mission, but I don't worry about that anymore. I know, through revelation, that the Lord has accepted my service (or rather, will accept my service after I finish in 3 weeks) and I know that i have given all my effort and my might in these last 2 years to His kingdom. I have learned and grown, but I should not expect the learning and growth to stop here. If it does, I completely missed the point. But it will not. We all, no matter where we're at in our life, we have to continue growing upwards and onwards. And it can be a very joyful experience.

I am at peace with my God and with Guatemala.

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, June 26, 2017

Week 99 - the last month + picture

Hey guys!!!!

Ya. Ishkame'ek- Llego el fin. I don't know how many different ways I can say it, but I'm really in the final countdown now.

Don't worry, I’m still working hard, I'll keep working until I drop. The Lord didn't ask me to give 23 months, he asked for 24, and that's what I'll give.

We've got a couple interesting projects. We're working on taking all the recent converts and getting them to the temple. If all goes well, we're going this Thursday with everyone. It's going to be very special to have everyone who hasn't gone there, especially that we're allowed to go too.

This week was interesting because we worked very hard, without seeing too many results. One day, we were literally door knocking for 5 hours, and no one would let us in. I'm used to that by now, that's happened countless numbers of times to me in the mission. I don't complain about that anymore. After making a huge effort to find new people, a bunch of new people literally appeared out of nowhere, which is another testimony builder to me that God puts people He wants you to bless in your path. That's the way it's always been for me in the mission. This work isn't mine, and it never has been mine. It belongs to the Lord. I honestly think that that is the most important thing for a missionary to remember. This is not OUR time. Our time comes afterwards.

Love you Guys! See you soon!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Week 98 - Last interview with the mission President

Hey Guys!

So this week’s been pretty cool. They sent Elder Santos, one of my companions when I was in Puerto Barrios, to the Maya, so the district meeting was literally almost uncontrollable. Poor zone leaders. They also made me district leader for my last change, so I have to keep myself on my toes and work little harder to help not just my area, but 2 areas, so that’s interesting.

The major event of the week was my last interview with President Crapo. Normally, he doesn’t do them so early in the change, but that's because he will be going home 3 weeks before me so he did mine early. On Friday, I got together in the morning with elder Santos, and we went to Zona 10 of the capital. We got together with elder Nawahine, my companion from the CCM (the missionary training center), and Elder Suman, another friend from the CCM, and went and got doughnuts from Dunkin' Doughnuts.

From there, we all in succession had interviews with President Crapo. My interview was 3rd. We talked about my goals, about tips for dating and marriage, and things I have to do to maintain the Spirit after the mission. For me, it was a very spiritual and very faith-building experience to talk to my mission President about the future and know that there's a way to get through it.

From there, we went to go eat lunch at a place called TGI Fridays. I'm pretty sure it's a big restaurant in the States, but I had never seen it before, but I had a half back of ribs and a 1.2 pound hamburger there- it was literally the best food I've eaten in a long time. From there, we tried to get home, but there were no busses that passed to where we were going, the lines for the transmetro were super long, and there was a TON of traffic. We ended up being trapped in the city until about 7 a night, but that wa all right because we all knew each other from when we started the mission, so it was pretty cool to chill with the bros.

We've got a lot of cool projects going on right now. Thank you all for writing! See you soon!


Elder Jeffrey Reed

Friday, June 16, 2017

Week 97 - Jacob 7:26

"Y aconteció que yo, Elder Reed, empece a envejecer... ...el tiempo se me ha pasado,y mi vida también ha pasado como si fuera un sueño."

There is nothing weirder than knowing that you go home in 42 days, and that each day time goes ticking by a little faster. I am officially in my last change of the mission, and I have a month and a half left. The weeks go ticking by very, very fast. Any day now, I'm expecting my last interview with President Crapo. He goes home on June 30th, and 3 weeks later, I come home.

These are feelings you can't describe. In the mission you give all of yourself, and then they pull you out of your mission country. And you come back and you realize that time has passed you by when you get back to the States. Ishkaamek... ("It's all over" in qeqchi).

The work’s really great right now. There's been a lot of good investigators appearing out of nowhere, a lot of support from our ward, etc. This last week we had 2 weddings and 2 baptisms. I don't have the pictures, but I’ll send them to you when I get them.

Last week we had a three mission conference because Elder Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve visited Guatemala.  I “Be Still My Soul” in a quartet for the joint mission conference and got to meet Elder Renlund.  Also, I saw Elder Earl from Danville!  He is in one of the other missions.

I don’t have too much time right now, just letting you guys know that I'm alive, I’m doing well, and I'll be home soon!

Love you lots! See you soon!


Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, June 5, 2017

Weeking 96 - Chikingunya 2: Resurgence

Hey Guys!

Sounds kind of like a horror movie title, doesn't it?

Well, that's because it is. I've told you about this, but I told you about a year ago, the first time I had this sickness.

Chikingunya is one of the weird diseases that exists here in Guatemala that doesn’t exist in the United States. It is spread by mosquito bites and its symptoms are high fever, extreme pain in the joints of your body, excessive sweating, nausea, and migraine, all at once. It's literally the worst. I don't recommend it.  The point is that, more than a year ago, I had this for the first time. It had me out of commission for a whole week. This last week, I started having symptoms of this on Thursday, and the whole thing lasted about 2-3 days. Kind of a nightmare to be laying down in bed, and you want to get up and go work, but you can't because when you get up, your knees feel like they're 200 years old, and the room starts pulsing and spinning. Whatever. This time around it didn't last as long as the others.

Well, apart from that, interesting things that happened...

We finished building the house. :D

While we were walking along and talking to a contact, some guy ran up to a couple people who were close to us and threatened them with a machete.

While we were eating dinner in the house on Tuesday, some guy close to the house started screaming at the top of his lungs "YO ME SIENTO SOLOOOOO" (that means, "I feel alone") for about an hour and a half. Really weird. After asking the neighbors, we found out that that's normal, and that guys usually does that about once a month.

Something I’ve been thinking about lately is a promise in Doctrine and Covenants 50. I can't quote it exactly, but it says to the effect that a man who purifies himself of all sin and of all ungodliness becomes possessor of all things and that a person like that can ask in the name of Jesus and it will always be given unto him.

If there was any example of purity in the world, it was Jesus. He was pure, not just because he avoided sin, but because of his desires.  He desired ONLY what His Father desired. Being pure means taking of the sacrament every week and doing things to get better every week. It means laying down all your faults and all your flaws before Him and letting Him mold you and shape you into a better person.

Love you all! See you soon!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Week 95 - RAIN

Hey Guys!

So it's been raining super hard this week. It rains hard literally every day. The good thing about the rain is that it doesn't fall randomly; you can usually hear it hitting the tin roofs as you're walking along. A couple nights ago, we were with our ward mission leader visiting, when we heard the sound of rain pouring about 300 meters off. It didn't quite register in my mind that the sound was rain, until I saw my companion and my mission leader running, and my mission leader shouted in English, "Elder, that’s the rain! RUN!!!" So I started booking it to the nearest house with a balcony. I got there just before the rain hit. There aren't too many gringos who know what the sound of rain on a tin roof is.

We've been doing pretty great. there's a lot to do here in my area. We had a baptism last week, we've been preparing to build a house on Saturday (preparing means cutting out all the plants, hauling dirt, filling plastic sacks with dirt to provide somewhat of a foundation, etc.) AND we've planned a TON of activities for the next 2 months. We've got a big fireside chat about the Book of Mormon (we'll see if we can invite our mission president or someone who's high up so people come) an we're gonna take all the recent converts from about a year ago and onward to the temple to do baptisms for the dead for their ancestors on July 6th. The biggest activity of all is the 22nd of July, where we're gonna host a wax museum based on prophets of the Book of Mormon.

This week was interesting. There have been many moments where we see miracles, but maybe, just for being a missionary or because I've been here so long, I haven't appreciated them as much as I could have. A thought that helped me get through that was thinking about a talk that Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave at the beginning of the conference. He talks about the message of the Restoration and the plan of Salvation, and asks the question: "Isn't that amazing?" We should all appreciate the beauty of the things we have and the things that God has given us. There are so many wonderful blessings that he has for us, but as the Savior has said: " I tell you of earthly things, and ye believe not. Then how will ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things?" God's works truly are great and marvelous, but oftentimes they appear small and insignificant to the eyes of men. Don't let the little things pass you by. Be grateful for the, every day, I now get on my knees and I tell my Father: "Lord, thank you for letting me be thy servant and one of thy missionaries."
Love you all! Keep reading the Book of Mormon. If you’re not, READ IT! 
See you soon!


Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, May 22, 2017

Week 94 - Super Weird

Hey Guys!

The end of the mission is SUPER weird. All the missionaries of your zone ask you for tips, the members all ask you how you feel now that you're going home, etc. Even worse than that is that the office sent me my papers about my last goals and everything, and I have to start working on those. Whenever I have a little free time I work on my goals and end-of-the-mission evaluation, and it makes me think about ALL the things I ever did on the mission, all the successes, all the happy moments, and all the sad moments as well. During my mission the idea of home has been nothing more than a vague memory and I never had the idea of home stuck in my mind, not even when I was a brand new missionary. I keep thinking about how I left home, so ready to get out and serve and to work.  I’m going to keep that up until the end.

The work's going well. We're gonna have our first 2 baptisms in the area this week and we're also organizing mission activities in the ward (they haven’t had activities in a long time) and we're planning some really cool things for the end of my mission. My last Saturday we're gonna have a huge activity in the chapel. We're going to throw together a wax museum and get all the ward to participate. We've got the ward council behind us on this, too, so it's great. 

Other news: the elders in Llanos received emergency changes, and their area doesn’t have elders anymore, so we are also in charge of making sure that the two weddings they were planning for June 10th and the 2 baptisms get taken care of. There's a LOT to do. I'm not a zone leader anymore, so I have a lot more time to do it. That's really what I'm focusing on: keeping myself busy and working hard while I finish. I write about the spiritual experiences I have every day to keep myself focused on who I am, and what I have to do until I finish. 

Love you all! See you soon!


Elder Jeffrey Reed

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Week 93 - 10 weeks left

Hey Guys!

So as you guys know now, I have 10 weeks left in the mission. That means that today I have accomplished the following:

-5 areas in all my mission
-16 companions in my mission (WOW)
-4 general conferences seen in all my mission
-15 changes passed in all my mission
-4 skype chats with the family
-2 Easters and Holy weeks celebrated
-2 birthdays passed in the mission
-2 Christmases passed in the mission
-70 days left in the mission

I've been through a lot now. It's weird for me to see the calendar every single day and see the date I go home getting closer and closer. It's also been really weird to be the oldest missionary. Yesterday, while we were in ward council, the 2nd counselor put a quadratic equation on the whiteboard as part of his spiritual teaching, and I was almost completely lost. I do not remember how to do anything like that. So my plans to start taking Calculus off the bat when I get home probably will not work.

Mom asked me two questions last night that I was not able to answer in the moment, but now that I've thought about it a bit, I’ve got an answer to the two.

1)What have you most learned over the course of your mission?
Like I said to Mom yesterday, it's VERY hard to sum up two years with one phrase. But I think that what I have most learned is that the Lord loves and works with those who love Him and His children. The idea of the mission was never just to share a couple missionary lessons and help people enter into a congregation. It is to mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort. In this manner, you can stand as a witness of Christ in all times, in all things, and in all places. Make sure you look for opportunities to BLESS the lives of people around you.

2)What has been the most satisfying experience on your mission?
Good question. I can't pinpoint it to one moment in time or in one place. here have been places and people I have loved more than others, but what has most satisfied me on the mission is whenever the Lord gives me of His spirit. I know what it means to have the mantle of a missionary and to go forth in the same calling of the apostles. I cannot say I have been perfect, because Christ was the only perfect missionary and there are many things I remember that I know I could have handled better in my mission, but I always learn, and I have kept myself in a position to constantly receive inspiration from the Lord and command with authority in His name.

I hope you guys enjoy my answers! Love you all and see you soon!
Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, May 8, 2017

Week 92 - Opening the new area - La Leyenda (the Legend) with Elder Cardonought

Hey Guys!

Well, as you guys heard last week, I have received changes and am now in the area that is literally at the par of my old area. (I don’t remember if saying "at the par" in English is a thing, it means "to the side of". I think my English has gotten a little jacked up, no matter how much I've tried to preserve it in the mission) My new (and last) companion is named Elder Cardona (“dona” means doughnut in Spanish). He is from Guatemala, from a place called Quiche', which is another one of the northern departments. Unfortunately, he doesn't speak Q'eqchi', so I can't exactly practice with anyone. But he is one of the most spiritually mature people that I have ever met. Like I said in my last letter, I wanted to have a companion who has the missionary purpose engraved in his heart, and if there's anyone who knows why he's here on the mission, elder Cardona does. 

As soon as Elder Cardona got here, we got straight to work. Many times it's hard to open an area like the one we’re opening, but among the miracles that we have felt and seen are these:
-2 people who are ready to be baptized (1 on the 20th, 1 on the 27th)
-very friendly members who are willing to help
-very spiritual lessons, and one less active who is now working to come back to church
-an overall spirit of joy and happiness in this last week

The work has been very satisfying. The trick is to seek after the Spirit always and to try to have it. The Gift of the Holy Ghost is given to every person who is confirmed a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This is very different than the Holy Ghost. Even before a person is baptized, they have the capacity to feel the Holy Ghost and be moved by its influence, but the end goal is not just to feel it. The goal is make sure that the Holy Ghost tarries with you, or that its presence is something that you can feel every day, constantly working through you and testifying of the love of the Savior. This is HARD. But here are a couple helpful tips I have learned to help us feel it:
-be reverent. Reverence brings the Holy Ghost very fast. Through music, word or action, it's the same.
-When you pray, do you ever feel like you're not getting an answer? You probably are, actually - the spirit does respond actually, so after meditating, go with the first idea that comes to your head- 9 times out of 10, that's the correct one.
-The gift of the Holy Ghost allows the Holy Ghost to tarry with those who are worthy of it, and those who want it. The Holy Ghost much more easily communicates with someone who wants to communicate with him.

Good luck in looking for spiritual experiences! remember that the Lord gives liberally to all who diligently seek him. (1 Ne. 10:19) Love you all! Talk to you guys on Sunday!

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, May 1, 2017

Week 91 - Training for the 5th time!

Hey Guys!
Well, I was given the change I had been wanting! I tried to leave the change up to the Lord as much as I could, while at the same time, expressing to the Lord my desires. 

It was very interesting - on one hand, I felt like I was trying to impose my ideas on the Lord, but on the other hand, I wanted Him to do what he had planned for me. It looks like he had plans for me to train anyways, so that's very nice to see.

We've had a very nice week - we had 3 baptisms with Elder Moore and with Elder De Leon. Elder De Leon just finished his last week on the mission, and his last week he was completely FRIED.  It was super hard to get him to do anything, but it helped that we were gonna baptize, so whenever he stayed in his bed we could always have a nice conversation to get him up.

It went somthing like this:
E' De Leon: "Hombre, yo no quiero hacer nada." (Man, I don't want to do anything.)
Me: "¿Quiere bautizar?" (Do you want to baptize?)
E' De Leon: "Si..." (yeah)
Me: "¡Levantese, pues!" (Get up, then!)
E' De Leon: "Ahorita voy..." (all right, hold on a sec...)
That was a daily conversation all week.
It's fun to be able to go to a 5th area to finish my mission. My area actually is the LEYENDA, which is the area I wrote about in my letter last week. I wrote about divisions there, and said it looked just like Zacapa. It's gonna be a neat experience to finish there.
If I've learned anything on the mission, it's this: The Spirit controls everything we should be doing. He works, covers the earth, and tries so hard to help us move and act the way God would want us to. Many times we are slow to listen to his voice. I have actually had several experiences lately where I have received an answer from the Spirit, questioned if that was the answer, and then not received another confirmation of the answer until a week later. I'm still working on putting in practice that principle of the first idea, shared by Ronald A. Rasband in the last conference talk. I don't remember exactly how he said it, but he said if we follow the first idea we get after pouring our soul out to God in prayer, it will work well 9 out of 10 times.
I'll try to have experiences with this, and I'll share them with you guys in these last weeks of my mission.
Love you guys! See you soon!

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Week 90 - Lots of Splits

Hey Guys!

Well, it's been a busy and a weird week. Elder Moore got extremely sick, so we had to take care of him for a couple days. Even so, we could always still get out to work. 

I also went on divisions to an area in the zona called La Leyenda (the Legend.) That was interesting because the area is VERY VERY much like Zacapa. It's not as hot, but it looks VERY similar. I felt super good working there with Elder Coc, the elder who's there right now, and we invited two people to baptism, who accepted. The area hadn't had fechas for a couple weeks, so we were able to accomplish the purpose of the divisions. 

After that, I had divisions in Marti, the area of the assistants. Right now, the assistants are Elder Olsen, Elder Vasquez, and Elder Carter. I've known all these guys for a very long time, and it was fun to be with my friends again, to catch up a little bit on life, and to work hard.
We're coming up to changes again. I don't think I have changes, but the truth is that I want to have changes. Even though by the end of 3 months, 5 people will have been baptized here, but it’s been challenging to motivate the missionaries here.  Because of the previous obedience problems here I really don't trust the missionaries that are currently in the zone. Many times, a new missionary has the missionary purpose more written in his heart than an older one. When a person receives a missionary call, he receives the same right to the power that the prophets and apostles of old have- and I am a witness to that. If the mission president asked me what I’d like to do the for the last part of my mission I’d tell them I would love to finish the mission working all my days to teach a brand new missionary about that.  However, if I need to stay here in La Esperanza and continue working with missionaries who need some prodding, I’ll do it to the best of my abilities.

Besides that, there's nothing too interesting that's happening right now. We're gonna have 3 baptisms this coming week! 1 from the Esperanza, and 2 from the Maya (our 2 areas) I'll send you photos next week! Love you all! See you!


Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, April 17, 2017

Week 89 - Baptism!

Hey Guys!

All right - en cuanto a los acontecimientos de la semana...

This week, in all Central and South America the week before easter is known as Semana Santa, or the Holy Week. On Holy Week, there are a TON of traditions:

Monday: Everyone's running around to buy things for the festivals.

Tuesday: Everyone's still running around to buy things for the festivals.

Wednesday: First wave of travelers leaves town to go to the beach, or the river, or to go some place to swim.

Holy Thursday: This just happened to be my 20th birthday. All the world closes their shops, and no one goes out. Wednesday is a busy night, but in the morning, there is absolute and utter silence. In the afternoon people start to open up their doors to party and do things like that. The traditional food of this time is called "torrejas." It's like a Guatemalan version of French Toast, but it's very good. People party and drink A LOT.

Holy Friday: This is the day of the Holy Burial and the Holy Carpets. The Catholics are out in the stretts making "carpets" of colored sand, fruit, bread, pine needles - whatever they can find. And they look SUPER cool. (We didn't get any pictures because we're Mormon missionaries and we didn't want to look suspicious.) The Holy burial - a parade that passes with a whole bunch of floats of the Virgin Mary, Christ with the Cross, etc. pass over these carpets, with a WHOLE TON of people following behind them. 

Holy Saturday: Everyone goes to the beach.

Holy Sunday: Everyone's recovering from the wild week, so the street is still quiet.

Not exactly the holiest of weeks, but it's pretty cool.  And at the end of it there was a baptism.  I don't have time to write about all the other adventures, but I'll try to write some more about it next week! Love you guys!

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, April 10, 2017

Week 88 - On Trio Again with Elder Moore

Hey Guys!

Well, do you remember Elder Bednar's talk about the mission call? How we are called to preach, not called to a place? In Centroamerica, we have realized why he gave that talk. There are many missionaries who have been converted to the Gospel, and then go to serve a mission. But before the mission, they get tattoos. 

Now that may not seem like a big deal to everyone in the states. There isn't really a difference between a missionary who doesn't have tattoos and a missionary who does; both are servants of the Lord. BUT in Centroamerica, tattoos often imply gang affiliation. This is a huge danger to those missionaries, especially in the capital. In the mission and in other missions lately, we have had many threats made against missionaries who have tattoos. The Missionary Department took action before anything bad happened, and re-assigned all the elders who have tattoos to places a little bit calmer than here, like Costa Rica or Panama. Missionaries who have tattoos are no longer allowed to serve in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, or El Salvador.

Our zone was affected by that change. We lost an elder from the Maya, elder Vilorio, and his companion, Elder Moore, was stuck without a companion. There aren't many elders to fill vacancies in the mission anymore, so they put him with us on trio, which means we have to cover 2 areas. But it's been fun. Elder Moore is about 4 months into his mission. The kid likes to work hard, too, so that's what really makes the difference. We've been able to have a lot of very good visits to people, including a man we found who lost all his family in the states.

It’s been interesting to see the way we have been able to bless lives this week, as well. There are people who don't want to listen t the Mormons, but maybe they need a prayer. There are people who don't care at all about us, but need help taking the water home. Really, a big part of the mission is doing random acts of kindness. The more that we serve, and the more charity that we work with, the more charity is shown to us, and the more we can receive.

Even though a man can prophesy, even though he has dominated a foreign language, and even though he has all worldly talents and powers available to us in this mortal existence, it is all worth nothing if we have charity. All these things are great, but they are all imperfect as well. Charity is the pure love of Christ, and even though the earth and the heavens pass away. God's love is perfect. And when one has this love, he can never ever fail. I'm working to have this love more abundantly in my life. 

Love you all! Thanks for writing!


Elder Jeffrey Reed

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Week 87 - General Conference and Meetings

Hey Guys!

Well, this week was a rather weird one. We weren't able to get much done in the area because we had back-to-back meetings every single day. Monday was P-Day, Tuesday we had the Leaders' council, Wednesday was a zone meeting, Thursday we had a training meeting for Elder De Leon for New District and Zone Leaders, Friday we had Weekly Planning, and Saturday and Sunday we had conference. 

I haven't had to do so much traveling since I was in Puerto Barrios. 

One of the funny things we learned is that Zona Laguna, one of the neighboring zones in the mission, had hyped up their zone in a competition against us. We had no idea about this whatsoever, so it was kind of funny to talk to them. Poor guys. Competition is a good motivator sometimes, but many times, people can get a little too worked up over it. The zone leaders of the Laguna, Elder Clarke and Elder Lozano, are both competitive guys. Like they said in the conference, it's better not to correct with fear or shouting, but to correct with love and help the missionaries grow and become better, to behold them, and love them.

The conference was good too. I was able to watch the last conference I will ever see on the mission with a couple new gringo missionaries. Something that gave me great satisfaction was to see them writing, taking notes, and learning. As a member before the mission, I loved the conferences and I loved learning from the prophets and apostles, but I didn't get as much out of it as i do now. Now, I feel as if every conference is a flood of revelation and a flood of new things to be learned. It was cool to see new missionaries experience the same thing for the first time and to watch them take notes and afterwards talk about things that they liked. There was a wonderful spirit that accompanied the conference this week.

This month of April marks some pretty big events for me in the mission: the last general conference I will see while I am on my mission, the last Holy Week (week before Easter, for those who don't know), the last Easter, and my 2nd birthday while I'm on the mission. The mission has gone fast, but it has been full of spiritual experiences. Something interesting I have pondered is that while I have been out here on the mission, I have been able to go about with the same calling that the first group of Seventy received from the Savior (Luke 10:1-12) and now, at the end of my mission, I have seen blessings fulfilled, promises kept, and I feel as if I can return unto the Master and say, "Lord, even the devils are subject unto us in thy name. (v. 17) I have seen blessings and promises fulfilled up to this point, and I have a little over 3 months left to enjoy the mantle of the calling I have been given. I honestly love being a missionary. When you dedicate yourself to this cause, the spirit of the work will forever change the people you meet and will forever change you. 

Love you all! See you soon!


Elder Jeffrey Reed