Monday, January 30, 2017

Week 78 - No payphone / Stars / Barbed Wire

Hey Guys!

Well, this week was an interesting week. We don't have to have a payphone anymore, because we managed to fix the sisters' phone, so we've been running to their house every night to grab the phone so we can talk to the rest of the zone. It's kind of a hassle to have to go there every night.

This week I got to know a different part of Los Amates! We had divisions to go do baptismal interviews, and the pace I went to is basically like one of those far-away villages like the kind I had in my first area in Zacapa. The village is called Mariscos (for those of you who don’t speak Spanish, that literally means "Seafood." Not too sure why they named their village Seafood) and you can only get there by hour-long bus ride. So we got there at about 4:00 in the afternoon on Friday, I did 4 baptismal interviews, which all turned out great, but then, after that family had unexpectedly given us food, we headed out of there at 6:30 and quickly realized that there were no buses at that time of night to take us back. Luckily, some random guy who was going to the capital passed by in his pick-up truck and offered to give us a lift. He didn’t have any room inside, so we hopped in the truck bed and went cruising on out. There were a LOT of stars there. Honestly, that place is beautiful. 

After that, after we had a baptism in our area (Yay!) on Saturday night (back in Puerto Barrios).  Later I was running with my companion to the sisters' house to get the phone again, and I accidentally entered the front yard of one of the houses. So I ran faster to get out, tripped one time, caught myself, got back up, ran even faster, and jumped over a bush to get out of the yard. Then, while in mid-air, I saw a knee-high barbed-wire fence waiting for me.

Have you ever had one of those horrible moments when you realize something very painful is about to happen to you and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it?

Luckily, the fence wasn't very tall, so I didn't get too badly injured. But the little barbs that they have are like fish hooks. My companion was watching the whole episode from the side, and when I looked to him, wincing in pain, saying, "Hey, help me out here" he just started laughing. So I took about 7 minutes unsticking myself from this stupid fence and we WALK the rest of the way to the sisters' house.

When we get to the sisters' house, at about 9:15, we realize that President Crapo had called, expecting that we would have the phone and be in our house already. So we got the phone, took the dats, and got home as fast as we could to call him back

Every story has its spiritual metaphor. This story does, too. When we’re running to the sisters house that night, I just wanted to get the phone, take the dats, give follow-up, and go back to the house and finish the day. I had acted hastily in a moment that didn't really need to be rushed. I tripped once before falling into the barbed wire fence- I could have taken that as a warning and moved a little more calmly, and maybe I would have seen the fence beforehand. We don't always need to be rushing. There are some moments when it is much better to slow down, analyze the situation, and then decide what you're gonna do. The Spirit oftentimes works in this manner. If we are constantly rushed and worried, we may suffer unnecessary pains in life. Look for the guidance of the Spirit, and do all things with prudence and order. Don't start later than you should, because this will cause you to rush as well. Do it the first time, and do it well the first time.


Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, January 23, 2017

Week 77 - Cell Phone Troubles

Hey Guys!

Well, this week was very interesting. I'm gonna tell you guys why:

We had our cell phone stolen about 2 weeks ago. That's REALLY annoying when that happens because we're Zone Leaders and we have to know everything about what's happening in the other areas. So we borrowed the cell phone of the sisters and called our cell phone (or in other words, we were calling the guy who had our cell phone) basically every single second of the day and every day of the week for about 4 days until the guy got tired and told us he would give the phone back for 50 quetzales. SO we recovered the phone. We had reported it as robbed to the office and had told them to block it, so when we had recovered it it stilled worked, but when we got back to the house that night to take dats, we discovered that our phone suddenly didn't work. Even more annoying.

For about 5 days, we used the cell phone of the sister missionaries in the night to take dats. Then one morning, I tried to fix our phone by switching the chips, Bad idea. Both cell phones were blocked. Even MORE annoying. Then the office elder called us to tell us that they couldn't unblock our phone and there was no point in trying anymore.
for about 3 days we tried using pay phones to talk to the Zone. The pay phones here are expensive and don’t work too well, and the usually rob us of the money we put into them. So after we had spent all our spare change on pay phones, we asked permission to buy another phone chip. The phone chip we bought is basically converts the cell phone we share with the hermanas into a portable pay phone wherever we go. It's not the best, because we have to share it, but hey, it works. At least we can communicate with the zone.

Well, that was basically the week. I learned two things this week:
1) I need to be careful with cell phones
2) I never want to work in a phone agency

Spiritual thought: With God, you're never gonna have communication problems liek the ones I just described. Prayer is great, because you can talk with that Being who loves you more than any other, whenever you want. Prayer doesn't cost anything, either. There are many times when I) have found myself simply saying prayers instead of really praying. That's because prayer many times requires effort. To really pray, we must have very sincere conversations with God. And God doesn't respond as one man talks to another. He responds through the Spirit. Prayer and listening to the Spirit go hand in hand. Maybe as we pray, we can take moments to listen, and as we listen, the Spirit can tell us what God has to say.


Elder Jeffrey Reed

Week 76 - Edgar Gomez

Hey Guys!

This week has been a little frustrating. Truthfully, much of the past month and a half has been frustrating, too, because it's annoying when no one wants to listen to you. People don't want to commit themselves to God, even though they like it that we visit them and we share the spiritual messages we always share... it's difficult. Day after day, week after week without visible results can kinda bug you sometimes. So I'm a little frustrated with that, and very tired. 

Today, I'm gonna tell you guys about one of the strangest investigators I have ever had: Edgar Moises Gomez Cordon. He is a 31-year old guy who always walks around with a crutch that he never uses, a radio he rarely uses, and a bottle of spray paint. The first time i taught him was in November. He had been coming to Santo Tomas for about 3 months and the sister missionaries there were too scared of him to want to teach a lesson, so we invited him one day to go to the chapel of Puerto Barrios so we could teach him after the Sunday reunions. As Elder Reyes and I went to teach him for the first time, we very quickly realized that he could not sing on pitch or with a rhythm, and that whenever we would ask him to read a scripture, he would almost shout what he was reading, substituting random parts of the scripture with his full name. We weren't quite sure what to do with this guy, so after some discussion with President Crapo, we decided that it would be best if we left the teaching to the branch president of Santo Tomas would teach him.
A couple months later, while I'm walking down the road with my companion to the next appointment, the branch president of Santo Tomas, President Maying, pulls up in his truck. "Elder Reed! You're just the man I wanted to talk to!"
He got out of his truck and said:
"Ok, Elder. There's a man who assists Santo Tomas who comes to my office evey day. He asks me what he has to do to be baptized, and I can't deny baptism to anyone, but the guy's... weird.."
So I asked him, "Is his name Edgar Gomez?"

So, to help President Maying out, we're teaching him again. It's always a very bizarre experience to go teach Edgar Gomez but it's fun.

I've been thinking lately this week about our identity as children of God. The Holy Spirit gives testimony to us that this is true. If we really consider that we are the spiritual offspring of a Heavenly Father who loves us, why would it be weird or strange to consider that we have God-given talents that can help us prepare for the day when Christ comes? There is an innate power within each one of us that comes from God. the greatest talent of all is called spirituality, and it is defined as the capacity to discern between right and wrong and follow the right. As we exercise this talent and develop it, we gain a stronger and a clearer vision of who we are and what God wants us to become. Our personality grows, we become kinder, more thoughtful, and more willing to serve. We make people feel good about themselves and help them to realize the vision that we have obtained and then comes the perfect day, when Christ comes. when we see Him, we will be like Him, because we will have worked and we will be pure, even as he is pure.
Let the vision be born in you. And when it is born within you, don't let it slip away.
Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, January 9, 2017

Week 75 - Learning to Deal with Cold

Hey Guys!

Yesterday, a cold front hit Puerto Barrios. It got down to about 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Instead of waking up and feeling the blazing sol that I have come to love so much, I woke up and felt cold. 

Part of the reason why it was always such a challenge for me to get up for seminary while i was in high school wasn't because I was sleepy; it was really because I would wake up and realize that outside it was about 40 or 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and then I wouldn't want to get out of bed anymore. So you can imagine how I felt getting up yesterday and today.

In the morning right now, what usually happens in the first 15 minutes of the day is this:
6:30- wake up, say a prayer, get out of bed, and unsuccessfully look for a blanket or something I can throw over my shoulders to warm me up.
6:35-6:45- get distracted and grab the Administration Manual 2 and start reading, and then remember that I feel cold and that i don't like that feeling, so I go put on socks and a jacket.
6:45-7:15- my companion and I go to play soccer or run around a bit in the morning. It helps me warm up a little bit.
7:15-7:30- my companion tells me every single morning, "If you want, you can shower first." That is because in Guatemala in general, we do not have hot water. So usually after he says that to me, I slowly grab my towel and go to shower very quickly. It's normally a good thing to have a nice cold water shower in hot weather, but it days like this, it's just not fun. You have to shower in water that has little pellets of ice in it (well, not really, if you're in Puerto Barrios, but I'm glad I'm not in the capital right now)
7:30-8:00- finish getting ready, eat a bowl of hot milk with cereal, and go to study the scriptures.

I just realized something too: Next winter, I'm gonna be in the States. I love hot weather, but when it comes to cold climates, I'm a wimp. And Guatemala has made me even worse. I'm gonna die next year. :/

The work's been good. We had to discipline some of the missionaries in our Zone this week, which is exhausting because it usually means long 2-3 hour bus rides when we could be doing other things, like working in our area. So Elder Cabrera and I ALWAYS take advantage of the bus rides to sleep a little. It's always better to sleep, because that way you don't have to listen to the awful Mexican music called banda that the bus drivers always listen to. (The music that people listen to here is NOT good- the banda is horrible, and a style of music called raggaeton has become very popular down here. The music is 50 times more foul-mouthed than the lyrics of any rap you'll listen to in the States.)

I've been good. One of my goals is to strengthen my testimony as much as possible about all of the doctrines of the church, so I’ve been studying Gospel Principles and the scriptures to learn as much possible. It's been nice because now, after so long, I have a lot of experiences that I can look back on and see that in those moments, the Spirit testified me of the truth of those things. I feel blessed to be a missionary, but I've only got half a year left. So I'm gonna make every day count. You guys should too. Look for a way to make every day a spiritual experience. i promise that you guys can find it.

Va I gotta go so LOVE YOUR BIKE (that’s something I always say to my missionaries, it sounds like "Love you bye" when you say it fast)


Elder Jeffrey Reed

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Week 74 - New Fake Tooth!

Hey Guys!

It's been a very interesting week. I spent most of it in the capital with my good friends the Assistants. The new assistant as of this change is Elder Carter, a guy from my group and maybe one of my best friends in the mission, so it was great to go up and have divisions with the assistants.

In the concilio, they changed the mission standard completely! Now we have a number for every single key indicator. That's good, because it helps us focus our efforts a lot more on the members and how we can help them instead of only finding and working through our own efforts. Other than that, we've been working on developing a better relationship with a rowdy district leader, and my fake tooth fell out.

For those of you who remember, when I was about 11 (I think) I was running in the Lehi pool, and I slipped and fell. I large piece of one of my teeth broke off, but i didn't feel anything. I got back up, and thought, "That's why they don’t want us to run" so I walked a little slower. Then the lifeguard stopped me and shouted something to me (I don’t remember what). For some reason, I looked down, and saw myself dripping with blood. SO they rushed me to my mom, who got me rushed to a dentist, who I'm pretty sure was related to us in some way or other. The next thing I remember was that they found the other piece of my tooth, put it in milk to keep it alive and then rushed me to the dentist to fix it up. I was scared, but they got the fake tooth put in without a problem.


I was with my companion taking dats from the zone and eating a baleada. (That’s a classic HondureƱan food, basically eggs, beans and cream in a handmade flour tortilla) The tortilla was a little stale, so I had to bite into it a little harder than normal. As I ate my baleada, I realized that the front of my mouth felt a little strange. Very quickly, I realized that one of my teeth had disappeared. :O So I pull the other piece of the tooth out of my mouth and shout to my companion, "Hey, my tooth fell out!" He looks at me, sees my smile, and just starts laughing. I go to put my tooth in milk again, but it slips out of my hand. 

Time slows down.

I see my tooth fall to the tile floor very slowly, and before I can reach out to grab it, it hits the floor and shatters into a bazillion tiny little pieces.

Needless to say, I was pretty frustrated.

I had to lead the zone meeting the next morning, and I did it without a tooth. The funny thing is that all the elders noticed really fast that I had lost one of my teeth, but the hermanas didn’t realize until AFTER we had finished the zone meeting.

This morning, we got a provisionary replacement, while I'm waiting for the next change. President basically assured me that when February rolls around, I'll be heading into the capital.

That was my week.

Did you guys set your New Years resolutions?

My New Years resolution is a scripture. Leviticus 11:44 says: "For I am the Lord thy God: therefore sanctify yourselves, for ye shall be holy, even as I am holy;" I don’t have too much time unit I’m back in the states, but I'm going to make my last months the holiest and most sacred months of all my mission.

Love you guys! 


Elder Jeffrey Reed