Monday, February 27, 2017

Week 82 - Continual Growth

Hey Guys!

I'm starting to feel really old now. But whatever. The misión that I knew at the beginning is not the same misión that I know now.

This week has been fairly good. We've been working more on getting every single área to have many fechas and prepare many of their investigators to be baptized. This week, I had the opportunity to go and do divisions with one of the áreas that don't normally get divisions from Zone Leaders. I went with Elder Mora, from Costa Rica, and we went and put some new fechas there. In the last visit of the night, I will remember that lesson as maybe one of the most powerful and spiritual moments of my misión. I simply shared my testimony and shared the thoughts that I had had about the Book of Mormon and our relationship with God. I have never seen a family pay attention to me or my words like they did.

We had a Stake Conference here as well, which was very special, because President Crapo came. There he shared a story about his father-in-law whose name was Max, who joined the Navy and very quickly noticed that the other boys who had joined the Navy used very bad language to try and appear more manly, etc. Max did not like that, so he talked to the other trainees about it one night and made a bet with them- they had a month to try and correct their language, and if they could do it, Max would make all their beds and clean up after them for a week. Every time they said a curse word they would mark the palm of their hand with a black pen. The other trainees liked the bet, so they accepted.

The first week passed by and many of the boys' hands were absolutely stained black. With the passing days, the boys would help each other to correct their language. Week 2 passed, and they didn't have as many marks. Week 3, even less. At last, the last day of the month came. All the boys presented their hands to Max perfectly clean, except one, whose name was Bob. Bob had his hands shamefully hidden in his pockets, and when the boys asked him how he had done, he pulled his hands out of his pockets, still stained black with marks.
Max won the bet, most of the boys cleaned up their language, and, after the training was finished, they were sent to different ship companies and to the war.

Bob was very affected by the experience of being the only boy who couldn’t stop swearing.  After a year passed, the war continued, but the Navy had a reunión so that all those who had trained together could reunite and talk a bit. While at the reunión, Bob saw Max and came running, shouting his name.  Max, surprised, gave him a hug and asked him how he was doing.  Bob pulled his hands out of his pockets and showed them to Max. There was not one mark left.

"Max, Look! My hands are clean!"

I personally loved that story. We are all here to change some part of our nature to prepare ourselves to meet God. Some may take more time than others, but a true sincerity of heart is what really matters in repentance.

Ask yourselves today, "How strong is your desire to change?" And also ask yourself, "What is the change that God wants me to make?"

Love you lots! 

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, February 20, 2017

Week 81 - The Show Must Go On

Hey Guys!

Well, this week I'm SICK. :::::::::::::((((((((((((((((((((((((( and so is my companion. 
I've been sicker than a dog since Thursday, but this is game time so I haven't really taken any time to rest. So was my companion, but he hasn't rested either. So yesterday, while we were eating lunch with a member family, Elder Lott just crashed. So I let him rest there a little while before going out. Poor guy. I don't think he's quite as used to working at such a high pace or outputting as much energy as I do. Today we're gonna take a while to go rest so that we have strength for the rest of the week. Honestly, today I woke up and I just felt TIRED. Not sleepy-tired, like normal, but physically drained, like something was just wrong with me. It's not the most painful sickness I've suffered on the mission- if you guys look back in some of the earlier letters, you'll remember when I got Chikingunya. That was a nightmare. It's just annoying because it's slowed me down physically and it's even taken away my voice, which makes trying to sing hymns a rather unpleasant experience.

What's been interesting about this week is that even though we've been so sick, I've seen a lot of blessings. For example, this week after working hard to bring about 7 investigators to sacrament meeting, another girl showed up that we had never ever seen before. When we talked to her, we found out that she had been reading the Book of Mormon my herself and wanted to know more, so we've got the cita to visit her Wednesday.

Well, just an interesting thought as I was studying the scriptures. What do we do if we ever feel tempted? I like seeing the example of what Jesus did. When he as confronted by Satan on the Mount of Temptation, he cited the law. He focused as much as he could on what God had said (de hecho, what HE had said) to resist temptation. If we fill our minds with the ideas of God, we can very easiy cast out temptation, even if we are weak to that particular temptation. So remember, read the Scriptures when you feel tempted.

I have to go now! Love you bye!

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, February 13, 2017

Week 80 - Visit from Elder Rasband (one of the modern day twelve apostles)

Hey Guys!

Well, my change is pretty interesting- I'm a Zone leader again with a kid named elder Lott, from Wood's Cross, Utah. I've known him since the beginning of the mission, so it's been pretty neat to catch up.

I got sent to the capital! And its SUPER COLD!!! I'm literally dying. After living in a tropical paradise, being back in the city is a weird transition. I really miss the waves and the crabs and the fishing and everything, but the people here are nice, and we have a LOT to do. 
The area is really big. It covers slums to nice residential, and there are members scattered everywhere throughout. Here you can meet practically whatever kind of person you want- rich, poor, black, white, whoever. There are even many who speak English, 

The ward has been affected by lazy missionaries. There are even members who invite us to see movies. Part of my work is to cut out that Spirit. I have to disassociate the missionaries from those members, or at least help the to see how they should treat missionaries. I think that this is the hardest part of the work here. Also, inspiring the missionaries and showing them what they really can do, and how to do it better. President has got interviews with us this week, and I'm going to express to him some of these thoughts.

I want to share with you a special event that happened this week. Ronald A. Rasband came to visit our mission, and President chose me to play the piano. So I played the prelude with Elder Alvarado, a friend of mine from Chile who plays the violin. Craig C. Christensen came, and so did many other General Authorities. When Elder Rasband entered, everyone stood up. He passed by the piano, and stopped to say, "Hello, Elder! How are you?" and shook my hand. He then said the same thing to Elder Alvarado. That was a special moment. Then he gave his talk, during the which he called President Crapo up to him, and he asked him, "President Crapo, is there anything you want me to testify of to your missionaries?" President responded, "I want them to know, more than anything else, how much their Heavenly Father loves them." A very powerful Spirit filled the room. I have never felt more powerful love from the Savior then that: where an apostle and our mission president, through their actions and words, testify together of the love that God has for us.

After the meeting was over, Elder Rasband took the time to shake the hands of every single missionary there. I played prelude as they were leaving. Every single one of the General Authorities said, "Thank you" to me as I played, and as the last of the elders were filing out, Elder Christensen, of the Seventy, came up to me, grabbed my shoulder, and said, "Elder, have you gotten the chance yet to shake Elder Rasband's hand?" I told him I had, when he entered, and Elder Christensen responded, "I think he wants to shake your hand now." So he grabbed me and took me to Elder Rasband, and said, "Elder Rasband, this is the elder who gave us the prelude and the hymns." Elder Rasband looked at me, smiled, and said, "Thank you, elder, for your service." Then he shook my hand.

I don't know if I can forget that. I felt almost embarrassed at first, but then the warmest feeling of gratitude came over me.

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, February 6, 2017

Week 79 - Goodbye Puerto Barrios, Hello Zona Esperanza

Hey Guys!

That's right: I'm getting shipped out of Puerto Barrios. So I have to say good-bye to my favorite branch, my favorite beach town, the members and converts, the investigators, the house owner, my companion, the iguanas, and all the pit bulls. Honestly, yesterday was rather depressing. I have loved this place a lot. I've also loved the missionaries that have passed through here (even if they can be a little annoying sometimes).

Yesterday, I packed up my things and collapsed on my bed, and didn't sleep until about 1. Then I got up at about 5 in the morning and watched movies from the Church, and woke up my companion in the process. Then we went out to run some last-minute errands and help the hermanas figure out how they were gonna get to the capital. Now I have to wait until about 1:00 in the afternoon, when my seven-hour bus ride starts. We pass by picking up Elder Elkins and Elder Acuña, my two district leaders, and the 3 of us go to the capital.

A couple of minutes ago, President Crapo called me about my new assignment. I'm going to be Zone Leader again, in a zone in the capital called Zona Esperanza. The zone has fallen a little bit in the energy that they have, so I've got to go there and help them get back up on their feet. My new companion is an Elder from Utah named Elder Lott. The last time I saw him, we were in our training in Zacapa, so it will be like being with an old friend. 

I'm expecting to finish my mission in Zona Esperanza. I have 6 months left so now it's time to make every second count.

Other piece of exciting news: RONALD A: RASBAND IS COMING TO THE MISSION THIS SATURDAY!  Bro I've waited literally all my mission time to see an apostle. One finally came!
That's really all I can say. I don't know what else is gonna happen, but I feel at peace and ready to move on into the future.

Love you lots!

Elder Jeffrey Reed