Monday, March 27, 2017

Week 86 - Zona La Esperanza's Performance

Hey Guys!

I'm super tired from this week.

We finished off the month with 10 baptisms. It wasn’t the goal of 15 that we had expected, but it's certainly a major improvement after the last few months.

In November, while I was still in Puerto Barrios, this zone had 6 baptisms.
In December, the zone had 5.
In January, the zone had 1.
In February, I got here and had to do some cleaning. The zone had 2.
In March, we finished up with 10. Now we're planning for April, and expecting great things.

This week was full of challenges and blessings. We spent all week almost in all of the areas, organizing different things, organizing interviews, making interviews, etc. We had 5 people ready to be baptized, but because of many different reasons (some went to the States, others were hospitalized) only 2 people were baptized. Not everything always goes exactly the way that you would expect or want it to, but you can feel good about your work if you know you did absolutely everything you could. We've seen new investigators start to appear out of nowhere, while older investigators have been losing interest. It's all part of the mission work.

I also finished reading the Book of Mormon this last week, too! This is the 3rd time I’ve read it on the mission, and for this last stretch, I'm gonna read it completely in Spanish, which is something I’ve never done before.

How much attention are we giving to our scriptural studies? As a missionary, I can tell you that there are mornings when I get up and I read and learn a ton, and there are other morning where I don't feel very edified. This almost always depends on our personal effort and preparation. Scripture study is a form of worship, and the more energy and focus we put into it, like any other form of worship, the more we get out of it. 

Love you all! Thanks for your prayers and your love! See you soon!

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Week 85 - Progress in the Zone

Hey Guys!

Got a couple of things to write about this week.

1) Changes

The zone had changes this week, and many of our best elders had to leave. In turn, the zone is going to receive replacement 4 elders who have had companionship problems or disobedience problems. We're trying to see if the zone can have at least 13, but we also want the elders to get along. We don't need elders breaking out into fights right now.

2) I was sent to Esperanza after a long period of disobedience from missionaries. I came like a shock to the ward: Missionaries no longer stay in members' houses chatting for about 3-4 hours, missionaries don’t go watch movies, etc. The bishopric LOVED that- but there were many members who enjoyed the disobedience, too. In my mission, I have suffered persecution of many kinds, but the worst kind comes from the members. It is NOT fun to have to live in a place where the people don't like you because you want to be righteous. But I dare to stand alone. I have done it before, and I will do it as long as I have to.

Never let your faith in Christ be shaken because of things that people do or the way that they treat you. Always remember that God's love is always available for you, and if you really want it, you can get to a point where you feel His love- real and tangible- every single day. How much do you want to know Him?

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Week 84 - New Companion!

Hey Guys!!

So, i have a companion again! His name is Elder De Leon, and he's from El Salvador. After about 3 days of trying to work solo, Elder Suman, one of the assistants called, and said, "Hey, have you heard from President that they assigned you another companion?" 
I hadn't. But he came, and I'm training him as a Zone Leader. He's a good, diligent missionary, and he's been out here quite a bit of time. (22 months, as opposed to my 20)

For me, that's not a problem; we work hard, and when we're not working, we're talking about what we're gonna do with life when we get home. He got to the area in good timing, too, because being a Zone Leader alone is very different from having a partner that helps you out. So we've been fighting harder than ever to help every single area baptize. Some are having difficulties, but we have the goal of baptizing 15 people throughout the zone and all the areas are working really hard.

SO... apart from that, we're gonna start having baptisms here in this area, which is super cool! There are people who we've been working on preparing, and everything, and it's great to see them make the final steps towards following Christ.

Just a couple thoughts on trials- there have been a lot. I have faced a few this change- unpredicted emergency changes, not having a companion, other issues- but really, every single one of those is an opportunity to grow. When we pass through these trials, we should thank the Lord for them- they help us to exercise our faith.

I've been thinking rather profoundly about that. Faith is a trust in the Lord. Exercising faith is like developing a relationship with a friend or a family member and keeping it strong. The idea of faith is knowing WHO it is that works miracles in our lives, and then trusting that He will work some miracle in our lives. We must trust Him enough to know that He knows what is best for us, and then we must trust Him enough to know that sometimes, He will do what we expect Him to do, and sometimes, He will do things His own way. He governs the universe and controls everything that happens. We are molded and shaped into the right form by His hands.

Love you lots! Thank you for writing!


Elder Jeffrey Reed

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Week 83 - The Lone Missionary

Hey Guys!

Well, let me tell you about my crazy week. The zone I've been leading has been doing great. We have the highest number of fechas than out of any other zone, and we're going to baptize at least 15 people as a zone, which is more than anyone has baptized in any zone this month. 

Monday morning, as we were going out for P-Day, the mission president’s assistants called us and told us we had to go to the mission office as fast as possible, and that my companion had to pack all his things. We knew instantly that he was going to have changes. He got everything ready, rather sad while he was doing it, and pretty soon a taxi showed up, we hopped in, and it took us to zone 9, where the mission office is located. He was assigned to fill another position that had been vacated in the mission. So, we got lunch and laughed with the Assistants for a bit, and then he left for his new assignment.  And I looked at the assistants and said, "What now?" 

They said, "We're gonna find you a companion, don't worry." And so they went to go look while I chilled with the office elders for about 3-4 hours. So they came back and told me, "Umm, Elder Reed, we couldn't find a companion for you." There are very few missionaries in the zone right now, so there was basically no one who could replace Elder Lott as my companion. 

My new assignment is this: I am the only zone leader in Zona Esperanza. Right now I live in the house of the elders of the Maya (one of our districts) but migrate around to help out the missionaries in different areas.  The majority of my time is spent, whenever I can, getting a member to help me out and go cover visits in my area, to help the people who are still gonna get baptized here. I've never been alone in the mission before, so it feels really weird.

I don't know how I’m gonna be able to pull it off. It's actually kind of daunting, considering all the baptismal interviews I have to make and the fact that I don’t have another elder there by my side, but we will see what happens.

Something that's really been on my mind lately has been what I'm gonna do with my life when I get home. I'm one of the oldest missionaries now, and all the missionaries I knew before have gone home. I don't let thoughts about that ever get in the way of the work, but I'm starting to feel the time. Apart from the pressure of being a lone missionary and a lone Zone Leader. 

I was reading some of my old study journals a couple nights ago too. I'm not terribly good at keeping a journal, but I always take notes during my scripture study. I read the study journal I had started before the mission, and was quite surprised by the crazy ideas I found there. I also read my first mission study journal, while I was in Zacapa, and that also surprised me. It made me feel good to know that I have a record of changes in my attitude that have taken place in my life even though I haven't been able to notice them.

Health Report: Having some pretty painful back issues. Might be a slipped disk. But don't worry about it, the problem is fixed through exercise and quiropráctics.

Love you all! Hope you have an awesome week! 


Elder Jeffrey Reed