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