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