Monday, May 29, 2017

Week 95 - RAIN

Hey Guys!

So it's been raining super hard this week. It rains hard literally every day. The good thing about the rain is that it doesn't fall randomly; you can usually hear it hitting the tin roofs as you're walking along. A couple nights ago, we were with our ward mission leader visiting, when we heard the sound of rain pouring about 300 meters off. It didn't quite register in my mind that the sound was rain, until I saw my companion and my mission leader running, and my mission leader shouted in English, "Elder, that’s the rain! RUN!!!" So I started booking it to the nearest house with a balcony. I got there just before the rain hit. There aren't too many gringos who know what the sound of rain on a tin roof is.

We've been doing pretty great. there's a lot to do here in my area. We had a baptism last week, we've been preparing to build a house on Saturday (preparing means cutting out all the plants, hauling dirt, filling plastic sacks with dirt to provide somewhat of a foundation, etc.) AND we've planned a TON of activities for the next 2 months. We've got a big fireside chat about the Book of Mormon (we'll see if we can invite our mission president or someone who's high up so people come) an we're gonna take all the recent converts from about a year ago and onward to the temple to do baptisms for the dead for their ancestors on July 6th. The biggest activity of all is the 22nd of July, where we're gonna host a wax museum based on prophets of the Book of Mormon.

This week was interesting. There have been many moments where we see miracles, but maybe, just for being a missionary or because I've been here so long, I haven't appreciated them as much as I could have. A thought that helped me get through that was thinking about a talk that Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave at the beginning of the conference. He talks about the message of the Restoration and the plan of Salvation, and asks the question: "Isn't that amazing?" We should all appreciate the beauty of the things we have and the things that God has given us. There are so many wonderful blessings that he has for us, but as the Savior has said: " I tell you of earthly things, and ye believe not. Then how will ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things?" God's works truly are great and marvelous, but oftentimes they appear small and insignificant to the eyes of men. Don't let the little things pass you by. Be grateful for the, every day, I now get on my knees and I tell my Father: "Lord, thank you for letting me be thy servant and one of thy missionaries."
Love you all! Keep reading the Book of Mormon. If you’re not, READ IT! 
See you soon!


Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, May 22, 2017

Week 94 - Super Weird

Hey Guys!

The end of the mission is SUPER weird. All the missionaries of your zone ask you for tips, the members all ask you how you feel now that you're going home, etc. Even worse than that is that the office sent me my papers about my last goals and everything, and I have to start working on those. Whenever I have a little free time I work on my goals and end-of-the-mission evaluation, and it makes me think about ALL the things I ever did on the mission, all the successes, all the happy moments, and all the sad moments as well. During my mission the idea of home has been nothing more than a vague memory and I never had the idea of home stuck in my mind, not even when I was a brand new missionary. I keep thinking about how I left home, so ready to get out and serve and to work.  I’m going to keep that up until the end.

The work's going well. We're gonna have our first 2 baptisms in the area this week and we're also organizing mission activities in the ward (they haven’t had activities in a long time) and we're planning some really cool things for the end of my mission. My last Saturday we're gonna have a huge activity in the chapel. We're going to throw together a wax museum and get all the ward to participate. We've got the ward council behind us on this, too, so it's great. 

Other news: the elders in Llanos received emergency changes, and their area doesn’t have elders anymore, so we are also in charge of making sure that the two weddings they were planning for June 10th and the 2 baptisms get taken care of. There's a LOT to do. I'm not a zone leader anymore, so I have a lot more time to do it. That's really what I'm focusing on: keeping myself busy and working hard while I finish. I write about the spiritual experiences I have every day to keep myself focused on who I am, and what I have to do until I finish. 

Love you all! See you soon!


Elder Jeffrey Reed

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Week 93 - 10 weeks left

Hey Guys!

So as you guys know now, I have 10 weeks left in the mission. That means that today I have accomplished the following:

-5 areas in all my mission
-16 companions in my mission (WOW)
-4 general conferences seen in all my mission
-15 changes passed in all my mission
-4 skype chats with the family
-2 Easters and Holy weeks celebrated
-2 birthdays passed in the mission
-2 Christmases passed in the mission
-70 days left in the mission

I've been through a lot now. It's weird for me to see the calendar every single day and see the date I go home getting closer and closer. It's also been really weird to be the oldest missionary. Yesterday, while we were in ward council, the 2nd counselor put a quadratic equation on the whiteboard as part of his spiritual teaching, and I was almost completely lost. I do not remember how to do anything like that. So my plans to start taking Calculus off the bat when I get home probably will not work.

Mom asked me two questions last night that I was not able to answer in the moment, but now that I've thought about it a bit, I’ve got an answer to the two.

1)What have you most learned over the course of your mission?
Like I said to Mom yesterday, it's VERY hard to sum up two years with one phrase. But I think that what I have most learned is that the Lord loves and works with those who love Him and His children. The idea of the mission was never just to share a couple missionary lessons and help people enter into a congregation. It is to mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort. In this manner, you can stand as a witness of Christ in all times, in all things, and in all places. Make sure you look for opportunities to BLESS the lives of people around you.

2)What has been the most satisfying experience on your mission?
Good question. I can't pinpoint it to one moment in time or in one place. here have been places and people I have loved more than others, but what has most satisfied me on the mission is whenever the Lord gives me of His spirit. I know what it means to have the mantle of a missionary and to go forth in the same calling of the apostles. I cannot say I have been perfect, because Christ was the only perfect missionary and there are many things I remember that I know I could have handled better in my mission, but I always learn, and I have kept myself in a position to constantly receive inspiration from the Lord and command with authority in His name.

I hope you guys enjoy my answers! Love you all and see you soon!
Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, May 8, 2017

Week 92 - Opening the new area - La Leyenda (the Legend) with Elder Cardonought

Hey Guys!

Well, as you guys heard last week, I have received changes and am now in the area that is literally at the par of my old area. (I don’t remember if saying "at the par" in English is a thing, it means "to the side of". I think my English has gotten a little jacked up, no matter how much I've tried to preserve it in the mission) My new (and last) companion is named Elder Cardona (“dona” means doughnut in Spanish). He is from Guatemala, from a place called Quiche', which is another one of the northern departments. Unfortunately, he doesn't speak Q'eqchi', so I can't exactly practice with anyone. But he is one of the most spiritually mature people that I have ever met. Like I said in my last letter, I wanted to have a companion who has the missionary purpose engraved in his heart, and if there's anyone who knows why he's here on the mission, elder Cardona does. 

As soon as Elder Cardona got here, we got straight to work. Many times it's hard to open an area like the one we’re opening, but among the miracles that we have felt and seen are these:
-2 people who are ready to be baptized (1 on the 20th, 1 on the 27th)
-very friendly members who are willing to help
-very spiritual lessons, and one less active who is now working to come back to church
-an overall spirit of joy and happiness in this last week

The work has been very satisfying. The trick is to seek after the Spirit always and to try to have it. The Gift of the Holy Ghost is given to every person who is confirmed a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This is very different than the Holy Ghost. Even before a person is baptized, they have the capacity to feel the Holy Ghost and be moved by its influence, but the end goal is not just to feel it. The goal is make sure that the Holy Ghost tarries with you, or that its presence is something that you can feel every day, constantly working through you and testifying of the love of the Savior. This is HARD. But here are a couple helpful tips I have learned to help us feel it:
-be reverent. Reverence brings the Holy Ghost very fast. Through music, word or action, it's the same.
-When you pray, do you ever feel like you're not getting an answer? You probably are, actually - the spirit does respond actually, so after meditating, go with the first idea that comes to your head- 9 times out of 10, that's the correct one.
-The gift of the Holy Ghost allows the Holy Ghost to tarry with those who are worthy of it, and those who want it. The Holy Ghost much more easily communicates with someone who wants to communicate with him.

Good luck in looking for spiritual experiences! remember that the Lord gives liberally to all who diligently seek him. (1 Ne. 10:19) Love you all! Talk to you guys on Sunday!

Elder Jeffrey Reed

Monday, May 1, 2017

Week 91 - Training for the 5th time!

Hey Guys!
Well, I was given the change I had been wanting! I tried to leave the change up to the Lord as much as I could, while at the same time, expressing to the Lord my desires. 

It was very interesting - on one hand, I felt like I was trying to impose my ideas on the Lord, but on the other hand, I wanted Him to do what he had planned for me. It looks like he had plans for me to train anyways, so that's very nice to see.

We've had a very nice week - we had 3 baptisms with Elder Moore and with Elder De Leon. Elder De Leon just finished his last week on the mission, and his last week he was completely FRIED.  It was super hard to get him to do anything, but it helped that we were gonna baptize, so whenever he stayed in his bed we could always have a nice conversation to get him up.

It went somthing like this:
E' De Leon: "Hombre, yo no quiero hacer nada." (Man, I don't want to do anything.)
Me: "¿Quiere bautizar?" (Do you want to baptize?)
E' De Leon: "Si..." (yeah)
Me: "¡Levantese, pues!" (Get up, then!)
E' De Leon: "Ahorita voy..." (all right, hold on a sec...)
That was a daily conversation all week.
It's fun to be able to go to a 5th area to finish my mission. My area actually is the LEYENDA, which is the area I wrote about in my letter last week. I wrote about divisions there, and said it looked just like Zacapa. It's gonna be a neat experience to finish there.
If I've learned anything on the mission, it's this: The Spirit controls everything we should be doing. He works, covers the earth, and tries so hard to help us move and act the way God would want us to. Many times we are slow to listen to his voice. I have actually had several experiences lately where I have received an answer from the Spirit, questioned if that was the answer, and then not received another confirmation of the answer until a week later. I'm still working on putting in practice that principle of the first idea, shared by Ronald A. Rasband in the last conference talk. I don't remember exactly how he said it, but he said if we follow the first idea we get after pouring our soul out to God in prayer, it will work well 9 out of 10 times.
I'll try to have experiences with this, and I'll share them with you guys in these last weeks of my mission.
Love you guys! See you soon!

Elder Jeffrey Reed