Saturday, November 21, 2015

Nov 16, 2015 update

Elder Reed decided this week to send a voice recording [SO wonderful to hear his voice!], so we'll do our best to transcribe it here. He also a couple of pictures - one that showed his bag he carries each day, and the other showing his shoes that are "new" that he is wearing. He had those when he left on his mission, as his extra pair, and it's wonderful that he has them and can use them!

His recorded letter: "Hi Family - How ya doing? I thought I'd try a different way of communicating this time. I thought I'd send you the audio file from my camera. We'll just have to see what happens. This is the first time I've ever done this. :)

This week was pretty good, pretty interesting. For the last p-day of the transfer, my zone played "people chess"! It was kinda fun! I got selected as a pawn and led my team from the pawn spot that never moved - it was kinda funny! Then, we played a game called "matajente" - it's like dodgeball, but the people who are throwing the ball are on the outside of a set area. What they're doing is, they are throwing a ball to the people on the inside, and if it hits ya, like dodgeball, you are out and you are now helping those trying to eliminate people from the inside. It's kinda fun! I enjoyed my time.

Then, our zone leaders came with us to help us check our room, and one of my zone leaders poked a hole in my really old big boot shoes I have [it was the other set of the big shoes seen above - apparently the hole was not repairable, but they'd been used for over a year, so it's all good!]. So, I had to break out the new set. :)

Then, this week, we had interviews with President Boswell! Man, that was fun! He is Awesome! There is no other word for that - he is the best!! He basically animated everyone in the zone to keep working harder, in a zone that is really quite difficult actually. But, he made it all seem like it was ok. And in reality, it is. We're all safe, no one is hurt. But we just gotta see what happens with the future. We have to see what happens.

I had a cool experience this week with references. My companion and I were walking around the streets trying to find someone to teach and we decided to stop by a less active [member's] house. We were talking and trying to find out if there was anything we can do to help them and they were like "no, Elders, it's ok, we don't need anything." Then, the thought came "hey do they have any references?", so we asked them. :) And the daughter, with her cellphone, pulled out 3 friends, 3 names of people that she wanted us to contact. We contacted one, we tried to contact another. And the third one going to come to a lesson here at her friend's house. Transfers are getting called today, so I'm not sure if I'll be here for it, but if I am, cool! I'll get to meet a friend of a menos activo [less active]. If not, well, whoever is here will be able to see something cool happen. :)

Another thing. We finally got to take the sacrament to [an older] member. He is a very old member, he's one of the first in this area! We kept saying "hey, guys, we need to help him to receive the sacrament." We received permission to take it to him and I'd just like bear my testimony that I know that the sacrament is very important! When we administered it to him, his whole countenance changed. He, to put it in simple words, his face got brighter. I'm not talking about that the sun all of a sudden was beaming off his face, but his countenance changed and he thanked us a lot. But, that would be one of the reasons why we serve. We're here to help people receive the ordinances of salvation. And the sacrament is one of them. It's one that we need to take every week, without fault [he was trying to translate his thought there]. ... that is incredibly important.

Oh yeah. And, PS, I gave a talk on Sunday. It was fun. :) The Bishop said "hey Elder Reed, would you give a talk on Sunday?" This was on Friday night. I said "yeah, yeah, ok". So I gave it. :) All those stories you hear about missionaries that have troubles giving talks beforehand? It's not that bad now. All you gotta do is actually prepare and then pray for God's help in delivering what you have prepared and He works the miracles. :)

I just thought I'd say that. That would be my week for this week! And I love you guys and I hope you all enjoy your week! Hasta luego!"

Nov 9th, 2015 update

Elder Reed shared a cool photo of San Borja at night:

Elder Reed's letter:

"Hey there Family, I would like to take this little moment to just say that being an adult/parent is hard. As a trainer you are expected to be the one of the two companions who knows everything. We were studying together from a program that's called "12 Weeks" (the first 2 transfers of a new missionary) and I realized just how unqualified I really am for this job. I have almost completed a full transfer of training and the realization of just how little I know and how greatly the Lord blesses those who strive to do what's right just hit me; it hit me hard this week. I can't remember who said it, but I think it was a profet (sorry.... that is the Spanish pronunciation coming out... should be prophet) or an apostle who said "the Lord doesn't call the qualified, but rather qualifies the called." That phrase has been going round and round in my head as this week passed and I can only bear simple and sincere testimony that it is true! I know it and I live it!

We also have been waiting vigorously for interviews with President Boswell and they have finally come to the Santa Patricia Stake. This week on Wednesday we will be blessed by 20 or so minutes with him and will be able to be edified spiritually and walk away with new energy to press onward. 

Sorry I haven't actually written for for a while... I was trying to get used to my new routine!

Elder Reed"

Nov 2, 2015 update

This week's update was very short. I will include what he wrote here:

"Hey all, this week I actually played fútbol and sweated! Because there are more sisters in my zone than there are elders we don't do sports very often! We were able to get together with another zone to play some games and I felt better the entire week!

Later I had a cool experience with the Law of Chastity! Some friends of a member were doing a research project about religion and they chose Mormonism. We then were called to help and be teachers of the Mormon religion.
We went and were explaining what we do and don't believe in and the topic of the Law of Chastity came up! When we explained what it was we heard "qué chévere!" meaning "how cool" and I was taken a bit back to hear this come from a 14 year old!!! at the end of the lesson i asked if they would be interested in learning more from missionaries where they live and they all said yes!!!
Wow it was a great thing to see interest in being clean spiritually and physically!

Love, Elder Reed"

Here's also a picture of Elder Reed's District Leader during their time they get to email family and friends.

Until next week... :)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Oct 26, 2015 update.

This week's update from Elder Reed was in the form of a long letter (no pictures), and I will try to share with you the message he wanted to convey, as it is a very long letter. :)  This is the true story of how a sister there in San Borja (we will use A. for her name) was able to be baptized. This is a true story, and a true miracle!

A.'s mother had been baptized a few months ago, and A. easily accepted a baptismal date. The first miracle was that the lessons were able to happen. There was a lot of chaos and noise at the time that couldn't really be quieted, but the Spirit was still able to be there and make a difference in her life, could touch her heart to help her know the truth! Another miracle was that the meeting times, though a challenge, were able to be worked out!

The next miracle came with the pre-interview they needed. The scheduling wasn't working out, and it seemed that it would have to be postponed more than once. It was very discouraging, but, after many phone calls and help from members of the ward, they were able to take care of the pre-interview! In Elder Reed's own words: "[I was frustrated that things weren't working out.] The instant I hung up the phone, I got on my knees and said, "Look Heavenly Father, I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen to make this baptism work. I don't know who will accompany us and I feel ready to explode from the stress of it all." At this moment, the words "Father, would you send a miracle our way? I am literally asking for a miracle here" came out of my mouth. I then called another friend, a returned missionary, but he didn't answer. I felt I should call him, but he wasn't there. We then decided to leave to begin our proselyting day... we heard nothing from him for about 5 hours. Then, right before we stepped into our first lesson, the phone rings and it is him. He says that his younger brother can help us out with the lessons [that night], [...] and we had [the] pre-interview. [Such a miracle in that] we had someone to accompany us!"  The Lord surely heard Elder Reed's prayers (as he hears our prayers).

More miracles came as the necessary interview took place the next day, and meetings that had been scheduled for that next day (Saturday) were re-scheduled so that this baptism could take place and not have to wait for 2 more weeks. :)  They were also able to get the building prepared for the baptism and they had enough time/credit on the cellphone to make all the necessary phone calls!  Miracles all around!

Again, from Elder Reed: "For her baptism day, almost the entire ward showed up along with Elder Cueva and his companion and Elder Maxwell and his family [he had just been released from his mission]! This was the best attendance of any baptism I've ever been in! [...] At the moment of her confirmation as a full member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it dawned on me just how much of a miracle had passed my way! I almost cried when I saw her go back to sit with her mother, who had been baptized [just a few months] earlier! This is but a small example of what a missionary (full-time or life-long) can see be brought to pass when we do all we can before we beg our Heavenly Father for help! He takes what we've done and fills in the missing gaps! I have no doubt that our God is bound to do what He said He'll do when we do what He asks. Always keep in mind your blessings! Never let go of the goal!  .... Elder Reed"

Until next week, remember that miracles do happen today, and they are right there for us to see, if we will open our eyes. :)

Oct. 20th, 2015 update

[This update was a day later than usual because they needed to switch days this week. Here are some pictures.]

"The newest missionary in the world! Elder Maldonado from San Borja. He has been my faithful companion of the ward for 5 months" - he left just shortly after this picture was taken to enter the CCM in Peru (missionary training center) and begin his own mission! :)

Elder Reed really needed a haircut! Lol

A singing, floating, egg timer :)
Some of Elder Reed's letter: "The first week as trainer was hard, but this week I had an [exchange] of companions for a day and I got a refresher course of what I should be looking for: the constant guide of the Spirit and not my own knowledge of the area. Once I realized what I could be doing better, I started to realize just how blessed I really was and just how much the Spirit of the Lord guided Elder Chavez and I in finding "new" less-actives and even new people to teach!

I also found out some pretty cool stuff this week: 1) Elder Chavez knows how to cut hair (as do I) so he can spot check me if I mess up, 2) he and I have almost 1 year difference [to the day for our mission start date], 3) a great friend of mine from here in San Borja leaves his home and enters the CCM here in Peru TODAY and thus starts his mission!

I love you all and hope you have a great week!  Sincerely,  Elder Reed"

October 12th, 2015 update...

This week was a week of changes for Elder Reed. He became a trainer, which means that, of the set of missionaries (they always work in twos or threes), he is the leader, helping the new missionary learn. Just a year ago, Elder Reed was the one being trained. :)

Let me share his letter with you:

"Dear Family, This week was very difficult, but I was able to see the hand of the Lord in [all of it]. I am still here in San Borja, but my companion is now Elder Chavez [who is from Honduras], and he only has 3 weeks in the mission [ie, he is very new!]. For those who guessed it: I'm training. I still don't know why. I don't feel adequate as a trainer. As a "normal" missionary I'm ok, but my message this week is brief, but powerful.

When you feel like you have given it all and have nothing more to give, and when you pray, our Father in that moment reaches out to lift you up. He sets you up straight & says "look! I gave you this task and you have done your best. Relax for a second as I help you do My work!"

That was the only way that we were able to have a baptism this week! That was the only way that any of the lessons we had got taught. That is the only reason I am writing this letter to you right now!

I love you and hope that you too can feel His presence in your everyday life!  Elder Reed"

The Elders and their new companions, and the Mission President and his wife

A wonderful Sister at her baptism!

The Elders at the baptism
Elder Reed shared that he was struggling with some illness during all this (a new companion, and trying to help the baptism to work out), but he shared his testimony that the Lord strengthened him and, as he [Elder Reed] sought His help, miracles happened! Heavenly Father will help us in ways that will let us to know that He loves us, and knows us each personally.

Until next week's update... remember that Heavenly Father and Savior love each of us!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Oct. 5th, 2015 update

"What a normal "micro" looks like (medium sized bus I get to use all the time!)"

Elder Reed's letter this week spoke of seeing the sessions of the LDS Church's semi-annual General Conference. He also got a different companion, as his previous companion's mission had concluded and he went home. 

Elder Reed was impressed with all the talks focusing on women and their importance in our lives. He said, "I had a splash of reality when I realized once again just how important and valuable women are to our Heavenly Father. Without women, man would be nothing and we would only have 1 man in all the Earth: Adam. 

Women are the support system that keeps the world a turnin'. They gave up their lives to carry us around for 9-ish months and then to give their lives to us! (With this in mind, it makes sense why they get so angry when we lie to their faces... they gave us life!)

They are the teachers, masters, and examples to their children. They are by no means the lesser sex!

Now that you know a little more about them, give them a hug. Say thanks. Help them out! My message is short, but to all of the female gender, I say thank you for being a better example of everything for [all the men]! :)"

Sounds like wise counsel to me! :)  

Until next time, remember your blessings, see them, acknowledge them - and you will see even more of them!

Sept. 28th, 2015 update - over one year!

Time is flying by so quickly! Elder Reed has officially passed the 1 year mark of his 2 year mission - wow!! 

Elder Reed shared in his letter that he was greatly surprised with many things this week, and that two of them are journal-related. He said that, when he was baptized 12 years ago, he was presented with 2 journals, both from family, and he can now gladly report that he has completely filled out the two of them and has started another journal! He also couldn't remember how old his brother is this year.... :) But he shared his love to him and everyone having birthdays in September!

He was also excited to share that there was a member there who received their mission call and found out they had only a month until reporting - not a lot of time! But exciting!

Elder Reed said that he also has a great desire to read the Book of Mormon in Spanish during his personal study time, and that he is excited to learn so many new things. Scriptures are such a blessing from a loving Heavenly Father!

Elder Reed signed his letter: "Keep reading, forgiving, and loving your neighbor & family - Until next week, Elder Reed"

They are excited about the essentials of life. :)

Pizza to celebrate the one-year mark!

Sept. 21, 2015 update

For Elder Reed's update this week, I thought I'd just post all his pictures, including his letter. I can't seem to get the blog to write well in Spanish. :)  Enjoy!!
Elder Reed's letter :)

Elder Reed having his first milkshake in Peru!

A nice treat

Lima Peru Temple

The Elders and some members of the ward that they were able to attend the Temple with - awesome! :)
Elder Reed is doing well, and is blessing many lives! :)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sept. 14, 2015 update

"Me on a hill that we climbed for the last preparation day! Man was that cool... i'm not leaning on that rock behind me!"

"some milk and cookies that we were able to enjoy thanks in part to a package I received and part from the members here in San Borja"

"Members of the ward mission coordination meeting"

"Those at the baptism!"  What an awesome looking group!! :)

"Cool napkin I found here in Lima!"
Elder Reed's letter was short this week, but he sent lots of cool pictures! :)  From Elder Reed:

"Howdy there Neighbor (put name here),

This week was awesome! We had a bunch of stuff happen: we had divisions with our District Leader, he interviewed an investigator for baptism, and she was baptized on Saturday! The really cool part was the amount of people that were there at the service. I think we finally got across to the ward the importance of supporting the souls who have begun the same journey we are in. 

This week was also really special because now we know that the members in the ward trust us! What a great feeling it is!

We have also found many people who are willing to get their spiritual motors running again [- one in particular comes to mind]! We were even able to walk to church with him and commit him to speak with the Bishop this Wednesday! :)

Sorry this letter is so short, but just know that all is well here in San Borja :) .   See you next week! 

Elder Reed"


NOTE from Elder Reed's Mom: I know there were serious earthquakes in Chile a few days ago, which isn't really that far from where Elder Reed is (tsunami/ocean effects are a possibility there in Lima) yet I feel at ease in my heart, even though we don't have word if anyone in the Lima area was affected. We are praying for all those who live in the area of Chile affected by this devastating event, praying for them to have peace and comfort during this difficult time. Every prayer helps! If you feel inclined, offer up a prayer for them as well. Miracles can happen through prayer!

Until next week..... remember that the blessings of the Lord are for each of us, and that He loves us all more than we can understand.

Sept. 7th, 2015 update

Some pictures from Elder Reed (his own words in the quotation marks...)

"Bread and cheese (BOTH WERE AWESOME!!!) from a recent convert that travelled to Cusco for a month"

"a gift from the Bishop and his wife" - Elder Reed really likes his A&W Root Beer :)

"the first Nuevo Sol that I found in almost a YEAR of searching that is from the year 1995 [when I was born]! I'm never going to spend it!"
Elder Reed's letter this week talked about how they were kicked out of one of the wealthiest parts of their area, San Isidrio. They were confronted with a security patrol guard who said the people were calling in and reporting a disturbance - Los Misioneros. Apparently, there had been a lot of robberies lately in that area, and the people were afraid that the Missionaries would do the same. Not fun!

Elder Reed's spiritual thought this week: "My message this week is that money, whether it is in dollars or yen, doesn't mean you are happy. The rich have their hearts and minds set on the things of this world (for the most part, there are always exceptions), and they think that they have it good. They aren't wrong in, at best, they are set for a serious crisis, but the Gospel is truly the most precious treasure one can have. This is the only treasure that is given freely to all and requires only the willingness to accept it. The only things that it lacks is people who are willing to take hold of it and that is where you and I come in. We are here to be messengers and we will be even more blessed for our service being rendered."

Elder Reed's non-spiritual thought talked about how, being in a companionship of two North Americans seems to really make the time FLY away. :)

Until next week's update, remember to count the blessings - they are there!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Aug 31st, 2015 update

Time is flying by so quickly! 11 months through now, and soon it will be a year in the mission field! WOW! :)

Elder Reed was so incredibly excited in his letter this week - they were blessed to have Elder David A. Bednar come and visit with their mission! He also had some really exciting opportunities as well! From his weekly letter to his Mission President hat he shared with us:

"This week, Elder Maxwell and I as a companionship saw a large number (very large indeed) of miracles in San Borja this week! First off, we were, by divine revelation, placed together as companions. Secondly, from day 1 of our time together, we have been progressing bastante [quite a lot] with our investigators and we have even set a baptismal date with her after receiving a TON of reasons why she couldn't accept one! Thirdly, we have had a varon [man] accompany us to every appointment that didn't fall through!

Fourth, we met a lady in the street that wanted us to pray for her, but had great difficult listening to us about what we teach and why we teach about a Restoration! After my companion and I explained to her more on the subject, she seemed more interested and accepted the phone number of the Elderes in Limatambo. Then when we ended, we asked if she knew anyone that was having problems in their life that could benefit from the knowledge of a restoration. She started to say no, but, as we watched her think, something in her eyes changed and we could tell that Espiritu Santo [the Holy Ghost] was working in her and she led us right to another lady who couldn't meet with us at that moment, but we will be coming back!

Fifth, We were blessed to be in the presence of Elder David A. Bednar and wow... I thought I was about to explode with happiness with what he told us we could do and the blessings we would receive from following through it as devoted agents of the Lord and not just objects to be acted upon!  Sixth, this Sunday was the BEST!!!!!!! I've never felt so charged from a Sacrament meeting and Gospel Principles class! The teacher changed the topic last second to the Restoration and it was perfect for one of our investigators! It helped strengthen her testimony and mine!

Seventh, we were "assaulted" by a wave of [men in the Ward] that desired to teach with us and now we have 6 days of lessons with members!!!!

Those are only some of the most prominent miracles that we have seen here this week! I wish you a wonderful week and a happy Monday!  Love, Elder Reed"

Elder Jeria in the internet cafe that is used each week to write home/read emails.

Elder Reed and Elder Maxwell - companions!

Aug. 24th, 2015 update

Elder Reed shared some photos and his family letter this week - :)
"Me after a preparation day in the mission (the elders in my zone played fútbol together: 5v5" :)

"Me, Elder Orosco (in the back 22 months, Ecuador), and Elder Jeria (16 months, Chile)" - a great looking group!
Elder Reed wanted to give a shout-out to all those who had a birthday this past week [there are lots of August birthdays!]. 

From Elder Reed's letter: "Today is the last day of transfers which is, again, incredible! What is super exciting is that this week something/someone really special will be coming to the Peru Lima East and North missions. I mention East first because (every missionary knows this) "my mission is the best mission in the whole-wide world!" I won't get too specific until it comes to pass so that I don't jinx the event into not happening.

I am also aware of school starting back up for you parents and school-aged people. I have only a few times I can say "good luck" because I am here in Peru continuing to learn, but teach as well! You can really surprise yourself about how much you know when you begin to teach! As well as learning from the people and their habits, there is also learning from the language standpoint. I remember 3 sister missionaries that served in the ward Los Sauces with me [and they] said that understanding and comprehending a new language begins with listening & understanding and later speaking & understanding. I don't think I would have made it through my first 4.5 months without them!

My spiritual thought this week comes from my experience this week with reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. We were meeting with a less than happy recent convert. She had been unhappy because she had stopped praying, stopped reading the Book of Mormon, and most importantly, she stopped praying about the Book of Mormon! [In the Doctrine & Covenants and the Book of Mormon,] it says that is we desire happiness, we should study the words of life; that if we desire the Spirit in our lives, we must study and pray and then will our tongue be loosened to the confounding of the wise (Doctrine & Covenants 11:21, Alma 37:6-7). That will bring the Spirit. That will make your life happier! That I promise you! Of these things I testify, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.  Until next week, Elder Reed"

Friday, August 21, 2015

August 17th, 2015 update

Elder Reed's update this week (letter first, then pictures, and thanks to Elder Reed's brother for transcribing this!):

"17 Agosto 2015
Dearest Family & Friend
This week I walked and walked and then when we couldn’t think of anything more fun to do we walked some more!  Nah, broma!  But all that walking wasn’t in vain because I get to give a 10-15 min talk yesterday and I was blessed to have an interesting conversation with someone here in San Borja who has been having some trouble with peer pressure/social pressure.
First off I gave the discourse on Missionary Work… what else?! Apparently it went great because I only said, “I thought my companion stole/used all of my material, but it is ok” and later “Amen.”
The second point I would like to address is a bit lengthier. The topic sentence, though, would be: “Who am I?” Then the world seems to be completely against us and we don’t seem to have any choice because we want to fit in and have friends or fun we need to remember these words: “who am I?”
I will give you an example. I, Elder Reed, am 20 years old, I was a student of [a high school] in Ohio, I am a person with green eyes and I am about 5’10” tall. What am I forgetting? There is a Children’s hymn with just the answer we need: “I am a child of God.” What does that mean?
First off, let’s start by looking at what God cannot do and what He can do… in that order: nothing and anything! God is Almighty, All Powerful, and All Loving. He wants us to succeed. He gives us trials so that we might one day return to live with Him, the Creator of our soul and body (Abraham 3:24-26). If He wants something done it will get done!
Secondly as His children, we can also do anything that we desire so long as it is within the commandments and will of Him who gives all. If He wants us to refrain from drinking, smoking, and chewing WE CAN DO IT. If He wants us to be sexually pure WE CAN DO IT. If He thinks it is wise to become an Eagle Scout WE CAN DO IT. There is nobody who can make you do anything that you don’t want to do. I know from sad experience that I have no more control over my neighbor than my neighbor had over me! If we succumb to the will of another it is only because we allow that person to control us. The same thing applies with Satan. He can’t make us do anything. He can whisper and shout in our ears the things he wants us to do until he’s blue in the face, but ultimately it is our choice! As a shining example of resistance I would reference you to my younger brother Adam! You are the best Adam; don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise! :)
In conclusion we are sons and daughters of a God and as such we are entitled to his love, guidance, help, and forgiveness if we mess up!
I testify that the words that I have written are true and that we should always be ready to respond “I am a child of God and He has sent me here to testify of truth and righteousness” and I so do it in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. 
 Love,Elder Reed  "

The pictures Elder Reed sent:

Apparently, this is just a baby cucuracha [cockroach] - yikes!
For this week, Elder Reed said "Hope you have enjoyed your week and spent it wisely! Remember who you are!" Have a great week!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

August 10th, 2015 update

Time is flying by! It's been 10.5 months already!

Elder Reed sent the cover of a 2014 Ensign magazine, with the following information: "This is a pic of that issue... and I know who is in it and where it was taken!!!!!!!!!! the boy is the son of my pensionista and the girl is his cousin! They live in the same house I do!!!!!! WOW I FEEL SO COOL!" See below...

It is definitely a small world in the Gospel! :)

Elder Reed said: "This week was a bit trying with the drizzle and colder weather, but I can't believe that ANOTHER week has flown by!" Very different from the heat of the Ohio Valley right now. :)

Here are some excerpts from his weekly letter: 

"Dear Family y Amigo(a), I just want to write Happy Birthday to all of you out there who have recently, are, or will shortly be celebrating your birthday!

This week was a week of miracles. First off, we had interviews with President Boswell. I have never before in my life been more at ease with the prospect of an interview than I am with my very own mission president. Second, while we were there waiting in line for interviews, we received a training for the Church referral site... If you have a referral, try to use "Referral Manager"... if it doesn't work, talk to the missionaries in your area. 

The third item on my list is that these past 2 weeks have seen a dramatic increase in the number of priesthood holders willing to go out with us to teach lessons. I felt very blessed to be in a ward where the member response is very much alive!

The fourth and fifth items are people we've met that we have started teaching. They both are what we as missionaries would call "chosen ones" because of their willingness to accept the Gospel [with all its truths] and here again: members coming with missionaries to the appointments! If you can help, please please try to find time to help the missionaries in your area fulfill their calling as servants of the Lord... [there are needs all around for help like this!] You will be blessed [as you give of your time for the Lord], the missionaries and the other person will be blessed, and there will be an extraordinary opportunity for the investigator to be fellowshipped, and you will have found a new friend! :)

I hope you enjoy your week! Love, Elder Reed"

August 3rd, 2015 update

Elder Reed's update this week consisted of the family and friends letter, so I'll type it here for you all:

"3 Agosto, 2015
Dear Family and Friend,
  How have you all been lately? I have walked a lot every day this week in the hopes that we will find a lesson. This week has been the 4th of July for Peru (the 28th of July is when they celebrate Independence Day). Almost exactly like the school district [back home in Ohio], we got no break for the 3 days that there was ABSOLUTELY NOBODY in the streets or in their homes. We've contacted mostly, but the Creator of All hasn't said "when there is a holiday, thou shalt rest (if thou be-ist mine missionary)", so I guess we continue until we become sick, are released as missionaries, or both.

  This week was cool (other than the walking we did) because we met with a member whom we have never met before and is having troubles in his family and he prayed. He prayed that he could receive help. We weren't told this until after my companion shared Alma 8:14-15. Read it and then read this paragraph again. That lesson sure made my day much better! [We never know how the Lord will have us help others!]

  Many people say that missionaries are angels in the flesh. The question now is, what is an angel? An angel is simply a heavenly messenger. With that in mind, all missionaries have been called by a living prophet of the Living God. They are later set apart for a period of time as messengers of the restored gospel, a heavenly message. Now we put together the two pieces of information and we have divinely called men & women who carry a message from heaven: Angels. 

  I bear my testimonio to you all that if you are willing to put God before yourself, you will not only be benefiting yourself, but the lives of all those around you. This is what God wants. This is why He wants it this way; you and I and everyone can be real instruments of good in His hands.

  I love you and wish you a very good week filled with blessings from on high!  Sincerely, Elder Reed"

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 27, 2015 update

Elder Reed at the Temple

"Me and my pizza box that shows I have super powers" - Ha ha :)

Elder Reed shared that he was able to go out and teach with one of the mission president's assistants, and he LOVED it! How awesome!!! :)

Here is Elder Reed's letter for this week:
"Dear Family and Friends,

This week I'll be writing specifically about the plan that our Father has proposed for each and every one of His children.

From the beginning we were spirits. We learned as spirits that we must come to an earth that would be prepared for us so that we could become like our Heavenly Father. He presented this plan by the which we might be perfect "even as [our] Father which is in heaven is perfect" (Matthew 5:48) and there were many that jumped and shouted for joy at the prospect. God knew that we would make mistakes and thereby provided us with a Saviour, even Jesus Christ. Two individuals were chosen as our first earthly parents, ready and willing to give us the opportunity to obtain a body of flesh and bones whereby we might be tested in all things to prove to our Heavenly Parents that we are willing to accomplish all things which the Lord our God has commanded us.

When we reach the end of this mortal life we are called back to a waiting space, as spirits, and our aged or diseased body is left behind to wait for our awaited resurrection. Our living spirit continues to carry all of the traits that we acquired here in this life and enjoys a brief resting period called Paradise or a period of weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth [if we have not chose to follow the Saviour] because we have a perfect knowledge of everything we have done here in mortality and we won't have any chance to change that which we have done. From there, we will be judged and received our inheritance in a kingdom of Glory.

Death is not the end! Death is only the point in our eternal progression through which we must all pass. As the hymn "If You Could Hie to Kolob" says very articulately, and just how I would like to say it: "There is no end to glory. There is no end to life. There is no end to being. There is no death above."
There was a dear member that passed away this week in San Borja, but everyone now is more and more convinced and comforted, including me, of the plan we have from our Father to return to Him once more and "enter [...] into the joy of [our] Lord" (Matthew 25:23). This applies to all of us, but only "by obedience to [the] law upon which it is predicated (Doctrine & Covenants 130:21). 

I love you all and hope that you continue firm in the faith! Love, Elder Reed"

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

July 20th, 2015 update

This week, Elder Reed and I were "chatting" through email about the time it takes a letter to get there (snail mail, you know, the way mail used to always be delivered.... ha ha!) - Elder Reed said that it takes a letter between 3-6 weeks to get TO him from the U.S., but that it takes about 15 days for a letter to come FROM him to the U.S. and we are currently waiting to see if that's fairly accurate. We will know by next week. :)

Elder Reed again forgot to include his Mom on the general email sent out [*ahem*] and hopes he will remember next week. :)

One picture that was sent, showing a multizone picture of missionaries - this was apparently taken a couple of months ago:

From Elder Reed's letter this week: "For those in the States, how is the summer treating you? For those below the equator, how is the winter treating you? This week was pretty eventful as transfers were named / called, and I was told to stay in San Borja with Elder Cueva from Piura, Peru for another six weeks! With that notice, we received a call from the Zone Leaders on Friday, and we were told that President Boswell is going to accompany us for 4 hours this coming Thursday (my 10-month anniversary! :) )  I have mixed feelings as I know that having your mission president in 1 lesson is incredibly helpful and nerve-racking at the same time, but for 3-4 lessons! I look forward to seeing him.

This week I was able to witness the active power of the priesthood in the home no less than 2 times. I witnessed the father, the patriarch of the home, exercise righteously his priesthood authority to bless his family member. There is a scripture I like on the topic of Fatherhood and the incredible gift that is the priesthood: Matthew 7:11 - "If ye then, being evil" {I'm not saying you are evil! - it's just a part of the verse!} "know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father, which is in Heaven, give good things to him that ask him?"

Now I was very blessed to have been a witness to blessings before, but never before has a priesthood blessing affected me so much so. The recipients not only have a loving Father in Heaven, but are also blessed with a loving earthly father or husband that is worthy and willing to use their God-given gift for the benefit of the other sons and daughters of God. That is what the priesthood is all about: service to others and service to God. I am so very grateful that I am counted worthy to have the Higher Priesthood and can participate in the salvation of so many people all at once. Like a temple recommend, I exhort you all to be constantly worthy to participate in and/or exercise the power and authority of our Creator! The blessings will come! I guarantee it! 

I love you and wish you a great week! Love, Elder Reed"

[This catches up the updates for now - remember to count all your blessings - there are so many!]

July 13th, 2015 update

Elder Reed's update for this week was interesting, as he forgot to send it to his Mom [*ahem*], so she had no idea what was going on! :)

Elder Reed sent a handwritten letter home, but did email the following, with a few pictures:
"Well my week went by pretty fast as it was also my birthday! I am officially 20 years old now!

I just thought I would tell you that this week I didn't have time to write you a big letter... only this one: A...hahaha

Elder Reed"

[Oh, what a funny boy he is! :)  ]

Elder Reed and the birthday he got from his Mission President and his wife :)

July 6th, 2015 update

For the week of July 6th, 2015:
Elder Horo, Elder Gleason, E., Elder Cueva, Me
Elder Reed's family letter shared these thoughts: "This week was one of the strangest and most time-consuming weeks (event-wise) I've had in all my mission. But out of it, we had a baptism and confirmation of a convert to the Gospel. She was truly ready to be baptized. ... E. [names kept private of individuals] eagerly took hold of the lessons of the missionaries (Elder Horo, Elder Gleason, Elder Cueva, and I). . . Her baptism wasn't perfect... started and ended late, and she [had to be] submerged in freezing cold water 3 times [before everything was right], but all the missionaries that had ever taught her were able to attend her baptism! (See above)

Spiritual thought: Doctrine & Covenants 131:6 - If we want to reach our exaltation, serve a mission, or finish our Master's degree, we MUST STUDY. We must also be willing to make mistakes and learn from them. We cannot simply say that "I didn't know" and move on. God gave us our minds and a multitude of opportunities to use them. "A mind is a terrible thing to waste!"

Nonspiritual thought: If I have a bee in my hand and am showing it to others, what do I have? Answer: Beauty. Why? Because beauty is in the eye of the bee-holder.  HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA." Elder Reed then drew a little picture:

:)  Elder Reed's closing thoughts for this week:
"I would like to bear you my testimony of the fast and the spiritual strength we receive when we fast. That when the Lord said, "Prove me now herewith", He meant it! The blessings we receive from abstaining from food or drink for 24 hours every first Sunday of the month are real and real powerful! I don't think we can afford not to fast! With love, Elder Reed"

Friday, July 3, 2015

June 29th, 2015 update

Elder Reed's only picture this week, aside from the photo of the family letter, was this:

For any of you that know Elder Reed personally, this is his **favorite** food! :)  His own words about it: "We got to have Subway for lunch in the Multizona!!!! Even though we aren't allowed to eat lettuce it was the best sub i've ever had!!!" :)  [I guess once you go without something for awhile, it tastes even better, even when there isn't lettuce on it! Ha ha]

Elder Reed also shared this song that he had heard, "Have I Done Any Good?" - - It is an awesome song! Remember, every effort for good in this world DOES make a difference! :)

From Elder Reed's family letter this week: "Hey family! Got a great headline: New Bishop in San Borja! After 4 months without one to act as the head of this ward. Now we need to let him know we are willing and ready to work for him and help him!" Elder Reed went on to talk about cool news and experiences of the week. 

"We have a member here who reactivated himself back into the Church and is seriously preparing himself to enter the temple and serve a mission. He is at the age limit (25) and is in contact with [the mission president] to get himself ready." [How cool is that?!] Elder Reed said that they had a Multizona conference [several Zones of missionaries meet together] in which over 80 of the over 200 missionaries attended. He was able to speak with his mission president to see if there was anything else they could do to help this young man prepare to serve, and the mission president said (after Elder Reed's explanation of what they were currently doing), "He will be just fine. Keep doing what you're doing." :)

During the Multizona conference, Elder Reed shared some instruction they'd been given. "every night, we are to kneel and pray as a mission [at a specific time]. That way, we can be more united in our efforts of Salvation." Awesome! Elder Reed and the missionaries were also told that the mission president had read in his guidebook that missionaries should be in their respective wards serving for 6-8 months, and that hasn't always been happening there. [They were transferred more frequently than that.] Elder Reed then calculated that he could potentially only have 3 areas for the remainder of his mission. He has been out for over 9 months now - time surely flies by!!

Elder Reed's spiritual thought: "Read Doctrine & Covenants 60:1-5, 61:1-4 & 22, and 62:4-8. What is important to the Lord? What isn't? Remember that God gave us each a brain and enough juice to make our own decisions. The God of All won't always lead us along by the hand. Sometimes we need to make up our minds and just go! God wants us to be dependent on Him, but not dependent for everything. That is the reason we have working minds and prayer, to be wise servants of our Heavenly Father! :)  God loves you, and so do I, Elder Reed"

Until next time, remember that we have the agency of choice, and we can choose good! :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

June 22nd, 2015 update

Elder Reed shared some photos this week, and some exciting news - he was able to attend the dedication of the Trujillo, Peru Temple! This is the second temple in operation in Peru, and there was a third announced as well, in Arequipa, Peru. What a wonderful blessing to be able to attend that! The missionaries got special permission to go, and thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful experience!

Some photos from Elder Reed:
Multi Zone Pday with Santa Patricia (that's my Zone) and Surco

Picture from the Towers of Limatambo

Me from the 18th floor

Emergency meal that my pension bought for us!

From Elder Reed this week:  He said that he had "a long week in terms of miles/kilometers walked, but also in that I got to look a little into the future and even into the eternities!" Elder Reed had received a call from his District Leader and, as he seemed way too happy to be calling about something bad happening, he wasn't too worried. His District Leader had invited him to the sealing in the Temple of a family that he and a former companion had taught - what a wonderful blessing! Elder Reed said that he was so excited for this family, that they were making covenants that would bind them for all eternity, and he said that he caught a glimpse of the importance of marriage and choosing a worthy spouse. He was able to witness the beautiful event and feel the Spirit of the Lord testify of the importance of eternal marriage.

Elder Reed also got to take part in the dedication of the Trujillo, Peru Temple - here is a picture:

Elder Reed said that he got to see Pres. Dieter Uchtdorf, Elder David Bednar [and Elder Reed said "they were actually here in Peru! :) :) :) ], and the Area 70 Presidency of the Peru area. He was very excited to get to see them in person, but he said even more exciting is that it was explained that each new temple dedicated has a connection with the first temple built in this dispensation of the fulness of times - in Kirtland Ohio. [His own home state!] :)  He had a week filled with many blessings!

Elder Reed's spiritual thought relates to temples: "My spiritual thought this week comes from Elder Juan A. Uceda who said that if we don't have a temple recommend, we should get worthy to receive one. If we can receive one, but cannot attend, you at least are worthy to enter the Holy Temple of our Lord."

Until next week, remember to see the beauty in the world all around, Heavenly Father is speaking to you!