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!