Sunday, October 9, 2016

Final blog post of Elder Reed's Mission

Hola, yo soy Michael Reed. Hi this is Michael Reed signing in here trying to wrap up a two year real –life-without-actually-having-to-think-about-yourself-school experience. I have seen the good and the bad side of life, spoke and exhorted drunkards, taught those high on weed or marijuana, had life-changing spiritual experiences, and even got to see my mom and brother in some of the sketchier parts of my mission! Wow what a ride! 

I am glad to have been a tool in the all-knowing hands of the Lord and I am very grateful that I can say that I have done all that the Lord asked me to do and I am soooooooooooo very excited to know that there are MANY MORE OF YOU WHO CAN SERVE TOO!!!!!!!!!! :) How can you possibly pass up an opportunity so immensely gratifying spiritually to have your life blessed by serving others 24/7?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! There is no other way under Heaven that you can do more good in such a short amount of time at this point in your life! 

That is my final message to all of you! If you have the option to serve, think about it! Really think about it because God is just waiting with His hands on the “give me blessings button” for your selflessly devoted work for His children! There is no greater call than to teach the Everlasting Gospel! I promise you that!


Peru Lima East Mission 2014-2016

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Sept. 5th, 2016 update

This week, Elder Reed sent the following in his email, which was titled "last time writing family from peru":


Elder Reed"

The time is really winding down quickly!

Elder Reed said that this week for him was super stressful. He said that there were a lot of negative things that happened in the week, but, as always, he's still here, and he learned something from those trials. 

Elder Reed shared that something really cool happened there - they have been contacting people who speak English! He found someone who had lived in Cleveland Ohio! He was SO excited to find someone who knows where Ohio is and has actually lived there - he was so excited that he gave him a hug! :) They talked for a little bit about Ohio, and football and baseball. He really enjoyed that.

For their preparation day, they moved some furniture around and then they ate and were able to watch The Testaments movie (a Church film) and then they were able to rest. That doesn't usually happen, but they were grateful. 

Elder Reed shared that they were also able to find quite a lot of people who, as the missionaries explained who they were and their message, that they were very positive about baptism. One man, in particular, after speaking with them at length, said that if he knew from God it was right, he would be baptized. God answers prayers!

The missionaries took some time and helped other missionaries in another district and had quite an experience - they had lots of doors slammed in their faces and very disagreeable encounters. It was difficult, but they made it through that experience.

Another super strange thing happened, that happened this week is that Elder Reed had a phone number show up on his cell phone that they use and it was from Ohio - definitely unexpected! He didn't answer it but it was definitely strange!

Until the next blog post, Elder Reed wants you all to know how much he appreciates the love and support! He couldn't have made this journey without you!

[The final post to this blog will be done by Elder Reed himself when he returns to the States... stay tuned!] 

Aug. 29th, 2016 update

(L to R) E. Gozalvez, E. Lopez, E. Hawks, E. Reed at the Lima Temple

Elder Reed said that this past week, he has been a little under the weather, but it was a busy week. They had a multi-zone conference that took the whole day and they loved it! He ended up giving a talk during the meeting, and he learned that we all need to be willing and ready to give up all we have to be able to see fruits of our labors. 

For example, a mission. Once you forget about yourself and you start worrying about the needs of others, and you don't realize how much time has passed, that's when you realize that you've done your work. 

This week, they also worked and worked a lot, and they found SO many cool people and were really grateful for the experiences. They found people ready to hear the Gospel and learn more about the Savior. This week, Elder Reed contacted one person from the Bronx (yes, New York, USA). He was so excited! Elder Reed was able to contact in English, for the first time in his whole mission. :) He loved talking to him! Then, a few days later, he found the guys' uncle! What a wonderful experience!

There were a lot of tests this week, but always remember that God is just and He will remember all that we have worked to do. Hebrews 6:10 - "For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister."

Until next week, remember to count the many blessings all around you!

August 23, 2016 update

This week, there were no photos from Elder Reed, but he shared in his weekly report that he really really loves playing futbol [soccer] now - he LOVES it. :)  

Elder Reed said that this week was quite a lesson on enduring to the end. He said that there was a situation that happened with an investigator. He said that in the Preach My Gospel book (one of the books the missionaries use to study and teach others), there is a part that talks about how you know you will have success if you are doing everything that you need to do, by feeling the Spirit, obeying the commandments, and go about the work, you will have assurance from the Lord that you are having success, even in spite of others and their actions. It may be difficult when others choose things that don't bring the Spirit, but the Lord knows your efforts, and their hearts, and He loves each of us very much. That never changes!

Elder Reed shared that, this week, they went on divisions and talked with people, seeing how ready they were for baptism, and Elder Reed was able to feel the Spirit - he is grateful for those moments of clarity. He said that there's no place like home - meaning, he was away from his regular area for 2 days, and he was very grateful when he went home to the place he's been used to. :)

Elder Reed shared that there were 2 drunk people that talked to them, and it was definitely an interesting experience for him. He pleads with us all not to drink and drive, and to do what it takes to be safe. There is safety in obeying the Lord's Word of Wisdom

Elder Reed wanted to finish by sharing his testimony: "Hard work pays off. If you keep your head level, and you keep going forward with all of your might, that 1) you won't notice the passing of time, and others are growing up too, 2) you will be so happy in the work of the Lord! I know that my Savior lives and Christ is the head of this Church, and we are His brothers and sisters! We are children of God, and as such, we can't afford not to let others know about that, to live it!"

Elder Reed asks you to talk to those around you, to work thru any issues you have with others, and to bring more love into the world -

Until next week, remember that love can make a huge difference and continues out in great waves, if we let it!

Aug. 15th, 2016 update

Elder Reed said in his letter that this past week was very busy, and that the next week will be busy too. He said that this week was stake conference [a regional meeting of several wards and branches of the Church] for the Central Stake (where he is located) and an area representative of the Church and it was very exciting for them. 

During the meeting, the mission president shared with the members about how the missionaries had shared with him (the mission president) how a 96 yr old man had been taught a lesson about the Gospel and, right as the lesson was done, this man knelt and asked God if the message was true! And God gave him an answer that it is true! God does answer prayers!

Elder Reed shared that another thing that happened this week that was really cool was that he went on divisions with an Elder in a different ward and they had a lot of success talking with people. They also appreciated the help that the ward members gave to them in their efforts to share the Gospel

Elder Reed shared that he wants everyone to know to keep working hard until the end. Just keep working hard. Something Elder Reed was told by his Aunt Bonnie is to keep working and stop saying how much time is left because, basically, once the time is gone, it's gone, so make the most of it! :) He appreciated that counsel, and from his Dad too. 

President Boswell told Elder Reed to just enjoy the last 6 or so weeks, it's where everything comes together. So to relax and enjoy the time serving.

Elder Reed said that this past week, they met a lot of resistance again too. He said that on Sundays especially, it seems that Satan works super hard to discourage, to distract, to keep the Spirit of the Lord away. Elder Reed said he doesn't really like living in a big city, as so much seems "anti-Spirit", but they made it through.

Elder Reed shared that he loves everyone and is grateful for the support and love. His spiritual message this week is short. Repent. Try to be better. Overcome pride and get on your knees and ask Father in Heaven for forgiveness and help to overcome. More blessings will come as you strive to repent and improve each day.

[No pictures this week, but hopefully next week! :)]

Aug. 8th, 2016 update

Elder Reed and his companion at weekly internet time :)
(Nice sweater, Elder Reed!)
Elder Reed shared that he's now in El Agustino area and he felt very welcomed into the new area by the members and he was very grateful. He also said that he has never seen so many people in one area, but he is excited to get to learn the area and the people there.

Elder Reed shared that there were many miracles. They met a 96 year old man (a very active 96-yr-old!) who wanted to learn about the Gospel and he was very ready to learn what they were sharing. This man's grandson is also so ready to hear the message of the Savior - it's a wonderful blessing!

Elder Reed said that he is still a District Leader over a smaller area geographically, and there are all Elders, no Sisters. He said that's a different situation that he's getting used to as they work to plan different things. He said being a leader is quite a challenge at times.

Elder Reed shared that his companion (E. Gozvalez) is very loved in this area and he enjoys seeing that. He and his companion get along very well. They also got to have fun playing "futbol" [soccer] on their preparation day with other Elders, and Elder Reed enjoys that activity a lot now.

This week was a short update, but Elder Reed shares his love with all of you!
Until next time, remember that there are blessings all around!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Aug 1, 2016 update

There were no pictures this week, but Elder Reed shared that this week was super crazy. The additional missionary was there for the week and he really fit in with the missionaries there. They enjoyed having him there. :)

This week, Elder Reed and his companion found many people to teach, which is wonderful news! However, they are closing the area that they are currently in (Huertos II) - that was pretty stressful. The Huertos area will now just be one large area and have just 2 missionaries instead of 4. Elder Reed also found out that he will be getting transferred.

Elder Reed will now be serving in the stake Central (Central Stake) in the mission, in the El Agustino area - his last area of his mission. He will be with a missionary who has just finished his 12-week training and Elder Reed will still be District leader. He is excited and nervous. :)

Elder Reed shared that whatever challenge you are going through, it's worth the anguish [if that is the right word - he couldn't tell for sure]. It's worth it. Whatever challenge you are going through, remember that God loves you. He wants you to be safe, and to love your neighbor. God knows what you are going through. 

Elder Reed said that everything that you will ever have to do that has to do with righteousness, all of the tests and trials you have to go through, it's worth it. It doesn't matter if you are weak or strong, black or white, from Asia or Peru, God blesses us for righteous actions. He smiles even bigger when we repent of our sins. 

Elder Reed also shared that it doesn't matter who we talk to, as long as we are trying to tell them how the Gospel can change their lives, we will be blessed for our actions. Always remember "I am a missionary" and always remember "I don't have to wear a missionary name tag" - there are innumerable blessings from serving the Lord!

Remember to see the blessings in your life - they are there!

July 25, 2016 update

[Elder Reed shared that this is Week 96 - time is flying by! The update this week was short, but it was good to hear from him.]

Here is a picture of a cool mountain he can see from his room -

Elder Reed wanted to let everyone know how much he loves you. He greatly appreciates the love and support from everyone.

Elder Reed received a call the previous night [that he made this recording] that there would be an additional companion there with them for a time. It's a Peruvian Elder that was serving in El Salvador, but had to come home for a little bit to have some medical stuff taken care of and then would be returning to his mission. Elder Reed was eager to help out and to meet someone new.

Elder Reed said that the message he wants to share with everyone this week is to "keep going". In spite of everything that happens, just keep going. Sometimes things get tough, but keep going! He shared again that he loves you all and hopes that you have an enjoyable week!

July 18, 2016 update

Week 95 for Elder Reed - He said he is feeling "old" now as a missionary. :)

There were no pictures this week, but Elder Reed shared that this week was another time of testing for him and his companion. He said that literally all their lessons fell thru this week - which is rare.  It was tough for Elder Reed and he hopes it doesn't happen that way again. 

The contacted a lot this week, hours and hours and hours of walking and talking with people. He said that everything has a purpose, even the times when you aren't sure what the purpose is. Elder Reed said that he and his companion worked more on helping people in a way that would help them smile. 

Elder Reed shared that he realized this week how much he loves teaching the plan of salvation. He said that it's the best! They were teaching a less-active family who were trying to re-activate themselves, and there was also a non-member there, and when teaching about the plan of salvation, Elder Reed felt the Spirit so strongly! He loved it!

Elder Reed also talked about a lesson they had in priesthood meeting in Church the previous day (Sunday). The lesson was about paying a debt for someone else, a debt that was owed. They were also talking about the temple. He remembered that there was a time (when he was younger) that our family had gone to a restaurant to eat - Mom and 5 kids. When it came time to pay the bill, we had found out that someone else had noticed the kids and how good they were, and was impressed with our little family, and they had paid for all our meals. That greatly impressed Elder Reed. There was one thing that the waiter said that Elder Reed has always remembered. He said, "The only thing the person [who paid the bill] asked is that you do something nice for someone else and he will be repaid." 

Elder Reed determined that was what he was going to do this week. Do something nice for someone else. You never know who would need that. Something that you may not understand, but that they need, because that is how Christ served - by loving and serving others in small and simple ways. Elder Reed gave a challenge to each of us to do the same thing. Do something nice for someone else. It doesn't have to be big, or even involve money. It may involve some time - even just the time it takes to give someone a smile. However, that can make a huge difference in someone's life, and can help them feel the Savior's love.

Remember, every effort for good counts in this world!

July 11, 2016 update

[Elder Reed's mission is nearly complete and I'm catching up on the blog - I'm grateful for his service to the Lord and I know that the Lord is well pleased as Elder Reed has come to love the people of Peru]

Elder Reed shared this picture from the morning of his birthday in Peru. He said that they worked really hard on his birthday, and it was like many other birthdays he had already experienced. :) He said that he met lots of different people that day and he was able to remember that he was there in Peru to serve the Lord and he is so grateful for this experience!

He also said there were some other birthdays, like the U.S. birthday (Independence Day) and his younger brother's birthday. Elder Reed gave a shout-out to all those having a birthday.

Elder Reed said that he and his companion were hoping to find more investigators and they also hoped that those they were teaching would choose to follow through on commitments and come to church, because that is how progress happens!

Elder Reed shared how grateful he is for the power of the priesthood and that it is active and on the earth today. He said that they also had people help with giving the missionaries rides to various appointments and that he was grateful for all the help. Elder Reed said that he is grateful for the members of the Gospel who are strong and supportive. 

During the week, Elder Reed shared that they met a couple people who were totally against any church other than their own (which was not the Latter-day Saint church). Of this experience, Elder Reed said that "it doesn't matter if they spit on us, if they tell us that we are absolutely wrong, that the Book of Mormon can't be true, that we have no idea what we're saying, or if they just make fun of us for who we are or for the way we speak, or whatever. God's watching us. He knows. We'll have our reward later. Maybe not in this life. Maybe we'll never see the fruits of our labors here in mortality. But later on, we will. That the only thing that our Father has ever asked us to do is obey His commandments. And when we obey His commandments, He gives us blessings, for which we are indebted. And then, when we give thanks and we keep obeying to show that we are grateful, He gives us more blessings! And we are eternally indebted to Him - and that's how I feel - eternally indebted! It doesn't matter what happens. As long as we are focused, miracles will happen!" [Elder Reed also thanked his Aunt Bonnie for that reminder :) ]

Elder Reed also said that they went up to a hill during the week and offered a prayer to dedicate the area they were working in, and it was a very powerful experience - Elder Reed shared how the Spirit of the Lord is very powerful when there is little sound around. 

Remember that Heavenly Father loves you and would love to hear from you - in any way you feel you can - talk to Him. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

July 4, 2016 update

Elder Reed shared his love with everyone - and he was amazed at how quickly another week flew by! 

Elder Reed shared that they got to go to Cieneguilla for preparation day and play kickball - and he really enjoyed it :)  He said that they also talked with the Bishop of their ward and are really excited about the help they are receiving.

This week, Elder Reed and his companion did a LOT of walking and were trying to find more people to teach and also to find investigators or less-actives that have come to the English classes that he teaches. Elder Reed shared that he now has 3 fully-Spanish-speaking companions in his room (in other words, they are all native Spanish speakers). He said that has helped him to speak even better Spanish. Yet it has also caused more difficulty in his English speaking [which is able to be heard in the recordings, but I just grin and enjoy hearing it].

They didn't have a lot of time to study this week, as they had a lot of meetings and trainings. They were glad to have the trainings, but also missed having that time of study. They received a call during the week from the mission president's wife, with a referral from someone in the States - it was a wonderful blessing! They went to look for the person and searched for a time, and eventually found where the person lived, but they weren't at home. However, hopefully it will work out in the next few weeks to meet with him.

President Boswell shared with the missionaries that if your faith doesn't change in the course of your mission, you have come here in vain. He then extended an invitation for the missionaries to pray to the Lord and ask how strong their faith is, and ask for opportunities for their faith to grow. Elder Reed took up the invitation, and was given opportunities that were difficult that helped him to see where his faith was at, and to help grow his faith. Remember, if you ask the Lord, He will answer!

Elder Reed also shared a story of a lady in their area who had been in another stake and had moved a couple times, then was now in their ward. She hadn't been to church for a year and a half because of something unkind someone had said. Elder Reed cautioned everyone to be careful what you say. Try to say things that would uplift others, because it can be such a blessing if you do, but can be so harmful if you don't. Always always always be kind to others!

The Elders had been looking for this lady for about an hour and a half, and weren't having any luck. They had about given up when suddenly the woman's son found them! What a blessing! They were able to talk with her and help her feel welcomed to come to church. 

Elder Reed said that they had a multi-zona conference, and he was excited to get to see all the missionaries and see President Boswell. There will be fewer missionaries in the near future in that area overall, but the work is still going very well!

Elder Reed thought he would share a riddle for this week - and you can email him your answer [because I don't know yet!] - 

"If I say that every monkey can see three monkeys, how many monkeys are there?"

Stay tuned for the answer!

Elder Reed shared his love again and hopes that you are all strengthened by the tests of character and of faith - remember that blessings come as you choose the right path -

June 27, 2016 update

[Pictures first!]
Many elders getting ready to eat pizza - YUM!

"The new missionaries and their trainers! We lost about 25-30 missionaries, but gained 9!"
Elder Reed only had a quick update with a few pictures. Elder Reed is excited about his new companion, and is ready to help him learn as well as learn from him. 

Elder Reed has felt stressed this week as he's now district leader again and a trainer too, but he is doing the best he can. He said that he feels there is never enough time in the day, but he does try to write in his journal [at least a line or two] each day. 

Elder Reed shared that he really enjoys being in his mission, and loves the people. He shared that he sometimes gets down when people don't come to church, but he does see blessings happening. He shared about a lady who lives very far away from the church building [on the boundaries of his area], but who wants to come to church and learn more about the gospel, which is awesome! 

Elder Reed is grateful for his missionary companions, and his mission overall. He said to keep doing what the Lord would have you do, and you'll be blessed!

Until next week - remember to count your blessings - you may be surprised at how many there are - 

June 20, 2016 update

Elder Reed said that he woke up and saw this:

Quite a foggy winter morning :)
Elder Reed also shared the book they use to track different things like contacts. While he said it's not about the numbers (and it isn't), he was very pleased with the work they were doing! It's always good to see progress!

Elder Reed sent a recording from the previous week that hadn't gotten to us, so he was explaining some things from the past week. He explained that their preparation day for two weeks was on a Tuesday, which really is different for him. [Elder Reed does like routine :)] They were able to go to the temple, which they loved. His spiritual thought for that recording was to always live worthy to attend the temple, even if you can't get to one right now - live worthy of those blessings.

From his recordings this week, Elder Reed shared that he will knows the details of the transfers for this time around (which he wanted to wait until the end to share with us). Elder Reed was excited that, on their preparation day, they were able to find a deal on pizza and they had pizza twice and loved it :) They had a hawaiian barbeque chicken pizza (or two) - ha ha.

Elder Reed shared that they had some understanding come as to why some of the investigators weren't progressing - things like alcohol and addictions. It was a bit discouraging, but they continue to love the people because that is what is most important. Elder Reed and his companion testified about the Book of Mormon and felt that it was helpful in several situations.

Elder Reed said that they were able to give service and help a sister build an outside kitchen because her son is coming home from his mission and they were able to help out with that. 

Elder Reed said that, even though there are some tough times, there are always good points in the week too. Elder Reed got to see the mother of a less-active family that he taught while in Huachipa (the mom is active, but the rest of the family is less-active). The mom was visiting her son in Huertos and he was grateful to see her and her son and get to visit a little with them. He is grateful to see how much your example counts for good for others, even if there aren't a lot of baptisms. Always treat others like they are the most important person in the world, because they are. When you leave them, people will think well of you, and you will have made a good difference in the world.

Elder Reed shared that he and Elder Mamani did a LOT of work there in Huertos, and were very grateful for their time together, and have seen improvement from the last transfer. Elder Reed shared that it is so important to fellowship those that are learning about the Gospel. It's so important to help them to know they are loved!

And now, the news is that Elder Reed will be getting a new companion. He will be getting a brand new missionary and he will also be a district leader again. He doesn't feel prepared at all to be a trainer and a district leader - he hopes to keep up with the hard work that was being done, and he feels a bit overwhelmed at the moment. However, he knows that the Lord doesn't call the prepared. He calls the unprepared so He can prepare them. :)

He shared his love with everyone and hopes that, wherever you are, you find success and give it your all in whatever you do - the Lord will bless you as you do!

Until next week, remember that you are loved, even if it doesn't always feel that way. The Savior and our Heavenly Father always love us, no matter what. See Romans 8:35, 38-39.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

June 14, 2016 update...

[This post will officially catch up Elder Reed's blog. Hopefully it will be updated more in real-time, as he only has a few months left. He is excited and sad for that at the same time - definitely mixed emotions, as he has grown to dearly love the people of Peru and the work he is doing!]

At the Lima Peru Temple
Elder Reed said that this week was very awesome, though quite a challenge. They reached a goal they had set with a lot of effort, yet it was reached. They wished that they had also had more help from the members this week, but they continued on and are grateful for the work they are doing for the Lord right now. The goal they had has taken many weeks, so it didn't come quickly, but working towards it slowly is the key.

Elder Reed didn't have a lot of time to share things in his letter, but he did say he'd been to the temple and loved it, and even had pizza, which he loved as well. :) Also, they got to see Elder Rasband and got to shake his hand. Elder Rasband shared how much the missionaries are loved by the Prophet, by the Apostles, and by the Lord. Elder Reed shared that he knows that these men are called by revelation, inspired by God. What a blessing!

Elder Reed shared his love and thanks and will share more next week!
Until then, remember to share a smile with others - it could be the very thing they need to help them keep going.

June 6, 2016 update...

There were no pictures this week [going to have to talk with Elder Reed about that - ha ha], but he did share many things in his letter. 

Elder Reed stated that he and Elder Mamani put forth a lot of effort and found great blessings for doing that - they have literally had people coming up to them to ask them about religion, about Jesus Christ, about being better people. It was a wonderful experience for them, strengthening their testimony of the work.

Elder Reed shared that the elections took place on June 5th, but that didn't decide the election, so they will have to have another election day in the future, which means no church for them on that day. 

Elder Reed shared that they walked a lot during the week. One night, they had walked a lot and was searching for someone to teach a lesson to, and found a man who was very interested in the Gospel, and when they left, they realized that they were running out of time before they had to be back to their room (before their curfew time), and they didn't see a bus anywhere. As it turned out, they said a prayer and a bus came along just then, they hopped on, and were able to make it back to their room in time - what a blessing!

Elder Reed talked about the English lesson he was able to teach during the week as well, and he enjoyed that. 

He also shared that sometimes, they are very straightforward in sharing the Gospel and the commandments, to not have fear of men. And when they do that, the Spirit can testify to the people who are ready and willing to hear and change and improve, to come closer to Christ and God. It's a beautiful miracle!

Elder Reed shared that the missionaries were looking forward to seeing Elder Rasband, and also to getting to go to church on Sunday. :)  He is also excited that they will get to go to the temple again next week, which is a huge blessing to them!

Elder Reed's message is that, if there is arguing and it doesn't matter in the long run, stop arguing. It's not worth it. He shares his love and gratitude with you all. He is grateful to be serving the Lord, and is focused on serving Him and the people of Peru.

Until next week, remember that blessings come in many forms, but all of them are able to be recognized if we are willing to do so.

May 30, 2016 update...

Elder Reed didn't send pictures this week, but started out with a spiritual thought. He shared that there were elections on Sunday, June 5th, in the country, so they wouldn't be able to have church on Sunday (due to government regulations). So, the missionaries fasted. And during church this past week, Elder Reed bore his testimony to the members and shared that, even when he may not know exactly what to say, he remembers someone telling him once to just speak the truth. So, he did. He shared the truths that he knows, and he was grateful for doing so. Elder Reed shared that, sometimes we need to just step back, take a breath, and move forward, not to get overly-upset about little things. Another thing he shared is not to judge, but to show love to others.

Elder Reed shared in his letter that time keeps flying by, and that this past week was a good one for learning. They decided to go to try to search out people, and came across a woman who had been contacted by missionaries many years ago, but it was good to meet with her. They also went out to just talk with people, and had some interesting experiences. Elder Reed learned that there are some people who do not want to talk to you about religion, but are willing to just talk, which is a great way to show how the Savior lived.

Elder Reed also did divisions with another set of missionaries, and he got to experience  a ward missionary night, which was awesome. On that night, there was a member of the Church who came in who was from another country, but was a political refugee now living in Peru. Elder Reed shared that it opened his eyes to that type of situation and how we all need to be mindful of that. He said that the man was very humble and willing to accept help from those in the ward there. What a blessing!

Elder Reed also shared that they have had some success in the southern part of their area, and he is praying that those they are teaching will choose to attend church as well. The missionaries also had some great help from the members, which is such a great thing!

Elder Reed hopes that everyone has a great week, and that they know he loves everyone - thanks for all you do to help and support this cause! :)

May 23, 2016 update...

Elder Reed shared a picture, but we will do the typing first this week...

Elder Reed said that, this week, they had a lot of members accompany them to lessons, which was a very exciting thing for them all! It helped the missionaries a lot too. Elder Reed shared that they had a lot of success with the members helping them. That can make such a huge difference!

Elder Reed has continued trying to write in Spanish, to help him be able to retain the language. He shared that it is fun to try to read the Spanish and translate to English for us in his weekly voice recording. He said that the days are passing very quickly too. He enjoys being able to help serve the people of Peru.

This week, they taught a lesson in English, and people came to hear it. He felt that was really cool. :)  Elder Reed shared also that the Bishop went with them to make visits to investigators and it was a great help to those they were teaching!

Elder Reed shared again that winter has finally arrived to his area, and it's cold in the mornings. He also said that he will have to break out the long sleeve shirts. [Ha ha] He said that it will probably be very difficult when he gets back home, as it gets MUCH colder than in Peru. :)

The spiritual thought for this week from Elder Reed is "keep going. When Life give you lemons, make lemonade, right? Because if you don't, the lemons will go bad, and then it will turn into pig swill." Ha ha! He continued to say, when the Lord gives you a job to do, do it, and you will be blessed! Be grateful for your parents, your children, and love them - that is what the Savior would do.

Until next week, remember to count the blessings! 

This is Elder Reed and his companions, picking at the rocks - What a job! :)

May 16, 2016 update . . .

Elder Reed shared that this week, they didn't have a lot of lessons scheduled, but found people to teach and they were so excited - definitely blessings from the Lord! :)

This week, they also had a zone meeting and they realized that he and two others are going to be the missionaries in their zone with the longest time out so far on their missions - about 21 months - wow! Time flies!

Elder Reed said there was a lot of walking this week, which helped him get lots of exercise, but he was tired too.

The spiritual thought for this week relates to some experiences he had awhile back. It deals with letting go of personal pride, and asking someone for forgiveness, even if you don't feel that you are to blame. If you do this, you show to God that you are more humble, willing to be teachable, to be like little children (which is different than being childish). You will be throwing off a huge spiritual weight, and just do it. It's difficult to do, and it might not happen quickly, but as you work at it and do it, there will be many blessings.

Elder Reed shared that something he learned this week in his scripture study is that, for every law given by God, there is more than one blessing. He doesn't want us to feel lonely or left out spiritually. It's not always easy to follow God's laws, but God loves us so much and wants to bless us. The efforts are worth it, as there are so many blessings that come!

Until next week, Elder Reed shared - remember to be obedient. He loves you all very much and is so grateful for all your love and support. 

May 9, 2016 update

This week's update is short [we had a great Skype call with Elder Reed on Mother's Day!] - there were also no pictures, but we did get to see him through the wonders of technology, which was a wonderful experience. :)

Elder Reed said that he isn't getting transferred from Huertos de Manchay, and he also will be with Elder Mamani as a companionship and he is SUPER excited! He said it's the third time that he's had a companion for more than 2 transfers, and he is so grateful for all the things he is learning from Elder Mamani. He also really loves his area and is eager to keep working there. :)

Until next week, keep smiling!

May 2, 2016 update

A crisp winter morning in Huertos
This week, Elder Reed shared the photo above, showing what a crisp winter morning in Huertos looks like.... It is not like winter mornings from his hometown. The winter temperatures are in the 50s and 60s instead of the 70s or 80s. :)

Elder Reed wanted to let everyone know how much he appreciates the love and support, the letters, and the prayers. They mean a great deal to him, more than you will ever know! Thank you!

For Elder Reed, this week was very quick and they have interviews with President (mission president) and it was such a wonderful experience! Elder Reed loves his mission president and knows that the mission president has a great love for all the missionaries. Time is flying by in his mission. President shared that, as a person seeks for good and follows God's will, that person will be blessed. How very true! It's not always in ways we can quickly see, but we are blessed by our obedience and sharing love with others.

The scripture Elder Reed wanted to share is in Alma 23:6, and talks of how those who were truly converted and stayed strong, they never did fall away from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Seeing miracles, being a miracle sometimes, it helps each of us to become more converted to the Lord.

This week, there wasn't much bus money, yet they were able to find rides with members to lessons, and were able to find more people to teach. It was a huge blessing!

And President helped Elder Reed to see what he was doing right - Elder Reed shared that sometimes we get bogged down by what our weaknesses, but we also need to remember to look at our strengths and to remember those things too.

Elder Reed shared that their service this week involved breaking stones and was a lot of effort. But they were grateful to be able to help. :)

Until next week - count your many blessings!

April 25, 2016 update...

First this week, a few photos :)
a picture of Cieneguilla Capilla

a morning view from their room

"me in the chacra... the farthest away part of Huertos!"
Elder Reed shared this week that it has been a great week. For the preparation day, they went to Cieneguilla, which is a ward just above where he is at. It's about a half hour bus trip, but they were able to meet with other missionaries in the district and enjoy playing frisbee. He also received a letter from home (which he always love letters!) - 

Elder Reed said that this week, they went to a hill (there are LOTS of hills in his current area of Huertos de Manchay). They went over to see if they could meet with some less-active members, but they weren't there. They had to climb a lot to get to the hill, and had to go to another hill farther away for their next appointment. They saw a path that led from one hill to the other, so they took that instead of going all the way back down, trekking over to the base of the next hill, and then going all the way up that one. It saved a lot of time for them. He said that the wind was cool too, it was whistling in his ears and he really enjoyed the scenery there. It was a great experience for him. :)

Then, they went over to another hill and could see all of their area and he thought that was awesome!

Elder Reed shared that, later that day, they could see Satan at work. They were talking with someone on the bus, sharing information about the gospel. They had to go, and as he was leaving, Elder Reed saw someone else sit by the man and tell him that these missionaries were "people of money" - and it was such a disappointment because of Satan's lies being told. Elder Reed said that Satan will do anything to spread doubt. It's what Satan does best.

Elder Reed shared that some of the service they did this week involved moving trash from a 2nd floor that was being built down to the ground level. They were using buckets and cable stuff (they didn't have rope), but were able to help a lot!

Elder Reed said that there were people who came to them asking if they could learn more about the gospel, which was an awesome thing! There are so many who are ready to hear more about Jesus Christ - what a blessing!

Elder Reed's spiritual thought for this week relates to temples. Elder Reed shared that he found a scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants 124:55, and it talks about the many blessings that come from the House of the Lord - and they are eternal!

Until next week, remember to see the blessings around you -

Sunday, May 8, 2016

April 18, 2016 update

There were no pictures this week. However, I got to "chat" through email. I'd asked Elder Reed how the weather was and if it was colder in the higher elevation - he said that it's "HOT AND SUNNY!!!!!!!!!! i feel like a roasting egg on an open fire!" :)  I asked him if they are heading into Winter at all now, and he said "yes, but I don't think that Huertos de Manchay knows that yet!" :)

From his recording for this week, Elder Reed said that the week was really fast this week. They had a normal working Monday because they had switched their preparation day to Tuesday so that they could go to the temple, which was an awesome experience for them! He met a missionary from Lima Central mission who was in an area close to where he served at his 10 month mark in his (Elder Reed's) mission. The Elder was finishing his mission and was going home this week - time is flying by!

Later, they had a multizona conference again, which will now happen every 2 months instead of every 3 months, and he loved it! They talked a lot about being diligent, about planning, etc. He learned "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail." True words of wisdom!

He shared more on the laws of the Peruvian elections - the law is that, if you don't vote, you pay a huge fine, which most Peruvians can't afford that, so they vote. Also, religious activities are prohibited on that day, so there were no church services anywhere. 

Elder Reed said that he went on divisions this week and learned more on the importance of families and how to better interact. He said he learned how to love more within families. He was able to speak more kindly to others and that can help with conveying the love that is intended.

They also got to help move things for someone, from the third floor to the first floor. He said that most of the houses are open more than in America, so they could move things from the 3rd floor to the 1st floor by using knots (yay for scouting knowledge) and moving the items outside the building with ropes. :)

Elder Reed also said that they found new investigators in an area that was farther out than they had gone before, because it's so far out in their area. They were able to find 8 new people to teach, and it is such a blessing! The Lord has prepared these people to hear the Gospel.

Elder Reed's spiritual thought this week is about the family, and about how it is of eternal importance. God doesn't want us to be sad, he wants us to be happy, and that's why He gave us the family. He gave us the family to be a place to learn, to grow, and to learn how to grow, and to learn how to love. God doesn't want us to hold resentment. Families like that don't exist in the celestial kingdom. The Spirit of the Lord can be so much stronger in a home where there is love and kindness. 

Elder Reed encouraged everyone to think about how their relationship is with their families. We should strive to fix things, to improve the family relationship. "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." (Ether 12:27) God will help us! He knows what's bothering us and He knows how we can get better. He knows that each one of us has strengths and weaknesses. But in the family, it's of eternal importance that we have good relationships with our family. 

Another scripture he shared, which is the promise of being faithful and searching for God's hand in all we do: "And thus, if ye are faithful ye shall be laden with many sheaves, and crowned with honor, and glory, and immortality, and eternal life." (Doctrine & Covenants 75:5). That has always been the promise - that if we are faithful, and try to fix what we can fix, God will help us. He will help us! He loves us so much! Everyone deserves a second chance, that's why Christ atoned for us - He loves us that much too!

Until next week - remember that you are loved very much! :)

April 12, 2016 update

Pictures first :)
"a long way to climb yet - this is a TINY, TINY, TINY portion of my area! This is what i go up and down all day long!"
"but we already climbed a TONNE"
Elder Reed, Elder M, and J, together on top of the large hill
Elder Reed shared many things in his recording this week. He said they are going to have another multizona conference, and they are going to be singing "Be Still My Soul". They were practicing the song, and Elder Reed felt that he was in the CCM again [the missionary training center he first started at in Lima]. He really enjoyed that.
Elder Reed said that he's been writing completely in Spanish in his journal for several months now, and it's helped him alot. 
Elder Reed also said that on Saturday, they woke very early (5am), and were able to go play soccer for a bit [he really loves the exercise]. He loves to play soccer (futbol) too. Then, they did 2 service projects, which were cool. :)
This past Sunday, there were elections in Peru for the Peruvian President. That meant there were no Sunday services at all, anywhere [per Peruvian law]. The Elders, not having Sunday meetings to go to, went around learning more about their area. They were able to see (by view only) other missions in Peru (as they are on the southern part of their mission now). He could see the beauty and joy of the area. He really is grateful for that opportunity to see the beauty, whether in the rich areas, or in the dirt-poor areas. 

Elder Reed said that, as they walked away from the bus stop, he was amazed at the quiet. The pressured quiet (they are higher up in elevation). He said he is used to noise - airplanes, cars, trains - yet when they were visiting this area, it was so quiet. He felt he could say a prayer to God and He would talk right back to him - he said it was a powerful experience, being there, seeing that and experiencing more of the beauty of this earth.

Elder Reed shared that, because of the elections, you have to go to vote where you are registered at. So, if you are registered in a different area, you must go there to vote. Elder Reed said that there was a miracle that happened. Because all the members were out voting, they didn't know who would help them with food for dinner, but they were able to call their District Leader, who just so happened to be talking with his ward mission leader. This ward mission leader invited them to dinner and it was such a huge blessing for them! They had enough food for all the extra people eating with them. Elder Reed realized, during the meal, just what a miracle it was. Not only was this ward mission leader feeding his own family (of 4), he was feeding his ward's missionaries (4) plus these elders who needed food at the last minute - 4 more. This family fed 12 people, and there was enough food for all. What a blessing! The Lord really does take care of those who serve for His sake! The Lord loves us all, each and every one of us!

That is the spiritual thought of the week. We are loved by God. Each and every one of us has special gifts and talents we have been given because our Heavenly Father loves us. He puts things in our lives that sometimes we take for granted, and He keeps on giving. Sometimes we accept it like it's nothing. Sometimes we are very grateful. Always remember to be grateful for everything you have - because it's a huge blessing!

Elder Reed also gave a shout-out to many people, he thanks you for the letters and prayers and support and love. Time is flying by for him, and he knows that his service to the Lord is a huge blessing to not only him, but to others. He is grateful for his companion and his mission president, and for all of you.

Until next week - remember to always be grateful for the many many blessings you have!

Apr. 4th, 2016 update

Hello from Huertos de Manchay! Elder Reed was transferred and is now serving in a new area. He is really enjoying it. From his emails and recordings this week, Elder Reed is enjoying Huertos de Manchay and his new companion, Elder Mamani. Some photos he shared:

During this week, the LDS Church had the semi-annual General Conference of the Church, where prophets, apostles, and leaders of the Church speak to the membership, instruct, edify, encourage, and uplift us all with God's words. During this time, President Thomas S. Monson announced that there would be a second temple in Lima Peru! (See here) When Elder Reed heard the news, he said that he and his companions were "SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO EXCITED!" :)  What a blessing for the people of the great land of Peru!

This week, Elder Reed got a lot of letters and packages and he really loved it. :)  His new companion knows 3 languages and is learning English. Elder Reed said that his new area is massive, which is quite a change for him. 

Elder Reed really likes being on his mission, and likes meeting people. He was realizing he is closer in time to coming home, and he was a little down about that, realizing he would be away from the people he has really grown to love. He also realized that Mother's Day is coming too, and he felt he will be in Huertos de Manchay for that.

Elder Reed said that the area he is in is super super sunny, super super windy, and super super hot! There is no shade, a lot of dirt and hills. 

Elder Reed has been praying for more opportunities to learn charity, love, and patience, and he felt that the Lord heard his prayers and sent him to a companion that is "the master of the application". He is grateful for that for sure! The Lord works in His own way, for our best good. 

Elder Reed stated that they walked a lot this past week, though they didn't get to teach a lot. He did get an idea of how willing the people are to listen to the Gospel. The church building is pretty far for them though, so that presents a challenge. He said it's about a 20-30 minute bus ride.

Elder Reed thanks you all for writing and for your support and love - it helps him so much! It can make such a difference when there is support and love. His spiritual thought for this week is this: "For those who are priesthood holders, be worthy to keep the priesthood, be worthy to bear the priesthood. "The rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness." That is my message for today. If you have the priesthood, have been given that responsibility, be worthy to hold it. If you are a female, my counsel is to help those around you to be worthy to hold the priesthood, because they need your help just as much."

Until next week, Elder Reed sends his love and thanks -