Sunday, June 16, 2013

Dearest Family, 

Well, this really was one of the hardest, bitter-sweetest days of my life.  Today during Sacrament Meeting I felt pretty crazy.  I feel as if half of my body is crying and half is shouting for joy.  But, I will start out with my last week.  Well, it was pretty normal until fridayfriday I was enjoying my lunch when I received a phone call to be an ambulance once again- great way to finish the mission I though to myself!  In all honesty I was just a little bit frustrated- I just wanted one last peaceful day to work, but I received the notice that I wouldnt be able to do it.  But, while we were driving a thought came to my mind...."when we are in the service of our fellow man, we are only in the service of our God".  Well, it brought a lot of peace to my heart, I know that even though I have had a little bit of a different mission, I have served with all my heart, might, mind, and strength- and I know that in doing this I have served the very best mission that I could.  

On Saturday, we were able to go to the temple with Alberto and Aurelina to do baptisms for the dead.  I was able to baptize them in the temple, and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  The spirit was so strong, and I felt such a great joy as I participated in ordinances in the temple.  They were able to take names from their families, and it was an amazing experience.  Inline image 1

Today was honestly one of the greatest days of my mission.  It was hard saying bye to Alberto andAurelina and their family, but it made it all worth it.  Yamie, the little girl, who is also probably my best friend in the whole world started crying really hard when I said I was leaving, she said, "no,esperete".  It was really sad, but I feel great because they are well on their way to being sealed.  There is nothing better for a missionary.   
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But after, we were able to do the best thing ever!  I was able to go back to Madre Vieja Norte, my first area, and all of my converts, and members that I love were in the chapel to meet me there!  I was so happy to be able to see them, and to know that every single one of our converts there are active, and all were in sacrament meeting today.  Seba and Felix didnt know that I was coming, and when they saw me Seba yelled, NO!!!!, and ran up and gave me a huge hug.  Mami, gave me a hug, and Betsy was doing really good, and amazingly everyone remembered my name.  It was such a great feeling. It was as if my Father was telling me, look at the people we could help.  Look at how happy they are from living the gospel.  It was such a satisfying end to the mission. 
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So happy, and yet so sad- what an interesting feeling.  But, I just want to share what I have been thinking recently.  I have been thinking about a scripture.. it says (in my translation from spanish toenglish), this is life eternal, to know thee, the one true God, and thy son, whom thou hast sent.  How can I get to know God?  How can I get to know his son Jesus Christ?  Will I recognize him when I return to his presence?  Well, I found the answer in another scripture.  Mosiah 5:13- For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart.   Well, being in the service of my God, and his son Jesus Christ has led me to know them.  Of all the things that I have learned, I have learned that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer.  I feel as if my thoughts and intents of my heart have been put more in line with those of him, and doing so has allowed me to know him.  I know he is always by my side, and I know that he is my savior and redeemer.  I love him, and I love his work.  I am so grateful that I have been able to serve him, and I will always look back on the mission with joy.  I enjoyed every minute.  I have no regrets, I served with all that I have.  I know that as I leave part of my heart here, I will also bring back something a little bit more special.  I will bring back a knowledge of my Father, and his son Jesus Christ.  

Elder Reeder 
Elder Riley Ted Reeder
La Iglesia De Jesucristo De Los Santos De Los Últimos Días
La Misión Santo Domingo OesteRepública Dominicana 


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Well, it is almost that time of the year.......

June 9, 2013

Dearest Family, 

I know its a little early for me to be writting you a letter, but I'm here in the office a little early (to welcome the new couple), and I have a little bit of spare time so I decided to write you a little somethin somethin.

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind.  So much to do--so little time to do it.  Everyday feels like I wake up..and boom its time to go to bed again!  I've been pondering a lot recently about all of this....the mission, life, all that good stuff, and its left me to realize a lot of things.  #1- Serving a mission has been the best decision I have taken up to this point in my life.  In no other place could I have learned the many lessons that I have learned here.  I would never trade my experience here in the mission for anything.  I'm extremely glad that when it came time to serve a mission- it wasnt a question.  I dont know when I oficially decided to go on a mission, because I dont think there was a specific moment- it was always part of the plan.  I owe a lot of that desire to Dad- the best example that there is.  I hope that someday I can be that example to my children. #2-  "it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things."  What?!  Why?!  That stinks!  I dont want opposition! - my attitude before the mission.  Now I know that opposition will make me stronger- and is an important part of Gods plan.  "we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all thing whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them."  #3  Living without a family for two years makes you realize that  you have to do everything possible to make sure your family will be eternal. Two years is hard- imagine an eternity.  The only place the family can be eternal is in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom- we better make sure we are all gettin there!  #4-  Going home is just as hard as leaving home- because I really will be leaving a home here in the D.R.  

Anyway, this week I'm just going to live up every moment!  I am so grateful that the Lord has allowed me to participate in his grand work.  I know that I will never be able to repay him for what he has done for me- and I am more thankful each and every day for his sacrifice.  I love him, I love my family, and I am grateful for the restored gospel in my life.  I testify of its truthfullness with all of my heart.  I love you all!

Elder Reeder
Elder Riley Ted Reeder
La Iglesia De Jesucristo De Los Santos De Los Últimos Días
La Misión Santo Domingo Oeste, República Dominicana 


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An Exciting Week!

May 19, 2013

Well family,

This week was extremely exciting- not just because I was able to see all of your bright shining faces on skype (although that was quite pleasant), but this week was just full of crazy adventures!  Let me tell you about them...

So this week we received a special assignment from President. Get a queen size mattress and frame (I don't know why this house had a big mattress, but it did) from a missionaries house and take it to a needy member in an area clear out in the boonies--sounds easy enough right?  WRONG!  We got to the house, which is on the third story, and realized that after they put the bed in the house, they had done some remodeling, and it no longer fit down the stairs...Dilemma?  YES! Well, we are in the good ole' Dominican Republic, so anything is possible.  Well, a little bit of engineering and 75 feet of rope later--the queen size bed frame was swinging from the 3rd floor on its way down!  Oh you should have seen all the people in the streets watching losmormones repel a bed frame!  Well, all said and done it got down fine :)  It was quite the adventure...I have video proof.  

Adventure number 2.   Yesterday, the sisters in our branch had 2 baptisms!  Well, they are kinda green still and left the font it got really, really, really full..and our font has a problem so it takes like 4-5 days to the font was full right to the brim!  Well, when 2 great big old men got in there, it was hovering over the edge!  The prayer was said, and then the member baptizing literally thew him into the water...and the whole first row got a tidal wave of water thrown at them....(I was a witness so I got a little as well)...needless to say it was a very....unique....baptism!  Something I will never forget.

On Friday, we had a meeting for the district of Azua where we talked about missionary work, and all recent converts and reactivated members were invited.  Well, the District President asked Alberto to share his testimony, and although he was extremely nervous, I have never felt so happy in my entire life!  It was an extremely simple testimony, but the spirit testified of his words, and they penetrated to my heart.  He and Aurelina are working with the branch president to put a date to be able to go to the temple and be sealed.  It has been an experience full of ups and downs, but it really was the crowning moment to hear Alberto share his testimony!  Yesterday, we were teaching them about eternal marriage, and we studied a little bit of section 132 in Doctrine and Covenants.  I invite you all (all you married folk) to study that section again and again.  I really have never seen greater promises in all of the scriptures!  It is my hope and desire that we can all obey the covenants that we have made.  I know that I'm a little behind, and still have a few more to go, but I hope to be prepared to make them in the house of the Lord.  I have learned that although the ordinances allow us to receive blessings--it doesn't mean that we can do them and "eat drink and be marry".  We must "obey my ordinances" as the Lord teaches us.  The Lord is bound when we do what He says, but when we are disobedient--we have no promise.  In Spanish, the scripture says that The Lord is obligated when we obey the commandments.  When we are obedient to the commandments and the covenants that we have received, the Lord is obligated to bless and to fulfill his promises!  I hope that we can all reflect a little on that, and do a little more to be a little more obedient each and every day- because the Lord has promised us his greatest gift- that of eternal life.  I know with all my heart that this is true.  Families are eternal--when we live worthy of such a grand reward. 

I am grateful for this time that I have to be a representative of Jesus Christ.  I am grateful for Him, for His infinite atonement, for His charity, for His grace, and His example.  I hope that each and every day I can become a little more like Him, and that I can one day be worthy to be in His presence.  

Elder Riley Ted Reeder

Elder Riley Ted Reeder
La Iglesia De Jesucristo De Los Santos De Los Últimos Días
La Misión Santo Domingo OesteRepública Dominicana 

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My Dearest Family

April 28, 2013

Hello, how are all of ya?  I hope that everyone is doing good!  Sorry I haven't written in a little while, I know that you are always waiting for my letters, but sometimes it really just isn't possible...I'm sorry!

So, in the last few weeks things have been a little crazy!  We have been working on distributing all the beds, desks, dressers, all of that stuff to the new areas!  We are receiving 34 missionaries, and only 3 are going home, so that means that we have to open about 15 areas- that equals 30 beds...30 desks....its quite a work!  The little Hilux is tired from hauling stuff all over the country!  But anyway, it has been a great couple of weeks!  

First off, Alberto and Aurelina are doing great!  They have now been to church 3 times in a row, and really are doing great- but its not without trials!  On Friday we had a huge rain storm, and their house filled up with about 30 centimeters of water, so we spent Saturday helping them out, and we cooked them lunch to try and help them out.  In the end they were all smiling and happy, and we had a great time with them!  I am amazed by their strength- and how even with something so difficult they could stay strong.  It really shows me that they know what is important- its not their house, or their possessions, but their family!  I'm very grateful that I have been able to work with such a special family.

Two weeks ago, we had interviews with President Rodriguez, and it was a really great experience.  We talked a lot about what I have learned in the mission, and the different things that have helped me progress as a missionary.  For some time I have been pondering, praying, and waiting to know what I needed to do after my mission.  Well, President, without knowing, quoted (in Spanish of course) a part of my Patriarchal Blessing, and helped me know what I need to do.  He said that I have been where I have been for so long, learning things that the Lord needs me to perfect, to use further on in my life.  Anyways, I am going to pursue a degree in Business Management with a minor in Spanish- not sure why, but that's what I feel like I need to do.

Well one day we had the idea to do an open house in our chapel, because our branch is a little bit...weak right now!  Well the idea kind of exploded, and now we are in charge of an open house for the district of Azua!  That's kind of consuming a lot of time, but its going to be really cool.  We have 6 Branch's inviting people, and we are thinking that we will have about 500 people.  That's a lot of references!  The missionaries from Azua are going to have more people to teach than they know what to do with!  They have submitted papers to make Azua a stake, but they need 12 more active tithing paying elders, so we are hoping that this activity can help us get over that hump and make Azua a stake!  Anyways, that is this Saturday!

Hmmm, I don't really know what else to tell you guys, just know that I love you all, but I also love my mission.  I am grateful that I have been able to serve here, and for all the things that I have learned.  I have grown more in 2 years than in any other part of my life, and I really have enjoyed everything, the struggles, the ups the downs, the middles, everything!  I hope that when I finish I can feel the words of my Savior, well done my good and faithful servant.  

Elder Reeder
Elder Riley Ted Reeder
La Iglesia De Jesucristo De Los Santos De Los Últimos Días
La Misión Santo Domingo OesteRepública Dominicana 


Monday, April 8, 2013

General Conference

April 8, 2013

My dearest family, 

How are you this week?  I hope that everyone is doing great!  I'm doing good, feeling extremely uplifted for the chance that we had to hear our Prophet speak!  I think sometimes we take for granted the fact that we have a living prophet.  I really loved all the messages.  I feel blessed to be able to participate in one of the most exciting times in missionary work.  We really have seen how the Lord is hurrying his work.  It is amazing to see so many new missionaries so prepared and excited to serve the Lord.  I wish that I had known what they know, when I had entered the mission field.  I really feel grateful for the great spirit that I felt during the conference.  I feel as if many of the messages were perfect for me!  The future will be fine if we put our faith in the Lord and do our part!  

Obedience is extremely important.  We know that the Lord blesses us depending on our obedience.  I also loved Pres. Monson's talk about that God's commandments are to bless and protect us.  I really have a strong testimony of that.  I also know that God is obligated to give us blessings when we keep the commandments!  President Rodriguez says that God doesn't stay away with any of the blessings that we deserve, and I know that to be true!  I really hope that we can all be obedient in the small and  large things, so that the Lord will bless us.  

I have been pondering Perfection recently.  It has always seemed like such an intimidating word, but I have learned to realize that it is an achievable goal.  It might not be achievable in this life, but it will be in the next.  What do we have to do?  Push with all our heart might mind and strength in this life!  I really know that every day we can become more like our Father in Heaven and his son Jesus Christ.  I really hope that I can reflect his light in my countenance.  I really know that that is the true definition of success in this life.  I really hope that with whatever challenge we have, we can remember that our Heavenly Father knows our situation, and that He will bless us with everything that we need when we ask, and live worthy to receive the blessings!  I know with all my heart that this is true!  

This week, unfortunately, we didn't get to spend a whole lot of time in our area.  On Thursday, we came back to Santo Domingo to attend Zone Council, where all the Zone Leaders meet with Presidente and us and the Capital Assistants.  It was a really fun experience, and we got to teach a few fun things. 
On Friday, we went to Barahona in the morning, and then we had the emergency with Sister Gamez, and we converted our Hilux into the ambulance once more to come to Santo Domingo.  Saturday we spent all day running from place to place doing ultrasounds, x-rays, and all sorts of exams, but in the end everything was okay!  We also got to play a little basketball with President Rodriguez. 
I love you all very much!

Elder Reeder

Sunday, March 24, 2013


March 24, 2013

Dearest Family! 

How are you all?  I hope that everything is going good!  From the updates, it sounds like everyone is staying busy, some sheet rocking, some chasing dogs, some coaching soccer, some watching babies.   I'm glad to hear that you are all doing good! 

Well this week was that means we have been from here to there to farther there, and then back to here!  We went up about 20 missionaries this transfer, so we have been taking things from the capital to all parts getting ready for the increase!  Now there are 10 hermanas in the south. We went up from 4 to 10, so that 250% increase in sisters means a 1,000,000,000% increase in phone calls!!  Haha.

Anyway, this week was quite strange, we didn't really have much time to work in our area, but the little time that we did have was great!  We are working with our awesome less-active family, and they are doing great!  I even baked a cake for Hna. Aurelina's birthday!  Yeah, I baked a cake--it's not as amazing as that apple pie picture that dad just sent me, but it was pretty dang good! 

I was able to do an intercambio with the missionaries working in the area of Azua where I was with Elder Chinchilla, and remember the less-active member I told you about, I got to visit her again!  And her son is now getting baptized!  It is really fun to see the blessings that come.  Even though it is not "my" baptism, I'm grateful that I could have a part in it! 

My Christmas package was great!  Thanks for sending that!  It was really weird, it wasn't opened at all, and all of the chocolate and everything wasn't even melting!  I think it just came on the Pony/Dolphin Express to get here, but it came in good hands! 

Well, the transfers came, and it was the truth that I stayed here as Ayudante.  I'm disappointed, but after this much time it has become my life.  I can honestly say that I trust that everything happens for a reason, and that for some reason or another I need to be here.  I hope that I can take advantage of every moment and learn everything that I need to learn. 

It is pretty crazy that Spencer comes home this week.  Give him a hug for me.  I've always looked up to him, and not just because he's huge, but he's always just been an amazing example for me.  I owe a lot to the great friends that helped me stay on track to be able to serve a mission.

So, Friday we came in early because President invited us to do a P-Day with him on Saturday and go to the East Mission to visit the Colonial Zone.  It was really fun!  My first P-Day in 4 months was worth the wait!  It was pretty fun to see so much history, and I learned some good places to go visit when we come back (hint hint hint--that has been one blessing, I sure do know this country!)      
Also, there is a friend that I have from Bella Vista--Hno.Van Troi--who is pretty much the coolest guy I know!  He is an ambassador in Spain, and his company is the importer for all Motorola products in the Dominican Republic.  Basically, he is a well-off man, and he is heading to Utah on April 4th until April 20th, to go to General Conference and visit Utah.  Well, he would like to meet you guys.  He especially would love to go to Cabelas.  He wants to go hunting, shooting, basically anything that has to do with outdoors.  So, I think dad could probably help him out!  He reminds me of Craig Ludwig...but if you would be willing, that would be great! 

Anyways, I love you all!  I really am grateful for the chance to serve a mission.  As much as I miss you all, I'm loving it here, and want to keep enjoying my time as a full-time servant of the Lord!  I hope that this Easter week you can all ponder on the death and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and remember that he lives!  I love you all! 
Elder Reeder 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Excuse my failure to write.....

March 10, 2013

Dearest Family,

Well, I apologize for not writing quite as faithfully as I should, but its been pretty busy!  This week has been full of all sorts of experiences, but I want to start with a few things from last week.  Last week was a really interesting week, as we had the chance to give lots of blessings.  In two days we had the chance to give 4 different blessings.  It made me realize the importance of always being prepared, always having consecrated oil, always being worthy, and always having the Spirit to be able to pronounce a blessing from our Father in Heaven.  It is an amazing blessing to have the priesthood in our lives, and I have realized that we should be more prompt to use this sacred power. 

Last Friday, we were able to go to the Temple.  It is amazing how much you appreciate the temple when you don't have the chance to go whenever you want.  I hope that I can always maintain that desire to enter the house of the Lord for my whole life.  What a blessing it is to have the temple 10 minutes away from our house.  We, the zone of Azua, and San Cristobal, went to the temple together.  As we were waiting to enter the Temple, I found the missionaries that are currently in Madre Vieja Norte, and began to ask them how our converts were doing.  Agapito and Mami are doing great, and preparing to go to the temple!  (I'm going to call them tomorrow to see the date), and also Santo and Flor!  Seba and Feliz are both still active, and doing great!  My heart filled with joy as I heard that they were active and strong.

I then asked about Besy, and the response left me speechless.  The missionary told me, "Oh, you don't know what happened," with a concerned look on his face.  I immediately asked what had happened.  He then told me that the father of Ashley (Besy's little girl, that is in the baptism pictures), had poisoned and killed Ashley.  The missionaries explained that he was angry that Besy had separated from him, which she did to be able to be baptized, and for some reason he wanted to get back at her.  Tears swelled in my eyes, and a stream of emotions entered my heart.  Honestly, at first I just felt anger--how could anyone do that?  How could he take the life of such a precious little girl?  But it seemed to suddenly flow into peace, as the words of Mormon, in the book of Moroni, filled my mind.  I felt peace--peace and comfort--although my mind was struggling with such terrible news.  I entered the temple, somewhat in a whirlwind, but as I quickly found myself in the Chapel where I read the words....    "And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation.......For behold that all little children are alive in Christ. 

I found myself profoundly thinking about life, about family, about little Keagan, about struggles, but everything returned to Christ and His Atonement.  With whatever trial we face, we must return to the atonement.  What comfort it is to be able to participate in the power of the atonement.  In a way which we can't understand, He can comfort us.  In our most tragic moments, He can and He will comfort us.  I know that the peace I felt in the temple came from the Spirit, sent by a loving Heavenly Father to help me in that very moment.

An older member of our branch, Hermano Ortiz, has been a member for 27 years.  All of his children, and the majority of his grandchildren, have been baptized in the church, but only 3 are attending currently.  That leaves about 47 less active members in his immediate family.  Well, one day he gave us the "assignment" to rescue his family.  He told us that he was praying for them, fasting for them, and that he knew we would be able help them.  When we talked to the other members in the branch, they told us we were crazy.  "Everyone has visited them- ellos no estan en eso".  Well, repeatedly I thought of Alma, praying for his son.  Praying that he would stop trying to destroy the church and return!  I have repeatedly read this scripture...

"And again, the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith." 

I feel as if we have been entrusted with a similar responsibility.  Well, at first it seemed somewhat helpless.  But now, we have been able to share with each and every one of the families, and even many grandchildren that live in our ward boundaries--about 23 of them--and we have committed 10 of them to go to church.  Last night we shared a Family Home Evening with one family and Hno.  Ortiz about repentance.  It was a special experience to see his eyes fill with tears as they shared that they had been waiting for us to come, waiting for the invitation, and that they have made the decision to return to church.  I feel privileged to be able to watch as the Lord works miracles.  It humbles me to see His mercy, and His love for His children.  It feels me with joy to know that I have had the chance to work in His vineyard. 

I am grateful that I have been called to be a missionary and representative of Jesus Christ.  I am grateful for tender mercies of the Lord.  I am grateful that I was born into a family that lives the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am grateful for challenges that allow us to grow.  I know without a doubt in my mind that Jesus Christ lives.  He sits at the right hand of our Father, and at the head of His restored church.  I know that one of the greatest truths is that we can become like Him.  Just as we studied today, as man is God once was, and as God is man can become.  It is my prayer that we all have the goal of becoming as our Father is.  I love you all! 

Elder Riley Ted Reeder