Monday, December 19, 2011

Long Time -- No Write

Well, hows it going?  I feel like we haven't really talked in a long time, do you guys feel the same? Well, I´ll start off by answering the questions that I got today.  First of all, yes, Dad, I would like a hard copy of Spencer's talk.  That was one of the most powerful things that I have ever read.  He is amazing.

In all honesty, I don't know when we are going to call.  It kind of depends on what happens.  We are trying to see if we can borrow a cell phone from a member so that we can both talk at the same time.....but we will see.  We have sacrament meeting and that is it, so we will be done at 10 our time, 7 yours.  So, we can call then, or we can wait until later.  I don't really know when is better for you guys....if anyone is online and would like to let me know that would be sweet!  (I´m assuming you guys would prefer that I wait until after your church, right?)  I think I will plan on calling at like.....12 your time?  11 your time?  I don't really honestly depends a bunch on whether we find two phones... just keep your phone handy, and I will give ya a call! 

Mom, I still haven't gotten any Christmas packages, but I think that I should get them this week!  Also, I made a pretty large purchase on my credit card, and a large withdrawal out of my account, if you could transfer money for my credit card that would be great!

So, yep last week I completed 6 Months in the mission.  I can't even believe that I have been out here for 6 months.  It feels like yesterday we were at the MTC, but at the same time it feels like I haven't talked to you guys in about 20 years!  I'll be honest, I'm pretty excited for the phone call.  On Wednesday, (the 14th)  I did an intercambio with Elder Morgan.  We went to his area and had a blast!  So that next morning I was in Madre Vieja Sur.  Our biggest celebration for my 6 Months came that night.  Elder Hall, Me, Sebastian, and Felix went and got Empanadas, and just kinda chilled.  It was super fun.  I love those two kids so much.  They are like my little brothers.  Then, we went back to the house and did the ceremonial tie burning!!!  I was kind of emotionally attached to most of my ties-- and then I remembered this one that this girl gave me once upon a time.  I figured that was a good one to get rid of :) 

But yeah, I really realized this week how much I really do love the mission, and my focus of this weeks e-mail is going to be the things that I have learned on the mission.

Elder Reeder's Most Important Things He Has Learned On The Mission (Not in any order)
1.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only true church- and was restored by the Prophet Joseph Smith.
2.  The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and the most correct book on the face of the earth.  
3.  Jesus Christ is our Savior, Redeemer, and friend.
4.  Prayers are answered.
5.  Families are Forever.

I could stop the list there and that would be sufficient.  But I have learned many more things :)

6.  The true meaning of Love.  
7.  Commandments aren't suggestions- they are the laws that govern the universe.  
8.  We need the Spirit with us.  ALWAYS!
9.  Repentance is an amazing gift from our Father in Heaven.  If someone gave you a brand new Ferrari, you'd drive it.  The Atonement is 1,000,000 times more amazing.  We have to use it. 
10.  We truly only love someone when we care more about their needs than our own.  
11.   Church is more than Sunday from 9-12.
12.  When you think you can't do something, sometimes you're right.  But with the Lord, you can do anything.  
13.  When we testify to people, sometimes we receive stronger confirmation than they do.  Share your testimony!
14.  Family and the Gospel, two things that we will have forever.  
15.  Missions aren't easy, but they are worth it.  

Now some "other" things I've learned:

16.  When your comp says "I gotta go" -- He means it.  (Explanation in the phone call :) )
17.  Don't procrastinate your laundry!  There might not be electricity or water tomorrow!   
18.  How to take a shower with a cup and a bucket LIKE A BOSS!
20.  How to flush a toilet with a bucket of water.
21.  Dad was right when he said, "You're spending money on someone else's wife!"
22.  Enjoy the simple things.
23.  Never take anything for granted.
24.  Sometimes its better just to nod your head and say, "Uh Huh".
25.  Clorox is a missionary's best friend.
26.  When you learn another language, you start sucking at your own.
27.  Never be afraid to share what you believe.  
28.  How to block out Roosters' crowing at night.  
29.  There is no greater joy than seeing someone change their life and accept the Gospel.  
30.  How to be a tight wad.  
31.  Respect the Peso.
33.  Nothing can really prepare you for a mission.
34.  We always have a reason to be happy.  
35.  Sometimes you just gotta sit down and enjoy a Kola Real.  
36.  Bananas in the States have got nothing on the ones here!
37.  Spoons > Forks.
38.  Never be in such a hurry to get somewhere, that you miss an opportunity along the way.  
39.  Elder Reeder has way too many R's for Spanish Speakers.  
40.  Service is a blessing -- not an inconvenience.  
41.  Sometimes, we just need to humble ourselves, and ask the Lord for help.  
42. Who the real Riley Ted Reeder is.  

I really can't even begin to say all the things that I have learned on the mission.  I have learned so many things that I could not have learned any other way, or anywhere else.  I love the mission.  I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, and I love you guys!  I can't wait to talk to you this Sunday!  


Elder Riley Ted Reeder

Also, I just thought I'd let you know I don't know what our plans are for Christmas!  We will probably eat way too much food at multiple members' houses, and then just hang out, Elder Hall and I.  We have a bunch of fun together.  But I feel like I'm just wasting my time writing, when we can talk in ONE WEEK!!!!  YAHOO!!!!  Tell everyone hi, that I love them, and that they are lazy bums who need to write me.  Preferably by e-mail.  Because I just am bad at writing hand letters, I'll be honest.  
Anyway, Don't freeze to death, and I'll try not to melt.  
Love, Riley

Monday, December 12, 2011

Too Busy To Talk!

Hey faMily; I¨m aLIvE; BUT thiS ntERiNet CEntEr IOTN  WOrking:   we are going to try another one; but if i dont write back; i¨m alive and well-we just went to the capital for a conference and came back late:  

Sorry about the last e-mail, I was in an Internet center where the keyboard was less than good.  Well, we went to the capital today to have a mission conference, and we just got back.  So, I have absolutely no time to e-mail.  I just want you guys to know that I am alive and happy!  The baptism was great, and luckily I got her all the way under the water!!!  We actually had a lot more success finding new investigators this week, and I am super excited to see what happens with them.  I´m sorry I haven't responded to questions or really said anything cool for two weeks, but--that's the mission for ya!  No time for anything, ha ha.  But, I want you guys to know that I love you and pray for you everyday.  I'm loving my first December in the mission field, although I will be honest, at times it is a little hard.  But, we really have a good relationship with the ward, and they will just have to be my family for this year!  ha ha....anyway important things:  PHONE CALL or SKYPE.  Today we received the news from President that we can use one or the other.  If I call, it would be on Sunday the 25th.  If I use skype, it would be on Monday the 26th.  I'm really leaning toward the old fashion phone call, just because it is more reliable.  I don't trust that there will be electricity, computers available, and a computer connection good enough to make it worth it.  But, it's up to you guys!  I feel like if we talk Sunday and then e-mail on Monday, that will be best.  I can't wait to talk to you guys, I have tons to tell you guys.  These past two weeks have been crazy, and I just haven't had time to tell you guys about it.  But, I am happy, alive, healthy, and I love you guys!  

Elder Reeder

Monday, December 5, 2011

Praying for the Burt Family

Hello Family,

Well, honestly I don't even know where to start.  What I read when I got online today (that Spencer's Dad, Gary Burt, passed away) was definitely the last thing on earth I ever expected to read.  I had plans to talk about other things--but that event takes precedence over all.  First of all--express all of my love to the Burt family--all of them.  Give them all a hug for me.  Especially Daniel.  I can't even imagine that for him.  From what you said, I can see that he has truly become a man over night.   
I have been writing and deleting, writing and deleting, because I am truly in shock about all of this.  Spencer was always the strongest of all of us, in everything, but most especially in the gospel.  He has such immense strength to stay in the mission, and to do the will of his father, both of his fathers.  He is such an example to me.  All of the Burt family have always been such examples to me.  I just want them to know that I love them, and that they are in my prayers.
I am only going to share one experience from this week because, in all honesty, nothing I have to say seems important right now.  Last Monday night we passed by the house of Agapito, to see how he was doing.  (He has a problem with his head.  Two fractures, and he has to do an MRI to see if there is more damage).  As soon as Elder Hall and I were walking to the house, we both felt the need to give him a blessing.  This was something a little overwhelming to me.  I had never given a blessing in Spanish.  We walked in, started, and asked if he would like a blessing.  He said, "Of course."  Elder Hall did the anointing, and I did the blessing.  But it wasn't me who gave the blessing.  It was from his Father in Heaven.  It was the most powerful experience of my life.  Words came to my mouth, and in all honesty, I don't even remember what I said.  But I know that they were words from a loving Heavenly Father to His son.  
I know that Heavenly Father loves us.  That He is always watching over us and helping us in times of trial.  I know that he will help the Burt family through this.  I know that Gary is in a better and happier place, serving a mission side by side with Spencer.  
I´m sorry this is so short, but honestly I don't feel like talking much.  I just want you to know I feel blessed to know that my family will be together forever.  That this life isn't all.  There is more.  Jesus Christ lives.  He loves us all, and we will live as families forever because of His Gospel and His atonement.  I want you guys to know that I am fine.  Don't worry about me, just do everything you can to help out the Burts.  I love you all so much and am grateful for every one of you.  I hope that this event reminds us that we never know when we will be called back to our Heavenly Father, and that we need to always be living our lives in a way that we will be ready.  Repentance is a miracle--a miracle available to all of us.

Elder Reeder

P.S.  We are getting close to a phone call.  The way it works is I will call with my cell phone, and then you guys will call back so that it charges your phone.  I don't know if you want to look into using Dad's cell phone, or if the home phone is better.  Orange is our provider, and yeah--just something you guys might want to look into.      
Yes, Mom, I am fine.  I just wish I could call up and Spencer and talk to him.... but, I know that the best thing I can do for him is pray and fast.  I love you guys, and I really am fine.  We are going to have a baptism this Saturday, and she asked me to do it.  So, I´m getting my white clothes wet for the first time.  Other than that, I have a super funny story to tell you, but it will wait for next week, or maybe the phone call.  I love you guys. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Dia de Gracias -- EMPANADAS!

Hello Family!!!  

Well, I wasn't able to find any turkey to eat for Thanksgiving.  But we ate the next best thing.....EMPANADAS!  I guess I will start out with Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving doesn't exist in the Dominican Republic.  It's definitely just an American thing.  So, to celebrate, Elder Hall and I bought some cereal (yes, cold cereal was a treat) and milk (it was white, but I don't know if it deserves to be called milk).   That was our delicious breakfast treat.  After that, it was a normal day.

We did some contacting, some teaching, and then we had a really tough experience.  We had a lesson with Milagros and Isaura (daughters of Agapito and Mami) about baptism, and they both told us that they really didn't want to get baptized.  But that isn't the hard time.  Isaura said she knows the Book of Mormon is true.  She knows that the church is true.  She knows why she needs to be baptized, but she isn't willing to marry her husband to realize these goals.  I think that was one of the hardest moments of my mission.  To see someone testify that they know the things we taught are true, to know why they need to be baptized, but not be willing to do what they have to do to make it happen was absolutely devastating.  So needless to say, that was a big downer for our Thanksgiving celebrations.  After that lesson, we went and picked up our empanadas and tried to enjoy our Thanksgiving.  Needless to say, it was a rough day, but don't worry, it gets better.

So all week we had been trying to help Agapito and Mami get ready to go to the Temple to do baptisms for the dead with the ward on Saturday.  They were able to go on Saturday, and we truly saw a miracle.  We were in a lesson with Milagros and Isaura on Saturday afternoon, talking about baptism, and we still weren't having a whole lot of progress.  The whole lesson I was just praying that Agapito and Mami could have been there to testify of their experience in the temple.  Just as we were reading a scripture in 2 Nephi 31 about baptism, Agapito and Mami walked in, and with them came the spirit of a person who just went to the temple.  They instantly began to testify of the importance of the temple, and the importance of baptism so that their entire family could go to the temple to be sealed.  This was one of the most powerful experiences of my mission.

Agapito and Mami were so happy.  They had a new light in their eyes.  A light that comes from living the gospel.  A joy that can only come from the gospel of Jesus Christ.  They testified with such power, and so much love, that instantly we saw a change in Milagros and Isaura.  They saw why the gospel is important.  They saw the change in their parents.  And they couldn't deny it.  We had a visit with them the next day, and Milagros accepted a new date for the 31 of December.  Isaura said she will talk to her husband and hopefully in January they will get married.
It made me realize how as missionaries we really are the most insignificant part of the lessons.  The investigators, and the spirit are what are important.  In this case, the Lord worked through Mami and Agapito, because he knew that would have a profound effect on his daughters.  The Lord knows His children.  He loves them.  He wants the best for them, and the way for them to have the best is to live the gospel of Jesus Christ.  This really was such a testimony builder for me.  

I love the mission with all my heart.  I love my Savior, Redeemer, and friend Jesus Christ.  When I have a rough day, I know He will be there.  When the family is a million miles away on a holiday, He is right there with me.  I know that with the Lord we can do anything.  I love you all so very much and pray that you guys will have a Merry Christmas season!  

Elder Riley Reeder

Okay, now to the questions.

Mom, I have seen one snake.  With Elder Day when we were hiking through the jungle.  It wasn't very big, and it was scared to death of us.  I don't really know how many types of snakes there are here, but there are snakes, just not a ton.  (I think.)

I have not eaten iguana.  Just some cow lung, tongue, and some intestines.

I got the CD´s today!!!  I haven't listened to them yet, but I can't even describe how excited I am!!!!

I don't know the rules on Christmas trees....I bought some Christmas lights I hope they are okay!!!

Also, I'm stoked Mitch is coming here!!! WAHOO!!!!  Hopefully I get to see him.    

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello Family!!! 

Yo he sobrevivido una mas semana en la República Dominicana!  Esta semana yo voy a escribir mi carta en español!  Esta bien?  Bueno, entonces esta semana fue muy bien....ha ha  Okay, Mom.  I'm just kidding.  Sometimes I just can't resist. When Dad told me he had been studying the scriptures in Spanish, I thought it would be good practice for us both if I wrote my e-mails in Spanish.   But I decided that even though I'm about a million miles away, I'm not brave enough to do that, because Mom is the big fat boss of the whole wide world!!!  And I think that includes the Dominican Republic.  

But anyway, I decided to start off this week by responding to a few questions.  First of all Mom, it was really good to hear that you got to talk to Elder Day's Mom.  We always talked about our moms, and how it seemed like they had a lot in common--and now they are talking....weird.  Elder Day and I really did have a great time together.  I'm super grateful for him.  He's a stud of a missionary and person.  We will definitely hang out after the mission.  Anyway, the question.

Yes I´m fine!!!  I may have been a little bit more sick than I let on.....but I really wasn't dying or anything.  I really felt fine.  And I'm still fine.  You don't need to worry about my health, I will be just fine.  My knee was kind of a concern, but it was just really, really swollen.  It's totally fine now.  I can play basketball, run, walk, everything, without pain.  Once again, you don't need to worry.

Dad asked some questions about our area.  I don't really know what to say about it.  Our area is one ward.  It is HUGE!!!!  On the picture of our area, we work in like a tiny little sliver of the corner.  I will try to take a picture of the map so you guys can have a better idea.  Our area is pretty much just neighborhoods.  There isn't really an industrial sector or anything like that, just neighborhoods--and the jungle.  Most of (okay all of)  our finding efforts are in contacting-door to door.  But right now, all but one of our progressing investigators are references.   References rock.  They just progress so much more consistently than contacts--for the most part.  

We try to contact about 140 new people every week.  On Saturday we contacted 50 people, and we put 15 first visits for Sunday, but only 3 of them were actually there.  That's the problem with the D.R.  The people just are never there!  But yeah...I don't know what else to say.  There are technically like 400 and something members in our ward....usually about 100 are in church.  That is a huge new focus....inactives!!!  Because they are everywhere.  And sometimes when we are contacting, we run into them....  The conversation goes a little something like this.... ¨hola, somos misioneros de la iglesia de jesucristo de los santos de los ultimos dias, tenemos un mensaje que nos gustaria compartir con usted!¨ 

¨Yo soy miembro de la iglesia.....¨ 


But inactives really are something we need to work on.  It is absolutely devastating to see people who made sacred covenants with our Father in Heaven fall away, and I hope that we can work to reactivate many of these inactives.  

But yeah, this week.  This week I spent pretty much 2 whole days in the capital at meetings and conferences.  On Wednesday, Elder Morgan and I went to a meeting for the ¨leaders¨ of the mission.  Needless to say, I felt like I shouldn't have been there.  Most of the information was for Zone Leaders, but it was nice to enjoy some air conditioning.  I FROZE MY BUTT OFF AND IT WAS 75 DEGREES.  Winter might be a challenge when I return.....  But anyway, after that Elder Morgan and I did an intercambio and celebrated his year mark in the mission with the ceremonial shirt burn.  

After that, Thursday was a pretty normal day.  Just working hard!  On Friday, Elder Hall and I went back to the capital for a conference for the newbies and their trainers.  It was pretty fun because we got to see President Glazier from the CCM, and he said he was amazed at how much my Spanish had improved.  I don't know if that means it's good, or if I just had a lot to improve on ha ha. But yeah, I really don't have a whole lot to say about this week, so I'm going to share a funny experience we had.  

So on Saturday, Agapito tried to convince me that we are all really twice as old as we think we are.  He said "They only count the days, not the nights, so we are all really twice as old as we think!  You are 38 and I'm 130!"  I replied, "Well Agapito, there are 365 days in the year...."   And he cut in, "Yeah, exactly, there are 365 days but also 365 nights!!!"  It was literally one of the hardest things I have ever done not to just die laughing.  I just went along with it.  So I guess I'm going to come home a 42-year-old man.  The mission really ages you in the Dominican Republic! ha ha

But about the work.  We are actually really starting to see some success.  We have been able to find some old investigators that Elder Day and I dropped, and many of them are progressing once again.  Right now we have 4 people with baptismal dates set in December, and we are praying that all 4 will follow through.  

I just want you guys to know that all is well with me.  I love the mission.  I love the people.  I love the gospel of Jesus Christ.  It is such a blessing in our lives.  I love seeing the gospel change someone's life.  I love the experiences I am having with Elder Hall.  He has started to open up to me, and we are having a lot of fun and working hard.  We have to make sure to always have the Spirit with us, because two greenies don't know how to speak eloquently, but the Spirit is what converts, not what we say.  I have faith that we will have faith as a companionship as long as we put our faith in the Lord.  

I'm not gonna lie, I'm gonna miss a great big turkey dinner for Thanksgiving, and even getting up at 3 to work black Friday, but here with my rice and beans and doing the work of the Lord is where I want and need to be.  Say hi to everyone at the parties, and tell them I love them.  I love you guys so much, and hope that you have a great thanksgiving!  


Elder Riley Ted Reeder

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Hola Familia, 

Well, I really don't know where to start out this letter.  Basically, the last week has been the hardest but most rewarding week of my life.  I'll try to give the highlights without just rambling.  So on Tuesday, we had to leave our house at about 6 o'clock to get Elder Day to Las Palmas, and me to the capital to meet my trainee.  We got about 4 hours of sleep that night because we were packing his stuff, cleaning the house, doing all sorts of stuff.  Anyway, we left super early and went to the zone leaders' house to say our goodbyes.  It was really hard saying goodbye to Elder Day.  He really was a father to me.  I really feel like he taught me everything I know about the mission.  At times I was stubborn, but he was always patient with me, and we always had fun and worked hard.  I realized last week how much I took for granted having such a great trainer.  But, well, we said our goodbyes. 

Then Elder Boswell and I left for the capital.  Well, we flagged down a Gua Gua (a bus) on the freeway and got in--kinda.  There wasn't really room on the bus, so we rode to the capital with our feet and arms holding on, and the rest of our bodies outside!  It was pretty fun!  I tried to get out of paying for the ride by saying that we weren't really in the bus......but I still had to pay.  Ha ha.  But, we got to the transfer chapel, and I got to see Elder Richardson and Elder Dispain from the MTC and CCM.  It was fun to see them and share our experiences about the mission.

After this, we (the trainers) went into a meeting with President Rodriguez.  At this point I was overwhelmed to say the least, but the things that President said to us I feel were directed right to me.  He started off by assuring us that we were called by the Lord to be trainers.  He talked about how we had the power in our hands to change the mission.  President really wants the mission changed, and he wants it to start with the new ones coming in.  He also then continued talking about how he promised we were called by the Lord, and that we would be able to fulfill our responsibility.  It was reassuring to me, but at the same time I felt extremely nervous that I would not be adequate.  After that we went in to meet our "kids". 

My trainee is Elder Jacob Hall from Layton Utah.  He is way bigger than me!  Everyone probably thinks that my kid is my dad!  He is kind of a shy guy, but he is opening up--as of about yesterday.  In all honesty, we don't really have a whole lot in common.  He was in drama in high school, and he went to BYU!  (I just reminded him that USU beat BYU.)  ha ha.  No, but he really is a great missionary.  He has a great desire to learn and to serve the Lord.  I'm really excited to see what the Lord has in store for us in the next few months.  It was way fun to watch him during his first few days and to see him go through the same things that I went through--like just a few months ago!  

It really has been such a rewarding week for me!  I just pray that I can teach him the things that he needs to know and do it in the way that the Lord would have me.  I have realized that I made it through the last week relying on the Lord.  I have never prayed so hard in my entire life, and I have seen miracles.  I have been able to understand Spanish--everything, and my speaking ability has increased so much that it is amazing.  I am so grateful for the hand of the Lord in the last few days. 

I feel like I have a million things to say, but no time to say it.  Basically, I'm just trying to put myself in the hands of the Lord and learn everything I can from this experience.  I hope that I can train Elder Hall correctly, and that we can accomplish the work of the Lord in Madre Vieja Norte.  I love the mission.  I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the blessings that we receive from it.  I'm grateful that the family can be eternal because of temple ordinances.  I love all of you!  

Elder Riley Reeder

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Week of Changes

Hello Family,

It's crazy to think that another week has passed by and that I am already e-mailing again.  The weeks are really starting to fly by.  This week we had a lot of things going on.  First of all, we had our baptisms!  Agapito and Sebastian were both baptized on Saturday.  The baptisms really were the highlight of the week.  It's always such an amazing experience to watch people enter into the waters of baptism.  They were both so excited and ready to be baptized.  I am constantly amazed by their desire to follow the Lord.  It was an amazing experience to see the joy that baptism brought into their lives.  Funny little experience with the baptism--Elder Day decided to baptize our phone también...but thanks to some investigators with a blow dryer, it is still functioning! 

One of the most powerful experiences this week was saying goodbye to Elder Urry.  Elder Urry is (was) our zone leader.  He is the one we were always playing basketball with, talking to, he was just our good friend, but also an amazing missionary.  He had fun, all while working hard, up to the day he left.  We all went to eat with him on Saturday, because he left yesterday, as kind of a going away party.  He was doing everything but party.  He was sad.  He has such a love for the people and the work that it was killing him to leave.  He was just telling people how these are the best two years of your life, and to enjoy every minute of it.  
It made me reevaluate my take on the mission.  The mission is the only two years that I will get to dedicate 100% to the Lord.  I need to take advantage of every minute, and of every day, and enjoy every moment.  I have learned in the mission to appreciate everything.  The good, and the bad, and the simple things.  When times are hard, there is always something we can learn from it.  When times are good--we need to enjoy them--and always be grateful.  And the small things.  It shouldn't take anything amazing to make us happy.  We have every reason to be happy!  We are children of God.  We have an amazing family.  We have the Gospel in our lives.  These are the things that last forever.  I have really learned to find the joy in these things.  They are what bring true and eternal happiness.  

Anyways, we received the transfer call last night!  Elder Day is leaving.  He is heading to Las Palmas to be a zone leader there.  I know he will be awesome.  He really has taught me everything that I know about the mission.  He has taught me to find the balance between working hard and enjoying the mission.  He has such a love for the Lord, and his desire to serve is amazing.  He really has become such a good friend of mine, and it definitely is going to be hard to say goodbye.  Trainers in the mission are called "fathers", and he has been my "father" out here.  Just as dad taught me so many things at home, my "father" in the mission field has taught me so much.  I will always be grateful for the example he has set for me.

As for me, I am now going to be a father. understood correctly.  I am training.  I will be training an Elder Hall, straight out of the CCM.  Here is how the phone call went last night:
"Elder Day, Elder Reeder, you are never going to believe what's happening this transfer.  Reeder's training!"  
We all got a good laugh out of that, and then I said, "Alright Elder Morgan.  Really, what's happening?"  
"Reeder, you are training."  
"Hahahaha.  Enough jokes, Morgan.  Who is my comp?"
"Dude, I'm not kidding man.  You're training Elder Hall."  
At this point I went pale and began to pace back and forth throughout the house.  I have never felt so inadequate in my entire life.  I felt sick to my stomach and was sure it was all a joke.  So I called Torribio (the other Zone Leader), and he said it was  true.  Words cannot describe the thoughts and feelings that I had at that moment.  I have never been so scared in my entire life.  I am in a country that I don't know, where they speak a language that I don't know, and now I am going to be with a kid who is greener than me.  And I am as green as grass.
But I have reason to rejoice.  The Lord knows His people, and He knows Spanish, and He will help me through this.  I know that this is going to be a great learning opportunity for me.  I thought I learned a lot the last two transfers, but woah......BUCKLE UP!  Anyways, I'm scared, scared, scared, nervous, scared, nervous, scared, and excited.  I just pray that I can help Elder Hall in at least 1% of the ways Elder Day helped me.  Oh, and I will be staying here in Madre Vieja Norte to train. 

Well, that's about it.  Thanks for everything guys!  Some extra prayers for me and Elder Hall this week would be great.  I love you all so much!  

Elder Riley Reeder

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Well today is Halloween!  Halloween is not a holiday in the Dominican Republic, so they skip straight to Christmas.  There is already Christmas lights, trees, pretty much the works!  But that's just another story.

Anyway, last week was a lot better than the one before.   First of all, we got permission from the First Presidency to baptize Agapito!!!  We got the call Thursday while we were at Abuelas, and Elder Day and I were ecstatic to say the least.  It has been a challenge with him, but it definitely was all worth it when we received that call!  He and Sebastian will both be baptized this Saturday, the 5th.  This is awesome because more than likely, this will be the last week that Elder Day will be in this area, so he is excited to see the baptism.  We will get Transfer calls this Sunday, so we will have to see if I stay, or if Elder Day stays.  I hope that I do, we have some awesome investigators right now, and I really want to see them progress to baptism.  It's crazy that in a week I will be with a new companion--maybe one that doesn't speak English, but I know that would be for the better!  

This last week really didn't have anything super exciting like the last few.  Wednesday, Elder Morgan did an intercambio in my area.  It was an awesome experience.  I was kind of in charge.  I had to get us to the houses, I had to start the lessons, and I had to communicate with the members, things like that.  I learned a whole ton because I didn't have my ¨crutch¨ (aka Elder Day).  It was an awesome experience for me.  I realized that I really do know a lot more Spanish than I thought and that I kinda have the hang of things about now!  We also had the most successful day of my mission.  We found 7 new investigators that, as of now, are still progressing.  It was a lot of fun.  On Friday, we were able to go over and spend some time with Elder Urry, our zone leader, who is going home this next Sunday.  He is an amazing Elder.  He has worked hard til the bitter end, and he really has a true love for the people.  He is the kind of missionary that I want to be.

I really can't think of anything exciting to share this week.  It was a really normal week--that or I´m just too tired to remember the exciting things--I cant decide which.  I really am blank right now.  I would send you some pictures of this week, but we are at the internet center that gives our cards viruses, so I can't.      

Basically, the only things I know how to talk about nowadays is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And what a blessing that is.  I have never experienced such joy in my life as when I share the Gospel.  It really is an amazing blessing in our lives.  I love the Book of Mormon.  It really is a missionaries best tool.  Whenever people want to ¨bible bash¨ and things like that, we can just turn to the Book of Mormon.  We don't have to convince the people that the message is true.  They have to be willing to read, pray, and listen for an answer, and the Holy Ghost will testify of the truthfulness.  And if they know the Book of Mormon is true, they know that Joseph Smith was a true Prophet.  If they know this, they know that every teaching of the Church is also true.  
One thing that I have realized, is that we can't rely on a testimony of the past.  I challenge you all to read the Book of Mormon every day.  Put Moroni´s promise to the test.  I know that you will receive an answer.  We need to constantly be strengthening our testimonies.  If we do this, we will never falter, and we will be blessed.  Anyway, I am good.  I love the mission.  I love the work.  I love the people.  And, I love you all so much!  Thanks for everything!  

Elder Riley Reeder

P.S.  Enjoy a nice chilly fall day for me!!!
P.S.  Family:  I would like to see some pictures of the good ole Cache Valley!  Of my puppies, of you guys, of the cousins, of the snow!
Thanks!  Love you guys. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Good Week!

Well it's time for the weekly update from the Dominican Republic.  This week was a good one!  We had interviews with the President, and a Capacitación with Hmna. Rodriguez.  President Rodriguez is an amazing man, and he always makes me want to be better as a missionary.  He carries with him such an amazing spirit, and he has such a love for the missionaries and the work that it is amazing.  He talked a lot about how important obedience is, and how much it effects our effectiveness as missionaries.  He talked about how we need to have ¨the light¨ to be successful.

I´ve been thinking a lot about obedience and the Light of Christ, and how it applies to everyone.  I have heard the word obedience more on the mission than at any other time in my life.  Why?  Because it is everything.  When we are obedient to the commandments, we have the Light of Christ, and we are promised blessings!

Anyway, events of the week.  First of all, funny event.  The Evangelico  (I dunno what religion that is in English)  religion has--different beliefs than ours.  Last week, we were teaching an evangelico woman.  I told her that to start out the lesson I was going to offer a prayer.  I began to pray and about after the second sentence, she cut me off and began to pray.  It scared me to death!  I had no idea what to do.  Elder Day looked at me and apparently I just had a look of complete shock, because he just busted up laughing.  Anyway, the rest of her prayer was us trying not to giggle.  One of those you-had-to-be-there experiences, but it was funny.

We spent a lot of time looking for new investigators this week.  We have had to drop a few investigators because they just weren't doing their part.  It is so hard to see someone who just won't take the steps to find out if the Church is true.  As missionaries, we have 3 things that we want our investigators to do.  Read.  Pray.  And go to church.  Pretty simple things.  But they are also the same three things that every member of the Church needs to do!  They are the ¨seminary answers¨, but they truly are the most important things we can do!

If we are reading the Book of Mormon everyday, we will learn and grow closer to our Savior.  If we pray, we will develop a personal relationship with our Savior and be able to receive the blessings that He has waiting for us!  Then, if we go to Church, we have the opportunity to renew our covenants, and feel the Spirit even more.  These things are extremely simple, but maybe that's why at times they are hard to do.  Because they are so simple to do, they are simple to find reasons not to do them.  But by simple things, great things come to pass.  I believe that with all of my heart.  

Anyway, Saturday was a really good day.  We had the opportunity to go build a house!  A member from our ward is building a new house, and we got to go help them.  (Us being Me, Elder Day, Elder Morgan, and Elder Anderson)  In the D.R. the nicest houses are build out of cinder block and cement, and it just so happens that the part we would be working on that day was the cement.  Elder Morgan and I were helping this member form up areas to pour the concrete.  All I could think of was that the things I learned from my Eagle Project were suddenly coming into play.  I knew how to make the forms, I knew how to screed out the cement, and I even taught the guy the "hit the forms with the hammer trick" so that they wouldn't have the honeycomb in the cement!  He was really stoked about that because the other parts didn't look so good.

Anyway, Dad I want to say thanks for teaching me those things.  I never thought that knowledge would be needed on my mission to the D.R., but it was!  It was so much fun to be able to help out, even if my construction vocabulary was very, very limited. 

Today for P-Day we went and played softball.  Wow.  Talk about rusty.  I was terrible!  I could field a ball, but I couldn't throw or hit to save my life!  It definitely rekindled my love for baseball.  I am determined to get back into it when I get back.  We played with some Dominican kids and the rest of our zone, and jeez those kids know how to play!  There were 11-year-old kids turning double plays and throwing the ball harder than I could!  It was super fun.  

Anyway, I think that's all the news for now.  We are off to a Noche de Hogar with Ramon and some kids from the ward.  I don't know if I have told you about Ramon, but he might be my favorite man on this island.  He is hilarious, a Red Sox fan, and I´m pretty sure he and Grandpa Reeder are going to be best friends in the future.  I went over to his house the night the Red Sox got knocked out, and we mourned together.  I wish you guys could meet him.   I´m going to try and take a bunch of pictures with members and investigators this week and send them to you guys next week.  Anyway, that's all for today.  I love you guys all so much.  I pray for you every single day.  Thanks for the e-mails and the support.  

Elder Riley Reeder

P.S.  Responses To Mom's Questions

1.  His parents aren't members.  Elder Day doesn't want to try to teach them.  I am determined to teach them before I leave.  Escogidos literally means like chosen ones--basically people that are prepared to hear our message.  

2.  We were walking through the jungle!!  There was a trail, but it was just a foot trail through the jungle!  It's awesome.  It's a big city.  And we still haven't found any people that have seen missionaries before.  

3.  Yes, we get invited to eat with members--just last  week we had a few opportunities!  It depends--most of the members have enough to help us out, but the meals are always simple--rice, beans, and some juice!  It's amazing how the people are willing to give absolutely everything they have to us.  The members here really love the missionaries.  But anyway, about the food.  Rice, beans, and about twice a week a little meat!  It's amazing how my taste buds have changed.  I now can eat peas, carrots, beans.  I love orange juice, and I can eat just about everything that gets thrown on my plate.  I honestly prayed to be able to eat the food, and I´ve seen the results.  I still can't gag down avocado though.  

4.  I haven't taken as many pictures as I should...I´ll be better.

5.  Yes my pants are really light!  I have two other pairs that are getting made right now.  We have the best tailor in the whole country in our area, so I´m thinking about having him do a whole suit.....not for sure yet.  (He´s so good he does suits for the President).  Pants cost about 15 dollars a pair.  A whole 3-piece fitted suit of wool fabric is 120 dollars.  It's pretty dang cheap.  And yeah, they are awesome!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Hello Family!

Well this week had its ups and downs, but that's the life of a Missionary.  We started contacting a new area, and got failed out of our minds!  For 2 days, we had 24 new visits set, and 2 of them were there for us to teach.  Frustrating.  Its really hard when people reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We know how much it can bless them, and they just don't want to listen!   I've decided that's the hardest part of the mission--seeing people reject their chance to receive the greatest blessing in this life.  After all of this failure, we decided to go exploring, because we just found out that our area is WAY bigger than we previously thought.  We went bushwhacking through the jungle and found this city that missionaries haven't touched (at least according to all the people we talked to).  It was fun to contact an area that missionaries haven't contacted yet, but its also a lot of pressure, because whatever impression they get of us--will be their impression of the Church.  I hope that we can be good representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ.

I can hardly remember the last week because my mind is just focused on yesterday and Saturday.  On Saturday we had one of the funniest/most awkward visits of the mission.  We are teaching a 10-year old boy, whose older brother is a member.  He is an awesome kid.  He always reads what we leave, and he understands more than honestly any other investigator that we have.  We call people like him, escogidos.  Anyway, on Friday we left the Law of Chastity pamphlet for him to read before the visit on Saturday.  Well, we showed up on Saturday, and started teaching.  First off, I asked what he learned from this pamphlet.  He said, Heavenly Father wants us to have kids when we are married.  And then, with this huge piece of bubblegum that he was chewing, blew a giant bubble that popped all over his face.  I couldn't keep myself from laughing.  He was so embarrassed that he was trying to talk about anything but the law of chastity.  It was hilarious.  But we got everything covered, and he is still set to be baptized on the 29th along with Michael.  

Yesterday was a pretty crazy day.  We went to Agapito and Mami´s house in the morning to walk with them to church, and only Agapito was there, and he said that he wasn't going to church and that he was going to leave his wife because of a fight.  This was absolutely devastating to us.  We have worked so long and so hard with this family that we were devastated at the thought of them separating.  We set a visit to have both Agapito and Mami together with us later that night, and then we went to church.   All of church we just thought about what we were going to say to try and help them work through their problems.  After church we went to their house to do some family counseling.  All I could think was, they definitely did not train me how to do this in the MTC!

We started with a prayer and then tried to figure out the problem.  Immediately they both just started yelling and saying that the other one was at fault, and yada yada.  When we finally got them to a cease fire, we began to have one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  Elder Day and I were able to say things, find scriptures, and help them discover  that the best thing for them was to be together.  But the thing was, it wasn't Elder Day or me.  It was us being guided by the Spirit, to say things to help a 75-year-old couple stay together.  We have no experience with these kinds of problems.  But with the guidance of the Holy Ghost, we were able to help them through this problem.  It was amazing to feel the Spirit come into the room and testify of the importance of the family, and that they could make it through this problem.

This whole thing made me think so much about families.  Satan is relentlessly attacking the family because it is so important.  It is the most important social unit of this life--and the eternities.  Satan knows that if he can destroy our families, he can destroy us.  The things we focused on in this visit were the atonement and love.  We will always have problems.  We will always do things wrong, and the people we love will always do things wrong.  But we need to forgive them.  The Lord said, "I will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men."  We need to forgive others.  It is a commandment.  We also need to repent of the things we have done.  The atonement is infinite.  It is inexpressibly amazing, and if we are willing to do our part, we can be made clean of our sins.   Jesus suffered for us because He loves us.

This is another part we discussed.  Love.  We promised them that if they would express love, in word and deed, they would be able to make it through anything.  I know that is true for all of us.  We need to show the people that we love that we love them.  Tell them we love them, show them we love them.  I love you guys.  More than anything.  I am so grateful that I was raised in the most amazing family in the world.  I can't imagine where I would be without a family.  I am so grateful that because of the gospel we will be together forever.  Geez, I feel like Dr. Phil, but that's what has been on my mind.

I just want you to know that I know that this Church is true.  I have no doubt in my mind.  I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet--and that he was called by God to restore His Church to the earth.  I know that Heavenly Father hears our prayers.  Always.  Praying is the way we communicate with our Father in Heaven.  I´ve realized how true the quote is that a man stands tallest when he is on his knees.  Praying has helped me through all of my challenges of the mission. The Book of Mormon is true.  It never ceases to amaze me!   The Church is true!   Thanks for everything!  

Elder Riley Reeder


Hello Family!

This week was a great one!  Highlight of the week was definitely the baptism.  On Saturday we were able to baptize Santo and Flor.  They have been investigating the Church since May.  When the missionaries first started teaching them, they said that they wanted to get baptized, and that they were going to get married in September.  Lots of people say...we will get married on such and such a date and get baptized, and then they never follow through, so the missionaries were sceptical.  But we kept with them, and they followed through.  They were so ready.  Santo is going to be an amazing priesthood holder and leader in this ward.  Anyway, the baptismal service went really good.  We got lots of members to come, and even the Stake President came.  We had Pedro Castellas baptize them, because he knows them, and he did a great job.

The Spirit was so strong.  It just testified to me again of the importance of baptism, and that they were making a correct decision that will bless them for the rest of their lives.  It is amazing the change that comes over people when they are truly converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I have been thinking a lot about that lately.  It is so important that we have that excitement and love for the Gospel that new converts have.  They just eat up everything we teach them and have such a desire to learn more.  I hope that we all keep that desire to learn about the Gospel, because there is always more to learn!  Anyway, that was such an awesome experience.

Also, on Sunday, Elder Day and I had the opportunity to give Mami (one of Elder Days' converts) a blessing.  I did the anointing, which was pretty scary because I had to do it in Spanish, but it went good.  The power of the priesthood never ceases to amaze me.  It is such a blessing in our lives. 

Also, yesterday the President of the D.R. came to Barrio Nuevo!  (The little town that was demolished by the storm.)  There were cops everywhere!  It was kind of scary walking through the street because everyone thinks we are from the CIA, so they probably thought we were after the President or something.  But anyway, we walked up to the road where we had a visit and they had the road blocked off, no one could enter or leave.  We were pretty disappointed, but then all of the sudden this big-wig guy with a headset in came up and told the other cops to let us in.  We were the only people they let in.  So we went in, taught the visit, and left.  I don't know who told him we could enter, but I'm confident it was a blessing from the Lord to allow us to accomplish our work.  

One thing I have noticed is there are miracles in our lives every day.  Every single day.  We just have to look for them.  It may not be something big, but nonetheless it is a miracle.  I have a challenge for you guys.  (Sorry, I'm a missionary.  We like to leave people homework!)  Look for a miracle every day, and write it down.  When you sit down at night and think about your day, I promise there is always a miracle!  A teacher in the MTC told me to do that, and it has really changed my attitude.  

Anyway, all is good here in the DR.  I hit 4 months this week, which is pretty crazy!  I can't believe how much I have learned in such a little time.  I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be a missionary.  Sharing the Gospel is so much fun!  It really is what makes us truly happy in life. 

Testifico que el Libro de Mormón es la palabra de dios.  Yo sé que Moronis promesa es verdadero.  Por medio del espíritu santo podemos saber la veracidad del libro de mormón.  Yo sé que si seguimos los enseñanzas del evangelio, dios nos bendiga.  Jesucristo es nuestro salvador.  Solamente por medio de su expiación podemos ser limpio de nuestros pecados.  Yo sé que Jesucristo vive, y que nos ama, y si nosotros preservemos hasta el fin, podemos vivir con Dios.  

I love you all so much. Thanks for everything you do for me!

Elder Reeder      

Monday, October 3, 2011

Wasn't conference great?

Hello Family,

First of all, wasn't conference great?  I´m so grateful for the opportunity I had to go.  We were able to attend both Saturday sessions, and both Sunday, which is actually a great blessing.  On Saturday the rule was we had to have investigators going to be able to attend.  Well, our investigator pulled a no-show, but we stayed anyway.  We felt pretty justified because we were listening to the Prophet.  Of course, all of it was in Spanish, but I felt like I understood a ton.  It was amazing to hear clear Spanish!  If you can understand a Dominican, you can understand anyone!  Anyway, conference was amazing.  I felt like everything just drilled me.  I loved the Elder from Japan, I can't remember his name and I don't have my notes, that talked about Missionary work.  It hit pretty deep for me.  We really do have the most amazing message in the entire world, and it has the power to change lives.  I came out of there with such an increased desire to work just that much harder.

I felt like a bunch of the talks were on trials.  Everyone has trials.  If I have learned anything on the mission, it's that life is what we make of it.  We can do everything under our power, and sometimes things just don't work out.  But we still need to keep trying our hardest.  Keep doing our best and have faith.  Faith has the power to move mountains.  I have realized the literal significance of that.

I also loved when President Uchdorf (yeah I have no idea how to spell that) talked about how much our Father in Heaven loves us.  He loves us perfectly.  I can't comprehend perfect love, but I know that it is real.  Our Father in Heaven knows our name.  He knows our problems, He can and will help us with everything, if we are just willing to ask.  There is a scripture in Matthew, I don't know the exact reference, where Jesus says (summarizing in my own words) Which of you, if your child asked for bread, would give him a rock?  If you, being imperfect, know how to give gifts to your children, how much more can your Father in Heaven give, if we just ask.  But our requests must be worthy.  When we are truly praying, our desires are in line with the desires that our Father in Heaven has for us.

There are 2 things I beg all of you to do.  Read the Book of Mormon and pray.  Pray together.  Pray alone.  Read together.  Read alone.  Something I got out of the September Liahona.  The September Liahona was really good, but I think they shouldn't have sent that to the missionaries.  Really?  Eternal Marriage to missionaries?  Ha ha  We were all just like....Dang, this is not what we want to be reading about right now!  Ha ha.

One last little interesting fact, remember Elder Cornish that spoke in the Sunday afternoon session?  We are pretty much buds.  His office is in the CCM, so we saw him a lot, and he spoke to us a few times.  Also, he was at our last zone conference.  He is the Doctor that I talked to about my amoeba, so that was pretty cool to see him speaking!

Last week was a good week, but the work was a little bit slow.  The best experience of the week was with Michael.  We went to his house, and him and a bunch of friends were playing card games, and when Dominicans are playing card games they don't like to be interrupted.  But he immediately dropped his cards and came out and talked to us.  In the middle of the lesson, he was like ¨I have felt a major change in my life ever since you guys began sharing with me, and I want to be baptized PRONTO.  That is the sweetest sentence imaginable to missionary ears.  He should get baptized next week if everything keeps going according to plan.  This week we have our first baptism!  It will be the couple who got married last week, Santo and Flor.  They are awesome.  Santo will be an amazing priesthood holder, which is what this country needs.  We had to postpone Omar´s date, because he didn't show up to conference, so that's kind of frustrating.  We should really start seeing the fruits of our hard work this transfer.

Anyways, things are good here in the D.R.  The days are still hot, the mosquitos still bite, the electricity still leaves, the people still yell rubios and Mormones, but I´m still as happy as ever!  This really is such an awesome opportunity to serve, and learn!  I already feel like I have learned so much in these almost 4 months.  I also have a buzz haircut right now, like literally a buzz cut.  It's so short I don't even have to do anything with it!  I´m a little kid again!  I got my first Dominican Pants, they are awesome!!!  I´ll send a picture next week.  Anyways, the Church is true and is an amazing blessing in our lives.  I love you all so much!  

Elder Reeder 

Monday, September 26, 2011


Hello Family!  

This past week has been a really good one!  The typical mission challenges, but it's been good!  After I wrote last week, we got to go to a Noche De Hogar with Michael and his family!  It was a really great experience to be able to spend this time with them, and it's always nice to have the Bishop there to provide support!  Our new Bishop is awesome.  He has helped us so much.  Our whole ward has really been helping us a lot lately.  We received eight references last week, which is a ton for this area, so that was really helpful.  References are awesome because they are so much more likely to progress.  

Unfortunately, our baptism didn't happen last week.  We could have done it, but we decided that it would be better to slow down a little bit and postpone it for the 8th.  We have four baptisms planned for the 8th.  Omar, and Santo y Flor.  Santo y Flor got married today, and they are absolutely stoked to get baptized.  They have been such a proof to me that we need to never give up on people.  They didn't attend church for 5 weeks, and we didn't drop them, because we just felt like we shouldn't.  After a lot of praying and hoping, Santo now has a work schedule that allows him to attend church.  The Lord truly answers prayers, not always on our time, but He always answers.  

We are having some trouble with some of our investigators.  Some need to get married, some just need to take that step of faith and be baptized, and some just aren't willing to do their part.  That is one of the saddest things to me in the mission.  Hearing someone testify that they know that the Book of Mormon is true, that they know all of our message is true, but they don't go to church.  They aren't willing to make that step of faith.  I think that all of us are capable of so much more, if we just take that step of faith and trust in the Lord.  

Anyways, this week we had more craziness.  The other 2 Elders in our district got super sick.  They had giardia, and all sorts of stuff, so we spent a lot of time over there because they honestly couldn't do anything!  Now to the exciting parts of the week!  

First, I got measured for my first pair of Dominican pants!  There is a Tailor in our area that is known as the best in the country, so I ordered my first pair.  I´m super excited to pick them up next week.  Mom, funny thing.....So you know how I wanted fitted shirts that were short sleeve?  We shouldn't have wasted our time.  This same Tailor is going to fit all 8 of my shirts for 400 pesos (like 10 bucks).  Fitted shirts and pants are just how missionaries dress here, it's pretty funny!  

Now to the highlight of the week.  Yesterday was Transfer Calls, so Elder Day and I went over to Elder Morgan and Elder Brimley's house to celebrate.  The celebration included STEAK FROM THE UNITED STATES, REAL MASHED POTATOES WITH GRAVY AND PEACH COBBLER.  Yes, this was probably the most epic meal ever cooked by missionaries in the Dominican Republic Santo Domingo West Mission.  Scratch that, probably by any missionaries in the world.  We bought this little disposable grill thing, and I whipped up some mashed potatoes.  Brimley made the cobbler, and wow.  Delicious food!  I will send you pictures.  It may not seem like a big thing to you guys, but to missionaries here, that's as deluxe as it gets!  It was a great night.  We found out that I will be staying here with Elder Day (trainers always stay with their ¨sons¨ for 2 transfers).  Lots of changes, but I won't bore you with the details.  Sorry that half of my e-mail is taken up with the discussion of food, but that was a big deal for us!  

But anyway, this week is General Conference.  I am super excited!  We don't know how many sessions we are allowed to go to yet.  We are praying that we will get to go to all of them, but I am not super confident.  But this is such a great opportunity for us to listen to our Prophet, Apostles, and other church leaders.  Modern day revelation is one of the biggest differences between our Church and the others.  Our leaders have the priesthood authority to receive revelation, and this weekend is the opportunity to listen to them.  What a great opportunity.  The Church is true.  

I have a challenge for all of you.  Read Moroni´s promise in Moroni 10:3-5.  There are so many great promises in these verses.  One part that continually sticks out to me, are the words ¨real intent¨.  This is something I have been thinking a lot about lately.  What is real intent?  Real intent is wanting to know the truth, but also being willing to act on the answer that we receive.  This applies to all of our prayers.  We need to be willing to act on the answer that we are going to receive.  I know that if we all put Moroni´s promise to the test at least once a  week, our testimonies would be strengthened immensely.   The Book of Mormon is so amazing. I can't imagine being a missionary without this book.  The promises within it are real.  Every single person who follows what Moroni says, will receive an answer.  And if the Book of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith was a prophet, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the only true Church.  Powerful book.  

I love being a missionary.  It's the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  Hands down.  But seeing the light come into peoples eyes, and the changes that occur in their lives, make it all worth it.  I love you all.  I hope you have an amazing week, and know that I am always praying for you.  


Elder Reeder  

P.S.  Answers to Mom's questions.
Yes, P-Days are fun.  We have played basketball every p-day so far.  Our zone has a lot of guys that like to play, so we go play together in the mornings, it's super fun. 

Yes, I do my own laundry, but we don't usually do it on P-Day. We do it whenever there is electricity!  Haha  When it comes on, we start running!  We have a little washer kind of thing, it's pretty funny, but it does an okay job!  

Yes, with the new President the rules are really strict.  There were/are a lot of disobedient missionaries in this mission.  They are trying to clean that up right now.  I think that's why I am here!  You know me, rule follower!    

Monday nights are just like any other night, but we try to do family home evenings (noche de hogar) because they are just fun!  

Oh and no, we're not still working in the mud.  The hurricane clean up is all done!  The Country sent in like the army and put them to work!  

If you have questions just ask them, because I really have a hard time knowing what to write, so if you asked questions that would be good!  Basically, thanks for the letters and everything, they are what keep me going!  I love you, Mom!  So much. 



Monday, September 19, 2011

Three Months!

          Yes, it's official.  I have been a missionary for 3 Months.  Is that crazy to anyone but me?  I feel like it was just yesterday that I was leaving, and at the same time I feel like it was a hundred years ago.  It's kind of a weird situation that I don't know how to describe.
          We had a really great week.  We are starting to see tons of success.  We had 10 investigators in church this week.  We have a baptism this week and 7 other people with ¨fechas¨.  We will see how that all turns out.  I´m praying they will do their part to make it possible.
          This week we had an awesome experience with a family we are teaching.  The parents' names are Santo y Flor.  Santo was telling us how back in May he was praying one day so hard that he would know what the Lord wanted him to do.  That day, the missionaries knocked on his door, and they have been teaching him ever since.  He has a such a strong testimony, but he has to work on Sundays so he can't go to church very often.  We have been praying that there would be a way so that he could go to church.  We read to him from First Nephi where it talks about the Lord not giving a commandment to man without providing a way.  Well, the Lord provided a way.  Last week Santo got a new boss, and he can now go to church.  He and his wife will be getting married this Saturday, and then they will be baptized on the 8th (because of General Conference).  He will be such a strong priesthood holder, which is what the Church needs in this country.
          Lots of our investigators have been having crazy events in their lives; job loss, deaths, other major events.  I know that the Lord is testing/humbling/preparing them.  It is hard to see them so devastated, but to every challenge, the Gospel has a solution.  Everything we feel, our Savior has felt.  Everything.  Alma Chapter 7, verses 11 and 12 are some of my favorites.  The Lord felt every single thing we have felt.  Not just the pains and sickness, but the everyday things of life.  He can help us.  He will help us.  When we have a hard day, when we have challenges, when things are downright hard, even when things are the very best, we still need Him.  He will help us through everything.  He has promised that to us.
          One sentence I keep finding over and over again in the Book of Mormon is, if you keep my commandments, you will prosper in the land, and if you don't....well, you know the rest.  All the Lord asks us to do is keep His commandants; and if we do, He promises blessings greater than we can imagine.  All of the commandments help us in the first place, plus we get blessings.  It's the best deal I´ve ever heard of.  I pray that we will all do our part, so that the Lord can do His.  That's my kind of spiritual thought for the week.
          Our ward is awesome.  We have so much member support.  We have been working really hard to get the support of the ward, and we now have it.  The whole bishopric is going to a few visits with us this week, and missionary work is on the minds of the members with the increased success we have had.  Challenge for ya´all.  Read Preach My Gospel.  It's amazing for everyone.  Every single person.  There are things everyone can apply.  I have learned so much from that book, and I testify that it is inspired.  This week we found an inactive member that we are working with.  She is so awesome!  She always cooks us food and invites us over, she just won't really open up as to why she left the Church.  I´ll give you an update on that next week.  We have a noche de hogar tonight with the Bishop´s family and Michael and his family.  I am super excited for it.
          The work is good.  The amoeba is still gone.  And yeah, I´m doing good!  Thanks for the support, as always!  I´m praying for you all everyday!  The Church is true.  The Book of Mormon is the most amazing book ever.  I don't know if the new Ensign is the same as the Liahona--only about the Book of Mormon; but if it is, I hope you all read it!  I have read it 3 times now and keep learning awesome things!

Love you all,

Elder Reeder

P. S.  
I will have to take more pictures of the apartment later, I don't really have one right now, so that will have to wait till next week!  The Pepto Bismal was for the amoeba before we knew it was an amoeba.  The fridge is the safe haven from the ants, so if we want something to not be covered in ants, it goes in the fridge!  Basically just Kola Real-aka the best drink in the world.  Snacks here are weird, we don't eat many snacks, just biscochitos!  They are like little cupcake things that we buy at the colmados for like 5 pesos!  They are super yummy.  
Water--these water truck things drive around and we have them fill up a five gallon water bottle thing we have, because obviously tap water isn't safe.  It's not Hyde Park water, but it quenches the thirst!  
Music is kinda a touchy subject right now.  I had to send in my iPod to the office, because........well, as soon as we got to the field, us newbies found out that music--all shapes and sizes--has been banned in this mission for about 3 years.   So......we don't have music.  Super frustrating, right?  That's the kinda stuff you gotta tell missionaries before they spend money on that stuff!  So for right now....I couldn't listen to it.  Word on the street is we might get music back at the start of next year, but we will see I guess!  That's been a really hard thing for me that I haven't told you about.  ha ha.  No music!!!!  AHHHHHH!  
Thanks for sending those things, thanks so much!  IT really means a lot, and yes, the mission office address is the only place to send anything!  Including mail!  All other addresses are useless (another bit of information that would have been nice).  Could you tell people that they can only send stuff that way?  You can't send mail to my house--because there isn't a mail system like that--and we don't have an address!  ha ha  Just something funny about the DR.  

Monday, September 12, 2011

Laman, Lemuel or NEPHI?

          Why Hello family!  How are things back in good ole Utah?  Things in the D.R. are going good!  Last week was a good one!  We got to go to the temple, unlike mom I didn't see Elder Oaks there, but it was still awesome!  I was freezing in there!  I´m turning into a Dominican, used to the heat!  The spirit of the Temple is amazing and unmatched.  It truly is the house of the Lord.  I learn something new every time I go, even when it is in Spanish!  We are so blessed to live so close to a temple, and I hope you take advantage of that opportunity!  We are ALWAYS blessed by attending the temple.  I have a testimony of this.
          Mom, it sounds like you had an awesome time in Salt Lake!  I hope you had an awesome birthday!  Dad, thanks so much for the pictures!  Pictures are awesome!  They make me so happy!  Where is the one of you guys camping?  I loved seeing Sami up on the four wheeler, I miss that little bugger!  Sage too!  The dogs here are gross and diseased, and we aren't allowed to touch them, so it was fun to see my buddies!  Oh yeah, the one of Keagan was pretty cute too.  ha ha  She is adorable! (That was a joke to see if Ashley got upset!)  Boy, I love that little girl!  That's kinda the joke on the mission that missionaries are in love with their nieces!  I sure love that little girl, and especially her smile!!  You better be training her who Uncle Riley is!  The little kids here are hilarious.  I have so much fun playing with them in the streets, they are what keep missionaries going.  That´s so crazy that you have so much corn!  I would love to be there helping you guys with that!  It's crazy how my take on things like that have changed.  Speaking of which, Dad have you started searching for your bull?  The hunt has started, hasn´t it?  I sure hope you get a huge one.  You deserve it.
          So this week is going to be an interesting one.  First, I had to speak in church on Sunday, and second, our P-Day got cancelled.  We only get to E-Mail today because we went to the Temple last week and it took out of the time we could be working, so President asked us to make a sacrifice and work on our P-Day.  I´m not gonna lie, I kinda had a Laman and Lemuel attitude about the whole situation at first.  To me it kind of seemed like a punishment, but I have faith that it is really a blessing.  If there is one thing that I really have learned while I have been here, it's that the hardest times in our lives are when we learn the most.  Everyone has challenges.  It's how we react to these challenges that define us.  It's our reactions to these challenges that show the kind of people we really are.
          I remember when I got my patriarchal blessing, and I was told there would be times of challenges.  My initial thought process was ¨well that's not what I wanted to hear¨.  Then I listened further, and was promised that there would come a time when I would kneel before the Savior and thank him MOST for my hard times.  I am just starting to understand this.   I have just started over the Book of Mormon, and am reading about the family of Lehi.  The difference between Nephi and Laman and Lemuel is how they handle challenges.  (It might have helped that Nephi was large in stature, ha ha).  I am convinced that the very same principle is what ¨separates the men from the boys".  I am going to try and apply this to my P-Day cancellation.  I could either take the Laman and Lemuel approach and murmur and have a terrible day, or I could take the Nephi approach and have the best day ever!  I am trying to take the Nephi approach.
          A statement I heard in a devotional from Elder Holland has stuck with me ever since the MTC.  He said (referring to missionaries, and I'm going to say to all members of the church) ¨How can we complain if the work is hard?  The Atonement was harder than anything.  If we expect to call ourselves disciples of Christ, how dare we complain at hard times.  We will all have one 'garden experience'."  This quote hit me really hard.  It is so true.  Although we never want hard things in our lives, if they come, I hope we will all think, "What can we learn?"  Sorry, that was a lot longer than I planned on it being, but I have been thinking about it a lot lately.  One last quote from Preach My Gospel, "Fear and faith cannot exist together".  Think about that one, ha ha.
          Anyway....back to what I was going to talk about!  Our investigators right now are on a roller coaster.  We are still waiting for First Presidency Approval to baptize Agapito.  Every day when we pass by, he asks if he can be baptized yet.  He is absolutely awesome.  Mikael and his nephew Eric are kind of a roller coaster right now.  They didn't come to church yesterday, which was somewhat devastating to me.  I love those guys and don't want to lose them, but this morning Mikael stopped by and talked to us, and I think things are going to be fine.  We have a bunch of other investigators right now, but I don't have time to talk about all of them.   It's crazy how you get attached to investigators.  Geez
          So I found out Friday night that I had to give a talk on Sunday.  That's really not enough time for a 3-month second-language missionary to write a talk!  But I did it.  The meeting was on missionary work though, so it was an easy topic.  It went good though, and people understood me!  The Spanish is improving!  The part that was awesome was when the Ward Mission leader talked.  He started off by saying ¨These are some really good missionaries, they are American, but good!¨  That kinda bugged us, but he went on to talk about how big of an impact our service (working in the mud)  had effected him, and helped peoples opinions of the church change.  The members are really stoked about missionary work and are giving us references like crazy.  All the things the church donated, and the things it did to help out the people have really changed their attitudes.  We walk down the street and people ask us if we can come share with them.  It's pretty awesome, once again, blessing from a challenge!
          Anyway this week, we have a party with our district to celebrate my 3-month mark, and on Saturday we are going to the beach to participate in the national clean-up day thing!  I´m super stoked.  I love service projects.  Yes, I just said that.  Anyway, I love you all!  I pray for you every single day, multiple times a day, and hope everything is going good!  I hope you have a great week!

Until Next Week, 
Elder Reeder
(it's really weird that Riley already just sounds weird)

Word on the street is if you put your feet in cold water, it cools you down!  
This is me trying it--it kinda works.

Us on the bus from the Temple.  The driver missed the turn, so we ended up being in the East Mission for a little bit, which breaks like every rule in the book, but it wasn't our fault!

I´m somewhere back there!  Look close!

Crazy clouds and the ocean!

Elder Reeder, Elder Day and Elder Stott