Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Field Trip and An Amazing Week

Hola Familia! 
     My P-Day is not permanently Wednesday, just for this week.  As far as I know.  The reason being Presidente wanted to take us on a "field trip".  We just got back not too long ago, and boy it was awesome!  First of all we went to the Jardin Botanico (Botanical Garden) I think...I don't really remember how to spell in English.  It was amazing, I will try to send some pictures.  It was my first experience out of the city, and instantly I realized that the campo is where I want to be!  It's amazingly beautiful!!  Everything is green, green, and more green.  It was absolutely beautiful.  
     After this we got to go to the home of Diego Colon (Christopher Columbus' son), in the Zona Colonial (colonial zone), or basically the old city.  It was awesome because everything was built in the 1500's and early 1600's.  It was an awesome experience!  It was also near the ocean so that was fun.  I will send pictures, they can say way more than I can in 30 minutes.  
     The thing that pictures don't do justice is driving.  SANTO BOCA!  (literal translation that doesn't make sense in Spanish of, Holy Cow)  It is absolutely insane.  Here is how it works:  If your vehicle is bigger, you have the right-of-way always.  If your vehicle is a motorcycle, you have no rules at all.  They go when the light is red, in between cars, whatever, and not just in the town, on the freeway.  Yeah, its crazy.  Someone is always honking their horn.  That's not an exaggeration.  Its an adventure!  You feel like you're going to die every second, but I'm getting used to it. :)  Basically, I was sad I wasn't going to get to drive, but now I consider it a blessing.  Interesting fact: Gas is 237 pesos per gallon, and diesel is 187, the exchange rate is 1 dollar=38 pesos.  So you do the math.  Basically, it's expensive, but at least diesel is way cheaper than gas, like it is supposed to be.  
     I will finish with one other worldy experience and then get to the good stuff.  We got to go shopping!!!  It was amazing.  It was this store called......I don't remember, but it's basically Wal-Mart.  They had EVERYTHING.  It was awesome.  Speaking of which, I tried to use my credit card, it didn't work.  I was charging like 1678 pesos or something like that, and it didn't work.  I had cash so it wasn't a big deal, but could you just double check that there isn't a charge on there, and possibly call USU Credit Union and see why it didn't work, just in case there is ever an emergency?  Gracious.  Um on the way we saw a Ferrari Dealership, Porsche, basically every car manufacturer you could ever imagine, and I saw a Miata just like mine, down to the hardtop.  Speaking of which, does the Miata have a new home?  Anyway, now I want to get to the good stuff.  
     This past week I have had two of the most powerful experiences of my life.  The first occurred while contacting at the Universidad last Friday.  It had been raining so there were hardly any people out, but we kept walking around talking to people.  Well, with about a half hour left, something amazing happened.  We were walking and we walked past this guy, and at the same time Elder Jensen and I looked at each other, turned around and went and talked to this man (probably about 23-ish)  He was extremely nice.  He spoke slowly so we could understand, and he asked great questions.  He was a golden investigator.  We asked what was important to him and he said family, god, friends.  He then said he wanted to hear more about our church and about "that book"  (the Book of Mormon).  We jumped on the opportunity and shared a lot.  The Spirit was so strong, and I could see it working on his heart.  After half an hour it was time to go, so we left him with our testimonies, and a number that he could call to reach the missionaries who "spoke better Spanish".  We then invited him to read and to pray, and we promised him that he would receive an answer.  
     This is when I realized how important our work is.  Never in my entire life have I wanted anyone to do something so badly as I wanted him to read that book and pray.  I instantly loved him and wanted him to be able to enjoy the guidance and happiness that the gospel would bring into his life.  It was a powerful testimony that there is a reason I am here.  I love the people and want them to experience the blessings of the gospel.  Next story.  
     All throughout my mission I have been praying for increased guidance of the spirit, well my prayer was answered.  Monday mornings we have the opportunity to teach one of my favorite teachers, Hermana Laureano.  Even though it is just "pretend" I always pray that the Spirit will be with us, and that it will guide us through our practice and to help me to know what to say.  Well we started off with prayer, asked "Esperanza" (her fake name for us to teach her) a few questions, and then told her that today we planned on teaching her about our Heavenly Father's plan for us.  She then said, "Well I prayed and didn't feel anything" (We challenged her to pray in the last meeting).  I instantly felt prompted we teach about prayer and leave our lesson plan behind.  So I did.  I continued asking her questions, and the scripture D y C 8:2 came to my mind.  I opened to it and had her read it.  As soon as she began to read, the words "she needs to pray--right now" came to my mind as if my companion had said it to me.  It was the strongest prompting I have ever received in my life.  As soon as she was done reading, she looked at me and said, "What are you feeling?"  I responded, "I feel prompted that you need to pray with us right now."  She looked at me in shock, and then proceeded to offer the most beautiful prayer I have ever heard in Spanish.  I was able to understand every word, even though they were words I did not previously know in Spanish.  The Spirit was so strong my heart was pounding, and I felt that I had indeed done the will of the lord.  I didn't know why at the time, but she needed to pray right then and there.  She then told us that the other companionships scheduled to teach her would not be teaching, we walked back to class, and she walked away.  As my companion and I stopped to talk, I told him, "I don't know why, but for some reason the Lord wanted her to pray right then."  
     About an hour later, when we got back to class, I found out why.  She asked me to explain what I had felt to the class.  I proceeded to tell the story and my feelings.  She then explained things from her side of the story.  Apparently, she has been having some super hard times in her life right now.  She didn't expound, just that things weren't going good.  She then said with tears in her eyes, "When you asked me to pray right then it was for me, not Esperanza, but for me Hermana Laureano.  The Spirit told you to have me pray because I needed help, and I needed to talk with my Father in Heaven, right then and right there.  She then said that things had literally already improved and were better. It was an amazing experience. 
     I don't tell this story to say 'look what I did', I tell it because with the Spirit on our side, we can do anything.  The companion whispering that to me was the Holy Ghost, my second companion.  The Lord knows his children.  He loves every one of them, and when we are willing to listen to the promptings of the Spirit we can do anything.  In this instance, he worked through me, practicing teaching at the CCM to help one of His daughters.  It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  The Church is true.  God loves each and every one of us more than we can ever imagine.  He knows us individually and wants to help us.  I am so grateful for this week and the things I have learned.  I love serving the Lord every minute of every day and the ability I have to grow closer to him.  
     When times are tough, I know that I need not worry because He is always there.  I just need to pray. I know the same is true for all of you.  No matter what it is, no matter where it is, the Lord is with you and wants to help you.  Just ask!!  Another thing, if you need help, ask for a blessing.  One thing I have learned is no thing is too small for a Priesthood Blessing.  It is not only for before surgeries, it's for everything in our lives.   It is an amazing power we are authorized to use, and we need to exercise this privilege, often and righteously.  
     I love you all so much and pray for you daily.


Elder Reeder

P.S.  I hope that Bear Lake is fun, thanks for the pictures!  They literally are like my favorite part!  
Also, Dad I would like to see a picture of the fancy new mailbox!  I heard there was an earthquake, that's crazy!  
I'm glad Andy's farewell was good.  He will be an amazing missionary!
I'm sure mom will be glad to hear this:  The East Mission is the sketchy part of town, and the West is the "nicer" side of town.  In other words, East missionaries have to take money just so it can get stolen, because it will, and if they don't have it they will get beat up.  Woohoo for the West Mission! :) 
Also, Mom if you haven't sent my usb cable yet, apparently it is better to send it to the Miami package address that is somewhere in the packet or in that letter from the old Mission President, and it usually takes like 2 weeks to get here that way.  So yeah, anyway thanks! 
I love you all, hope you have a great week!  

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