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

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Excitement Continues-Just Different Kinds

Hello Family!
          This week has been another fun-filled, exciting week here in the Dominican Republic!  After last week though, I´m not sure anything is going to be as exciting as that was.  First of all to answer questions.  Mom, I haven't really had time to think about the plaque, so it would probably be best just to turn that in.  Yes, I got the package!!  It was like Christmas.  I was so, so happy.  Thanks for everything in there, it was awesome.  Everything survived just fine!  I couldn't believe you fit all that in there!  I just kept pulling stuff out!  My knee is mejorando (improving).  I don't think there is any damage, it's just sore.  My in-grown toe is doing fine at the moment.  La Bandera is like meat and potatoes is for you guys, except it is rice, beans, and a little bit of meat.  Abuela cooks for us....I don't really know why Abuela cooks for us.....we have a stove, but she cooks for us, and it's dang good and super cheap.  Our apartment--forget what I said about it earlier.  It's the Hilton.  I just needed to be humbled a little bit.
          Dad, if you would send me some pictures that would be great!!!  But if you could e-mail them as well, that would be great, because the missionary mail system takes FOREVER!!!  Like, we get mail probably once every month and a half or so.  I shouldn't whine about that either, but it's a long time.  Dad, I almost died when I saw the Aggies were in the running with Auburn.  Absolutely crazy, too bad the Aggie luck took over.  That's so sweet Mitch and Colton are coming here!!!  That made me super excited.  I wish they were coming to the West, but hey, its sweet here!  Tell them if they have questions feel free to ask, I know how that is.  I can't believe you didn't go listen to Ugly Earl!!  I was thinking that you guys would be doing that.
          Okay now for my week!!  Drum Roll it started off a little bit rough.  When I woke up Tuesday morning, I had to go to the bathroom.  Well, I went to the bathroom and there was......well, there was quite a bit of blood.  I´m gonna be honest, I was pretty freaked out. (Mom I know you are freaking out right now, but really you don't need to be nervous.  This story has a happy ending.)  So I yelled to Elder Day, "Houston we have a problem!"  And then he had to come examine it.  Anyway, we called Hermana Rodriguez, and she told me that I had to go and get it analyzed.  We were like.....uh, we flushed it.  So that morning and afternoon were spent waiting I could get it analyzed.  Sorry, if this is going to get gross, but I think it's hilarious.  Also, Mom I´m thinking you shouldn't put this part on the blog.  haha.  So I got to go to the bathroom in a grocery bag.....and then we packed it into San Cristobal to the Clinica to have it analyzed.  We showed up to the clinic, set the bag on the counter and said, we need this analyzed.  You should have seen the guy's face when he realized what was in the bag.  He was like, uh....that's not how we do it.  Anyway, they took it, analyzed it, and told me I had an amoeba, whatever that means, and that I needed to go to Medico to get some pills.  We were like ¨uh, okay¨.  So we took a trip to the Hospital.  Health care in the States rocks.  Anyway, the lady working there gave me a prescription for some pills.  Me, being a greenie, decided that I really didn't want to take some pills that the creepy nurse at the sketchy hospital had given me.
          So we called the Doctor that works at the CCM.  He told me to bring my analysis to the zone conference that we were going to be having tomorrow, and Elder Cornish (a member of the 70) would take a look at it.  Fast forward.  Zone Conference.  Talking to Elder Cornish (he´s a legit Doctor, John Hopkins School of Medicine, helped Elder Nelson with the Artificial Heart-this guy knows his stuff, and he is a General Authority, so I´m feeling really good at this point).  Well he says, yep that prescription is correct.  Just go get those pills, take them, and you´ll be fine.  So, I am taking the pills, and I am fine.  The story was just too funny not to tell you guys.  I feel absolutely fine, and I have the entire time.  Mom, try not to worry, I really am fine.  I promise.
          So anyway, continuation of the week.  We had zone conference on Wednesday, with President Rodriguez and also with Elder Cornish.  It was a really good experience.  Elder Cornish is an amazing speaker (is that correct English?).  We learned a lot about how we can be more effective in our teaching, and how we need to focus on the doctrine, which is absolutely true.  The scriptures and the Spirit are the teachers, we just have to be the means that people can feel it.  Thursday.....nothing exciting.  Lessons, contacting, missionary work.  If I don't have anything to say about a day....sometimes that's a good thing.  Writing day by day is hard, I don't remember anything.  But I made a little list of things to write about, so I am going to write about that.
          Highlight of the week.  One night Elder Day and I were walking back to our house, when all of the sudden we see something being projected onto a cinder block wall.  We were like what the  ???  (You just don't see projectors around here.)  As we were walking by, I realized that the crowd of people were there because it was the Boston-New York game.  It's possible that we stopped and watched for a couple of minutes, until I saw Boston commit an error, and I had to leave.  I think Grandpa Reeder and Dad would have been okay with this decision, haha.
          Anyway next,  Mom--they have this awesome drink here called Kola Real.  It's like Coke, except a million times better.  I wish I could send you some, but I can't think of a way.  Also, they have amazing juices here, that we don't have in America because the fruit is illegal there, like chinola, and other fruit that I can't remember right now.  They are amazing!!!
          Wow, this is random, but now to our investigators.  We have a bunch right now.  We had 11 investigators in Church yesterday, which was a record for Elder Day.  It was really exciting to see so many there.  One of our investigators, Agapito, is ready to be baptized, he just has to get approval.  from the First Presidency.  Yes, as in Thomas S. Monson.  President Rodriguez had a scheduled phone call with them today, so we are excited to get the news from that.  We have a husband and wife who are getting married on the 27th, and we should be baptizing them soon after.  We also have a young man with a fecha (date) for the 17th.  The work is going along good.  Also, we have an awesome family we are teaching.  They have a little boy named Eric, who is just a stud.  He is 10 and always reads everything that we leave them, and he understands it all!  We left them a chapter about Adam and Eve, and I´m pretty sure he understands it better than me.  I really hope they continue to progress, because I really love them.
          I have really developed such a love for the people here.  They have their shortcomings, just like all of us, but they are awesome.  They are so accepting of the missionaries.  The mission is the greatest experience of my life.  I can't even wrap my mind around all of the things I have learned while I've been here.  People and our relationships with them, along with the Gospel of Jesus Christ are the most important things in our lives.  It doesn't matter how big our house is, how nice our car is, how educated we are.  All of that is secondary to our families and the Gospel.
          I want you all to think about the blessings of our family and the Church.  Really think about it.  I can't even believe how blessed we are.  I love you all so very much.  I know without a shadow of a doubt that this is the true Church.  Jesus Christ lives.  The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and will bless your life.  I encourage you to continue to read it, EVERY day.  I promise it will change your life.  I have seen it change mine, and the people we teach, and I know it will change yours.  I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to be here.  I feel inadequate everyday, but with the Lord's help, I can do it.  I know that with the Lord's help, you guys can over come every challenge you are facing.  Just ask.  Live the Gospel of Jesus Christ, pray, and your burdens will be lifted.  I have had this happen countless times so far.  I love you guys so much, and pray for you every day. 

Elder Reeder

P.S.  We get to go to the Temple on Thursday!!  Wahoo!!!!