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.    

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