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

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