Monday, January 30, 2012

Transfers......and I'm Going................Nowhere!

Hello Family!  

Well, we got called last night to get told where I'm going and what I'm doing.....and the news is...........Nowhere!  I'm staying in my same area, with Elder Hall again!  Yeah, weird I know.  Unexpected, shocking, and I still don't know how I feel about it.  

So we will start out with the story.  Yesterday I spent all day visiting my old investigators, telling them goodbye, giving them a last minute message, taking pictures, all that good stuff.  It was in all honesty a really hard day.  It was so hard to say goodbye to the people that I love so very much, and now I know that I didn't even have to say goodbye!  Ha ha!  The worst was with Seba and Felix.  We went to their house very last, and it was by far the hardest.  I just begged them to go on missions, to stay active, and most of all I just bore my testimony of the gospel.  During all of this I was a little emotional, okay quite a bit emotional, you know me.  Come to find out I'm not going anywhere!  That's going to be awkward going back....uh just kidding, I'll be here until March!  

In all honesty, I don't really know how I feel.  At first I was so shocked I didn't even believe it.  Once again I thought that Morgan was just messing with me, but it turned out to be the truth.  Last night I was happy that I didn't have to leave all my friends and investigators, but then when I realized I was staying, I began to struggle with that idea also.  I will last 1/3 of my time in the actual mission field in my first area, and now 3 transfers with my companion.  Its just an extremely strange idea.  I'm now the last remaining member of the ¨original¨ San Cristobal zone (the zone from when I got here).  Its just an all around weird situation.  But, I know it is for a reason.  

Last night I spend a lot of time thinking, pondering, and questioning the situation.  While I was thinking, and pondering, the words came to my head, ¨the Lords ways aren't our ways¨.  I had been thinking so much about what usually happens in transfers, that I wasn't thinking about the fact that the Lord has a different plan for me and my companion.  I don't know what that plan is, but I know that I am here for a reason.  Also, I know that this transfer may be a challenge for me, but with a good attitude, and with the help of the Lord, I can do anything!  

This has made me think a lot about life in general.  Lots of times, the Lord's ways just aren't the same as ours!  As much as we think we know what is going to happen--we don't.  But I know with all my heart, that the Lord's ways are the very best possible way for us.  That doesn't mean it is the easiest, just the best for us.  We learn the most when we are pushed the most. 

Anyway, I'm extremely happy that I get to stay in Madre Vieja Norte for another transfer!  I am so happy that hopefully I will get to see a few more of our investigators enter the waters of baptism.  Anyway, I don't have a whole lot more to say this week.  I'm staying here in the same place, with the same comp!  It will be an adventure, but I know its all part of the Lord's plan for me. 

I love you all so very much!  I pray for you each and every day!  


Elder Riley Reeder

Friday, January 27, 2012

Last Week in Madre Vieja Norte--Mixed Feelings!

Hello Family, 

This week has been another great week in Madre Vieja Norte!  We have been super lucky these last few weeks, and we have so many investigators to teach that we hardly have time to contact and look for more.  I couldn't ask for anything better.  Things are going just great here!  I kinda just want to tell you a little bit about the different families and people that we are teaching right now.  

1st.  Gladys y Fausto.  Gladys and Fausto are just a miracle.  Elder Day and I received Gladys as a reference a long, long time ago.  We went, taught her one lesson, and she seemed so uninterested that we never went back.  When Elder Hall and I happened upon her house contacting again, I thought to myself that we shouldn't even waste our time.  But we contacted her, she started progressing, and now she and her husband are progressing tons!  They are starting on the process to get married.  

2nd.  Ada y Ruben (y hijos).  Ada and Ruben are another miracle.  We contacted them, and after one  lesson we really thought that Ada could progress, but we didn't even know about Ruben.  After we met Ruben, things just really took off.  They are married by the law.  (You don't even understand how big of a deal that is.)  They are just great!  We had a really special experience with them last week.  We left them 3 Nephi 11 to read, and in the next visit when we returned, they hadn't read anything.  We decided to read it with them.  We then read the whole chapter together, and after we discussed the things that we liked from the chapter.  Ada was talking, and I just kept getting the feeling that we needed to invite them to pray right then to know if the Book of Mormon is true.  It seemed like an awkward situation, because we were teaching outside, and there was a lot going on.  I denied the prompting the first time, because it just seemed like the wrong time, to me.  It came again, and this time I couldn't deny it.  I asked if there was a place that we could go and all kneel to pray to know that the Book of Mormon is true.  They gladly accepted, and we entered their humble home, kneeled down on the cement floor, and prayed.  Ada then offered one of the most special prayers I have ever heard.  With all her heart she pleaded with the Lord to know if the Book of Mormon is true, and if the things we presented were true.  As she was closing her prayer, I could hear her voice shake, and when I looked up I saw tears in the eyes of her and Ruben.  I know without a doubt in my mind they received their answer.  The Spirit was so strong in their little house, and I know they recognized it.  I know without a shadow of a doubt the Book of Mormon is true, and this strengthened my testimony immensely.       

3rd.  Demauri and Moreno.   Demauri is a less active member, and Moreno is her husband.  They have two little girls who are absolutely adorable.  The one is always singing this really popular song here, and it's the cutest thing ever.  (I shot video of it and will send it home very, very soon)  She loves us and always just calls us "Los Misioneros!"  It's so fun to pass by their house.  Anyway, Moreno was really timid when we started off our visits with him.  He never had a lot to say, but we could tell that he was listening with his heart.  In the last week he has really opened up to us.  He jokes with us, laughs with us, and always wants to buy us food.  It is so amazing the way the people who have absolutely nothing will open up and give you everything they have.  It absolutely breaks my heart every time they give us something, because I know it is such a sacrifice, but they will not let us deny their gifts.  We learned alot about them on Saturday when we passed by.  We had a visit set up, and when we passed by there was a bunch of people over, and it looked like quite a party.  Demauri ran out and got Moreno and they invited us in, and instantly they turned off the music, left the party, and shared with us.  It was such a small thing, but it really showed me their desires to learn about the Gospel. 

I don't have time to tell you about all the people that we are teaching right now, but I thought you would like to hear a little bit.  I love them with all of my heart.  They really have become some of my best friends.  Thinking about the upcoming transfer (next week)  I really get sad.  I have made so many great friends in this area that saying goodbye is going to kill me.  I really have developed such a love for the members, the investigators, and this area.  I have learned more about my Savior Jesus Christ, his Gospel, and myself in the last 6 months than any other time in my life.  I love my companion, he has taught me so much.  I feel like at times he is more my trainer than I am his.  I love all the experiences we have had together, and I hope that I have helped him learn something.  All in all I love the mission.  It is so much work, so much stress, but at the same time so much fun.  It is the most rewarding thing I have ever done.  I am a firm believer that missionary work should be fun, and I know that when we are serving the lord with all our heart, might, mind, and strength, it is fun.  I know Christ lives.  He is our Savior and Redeemer.  

I love you guys!   

Elder Reeder

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Blessings of the Lord

Hello Family!

I don't have any clever introduction today, so I'll just jump right into it.  This week has been one of the most amazing of all of the mission.  Recently I was getting kind of down.  I felt like we were working so hard, and yet with almost no results.  Our investigators just weren't progressing, and I was really starting to get frustrated.  On Wednesday, we had interviews with President, and in my interview I started to talk about the feelings, frustrations, and challenges that I was facing.  He offered me some advice, and reassured me that as long as I was doing my very best, the Lord would do His part.  It made me feel a lot better, and I left with a new confidence in the Lord's ability to help His children progress in His Church.  After this we saw a weekend with so many blessings, I could hardly believe it.

Gladys's ¨husband¨ did not have any interest in our message, and was against getting married so that Gladys could get baptized.  We had a lesson with him on Thursday, where I truly saw the Spirit change someones heart.  We explained the Law of Chastity, why it is important, why we need to follow it, and the blessings that they would receive.  At the end, he understood why, and is now willing to get married.  Also, he is going to sacrifice working on Sundays to go to church.  Two beliefs, or struggles that this man has that I never thought we would be able to change.  And in the end, we weren't able to change him.  But the Spirit of the Lord was able to soften this man's heart, so he could understand the importance of living the commandments.  He is now progressing very quickly, reading the Book of Mormon, and accepting all that we teach.

We have seen similar miracles all weekend.  We received more references from the members of this ward in 4 days than in the rest of our 2 transfers.  We had more people come to church this week than any other.  The list of blessings that we received doesn't seem to end.  We were able to find an old investigator who has renewed desire, and if all goes well, will be baptized on the 28th.  It truly has been a week of miracles.        

Moral of the story.  The Lord tries us.  He lets things happen to us to test us.  He tests our faithfulness, and if we endure it well, we receive more blessings than we know what to do with.  I know that is true.  I know that every one of us has challenges, and at times it feels like the Lord has abandoned us.   He will never abandon us.  He will always bless us, when we endure our challenges with faith, hope, and confidence in him.  It is my prayer that we will always have confidence in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  When it seems like we just can't do it anymore, we can.  We have the most powerful being in the universe on our side.  He loves us and wants to bless us.  We just have to ask with faith and endure.  I love my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I know that He loves every one of us, and He is always by our side during times of struggle.  He is always there to ease our burdens, and just when we think we can't do it anymore, He steps in and takes the load from our shoulders.  

I love you all.

Elder Riley Ted Reeder  


I just had to tell you!  So get this--at interviews on Wednesday, President's wife told us that we have to pee sitting down--because its healthier!  CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?!  We just about all died.  I think that it sounds more dangerous!  (ha ha)  Just thought you would get a kick out of that.


Monday, January 9, 2012


Well the new things that I keep seeing and feeling here on the mission never stop coming!!!  This week, I believe it was Thursday, we had an earthquake!!!  At about 5:30 in the morning, I woke up to my bed wandering all over the place, and I felt like I was riding the waves at Bear Lake!!  Then there was a big crack sound and it was all over.  It lasted about 7 seconds.  I'm pretty sure it was about a 5.4 or something like that, and centered in a city named Ocoa.  (This is what I have true it is I'm not sure)  Anyway, it was pretty much the weirdest thing I have ever felt.  When it was over, I looked over at Elder Hall and was like...Was that an earthquake?  He was like....uh I think!  About 30 seconds later Elder Morgan called me from Madre Vieja Sur, and he was freaking out!  They live on the 4th floor of an apartment, and it is super close to another building, and apparently the building was swaying so much that it hit the other one!  He thought they were all dead.  But, everything was okay.  I haven't seen any real damage, a few cracks in houses, but nothing catastrophic, just another crazy experience for the mission! 

Besides that, this week was pretty normal.  We are just working hard and trying to find more investigators!  We had to drop a few last week, because they just weren't doing their part.  One extremely bright part of this week was yesterday in Church.  We are teaching a woman named Suleki, and her Aunt Gladys.  Suleki has 3 kids, all of them under 4.  And she lives about as far away as possible from the church.  We taught her on Saturday, and then we made plans to help her get to church on Sunday.  We knew that if she was going to go to church it was going to be quite a sacrifice for her.  We showed up to her house on Sunday morning at about 8:20, and she was 100 percent ready to go.  She had all of her kids dressed up and was entirely ready.  She said she had been up since 6:00 getting everyone ready, cooking breakfast, doing everything so that they could go to church.  She then had to walk all the way to church with these three kids.  Elder Hall and I each took one of the little girls, and she had the smallest boy, and we were off to church!  It took us 30 minutes to get there, but we got there!  I was so amazed by the sacrifice she made to go to church.  I know that the Lord blessed her so much, and I was praying the whole meeting that she was feeling the Spirit.   
It made me think about myself before the mission.  I thought it was a sacrifice for me to roll out of bed at 8:30, take my smoking hot shower, jump in my car and get to church at 9.  Boy was I wrong.  Sometimes we have to make sacrifices to attend church.  It is always worth it to go to church.  When we are having a bad week, and we just don't feel like going, that's when we need it most.   When we are just tired, that's when we need it most!  The Lord will always bless us for going to church.

Another thing that really impacted me this week was something our Bishop said at Noche de Amistad this week.  He was talking about having a love for the scriptures, and the great blessing that it is to live in this time that we have the fullness of the Gospel, which is found in the Book of Mormon.  He then said that there are many members of the Church that aren't living with this blessing, because for many of us "the plates might as well still be in the Hill Cumorah because we aren't using them.  They are just sitting on the shelf in our house." Its one thing to have a set of scriptures.  Its another thing to read and study them everyday!  I hope that we are all studying the scriptures every day.  Especially the Book of Mormon.  I have developed such a love for the Book of Mormon.  I know without a doubt in my mind that it is true.  I know it can change lives.  It changed mine, and I know that it will change anyone's who reads it and follows its teachings.  

One other thing I learned this week,  I was reading in the Liahona from General Conference.  I would encourage everyone to read the story that talks about Alma Sonne.  I was reading that story and that name jumped out at me, and I remembered he is on my Priesthood Line of Authority.  Pretty cool to find little things like that.  

Most importantly, I love you all!  I pray for you all every single day!  I want you to know I'm happy!  I love the mission.  I love the experiences I am having, and I love my Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ.  There is no greater happiness than the Gospel of Christ and our families.  Never forget it!  

Elder Riley Ted Reeder

Monday, January 2, 2012

Santa Came to Town -- and Brought the True Meaning of Christmas

Hello Family!

Well it's a New Year!  And today, I received some Christmas packages!  Wahoo!  I got the one addressed to Elder Hall and I, and also one from Grandma Reeder.  I haven't opened anything yet, but thank you so much!!  Also, make sure and tell Grandma Reeder thanks for the package!  Carmel on pretzels, it doesn't get any better than that!  Thank you so much for everything.  The presents don't even matter, it is just the love that I could feel from you guys.  It really is amazing. 

2012 - I can't believe it is here.  I really, honestly can't believe that 2012 is here.  Like I said in the phone call, I feel like I left last week.  This week was kind of an interesting week.  We didn't really have a whole ton of success between Christmas and New Year's eve, but it was a good week none the less.  This week we had a visit with Santo and Flor (the couple that was baptized when Elder Day and I were together).   We decided to talk about temples.  We began talking, and Santo began to tell us the desire that he has to go to the temple to be sealed with his family.  It doesn't get any better than that for missionaries.  I was just so happy to hear and to feel the desire that he has to be sealed to his wife and family for time and all eternity.

The more time I spend preaching the gospel, the more time I realize how important the family is.  I just want to say thank you.  Thank you for everything.  I realize now that every true joy I have had in my life came from you guys.  Elder Morgan and I were talking, and he said that he read somewhere that in the pre-earth life, two of the things that we got to choose were #1 our family, and #2 our guardian angel.  I don't know if that is doctrine, but I sure like to believe it.  I don't doubt for a second why I chose the family I did.  I think of all the things you have taught me, all the things you have done for me, and all the joy I have had in my life--because of my family.  Family is absolutely everything.  Nothing should EVER come in front of our family.  Work, friends, personal desires, nothing.  I have learned something extremely important from an Elder in the mission about family.  Money never has, or never will buy happiness.  This missionaries family is extremely well off.  They have tons of money, but I have realized how little that money means to him now that he is on the mission.  I am always talking about the things that I did with my family.  I talk about my Dad, all the fun times we had together, and how we pretty much always did everything together.  About my Mom, who always did practically everything for me, and always doing amazing little things for me to help me out.  How I loved spending my free time with my family, because it was just so much fun.  This Elder has been on extravagant vacations, always had everything he wanted, but never the thing most important.  A special relationship with his family.

I have no doubt in my mind that I chose the family I did for a special reason.  I think about the things that made me most happy before the mission, and it was the simple things.  Working on something in the garage with Dad.  Talking to Mom about my day when I got home late.  Hanging out with Ash and Sven when they came up for a weekend.  (It was always a little sweeter when I beat Sven at Fifa hahaha)  All of these are the memories most important for me.  It's not of a cool Christmas present, a fun vacation, none of this.  It's the happiness that I have from my family.  From the things that don't cost a single dollar.  I know it is hard not to worry about money, but it is a sure lot more important to worry about our family.  If we have our family we have what brings more happiness than money can buy.  A new car can't do it, a fancy house, nothing.  The special moments and our relationships are what brings true happiness.  In the next life I'm sure we will be talking about all the great times we had as a family.  Not how cool our car was or how big our house was.

I just want you to know how much I love you all.  I know I was never much of a tell-you-I-Love-You person before the mission, but I hope that you know how much I really do, and that I'm a tell-you-I-love-you guy now.  I am so grateful for every moment we spent together.  I also want you to know that I know without a single doubt in my heart that we will be able to enjoy these moments forever if we are all faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  There is no other way we can have true happiness.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ brings true happiness.  If we aren't living the commandments of the Lord, there is no day better than today to start fresh.

So on Saturday night, there was a whole bunch of craziness!!!!  At midnight, everyone was shooting off fireworks, guns, all sorts of stuff!!  It was pretty crazy!!!   Sunday taught me an important lesson.  We walked through the streets, and you could honestly just smell alcohol.  There were bottles everywhere, and the people still drinking from the night before.  As I looked in their faces, I did not see a single person who was happy.  All looked sick, sad, and for lack of a better word, disgusting.  It made me realize how much happiness living the commandments of God brings us, and how much temporary happiness worldly things bring us.  I hope we are all searching for true happiness and not worldly happiness.  True happiness comes from a family who has a special relationship.  True happiness comes from parents who live their lives as an example for their children.  True happiness comes as a family seated together in church, and later in the temple.  True happiness comes from our family, not from money.  I'm so grateful for you, Mom and Dad, who always put family time in front of work.  Who put in the time to show their love.  Who never missed a soccer game, or a special moment in my life.  I would never trade all the money in the world for the amazing memories I have with all of you.    

All in all, I love you.  Thanks for every single thing, but most especially for the special moments we have had together.


Elder Riley Ted Reeder

A Christmas Call Hangover


Well, yesterday was an amazing day to say the least!  Having the opportunity to talk to you guys was awesome.  Its weird to think that in all honesty that is the best Christmas present I could ever ask for.  Crazy how your priorities change when you are on a mission.  First of all, I just want to say thanks.  Thanks for everything, the letters, the support, and most of all your love.  Letters and pictures are what keep a missionary going.  I don't have a whole lot to say today, sorry for that.  But, I love you guys!  I love the mission!  It truly is the best two years.  I have learned, grown, and progressed more in 6 months than in any other time in my life.  I'm so grateful for the opportunity that I have to serve the Lord and the people of the Dominican Republic.  

Elder Riley Reeder