Monday, March 26, 2012

Hello Family!


Another week in the mission! Once again, it wasn't easy, but boy am I learning a lot! This week we had the opportunity to have a zone conference and listen to President Rodriguez. He truly is an amazing man. He talked about the relation between the Atonement and missionary work. He told us that if we truly comprehend the Atonement, we will have a strong desire to share the Gospel with everyone that we see! I have thought about that a lot this week. Sometimes as missionaries we get into such a routine that we turn into robots, and our lessons turn into a heartless regurgitation of words.

I then think about prayer. How often are our prayers really just a collection of "vain repetitions"? One thing that I have loved to see in the mission is the people who say that they don't know how to pray shake their fear and pray. Those have been some of the most powerful moments of the mission for me. Someone who hasn't heard other people pray, doesn't know the common phrases that we use, really prays from their heart. Just something to think about.

Anyway, I have learned a lot this week studying about a topic extremely interesting. Pride. I have discovered that to have any sort of success in the mission, and in life, we need to try and get rid of every bit of pride in our lives. Just as with the Nephites, pride will lead to destruction, and in the case of today, spiritually. I have thought about the disagreements that I have had with my companion, and have thought about how different they would have been if I would have entered with a truly humble attitude. How often in life are we too prideful to admit we are wrong? How often are we too prideful to admit to ourselves that we are wrong? But pride is more than just thinking we are right. How often do we pass up an opportunity to serve someone, especially in our own families, because we are pridefully involved in our own activities? How often are we too prideful to fully live the commandments of God?

In the conference last week President Rodriguez said that "obedience brings blessings, exact obedience brings about miracles". I know that that is true, not only for a missionary, but for everyone! If we want to see milagros in our lives, we have to live the laws of God with EXACT obedience. More things to think about. (I don't want you to think I'm preaching to you, I have just been thinking a lot about this in my own life.)

Anyway, want to hear something cool? You will never guess who baptized my companion. Chad Champlin. Yes, that's right, the Chad Champlin who went to good olé Sky View High School, baptized my companion in Honduras. Talk about a small world.

Do you know what rocks about the D.R.? Fruit. I am going to die when I can't eat delicious fresh fruit every day. Every day I chase down this little truck loaded with fruit and buy a bunch. It's amazing! I can get a gigantic pineapple for 15 pesos. I ate a whole one today. Mmmmmm. Also, bananas here are amazing. And chinola, and lechosa, and zapote, and melon, but the apples just don't serve. You guys are going to die when you see how my food tastes have changed. I love beans now. Weird, I know.

Another thing I learned from this week. I have really great parents. Mom, Dad, I really truly just want to say thanks. I happened to come upon the story of the 2,000 stripling warriors this week in my study. I love the part that talks about how their Moms taught them to obey the commandments of the Lord. (I'm going to include Dads also) Then, in Zone Conference we sang the Armies of Helaman song. I about broke down in tears as I sang (in Spanish) "We have been born as Nephi of old, to goodly parents, who love the Lord. We have been taught, and we understand, that we must do as the Lord commands.....and we will be the Lord's missionaries to bring the world His truth." Well, now I am the Lord's missionary, and I have been taught, and I understand what I must do, because of amazing parents. I owe everything that I am to you guys.

In church on Sunday, in the gospel principles class, we were talking about responsibilities of the family. Someone made the comment that a Dad truly never gets to know his children because he is too busy doing other things. I sat there and just felt so sad that this person felt that way. Dad, thank you for everything. I know that you truly know me because you sacrificed time and effort to make sure you know me. That really doesn't make sense, but I hope you know what I mean. I just want to say thanks Mom and Dad, I am eternally grateful that I have parents who truly are my best friends in the world.

This week is conference! I don't think I am going to be able to go to any of the Saturday sessions. (We have to have an investigator to be able to go. If we don't, we can’t go.) So make sure and take good notes and let me know on Monday! I hope we all take advantage of the opportunity to listen to the Prophet of God. This is what separates us from everyone else! We have a living Prophet who was called of God! And this week we get to listen to him! I am extremely excited because I know that the messages are inspired and truly can change our lives!

I love you all, and thank you for everything!


Elder Riley Ted Reeder


Hey, the barrio where we are working right now is called Moscú. You should be able to find that in Google Earth! Also, you can find Madre Vieja Norte if you know where that monument is, there is a bridge right by it. This is the river that destroyed Barrio Nuevo. So across the bridge, and to the north, is MV Norte. You should be able to see it there. Also, we still haven't been able to play flag football, but it's in the planning stages! My comp's family hasn't abandoned him, but he is the only member. He seems to be fine, but I will investigate more and let you know. He is only barely starting to open up to me.

Sorry, short on time, the electricity came back way late today!

Love you Mom, Riley

Thursday, March 22, 2012

San Cristobal ¨B¨

Hello Family!

Sorry about the e-mail last week. When I logged on today, it said something funny about how it failed to sent to some people. I don't know, but sorry! Hopefully this week things will run a little smoother!

I would be lying if I said this week has been easy, but I'm still here--alive and kicking! I'll start off by explaining a little bit about my area. I am serving in the Pueblo B part of San Cristobal, which means that we share a ward with the Zone Leaders. This area is quite similar to Madre Vieja, and I'm starting to like it! The ward is awesome. There are a lot more Priesthood holders here, so that is always nice. The Bishop is a really young RM, but he seems to be great. The Stake President also lives in our area, and he works in Madre Vieja Norte, so it was fun to see someone that I know. A major plus of this area is the house! We have a sweet house! There is always water. I about freaked out when I found out there is water 24/7. The electricity still isn't the greatest, but it gets the job done!

This letter is going to be quite scattered, because I really just have a bunch of random thoughts flying around my head. First of all, I got to talk to Elder Gatherum! I was walking around my new area, when I received a phone call from Elder Day. I was stoked to talk to Day, and then he was like "Hey, there's a kid here named Mitch Gatherum. Do you know him?" I got to talk to Mitch for a second, so that was sweet to talk to someone I know! He is in Elder Day's zone, so he is starting out the mission with a great Zone Leader. I don't know who his dad is, but I hope he is great! Hopefully, I will get transferred into his zone sometime, or maybe if I'm really lucky, we will get to be companions someday!

Other random news from this week. We were visiting the Stake President, and his wife was talking about a book that tells the history of the Church in the D.R., and it has a bunch of old missionaries in it, and cool stories and stuff. I asked if I could see it because I know someone that served here hace mucho. She went and grabbed it, and I started searching, and BOOM! I found a picture of Paul Marshall as a missionary! I about died! It was pretty funny. Anyway, I don't know if Paul knows about this book, but I got all the information from it so you could tell him how to buy one if he wants one. It's really cool. It also tells the story of one of my favorite members in Madre Vieja, so I was wondering if you guys could do some looking into getting one! (Sorry Mom, it's all written in Spanish, but I thought Dad would like to read it, and I would like to read it when I get back!) It's called Testigos de La Mano del Señor en La Republica Dominicana. The ISBN is 978-0-9821491-6-4, or it said you can go to, or e-mail

Anyway, now about my week! Well, it has been interesting! I got here to the house, started doing some investigating in the Area Book to see what we had to work with. Nothing. There has been "dead" missionaries in this area for a long time, and it has kinda taken a hit from that, but we are gonna work on that! My comp. really is a good guy. He is from Honduras, and he is 24 years old. He has about 14 months in the mission, and about 26 months in the Church. I am amazed that people with such little time in the Church are so willing to serve the Lord. He is definitely a little different than my other companions, but it's always a learning experience! I'm practicing the Christ-like attribute of patience for this week. Maybe for about 6 more weeks!

I am now District Leader of a different district, so that's always fun to get to do intercambios with other missionaries and get to see new areas!

Sorry that this e-mail is so scattered. I'm really hoping that next week I will be able to crank out a good e-mail like the good ole' days! Like always, I just want you to know that I'm here, happy, and alive! I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to work with Elder Barahona, and for the different experiences that I will have during this transfer! I just want you to know how grateful I am for each and everyone of you! I really do have the greatest family in the world. I know without a doubt, they send us on missions to change us from ungrateful children who just want to be with their friends, into family guys. Boy, am I a family guy! Ha ha. I just want you to know how much I love you guys.

I also want you to know, that I know, without the slightest doubt in my mind or in my heart, that our Savior lives. He loves us with a perfect love. A love that I can feel when I feel frustrated, discouraged, or maybe a little trunky. He will never, ever leave our side. He always wants what is best. I love what President Monson said in the Conference pasado, I can't remember exactly how he said it, but he talked about how close to us Christ is willing to come, how far He is willing to go to help us, and how much He loves us. I know that is true. We just have to ask! There is absolutely nothing that the Lord can't help us with. He endured excruciating pain to be able to help us. I am eternally indebted to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I hope that everyday we work to strengthen our relationship with Him. It is so special and powerful. I hope you all have a great week! Thanks for your prayers and letters! They mean so much!

Elder Riley Ted Reeder

P.S. Hopefully they get the Internet hooked back up. :)

Mom! To answer your questions--

Yes, somehow I got all my stuff in my suitcases! It wasn't easy.....not gonna lie. Saying goodbye was not quite too bad, because I can go back and visit on P-Days, if I can get my comp. to go with me! The kid that I was with in the picture that I sent last week, told us that he wasn't gonna get baptized if I wasn't there to do it. I got a good chuckle out of that, but finally convinced him that Elder Hall could do it just fine. ha ha. Tell Jordan Hill congrats! That will be a sweet mission! You really didn't need to send another package, but thank you very much! I hope you sent the leather shoes are starting to take a beating! They have more miles than your car I think! Ha ha. Anyway, I love you Mom!!!


Monday, March 12, 2012

Transfers!!!! And the news is.......

Hello Family!

Well, we got transfer calls last night!!!  And guess what, I' m leaving!!!  But hold on, don't get too excited, I got transferred to a different area in the same San Cristobal Zone.  I am now in an area that I could walk to from mine.  My new companion's name is Elder Barahona, and he is what they call a dead missionary--which means he doesn't want to leave to work!  Needless to say,  I'm a little disappointed.  I am running on faith that the Lord indeed has a plan for me!  I know that every area, every companion, every thing is part of a larger plan that the Lord has for me and for His work.  I don't know what it is right now, but I know there is a reason, now I just have to put my confidence in the Lord and go to work.  But hey, my Spanish is going to improve a lot!
I have always told Elder Hall that it is my desire to be great friends with every single one of my companions, and to do everything possible to enjoy every minute of the mission!  I think the Lord is testing me to see if I can do it!  I know that this will be a challenge, but I will be able to do it with the help of the Lord.  Anyway, it is extremely likely that I will complete 1 year in the mission and will only have served in one Zone.  I'm gonna know San Cristobal like the back of my hand!
Other news, Elder Hall is staying here with Elder Karouth, who goes home in June.  Everyone says he is a great missionary, so I'm really excited that Elder Hall will have the opportunity to learn from an experienced missionary.
I ended up having the opportunity to give a talk on Sunday in church, and I chose to speak on Charity. I am now realizing that preparing that talk was more for me than for anyone else!  The Lord sure works in mysterious ways, but it is great to know that He always will do what is best for us!  Best doesn't always equal easy.  To see the best view, you have to hike the tallest mountain, and even though I might be hitting the steep switchbacks right now, I have faith that when I get to the top--it is gonna be amazing!  

My last week in Madre Vieja has been great!  I really am so grateful for the great members, friends, investigators, and people that are here.  They really have influenced my life so much, and I'm grateful for the large amount of time that I got to spend with them.

I don't really have anything amazing to tell you about this week!  Just know that I am still here, alive and kicking!  I am so grateful for every opportunity I have in the mission, to serve, to teach, and to learn.  I know that this letter might sound a little bit negative, but I promise that I'm fine!  I am 100% confident I can make the best of this situation, and hopefully I can be an instrument in the Lord's hands to complete His work, whatever it may be!
I want you all to know how much I love you, I'm so very grateful for your letters, your prayers, and your support!  I really feel the support from you, and I am so grateful for each and everyone of you!  

Elder Riley Ted Reeder  

Monday, March 5, 2012

I Just Saw Our High Priest Group Leader in a Mango Tree Hacking at Branches with a Machete. WELCOME TO THE D. R.

Hello Family!

Well this week has been another great one here in the Dominican Republic!  Mom, it was interesting you reminded me that one year ago, I was receiving my call....weird, huh?  The MTC now seems like a billion years away, and finally I kinda feel like I'm not a greenie anymore.  The mission is my life.  I get up, I study, I preach the Gospel, it's just what I do.  I feel like every day goes by faster than the last.  It's been such an amazing experience, and I know that I have many more learning experiences to go.  

Dad, I'm glad you like those pants.  Trust me, I understand how it is.  They are just so much nicer!  I'll make sure and have a few more made for you.  That made me a little trunky that you started up my motorcycle.  I miss the sound of a real motorcycle, and not a little 125 two-stroke.  I talk about stuff like that, and my comp just looks at me like I'm a nut.  One time, I saw a Raptor--with street tires.  I probably was drooling a little bit.  Mom, it sounds like the activity that you guys did was an absolutely amazing experience.  Thanks for the updates on the world, ha ha.  Mom, what you said about Taylor made me laugh.  She is such a sweet girl.  Tell her I'm just fine.  I even sent Beth a message congratulating her last week, and I honestly meant it.  I'm really just fine.  If I've learned anything from the mission, I've learned that our Heavenly Father knows what is best for us.  Mom, I can't believe you have a smart phone!  Your gonna know more about technology than I will when I get back!  One thing I have heard from members down here, is that Mitt Romney is doing way good.  Is that the truth?  I just don't know what I can believe, ha ha. 

Anyway, this week was a fun week!  Because I have basically my whole life in this area, I decided I wanted to get out and explore it a little bit.  So, we went walking--and then we walked a little further--and then a little further.  Then we ended up in this absolutely gorgeous place!  It's this little, tiny town that is kinda nestled up in the mountains, and it is beautiful!  (Pictures to come.)  It was about an hour's walk out there, and once again, the people had never talked with missionaries.  It was a really fun experience!  The people were super nice, and they didn't know who we were, so they couldn't even yell mean things at us!  (Ha ha.  They just thought that we were from the C.I.A.)  But anyway, we worked out there, met some really nice people, but no one was really interested in an hour walk to church at 9:00 in the morning.  This just made me realize how much missionary work there really is to do in the world.  

We are still working with Agapito and Mami but it's proving to be quite difficult.  I'm really hoping that they can pull through this problem.  I really don't have very much to say about this week, I'm sorry to disappoint.  I just want you guys to know that I have a testimony of this Gospel.  It really is the "Pearl of Great Price" in our life.  We have the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We are blessed by His Holy Priesthood in our lives.  We are blessed to have the Gift of the Holy Ghost.  We are blessed to have an Eternal Family.  I am so happy to know without a doubt in my  mind that we will live together forever as a family as long as we keep our covenants.  I love and pray for you all every day!  Next week, I should be packing to go to a new area!  I'm super excited!  I hope you all have a great week. 


Elder Riley Ted Reeder

p.s.  picture fail.....sorry that computers here just stink.  Pictures will have to wait!  
        Sorry, Riley

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Best February 23rd of My Life!

Hello Family!

Today is Independence Day here in the Dominican Republic!  They call it carnival, and you guys should get online and check it out!  It's pretty crazy!  But, yeah, that's just a little note of what's going on today.  This week was very eventful, so eventful that I'm not sure if I will be able to get everything typed out!  We'll see if my little fingers can keep up with my mind.  
First of all, Mom, I GOT MY CHRISTMAS PACKAGE!  I got it on Thursday (hence February 23rd being a great day).  All I can say is, Wow.  It really was absolutely mind-blowing!  Stuff just kept coming out!  And all the stuff was amazing!  A jersey, a USU shirt, the leatherman, jeez--everything I could have ever asked for!  Thank you all so much!!  Ash and Sven, that wristband is so sweet!!!!  I'm gonna be honest, it made me a little bit trunky.   I kinda miss music, not gonna lie.  Thanks so much for the Red Sox tie, Ramon about went crazy when I gave it to him!  (We are going over to his house tonight, and he is going to put it on so we can take a picture.)  I'll make sure and send you the picture so you can show Jay Dee what baseball team is the best!  ha ha  Anyway, needless to say, that made me EXTREMELY happy!  Those little cookie dough chocolate  Also, those resistant bands and ab-roller are sweet!  That ab-roller has caused me to be quite significantly sore, but that's great!  Anyway, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!  
We are going to watch the Thomas Monson movie right after e-mail, I'm really excited about that!  Also, I'm glad that Dad got the package I sent home!  I thought you would get a kick out of all those stamps!  I was dying watching the lady plop those all over!  Oh, and that box came inside the package that Grandma and Grandpa sent me, that's how it was so high tech!  Also, I'm glad the pants fit!  Dominican Pants rock!  Especially with a little Dora the Explorer action going on in the pockets!  ha ha.  Mom, did the thing I sent you survive?  I sure hope that it did.  If not, let me know, and I'll buy one to throw in my "this will be cool in about a year-and-a-half" suitcase.  I'm super jealous that you guys got to spend so much time with Keagan.  I can't wait to get to know that little girl!  Mom, in all honesty, the last 8 months have been the fastest of my entire life!  I really do love the mission so much.  I would be lying if I said it was easy, but it sure is worth it.

Anyway, now to this week!  This week was pretty tough because we had to drop a bunch of our investigators.  They just weren't willing to do their part.  It is so hard to drop investigators.  I'm really bad at it because I just love them so dang much!  We also had to do some changing in our district, now there are 4 Elders in Madre Vieja Sur, and us two in the Norte.  On Friday we were walking to a cita, and my phone was ringing.  I looked down at the phone, and it said President Rodriguez!  That's always scary--you kind of always just expect the worst.  But after I finally remembered how to speak Spanish, we had a nice little chat.  Long story short, he was just talking to me about some changes he wanted to do in our district, new missionaries he wanted to send in, and wanted my opinion on it.  I was kind of overwhelmed to say the least.  We have such an amazing Mission President, he loves missionary work so much, and really just wants the best for all of us.  

So now for the lesson I learned this week.  This week I learned the importance of forgiving others.  Sunday we showed up to church and Mami and Agapito weren't there.  That made me nervous.  After a little inquiry we found out that something had happened Saturday, and they were having some problems.  (I'm just going to leave it at that.)  After church we went straight over there, and it was quite a scene.  Needless to say, we got them all settled down and started talking to them.  Once again, helping them to work through this problem taught me so much!  It is always such an amazing experience to try to help them out, because two 19-year-old kids don't know anything about that stuff, but the Spirit really guided (guides) us to know what to say and how to say it.  
D&C 64:9-11 sums it up.  We have to forgive people.  It is not our job to judge, it is our job to forgive!  Every single one of us makes mistakes.  We all sin.  We are all imperfect.  But we are all children of God!  I don't think I really understood how important and powerful the song "I am a Child of God" is until the mission.  God loves us all exactly the same.  He loves us perfectly. Many times we get so caught up in the 'your at fault not me, well he's the one who hurt me, she didn't do this, blah blah blah', we forget the simple principle of forgiveness.  I know that it is extremely hard to forgive someone who has offended us, someone who has hurt us, but it is what we have to do.  I know that the process to forgive our offenders can be a truly remarkable experience.  It is how we learn to truly develop Christ-like love for them, and we become more like our Savior Jesus Christ.  I am so amazed at the power of Love, and in particular, Charity.  It is such a driving force in our lives, and as we work to be more charitable, we will feel that pure love of Christ in our lives.  I can't think of a sweeter feeling.  

Anyway, time is up!  I want you all to know how much I love you!  You are all such great examples for me, and your letters help me out so much!  

Until next week,
Elder Riley Ted Reeder   

P.S.  Dad--What you wrote in the Valentine's card made my day.  ha ha.