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 candies....wow.... 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.