Sunday, April 29, 2012

No Problems, No Changes, Just WORK!!

April 23, 2012

Hello Family! 

This week has been the best week of the mission in a long time!  No problems, no changes, just work!  Elder Cabrera and I are having a lot of fun and working hard.  He really is a great missionary, he just got caught up in a house full of disobedient missionaries, and he got sucked into the temptation of that.  It is great to be here with him again!  So, as we figured, we are staying here again for this transfer!  It will probably only be for 3 weeks though, because his visa should be here in 3 weeks.  After that, who knows what will happen!  Elder Hall is getting sent to the capital, to work in Cristol Ray!  He is leaving San Cristobal before me.....but he is getting sent to a really dangerous area, so keep him in your prayers!  Elder Day is going to Azua, and besides that, nothing too exciting!  In other news, I got to talk with Elder Gatherum the other night, and that was fun!  He was on an intercambio with Elder Day, and they called me up, and we had a nice little chat.  He sounds like he is really loving the mission, and it was nice to talk to him and learn what's going on in the world of the teenagers in Hyde Park. 

This week has been another great learning experience for me in the mission.  I know I have said it a million times, but I am just so grateful to be on the mission.  I have learned so many things that I could not have learned anywhere else, or doing anything else.  It really is true that the mission field is really the MTC for the rest of life.  It prepares us in so many ways to hopefully be the men that the Lord wants us to be.  This week I had an opportunity to do my first baptism interview.  It was an extremely fun experience to talk with someone who just had a burning desire to get baptized.  I am constantly amazed by the people who have been prepared by the Lord.  This amazing lady can't read or write, but she bore a testimony of the Gospel that just about brought me to tears.  It was an awesome experience! 

This week I really learned a lot from the scriptures also.  This week I was reading in the Book of Moroni, and I found a part that really stuck out to me.  In Chapter 7 in verse 40 it says....   And again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning hope.  How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope?  in 41 we find the answer.  And what is it that ye shall hope for?  Behold I say unto that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.   42 Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope.

We always need to have hope and faith for the future!  Sometimes it is so unclear, but we have the promise that if we always stay true to the Gospel, we will always have the things that we need!  I invite you to all read and study Chapter 7 of Moroni.  It is so powerful and applicable to us.  I love the Book of Mormon.  Every time that I read it I feel the power that it gives me.  I feel the Spirit teaching me, and testifying that it is true.  I hope that you all do the same. 

This week really has been great!  Elder Cabrera and I are great friends, and we get along great!  We are always laughing and talking, and it makes the work so fun!  He wants to learn English, so I'm teaching him English and he is teaching me more Spanish!  I am going to shoot some video of him someday to send you guys, he is absolutely hilarious.

This is really just a scattered letter, I feel like after 6 months in the mission I just repeat myself every Monday.  I just want you to all know how much I love you!  I am grateful for everything that you do for me, and for the great family that you are!

Elder Riley Ted Reeder

P.S. - We get to talk in like 3 weeks....sweet!!
P.S.S. - I made some freaking delicious Chicken Alfredo this week!  My comp even liked it.  I took pictures, but I forgot my camera....Sorry!  Thanks for all that stuff!
P.S.S.S. - Thanks for the pictures Dad!  They were awesome!  I did notice that you guys took out the tree that was by the sidewalk in front of the house, what happened there? 


April 16, 2012

Hello Family!

Well, the strange things just keep coming.  It has been another week of challenges in the mission.  I'll get right to it.  Tuesday morning at 6:40 the Zone Leaders called us to tell us that we would be having yet another special transfer!!  Elder Reyes was heading out, and I was getting another new missionary.  I am now with Elder Cabrera, another missionary who is waiting for a visa to go to Mexico, and who has about 5 weeks in the mission now!  Needless to say, it has been another week of getting used to things!  It is pretty crazy to think that in the first 8-1/2 months of the mission I had 2 companions, and in the last 3 weeks I have had 3.  The members here are really confused as to why I show up with a new companion almost every day!  My new nickname in the mission is the Babysitter.

Yesterday I completed 10 months in the mission!  Pretty crazy to think about how 10 months ago we were saying goodbye.  Has it gone by fast for you guys?  It has FLOWN for me.  I really can't believe how fast it all has gone.  Every time I come up to a month mark I get to think about all the things that I have learned from the mission.  In ten months I have learned things that I couldn't learn in any other place or any other way.  The mission is truly amazing!  It has changed the way I think, the way I act, the way I live.  It has been the most challenging but most rewarding thing I have done in my life.  

This week has been interesting with another change, but we have seen some successes in the work!  We are working with two partial member families that are dominating most of our time.  One of them is a young couple, Maicol and Viviana.  They have 2 little girls, and they are awesome!  Maicol has been a member all his life, but Viviana has never joined the Church.  They are super poor and have to get married.  We put a date with them to get married the 11th of May, and if all goes according to plan, she will get baptized the 12th!  We are also working with Ramon.  Ramon's wife is a member, and he has been going to Church steadily for over a year, and he still hasn't been baptized!  He knows everything, but he just doesn't want to get wet!  We have been really working hard to find what his doubt or struggle is--still haven't figured it out.  While preparing something to share with him, I found something that really impacted me.  I was preparing a message based on Mosiah 18:10.  
7   And it came to pass after many days there were a goodly number gathered together at the place of Mormon, to hear the words of Alma. Yea, all were gathered together that believed on his word, to hear him. And he did teach them, and did preach unto them repentance, and redemption, and faith on the Lord.
8    And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light;
9   Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—
10   Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?
I have been reflecting on this all week.  You may be thinking, why?  You were baptized almost 12 years ago!  I began to apply this scripture to more than just baptism.  How often do we have the desire to be more Christlike?  Always.  But how often do we put in the effort to become more Christlike?  What have we against being more Christlike?  Why don't we take the actions necessary to obtain what we want?  How often do we sit in church on Sunday and think about all the things we want to do better--but when Monday morning rolls around, it's just too much work?  What have we against it?  
We live in a world of technology, (ha ha.  Yes, I put that first because it applies to me.) noise, corruption, and distractions.  Trust me, I know how it is to be distracted by the world.  It isn't easy to hear the promptings of the Spirit, or feel the presence of our Heavenly Father.  But I know and promise that if it truly is the desire of our heart, we can do it.  It is the desire of my heart that we always stay strong in the Church.  We are so blessed to have a family that is sealed together for time and Eternity.  That sealing power is only fulfilled when we all keep our covenants.  I hope and pray that we will always live righteously and worthy of the blessings of the Temple.  Never take for granted the blessing of a Temple close by.  Never take for granted the strength of the Church in Utah.  Never take for granted the blessings of the Church--and most importantly, always live worthy of the blessings of the Lord!  He is bound when we do what He says.  
I love you all so very much!  I am so grateful for your letters, your thoughts, and your prayers.  When things are tough I know I have two things unfailing.  My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and my family!  
Elder Riley Ted Reeder    

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Week of Changes

Hello Family!

This week has been a week of changes!  It's been crazy to say the least.  We'll start with the highlights.  I have a new companion.  His name is Elder Reyes, and he is from Santiago (it's in the northern part of the D.R.)  He has almost one month in the mission, and he is waiting on a visa to go to Mexico, so he hasn't been to the MTC!  He is a stud!  We have a ton of fun together, and the work has turned around 180 degrees this week.  It's kinda crazy to be with another new missionary, I now have a step-child!  He is a Greenie, but at the same time, he isn't.  He really understands how the mission works, what he needs to do, and we work great together! 

Other news for the week.  I got the package you guys sent me!  I almost died.  Bacon....bacon.....bacon.......I really wanted to tell my companion that Jim Gaffigan (I have no idea how to spell his name)  joke, but I didn't think it would have the same effect in Spanish.  But really, I can't thank you enough for all that stuff!  We will be having firehouse pasta one of these nights, I'll be sure and send you some pictures!  And the rubber shoes might just be a life saver.  May is the month of rain so we will see what happens.  Overall, thanks!  You guys send me a lot of packages, and they cost a lot of money--so stop it!

Other random news from the mission.  I am still a bargain shopper.  On Saturday my companion wanted to go to the Market that's kinda by our house to look for a new watch because his broke.  It is pretty much exactly what you would expect to see in the movies, people everywhere, fruit, random stuff, the works.  Pretty much a jungle of stuff.  It's like the D.I. of the D.R.  So anyway, we are walking in when I see this guy with a ton of dress shoes.  I think, hmmm why not take a peek at what he's got.  I have a couple of brown pants so I was thinking about buying some brown shoes to keep the wear down on my black ones.  Well, I start looking and BOOM a brand new pair of brown Ecco dress shoes.  And guess what, size 10.  I could hardly believe my eyes!  Then the scary much do they cost?  The guy says, "hmmmm 900 pesos".  SOLD!!!!  So yeah, I bought a pair of Ecco shoes for 23 bucks.  You don't have to have the Internet to be a bargain shopper! 

So, I can't believe that the Migliori's are moving.  That's just weird.  I really will be coming back to a whole new world...and ward!  Mom, I'm super jealous that you got to spend the week down with Ash and Sven and Keagan.  I really hope she can say a little somethin' somethin' when I call next time.  Speaking of which, I get to call in a month.  WAHOO! 

Okay, now for the good stuff.  This week was the "Semana Santa" here.  In Latin America they don't just celebrate one day, but a whole week!  Pretty cool that they give a whole week to such a special event.  This week I have spent a lot of time studying the final few days of our Savior's life.  I have gained a fuller appreciation for all that He did for us.  I have been studying a lot in Jesus the Christ, and the details, notes, and descriptions of this book are painful to read.  Not just the physical pain, but the mental and spiritual pains that He suffered are incomprehensible.  And yet He did it with love.  With a love so perfect and so powerful that it gets another name, Charity.  Jesus didn't have to suffer in the garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus didn't have to die on the cross.  He has agency the same as you and I.  But He came to the earth to fulfill the will of the Father.   And that's exactly what He did.  Under the burden of our pains, our sicknesses, our weaknesses, and our sins, Christ atoned for us.  Later, He was crucified.  But then, on the 3rd day, He rose from the dead!  He lives.  I know without a doubt that He lives.  He is our Savior and Redeemer.  He is always with us to help us, to bless us, and to comfort us when there isn't anyone else.  I know that we all have the opportunity to repent of our sins because of His suffering.  Repentance isn't easy, but it is always worth it.  It's the only way that we can be truly happy. 

Nothing in the world will bring us happiness like living the commandments of God.  Absolutely nothing.  Go to church, read the scriptures, say your prayers, and live the gospel.  The Lord is always waiting!  We were working with some menos activos the other day, and we shared the parable of the lost sheep.  When there is one missing, the Lord goes looking.  He then brings it back into the fold.  And there is rejoicing.   I plead with you to make any changes necessary to be the best you can be!  I know it is worth it.  I have seen it in my own life, and in the lives of tons of people here in the Dominican Republic.  I know the pain that sin brings, and I know the relief that only repentance can bring.

I want you all to know how much I love you!  You all are in my thoughts, prayers, and heart every minute of every day!  I have the best family in the entire world, and I love you all so much!  


Elder Riley Ted Reeder


Hello Family!

Another great week here in the D.R.!  It was especially good because we got to listen to the Prophet!  How lucky are we?  As I prepared for conference I kept thinking about the scripture in D&C where it says, whether by my voice, or the voice of my servants, it is the same. Well, this weekend we got to hear not just from the prophets and apostles, but in reality, directly from the Lord.  And how obvious it was that those talks were inspired.  In my rush to get out of the house, I forgot to bring my I'm not going to be able to tell you as much as you would like.

I will say that the talk by Jeffrey R. Holland really impacted me.  In his straightforward way he really helped me understand why pride and envy are so harmful.  It sure is hard not to envy sometimes, but why should we?  I have learned to realize that what we have here isn't what matters--it is what we do here that matters.  And if we do what we should, we will have more than we can imagine in the next life!  This week I am going to focus a lot more on what I am doing.

Random thought.  When the choir sang Come Thou Fount, I was blown away. One of the most powerful moments of conference for me!

Another great part about conference.  I got to see all my Madre Vieja friends!  As I walked up to the building Seba came running out and gave me a big hug.  Jeez, I missed that little bugger!  I also saw Abuela, Ramón, Obispo, Monegro, pretty much all of my friends!  They are friends I will never forget.

This week I have had the great opportunity to study in 3rd Nefi!  All I can say is wow. There is some really powerful stuff there.  I am so amazed at the power in the Lord's teachings.   I am so impressed by His example.  He came to the people in the Americas because He loved them so much.   He blessed them, He healed them, He taught them, and He spent time with them.   Have you ever wondered what that would be like?   I sure have.  To be in the presence of our Creator, Master, Example, and Friend.  I really like it in Spanish, ¨Levantaos, y venid a mi!¨  How powerful of an invitation.  Come to me.  That's what He asks!  He always waits with outstretched arms.  All we have to do is humble ourselves and go to Him!

I'm sorry this is extremely short, but time is short today!   I love you all so very much!  I hope you have a great week!

Elder Riley Ted Reeder