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 part...how 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