Sunday, July 29, 2012

Challenges in Life Bring Blessings

Hello Family,

Well, it was good to hear once again that everything is going good!  I was surprised to read that Mom also had a tire blow out.  How was that?  I'm assuming everything is okay?  I sure hope so.  It's interesting that all of these things have been happening seemingly at the same time.  I was thinking of the why?  Why did the wreck happen?  Why do all these seemingly fluke things happen?  I received my response quite directly and quickly.  Monday mornings we have a meeting with President and Hermana Rodriguez, the senior couples, and the A.P's.  To start out this meeting we always have a devotional.  This week, the President was in charge of the devotional.  He started off by saying he had been thinking a lot about challenges in life.  Challenges for missionaries, for investigators and for everyone.  At this point I'm sitting up a little straighter in my  chair.  He then talked about how there are always challenges before the blessings.  Something I have heard more than once, but in this moment, it was exactly what I needed to hear.

We then read from Mormon 9, where it talks about miracles.  This part really stuck out to me.  27 "O then despise not, and wonder not, but hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need.  Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him.  28 Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God."

Be wise in the day of your probation.  Right now we are experiencing our probation!  Times are tough!  Ashley and Sven had a rough accident--and now have to move halfway across the country.  Dad is working like crazy.  Mom had a tire blow out.  These are our tests!  I hope that we will apply the guidance of this scripture--ask with a firmness unshaken, that we will yield to no temptation, but that we will serve the true and living God.  I know that these trials aren't easy, desired, or fun--but they are an opportunity to grow!  In the mission I have experienced trials, but the times I learned and grew the most were during these trials.  The Lord tests our faith.  He has to know that we will remain true and faithful, and then He opens up the windows of heaven, and we receive the blessings.  So many blessings there isn't room to receive them!  I know that the things that happen here in the earth have a purpose.  We can shake our heads and ask why, or we can hunker down and get stronger!  I pray that we always accept our challenges head on, and that we will learn and grow!

I love you all so much! 

Elder Riley Ted Reeder
La Iglesia De Jesucristo De Los Santos De Los Últimos Días
La Misión Santo Domingo Oeste, República Dominicana

Count Your Many Blessings!

July 22, 2012

Hey Guys,

Well, this weeks letter is going to be a little bit different.  First of all, Ashley, Sven, and Keagan--I can't say it enough how grateful I am that all of you are okay!  The way that I received the news was quite interesting.  It was a normal P-Day, and we were going to go bowling.  Well as we were getting ready to leave, I started feeling extremely weird, and I decided that I didn't want to go.  I ended up staying at the house with Elder Brimley, because I just felt weird.  Well, I then did something even stranger, and I went to check my e-mail at an extremely unusual time.  Well, I logged on just 5 minutes after Dad sent me the message.  As I read the message, I immediately knew why I had lost my desire to go bowling.  As I read the message, the words seemed extremely unreal and shocking, to say the least.  I was beyond relieved when I saw that everyone was okay.  I immediately got in touch with President who approved my using E-Mail to communicate with you guys.  When I explained the situation he said, "the Lord protects the families of His missionaries."

I am extremely grateful that in such a serious accident, everyone left fine!  It left me thinking about what really matters in life.  In one second I went from thinking everything was fine at knowing about a serious accident.  What I'm trying to say is--we never know what is going to happen.  In this moment no one was thinking about the Honda Element with the cholo wheels.  (Sorry Ash, I couldn't help but notice those wheels!) :) :).  What mattered was the safety of my and our family.

Today in church in Elders Quorum, our teacher shared a story from last conference.  I think in English it's called Life in the Fast Lane (by President Monson).  In this talk, he talks about the woman who never let people visit her house because she was scared it would get dirty.  She lived continually like this until the day she found out she was deathly ill.  She then, suddenly, didn't care about the cleanliness of her house, she cared about her family.

I just want you to know how grateful I am to have a family that has always cared more about each other...than objects.  I know that the Lord truly did protect Ashley, Sven, and Keagan, and I am extremely grateful that everything is okay.  Cars can be replaced.  Sven--do not take blame in any way.  It was an accident because of weather conditions and something you didn't have control over.  Everyone is fine--don't beat yourself up over it.  Move on, and be grateful that the Lord protected you and your family.  I want you to know how much I love you all!

Nothing is-and never will be-more important than my family!  I continually pray for your safety, health, and well being.  I hope that we always remember to do our part, as the Lord continues to do His.  The simple 3 things:  Church.  Scriptures.  Prayer.  Please don't forget the importance of these things.  I don't really know what to say, other than I'm so happy you are all okay!!

I love you so much!!

Elder Reeder 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Eventful Week and the Continuation

Hello Family!

How are you all?  From what I heard, it sounds like you guys had quite the....hmmm.....¿eventful? week!  Guess what, me too!!  Wanna know what happened?.............................I'm going to assume that you do.  Here's the story:  We got in a car wreck!!!!!  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!  Okay, Mom please stop screaming, don't call the mission office, and just keep reading.  Here's the highlights.  One peaceful Monday, July 9th, 2012, Elder Taveras and I were working away.  Well, part of our work was fixing up a house so that we could entregar (Sorry, I can't think of the English word--like when you give a rented house back to the owner) it.  Well we needed a few things from the hardware store so we headed to Ochoa.  (Closest thing to a Home Depot that there is here).  Well, we bought our stuff and were out.  Alright, now comes the part where you have to use your imagination real good.  Here's the circumstances.  4:30 P.M.  Sunny and Clear.  Road Conditions- Dry.  So the road we are talking about is one of those less intelligent roads that have the divider with cute little trees and stuff in the middle.  Anyway, I pull up, look to the left, look to the right too (cause we are talking about the D.R. here) and pull out.  I then do a very smooth head check, turn on my blinker, change lanes, and enter into the little space to give a U-turn.  All is good right?  Well, we sit there for a few seconds--completely parked--watching for a spot to pull in to go the other direction.  It is during this delightful little moment that we hear BOOM!!!!  I look at my comp and say, "What the heck was that?"  Well, then I look in my mirror and see two guys jumping around like crazy!  My mind then put 2 and 2 together and realized that we got slammed into by a motorcycle!!  We jumped out to make sure they were okay and to evaluate the damages.  First of all, they were fine.  In some pain, but fine.  But boy did they do some damage!!  Anyway, what happened, is they came around the corner going who knows how fast, lost control and slammed into my pretty little parked truck.  :( First off--it wasn't my fault!  The truck was 100% in the middle, and, well, I was parked!!  Anyway, they banged up the back driver's side door, the bed, and a little part of our tie-down bar!  Exciting story right?  Well anyway, right away we took it in to the body shop, left her there, and they started to fix it up.  Now, she is good as new :)   But during this time, we had to drive our gigantic white Hyundai H-1, 15 person van that Elder Brimley and I named Moby Dick.  I know that I'm going to get about 15,482 questions about this next week, so I'll just answer the questions instead of trying to explain everything.  But anyway, that was the highlight of my week!    

Sorry, I have to go be ambulance!  I'll write more later!!!  

Love you guys!

The Continuation........................

Well, I'm done being ambulance for the day!  I think.....anyway, I don't really remember where I I will answer/ask questions!  To answer Mom's questions, my family from San Cristobal is struggling a little bit.  They are going to church every week, but are struggling on getting married.  President wants to do a conference call with me and them to try and give them some animo.  Keep them in your prayers! 

Elder Brimley is from Sandy.  I don't know if you remember, but he was in Madre Vieja Sur when I first started.  He had about 8 months when I got to the field.  We had a lot of fun back then, and then we both got put in the office together, him as assistant and me as office elder.  He now has 18 months.  We have a ton of fun together!  My companion is a really great guy!  We have a lot of fun, and we get along just fine!  Its kinda stressful in the office, so I probably have more fun experiences with Brimley because we just talk and have fun in the calm moments. 

So Sven is getting recruited by the big dogs!!  Congratulations!  I'm gonna be honest....I am about 1,000 hours away from my niece right now, so she better be closer when I get home!  Speaking of which...I did get the DVD!  She might be the cutest thing I've ever seen!  But really, that's a great opportunity, I guess the only thing I can say is ask the Lord.  If I have learned anything from the mission, I have learned that the Lord answers prayers.  He is anxiously waiting to answer our prayers. 

The song that always comes to my mind when I'm feeling a little stressed, overwhelmed, anything, I think of the primary song, "Heavenly Father, are you really there?  And do you hear and answer every child's (or adult or missionary) prayer?"  The response is so clear and powerful that He is really there.  He really does hear and answer every child's prayer.  I don't remember if I have said this before, but something that really has changed my prayers is something extremely simple.  Lots of times I pictured praying to my Heavenly Father and Him being a long way away.  Well, I think that it is a lot better to think of Him as being right there by my side.  Every night I can just pour out my thoughts and feelings, and am lifted up by His strength.

Change of subject....guess what I did this week.  I sang in Sacrament Meeting....wait wait wait..........what?!?!  Yeah it wasn't by choice.  One day we were sitting in sacrament meeting and they said, and now we will have a special musical number from the Priesthood!  Well, us being priesthood, we went up. one decided to come with us!  Well, us, the 6 missionaries from our ward, ended up singing by ourselves!  Yeah, chalk that one up in the "firsts" column! 

Oh news.  President finished transfers, and I'm staying here with my same comp!  He now will be in his 7th transfer here in the office.  Looks like I just might spend the rest of my mission here, ha ha. 

I love you all so much! 

Elder Riley Ted Reeder
La Iglesia De Jesucristo De Los Santos De Los Últimos Días
La Misión Santo Domingo Oeste, República Dominicana

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Hello Family!

How are you guys?  Well first of all, I'm extremely sorry that I didn't write this week.  I sent pictures...I hope that was a little interesting!  First of all, the pictures of the beach--don't worry, we had permission!  I'm sure you were all freaking out--but, we had permission.  How is life back in the good, ole valley of cache?  Things here in the Mission Office are just as crazy as ever!  I honestly don't remember the things that happen in the week--so I'm going to apologize in advance.  My letters are probably more and more boring as the time goes on, but I really just don't remember things that happen in the week!  A good chunk of our time is spent pretty much running errands.  We have to buy things for houses, take care of sick missionaries, run errands for President and Hermana Rodriguez, and all of that stuff!

This week we didn't have hardly any time to work in our area, and the time we did have, we mostly spent contacting.  Contacting here in the capital is a lot different than in San Cristobal.  We do a lot of contacts by intercom.  My first contact by intercom had to have been one of the top 10 awkward moments of my life.  I really felt like a Greenie all over again.  I was like, "Uh uh uh uh, we're missionaries and we want to share a message with you!"  She said, "Okay, but in another moment."  So I said, "Can that other moment be tomorrow?"  She said no :(   Ha ha.  Anyway, life is just a lot different here in the office, but as I learn more about my responsibilities, and the more time I spend learning from President, the more I love it.  One of my favorite parts of being here is really getting to know President.  He is such an amazing man, and I really hope to become more like him. 

Yesterday I did an intercambio with Elder Mejia, one of the assistants, and we went to his area.  We were working literally right next to the temple, when we saw 2 guys with some sweet four-wheelers.  Elder Mejia asked me if I knew anything about four-wheelers, and if I wanted to talk to them.  I said sure thing.  We went over and we just started talking to them about four-wheelers and riding and all sorts of stuff.  Somehow or another the conversation changed to the church.  We asked them if they knew what that big building (the temple) was.  They told us that it was something with the Mormons.  We then started talking and explaining a few things about our beliefs, and why that building was so important to us.  It was an extremely powerful experience to view how the spirit worked within them, and they accepted a visit. As they roared down the street on their four wheelers they waved and yelled, "We'll see you!"  It just made me think of a saying that I always saw in Doyles' (yes Doyle soccer coach Doyle) classroom.  It says "They don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care."  This experience just confirmed the truth of that saying for me.  Had we entered and right away fired away with the gospel, it is possible that they would have told us to get out of there.  Elder Mejia encouraged me to talk about four wheelers, which at first seemed weird to me, but it's possible because we showed that we were interested in their interests, they listened to us. 

I have realized that as missionaries sometimes we are a little over zealous.  Yes, we want to share the gospel with the whole world, but it has to be the right time.  When we see someone struggling with their groceries, should we run over and say "Hey, we are missionaries, can we share a message?"  Or should we run over and say, "Hey, let me help you out?"  Obviously, the second.  The more we look into the real needs of the people, and look at them as children of God that we want to help, and not as someone "disguised as a baptismal statistic" (as Elder Holland says), the whole way that we work changes.  The joy of living the gospel is incredible.  The joy of sharing the gospel is something extremely special.  

On Sunday, we got to go to the CCM with President and the assistants to talk to the new missionaries, and to take a few pictures with President.  Well, we got to the CCM, took a few pictures--and BOOM emergency.  We then converted our truck into an ambulance and were off!  We spent the rest of the night shuttling people from hospital to hospital, doing x-rays, sonografias, all of that stuff.  Hospitals in the D.R. are not happy places. 

Monday, SUPER P-DAY!  Super P-Day was awesome because we got to go to Barahona!  Barahona is the furthest zone from the capital, so I got to see a lot of the country!  I drove through Bani, Azua, and a whole bunch of the country.  It was extremely weird to see mountains, and mostly just open country--some of it even somewhat resembled Utah.  It was something that made me realize just how much there really is in this little country. 

Well, here in the D.R. people don't obey any of the posted signs, even stoplights, so to keep people from speeding they use tons of speed bumps!  Well, speed bumps have a different name here--policia acostada--which translates to lying (as in lying down) policeman.   Well, as we were driving rather rapidly towards Barahona, on the FREEWAY Elder Brimley (who was in the truck in front of me) found one the hard way.  Hitting a speed bump at about 120 KM/H makes a little Toyota Hilux get some air!  I had to pull over I was laughing so hard after seeing the little Hilux go airborne.  Moral of the story:  Be careful driving in the D.R. because they just throw out a speed bump in the middle of the freeway!  Once at Super P-Day, we were in charge of a bunch of games, the food, and activities.  For us, it was more of a super work day, but it was still a lot of fun. 

Another exciting thing this week, THE 4TH of JULY!  Happy 4th of July!  The 4th of July was quite fun for us because we got to spend it with President's son.  He and his family were going to interviews in San Juan, but he had to get his cast off, so he came to spend the day with us!  It was an extremely fun day.  President's kids are awesome, and we had a lot of fun hauling him around the city. 

I'm sorry I haven't been the greatest writer, but I'm trying my best!  I want you all to know that I love you!  I'm so grateful for all that you do and the support you give me.  I hope you have a great week! 

Question:  I know I shouldn't worry about this....but I saw a billboard the other day advertising the new Batman.  Is that truth?  Please tell me that it isn't....

Problem:  My electric razor bit the dust this week.....but it has a 2 year warranty!  So, I'm going to send it back to you guys and if you would be so nice, you can replace it at Best Buy.  As for now, I'll hack at my face with the Gillette.  I think I need a lesson on shaving or something, ha ha.

Comment:  Mark and Lori sent me a package--please tell them thanks!  I'm going to try and write a letter, but time is a little short! 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Mission Electrician?

June 30, 2012


So....I was going to write you a letter when we got home today....and then we got home....and they turned off our electricity!!!!  (Yes, they "Cut" our light, because the financial secretary--forgot to pay the bill.)  Well, our generator didn't want to cooperate, but after some nifty Elder Reeder / Elder Brimley tag team generator work, we now have electricity again.  But, I'm now extremely tired.  What I'm trying to say is, I'm going to write to you tomorrow! :) 


July 1, 2012

Hello!  Well, mother, I am 90% sure I won't have time to write today either!  I am only on to send reports to President Rodriguez.  Tomorrow, I am going to Barahona!!!  Clear out in the a 3 hour ride.  I'm way excited.  I will write tomorrow! 


Sorry I Didn't Write.

June 23, 2012

Hey Guys,

Sorry about last week, and the fact that I didn't write a letter!  I'm sorry that I made you nervous Mom....just know that my letters come...when there is time!  I'm sorry, but that's the way it is here in the office!  

Mom, it was great to here that you got a letter from Elder Day.  He is a great guy, and someone that I will respect and remember my whole life.  Things from this week...I'm going to be honest..... I don't remember anything!  I'm glad to hear that the funeral for Sister Anderson was good.  I would love to read the letter that Sam wrote, and also if you could find his E-Mail address, I would like to e-mail him.  It sounds like Leslie is having a rough time.  I'm sorry to hear that.  I'll be sure to keep them in my prayers.   How is Spencer?  How is Tyler Lemon?  Doesn't Andrew come home this week? 

It sounds like you guys saw another tender mercy of the Lord with the graffiti incident.  It's amazing how much the Lord blesses us!  It's little things like that that remind us how interested in our well being He really is.  In a conference that we had, a senior missionary said something that really made me think.  She said, "I know you guys can't truly understand the love that a parent has for their children, but just imagine how much your parents do and think about you.  Every night when you go to bed your parents think about how much they love you.  Now think about how much our Father in Heaven loves us."  I think the love of our Heavenly Father is one of the sweetest gifts we have.  I know that our Father in Heaven loves us.  He wants to bless us.  He will bless us when we obey the commandments.  I have learned recently that living the gospel really is the easiest way to live.  Sometimes we think that it is hard, but it really is the easiest!  When we live correctly, we have the Lord's help, His Spirit, and His Guide!  I know that if we truly desire to have His help, He will give it to us! 

I just remembered something we did this week--We did a service in the Bishops Storehouse with the A.P.'s!  It was sweet.  Also, I got the package you sent, Mom!  Thanks!  Mail gets here super quick... :)   

Today, you get pictures! 

I love you all so much!

Elder Riley Ted Reeder

Answers to Mom's Questions (Cause I don't want to get chewed out ;) 

1- The golden family is doing great up to this point!  They are just working on papers to get married!
2- Not sure if I will get to go to the baptism, I think so.  President wants me to call them and talk to help give them more ánimo.
3-Every single baptism record passes through my hands. 
4- I have taught 2 lessons :)
5- We still haven't delivered mattresses yet....It's going to take a year.   Our pickup is just little!
6-I have pictures!!!

Excuse me.....The Office is a Little Busy!

June 17, 2012

Hello Family!!!

Well....this is the office for ya!  E-Mails that will come to you....when I can find time!  I have never been so busy in my entire life!!!  I thought senior year when I was working, and playing soccer I was busy....that was nothing compared to the office of the mission!  Well, I'll start off with the highlights.  I'm not a teenager anymore.  Weird.  I'm old.  And now in the office, I'm kinda nervous my hair isn't going to see 21!  Ha ha.  It is kinda stressful here. birthday was a weird but very cool experience!  We started off the day with a meeting with Presidente, Hermana Rodriguez, and the senior couples in the mission.  They started off by singing happy birthday--in English and Spanish!  That was kinda fun to have Presidente sing happy birthday, and in English!!  Ha ha ha.  Hermana Ford made an upside down pineapple cake, and it was delicious!  I'm sorry, but I haven't had time to make the cake you sent me yet...but thank you very much for the package...and the Texas Roadhouse gift card Dad.. I was hoping it was a scratch and sniff or something, so at least I could smell ribs and mashed potatoes, ha ha ha.  But, it was a good birthday!!  Grandma and Grandpa Thomson sent me Brownies...and wow!!!  They were amazing!!  Thank you!  Also, Grandma Reeder sent me some great candies!!  Thanks to everyone. 

This week has been a learning experience--in a different way than the rest of my mission. Now, I am learning to love the missionaries.  We are basically in charge of the temporal well being of the missionaries, and with 200 missionaries, there are quite a few things that come up!  Our phone is always ringing off the hook.  But, it really is a great experience to get to know lots of missionaries, and try to help them out in whatever way that I can. 

This letter is going to be a little bit different than almost all my others, I'm just going to tell you a few crazy things that happened this week! 

#1-  We were in the office, trying to figure out a problem with a contract for a house, when the intercom rang.  I picked up the phone and the guy told me, hey we have the mattresses you ordered.  I asked, how many are there?  40.  The next thing we knew, about 12 guys dropped 40 mattresses in the driveway of the mission home.  I just kind of sat there and thought....uh....what now?  Well, about 1 hour and a half and 1 liter of sweat later, we now have a house full of mattresses!  But the plus, I have a nice comfy new mattress.  Down's a lot harder to get out of bed at 6:30.

#2-  I saw a Lexus LFA.  Dad will be the only one who understands this one.  We took our Hilux to get the oil changed, and I glanced over and BOOM!  Lexus LFA.  I couldn't believe my eyes!  I left my companion in the dust as I went to check it out.  Wow.  Okay, I still love cars. 

#3- Saturday night, some Sister Missionaries called us and told us that they didn't have any water.  Not even one drop to bathe themselves or do it was office elders and assistants to the rescue!  We got about 200 gallons of water in tanks in the back of our trucks and headed to their house.  Well, as we were driving, an aguacero came!  (Basically a flood.)  Well, we then spent the next hour and pico hauling up 5 gallon buckets of water to the 4th floor, while it was raining!  :)  Service is great. 

#4- Saturday morning on P-Day, we played basketball at President's house with him.  He is dang good!  He dominated us in the paint!  He was throwing up no-looker hook shots, reverse layups, you name it--he did it.  We got schooled by our mission president at basketball.  Embarrassing?  I think we just have an awesome President!  Hermana Rodriguez then cooked us pancakes for breakfast.  mmmmmmm

#5- I went bowling!!!  Yes, that is a big deal!  I didn't think that there was a bowling alley in the D.R., but there is...and we went!

#6- I have survived over a week of driving in the D.R. 

#7- On Friday, to celebrate my year mark....we went to Johnny Rockets!!!  Yes....bacon cheeseburger with BBQ sauce.  (It was super expensive, can you look at my card to make sure it charged right?)  (Also, today I had to buy some medicine for a sister missionary because it was an emergency, and we didn't have the mission credit card....)

Well family, thanks for everything!  Your letters really keep me going when the weeks are long.  Please let the Anderson family know that they are in my prayers.  I just want you to know how grateful I am for the opportunity to share the gospel here in the Dominican Republic.  I am so grateful for the things I have learned, and the changes I have seen in my life.  I know that Jesus lives.  He is our Savior, Redeemer, and our best friend.  I know that The Book of Mormon is the word of God.  I have received comfort from the words of the Book of Mormon countless times in the mission.  I know that God has a plan for each and every one of us.  I know that if we are faithful to our covenants, we will be able to live as an eternal family!  

I love you all so much! 

Elder Reeder