Friday, November 16, 2012

Hello, Family!!

November 10, 2012

Well Family,

I know that last week was full of excitement, and I wish I could say the same about this week--but I just can't!  This week was quite unexciting, but that's not always a bad thing either!

This week we had the leadership conferences, which are always a great experience!  This time I had to prepare a message that had to do with the mission objective.  It was a pretty cool experience preparing the message.  While I was preparing, I was using Preach My Gospel to help me, and I found a reference I wanted to look up.  Well, I ended up going to the wrong chapter, and found exactly what I wanted to share.  I decided to base my message on the power that we are able to receive in and through the Atonement.  It is something that I have really been studying lately.  The Atonement isn't just to help us be cleaned of our sins, but also to give us power!!  There are many scriptures that show the power that we can receive through the Atonement...I would tell you them, but that would take away the opportunity to find them yourselves, which is much more fun.  :) 

Well, after the last minute weekend vacation, Manuel is back.  He is doing extremely well, and we are now working for next Saturday.  I have no doubt he is ready.  He had an extremely amazing experience that I will have to tell you about when I call here in a month or so.  It just doesn't do it justice to tell it through e-mail. 

Right now we are working on a giant project.  We have to change the contracts of every one of our 69 houses to a new church contract. is kind of a big deal.  We are working crazy hard with that, and with a few other projects.  This coming week is the last week of the transfer, so next Saturday I will know if I stay or if I go.  It is amazing how fast time passes.  I entered the office with less than a year, and now I have 17 months.  The time just goes faster and faster.  It is getting scary.

I am grateful that I still have lots of time to serve the Lord.  I know that I owe him more than I will ever be able to repay.  I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary.  It really has changed me in ways I never thought possible.  I know that if I allow Him too, the Lord will keep molding me into the person He wants me to be.  I feel as if I have been going through the refiner's fire, but I know that it truly will be for my benefit. 

The news of Elder Stott was shocking.  I'm extremely proud of him for doing what is right.  I know that he is and was a faithful servant of the Lord.  What his family said is so true--it is time to live the gospel--in its' fullness.  It is crazy to hear that all of those people are home now.  It seems like yesterday I was with them.  I'm sure they were all great missionaries, and I am excited to hear about their welcome homes. 

Well, that's about all folks.  I'll send some pictures to show our activities from today! 

Love ya all,

Elder Reeder 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Oh the adventures from this week.....

November 3, 2012


Well, ya know how I usually start out by saying I don't have anything to tell you about....well this week, I actually do!  But its really not the things I want to tell you about.  First off...our baptism fell.  Everything was one hundred percent ready to go until yesterday.  Yesterday, the uncle of Manuel (an extremely strong member, who Manuel lives with), called us and said that they had to leave this weekend to go to the campo.  It was an extremely big bummer to say the least.  It is so hard for me to see someone 100% ready to be baptized, and after everything has been prepared, to have it fall through.  In all honesty I was quite frustrated with Hno Dominguez (his uncle), at first--but I learned a lesson this week that helped me to handle it much better!  (story to come)  Anyway, if you could keep Manuel in your prayers that would be great. 

This week the Assistants were out in the southern part of the mission--so we were playing Assistants and Office Elders, so it wasn't too hard to stay busy!  On Tuesday, we received a phone call from Hna. Rodriguez, and we could tell she was extremely nervous.  She told us that a missionary had fallen off the roof of a 2-story house, and we needed to go get him right away.  We immediately called the missionaries to see what was going on.  It turns out he was fine, but we were going to get him just in case!  By now I'm sure you are did it happen?  I shall tell you...

One lovely Dominican day, on a hot and humid Tuesday morning, Elder Monegro (name has been changed) decided to do some exercise.  "What better place to do exercise than the roof of our house", thought Elder Monegro as he started up the stairs of the cinder block house.  "I think I will start by running in place, because there isn't too much room up here", he thought silently.  Elder Monegro then began running.  He started slow, then went faster, and faster, and faster, until he could hardly stand the burning in his legs!  He closed his eyes and pushed hard to finish up the workout...when he realized he was floating through a magical margin between sky and tin shed....and then he met the reality of the rusty tin shed.  He then crashed through the shed and landed square on his butt. 

The End. 

Well, after we realized that he was okay--we began to ask questions--and we got mas o menos the above mentioned story.  (I might have taken a little bit of writer's liberty).  I'm not gonna lie...I just about died laughing!!  He was running in place on his roof...closed his eyes....and boom!!  On a more serious is amazing how the Lord protects His missionaries.  A fall from that high could have easily killed him--and broken bones would be expected.  But he walked away without a scratch.  The Lord watches over and protects His missionaries. 

Story #2  9:17 P.M. Wednesday, October 31st, 2012.  Intersection of the 27th of February and Caonabo. 

" empanada sure sounds good after a long day of work", said Elder Batista to his companion Elder Reeder.  "Sure does--lets go!"   Ring Ring Ring Ring....cell phone.  "Hello President, how are you?" "Bad--We have two missionaries in jail--I need you two to meet me in the Torre Crystal right away".

Yeah, in that moment all that was going through my head was "what in the ??"  Anyway, we shot off like a stampede of turtles through peanut butter!  Okay, we actually took off pretty quick.  When we got there, we met up with President and Hna. Rodriguez, and some guy, who for the size of his head, I assumed to be extremely intelligent.  I then had to follow President, who I think secretly races NASCAR on the weekends, through Santo Domingo to the jail where they were holding them.  Along the way...we picked up a lawyer who appeared out of thin air. 

We finally arrived at the jail, and things began to clear up a little bit.  What was amazing to me, was watching and learning from the way that President handled the situation.  Before entering the building, he stopped, and said a prayer--putting the situation in the Lord's hands.  It turned out, that the two missionaries didn't have electricity in their house, so they decided they would try and play with the electrical meter.  Yeah, not a good idea!!  The police came right away and hauled them off to jail, and jail here isn't a pleasant place like it is in the States.  The bathroom is the floor...the rooms are the size of a dog carrier, and it is not the most uplifting atmosphere.  So, as you can imagine, President wasn't too excited about his missionaries being there.

Well, because it was late at night, they said the Elders would have to stay the night, and that the next morning, they would be let out to stand trial.  Well, then all the leaders of the Caribbean were notified, and plans began to be put in motion.  We then all came together, and offered a prayer that they would be granted the chance to not have to spend the night in prison.  We prayed, and it still seemed as if they were going to have to stay.  President then looked at me and my companion, and said, "They can't be here alone.  I need you and your companion to stay here with them to make sure they are okay."  I was hoping that he was talking to the other Elder Reeder in the room....but then I realized I was the only one.  Well, luckily, the miracle came.  The Police General came to the jail at 1:36 A.M---something absolutely unheard of---and allowed them to leave.  When he said this, President broke down in tears as he hugged the missionaries. 

The next day, I had the chance to spend some time talking to President about what happened, and he kept saying, "I know the Lord wants us to learn from this.  What can we learn from this experience?"  It was amazing to me to see how through it all, President knew to learn from the experience.  He knew the Lord wanted to teach us something from that.  I know personally I learned how to act in tough situations, and how to solve tough problems.  Put the Lord first.

So that leads me to the baptism.  This experience has helped me to have a different outlook on the problem with the baptism.  I can't think about my desires to see him baptized, but rather I have to put the Lord first.  I have to learn to put my confidence in Him, and allow Him to teach me through the experiences that I have each and every day.  I hope that we always can look for the good in all things.  I hope that we recognize the hand of the Lord in our day to day lives, and that we are always looking for the lessons that He teaches us through the experiences that we have! 

I hope that you guys all had a great week last week, and that this one is even better!


Elder Reeder

Bear Hunters?

October 20, 2012


Dad, you are hunting Bears?!  Mom, you are hunting?  I had a nice flashback to Bill Engvall......"psssstt what time are the deer coming?" ---"I dunno, they forgot to call back to confirm the appointment!" 

Well, this week has been a little bit better!  This week we started to do house checks!  We checked all the houses in the capital, about 45 or something!  Its quite a job...I think we logged in about 700 kilometers this week!  I know that doesn't sound like much but when you factor in Dominican drivers and roads, it equals about 4000 miles!  I got to go back to Madre Vieja and check the house, and while we were there, I ran into Santo (my first baptism).  He and his family are doing great!  I also got to see a few other people from there, so that was fun. 

This week was also President's birthday, so we got to surprise him with a homemade cake!  It was pretty funny, we talked to the Hermana and snuck into his house and were waiting downstairs with the candles lit and everything, but by the time he came down the candles all burned the cake tasted more like candle!  Ha ha!  We then got to stay and talk with them for a while, so that was fun! 

This week, we had a pretty cool experience!  Finally, we were able to go talk to one of our investigators about his experience in General Conference.  He told us that he entered just a little late, and President Monson was talking, and without anyone telling him, he instantly knew it was the Prophet.  He said he felt as if he was in a room alone with the prophet, and that he was talking directly to him.  It was amazing how strongly the spirit bore testimony to him about the prophet. 

This week I have been thinking a lot about what I am grateful for.  This week I realized how grateful I am for challenges.  I have realized that my experiences in the mission recently have been quite challenging, but I'm grateful for them.  I'm grateful as it says in Ether, that God gives us weaknesses so that we will be humble, and if we are humble the Lord will make our weaknesses strong!

Also, Dengue Fever (don't know how to spell it) is now an epidemic here!  There are a lot of sick missionaries, so that's occupying much of our time!  Don't worry, I'm a professional mosquito swatter so I'm still safe!  Sounds like Mom and Dad had quite the experience with the trailer...I'm glad everyone is safe.  That's what is important.  That's awesome to hear about the new Bishopric, look out deacons quorum leader...there's a trend!  I've been thinking about Spencer a lot is he doing?  Well, family I don't have a lot of time!  Thanks for everything!  I love you all! 

My Dearest Familia!

October 13, 2012


First of all, I'm sorry that I haven't written you a letter!  I'm a little bit behind in the world.  This week has been the busiest week of the mission.  I think we totaled out with about 18 hours of sleep from Saturday to Saturday---we are a little tired :(  But anyway, transfers are done...and no one died!  Ha ha ha  So as you can see...I'm still in the office...until at least the end of November.  Obviously, the Lord still has something that He wants me to learn.  This week was so busy....we weren't able to get to our area as far as that goes--this week was a bummer!!!  It is extremely hard for me to have so many investigators who are doing so good...and then for circumstances beyond our control, we aren't able to visit them.  I just have confidence that the Lord continues blessing them, and helping them as long as they are in my thoughts and prayers.  Tomorrow, if everything goes good, we will be in our area for the whole day!  I cant wait!!!

Friday we were able to go to the Temple in the morning.  Absolutely Amazing!!  I needed that, and it was great to feel the peace and comfort of the temple!  I know I've said it before--but I'll say it again.  Go to the temple!!!  Every single week!  Don't let a single week go by without going to the temple.  Test the Lord--see how He blesses you!  See how He pours out His Spirit and His blessings!  I have seen the people here sacrifice everything to attend the temple. It is in our background...please go there!!!

Here is one neat story from this week.  The missionaries who are going home always leave on Wednesday.  Well Tuesday at 10 PM, we received notice that one of the flights wasn't going to work out for a missionary from Chile.  He was only going to get to an airport that was 15 hours away from his house...and then he was stuck.  I was extremely overwhelmed to say the least.  I had to somehow find a way to get him home, and I didn't have a clue what to do.  Well, I knelt down and said a prayer that everything would work out.  After, I just felt calm and confident that everything would work out.  I started investigating the area, looking for the mission that corresponded to this area, to try and see if the Assistants from that mission would be able to pick him up and let him stay with them until we found him flights.  Anyway, it just so happened that the airport happened to be in the mission where Tom Essig's Dad is President!  Coincidence?  I don't think so!  Anyway, with some connections we were able to make adjustments, and we were able to help him get home on time!!  In the end we didn't even end up needing the help from the mission there, but it was comforting to know that option was there!  I don't know if that made any sense, because it was a big story really condensed.  Moral:  It's amazing how the Lord works.  Because the Lord sees past, present, and future, He does everything to bless us in many ways.  Did He call Tom's Dad to be mission President just to help me feel comforted that everything would work?  I don't think so.  But, I do think that He saw that situation, and knew that President Essig would be able to help!  All I know is that it was an answer to my prayer, extremely unexpected, but extremely powerful!

Story for the week :)   This week my interesting experiences include....driving a giant van to the airport....driving the Toyota Hilux Ambulance all around Santo Domingo at 2 o'clock in the morning, making a payment to a dueƱo in Florida, and learning to forget about myself.  The office has helped me to forget about myself.  Everything we do here is for other people, and it has really helped me to just not worry about myself!  It's amazing how when you are serving someone, your own needs and desires seem to disappear.  I feel like that is something I never fully understood in my life before.  I guess I lived a kind of me me me me life, and it should have been a everybody else kind of life!  I'm grateful that the Lord has given me a weakness, but is helping to make it a strength.

I love the mission.  I love the things that I learn.  I love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and His Gospel.  I love the plainness and beauty of His divine plan!  I want you to know that I know this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am proud to bear what to me are the two most important names in the world.  The name of Jesucristo and the name of my father and family.  It is my daily goal to make sure that I live worthy to bear them.  Thanks for everything! 


Elder Reeder