Sunday, March 24, 2013


March 24, 2013

Dearest Family! 

How are you all?  I hope that everything is going good!  From the updates, it sounds like everyone is staying busy, some sheet rocking, some chasing dogs, some coaching soccer, some watching babies.   I'm glad to hear that you are all doing good! 

Well this week was that means we have been from here to there to farther there, and then back to here!  We went up about 20 missionaries this transfer, so we have been taking things from the capital to all parts getting ready for the increase!  Now there are 10 hermanas in the south. We went up from 4 to 10, so that 250% increase in sisters means a 1,000,000,000% increase in phone calls!!  Haha.

Anyway, this week was quite strange, we didn't really have much time to work in our area, but the little time that we did have was great!  We are working with our awesome less-active family, and they are doing great!  I even baked a cake for Hna. Aurelina's birthday!  Yeah, I baked a cake--it's not as amazing as that apple pie picture that dad just sent me, but it was pretty dang good! 

I was able to do an intercambio with the missionaries working in the area of Azua where I was with Elder Chinchilla, and remember the less-active member I told you about, I got to visit her again!  And her son is now getting baptized!  It is really fun to see the blessings that come.  Even though it is not "my" baptism, I'm grateful that I could have a part in it! 

My Christmas package was great!  Thanks for sending that!  It was really weird, it wasn't opened at all, and all of the chocolate and everything wasn't even melting!  I think it just came on the Pony/Dolphin Express to get here, but it came in good hands! 

Well, the transfers came, and it was the truth that I stayed here as Ayudante.  I'm disappointed, but after this much time it has become my life.  I can honestly say that I trust that everything happens for a reason, and that for some reason or another I need to be here.  I hope that I can take advantage of every moment and learn everything that I need to learn. 

It is pretty crazy that Spencer comes home this week.  Give him a hug for me.  I've always looked up to him, and not just because he's huge, but he's always just been an amazing example for me.  I owe a lot to the great friends that helped me stay on track to be able to serve a mission.

So, Friday we came in early because President invited us to do a P-Day with him on Saturday and go to the East Mission to visit the Colonial Zone.  It was really fun!  My first P-Day in 4 months was worth the wait!  It was pretty fun to see so much history, and I learned some good places to go visit when we come back (hint hint hint--that has been one blessing, I sure do know this country!)      
Also, there is a friend that I have from Bella Vista--Hno.Van Troi--who is pretty much the coolest guy I know!  He is an ambassador in Spain, and his company is the importer for all Motorola products in the Dominican Republic.  Basically, he is a well-off man, and he is heading to Utah on April 4th until April 20th, to go to General Conference and visit Utah.  Well, he would like to meet you guys.  He especially would love to go to Cabelas.  He wants to go hunting, shooting, basically anything that has to do with outdoors.  So, I think dad could probably help him out!  He reminds me of Craig Ludwig...but if you would be willing, that would be great! 

Anyways, I love you all!  I really am grateful for the chance to serve a mission.  As much as I miss you all, I'm loving it here, and want to keep enjoying my time as a full-time servant of the Lord!  I hope that this Easter week you can all ponder on the death and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and remember that he lives!  I love you all! 
Elder Reeder 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Excuse my failure to write.....

March 10, 2013

Dearest Family,

Well, I apologize for not writing quite as faithfully as I should, but its been pretty busy!  This week has been full of all sorts of experiences, but I want to start with a few things from last week.  Last week was a really interesting week, as we had the chance to give lots of blessings.  In two days we had the chance to give 4 different blessings.  It made me realize the importance of always being prepared, always having consecrated oil, always being worthy, and always having the Spirit to be able to pronounce a blessing from our Father in Heaven.  It is an amazing blessing to have the priesthood in our lives, and I have realized that we should be more prompt to use this sacred power. 

Last Friday, we were able to go to the Temple.  It is amazing how much you appreciate the temple when you don't have the chance to go whenever you want.  I hope that I can always maintain that desire to enter the house of the Lord for my whole life.  What a blessing it is to have the temple 10 minutes away from our house.  We, the zone of Azua, and San Cristobal, went to the temple together.  As we were waiting to enter the Temple, I found the missionaries that are currently in Madre Vieja Norte, and began to ask them how our converts were doing.  Agapito and Mami are doing great, and preparing to go to the temple!  (I'm going to call them tomorrow to see the date), and also Santo and Flor!  Seba and Feliz are both still active, and doing great!  My heart filled with joy as I heard that they were active and strong.

I then asked about Besy, and the response left me speechless.  The missionary told me, "Oh, you don't know what happened," with a concerned look on his face.  I immediately asked what had happened.  He then told me that the father of Ashley (Besy's little girl, that is in the baptism pictures), had poisoned and killed Ashley.  The missionaries explained that he was angry that Besy had separated from him, which she did to be able to be baptized, and for some reason he wanted to get back at her.  Tears swelled in my eyes, and a stream of emotions entered my heart.  Honestly, at first I just felt anger--how could anyone do that?  How could he take the life of such a precious little girl?  But it seemed to suddenly flow into peace, as the words of Mormon, in the book of Moroni, filled my mind.  I felt peace--peace and comfort--although my mind was struggling with such terrible news.  I entered the temple, somewhat in a whirlwind, but as I quickly found myself in the Chapel where I read the words....    "And I am filled with charity, which is everlasting love; wherefore, all children are alike unto me; wherefore, I love little children with a perfect love; and they are all alike and partakers of salvation.......For behold that all little children are alive in Christ. 

I found myself profoundly thinking about life, about family, about little Keagan, about struggles, but everything returned to Christ and His Atonement.  With whatever trial we face, we must return to the atonement.  What comfort it is to be able to participate in the power of the atonement.  In a way which we can't understand, He can comfort us.  In our most tragic moments, He can and He will comfort us.  I know that the peace I felt in the temple came from the Spirit, sent by a loving Heavenly Father to help me in that very moment.

An older member of our branch, Hermano Ortiz, has been a member for 27 years.  All of his children, and the majority of his grandchildren, have been baptized in the church, but only 3 are attending currently.  That leaves about 47 less active members in his immediate family.  Well, one day he gave us the "assignment" to rescue his family.  He told us that he was praying for them, fasting for them, and that he knew we would be able help them.  When we talked to the other members in the branch, they told us we were crazy.  "Everyone has visited them- ellos no estan en eso".  Well, repeatedly I thought of Alma, praying for his son.  Praying that he would stop trying to destroy the church and return!  I have repeatedly read this scripture...

"And again, the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith." 

I feel as if we have been entrusted with a similar responsibility.  Well, at first it seemed somewhat helpless.  But now, we have been able to share with each and every one of the families, and even many grandchildren that live in our ward boundaries--about 23 of them--and we have committed 10 of them to go to church.  Last night we shared a Family Home Evening with one family and Hno.  Ortiz about repentance.  It was a special experience to see his eyes fill with tears as they shared that they had been waiting for us to come, waiting for the invitation, and that they have made the decision to return to church.  I feel privileged to be able to watch as the Lord works miracles.  It humbles me to see His mercy, and His love for His children.  It feels me with joy to know that I have had the chance to work in His vineyard. 

I am grateful that I have been called to be a missionary and representative of Jesus Christ.  I am grateful for tender mercies of the Lord.  I am grateful that I was born into a family that lives the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am grateful for challenges that allow us to grow.  I know without a doubt in my mind that Jesus Christ lives.  He sits at the right hand of our Father, and at the head of His restored church.  I know that one of the greatest truths is that we can become like Him.  Just as we studied today, as man is God once was, and as God is man can become.  It is my prayer that we all have the goal of becoming as our Father is.  I love you all! 

Elder Riley Ted Reeder