Monday, December 16, 2013

Week 28

We did a lot of traveling this week. On Tuesday, we worked with the hermanas in Angol. That went really well. We found 4 people who accepted baptismal dates! We will see how those go in the coming weeks. On Thursday, we went to Temuco for the Christmas Conference. Every zone that was there had to create a dance/song and then perform for all the other missionaries. That was a lot of fun. We also got pillows for Christmas!  The week in Renaico went really well, too. We are teaching 8 people who have baptismal dates and are hoping to see at least 2 this month. We are teaching a man named Luis and his son, Luis. Almost all of their family was just baptized recently, so we are looking to help them complete that. It has made me think about why we are really here. We aren´t here to baptize people. We are here to bless the lives of everyone by helping them become a part of an eternal family. Thanks to the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we have the same power that the apostles had to bind on Earth and Heaven. In temples, we have the opportunity to be sealed to our families and to our spouses for eternity. I´ve said it before, but that is the #1 goal that I have, to be sealed to my family forever. The peace, hope, and comfort that brings is something that I want everyone to have. Although that´s not possible for me right now, I can help others experience that. There is no greater gift than sharing the gospel with others. I hope everyone has a great week!

Elder Reynolds

Elder Martinez from Guatemala, who goes home after this transfer period

Some pictures of Tijeral, which is a little pueblo outside of Renaico

Some pictures of Tijeral, which is a little pueblo outside of Renaico

Monday, December 9, 2013

Week 27

This week was crazy. I can´t remember if I wrote about this, but Elder Carlson, one of the missionaries in Coronel who was training, had to leave early to go work in the office and left his son there with Elder Hill and I. So, I spent the last part of the week with two new missionaries. That was a fun experience, though. Elder Baggs is a really good guy, too. It was a fun way to end my time in Coronel. I think the hardest part about being a missionary is saying goodbye to all the people that you´ve grown to love. It was like leaving home again. On Tuesday, I headed to Renaico. It´s really pretty here. It´s really green, there is fruit everywhere, there isn´t pollution like in Coronel, there aren´t millions of stray dogs and vast quantities of garbage in the streets, and the people don´t yell things at you as much. My companion, Elder Escalante is a great guy. We get along well. We work in two branches. One is in Renaico and the other in a small town called Tijeral. I went to church in Tijeral this week. There are about 26 active members there, but they are all really great and all have the desires to help with the missionary work. My first day, we ate lunch in Tijeral. After, we went into a members backyard and ate raspberries, strawberries, cherries, and other fruits off the trees in her backyard. I also ate a fruit off a tree while my companion and I were walking in Renaico. There is fruit everywhere. We found a lot of people to teach this week: 22 new investigators, which is the most, by far, that I´ve ever found in a week. The people here are really receptive. I look forward to becoming a part of the work here and hope that I can do at least some good here. My new district is great. The two other elders here in Renaico and two hermanas in Angol are in my district. I´ll be working in Angol with them tomorrow. We have a Christmas conference in Temuco on Thursday, so I´m excited about that. That´s way south of here. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE MOST WONDERFUL WOMAN ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH: MY MOM! It´s hard to believe that she will already be 30 years old! WOW! Also, happy 11 month anniversary to my wonderful, beautiful, intelligent girlfriend, Micaela Morgan Wright. She forgot about our anniversary, but I didn´t! Further proof that I love her more than she loves me. Next month will be a full year! Time really flies when you have the most amazing woman in the world, other than my mom, by your side. Have a wonderful week, everyone! 
"Elder Baggs, Elder Hill, and I. My short time as a single mother of two."

Monday, December 2, 2013

Week 26

I found out today that I am being transferred to Renaico as a district leader. My new companion will be Elder Escalante. He´s from Mexico. I´ve really enjoyed my time here in Coronel and have learned a lot. I think Elder Hill trained me more than I trained him. He really helped me to be more humble and to be more patient. He´s a great example for me. He´s a great missionary and I hope to work with him again in the future. We didn´t have a ton of success this week, but we did see a miracle. We were in an area of Coronel called Lo Rojas a few days ago because we had an appointment. We went, but no one was there. We went to our back-up appointment and no one was there either. We started walking around looking for someone to teach when we walked by a woman with a bunch of bags. All she said was "hola," but the Spirit just screamed at us that we should talk to her. It turns out that her family had been taught by the missionaries when she was a little girl. No one in the family was baptized, but many years later she took the lessons again. This time, she was ready to be baptized, along with the rest of her family (her and her 4 daughters). However, she was unable to because she didn´t pass the baptismal interview due to a couple of commandments she wasn´t following. She moved shortly after that to Coronel. This experience goes to show that, even when we think things aren´t going our way (both of our appointments fell and we had nothing else to do), it´s all a part of The Lord´s grand plan for His children. We should always remember how small our viewpoint is in comparison to The Lord´s. He always knows best, even when we are convinced that we know better. Have a great week, everyone! I love you, Micaela Morgan Wright!

Elder Reynolds

Victoria Mendez and her mother, Victoria Bustos with Elder Reynolds

Elder Reynolds and Lienturl 

He couldn't leave the dog out!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Week 25

We had a baptism on Saturday! Oscar Andrés Bastías Vega made his first covenant with the Lord and for just a moment was made absolutely perfect in the atonement of Jesus Christ. He has the opportunity to continue to be made perfect in the atonement everyday as he strives to keep the covenants that he has made with God. That´s a promise that all of us have if we take upon us the name of Christ, always remember Him, and keep His commandments. That is was this work is about, giving that hope to those who lack it and helping them find the joy that this gospel brings. We had a talent show that same day, which included being forced to do ridiculously embarrassing things because missionaries don´t really have free agency when it comes to the members. A member made a video of the other 3 missionaries and I here in Coronel. I played a cowboy... obviously, because everyone from Texas still rides horses to work. Elder Hill was "The Pianist." Elder Carlson was Legolas, and Elder Baggs was Neo, from the Matrix. It´s pretty funny. He is going to put it up on YouTube, so when that is up I will send the link. This cambio ends on Tuesday and I think I will be moving to a different sector, but I´m not completely sure. I´ll update y´all on that this coming Monday. Happy Birthday to Mrs. Wright!!! I believe she turns 28 this week! Congratulations to Stephen and Juliana! Congratulations to LSU for beating A&M! Congratulations to Micaela Morgan Wright for being the most beautiful woman on the face of the Earth! I love you! I hope everyone has a great week!

Elder Reynolds

Here is the video Elder Reynolds was talking about! 
Elder Reynolds, Oscar, and Elder Hill

Monday, November 18, 2013

Week 24

This week went well. We found some new families to teach! It´s always great to find families. That´s what the gospel is all about. It´s about helping great families, broken families, all types of families become eternal families. I know and have seen how true that is. One of my good friends, a member here, named Victor Monsalve is leaving in a few days and I probably won´t see him again for a few years, so that´s disappointing, but I´m grateful for all that he has done for me, for the friend he has been and will continue to be, for all that he has done for the work here in Coronel, and for all the work he will do on his mission. We have been teaching a woman named Veronica Arraíz. She is a single mom and lives alone with her 1-year-old son. It´s really sad to see that. She really has the toughest job on Earth. I´m so grateful for what moms do. I´m especially grateful for my mom, who has always been there for me and always had faith in me. She has no idea the effect she has had on me. Mom´s truly make the difference. Behind every great man is a great mom. Anyway, Veronica is great! She understands everything! She´s basically a missionary´s dream. Not only does she understand everything, she is willing to do everything because she knows how important her relationship with Heavenly Father is. That´s rare. So many people have knowledge of the gospel, but lack understanding (i.e. they don´t apply it and live it). I really look forward to helping her and her son. We have another baptism this Saturday! His name is Oscar Bastías. He is a 17-year-old. He is so excited for his baptism. He is already trying to share the gospel with his mom! He looks like missionary material to me! I´ll be putting up pictures from the baptism next week! Happy birthday to my dad! He turns 25 this month ;)! I love you, dad! I also wanted to thank Mr. and Mrs. Wright for the birthday card I received from them and also for everthing they´ve done for me. They probably don´t realize it, but they have been and are great examples for me. The way they have raised their family in the gospel and the love they have for eachother is something I will never forget and will strive to apply in my family some day. I also want to thank them for raising the most wonderful, beautiful woman I have ever met! They really have no idea the effect they have had on my life. I will be forever grateful for that. I hope everyone has a great week!

Elder Reynolds 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Week 23

We had two baptisms this week! Victoria Valeria Irinea Mendez Bustos and her mom, Victoria Del Carmen Bustos Navarro have officially made the greatest decision of their lives! It really was an amazing experience. To see the power of the atonement in action like that and to see how much they glowed afterwards was incredible. I say it all the time, but it truly is humbling to be a tool in the Lord´s hands to bless the lives of His children. We are currently working with two other investigators who have baptismal dates for this month. One of them, Oscar, is actually already telling his family members, many of whom are members, that he is getting baptized, so I´m really excited about that! As we continue to work hard and be obedient, the Lord continues to bless us beyond belief. We played paintball today... on the beach... in abandoned, half destroyed buildings. It was pretty fun. The entire zone, except two hermanas, were there. I heard that Texas is still undefeated in the Big 12, so that is great news. Today, 10 months ago, I began an eternity with Micaela Morgan Wright!  She is the most amazing, beautiful, inspirational, supportive woman I know. I know that I already love her more than she loves me, and I will continue to love her more each and every day. I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Elder Reynolds
Victoria Mendez and her mother, Victoria Bustos with Elder Reynolds and Elder Hill on their baptismal date.

Paintball on the beach.

Paintball on the beach with another Elder from Peru.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Week 22

We will be having two baptisms here in Coronel this coming Sunday. Victoria Mendez and her mother, Victoria Bustos are going to be baptized! Elder Smith and I found them about 3 months ago knocking doors. I remember the first time we taught them, Victoria Mendez wouldn´t even let us teach. She basically interrogated us the entire lesson haha. The next lesson, she had spoken with a friend, who is a member. She listened attentively the entire lesson. That is a perfect example of the importance of members in the church. Her friend has been there for her the entire way and continues to be there for her. Without her, Victoria and her mom wouldn´t be where they are today. Victoria recently quit smoking to be baptized. She went from a pack a day to 0 in weeks. That´s the power of the atonement. I know that addictions are not easy to overcome, but I also know the power that we receive through Christ to overcome our weaknesses (Ether 12:27). I will be baptizing Victoria Mendez and Elder Hill, for his first baptism ever in his life, will be baptizing Victoria Bustos. The branch has really been a great help with them. They have constantly been there for them and, as a result, the Victorias have been active investigators. Active investigators make active converts. It has been amazing to watch them learn and grow together as a family and I know that the baptism will be one of the most gratifying moments of my life. To watch someone, especially a family, make those covenants with the Lord is something that words cannot explain. Elder Carlson spoke about how much his family means to him this past Sunday and I couldn´t help be be overwhelmed with gratitude for my family and for all the blessings and opportunities I´ve received through them. I love my family so much and miss them everyday, but I know they are being blessed for what is happening here. I´m also incredibly grateful for Micaela Morgan Wright, who is the love of my eternal life and I will always do all that I can to help her remember that. Have a great week!

Elder Reynolds

Monday, October 28, 2013

Week 21

This week has been amazing! I can´t remember if I wrote about last Sunday, but I´ll write about it anyway. Last Sunday, Elder Hill and I were contacting all day, looking for new investigators. Toward the end of the day, with about 2 hours left. It began to pour rain. We were in our suits and had no umbrella, so we scrambled around and tried to get into a house. We were rejected by about 15 people. Obviously, that was frustrating. I was a little upset and I don´t think I hid it too well. After a while, I felt this peace come over me. It was pouring and my suit was soaked all the way through, but I felt at peace. Even when we were continually rejected and left in the rain, I realized that it was okay. I realized that, although we experience really, really tough times in our lives, we can still find peace. When we endure the trials that we experience with patience and with faith, the Lord gives us peace and hope, and then He blesses us beyond what we could´ve imagined. At the end of this week, after experiencing that Sunday, we are teaching 14 people with a baptismal date. 14 people who have the opportunity to absolutely transform their lives and the lives of their families. 14 precious souls that have the opportunity to make their first promise with God. 14 brothers and sisters who have the opportunity to receive a remission of their sins. 14 children of God who have the opportunity to take the first step to returning to live in the prescense of their Father in Heaven who worries about them constantly, who loves them more than we can comprehend, who has prepared the way for them, who gave His Only Begotten, who lifts us up and pours out blessings to all, who wants nothing but the absolute best for us. If this week is not a miracle and that experience not a perfect example of the fact that obedience brings blessings, I have no idea what is. Another example could be the fact that, just a few months after being baptized, I found the love of my life, Micaela Morgan Wright, who is the closest thing to perfect this world has to offer. Que tengan una buena semana y que Dios les bendiga!

Elder Reynolds

Monday, October 21, 2013

Week 20

This has been a great week. We have 8 people who have set a goal for baptism! Maribel is doing great, but was out of town this weekend. Victoria Mendez and her mom will not be baptized this coming week because she is still doing her best to quit smoking. She has all the desires in the world to be baptized, though! We are doing our best to help her overcome her addiction. She really is doing all that she can to do God´s will for her and I know He will help her achieve her goal. We had a baptism on Saturday! Her name is Viarly Fuentes. She is 18 years old and has plans to serve a mission! It was great to see her take her first step to accomplishing that goal. She was being taught by the other missionaries here, so that is why I haven´t written much about her, but I do know her because she has been helping us teach lessons to other investigators. I found a great scripture in the Book of Mormon this week. It´s 1 Nephi 21:14-16. It´s about how Christ knows us and loves us. We are written on the palms of His hands. He knows each and every one of us by name and is always there for us. He died for each and every one of us, individually. He did it for you, personally. You were on His mind when he was suffering. You are what kept Him going when He drank the bitter cup. He did it all for you. His love is perfect and eternal. We will never understand it, but we can do our best everyday to show Him what He means to us. I was told today that I will now be a district leader! I´m really excited about that and the opportunity I have a serve the missionaries that are serving by my side. A lot of times, people think that missionary work is all about those who aren´t members of the church, but that´s not true. It´s about the members, too. They need strengthening just as much as anyone. It´s also about serving other missionaries. It´s not easy being away from all that we know and love, even with the knowledge and faith that we have, but when we have other missionaries who are willing to sacrifice and be there for us, it makes it a lot easier. I look forward to doing that for others. I was recently told by my grandmother that she wants to be baptized!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Lord promised me that He would take care of my family while I was gone and He has done nothing but blessed my family beyond what I can even imagine. I´m proud to have a father who has the priesthood authority to perform the ordinance of baptism. It is humbling to see my eternal family grow by one more, especially to see a woman who has done so much for me and loved me and sacrificed for me my entire life. She has not only done that for me, but for my entire family. She truly is one of the greatest examples on this planet for me and I can´t even begin to explain my emotions at reading about her desires to be baptized, nor can I explain the joy I feel to imagine her taking that step in her life. I love you, Grandma! I´m so blessed to have my family and my wonderful, beautiful, amazing, intelligent, funny, nearly perfect, spiritual giant of a girlfriend named Micaela Morgan Wright. Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Elder Reynolds

Viarly Fuentes, Elder Reynolds and Elder Hill

Monday, October 14, 2013

Week 19!

This week has been great! At first it wasn´t, but that changed towards the end. At the beginning of the week, there wasn´t much going on. We weren´t having too many lessons and we were doing a ridiculous amount of walking. I´ve seen myself change as my mission has gone on. Early in my mission, when there was literally nothing happening, I really got down because we weren´t having success. Now, I know even more than I did before the importance of the message we carry and the fact that God only requires of us everything that we have. If we do everything we can for Him, He blesses us. This time, although we weren´t having much success, Elder Hill and I did our best to keep working hard and to have a good attitude about it. The Lord blessed us for our efforts yesterday. We were going to visit and old investigator of the church who wasn´t taking the lessons anymore, just to see if he had interest still. Fortunately, there was no exact address, so we took a guess at which house it was. It wasn´t his house, but we found who the Lord was leading us to. Her name is Maribel Carrasco. She is about 30 or 35 years old and just moved to Coronel. She is currently looking for a job. She has had a rough life. She has had two children. Her youngest died at an early age due to an illness, and her oldest, who was 15, recently passed away due to another illness. Needless to say, her relationship with the Lord is a little strained and has trouble feeling His love for her. She may not know it, but I know the Lord loves her because I felt and feel that love for her. He loves her so much. That´s why we found her. He knew she needed to feel His love. He knew that she needed what we have. We have the answers she is looking for. We have the peace and the hope that she needs, and the Lord used us as tools to answer the needs of His beloved daughter. Now that, is a humbling experience, and that is a miracle. Other than that, Victoria Mendez and her mom are doing great! They are on track to be baptized the 26th!!! Thank you for all who sent me happy birthday messages! You can stop, though. I´ve decided to stay 22 forever. Have a wonderful week everyone! I love you, Micaela Morgan Wright!!! Be good ;)!

Elder Reynolds

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 18

This week was pretty rough. We faced a lot of rejection and didn´t have too many lessons. We learned recently that there are one of three reasons that we experience little success in the mission. 1. we aren´t being obedient 2. we aren´t communicating as a companionship or 3. it´s a test from God. I know that my companion and I are being obedient, but many times we don´t communicate as much as we should, so we tried to improve on that this week and are continuing to improve. Even after we tried that, we still didn´t experience much success, so I´m almost positive that we just experienced a really rough test this week. It´s really easy to forget about all the many blessings we have in our lives and focus on the negatives when we experience tests like that. It´s also really easy to forget that tests are a part of this life and are necessary for growth. We are here to be tested. We came here to learn and to grow. Without tests, we can´t do that. I know that the Lord never gives us tests that He knows we can´t overcome. We can always overcome them if we trust Him. Like Elder Holland said in the conference this past weekend, "if the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong." With Christ and through Christ, all is made possible. Related to that, I want to share a story. There was an olympic runner named David (I think) Redmund. He trained all his life to run in one race. When that time came and the race started, he looked to have a chance at winning. However, during the race, he injured his leg and collapsed. For a short time, he stayed on the ground. After a few seconds, he got up and began hopping toward the finish line. As he was doing so, his father ran onto the track, put his arm around him, and helped him finish the race. As they hobbled toward the finish line, many ran up and tried to stop them, but they were determined to finish the race. As those trying to stop them ran up to them, David´s father motioned them to leave as he yelled "he is my son." This is like our lives. Many times, the race is going great for us, but we inevitably fall. We make mistakes, people reject us, and we don´t have the success we were hoping for. But, thanks to the Atonement, we have a way to pick ourselves up. However, like this example, we cannot finish the race alone. Once we rely on Christ to pick us up, we can´t let go. We have to hold on, because without Him, we cannot finish the race. We will experience obstacles, like those who attempted to stop David and his dad, but we have a Father who can help us overcome all, who is always ready to remind us that We are His son/daughter. This General Conference was amazing and I hope everyone had the chance to watch it. If you didn´t, you can listen/watch/read it at I know that the leaders of this church are inspired by God. I know that Christ is at the head of this church. It (along with my family and the love of my eternal life, Micaela Morgan Wright) gives me strength to share this message everyday, no matter what happens. I hope everyone has a great week!

Elder Reynolds

Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 17

This week has been crazy. To start off the week we had nothing. We basically walked all day everyday. It was a little disappointing. We also didn´t have any investigators come to church. But, we kept working. As the week went on, we had more lessons and the Lord lifted us up, like he always does. We are in a period right now where we are having to let a few investigators go, which is never fun. I´ve gotten really attached to a few people and families and it´s really disappointing to see that they aren´t willing to continue progressing and doing the things that we ask them. However, we have a few investigators that are making a ton of progress. One investigator, Victoria Mendez, told us yesterday that she had told her dad that she plans on being baptized! Her mom is meeting with us too and has great desires. They´re a really great family. Another investigator, Raquel Ortiz, is also making a lot of progress. We had a lesson yesterday and she basically taught us. We left her with a pamphlet on the Plan of Salvation and she had studied it to the point that we hardly had to teach her anyting new. She has two little boys, Vicente (3 years) and León (1 year). I may have already written about them. She has all the desires in the world to continue learning about the gospel and to exercise her faith. There were three temblores yesterday. It was really weird. One was actually a 5.9. I´ve experienced them before, but never that strong or that many in one day. After the first two, we knocked on someone´s door that Elder Hill felt we should visit. She opened the door and told us to come in. She seemed to have been waiting for us. Her name is Maria and she has a daughter named Josefa, who is 6. Maria recently had a stroke and has no power in her right arm. Her mother also was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Basically, she is having a really difficult time right now. I felt like it wasn´t a coincidence that we had knocked on her door because Elder Hill had felt drawn to it and she agreed. She knew that the Lord was answering her prayers. It´s amazing to see the Lord at work, to see how He uses other to bless His children. I know that He loves each and every one of us. All He asks is that we exercise our faith so that we can bless us beyond our imagination. I exercised my faith and was baptized and I found Micaela Morgan Wright, for example. I know that as we do what we can to show our love for Him and for His children, we can receive His many blessings that He wants to bless us with. 

Elder Reynolds

Monday, September 23, 2013

Week 16

This week has been interesting. The 18th was the Chilean Independence Day, so it was hard to get a lot of work done because hardly anyone can be found outside or willing to receive us all week long. Their Independence DAY is one day, but the celebration is a week long deal. We had a party at the chapel that was a lot of fun. We did a bunch of crazy, traditional Chilean games and watched some of the members dance La Cueca, which is the national dance. They apparently teach it in schools. It´s a big deal here. I had a really interesting experience yesterday. One of our investigators is a veteranarian and invited us to help her with something. We drove to a little farm about 10 minutes outside of Coronel, where there was a cow waiting for us. We helped her load some siringes, so that she could inject the cow with some kind of drug. While she was doing that, her truck rolled down a hill and crashed into a fence because of the strong winds, so in addition to injecting a cow with drugs, we helped her pull her truck out of a fence. It was one of the most interesting experiences I´ve had here, right behind a group of teenagers that got onto a bus with us and had a rap battle for about ten minutes before leaving the bus. Victoria, the veteranarian, is making a ton of progress! She went to church the last two weekends in a row and we have been having really powerful lessons with her. She didn´t come to church yesterday, but called us to apologize for not coming haha. She had apparently stayed up until 7am working on a school project. She has a wonderful family. We also found a new family to teach! It´s a couple named Guillermo and Carolina and they have 3 daughters in high school. We´ve only had one lesson with them, but they are a great family and I really look forward to watching them grow. Elder Hill is doing well. He still really struggles with Spanish, but he is improving. It´s really fun to train. I´m doing my best to make sure he has a great experience here. Thanks to Sister Avery for the email and thank you for understanding the time constraints I have. I hope you know that you and your husband have had a major impact on my life and I am beyond grateful for all that you do for my grandmother. Also, I´m amazed every week to hear about everything you are doing, Micaela. I don´t deserve you. You are such an amazing person and are a great example to me and to those around you. I love you! Have a great week everyone!

Elder Reynolds

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Week 15

Feliz 18 de Coronel, Chile! There is nothing going on today in this entire country that doesn´t involve empanadas and asados. There is literally a Chilean flag flying outside every house here. I´ve heard this holiday is the 2nd biggest behind Christmas, so I´m pretty excited to see what Christmas is like here because they´ve been celebrating the 18th since last month and the celebrations will go all through the rest of this week, at least. Everything is great here in Coronel. Lienturl Astolfo Torres Carrasco was confirmed a member of the church this Sunday. It was amazing. After his confirmation, he stood up with tears in his eyes and hugged me and thanked me for all that we had done for him. He doesn´t know it, nor would he understand, but he has taught me more than I could ever teach him. If I don´t have anymore success for the rest of my mission, seeing that man change into who he is today and seeing his family there with him along the way justifies every single day of my mission. I had another really great experience. My companion and I (Elder Hill, "my son," is from Utah and is 18 years old; he speaks 0 Spanish, so that´s fun) were walking to a lesson and a really drunk man, smoking a cigarette said "hola, élderes." We stopped and talking to him for a while. It turns out that he had been baptized when he was 16 (he was probably in his early 40s now) in Camilo. He talked to us for long time about his history. He is divorced and he has lost his entire family, likely due to his drinking problem. He asked me "what would you say if I told you I was going to go home right now and kill myself?" I asked him "why would you?" I then bore my testimony of the plan that Heavenly Father has for each and every one of us and of His incomprehensible love for us. I told him that he can change what has happened in his life with the help of Christ. I pulled out a Book of Mormon and handed it to him and told him he already knew what to do with it. He looked at me, began to cry, and hugged me (he also kissed me on the cheek, which brings the amount of times I´ve been kissed by drunk men up to double digits). I wrote my name and number down on the front page of the book and he thanked us and walked home. I´m not going to list all the things that had to happen for us to just so happen to be in the right place at the right time to talk to that man, but I´ve thought about it and that experience was nothing short of a miracle. I know that the Lord used my companion and I to save that man´s life. A miracle is a natural effect of celestial laws. Obedience brings blessings, and miracles. Another example: I found the gospel, began living the commandments, and now I have Micaela Morgan Wright. That´s a miracle coming from obedience. Have a great week, everyone!

Elder Reynolds

Monday, September 9, 2013

Week 14

We had a baptism this week! Lientur got baptized! The Lord came through! We had promised him that the Lord would prepare the way for him to get baptized the 7th of this month and it happened! He was super sick just before and had spent a lot of time in the hospital, but his health really improved a few days and a few blessings before this past Saturday. I´d say that is a miracle. He is doing well, but his health has dipped again. We will continue to visit him and to keep him excited about progressing in the gospel. We found a family to teach this week. This is the first time that has happened. The Rifo-Sarsosa family is a man named Jonel, his wife Janette, his son Benjamin (really great name), his daughter Maria José, and Carolina. Benjamin is younger, but his two daughters are both studying in different universities in Concepción. They´re a really great family and all are interested, especially the mom. She apparently investigated and dissected the pamphlet about the Restoration. We have also been teaching Raquel more. She is really progressing. We also began teaching Lientur´s sister, Gladys. She has really strong desires to progress in the gospel. She has really bad health problems too, so she definitely needs the gospel. She feels like a 3rd grandmother to me. Angela, one of my first baptisms, was recently diagnosed with cancer, so please keep her in your prayers. She´s really amazing. Although she has received that diagnosis, she is still working hard as the Primary President and loves going out and teaching with us. It´s inspiring. I´ve met quite a few people like that here, for example Lientur and his sister. I heard Texas lost to BYU. That´s unfortunate. One of the missionaries who goes to BYU had fun calling me and telling me about that. Transfers are tomorrow. Elder Smith is going to Vilcún, outside of Temuco. I pick up the elder I´ll be training on Wednesday, I´m really excited about that. This Wednesday, I will have been dating the love of my eternal life for 8 months. She´ll never really understand what she means to me or how much I love her, but I´m grateful that she has put up with me for so long. I love you, Micaela! Oh, congratulations to Katy and Brock! Have a great week, everyone!
Elder Reynolds
Elder Reynolds his first week in Chile baptizing 3 hermanas 

Elder Reynolds and his companion, Elder Smith (center)

Elder Reynolds and Elder Smith with Lientur on his baptismal date

Monday, September 2, 2013

Week 13!

We did a lot of traveling this week. We went to Concepción early in the week for an interview with the President again, went to Lota for the weekly meetings there, and then on Thursday we headed to Cañete, which is about 2 and a half hours south of Coronel. Early that next morning, we went to Angol for a conference. They had me cook steaks and longanizas for about 70 missionaries. I met two other missionaries from Texas! That was pretty exciting, even if one of them was an Aggie. That was unfortunate. You really hate to see something so good go so bad. Hook ´em. I heard my Longhorns won! That was exciting news. Anyway, I found out that I will definitely be training this next transfer, which begins next week. I´ll still be in Coronel, probably for at least another 12 weeks. That´s how long training is. I´m not sure where Elder Smith will be going. We have a possible baptism this Saturday! It´s Lientur, but he has been in the hospital lately with some heart problems, so we will see how he is doing when the time comes. Other than his health problems, he is doing great spiritually. I have faith that the Lord will give him the health that he needs to enter the waters of baptism. He regularly expresses to us how much appreciates us and all the changes he has experienced since he began learning the gospel. A lot of these people don´t realize that they teach us just as much as we teach them. There is always something to learn from everyone. It´s up to us to figure out what it is and then to apply it to our lives. We met a 23-year-old named Raquel on Monday. She has two kids, Vicente (3) and León (1). I don´t think I´ve seen children with as much energy as they have. It´s impressive. We got along really well with them. In fact, when it came time to leave after the first lesson we had with her, Vicente started to cry. It´s really fun to teach her. She really wants to create a good future for her children and is really confused about why there are so many churches and why we can take one verse of scripture, show it to 5 different churches, and get 5 different interpretations... sounds a little familiar. Those are the exact questions Joseph Smith had. Christ established one church, the word is one, so there should be one church and one interpretation. I found Ezequiel 37:16-20, which talks about the stick of Judah (The Bible) and the stick of Joseph (The Book of Mormon, Lehi was a descendent of Joseph). God has put them together to make them one, and with them both we have the fulness of the gospel. I shared that with Raquel and she really understood. She has strong desires to find the truth and I know that that´s all it takes to find it. We just have to put forth some effort, show the Lord that we have the faith to do it, and He will bless us with an answer to our prayers. We are also working on having more activities in the branch. Some things in the past really destroyed the branch, so it´s hard to build it back up again. But, as we work with the members, leaders, and less active members, I know that we can make the Coronel Branch a Ward. I know that´s what the Lord wants and we are doing all that we can to make it happen. I hope it has rained some in Texas. You all are in my prayers. 

Elder Reynolds 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Week 12

This week has been great! Elder Smith and I had to go to Concepción on Tuesday for an interview and I found out that I will likely be training next transfer! I may, but I´m not sure yet, also be made district leader. Elder Smith is leaving, unfortunately. He´s been great. I think the one thing that I learned most from him was humility and patience. Those are definitely two things that I´ve struggled with, but I have noticed a ton of growth over the past couple of months and I owe that to my trainer. He´s a great missionary and I know he will continue to do great things, wherever he goes. We are teaching a woman named Maribel Ortega. I think I have written about her before, but she is the cousin of un hermano that just left for his mission to Peru Lima East. She has a husband that has some serious drinking problems and has 5 young kids. She hadn´t been attending a church when we met her, but has always been Evangelical, like 99% of the people here. Well, this Sunday she came to church with her two youngest kids. During Gospel Principles, she bore her testimony about how many changes she has seen in her family since we have been visiting her. Her husband, who used to drink every night, has been listening to our lessons, rather than leaving as soon as we arrive. Along with him, her other kids have been listening to us teach her. She has noticed the peace and the love that the Spirit brings to her family. She called us "angelitos." That really means a lot to hear that we have done something to improve someone´s living situation. It´s an honor to be a tool in God´s hands. She is doing great and continues to progress. Lientur wasn´t able to get baptized due to health issues. He has been in the hospital off and on this week, but we have had the chance to meet with him. Spiritually, he is doing great and is ready to make his first covenant with Heavenly Father, but physically, he isn´t able to. However, we were talking with him last night and I felt impressed to promise him something really specific. I promised him that, according to his desires and his faith, that Heavenly Father will prepare the way for him to be baptized on the 7th of September. I firmly believe that. I know Heavenly Father works miracles because I see them everyday. For example, I have Micaela Morgan Wright. It´s a miracle that she puts up with me and somehow loves me. We have also been visiting an inactive member named Arturo Campos. He has elephantitis in his leg, along with some other emotional problems. He has had some bad experiences with some members, so hasn´t been coming to church. Yestday, we met with him and decided to be direct with him and find out how we can answer his doubts and get him to church. We answered the doubt about the relational issues. He wants to show people he is strong, and he can do that by coming to church every week, in spite of what has happend between him and some members. The other doubt we found was that he has to pay for a cab to get to church. So, I told him I´d pay for his cab every Sunday. That means that we will be seeing him and his mom next Sunday. He also made us promise that we would take him out to work with us after church every Sunday. We started that yesterday. To see the atonement at work in all these peoples lives is a miracle in itself. I´m so blessed to play a role in this work. We can all play the same role. Lose yourself in service and you´ll find yourself and the love that Heavenly Father has for you. Oh, we will be getting a new branch president soon, and it may be a missionary because there aren´t many worthy priesthood holders in the branch. We will see. It´s finally starting to warm up here. I hear that it is pretty dry in Texas, so rain for that area will be in my prayers. I also heard about the fires in Haily, ID. I hope everyone there is doing okay. Also, thanks to Elder and Sister Avery for their kind words. I don´t have much time on the computer, so I hope they know that what they sent to me meant a lot. Thank you both for everything you do for my family and for the people of Uvalde, TX. ¡Que tengan una buena semana!

Elder Reynolds

Monday, August 19, 2013

Week 11!

This week I realized something really important. It doesn´t matter how hard you are working, if you aren´t teaching things simply and if you aren´t teaching what is most important, you´re not going to see people progress. Two things that we haven´t been stressing enough that we should have always been stressing are reading the Book of Mormon and going to church. If people aren´t doing those two things, they aren´t going to gain a testimony of the veracity of the things we are teaching them. I don´t doubt that if people do that with an open heart and true intention, they will realize that what we are teaching them is true. I know that because I know these things are true because I´ve done those things and have received my answer and I´ve seen what it has done for me and my dad and, as a result, my family. I tried to explain that to my companion on Saturday. He was having a rough time, really worrying that he doesn´t have a strong testimony and with some other things. I told him to think about what the message he is carrying does for other people. He doesn´t understand fully. He´s been a member his whole life, so he doesn´t truly understand what this gospel does for people. I can´t begin to explain for myself what it does, but I do know that is saves lives, it gives purpose, it brings hope, it carries peace, it changes futures for the better, it brings families closer together, and it brings the love of God and His son Jesus Christ into the lives of all those who simply try and find out for themselves if these things are true. I see so many people who reject the church and what we teach without even picking up a Book of Mormon. Just pick it up and read and and pray and you´ll see for yourself why we have left everything we love behind to be here so far away from home. It´s real. We had a musical presentation this week about the life of Joseph Smith in Lota, which is just north of Coronel. There were a ton of poeple there, but unfortunately I think only 2 of our investigators showed up. But, those two have made so much progress and I have grown to love them like my own family. It´s truly amazing how much music brings the Spirit. It was so powerful. The choir (me and a bunch of other missionaries and a few members from San Pedro) were singing El Espíritu de Dios and on the last verse, the entire congregation joined in. It really was beautiful to see so many people gathered to honor the importance of what Joseph Smith did for us. If he hadn´t suffered all the tribulations and trials he faced, if he lost himself in this great work of our God and sacrificed everthing, including his own life, I wouldn´t be where I am right now. Many of you wouldn´t be where you are right now. We wouldn´t have the church of Jesus Christ restored on the Earth today and we wouldn´t have the priesthood in our lives. Joseph Smith was a great man and is a great example to me. His love for God and his understanding of what it means to sacrifice yourself for the very Being that gave you life is incredible. I´m grateful for the life he lived. I´m also grateful for my wonderful, gorgeous, spiritual giant of a girlfriend, Micaela Morgan Wright. I love you, Micaela! No matter how difficult life may be for you at any given time, you can always know that your Heavenly Father loves you, that Christ has suffered those very pains, and that you have a boyfriend that will never leave your side.

Elder Reynolds

Monday, August 12, 2013

Week 10!

Great week. We have a conference with the mission president early in the week and found out that Elder Smith and I will be working more with the members. Before, we were focused on investigators, but now we have the chance to spend more time with the people that are going to be there for the future members when we aren´t. Members are so important. Every member has the responsibility to share what they know. We have so many blessings from this gospel and it wouldn´t be right to keep that a secret. People deserve to know and that is a key part of missionary work. So share what you know! We had 17 lessons this week. That´s the most we have ever had here. We have been really focused on loving the people we teach and as we have done so, I´ve felt the Spirit more throughout the day and in our lessons. We have been practicing for a musical presentation we will be having in San Pedro this coming Sunday. It is about Joseph Smith. We practiced the entire thing yesterday and it was amazing. It´s crazy how much music can bring the Spirit and how much it can teach us. The entire time I was thinking of how important it will be to get people to this performance. It has the potential to change these people´s lives. That isn´t an overstatement, either. It´s that powerful. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know that The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and I know that this church is the church of Jesus Christ, that He is at its head and that He guides it through President Monson. I don´t doubt that. I know it. We may have a baptism this coming Saturday, if everything goes according to plan. Lientur Torres is preparing himself to make his first major covenant with his Heavenly Father. He has progressed so much and has overcome so much. It is truly humbling to play a part in this moment of his life. To see someone use the Atonement to piece their lives back together and to make it more than they ever could have imagined is beyond description. So everyone knows, Correos Chile, which does all the mail here, is on strike, so it will take a while for any mail to get here or there. I´m extremely grateful that Heavenly Father has put Micaela Morgan Wright in my life. I know that sometimes she is worried about me, but I want her to know that I love her more than she can possibly imagine and that will never change. I know that she is the one I´m going to spend eternity with and I know that Heavenly Father put her in my life to make me better. She is an incredible example from me and I look forward to learning from her each and every day forever. 

Elder Reynolds

Monday, August 5, 2013

Week 9

This week was great. Elder Smith and I have been changing some things and we have seen the blessings from it. There are two groups of missionaries in Coronel. One companionship works with members and the other with investigators. We work with investigators and usually don´t have much time with members. But, this week we spent more time with less active members and it has really meant a lot to them. They see that we love them and they want to help us. It´s really not possible for us to do for the people here what they deserve without the help of the members. We won´t always be here, so it´s important that the members love and support each other. We have three people preparing to be baptized this month: Margery, Lientur, and Matías. Margery is in her 30´s. She is a nurse and a mother. She has two daughters, who we have been teaching as well, and one son (his name is Benjamin, too). She is on fire. She came to a family home evening in the chapel the other night and many of the members thought that she was already a member. She wants what is best for her family and has seen what the gospel has done for her other family members (she is related to Angela and Lientur). Lientur is 65 and is the father of Angela Torres. He has made a lot of mistakes in his life and is doing what he can to right those, but they still haunt him a lot. He comes to church when he can, as his health isn´t too great right now, and we have been visiting him frequently. He´s making a lot of progress and knows what he needs to do. It´s amazing to see a man who has been humbled by his past take the steps he needs, the sacrifices necessary, to right his wrongs and to fix his relationship with his family, those that mean the most to him. The family is central to God´s plan for us and I know The Lord is proud of Lientur and the steps he is taking. Matías is an 18 year old. He is doing well. He came to church for the first time in a long time yesterday. He has a strong desire to know what God wants for him at this time in his life and is experimenting with the ¨homework¨ we are leaving with him. As he does so, his faith in God grows and he comes to a greater realization of his potential as a son of God. We are focusing on these people in the moment, doing all that we can to serve them and help them strengthen their relationship with their Heavenly Father and we hope to help them participate in the blessings of baptism this month. There is no greater happiness than serving others. I sent this in an email to Micaela, but I want to share it with everyone: ¨One part in the Savior´s life that I love is, after He bled from every pore for all the afflictions and sins we would ever experience and commit, rather than seeking comfort for himself, angles went and comforted His apostles. In the hour of the most pain he would ever experience, he denied help and instead was more concerned about His disciples. He turned outward when we would have turned inward. We are so unworthy of His love and His sacrifice for us, yet He is always there for us, his arm extended toward us to pick us up.¨ I hope everyone thinks about this. I know that it has been a humbling experience for me. Congratulations to Caitlin. Micaela told me that she was recently baptized. I can tell you that you have made the greatest decision of you life and I´m glad that the love of my life was able to play a part in it. I know she will be a huge blessing in your life. She has brought me so much happiness and is such an amazing person. I love you, Micaela Morgan Wright!

Elder Reynolds

Monday, July 29, 2013

Week 8

This week was great. We had another all time count of lessons. I´ll be honest, it´s not the easiest thing to be around someone 24 hours a day, but I´m learning to stop thinking about myself and start thinking more about the people I´m here to serve. It has been another cold one. It´s amazing how cold a city on the coast can get. I think the most important thing I learned this week, or experienced this week, and partly last week, is just how real the priesthood is and just how grateful I am that the Lord trusts me enough to give me that authority. We have been teaching the father of my third baptism (Angela Torres). His name is Liantur Torres. He has been really sick. The first time I saw him, I honestly thought he was going to pass away soon. He couldn´t even sit up in his bed without being in an incredible amount of pain. He would cough until his face turned purple and his daughter would have to give him some oxygen from the tank next to his bed. Well, Elder Smith and I gave him a blessing of health and the past two weeks he has been walking around like he was never sick, has been to church two weeks in a row, and is taking the lessons. He also has a baptismal date for the 17th of August. Another example is a woman from Santiago staying with a member family. The first time I met her, she couldn´t get out of bed. She has serious cardiac problems. She has been told that, if she gets sick, there is a possiblity of her passing away. We gave her a blessing of health. We visited her last night and she got up under her own strength and came and talked with us in the kitchen. She expressed her gratitude for what we do and how we helped her. She has great faith in God and has put all her trust in Him. She cried as she told us how grateful she is for everything Heavenly Father has done for her. I told her that we were sent here for her. I know that´s true. Every single missionary is here from specific people. God knows the needs of His children and has sent us here as an answer to their prayers, as an answer to their needs. I know I am here for Elizabeth. I´m here to bless her. I´m here to let her know that God does hear her and he does love her. I´m humbled to be a tool and His hands. There have been a few more temblors. Elder Smith and I were walking to lunch one day and the power chords just started shaking violently. That was a little worrisome haha. Other than that, everything else is going great! We had our first cambio since I´ve been here in Chile. I´m staying here in Coronel for at least 6 more weeks and so is everyone in our house. Thanks to all those who are writing me, once again. I love hearing from you. Your words mean a lot to me. Micaela Morgan Wright is still absolutely amazing and is an inspiration and example to me. I love her with all my heart. She is doing great things in the Austin area and is the greatest missionary I know. I know that she is blessing the lives of the people living there. ¡Espero que cada persona en mi vida y que esté leyendo mi blog tenga una buena semana!

Elder Reynolds

Monday, July 22, 2013

Week 7!

This week was great. It was definitely the coldest one, though. We have found a lot more people to teach, more than we have ever had. Elder Smith and I have been doing all that we can to be obedient to the commandments and rules that we have a missionaries and we have seen a ton of blessings from our efforts. I think my faith grows everyday. Everyday I´m more sure that what we are doing is true. As I realize that, it motivates me to work even harder. We have been teaching an 18-year-old named Matías. He is a really good guy and wants to do the right thing. His family members seem interested, too. That´s really important. I love teaching families. One of my biggest dreams in life is to have all my family accept the gospel and participate in all the blessings that are waiting there for them. My dad has already taken that step and I have faith that the work I do here will work miracles at home. This gospel is about families. It´s about blessing each and every member of the family and the family as a whole. It´s about living together forever. I have a strong testimony in the ability we have to have an eternal family. Giving that blessing to others is one of the greatest feelings I can imagine. Just to see people progress and experience all that I´ve experienced as a result of accepting the gospel reminds me why I´m here. We recently started teaching a woman named Maribel. She is the cousin of a member who just left for his mission in Peru this past week. She has five kids and is such a wonderful woman and mother. However, her husband has a drinking problem. She was telling us about it last night. She said that every night, he goes out and spends his money on alcohol, rather than spending time with his family. Many times, she told us, he comes home and yells at his family. Seeing her pain as she told us about all these things was really difficult. I know that we will do all that we can do to help her and her family build a better life. She deserves it and her children deserve it. No one should have to experience that. We saw a lot of miracles this week. For example, yesterday Elder Smith and I were walking home with about 10 minutes left in the day. We needed two more contacts to reach our weekly goal of 50. I told him that The Lord would put to people in our path on the way home. As we approached a corner, I had a strong feeling that they would be right around the corner. We turned the corner and there they were. It´s little things like that that really strengthen my faith. I know that we are never alone. We also taught a man named Cristian yesterday during church. He showed up to church to meet with us and tell us that he wanted to change his life (his history sounded exactly like mine) and that he wanted to be baptized. That was an experience that words can´t really convey. I´m just so blessed to be here as a tool in the Lord´s hands. Everyone should know that Micaela Morgan Wright is the most amazing, beautiful, intelligent, funny, and caring woman (besides my mother and grandmother, of course) on the planet and that I don´t deserve her, but for some reason she still sticks around. Also, I love my family very much and wouldn´t be here if it weren´t for them. Also, I was talking with Elder Smith this week and realized how blessed I am to know Dr. Bradbury, Dr. Sainsbury, and Cindy Lancaster. They have opened many doors for me and I´m truly grateful for all that they have done and do for me. Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Elder Reynolds

Monday, July 15, 2013

Week Six

It has been another really fast week. We taught a total of 14 lessons this week, which is the most we have ever done. It´s funny, I thought that, because I would be in South America, that people would be more receptive here. That´s definitely not the case. There are plenty of people here that don´t want to listen to what we have to say, and some are really clear about that. But, the people we are teaching are so great. They have already made a huge impact on my life in a short amount of time. We are teaching 3 families right now and all of them are making a lot of progress. One of the families has a son named Jesús. He is a beast. I´ve never seen a child that is so close to God. We taught him and his dad the other day and he said the closing prayer. It literally sounded like something out of Isaiah. The problem is that a lot of the men here work a ton, including on Sundays, so they can´t always make it to church. They sacrifice a lot for their families. I really do admire that and hope that I can show that same kind of sacrifice for my family one day. For some reason, a lot of the Chileans, at least in the rougher parts of town, think that we are either Germans or Russians and apparently, from what they say to us, they don´t like Germans or Russians very much. I got my first kiss on my mission this week. I gave 200 pesos to some really drunk guy and he kissed my hand. It was magical. It really has been a great week. I´m growing to love Coronel and Chile, as well as the people here. As I do, I find greater joy in this amazing work. Service to God and others really does bring the greatest happiness in this life. I was reading Alma 7 and Mosiah 3 recently and it made me think about how much God and Christ love us. I can´t comprehend the sacrifices that have been made for each of us and how the people in our lives show the same characteristics. We are who we are today because of what has been given for us and because of those people who have made those sacrifices. I know the only way that I´ll gain a greater understanding of the love Heavenly Father and Christ have for us is by becoming a Father. I look forward to that awesome responsibility. I know that the mission is preparing me for that. I´ve also learned to be a little less prideful this week. Sometimes, because I´m older than most of the missionaries, I feel like I don´t need to listen to what they have to say. That´s definitely not true and I´m learning that. We can learn something from everyone. I think a good exercise is to look at the people in your life and figure out what they are there to teach you. Everyone in our lives can teach us something. It´s up to us to find out what that is. I hope everyone is doing great. Thanks to those of you who have been writing to me. It means a lot. 

Elder Reynolds

Monday, July 8, 2013

Week Five!

Happy late 4th of July everyone! This week flew by. We have a new family that we are teaching. The parents´names are Arturo and Patricia. They are such a great family. Patricia is going through treatment for cancer, but she is still beyond animated. It´s great to find a family like that. There are so many broken families here, but every once in a while, you find one like this. They have been meeting with the missionaries for a long time, but they are just now starting to show some real interest. Arturo and his daughter showed up to church this weekend. He works nights on Saturdays, but he still made it. He made a sacrifice for The Lord and I know that he and his family will be blessed for it. It´s been another really cold week. I had to add a 4th blanket to my bed of blankets. I learned something really important this week. Nothing we do in this life should be solely for us. Everything we do should be for others. All the school work I´ve done, the work I´ve put into my life, this mission, all the sacrifices that have been made, all that shouldn´t be about me because it isn´t. It´s about my family, it´s about Christ, it´s about God, it´s about those around me, my brothers and sisters. I´m working to pay everyone back for all that has been given to me. I am who I am today because of other people, because of their sacrifices and love for me. I´m preparing for the family I will have in the future. I am so grateful for everything that I have been given. I´m so grateful for the people in my life. It it weren´t for you all, I wouldn´t be here right now. I wouldn´t be who I am. I hope everyone receives blessings for the work I am doing here because that´s where I want them to go. It seems like this is all so obvious, but sometimes it becomes about you, and it shouldn´t. Everyone at home gives me strength. I can feel your prayers. Thank you. The people here give me strength, too. They have taught me these things. Their gratitude for what little they have has changed my outlook on life. So many here are the definition of humility and gratitude. I´m proud to be American because of all the blessings that we have. Even the litte things, like heating, are massive blessings. You don´t realize how much you have until you go somewhere where there is so little, yet the people are so happy. I hope we all learn from the example of the Chilean people. Cling to what you have rather than envying what you don´t have. I´ve fallen into that trap many times and that is something I´m working to change. I want everyone to know that I love my family. I also want everyone to know that Micaela Morgan Wright is amazing and is a source of my strength. She makes me want to be a better person everyday. Her example drives me. I love her very much and I hope she knows that. Have a great week everyone.

Elder Reynolds

Monday, July 1, 2013

Week 4

This week has been a week of learning for me. We faced a lot of rejection and all the plans that we had fell through. In addition, it has been very cold and rainy. We did meet some new people, though. We met a man named Victor, who has been through a rough life. We have only met with him once so far, but I know that the gospel can really help him. That´s something I´ve experienced personally. No matter what you´ve been through and the struggles and disappointments you´ve had in your life, the atonement can lift you back up on your feet. We are still working with one lady, Patricia, who is trying to quit smoking. I´ve tried to help her with telling her about my experience of giving up things that I was addicted to and how the gospel helped me, but the experience is different for everyone. She is making progress though, which is great. There is a lot of poverty here, like I said last week, and where there is poverty, men, and alcohol, there are a lot of alcoholics. We talked to a lot of them this week. It´s really sad to see. You see these people who have experienced so much disappointment in their life and who have turned to alcohol. It has done some much damage to so many of their lives. It has caused some to lose their jobs and many to lose their families. Many times, they don´t want to listen to us, or, if they do, they don´t remember it the next day. It´s difficult to see people like that and knowing that, many times, you can´t do anything to help. If there is one theme of this week, it´s that you can´t ever give up. Christ didn´t give up. Joseph Smith didn´t give up. So many missionaries before haven´t given up and have changed so many lives for the better. When the work is hard, you have to turn to humble yourself and turn to The Lord. He will give you strength as He has given me strength. He never gives up on us. He is patient and loving. We should be the same. I experience my first temblor this week, or mini earthquake. My companion and I were studying when the ground just began to shake for about 5 seconds. It was a weird feeling. I´ve been thinking about you all this week. I miss you all. So many of you have had such a major impact on my life and have done so much for me. I´m grateful for everything you all have done for me. I look forward to seeing you all again after this adventure. I´ll be twice the man I was before and I know you all will continue to do great things wherever you are. So, the mission president was having all the zone leaders go to San Pedro today for a conference. I´m not a zone leader, but they were going to grill. Apparently, because I´m from Texas, they thought of me and called me up and had me come grill for about 30 missionaries. Obviously it was the best steak they´ve ever had. I think Micaela and my family can back me up on that. Speaking of Micaela, I love you. You mean so much to me. I know that our sacrifices will bless us and our families beyond what we had hoped. It has been great hearing from here and hearing how much she is growing. She truly is amazing and I couldn´t be more blessed to be a part of her life. I hope that everyone has a great week! Keep me in your prayers, you´re in mine.

Elder Reynolds