Monday, June 24, 2013

Week Two and Three

So, my last week at the MTC was great. I´ve decided to find what I´m supposed to learn from each companion. What I learned from Elder Layne is that God can take two prideful guys who can´t teach together and make them into two humble guys who depend on each other and the Lord for strength and direction. It was sad to say goodbye to all the Elders and Sisters in my district and zone, but it was time for us all to get to work. I left Utah on Monday and got to Chile on Tuesday evening. It was a pretty long flight. We had a pretty long layover in Santiago before flying to Concepcion. In Concepcion, we ate with the mission president, his wife, and all the new missionaries. After that, we headed to the chapel to meet our companions. My companion is Elder Smith from Utah. He is 19, but really mature. He is a good guy. We get along really well and teach really well together. My sector right now is Coronel, Chile, which is on the coast, just south of Concepcion. There is a lot of poverty in the area, but the people are humble and extremely friendly. I´ve gotten some of the nicest rejections I´ve ever received here. They don´t slam the door in your face, they just lie to you haha. The members love to feed us. Luckily, we walk all day, so it hasn´t gotten to me yet ha. Oh, I saw Elder Trevino at the MTC. He is doing great. My first week has been a lot of looking for investigators. They just started something called Operation Alma, so my companion and I teach investigators and the other two Elders that live with us focus on less active and inactive members and try to get them back into it. It is such a great honor to serve the people here. It´s really cold... all the time. You can´t escape is because they don´t have heaters here, so I sleep in pants, a jacket, a robe, and three heavy blankets haha. It works. The house we live in is really  humble. There isn´t much to it. It has really helped me understand just how blessed we are in the US. We have so much and sometimes we just take it for granted. The people here don´t have much, but they are grateful for what they do have. We had three hermanas baptized this past weekend and I was able to perform all three of them! It is so great to see the atonement at work in improving these people´s lives. My testimony of this gospel and the church grows everday. My Spanish is improving, but the accent here is really thick and they use different words than they use in Mexico. Sometimes it´s a little hard to follow what the people I am teaching are saying, but luckily my companion knows what is going on. No earthquakes, volcanos, or tsunamis yet, so that´s good. There are so many stray dogs here. I´ve never seen anything like it. It´s funny, some of the younger kids here will see my companion, two gringos, and will say "Hello, Hello! One, two, three!" We are working hard and working to improve each and every day. The president only gives us 45 minutes on the computer every week, so sorry to everyone that I can´t get back to. I love all of you! Tengan una buena semana!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Week One

This has been a long week. They put you straight to work when you get here. Every day we get up before 6am and we don't get to bed until 1030pm and we are doing something every minute of every day, it seems. As unappetizing as that sounds, I love it. I love the Spirit here. It's so strong. I love the men and women around me who have given up so much to be here, to do something they truly believe in. It drives me to be a better person. I know what God expects of me and I try my best to live up to His grace and His love. My companion is Elder Layne from Colorado. He is going to the Lubbock Texas Mission, so I've been able to share some information with him about what he is getting himself into. He is a great guy. He is only 18 years old, but is very mature. We struggle when we teach a little bit because we both have such a strong testimonly of this gospel and we love to talk about it, but we are working to improve. We don't always get along, but we always work it out in the end. I know that's some great practice, because I know that Micaela will really appreciate it when I come home and know how to fix my messes. We do a lot of sitting in classrooms here, but it's nice because we are always learning something to make ourselves better for the benefit of those who we will be teaching. That's what this is all about. I'm not here for myself. I'm here for my brothers and sisters that are around me. I'm here because of the sacrifices that have been made for me by Heavenly Father and by His Son, Jesus Christ. That's what this is all about. The best thing I can do for myself, besides working my tail off, is to forget myself, remember who this is really for, and get to work. I'm living in a small dorm with five other Elders, so there's that. I wasn't excited about it at first, I'll be honest. But I've learned to love them. They are my brothers, in all seriousness. I love each and every one of them. I was made District Leader, so there is that responsiblity on top of all I've got on my plate. I love it. It is a great honor to serve my district. I am beyond proud of each and every one of them. They will all be spectacular missionaries. Teaching in Spanish is... different. I'm still getting used to it, but I've watched my Spanish improve since I've been here. Everything we do here is edifying. Everything we learn makes us better. Every minute we use is to make ourselves better for those we will be serving. These have been some of the greatest few days of my life. I have grown so much in such a short time. You can't explain how powerful the Spirit is here. We were able to go through the Provo Temple this morning. I went through with my district. So incredible. That's all I'll say. Some things are just so wonderful that you want to keep them to yourself. In the midst of all the chaos around here, I'm filled with peace, joy, hope, and love for so many people. I miss you all so much and I hope to hear from each and every one of you soon. If any guys are reading this, be sure to stay away from Micaela. She's mine and I plan on keeping her forever (like I told Micaela, I can't put a wink face because this keyboard is challenged). I leave for Chile on Monday, the 17th at 930am. I actually found out that I'll be home the 8th of May 2015. I love you all!
Elder Reynolds