Monday, March 31, 2014

Week 43

We had a great week! We found a lot of people to teach. This weekend is the baptism of Elizabeth and Robinson! I´m extremely excited about that. The growth I´ve seen in Elizabeth is amazing. She went from being furious with God for the disease that she has to not believing in him, to now making the decision to be baptized with her husband. The Atonement is incredible. It reminds me of all the changes I experienced when I started meeting with Elder Harrison and Elder Schott. I didn´t have many beliefs, but, as I applied what they taught me and read the Book of Mormon, I watched as my entire perspective and way of being radically changed. I know that this gospel is a gospel of change. I know that God is my Father, that Christ is my Savior, and that the Holy Ghost guides me daily. I know that it´s not easy leaving everyone I love at home for two years. However, I also know that leaving my family for two years so that other families can be together forever is the greatest blessing that I could ever receive. I know that service to God and to others brings us the greatest happiness in this life. I know that God always fulfills His promises. I will always rememer the promises that He made me through Bishop Stebbing and the Holy Ghost that day when I decided to serve a mission. I walked into that room not wanting to serve a mission and walked out with the conviction that serving a mission would be the greatest decision of my life. That man, Bishop Stebbing, changed my life that day because he spoke to me, directly to me, with love and through the Spirit. I know that I have to be that same man for others. I will be forever grateful for Bishop Stebbing and for what he did for me that day and during my first year in the church. I´m convinced that he was put in the ward especially for me. This work is incredible. I found an awesome proverb that gives me the motivation to act and work for the goals I set for myself and I want to share it with y´all. It´s Proverbs 13:4. If we do everything we can, it´s still not enough if we do it alone. But, if we do all that we can, and we do it with faith, we don´t do it alone. God will always provide the rest so that are goals are met. I invite everyone (including my brother, Blake) to read the entire Book of Mormon in 3 months with me. President Martinez invited us to do that and I´ll be starting tomorrow. That book changed my life and I know that it can and will do the same for everyone else. Have a great week! I love you, Micaela! 

Elder Reynolds

Monday, March 24, 2014

Week 42

This week was a good one in our sector, but not a great one for the zone. In Labranza, Elder Hansen and I are teaching a married couple named Robinson and Elizabeth. They have had desires to get baptized, but were thinking that they´d do it next year. We met with them this week and talked to them about they goal they had. We talked about what they still needed to overcome to be baptized as a family. It was the most spiritual lesson I´ve had my entire mission. The Spirit was incredibly strong. Every single doubt they mentioned, the Spirit gave us the words to say. We testified to them of the effect that the decision to be baptized would have on their family and we testified to them the love we feel for them as a family. Elizabeth, after hearing all of that, shared her testimony of how much the gospel has blessed her family. She told us how, every time she has a doubt, we just so happen to come by with a plan to talk about it. She told us how no one has every been able to say the things that Elder Hansen and I have said to help her feel that God exists, that He loves her, and to help her fill the hole she has felt in her life. I know that when we love others, that the Spirit guides our words and our actions. I know that God uses us as tools in His hands to bless the lives of His children. I know that there is nothing that will ever stop this amazing work. God´s will will always be done and, as we develop a greater love for others, we will be able to play a greater role in His work and His glory. At the end of the night, they didn´t accept a baptismal date. However, yesterday, she leaned over to me in church and told me that, the following Sunday, they will be announcing the baptism of her and her husband, which will take place on the 5th of April. The Church is true.

Elder Reynolds

Ben's "son" at the baptism of one of the ladies he found and taught in Renaico.  
Claudio and Lissette's baptisms 

Apple tree in their back yard

Monday, March 17, 2014

Week 41

This week was incredible! First, on Saturday, Claudio and Lissette were baptized! That is the first full family I´ve taught that has been baptized! It was such an incredible experience. There is nothing that beats seeing the absolute joy on the face of someone who can finally leave everything that they´ve done in their past behind. There is no greater feeling than that. I had that exact same feeling two years ago today. It´s amazing how fast these two years have gone by. It seems like it wasn´t too long ago when I was being taught by the missionaries and now I´m the one sharing the gospel with people! Yesterday, I was working with another Elder, not my companion, when we saw a huge miracle and were completely humbled by the mercy and love that God has for us. We were having 0 success all day. We knocked a ton of doors, but no one received us. Finally, we stopped and decided to pray. We prayed for a family of 5, with two married parents, one son, and two daughters. After that, we looked at a road and decided to knock all the red housed to find the family. As we walked and got rejected at a few red housed, we walked by a blue house. As we walked past it, I received an impression that we should go back and knock the door. Obviously, that´s what we did. A 12-year-old kid answered. He said his parents weren´t home and that he was alone with his older sister. We asked how old she was and he said 16, then he told us that he was 12. He then mentioned that he had another sibling. Although we couldn´t teach them yesterday, that´s the family that God led us to. He saw what we were doing all day. He saw us get rejected. He saw us lose a little hope. Then, He saw three of his children humble themselves and pray for something specifically with faith. Finally, He took us by the hand and led us to 5 more of His children who need this gospel that we have. I cannot deny His existence. He is real. He does love us. He does hear us, and He will never, ever leave us. If we humble ourselves and we show Him our faith, He will always work miracles in our lives. I have no doubt. I have seen and felt too much to ever doubt that. This is true. Everything we teach and everything we live is true. No one will ever take that testimony away from me. Nothing compares to the worth of this gospel. When we pray specifically, God responds specifically. Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Elder Reynolds

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Week 40

This was easily one of the best weeks of my mission. Elder Hansen and I had a great week. We found a ton of great families to teach, we worked a ton with the members, and we have two baptisms this coming Saturday! We have been teaching a young, married couple named Claudio and Liset since I arrived here and they have decided to be baptized this Saturday at 3pm(Chilean time)!!! They are so amazing! This will be the first complete family I´ve baptized. They have a daughter, too. She is 6 and her name is Alejandra. I will be posting pictures from the baptism this next week. Speaking of next week: Monday is St. Patrick´s Day, and it´s the two year anniversary of the greatest decision I´ve ever made. Two years ago, this Monday, my uncle, Jeff Shiver, baptized me. I will be forever grateful for his example and support. I will also always be grateful for Andrew Rios who, all through high school, was a great example of what it means to live the gospel in the face of temptation. We seemed to always be tempting him to make stupid decisions with us and he never did it. And, of course, I´ll always be grateful for the two missionaries (Nathaniel Schott and Jake Harrison) who taught me this amazing gospel; without them, I wouldn´t be here on my mission. I also am extremely grateful for Bishop Stebbing. When I was first baptized, I had no plans to serve a mission. But, one day, I met with Bishop Stebbing. I remember the promises that he made me that day and the testimony that he bore. Never in my life have a felt someone teach with such authority and power. I know that he is doing wonderful things in Utah. My parents are obviously a huge part of why I´m here, as well. I could not have asked for a better mom or dad. I thank God everyday for them, for they example they are, and for everything they have and continue to do for me. It´s amazing to think about all the little things that had to happen for me to be where I am right now. I have a testimony of the fact that God is involved in the details of our lives. He knows us perfectly. Even when things don´t go according to our plans, everything goes according to the perfect plan that God has for us. If we don´t doubt that and we trust in him, He will ALWAYS deliver us out of the trials and tribulations we experience. Happy 14-month anniversary to Micaela Morgan Wright, who is currently on a cruise without me. I love you with all my heart! Have a great week, everyone!

Elder Reynolds

Monday, March 3, 2014

Week 39

It has been a crazy week. I moved to Temuco. It´s really pretty here and the people are great. We are teaching a lot of families. Claudio and Liset, a married couple we are teaching, will be getting baptized on the 15th. We are also teaching two other young families who can get baptized this month. It´s amazing teaching families. It´s incredible what this gospel does for families. I had to go to Concepción on Thursday for a meeting and got back late Friday night. On Saturday I tore some ligaments in my foot and had to go to the hospital. My companion, Elder Hansen from Washington, gave me a blessing, we continued working that day with crutches, and the next day I was walking again. The Priesthood is real. God can work miracles with it. About 120 people go to church here. It´s my first ward. The zone, Temuco Cautín, has 32 missionaries. I don´t have much time to do anything ha. It´s been a great experience so far and I know that it will continue to be. I feel like I will be growing a lot this cambio. I love you, Micaela! Have a great week, everyone.

Elder Reynolds