Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Keep Moving Forward, Little by Little!

Still pressing on and fighting the good fight!!

Hello everyone!
With all the crazy stuff that has been going on this past couple weeks... I am still alive! Still pressing on and fighting the good fight. I have to say I am so grateful for my companion.. He is the nicest person and is so willing to serve anyone that is around him. He is such an example to me...I am so blessed to be surrounded with people that I am able to look up to and learn from. Its truly a privilege to be out here on the mission. I consider myself so lucky to be able to have this great opportunity to learn how the gospel works in lives instead of just reading it in the scriptures.

This week was such an amazing week to work. We of course have been struggling with having people actually progress to a baptism... Buuut as we know that God is in this with us. We have a baptism planned!!!! So so so exciting! She has probably been going to church for 6-9 months but hasn't been able to take that step of baptism due to financial problems. But with the help of the ward we are getting her married this week and she will be baptized either this week or the next! Man we are so stoked for her. It really rejuvenated our feelings. I love her conversion story though. We had a family home evening with her and all of her family along with the bishopric. It was pretty much just like a testimony meeting because the bishopric expressed their love for her and bore their testimony about how their lives haves changed thanks to the gospel. The testimony that really hit me was the one by her sister. She is the first convert of the whole family. She was expressing her great love for her sister and how she is going to be so blessed because of the decisions and sacrifices she is making in order to get baptized. She..the sister..has been a member for 12 years now. It was so amazing to hear her testimony on how God answers prayers. She was telling us that she has been praying for 12 years straight for her sister to get baptized in the church. It is so amazing that she realizes that God answers prayers. After 12 years.... That's a pretty long time!!! How easy would it be to just say that things happen according to the will of man.. And not recognize the work of God in these 12 years. It was just so amazing to hear the story and the events that took place in these 12 years to bring her, Katy, to the place that she is in right now. God surely does work in our behalf everyday. Although we may not see it now, today, tomorrow, next week, a year, 2 years, or even 12 years... God has a plan. It was a testimony builder to hear the story of Katy and how slowly and slowly God has been working in her life. And how grateful we are to be able to reap the seed that has been planted about 12 years before.
Man I love this gospel. I love the knowledge and the wisdom we are able to gain from the scriptures. There truly is wisdom in the scriptures. I love how the gospel of Jesus Christ just doesn't have to do with holy praises to the Almighty and religion and what not.. But it is a part of life. Everything is meshed together. My companion and I have long deep talks at night about science and philosophy.. It is so interesting to see that when you really get deep into science and or philosophy, and deep into the gospel... They actually compliment each other. For example,  a friend of Elder Fillmore brought up a point about how living forever actually scares him. Because if  you live forever , that means eventually you are going to have to experience everything.. meaning that you will experience the most pain but also the most happiness and everything in between. If we lived forever, that means you would eventually have to experience every single possibility there is out there... When we discussed it. It makes so much more sense talking about the atonement!!! The atonement is so mind blowing and even though I don't understand a fraction about it, i am so grateful for it. I am so grateful for the opportunity to look to someone that actually knows how I am feeling. I loooooove looooove that the mysteries of God are disponible (available) to each and every one of us. It is just a decision of how much work we put in in order to receive these magnificent answers. One of my favorite scriptures is 2 Nephi 28:30 "For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have."...it is all a process. little by little. I love you all. Keep moving forward, little by little. And I promise the questions, concerns, and just things in this life are all eventually going to make sense. Like 2 Nephi 2:24 says "But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things."
I love you all!!!!
Elder Reynolds

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

An Unexpected, Crazy Week!

Quito, Ecuador
Hello Everyone!
Wow this week was a crazy week that I did not expect to have. Both my comp and I got sick this week and had to stay in for a day and then we had to travel to Quito because of a medical appointment. It is funny how the last email I talked about how when we are young we can do whatever we want and run around like crazy...but when we are old we usually focus on the important things because we don't have the energy we used to have. We had a bit of that this week as we didn't have much time to do everything we liked. But it was interesting how when we really focused on what was most important, we had time to do it. Even though time seemed so short, we felt like we did what God wanted and it was awesome to see people lifted up!
It was sad to here about the passing of President Monson but it is so cool knowing that he is with his wife again. How happy they must be to reunite once again and to never be separated. The gospel brings so much joy and happiness to those who keep his commandments. I love taking steps back from life and viewing my own life from an aerial view if you will. How every problem I have had has always, always had two choices...to bring me closer to Jesus Christ or to turn me away from Him. It is crazy that really every situation and every choice is just like that! And how the heck did I end up here on the mission. Sometimes I feel like I stumbled into the mission and somehow I have about a year here but it is no accident. There was always a plan. There was always a reason to everything that has happened in my life. Even though we make our own decisions, it is possible to find a way back to happiness. There was never a moment where I made a decision and then my Father in Heaven was like woah I was not expecting that! haha Nope it never was like that, there was and is always a plan. I love teaching that principle in the plan of salvation. I love the role of the Savior and how He plays or really makes the plan of salvation possible. We are teaching someone that had an auto accident and now he cant walk very well and he basically cant use the left side of his body. We were super, super excited to talk to him about the plan of salvation. When we told him about the resurrection you could just tell how much excitement and joy filled his soul. I love how the gospel actually applies to us and isn't just something that we teach and read. I love that in the mission you realize that every single principle of the gospel is applicable to every single situation you may find yourself in. I am learning so much and will continue to learn so much. I love my Savior and all that He has done for me. I am sooo lucky! Well I love you all! Hope you all had a great week and this upcoming week is even better!
Elder Reynolds

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Mission is Exactly what I Needed in My Life!

English speaking investigators! I love the people of Ecuador!!!
Hello Everyone!
Wow it has been a while since I got time to email! And today isn't much different...New Years is basically like Christmas here.. Christmas we didn't really find a cyber to write at and then this week we had to bribe a person to let us get on for a little bit of time. Man New Years here is super crazy! Probably the majority of this email will just be describing what happened New Years. So they start the day at about mid day when people dress up as woman... I didn't quite get the concept of why they did that but it was something like all the dolls are male. But they all ask for money from every single person and if you don't give them money...well they..grope you haha.. So needless to say we spent a little bit of money on Sunday to prevent us from being groped lol And so when they burn the dolls at midnight everyone is left as widows.. haha weird I know. But these dolls represent the old people that they are leaving behind and burning every thing bad that happened in 2017. So literally you could not sleep through 11:59 to 12:00... it was the loudest commotion I have ever heard. It was a mixture of crazy noises and yells and it was just crazy. So we looked out our window and it was so crazy to see what was going on out there. It actually gave me a bit of the chills and goosebumps because it looked like the 2nd coming haha All these dolls were on fire in the middle of the road, on top of houses, the streets were covered with people lighting off fireworks and then there were TONS of fireworks that were going off at the same time. It was so exciting to see all of this! I absolutely love the traditions of culture in Ecuador. It is interesting to see the difference in each culture.  I love the people of Ecuador. They have nothing, yet they have everything. Their life is so simple and so lively. We get so caught up in everything that doesn't really matter... But when we get back to the basics, life is so simple and so easy. We were actually discussing how life is so crazy and how in the different stages in life are so different. How when we are young we can do everything and are running all over the place trying to get everything done that we need and want. But when we are old and we physically cant, we just focus on the most important because of the limited energy we do have. I hope in each one of our lives we can put all of our energy and focus on what is really important. Although people from 3rd world countries are obliged to, they are so much happier. Because they know what's most important despite the religion or way of life. I love the opportunity to learn from them. I feel the mission is exactly what I needed.. Definitely not what I wanted haha.. but what I needed. I just hope that I am doing everything that I can to help others. I love this gospel. It is so true. It is true in every single aspect down to the science. It is awesome being in the truth. I know it will all my heart. I love you all. Happy New Year.
Elder Reynolds

This is a doll they burn for New Years.
It represents everything bad that has happened in the year and a new fresh start in this New Year
I am soooo weak...

Merry Christmas!

Skype with Elder Reynolds

I get a phone call from him Saturday evening (12/23/17) to arrange the skype call and first thing he says is "Hi Mom!! You don't have to worry, we are safe from the earthquake. All the missionaries are safe. Did you hear about the earthquake?" My heart dropped and I responded with no, I didn't hear about it and then asked questions. He then said...just kidding. Yep this is Elder Reynolds, always joking around and making people laugh! I loved hearing his voice and he sounded SO very happy.

Here are some interesting things said on our skype call:
*He is serving in Santo Domingo and he said it is a dangerous area of the mission! We did not know this and he probably didn't tell us because he didn't want mom to worry!!! There are no sisters serving in this area. They have an early curfew. If they have an appointment past curfew they have to get a ride. He said one evening they had an appointment literally across the street and it was past curfew. They asked the zone leaders if they can just walk and they said no. They arranged a ride where they felt dumb because it was across the street. He said the driver was looking at us like we were some spoiled Americans.
*The weather in Santo Domingo is hot and humid. They don't have hot water in their apartment which is ok with them because it's hot! Their towel really never dries because of the humidity.
*The area he is serving in is huge. He said it's from like Farmington to Albuquerque and remember it's a walking mission! So they have to pay for buses and taxi's.
*His companion is Elder Fillmore from Utah. He is 3 months into his mission. He is learning the language so Elder Reynolds does most of the talking.
*Elder Fillmore is 6'6" and so they REALLY stand out!
*Elder Fillmore plays volleyball too!!
*In the beginning of his mission, he was doing his laundry as much as he could. Now he pretty much has to choose--do my laundry or eat since he doesn't have much money. They spend lots of money on transportation.
*Speaking of money, he lost his debit and credit card.
*They have about 80 investigators. They pray everyday on who they need to drop because there aren't able to keep all of them and this breaks his heart.
*He would rather read the scriptures than workout!!!
*Toilet paper is scarce so he has to look for creative ways for an alterative!
*He skyped from a members home so they were in the background. He introduced his "mom" and she kept reassuring us that she will take good care of him and we don't have to worry. She has a missionary serving in the mission field and so she was saying how she knows how it is to have her son away. She hopes others will take care of her son. She said many times "I will take care of your son, I love him." She was cooking a shrimp dinner and told us not to worry and she will make sure Elder Reynolds eats and is taken care of!
*The people there have nothing yet they are the most happy people.
*He couldn't remember English words so he had to keep asking his companion what the English words were!
*He bore his testimony in Spanish :) He wants to see us all living better lives through the gospel. The second coming is near and we don't have much time. Keep striving and get to the temple!! He loves you all :)

F E L I Z  N A V I D A D !!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Happy Birthday Elder Reynolds!

Elder Reynolds' Birthday was December 13!
President and Sister Barlow celebrate the missionaries' birthdays each month :)

Hello everyone,
Please forgive me for not writing emails this week. I love everyone so much.
Elder Reynolds

Santo Domingo Zone
Skit time :)
Christmas Dinner with President and Sister Barlow
Thankful for President and Sister Barlow taking good care of these missionaries!

Welcome Kai Hunter Reynolds!
Born December 11, 2017 at 6:11 am
7 lbs 15 oz 22" long

Look at our Lives with an Eternal Perspective!

We are in a taxi reading about the destruction of the world...while we are trying to save the world!!
Elder Reynolds and Elder Villacorta

Hello Everyone!
Well to start off, this week was a hard week. haha I wonder how many times I say that... But the hard times are always the ones that count right!! Man not going to lie, it is hard to stay focused during this time of Christmas. To be honest, it doesn't even seem like Christmas haha There is no snow, its not really cold, day after day is just the same lol The missionary life in a nutshell! But the feeling is so awesome when the days that pass and looking back on each day, when laying in bed, knowing that you accomplished what Heavenly Father wants you to accomplish. I know that He has a task for each one of us each day. It is crazy that He trusts us as humans to carry on His great work. I feel very privileged and at times very intimidated to wear the nametag that is on my chest.

One cool experience that we had during this week, was we were having a bit of a rough time.. To be honest this day was just a day of trying to get through the hours from 2 to 5 when no one is home haha But then we got a call from a member saying that we need to go over to give a blessing to her neighbor. We went over there immediately and found her neighbor in so much pain because of the many surgeries she had. When we got there we of course introduced ourselves and started up a conversation. As we talked it was interesting to hear the course of their lives and how they ended up in this situation. We proceeded to give the blessing and then afterwards shared a message. More than anything, I was so impressed with the trust that these people have for us. The members and the non members. Just with a little bit of conversation it is amazing how the people recognize us as servants and messengers of God. I cant explain in words how they acted or what they said, but after just a few minutes of being complete strangers to each other, we were talking about events in their lives that were really close to their hearts. I love the role of the spirit in the work. I know that as we live worthily as missionaries and as members in general, we can have the gifts of the spirit to help us further the work of the Lord.

As everyone probably knows my companion is ending the mission this change. It is so intriguing to me the emotions that he has. As we talk day to day they change. There are mixed emotions and it is hard to sleep at night for him. I am thinking oh great what have I gotten myself into haha But it is interesting to me how the mission really changes a person. We talk about what he is going to do after and how his whole objective in life has totally changed. I can, slowly but surely, see my perspective of life change. It is amazing how when we look at our lives with an eternal perspective how life seems a bit easier. How everything in our paths are there for a reason. Trust in the trials we get. I love you all!! 
Elder Reynolds

B A N A N A S  :)

This Elder received a package,
while I got Book of Mormon's...still the same sensation haha!

Getting all the football he can!!!!!



S A N T O  D O M I N G O

E C U A D O R!!


M E M O R I E S!



E C U A D O R!
Us at the Fair :-)
We celebrated Elder Lambert's birthday!!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

One Down and One to Go!!!!!!!!

One year down, One year to go!!!
~Durango, Colorado Airport--December 6, 2016~
Hello Everyone!
This week was a pretty tough week. My companion and I really wanted to push ourselves to the limit this week.. and that is exactly what we did...in all aspects of our lives haha. We were just expecting to be pushed physically in this week with being more diligent and what not. But spiritually, emotionally, physically, and mentally we were pretty drained Sunday night. Thank goodness for pdays! 
It was interesting this week to see how the Lord plays a role in our lives. We have not been having much success with having our investigators progress. We don't have a problem with finding people to teach, it is just the fact that they have many obstacles in their lives that seem to be impossible to remove. It is mainly about marriage. Marriage is a bit expensive here and its not like they can just decide to do it one day. So we decided to dedicate our time to finding more investigators to teach hoping and having the faith that we will find those that are chosen. We received confirmation that this week was going to be a great week! We just both felt so motivated on Tuesday, but as the week progressed...that feeling changed a bit.  It was a bit depressing because in our agendas we didn't have much appointments, just a lot of time to be contacting. The ward is a bit young and it is hard to get references from them. We decided to take it upon ourselves to try and help them to see we are working hard before asking for their help. So we contacted this week for probably 20 hours...it was nuts. Lots of rejection puts a man a little bit down haha but thank goodness to the spirit and the great relationship Elder Villacorta and I have, we have been able to keep our spirits up. We had correlation with our mission leader and it was surprising to us that we did not have much to report. We went back to our house to do our weekly planning and talked it over and we felt the impression to really include the members this week. So here comes Sunday and it was literally hectic!!! We probably received 10 references from members and took out citas (appointments) with so many non members. It was amazing to see the Lord bless us. That even though we didn't find people through our own efforts, Heavenly Father saw that we were working, so He blessed us with the opportunity to find those who were chosen.

It is so amazing to see that Heavenly Father is in our lives. whether we recognize it or not. Some may say its a coincidence, but I don't believe in such thing. There is always a reason why something happens. I love the scripture in 2 Nephi 2 verse 24 (I think) is where it talks about how Heavenly Father knows exactly what is going to happen. We need to trust Him a bit more in order to grow a bit more. Segun (according) to our work,, He will bless us tremendously. I love this work and more than ever I know that the key to happiness is being MORE obedient, MORE faithful, MORE loving. Everything has to do with a little bit MORE. especially, ESPECIALLY in those times of great distress or need. I love you all! 
Elder Reynolds
December 6, 2016

We are so proud of our missionary!

He was SO happy and ready to go serve the people in Ecuador.
Love his smile as he hugs his momma!!

~Mexico MTC 2016~