Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Enduring with Patience, Love and Happiness!

Elder Fillmore and Elder Reynolds
They found each other in the mission offices! 
Hello Everyone!
Crazy that Monday is here again! This week we were traveling a ton. We were able to go to good old Quito again to get my anti-monkey vaccination and then go to Ambato for a zone conference. I love seeing old missionaries and talking with them about the good old times. My Dad recently reminded me of how these are the good ole times despite the many trials that we are facing in these moments. One of the things I have learned while being out in the field is exactly that. Being able to endure with patience, with love, with happiness. Seeing the hand of the Lord in my life is so life changing. I am grateful to be out here serving the Lord in this capacity that I am called.

Luckily this week we did not have any unexpected hospital visits! That's a first in a while. I was expecting this week to have some cool awesome experience about what we did for the 4th of July. We didn't even get a picture! I was pretty bummed...But as a tribute we did watch Ephraim's Rescue. I haven't seen that movie in a looooong time! But it was super hard watching. I learned that the main actor is Elder Manwaring's great great great grandpa! Well not the actor but the actual person haha. But as I was watching the movie I felt so horrible. So this week we finally got our shower fixed. Even though it is hot here in Puyo, I still feel like I need a warm shower haha...showering in freezing cold water is something that is...hard for me lol! I know I sound so spoiled right now but we have been pretty ornery to the person that was suppose to come fix the shower about 2 weeks ago and still hadn't and I've been having impatience. After watching that movie, I felt dumbstruck...maybe not dumbstruck but just dumb. I couldn't believe I was so caught up in the whole shower dilemma while all the while these pioneers, who I owe so much to for suffering and enduring through all those hardships, had far far more reason to be complaining and they didn't. I always disliked comparing my situation to another's because from my point of view I thought it wasn't fair to me and that I needed attention. I guess this email just ended up being Elder Reynolds confession time, as if Ephraim's Rescue wasn't enough. I was reading in Doctrine and Covenants 121 and the Lord said:
Thou art not yet as Job; thy friends do not contend against thee, neither charge thee with transgression, as they did Job.
So obviously the Lord was trying to teach me about humility, there will always be someone worse than me...worse than my situation. Above all Jesus Christ who was the best of us all yet descended below all. I know you are all better than me, but hopefully learning from my pathetic quejas (complaints) we can all learn haha. I love you guys!!!
Elder Reynolds

Friday, July 6, 2018

6 Baptisms in Puyo!! BELIEVE!!!

6 Baptisms in Puyo!!
Awesome week this week! We ended up having some of the Valencia family get baptized! 5 of their kids got baptized. We would've waited for the whole family to get baptized but with the crazy marriage process that this country has, it is going to take the parents more than 2 months to get everything done. Man it was so awesome. I'll be honest I haven't baptized more than 2 people at a time...it is sooooo cool when a family gets baptized! Everyone is super excited and the atmosphere is just lit! It was definitely a special experience for all. We had a great turnout too from the members and non-members. I personally felt the spirit super strong. Although...a scripture came to mind after pondering about all that went on this weekend.
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
To be honest, all these ordenanzas (ordinances) and all that we do in the church is a bit weird when you think about it. Haha no I'm not going apostate but just from a person looking from the outward in...bathing people in water after saying a little prayer, several men putting their hands on someone's head to give them the Holy Spirit...and so on. I thought about that a lot as in total there were 6 baptisms that took place. To me and all the members of the church these (VUDU) acts actually mean something to us. What is the difference?? It's all...COMPLETELY...about faith and believing. Kind of weird but I thought of the Polar Express when the kid didn't hear the bell ring until he actually believed. When he got that ticket from the conductor and it said BELIEVE, it made me ponder a lot about where I am at with my faith and belief in THINGS THAT ARE NOT SEEN BUT ARE TRUE. I must admit sometimes I feel like that kid. Satan puts things into my mind like this...that everything we do as missionaries and members of the church is just some fad or belief to make us feel better in moments of despair. But as this scripture firmly declares, it's because spiritual things are only understood by those with the spirit. I personally think it's okay to have doubts. I think if at some point those doubts don't come creeping in then we are too far in Lala land. But on the contrary we can't be all seeing is believing type of attitude. Obviously there is a balance. Just like Jesus said "Only believe." I am learning to love that word more and more! It's becoming more part of my life. One of my favorite scriptures that depict this is in Alma 32
27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment up on my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.
So if you are ever caught up in the world of doubts...you are not alone. Elder Reynolds is right by your side learning as he goes. But we have to believe. Honestly we don't even have to believe! We just have to desire to believe, want to believe! Awesome right?? I know that we are in the truth. As I learn more, the latter doubts seem to fade but newer doubts seem to come. And that's alright. Just be believing. I love you all! Be believing!!
Elder Reynolds

5 children from the Valencia family were baptized!!!
The Valencia Family :)
SO EXCITING to baptize a family!!!!
My life is a gift; my life has a plan.
My life has a purpose; in heav'n it began.
My choice was to come to this lovely home on earth
And seek for God's light to direct me from birth.
I will follow God's plan for me,
Holding fast to his word and his love.
I will work, and I will pray;
I will always walk in his way.
Then I will be happy on earth
And in my home above.
~I will Follow God's Plan ~
After they were confirmed and received the gift of the Holy Ghost!
Another ER visit just for fun!!!
We seem to have the best luck...my companion was trying to cut a coconut and ended up cutting himself...
Elder Reynolds and Elder Manwaring
Traveling means different comps just about everyday haha!
On splits with Elder Chuqumango!
On splits with Elder Mooney...remember the "Companion of the Year?!?!"

Thursday, June 28, 2018


Teaching English to our little class!
Hello Everyone,
To start off this email...I'll title it LIKE FATHER LIKE SON.
Well this week did not turn out like it was planned...but when does life ever go that way anyways?? lol Plans changed pretty drastically starting from Monday. Of course we are here in Puyo so you have to enjoy the wildlife and the nature. So we went to a monkey zoo that was pretty legit! I think I sent pictures last week. Left out a few because of...obvious reasons lol. So we were pretty bummed at this zoo because even though it was pretty cool, we didn't get to hold the monkeys! We were totally psyched about that but when we found out it's all just looking it kind of dampened our animos (cheers). But as we were leaving...prayers were answered!! We saw a couple of monkeys that were out of their cages! So what do we do??? We go play with them of course! So we went over there and started taking pictures, playing with them having the time of our lives. Our dreams came true! But as all good stories have a turning point, the monkey did too. My monkey friend decided to turn on me and bit me! (It was a small bite not going to lie) and then they both ran off. As we were waiting for the bus to take us back, I thought to myself "hmmm a monkey bite." Is there anything bad that can happen from monkey bites? I know we have to call the doctor if we get dog bites or cat bites...but they don't tell you about monkeys! So I talked with the Elders that were with me and we then remembered that the tour guide told us not to touch or play with the monkeys that were not in cages because they didn't quite belong to the zoo...haha gotta love Puyo! So as a precautionary step we called our doctor and he was pretty chill and said to go to a clinic there in Puyo and ask for a rabies treatment. Ends up here in Puyo, the medical side isn't too hot. So casually we start to look. All the hospitals close at 3 and 5 and the only hospital available was an abandoned paintball course that I think they use for a hospital too. We go in there and we barely made time because they were about to close too! So if you come to Puyo, don't plan on dying from the nighttime on. Just wait til the next day. Little safety tip from the jungle life haha. So as we were waiting we get a call from the doctor and this time his voice is a little bit more anxiety filled. I guess he found something and I have to get the shot today! Or I'll start evolving into my original monkey ancestors lol. So we with a little bit more urgency try to get their attention before they close. We went to the assistant of the doctor and tell her directly what is going on. Before this conversation I didn't really think about the situation and how the story would sound to another person. It went something like this..."Umm, maam we need some help. We were in the jungle part of Puyo visiting a zoo and a wild monkey was there and it got mad and bit me. Can I get a rabies treatment?"....Here we are 2 gringos fulfilling the what not to do in the missionary handbook... DON'T LOOK LIKE A TOURIST ha I don't think you can get anymore naive or touristy than 2 gringos looking for a rabies treatment because they got bit by a monkey. Anyways this lady is like "what?" Trying to hold back a laugh she asks me to explain what happened. So at this point of explaining more in depth of what happened I am pretty sure she isn't asking these questions from a medical standpoint, rather a Facebook post or social media post that is bound to get lots of looks. She tells me to wait here and she goes where the doctors are and I don't hear anything and then I hear a burst of laughter coming from this room....GREAT! So after all that passed they finally let me see the doctor. We talk it out and yet again I have to tell the interesting story of how a monkey bit me. He kind of looks confused still and I think he hasn't been trained very well on monkey situations either because he tells me that he only has authorization to administer treatment to dog and cat bites no mas (no more)...and then proceeds to tell me that its alright that if I start showing symptoms of rabies I can come in and get the treatment. But until then...hang tight. Hang tight??! Okay, sounds legit. Luckily, God has prepared me for this trial in my life through the experience of a very close family member who had the same thing happen to him that caused a lot of...lets just say unneeded stress haha. So from this experience long ago, and knowing from common sense that rabies isn't so much of a play around sickness, we called the doctor again in Quito and says Well, we will see you tomorrow here bright and early!" We ended up leaving that same night to get there before I start growing a tail ha. I know I'm mixing up rabies and evolving into a monkey but its the same isn't it? So this week we have traveled to Quito various times so that I can get one shot that takes about 15 minutes. I'm just happy to be here haha!! So as a tribute to a Father's Day email, here it is! Love you!! Have a great week!!! Don't get bit by those wild monkeys!
Elder Reynolds

After hearing this stressful news about his monkey bite, there is good news this week...
Elder Reynolds is coming home NOVEMBER 20!!!!!

The happiness of seeing a monkey isn't all that you think...
money bite...
Traveling in the middle of the night to Quito
ER in Quito Ecuador
Traveling again to Quito (photobomb lol)
Travel time is over 6.5 hours and the bus ride costs around $10. They had to go 3 times last week.
Elder Reynolds normally takes a lot of bus rides because of his assignments as a Zone Leader. A couple of weeks ago on a bus ride, he was robbed. He fell asleep and they took his bag and went through it. They took his camera with his SD card and all his money.
Service at a finca!
The church in Tena Ecuador is the 2nd floor of a building!
The glasses help me at least look like a professor!
Teaching English!!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

We came to Earth with the Same Purpose but Different Work!

It is a privilege to be able to represent my Redeemer and Savior!
Hello Everyone!
Like always, another week comes and goes...this week seemed to fly by. We had 3 divisions (splits) this week with 3 different places! It was a crazy week. Definitely couldn't have done it without the help from above. I seriously don't know how I get through each day...maybe it's just me, but 6:30 pm comes around and I have absolutely no energy. And I haven't even done anything haha! But somehow we make it to 9:00 and I don't want to go to sleep because of how excited I am!!! haha Sometimes I wish it was switched around lol.

So this week it has been a lot of missionary themed experiences ha who knew? lol But our ward mission leader just got his mission call to go to Mexico! It was so awesome as he is 19 years old and is the only member of his family. In this little branch we have, I love seeing the unity because it doesn't matter if you are the only member of your family...cause you got 100 other family members that are just as close!! Anyways, it got Elder Manwaring and I feeling pretty old...just thinking about when we opened our mission calls eons ago ha. I reread what it says in the mission call and it brought tears to my eyes. Again I am so happy to be a missionary. It is a privilege to be able to represent my Redeemer and Savior. As I was reading it though, my mind kinda got off topic and I started to think about callings and certain callings that each of us have been assigned to. I just had divisions (splits) with Elder Hunter and he said something that I really liked. He was talking about what motivates him to become a consecrated missionary and he told me that throughout his mission this desire inside of him has grown tremendously. And about a year and a half or so into his mission he said something that hit me, I REALIZED SOMETHING...THAT THIS WAS PART OF MY VERY BEING. THAT IN REALITY...I WAS MADE FOR THIS...It was so powerful to hear that. We truly are MADE to be here on this earth in this specific time. I am almost positive that we each had our own little mission opening calls up in heaven...Elder Reynolds...You have been called to start your service in the...New Mexico, USA area! What the?! hahaha I don't know what I said when I opened up my mission call in heaven but it must have been some funny joke about the desert and cactuses haha. But each of us was prepared to come to earth at this time in whatever place we are in to fulfill a mission...How are we doing??!! A question that each of us can answer personally. I know that each one of us has a work to do!

On another division (splits) this week, I was with a missionary that was struggling with seeing his success. He told me that he hasn't seen many baptisms. All the other missionaries in his group have had lots of baptisms but for him, not so much. As he was talking I could only think about myself and how this was totally me!! I went through the same phase at about the same time as him! I am so grateful that I was able to go through that so that I could help him and know exactly how he feels. I told him that each of us have a different work and by comparing ourselves to other missionaries is a part in the self destruction plan that Satan wants. It's impossible to compare ourselves to others when the work that Heavenly Father gave us is totally different to what He gave others to do. Like comparing apples and oranges. It was really a spiritually edifying experience as I was able to learn with him.

This letter is all over the place...so to summarize, I know that each of us came to earth with the same purpose but different work. Heavenly Father needs each and every one of us. He believes in us, He confides in us. I hope that we all can adquirir (acquire) the faith necessary to follow through with His will. I love you all...so much. Thank you so much for your prayers and hopefully mine are being answered upon you guys!!! Love you!!!
Elder Reynolds
Elder Reynolds' new companion!
Jungle Life
Elder Reynolds and Elder Manwaring
~Monkey Business~
M E M O R I E S that will last F O R E V E R ! ! ! 

Zone Conference
~Oriente Zone~
Leadership Council

Thursday, June 14, 2018

To be Offended is a CHOICE we make!

"Thank you for showing us the way"
The Valencia Family
Hello Everyone!
This week was another great week to be a missionary. Being with Elder Manwaring was quite the learning experience. It is awesome being able to share with various missionaries with various talents and gifts. He sure is an answer to a lot of my prayers! One of the things I was struggling with over these past few weeks was the balance between ministering and administering. As the assistants described it, being too far over to the side of ministering you are simply just a cheerleader. To the contrary, being too far over to the administering you are simply just an inspector or a dictator. And right there in the middle is being a real minister (what God has not told us to be!). So I feel I was way over to the side of being a cheerleader with no real boldness in my teachings. Just simply making people feel good about themselves without pushing them to their real divine potential. And justamente (justly), Elder Manwaring shows up! He is an amazing missionary. He has that administering side down! haha We were at the Valencia's and they are on track to get baptized...the only problem is they are not married. So in this specific lesson we planned to teach the Law of Chastity and get them on the road to marriage! We started off as usual with small talk and then we moved on to the actual lesson and then its like the hammer dropped...Boldly and clearly, my companion taught that they need to get married because they were breaking a commandment. Not going to lie, I was pretty dang shocked. I was thinking "Well there goes months of work down the drain...they are never going to let us back in the house." So I tried to compensate for what I thought was the lack of love on my companions part and then all of a sudden it hit me...its for that exact reason that my companion was speaking so boldly! Because he did love them and he wanted the very best for them and wasn't going to let them settle for anything less. As the lesson went on, I was still uneasy about us talking so boldly, but I felt the spirit so strongly as I didn't feel a lack of love in the room...rather more love! It was amazing to see my eyes open to probably how Jesus Christ really taught! As it says in the Bible when he talks with one having authority. It was amazing learning that lesson from my companion. At the end of the lesson I was wanting to hug every single one of them for their humbleness. Because through our boldness, they accepted it and wanted to live it. I was so amazed how they weren't offended. I love this quote by Elder Bednar--And Nothing Shall Offend Them--"When we believe or say we have been offended, we usually mean we feel insulted, mistreated, snubbed, or disrespected. And certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean-spirited things do occur in our interactions with other people that would allow us to take offense. However, it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else." The Valencia family was truly a living example of this. Instead of choosing to be offended as I thought they would, they surprised me, as they always do, with their humbleness. At the end when we were shaking hands to leave, the mom leaned over to me to whisper into my ear "Thank you so much for showing us the way." It confirmed this way of teach was the way to go. Man I am continually falling in love with the Valencia family. Probably from here on out, I will be sharing something that happened with them.

We are traveling like crazy! This week we had a lot of viajes (travels) and were in and out of our sector every single day. I like it, but at the same time I feel super fat and unproductive ha. This bread of Ecuador is getting to me. We were in Pelileo this weekend and attended their sacrament service. It was awesome! One thing the Stake President said that hit me pretty hard had to do with ministering. (By the way, I love this new approach that President Nelson received) But what he said struck me really hard, he said something along the lines of...we didn't come to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, rather we came to live it. He told of his many experiences in his mission and how he always thought of his mission in that way. I love that! This gospel isn't something just to be taught, rather to be lived! I am loving it out here in the mission field. It truly is the best years. I know it's not because of the mission, it's because I am living the gospel. Truly living it. If we aren't enjoying our lives, I am positive we are doing something wrong. I love how simple yet complex the gospel is. Amazing right? I love you all. I hope we can all have the happiness we should and can have as we continue along!
Elder Reynolds
Elder Reynolds...still the life of the party lol
Live with no regrets!
When he tells the people where he is from, they Google New Mexico and tell him there is nothing there and ask where is the green?!?
I am loving it out here in the mission.
It truly is the best two years!
Amazing Adventures!
Loving Life in Ecuador!!!
Here in the Jungle I like the atmosphere. It is chill and its more slowed down than the city.
I think the climate is the best part. From 5 pm to when we go to bed it is GORGEOUS!
"Let us reach out to rescue those who need our help and lift them to the high road and the better way"
Thomas S. Monson
I hope we all can have the happiness we should and can have as we continue along!
Elder Reynolds, Elder Martinez and Elder Morris
Teach me to walk in the light of his love;
Teach me to pray to my Father above;
Teach me to know of the things that are right;
Teach me, teach me to walk in the light.