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 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 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~


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Green Door!!

Trying to find cheaper transportation! Bus and taxi's are too expensive haha!!

Hello Everyone!
This week was a pretty hard week to work. Not going to lie. With Thanksgiving and everything in the States and remembering back on it and describing what we usually do on Thanksgiving to my comp.. ha got me thinking about all that past life. Which isn't a bad thing, its just when I let it dwell in my mind. My companion has helped me so much this week. We both talked very openly with each other and man it has been better than ever. Usually I am too prideful to tell someone what I actually feel and obviously as a guy I don't like to show weakness. But this week I really opened up to Elder Villacorta telling him that I was struggling with staying focused and then he opened up about he too was thinking a lot about home and from there we set goals and are helping each other mutuamente(mutually).Who knew that being humble is the key to happiness? haha 

We feel that our investigators are not progressing too much. So we decided to contact a little bit more this week. And like all things, when we put forth the work we will always witness a miracle! We have a pretty big sector, I think it is something like 3 or 4 hours in bus from side to side. So it's pretty hard to cover all of it and also save some money for food because we have to pay for the bus or taxi haha. So we usually always contact the taxi drivers because it's like a freebee because they have to listen to us lol (tricks of the mission). So we contacted this guy and he seemed pretty interested! But he lived in a sector pretty far and we had no idea where it was, so he just told us he lived in this area by some tanks of water. So we decided to visit him one day and called him and all was good. He was going to meet us in some place and then have a lesson. So we arrive in this unknown place and that's when it got interesting. We literally tried calling him 300 times ha but he wasn't answering. And we were pretty determined to have an appointment with him so we were like, well there some tanks of water over there lets head over there. Then we were looking around and looked at each other and were like this is going to go in the ensign haha. So we said a prayer asking that we will find this one house in the vast mountainous terrain we were in. After that we were like.. man where do we even start? So we just chose a road and took it and contacted a few houses and then contacted another family that was golden! We are pretty excited about them also. So after about 30 minutes, we were about to head home and then there was this pretty huge hill and we both thought its got to be up there..... so we walked up the hill and after we ran and battled a few dogs we were like yeah.. either we are in the exact right place or a very wrong place hahah. We still had the faith that we would find it and so we chose a house with the green door because it was green haha and we asked the lady if Jimmy (our investigator) lived there and she was like oh Jimmy lives right next door!! So we knocked on the door and we found him!!!!!!! hahah What I learned from this crazy miracle was that God expects us to work. Just because we believe in the power of prayer and have the faith doesn't necessarily mean all is well. And another thing is honestly I was expecting a sign from God like here is the house.. but it was simply because we wanted to contact the door that is green hahaha. The point being is that when we are serving God and wanting a miracle, maybe we won't necessarily have the grand aha moment this is what I should be doing, but through our work He will guide us into what or where we need to be. Some may say its coincidence, but honestly we were talking about that and really how everything worked out perfectly and a little slight wrong move we wouldn't have been able to find him. God is truly on our side and is in the work with us. I am very grateful to be apart of this great work knowing that the man upstairs is also so willing to help us. 

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and that we will start this new Christmas season great.and take advantage of it by sharing the gospel! Great things are going to happen here in Santo Domingo, Ecuador. Just watch! I love you all!
Elder Reynolds

Elder Reynolds and Elder Villacorta "Lighting the World" in Ecuador!

H A P P Y  T H A N K S G I V I N G!!!

A gringo with a turkey in the street...a sight to see haha
We had to take the turkey to a members house to bake it...remember this is a walking mission!
See his Instagram for a video he sent!

It was fun to describe to my companion all the traditions in the US on Thanksgiving and the whole black Friday shopping!

Looking full and satisfied...

Still got the football skills...good hands!!!

Loving every minute of the mission!!

Decorating a Christmas tree with investigators :)

Elder Reynolds absolutely loves the Holidays lol 
He loves to make people smile :)

Being creative with decorations!

M E R R Y  C H R I S T M A S!!!!!!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Exhausted...but Loving Every Second!

Hey there everyone!
Sorry but this will be a short one. Have lots of stuff to do! The work here is absolutely amazing. It is crazy to think about this week because it seems I am always writing this same email everyday haha. A cool story that we had is we found an investigator from Ghana and he only speaks English! I was thinking sweet I can really teach him well and help him learn all the things that I may not be able to express in Spanish! But then I realized that I can't speak English worth nothing! I tried to speak fluently but I found myself translating everything from Spanish to English in my head. I was so frustrated during the lesson. luckily he has a lot of patience with us and I think he can read our minds because somehow he is progressing very rapidly!! Who would've ever knew that Spanish would be so much easier than English! lol Elder Villacorta and I are getting along super well. His is from Lima Peru. He is so knowledgeable in the scriptures and we are actually both on a diet! haha I know crazy! Elder Reynolds on a diet?? lol It is super hard because the bread here is super good and it is so disponible (available) because there are stores on every corner. But I love the unity that we have in our companionship because we make pacts with each other to help each other out on trying to keep our diets. It is a bit hard when everyone that gives us food wants us to get fat haha. I think they adopted the idea from the olden times when it was a sign of wealth and power to be fat hahahah. That would mean I am pretty wealthy and powerful as a missionary!

Man, this work literally takes every ounce of energy I have but I am loving every second of it. I have never been more tired yet more happy. Our house got flooded this week... wish we could say it was a defect from the sink but it was our fault. We sometimes run out of water and have to go through a whole process to get water back so we left the house thinking that all of the water switches were turned off only to find out we just thought that because there was no water coming out because there was not water in our house. We came back from language study to find the whole floor in water... hahaha. Needless to say, we didn't do language study that day and we had to sleep without blankets lol. I hope we all find the happiness in our lives and that we an all learn to love the commandments! Mosiah 2:41 "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it." I believe in it with all my heart!! love you all!!
Elder Reynolds

Missionaries of Ecuador!
Elder Godoy's mission visit to Ambato

My favorite food here in Santo Domingo is Ceviche de Camaroon!! It is sooo good. I want to learn to cook the food here but honestly we don't spend much time with members because we have so many investigators! 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Keep Looking for the "Why"

Elder Reynolds and his companion, Elder Villacorta!
Teaching "Chicks" in Ecuador!!!

Wow so this week was another great week! I am so happy that I am companions with Elder Villacorta. It is a privilege to be with him! This is his last change so I feel so privileged that I get to learn from someone that has about 2 years under his belt. It's like a cheat sheet to me! lol Definitely I am still learning humility. He knows so much about the scriptures and about everything gospel related. so we made a deal, that I will help him get jacked physically and the he will help me get jacked spiritually lol.

Our investigators are...interesting haha. We received revelation that here in Santo Domingo the work here is a bit different. Usually in Quito, it is hard to gain new investigators or people that want to listen to us but here it is just about the complete opposite. Everyone wants to listen to us! Which is a good and bad thing! We have so many more investigators that we found this week and I just want to testify that the hand of the Lord is in this work. It is a bit weird and funny but every planning session it is like a mini council where we talk about each investigator and their progression and we make a decision according to the spirit as to work with them or drop them. Man, does it hurt to drop them. After having developed a relationship with a person here and it just hurts to stop visiting them because I know that if we had more missionaries we would be able to spend time with these people! But we know that there are other people prepared for us and that they are just waiting for us! It was a really special experience as my companion was sick this week and I gave him a blessing of healing and it said in the blessing that many people have been waiting for him! I have a true testimony in the power of the priesthood. It is a way to show our humbleness before the Lord and submit ourselves to the will of Him who knows everything. I am definitely growing so much. Unfortunately, that also implies in my stomach...hahaha. The food here is SO good! I don't know what they do different but it is absolutely delicious!

We have had some major changes in the mission as usually we always call our leaders every night to tell them what we did that day and to make sure that we are working and our health is okay. Usually those calls last about 10 minutes but now President Barlow asked us to shorten these calls to about one minute conversation solely about if we are doing good physically and how our emotions are. After the visit from the 70, he said we have a mature mission and that he wants to see more growth individually so he wants us to realize the "why" of everything. The work to me seems so much different now as I realize we aren't doing this work to please the leaders of the mission or President please them with good numbers...but for the real reason which is to bless people's lives with baptism and this wonderful message of hope and a new start to every single person! I always have these duhhh moments in the mission hahaha. I am sorry if I bore you with them but I am a slow learner lol. I love you all and keep pushing forward and looking for the "why" in everything! It changes the perspective and the love we have for the people! Definitely a blessing of God!
Elder Reynolds

We taught a lesson in English this week to a guy from Ghana. The guy is volunteering at an elementary school. It was quite the experience to teach in English! It was literally like I had to translate everything in my head back to English. I was quite frustrated with myself because I couldn't talk fluent English haha!!!

What a privilege it is to serve with Elder Villacorta! I learn so much from him each day!!

P-day at the ZOO!!!

Zoo Adventures :)

A Monkey in the tree!

The Monkey took our football...

...and ate it!!!

The money I spend on water is unreal!

My Book of Mormon ripped, hoping it glues back together!
The mission is great, I have never been happier in my life :)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Recognize Our Blessings Each Day!

~Missionaries of Santo Domingo~
Elder Reynolds' District
Hello Everyone!
Well, this was the last week of the change (transfers)! So I am going to be staying here and another Elder named Elder Villacorta is going to come! He was my old Zone leader and he is so awesome! He is ending his mission this change so hopefully, I can help him end it with no regrets! Elder Yanqui is going to return to Quito haha. Every single Monday we get an email from President Barlow and it always says how the time is going by fast! How true that is! This week more than any other week I realized really how time is so critical. And how crucial it is for us to use it to the best of our ability. It is weird how every day of the mission is the exact same, yet so so different. It is nice that way because we are constantly being challenged to become something we have never become or even thought to become. 

With the changes, it was interesting to take a step back and look at all that has happened here in Santo Domingo. We have not had a baptism yet and honestly, we were a bit bummed. There are so many people so close to baptism and it is soooo sad to see that people are so close to receiving the most prized blessings in their life. Truly when we as missionaries or as members feel and see the blessings of baptism, we will have a greater desire to share it. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have these blessings all due to the companionship of the spirit.
This week my comp and I studied Patience. Man, I am always so hesitant to study patience haha. It was interesting though because we discussed how probably we are going to be seeing lots of difficulties this week and it made me realize more than ever how these difficulties are blessings in disguise. We ask Heavenly Father for something and really He gives it to us. We just don't recognize it in the way that He gives it to us. I am so grateful for the wisdom of an all-knowing God. To start off our week of patience, our lunch was with soup and crab. ha I never really ate crab at home but eating crab here...requires an adequate amount of patience lol. We just laughed as they brought out the plate of soup and crab and I was just thinking... and so it begins... lol. Along with the lunch, it was truly a week of patience as we realized Halloween here or as they call it,,.Day of the Dead, is where they go visit the cemetery practically the whole week and really the city shuts down. NO ONE was in their house!! It was a vacation for everyone except the missionaries lol. It was extremely hard to do visits, but here we are still alive! We tried our best!
Just wanted to share something that Elder Godoy said in his visit with us that goes along with the blessings in disguise. President Barlow also shared this with us.   Talking about when he was a young missionary, he said, “I loved it when my investigators said they weren’t ready to be baptized because that meant they were understanding what they were learning. They were understanding the importance of that step. We took it as a sign of a truly sincere investigator – it was a wonderful blessing and opportunity to really help a searching soul.” I think sometimes we give up too quickly and consider the response, “I’m not ready” a rejection when, in reality, it’s an invitation to help an investigator through an iceberg or come to realize they really are ready. I thought about this a lot and how we always look at things with a perspective of our own conscience. But really how we should be looking and praying for how Heavenly Father sees it and how we can take it to our advantage! I invite all of us to take a step back and realize all the blessings we have, even if they are in disguise. Things seem to appear a lot happier when we do that! I love you all so much and am so excited to keep up with this amazing life!
Elder Reynolds

A Banana Tree!

L O V I N G  E C U A D O R!!!

Look at this man's shirt!
Elder Reynolds was telling this man that his mom loves Bibendum also known as the Michelin Man,

A family with the COOOOLEST truck lol!

Halloween or Day of the Dead treats!!!

Signs of being a good missionary lol
His scriptures are falling apart! He shares each week how he could spend hours reading the scriptures. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Personal Revelation!

Elder Reynolds was on the Radio in Ecuador!!
Hello Everyone! 
This week was an awesome week! We hardly had anytime to work though because we were traveling so much! Elder Godoy of the 70 visited us and it was such an amazing experience to have him there. One of the things I learned that I think everyone can learn from is yes we have leaders. and they are SO knowledgeable and helpful to us. But we also have the right to receive revelation for ourselves. Like Joseph Smith said it is the very principle or key to the life after this life. At times we just find ourselves asking questions to other people and although that is good.... we need to develop a relationship with our Father in Heaven and He the very God of the whole universe will teach us through the Holy Ghost! What a privilege we have to have the Holy Ghost. We had two 5-hour bus rides and so as missionaries we were talking about a bunch of questions we have always had about the deep doctrine haha how we are going to ask Elder Godoy to explain them to us but then after the conference we all realized that we can have the answers not from another person, but from the very fountain of knowledge! I am probably sounding a bit crazy right now but it was a moment of aww for me hahah.

Our investigators are struggling right now. They are slowly progressing and man is it hard to just sit back and let them make their own choices. My companion and I discuss after every lesson on what we could've done better and I love that there is always something we can do better. there is no such thing as perfect in this life. We can always strive to get better. I think that's what intrigues me about life. That there is no end. I love the scripture in 2 Nephi where it talks about line upon line precept upon precept. One thing I love to do is finding something I am the worst at, and trying to change it into one of my strengths. I loooove the process. Although it is time consuming and takes a whole lot of patience and work, I love the end product. 

Man am I glad for American volleyball! Today one of the Elders in our district taught us how to play Ecuavolley! It is basically the same rules but with a...SOCCER BALL! Man I thought it hurt at times to play with a volleyball but it hurt sooo bad to play with that thing! haha My arms are so sore already but it was a fun to me lol I love the mission. I am learning something everyday. When we always have goals, life will never pass us by too fast. We will pass by life. Take advantage always of the time we have! I love you all! 
Elder Reynolds

Learning how to play Ecuavolley!!!
Ouch, playing with a soccer ball!

Sharing the great message of Jesus Christ on the radio!

Santo Domingo, Ecuador
Hitchhiking in Ecuador :o

Carl's Jr!

Two 5-hour bus rides to listen to Elder Godoy of the 70!

People were talking about "The Night of Death" and Elder Reynolds was like what the heck are you guys talking about??! So they explained it more to him and he realized it was Halloween!