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 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!